The chapter on align­ments is now in the draft. We’ll take the usual grumbles as read. They’re still very real to me, but I’m get­ting bored of them. I think a turn­ing point has been real­ising that a best case scen­ario and worst case scen­ario would be more or less the same.

In the worst case more or less every­one will hate the book. In the best case, if it’s the book I want to write, then nearly every­one will hate the book. A per­fect book would annoy nut­ters. Also, if it looks like a viable dis­rupt­ive pub­lish­ing model, people who got to the top with the tra­di­tional model will hate it. In my wild­est dreams the book breaks even in about a year.

I don’t have very wild dreams these days.

Futuristic looking book shelves

Eneas /​ Flickr

Vista de la Biblioteca Vasconcelos

I’m think­ing more about dis­tri­bu­tion now, partly as a spur to think about where this should be going. I can see three options at the moment.

  1. Amazon only
  2. Amazon and Kobo
  3. Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords

The default choice is Amazon and Kobo, between them they cover mobi and epub files and they seem to have access­ible self-​​publishing systems.

Getting in to the iBook­store is more dif­fi­cult and sign­ing up to Smashwords as a dis­trib­utor would solve that prob­lem. They take a small skim off the roy­al­ties, but I don’t mind that if they’re doing some work. From read­ing they seem like nice people. The big neg­at­ive is that they require books as spe­cific­ally format­ted doc files. At the moment the drafts are just com­piles out of Scrivener, they’re not how the final file will look. I plan to make the book as an XHTML file to get cap­tion­ing cor­rect and link vari­ous sec­tions together. This will work for Amazon and Kobo. Reformatting again for Smashwords does not appeal.

The other altern­at­ive is to sign as an Amazon exclus­ive. This reduces access­ib­il­ity to some extent because it requires the Kindle soft­ware to read the book. On the other hand the small num­ber of people who won’t get the book might be off­set by the num­ber who can get it as a lib­rary loan from Amazon. You can’t set a book as bor­row­able unless you have an exclus­ive arrange­ment with Amazon. If any­one wants to read the file as an ePub I can even put up instruc­tions on how to con­vert the file for free. Another advant­age of Amazon exclus­iv­ity is that I can set the price to free for five days in ninety. I’m plan­ning to set up a mail­ing list to let people know when that is hap­pen­ing so people aren’t feel­ing ripped-​​off.

It would annoy me migh­tily if I bought a book and the next day it was free, even if it was just $2.99.

At the moment I’m think­ing of Amazon exclus­iv­ity for the first ninety days. That will give me time to look at what interest is like. If there’s none I can release the epub to Kobo, but if there is that’ll be incent­ive to go through the whole Smashwords process.

In the longer term it’s pos­sible this will be a free book and the edit­ing /​ design costs off-​​set by sales from micro­books at around 99c on vari­ous top­ics. The big unknown is the size of the mar­ket. If it’s 50 people there’s not a lot you can do. More I sell above 500 the more room there is for flex­ib­il­ity on low pri­cing. 5000 would move us back into wild dreams territory.

While I’m delighted if you do down­load the draft and com­ment on it, I’d be grate­ful if you didn’t re-​​distribute it as it is work in pro­gress. The book is ini­tially copy­right with all rights reserved while it’s a draft, but I’ll dis­cuss what I can do with a Creative Commons licence once the draft is complete.

You can fol­low the #AcWriMo tag on Twitter or Google+ to see how oth­ers are get­ting on. You can down­load the brief book so far as Mobi for Kindle or ePub for everything else.

Photo: Vista de la Biblioteca Vasconcelos by Eneas. This image licensed under a Creative Commons by licence.

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