To Compose my Life (while Composing an eBook)

So, on top of life in general, I decided to write and self-publish an eBook.  Fellow aspiring author, Jason Craft, gave me the idea one year ago.  I remember it like yesterday.  I was in the midst of writing my first manuscript, ready and willing to send it off to publishers.  My fingers were typing away like crazy.  Jason waltzed over, interrupting me in mid-sentence.  He then goes on and on about some sort of eReader device.  He even brought up the writer’s taboo, mentioning that I could publish it all… gasp… myself! 

I had been set in a completely different direction though; thoughts stubbornly bent towards the traditional path.  I wanted high-caliber people, English majors and publishers, to grab a hold of my stories and make me famous.  I wanted to be the next JK Rowling… except a male version of course.  But I was no wide-eyed freshmen.  I was prepared to face the many rejection letters it would take to get there.

One year ago was an interesting time, on the twilight of a dawning new age.  The eReader was just hitting its stride when I came to understand how it could be used to self-publish my stories.  The more I listened to Jason’s advice, the more I could see the daunting truth of it all.  Writers have been slaves to publishers and their money, forcing our stories through expensively-produced, tattooed deadwood, also known as the book.  With downloadable eBooks… everything is easier, and there is no upfront cost!  It is free.  All of this is making the traditional publisher rather unnecessary.

Long ago books were an ingenious improvement on the stone tablets, dried leaves, papyrus, and leather scrolls of yester-era.  Now we look to the electronic marvel of eInk.

But how successful has the electronic book really been?  I can’t very well compose an eBook if no one is demanding it.  Amazon’s Kindle device started it all, first appearing in 2007.  They sold out in the first few hours.  It has remained quite strong with sales growing from 2.1 million in 2009 to 8 million in 2010.   Barnes and Nobel has joined the fray with there Nook, unveiled in 2009.  It surpassed the Kindle in sales on March 2010 and boosted Barns and Nobel’s online sales 67%.  Apple has its iBooks app on the iPad which came out in April 3, 2010.  A month later and their eBook sales soared to a staggering 1.5 million.  They also share sales with Amazon and Barnes and Nobel who have free apps, downloadable to anyone with an iPhone.  A Droid version of these apps is also available (long live Google).

These companies are the major players to the future of eBooks.  They attest to the fact that consumers are shifting from wood to various forms of wired plastic (I prefer the Nook myself).  With this startling new devices, the future of publishing also has a chance to evolve, to move from corporate publishing houses to one’s own personal self.  Ebooks can become the next indie art.

Kindle and Barns and Nobel each have their own way to self-publish.  There is no middle man to contend with, no money down, no bean counters telling me how to write my story, and no rejection letters!  It’s simple and none exclusive, which means I can sell anywhere and everywhere (which I intend to do).  The demand is there… I’ll I have to do is produce the supply, which brings me to a rather large elephant in the room.

As some of you might have noticed, the end of April has passed us by.  Not really anything new there, except this was my expected due date for the sci-fi adventure Void Voyage 1It should have been out and about by now, purchasable on your electronic venue of choice.  This is the second time I will have to be change my due date!  I do not enjoy being wrong twice!

‘Guess I’ve been listening to my pep talks instead of understanding how much elbow grease it takes to make it so.  As simple as everything above is… actually doing it, well that’s another mater entirely.  Simple doesn’t always mean easy. 

Books are really hard to write.

I am still working through my second edit, making a few cosmetic changes here and there.  As soon as I finish the edits, it’s off to the printing shop (unless I buy a new printer by then) where I will make four hard copies of the 100-page novella.  Then three lucky friends (and one Father) will demo-read it.  This is done as a last check, to see if my story is worthy for the masses.  I could have done all of this by the end of March, as originally expected.  A little thing called life keeps getting in the way!

Juggling three jobs and three writing projects is no small feat (refer to the picture of the man juggling chainsaws).  I’m up to the challenge though and well on the way to accomplishing my goals.  I just need to be more realistic the next time I tell the internet when to buy my product.

Hopefully my second edit will be done and my demo-readers will have finished in time for me to say, with quasi-certainty, that Void Voyage 1 will be finished towards the end of May; that would be right around the time I turn 29-years-old.  Finishing this book would make a nice birthday present… if you happen to purchase one yourself… ah well, that would be great!

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