Monday, May 23, 2011

The Real Deal on My Ebook

Keith Raffel here.

As I wrote in my last posting here, I’m doing some diversification of my literary portfolio. My agent in New York has a manuscript he’s circulating to publishers. He even has another in his back pocket. So I held back a third manuscript and have decided to publish it as an ebook original. Drop By Drop draws heavily on the four years I spent in Washington working as the counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Once I decided to go down the ebook route, all those housekeeping chores the publisher had done on my first two books became my responsibility. So I figured out how to copyright the manuscript, obtain an ISBN number, and more.

Then there’s coming up with a cover. I didn’t have much to do with the cover on my first two books. The publisher asked for ideas for a cover for Dot Dead. I said any cover was okay with me except for a woman dead in a bed. Guess what showed up on the cover? (See left. Over time, it did grow on me.) When the publisher came up with a preliminary cover for Smasher, I was delighted to be asked for comments. I took the request seriously and showed it to a few trusted booksellers and relayed their suggestions back to the publisher. No changes were made.

With Drop By Drop I was on my own for the cover. I found a designer and told him what I had in mind. I took the first draft of the cover and posted it up on Facebook for comments. It turns out my friends, especially Shelly, know what they’re talking about. This time suggestions were taken into account, and we discarded a tricolor cover and ended up with the one on the left.

Over the weekend I uploaded the text of Drop by Drop onto Amazon (click here) and Smashwords (click here). Smashwords in turn makes certain the ebook goes into the catalogs of Apple’s iBookstore and Barnesandnoble.com. I'll let you know how things go.

17 comments:

Alan Orloff said...

Keith, I'm watching your ebook "experiment" very closely. And I wish you the best of luck with it! It's a brave new world, that's for sure.

Robin Allen said...

Congrats on getting all of this done, Keith! Sounds like a lot of work. It helps that you've been traditionally published and know what's involved. Love the cover.

-Robin

Sebastian Stuart said...

I'm very impressed by your efforts! Best of luck with the book, it looks great.

Keith Raffel said...

Alan and Sebastian, thank you. Luck is a good thing to have.
Robin, the cover did come out okay, didn't it?

Cricket McRae said...

I'm so impressed with all you've done, Keith. The cover is great. Congratulations!

Beth Groundwater said...

As Alan said, I'd love to hear back from you on how your ebook publication experiment comes out, Keith. I hope you sell a ton of copies!

Deborah Sharp said...

Good luck with the elaunch, Keith (note the lack of hypen) Wish you the best. This all seems really beyond my meager tech/emarketing abilities, considering I don't even have an ereader ... but who knows what the future holds for all of us in the publishing biz?

G.M. Malliet said...

I'm also following your experiment with interest. A lot of authors seem to be taking this plunge.

Compelling cover! I'll see if I can download you on my iPad - I should be able to, right?

Lisa Bork said...

This cover is snazzy, Keith. I'm interested to hear how this venture goes. Best of luck.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Congrats, Keith! Looks like a winner.

Keith Raffel said...

Beth, what does an ebook weigh? :-)
Cricket, I had an old boss who told me that efforts didn't count. Only results. We'll see.
Deb, who the heck knows?
Lisa, snazzy is good, right?
Thanks, Kathleen.
Gin, go to the link at Smashwords and you should be able to download it to your ipad.

Alan Orloff said...

Hear that? That's the sound of Whispernet delivering DROP BY DROP to my Kindle! Looking forward to reading it.

Keith Raffel said...

Alan, loud and clear! But now I won't be able to sleep in nervous anticipation of the verdict from the master.

Shannon said...

Good timing, Keith. I just finished a book last night. Whereas I would have loved getting it free, I hit buy with one-click and I am a paying customer. Best of luck with this experiment. I'll be waiting to hear how it works.

Keith Raffel said...

Thanks, Shannon. Paying for books is a great thing and I approve!

Alice Loweecey said...

Congrats and many sales, Keith!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Congratulations, Keith. I'll be watching with interest, too!