Week nine of #PoetrySummer, with bonus thoughts on ebook publishing

Sorry for the late post, but I’ve been busy; we’ll talk about what I was busy with a little later, but if you read the title of the post I bet you can guess.

First, though, let’s talk about Poetry Summer! Last week’s poem was “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” by Lewis Carrol, which was awesome and fun and kind of long and made me hungry for oysters. Alas, the next time I will feasibly eat any oysters is…October, maybe? At World Fantasy in San Diego? I’m brave enough to eat sushi in Utah, but oysters are another matter altogether; When I put them in my mouth I want them to still be dripping the seawater from when an old bearded man in a sou’wester pulled them out of the ocean.

My friend Brian, with whom I’ve been doing this, has been aiming at (and missing) “Ulysses,” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, almost every week, and he has sworn in his wrath that this week he will finally do it. Given that Tennyson is awesome, I’ve decided to memorize a Tennyson poem as well, but I haven’t picked one yet. I’m kind of hoping to avoid “Charge of the Light Brigade” just because it’s so obvious, but on the other hand “The Lady of Shallot” is really long (plus, if I memorize that one I’ll have to recite it while floating down a river, and then Gilbert Blythe will see me and I’ll feel SO EMBARRASSED). So anyway, I’ll do something Tennyson this week, and then, because theme weeks are fun, next week will be Shakespearean sonnets, and the week after that will be Harlem Renaissance. If you want to join us in our theme-ishness, plan accordingly.

Now, let’s talk about ebooks. Last week I asked for advice on how to put together an ebook: how to format them, how to post them online, the whole shebang, and I got a lot of good advice, and I’ll be compiling that advice into a post sometime soon. Now, let me tell you why I was asking.

Many years ago I wrote a book, which I thought was pretty good; it was actually the first book I ever submitted to Moshe Feder, the man who would eventually become my editor at Tor, and he rejected it; this was smart of him, because it was not very good. I really liked that book, though, and I’ve revamped it a few times over the years, and last year I got it to the point where I thought it was good enough to finally get published, so I sent it to my agent and she loved it, and we sent it around and found a lot of editors who loved it, but we only managed to actually sell it in one place: Germany, obviously, since that’s my main market. The story in every other market, and every other publisher, was inevitably some variation of this: the book is very weird and quirky, and one editor would fall in love with it’s quirkiness, but could then never convince any of the other editors to take the risk and publish it. This told us that there was obviously some kind of market for the book, just maybe not a very big one and certainly not a mainstream one. This, we decided, sounded exactly like the kind of situation where a self-published ebook would be the perfect way to go.

I’ve been fascinated by the ebook revolution, and I’ve wanted to dip my toe in the water for a while now, and this was the ideal opportunity. There is still a chance that we can sell it to a traditional publisher, especially with the renewed interest brought on by the German sale, and I’ve given my agent a few more weeks to see what she can do. Once we hit WorldCon, however, I will officially launch the book and start selling it online; I’ll be pushing it very heavily at WorldCon and DragonCon, and of course online. If we manage to land a traditional publishing deal for it later on, huzzah; the state of ebooks right now does not preclude the possibility of a print deal after the fact. What I’m interested in seeing, though, is whether or not a self-published ebook, for an author like me who already has a pretty good platform to sell from, can mimic or outright replace the income from a traditional print book. Obviously it can, because it’s happened before; my goal is to see how duplicatable that kind of success really is.

And what book, you ask, will I be selling online? I’ll post more info in the future as we get closer to the launch, but if you’re a Writing Excuses listener and you’ve heard us talk about “the vampire bunny book,” well…it doesn’t actually have vampire bunnies in it. See? Even the nickname is quirky.

14 Responses to “Week nine of #PoetrySummer, with bonus thoughts on ebook publishing”

  1. minnmass says:

    Having heard enough about the Vampire Bunnies book on WE, I’m torn between wanting to see what all the fuss is about and wanting to leave it as a Noodle Incident.

    Reading the book will almost certainly win in the end, though.

    Good luck!

  2. James says:

    You made an Anne of Green Gables reference?! You are offically my hero.

  3. Robin Weeks says:

    I memorized Light Brigade for week 6–but only because I’m mainly memorizing poetry I keep trying to quote. I can’t count the number of times I’ve slipped “theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die” into a normal conversation over the years. I simply HAD to memorize the whole thing.

    Good luck on your quirky non-vampire-bunny book!

  4. Can’t wait to read your new book (even if it does have killer bunnies in it). ;)

    I hope you’ll share your results on the epub as well.

  5. Bryce Dayton says:

    Glad to hear that you’ll be dipping your toes into the water of ebook publishing. I really think that, given the feedback, it’s the PERFECT candidate for an ebook. There are a lot of great programs out there (Sigil is the first one that comes to mind) to help you get your ebook in order. Also, don’t forget about the Book Bomb (having everyone buy the book at the same time to get sales up and move WAY up the Amazon ebook rankings). Good luck! I’ll be sure to buy it.

  6. Whitney says:

    I’m so excited! I’m one of those quirky people who love the vampire bunny book. (I know about it from Writing Excuses.) I find myself trying to tell other people about it all the time. Whenever anyone makes fun of vampires, or someone mentions John Keats, or I’ve been thinking about The Importance of Being Earnest, I just start gushing about my favorite humorous, regency era,supernatural, unpublished novel. But no matter what started me talking about it, I’ve always had to conclude lamely by telling them that it isn’t actually published in the US, so they can’t really read it yet.
    Now that can change!
    I, for one, am definitely buying it as soon as I can.

    Also, the Anne of Green Gables reference just about made me die of laughter.

  7. Heather Muir says:

    W00t for vampire bunnies that don’t exist! The only thing is … I don’t have an e-reader. Can’t afford an iPad and don’t even have a smart phone yet. Maybe by WorldCon I shall have something to read it from. I think this is a great idea.

  8. WhoMe says:

    I loved the vampire bunnies draft you included on the season 1 disk, and read it to my wife and kids. That was when we declared you a writing genius. We were cracking up all the time making references to the book. Then we bought your serial killer books one by one as they came out (even going to a signing for the first one) and have loved your work. Can’t wait for a more polished version of ANoBD!

  9. Justin says:

    as someone who has read an older version of this book i am excited. i think i like it more then your published work.
    @ heather muir dont get an Ipad for a reader you really dont really want a back-lit screen imo get a kindle they are down to $115.

  10. Abbe Hoggan says:

    As soon as you said “Lady of Shallot” I thought of Anne. And you’re the only man I know for sure, besides my husband, who has read that book. That made my day.

    Also, Heather, you can download the Kindle app for your PC. It isn’t as convenient as carrying the book around with you, but at least you’ll have the chance to read it.

  11. Truman says:

    I read an early version of Vampire Bunnies and enjoyed it.

    Have a kindle and love it.

    @Heather, ipads are not great for primary reading devices. I would recommend something with eink unless you are not a big\daily reader.

    Amazon does have a ebook reader application for computers so if you are strapped for cash and want to read an ebook only book there is always that option.

  12. Diva Donna says:

    It’s no secret that I’m a fan. The Lady of Shallot reference with Gilbert Blythe to boot just put me in the uber fan category.

    So your quirky Regency era tortured poet and con man are coming to ebooks! I think its a fantastic way to share the story of the vampires (& the) bunnies. I look forward to hearing all about it at WorldCon.

  13. Sean - Texas says:

    I will buy it.

  14. prabbit says:

    that book you are talking about is “du stirbst zuerst” right? do you know if germany only published the translated version or the original too?

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