Inkwell: Authors and Artists
Jane Hirshfield (jh) Fri 9 Mar 12 10:23
It was suggested to me by an alert Well host that I should come in here to post a lovely late postscript to this conversation-- a front page article in the New York Times about Kindle Singles being the "single best reason to buy an e-reader" <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/07/books/kindle-singles-genre-between-magazine- articles-and-books.html?_r=2#commentsContainer> While the piece doesn't quite make clear that you don't actually need an e-reader to read these pieces, the praise of the mid-length format and its possibilities for on-screen literature was high. The article, written by the NYTBR's regular in-house critic Dwight Garner, also offers in passing some lovely words about my own "The Heart of Haiku" Kindle Single: "Several like John Hoopers reportage on the Costa Concordia disaster, Jane Hirshfield on haiku and Jonathan Mahler on Joe Paterno are so good they awaken you to the promise of what feels almost like a new genre: long enough for genuine complexity, short enough that you dont need journalistic starches and fillers." I've been a bit stunned to see the sales effect of those words. I was equally stunned--and awfully pleased--to find that what I still think of as a slightly obscure, densely written piece on an off-the-edge subject was chosen for looking at there at all. But that's kind of the point. People have long been saying that the essay, like the poem, is somehow "dead." The big NY publishers (the best of them, anyhow) do keep bringing out books of essays and books of poetry, but the general assumption is that this is a kind of pro bono endeavor. But what these non-fiction Singles, Byliner, and Atavist pieces (what Garner is writing about in this article) all are is basically long essays, finding new life in new e-clothes, and making reading somehow a little more hip a thing to be talking about doing. What's really amazing to me is that the e-context gains this evaluation of a group of short books a front page placement in the New York Times. Anyhow, I suspect that--aside from the usual ongoing debate about Amazon the article raised--it can't help but be a good thing for writing and writers that the very idea of good writing gets such a visible outing.
David Wilson (dlwilson) Fri 9 Mar 12 14:12
Andy Borowitz was on the Leonard Lopate Show today on WNYC. He spoke about his Kindle Singles piece about his misadventures with intestinal surgery. It turned out to be a best seller. Borowitz talked a little about the mechanics of the Kindle Singles and the potential for writers.
From Kelly Andersson via E-Mail (captward) Fri 12 Oct 12 13:26
@ folkrocks and joecot on kindle and other options kindle outsells all others, just in my experience anyway, and with a better royalty. This could very well change and likely will, but just for example one of my clients has his kindle version on amazon and a handful of other e-versions on smashwords. The kindle version outsells all the others combined by about 30 to 1. @ capward on kindle images Not sure about that negative experiences with images on kindle. I've had excellent results, but then I format the kindle files myself. @ gail on kindle formatting There are several ways to do the kindle conversion, but I take the author's ms and strip it completely of all formatting - down to plain text and images. Then I hand-code the text in html and convert that to a .prc file. Kindle-supported html tags (and css) are slim and basic and there's limited formatting options for a kindle book. Of course that's changing rapidly, but for now that's the best method I've found for a professional-looking kindle version. For images, you just crop and/or resize them to fit kindle specs. Authors who just try to convert from a word.doc with embedded images have disastrous results. Doing it in html also offers the handy option of publishing to a website from the same original files. @ mcb on color images in kindle They look terrific in color if properly formatted to begin with, and they display in b&w on older versions. As joecot noted, if they're set up right to begin with, they'll display just fine, and if not then they won't. @ jh on cookbooks You can do amazon self-publishing through CreateSpace (even with color images) and convert that to a kindle version. Both versions of mine sell in nearly equal numbers (with zero promotion) but I make more on the print version. I have several books on amazon, including: <http://www.amazon.com/FIRE-CREW-Fireline-Ben-Walters/dp/061555248X/> <http://www.amazon.com/MEET-ME-AT-NET-Steelhead/dp/061551684X/> <http://www.amazon.com/Montana-Ranch-COOKHOUSE-COOKBOOK/dp/1461188628/> Kelly Andersson <boone> on the WELL back in the late '80s
David Gans (tnf) Fri 12 Oct 12 13:45
I just got a surprisingly handsome troyalty check for Jan-June sales of "Conversations with the Dead." I was susprised to see that about 40% of it was for paperback sales, the rest for electronic. I would have expected a lot more e-book sales.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 16 Oct 12 11:13
That's fascinating. How did you market the two versions, or is that all from organic search? Does one format get top billing on your own web sites?
David Gans (tnf) Tue 16 Oct 12 17:18
I have links to amazon and to the publisher on my "books" page.
Elaine Sweeney (sweeney) Wed 17 Oct 12 12:27
I wonder if it's the kind of book that might often be a gift. I think a gift would more likely be a physical book than an electronic one. You'd have to ping if they had a reader or app, what email address is tied to the amazon.com account. And the one time I gave a Kindle copy as a gift, it was never picked up.
Ed Ward (captward) Fri 19 Oct 12 05:16
I'm trying to remember if it was you who sent me a copy of the Keith Richards book. Boy, did that turn into a mess. I finally was able to cash the gift in for credit and buy it here in English. The copyright mess in various territories is responsible for this: I think the way it went was that the French copyright was held by a different company than published the English edition, so they had to get paid even though they didn't publish an English edition. They had the rights in France, and I was buying the book in France, and that was that. Still lots and lots of stuff to figure out, as the "enhanced" version of Chabon's Telegraph Avenue made clear to me: <http://www.realeyz.tv/en/blog/the-ward-report/old-skool-new-skool.html>
Elaine Sweeney (sweeney) Fri 19 Oct 12 18:42
It was not I. I sent you a physical book, but not Keith Richards.
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