New (Old) Stories, Free Stories

Who knows where ebooks will end up once we’re through this one-time-in-a-few-centuries shake-up of publishing, but it’s time for me to make more of some of their early apparent advantages.

Here are three of them:

1. Old stories never die. Books no longer need to go out of print. While this comes with the downside of potentially turning retailers into an endless thicket of old (and new) stories, I think and hope it’ll worth it for what we’ll no longer be losing. We also now have a chance to put out-of-print work back into print.

2. Size isn’t important (and I’ve been waiting a long time to hear that). Historically, short stories have found their homes in other, bigger things (journals, anthologies, collections) and novellas have had trouble finding homes at all. With ebooks, that’s all changed.

3. Prices are often lower. There are fewer steps in bringing a story to market in e-form and the steps that add fixed costs (paper, ink, fuel) are the ones that have gone. Publishing industries in some countries (I’m looking at you, Australia) are still sorting out how the new supply chain works and how to price accordingly, but there’s scope for prices significantly lower than paper books, with a reasonable return to the people who together make the chain that leads from idea to e-reader.

So today I’m adding 1, 2 and 3 together to make, um, 5. Five short stories of mine from the late 90s and early this century will, for  a limited time, be available worldwide (ie, now including Australia and New Zealand) through Exciting Books on Kindle. I’m assuming that includes the Kindle app for iPads etc. The US price will be 99c, and I hope the prices in other markets will be comparable.

And sometimes the price will be zero. We’ll start that today, with Problems with a Girl and a Unicorn set to go free for two days from 2pm Australian EST (ie, midnight US Eastern and 5am UK, if I’ve got my calculations right)*. If you have any capacity to read Kindle-formatted stories, please get yourself a copy by clicking here. And if you don’t, maybe download the Kindle app and then get yourself a copy.

* Note: If the timing doesn’t work out exactly like that, you have my apologies. Please check again later, since it’s booked to happen today. And if the link doesn’t work where you are, please check for the story in the Kindle Store.

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8 Responses to New (Old) Stories, Free Stories

  1. Good luck with it, Nick.

  2. nickearls says:

    Yes, I know, 3 hrs later and the story still hasn’t clicked over to free … I don’t know why, but I intend to make some new noise when it does.

  3. Nick, I’ve only been on social media since last October, so please forgive this naff question. Do you mean that I could put up my short stories, one at a time, as an ebook? They’ve all been published before in Aust’a but I have the copyright. Have you got time to tell me how would I even begin to go about this?

    • nickearls says:

      Yes, you can do that, and there are a range of ways you can do it. The end result would be that each story would exist as a stand-alone eBook. You could also publish the collection as a whole. It’s totally up to you.

      If you were to do it yourself, smashwords might be one of the first places to look. I know quite a few people manage to DIY there. People also, presumably through something on the Amazon website, can turn their work into mobi files for Kindle themselves. I’m lucky that I have a publisher to do that for me, but I believe it’s also possible for people who, like me, function at the sub-geek level.

      To make the work widely available for e-reading devices, it would be good to code it in mobi (for Kindle) and ePub (for other formats). Then it needs a cover and a good blurb and, hardest of all, it needs to be found. That’s the part of the process we’re all still trying to master.

      From your blog link it looks as if you’re in Brisbane. if so, Simon Groth from if:book Australia and Kate Eltham from the Qld Writers Centre are experts on the nuts and bolts of all this. I think QWC might even have a DIY eBook workshop coming up.

      • Thanks so much for all that information, Nick. I have a novel I want to put out in POD and ebook form in September 2013 with Youwriteon. Becasue it’s a locally set work (Byron shire) and I would expect initial sales to come via HCs there, I’m uncertain which way to jump – introduce myself with a series of single stories before 2013 or start putting them on after. My gut feeling is after. Any take on this, if you have the time? Will ring QWC re the possible workshop, I’m a Luddite at the moment, I need all the help I can get.

  4. It will be interesting to see how the market evolves as e-readers become more mainstream in Australia. Looking forward to reading your short stories on my Kindle! 🙂

    • nickearls says:

      I agree. It’ll be very interesting to see how the market evolves, or if it takes on a new shape from scratch, with parts of the established market then working out how to connect with it. We’re starting to see our big publishers coming up with e-specific strategies and imprints, and it’s been great to see booksellers innovating too, like the indies getting together for book:ish, which actually gives you cloud access to the books you buy.

  5. nickearls says:

    All okay with the free setting now people, so please download at will.

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