Goblin Tales, Coming March 15 (I Hope!)
I’ve tentatively scheduled Goblin Tales for a March 15 release. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to set a future publication date via Amazon or B&N. You click the button to put it on sale, and some time over the next few days, they get it posted. So it might be more accurate to say the book will be out March 15, give or take a day or two.
This has been quite the learning experience. When I did Goldfish Dreams [B&N | Amazon], Steven Saus did the conversion for me. This time I wanted to tackle that myself.
Woof. I started by downloading Sigil, then opened up Goldfish Dreams to do some reverse engineering. Once I thought I had a handle on the basic files and structure, I copied the goblin stories into a new .epub file and started cleaning up the formatting. This took several hours, but I eventually got them looking pretty. I also added an afterword to each story. Then I started on cover art.
I had two images I was interested in using. I never got a response from one artist, which simplified that choice. I gained permission from Daniel Ernle to use his art, and you saw some of the process that followed. I’d guesstimate that I put in at least four hours of work there, much of which involved small details, trial-and-error-and-backtracking, and tiny changes which were almost invisible. (Adjusting the kerning between letters in the title, for example.)
Thanks to everyone who chimed in with feedback and suggestions, and a special shout-out to trinker for a lot of good, detailed advice.
At this point, I went back into the story files to check the raw HTML, and discovered that Sigil had inserted some junk code. Aw, crap. Add another 1-2 hours to clean that up.
I spoke with other authors and picked up a few more tips, like inserting a character between scene breaks instead of a blank line (since an e-reader’s repagination can result in “hidden” scene breaks), changing the code I used for blank lines at the beginning, details like that.
In the meantime, I was also drafting descriptive text (the equivalent of the back-of-the-book blurb) to be posted on Amazon and B&N, adding front- and back-of-the-book material, and e-mailing myself the work-in-progress to see how my iPhone rendered the file.
All total, we’re probably looking at 10+ hours of work spread over several weeks. I’ve also sent review copies to two potential reviewers. Normally, I think reviewers should have much more time to read and review a book, but I didn’t want to push the release back another three months. This may be an example of my impatience getting in my own way.
Looking back, it will have taken just over a month from the time I decided to make an e-book of goblin short stories to the time it goes on sale. And remember, these are reprints — previously-published (and more importantly, previously-edited) stories. Original/unpublished material would have required more time, as would a proper window for review copies.
Overall, it’s been a good experience. A lot of work, but I’d probably do it again. Who knows … if Goblin Tales does exceptionally well, I might have to take some of my other published stories and repeat the experiment 🙂
Stephanie M. Loée
March 2, 2011 @ 1:08 pm
I finally broke down and ordered a Kindle this week. It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow. In order to prepare for that auspicious event, I bought Goldfish Dreams as my first ebook ever. Also picked up some freebies and classics. Can’t wait for Goblin Tales!
Selling out to Kindle never felt so good…
Jim C. Hines
March 2, 2011 @ 1:31 pm
See, that’s the kind of comment that gives warm fuzzies to last all day long 🙂
I’m tempted to pick up an e-reader myself. I don’t know how much I’d use it for new books, but being able to get a library of all that public domain work…
Whoops. Sorry. Started drooling a bit there.
March 2, 2011 @ 4:54 pm
My wife has an e-reader, which I generally refuse to use, but I might have to make an exception here.
You may have said elsewhere and I just don’t remember, but what price point did you put on the book and how did you determine that price?
Jim C. Hines
March 2, 2011 @ 7:58 pm
Matt – I’m planning for $2.99. Partly that’s arbitrary: $2.99 is the break point where Amazon’s royalties kick up to 70%. Anything less is a smaller cut for the author. But I also think that’s a fair price for five short stories. Sixty cents a story seems reasonable to me.
March 2, 2011 @ 8:35 pm
That sounds more than reasonable. I hope it sells well for you.
A quick e-book post | Cora Buhlert
March 17, 2011 @ 12:43 am
[…] C. Hines is one of the many authors experimenting with e-books and he chronicles his experiences here, here and here. This entry was posted in Books, Writing and tagged e-books, shameless […]