Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Does anyone know anything about e-books?

I'm looking for advice.

If I was to put out an electronic version of Lonely Werewolf Girl, how would I do it? Is there a standard format? If not, what's the best format? Does it need to be available in more than one format? How do you make it? How do you sell it?

(And once you start selling downloadable versions, what's to stop people from just copying it and stealing it?)

I'd be grateful for help about these, and any other related questions. I would rather the e-book was my own, available for sale from my own website, than done through some third party service.

Over the past few years, several people have actually given me e-book advice. However, adhering to my normal policy of total incompetence, I've forgotten all their advice, and lost their emails.

So if anyone can help, either by answering here, or emailing me, I'd appreciate it.


  1. As I recall Kimber the wolfgirl uses ebooks for her work, here's her link.
    she's a sweety and I am sure will help.

  2. I haven't got any good advice, but I guess the third-party services inlcude things like digital rights management, and try to stop people taking extra copies.

    In fact, the sheer cost and hassle of printing out a book could well be enough to hinder people...

  3. Steer clear of DRM. It doesn't work and just makes your books less appealing to those who want to buy them. If people are big enough fans to strip the DRM they're big enough fans to buy a copy anyway. And as peter says, printing a book is more hassle than just buying one.

    PDF is standard but ASCII and RTF can be good for people to reformat the book for a Palm reader or whatever.

    I think lulu.com do file sales, or you could follow Cory Doctorow's route of releasing the ebooks for free under a Creative Commons licence and using them to drive sales of the books (but he seems to do hardbacks. Hmmm. I'd certainly buy a hardback of LWG).

  4. Speaking of stealing stuff - were you aware that there is a TV drama on Sunday (9th) that features Scottish Werewolves and Werewolf hunters? Channel 5 - 10.00 pm.

  5. http://www.boingboing.net/2007/09/04/locus-column-on-the.html


  6. Anonymous1:08 pm

    Right now, there are 4 GOOD E-book readers available, all using electric ink. The screens are fantastic, better than the paper newspapers print on, and as they are reflective (not backlit like computer displays) they are not straining the eye...
    Those 4 readers use different kind of DRM....
    If you want to make your book widley available, the only option now would be MOBIPOCKET with DRM. Runs on two of four devices, and even on Smartphones, Laptops and Organizers...

    But the better idea would be a non-DRM format, as your Thraxas Books. I could have found them all through the DarkNet, but insisted to buy them, because i want you to get money through them, and to write some more!
    And i can read them without hassle an every next generation of e-book reader i will buy!

    By the way, thanks for your marvelous books, so far i bought 4 copies of Werewolf Girl, just so i can lend it to my friends, or give them away as gifts!


  7. If you are thinking of doing this yourself in a purely electronic form don’t go near DRM. Most DRM methods will just end up shrinking your potential audience and drive you mad with frustration. I have also yet to come across a DRM method that can not be circumnavigated. For a purely electronic version I would stick to something simple like PDF there are things you can do to control what people can do with the PDF and just accept that some people will copy it. Personally I would look at another option and look at the possibility of shipping things on DVD. If you ship on DVD DRM becomes a much more workable option. Yes you can still get round it but for your average reader it’s too much hassle. You can also bundle in lots of extras (art work, interview with the author etc) that make the work much more attractive. I know I would buy the DVD especially if it had a new Thraxas book on it (Hint)……

  8. Anonymous1:49 pm

    I buy a lot of digital books, mostly because it's cheaper and doesn't take more space than a few MB on my harddrive. My storageroom in the basement is filled with books (like my apartment, haha!), so now I have started to only buy paperbooks that I really like. :) Personally, I prefer the .epub format as I read on my iPhone.
    Many authors allow fans to read a chapter for free online, to make more people interested. It's a great way to get more fans.