October 3, 2011

On my way to an ebook

I’m getting to grips with Goodreads, really, I am. Other people seem to find their way around these sites with ease and aplomb, while I stumble along trying to figure out what a “friends” are in this context, and do I want them.

Puddling around on the net looking at ways to promote an ebook leaves me with a feeling that thousands of us, looking to find readers for our book—preferably paying readers—are circulating the same information over and over again, with varying levels of gee-whiz type hype. As each of us is probably a reader we are our own audience. Why do I get a picture of snakes swallowing their owntails?

What about readers who don’t write? (I know there are some.) They don’t have the same motivation to make their presence known. What’s the point of setting oneself a “challenge” to read x books by the end of the year? Or having books you might like selected by an algorithm, based on what you’ve read before? I guess it’s a variation on browsing in the bookshop or library.

I have finally made the decision that I will publish Where the HeArt Is as an ebook as soon as I get it ready and do a print version next year. I’ll use Smashwords — known as an aggregator site, because it distributes ebooks to a whole lot of different outlets — because I know how to do that, and how to format a book to their requirements. Am gathering permissions to quote from various poets.

And it’s a fiction book, a novel, not a [name your genre] novel; my impatience with the genre-focus of a lot of internet material on publishing continues.

I’m going to mention only one book I’ve read recently,and that's Sorry by Gail Jones. It sat on my to-be-read pile for ages. It’s a terrific Australian novel about some well-drawn characters. Their lives, in northern West Australia mainly, are hard and tragic, but it’s a compelling read. One of the aspects I really liked about this book is that the social context is there, hovering in the background, unmistakable, but the story concerns the characters and their lives. It does not preach.