|Posted by Steve Linder on March 29, 2015 at 11:05 AM|
Learning to publish ebooks on my own has been a fascinating experience in all sorts of ways. I had to struggle at first with the technical challenges of formatting the books. But after five ebooks now, I’m beginning to feel comfortable with that part of the process. The most difficult technical challenge, for me, was creating a professional looking cover. After my first ebook, I solved that problem by hiring the help of real professionals. Ebooklaunch.com created the artwork for the Kindle versions of Hunter’s Stand, Wager, Measure of Justice, and TKD. I gladly recommend their services to anyone looking for an affordable and accommodating cover designer. Check out their work for yourself, and see what you think.
I’ve also enjoyed a part of my ebook publishing experience that might sound like pure tedium. Walker & Company were kind to return my rights to the three westerns I published in the 80s and 90s, and I have been bringing those stories back to life as ebooks. The catch is that those books were originally composed before the computer revolution—on a typewriter. There are no electronic copies of the manuscripts—not even old-fashioned floppies—nothing to go by but the books themselves. That means I have to recreate each of those three books by retyping them.
So I have dutifully been retyping five pages a day of books that I wrote thirty years ago. Surprisingly, this task has become one of my favorite parts of each workday. Typing these pages into a computer gives me the opportunity to experience, all over again, stories and characters that I frankly had nearly forgotten. That means I get to read my own writing with thirty years of objective distance.
“Don’t you find yourself wanting to write it differently now?” I’ve been asked by nearly everyone who’s heard about this process. Of course I do. I am a better writer now than I was as a callow youth, and twenty years of teaching English have definitely made me smarter about grammar and punctuation. But, except for small grammatical fixes, I’ve resisted the temptation to do complete rewrites. I’ve come to accept that the books aren’t perfect. I’m pleased that they’re not bad. Yes, if I were to write those stories now, I would create very different books.
But the goal is not to rewrite them; it is to simply make them available again. And I’m happy that ebook publishing changes their status from OUT OF PRINT to AVAILABLE FOREVER. That’s the wonderful thing about electronic publishing. The electronic bookshelves at Amazon should never be bare. Now that I have all these books reformatted in ebook form, they will never be out of print again. For any writer, that’s an incredibly pleasing notion.
All of the westerns I wrote for Walker are now available as ebooks. Look for them if you enjoy westerns. I don’t expect to make any serious coin from these older titles. I simply want them to find their place in the world with anyone who’s interested. We bibliophiles need to stick together. Whatever type of book pleases you, happy reading.