Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flotsam, Jetsam and Dangerous Moonlight

The challenge was to put a new cover on Dangerous Moonlight, which would give readers some clue as to the fact it's a gay book ... and all of us were blank. After about two hours of pushing digital elements around, eventually we can up with this:

(You can click on the pic for a larger view -- I uploaded it to 900 pixels wide.)

If you've been with us long enough to remember the bookmark which went out as a gift with the DreamCraft edition printed in Australia, you'll recognize the figure! It's been reworked, remilled, turned around, recolored. Thank gods for digitals. This cover works quite well, and is a lot more subtle than the original version. I'm actually quite pleased.

Something came along yesterday which might be of interest to writers and DIY publishers ... but be just a little cautious. This, from the weekend edition of the WSJ online:

Smashwords is a new ebook hosting service. At least, I would hope it's new, because they only have something like 180 - 200 titles in their entire list at this point, including every category. I assume they've just launched, and it'll take time to get up a full head of steam.

This is something I'll be watching for a few months before I get involved. As yet the list is very short ... and there's some rather odd titles among it. If Smashwords is going to turn into something great, it'll do it in the next half year ... depends how many reputable writers and publishers use the service, and how many screw-loose oddball self-publishers jump aboard. I'll hold off a little while and watch. Here's their url, which has a duh factor off the scale:

And here also is something interesting which might be useful to many, including writers and publishers: ... I was impressed enough to get an account right off the bat. Box-dot-net ... the url tells all. Cool.

In other words, flotsam and jetsam. Otherwise ... it's work as usual, which seems anticlimactic between Christmas and New Year!



Mark Coker said...

Hi Mel, thanks for mentioning Smashwords on your blog! In answer to your question, we just launched the public beta of Smashwords in May. We publish all authors without passing any form of editorial judgment, which means we have everything on the site. We have authors who will likely become huge breakout hits in the next few years, and we have other authors who can barely form a sentence. We have a lot of great authors whose niches are probably too small to get much excitement among mainstream publishers, yet they're perfect for the long tail of the Internet. We rely on our growing community to sift through the site and help the best works rise to the top. The less worthy works quickly succumb to Darwinian forces and disappear from view.

Our sole focus at Smashwords is to develop free tools that help indie ebook authors publish, promote and sell their works. The coupon feature, which you point to, is a great example of such a promotional tool. A few days ago, we published The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide at which provides a great overview of the free tools we offer ebook authors. It also provides authors actionable marketing ideas to assist their own promotional efforts.

Best wishes,
Mark Coker

Mel Keegan said...

Many thanks for commenting -- and this is just what I'd hoped to hear: Smashwords is new, and everyone, everything, has to start somewhere.

I know exactly what you mean about being trapped in a small niche ... "marginalized out of extstance" would describe some of the best writers I know.

I'll be delighted to participate in 2009, and will update readers of my blog as we go along. (I tend to keep up a running commentary of my experiences with Amazon, Create Space, Lulu, Payloadz, what have you).

Many thanks, also for launching this service: the time is right, with more writers than ever literally being forced into the DIY bracket -- Smashwords should rapidly become a Titan in its field, like Lulu itself.

Very best for 2009,

Mark Coker said...

Thanks, Mel, we'll look forward to welcoming you in the new year!

Have a safe and happy holiday.


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