Thursday, August 03, 2006

PBW's E-book Challenge

However you feel about e-books, I think they can be great marketing tools for writers. I discovered that writing and self-publishing original stories, novellas and novels on my old web site was an effective way to give something back to my loyal readers. It also allowed the curious but unconvinced to sample my work without having to plunk down $6.99 or $22.95 upfront.

I haven't put together a freebie e-book in a couple of years, and tinkering and reformatting all the old ones has me itching to write another. Since Night Lost won't be hitting the shelves until May '07, I've decided to write a Darkyn novella and give it away as a free e-book here at the weblog on Halloween this year.

I'm also challenging all you writers out there to do the same: write and publish a new short story, novellette, novella, or novel of your own in e-book form* and post it for download on your weblog, web site, or any host site on October 31, 2006. I'm using Adobe .pdf format because that's what I've always used. You're free to use alternate formats, but I'd go with something that allows everyone to read it. Your e-book can also be any length and any genre; the only requirement is that you provide free access to it (it doesn't have to be a permanent addition to your weblog; if you have file storage issues I suggest leaving it up for a week or two.)

What you get in return: When Halloween arrives I will post a list of links here on PBW to the e-books of everyone who completes the challenge. I will also pick twenty e-books at random from all those who participate in the challenge and give the authors a private critique of their work via e-mail (so if you ever wanted me to read something of yours, this would be a definite shot.)

Some things to help you make your e-book:

My post on .pdf maker services free online or for free download (with great suggestions in the comments section, too.)

No way to read .pdf files? Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

Make Your Own Art ten list.

The Romance Novel Cover Art Generator.

The best collection of story, art, blog, and other fun generators on the internet, The Generator Blog.

*Added: If it's easier to put your challenge story as a post on your weblog or web site versus making an e-book for download, that's fine (it's still a form of e-publishing, which is the whole point of the challenge.)

69 comments:

  1. Oh, boy... My inner atheleete is revving up. Again. I took you up on the other suggestion of story weblog attached to my main blog - which I update every three weeks or so.

    Now, you want an e-book? You, slave driver, you. Something new... Halloweenish? Yes, of course; but not too scary, something fun, without offending the pagans... a touch of romance perhaps? Hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am SO in!

    *looks at writing schedule and laughs hysterically*

    I'm still in. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't write anything for the challenge, but I do have four published stories on my website. (link)
    One of them scored the Aurealis Award for horror back in 2000, although I still insist it's SF/Humour. The other three were published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in 2001/2002.
    It's some of my older stuff, but at least they're PDFs ;-)

    (The Aurealis is Australia's premier spec fic award.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a challenge. Count me in.

    Thanks for the great goody bag. It got here yesterday and I'm already deep into the reading. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'd be happy to slaughter someone for Halloween! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I'm in! And I have just the story.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Does it have to be for download, PBW? Can't we just post it in one whole chunk?

    I do have a story that is/was supposed to be posted this month, but the idea of messing with files and stuff...Sigh. I'm going through a Technology Hates Me period.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great challenge! I definitely want to give this a shot. :)

    (Bookmarking this entry because I have no idea how to make an ebook and will need the links.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love a challenge. Generous of you to offer a critique. Can't wait for Halloween which is already a favorite festival of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Bridget Medora7:51 AM

    Ack, I have no website! But I think I'll take you up on the writing part of the challenge. I won't have the rest of the fun, but on Halloween I'll start subbing the story I'll get from the exercise. ;-)

    Thanks for the challenge PBW! =)

    ReplyDelete
  11. This could be fun. I'll have to start rooting through my story ideas for something to use...

    Granted, all I have is a LiveJournal, but I can figure that bit out later...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have server space to burn, and I'm willing to host PDF files for anyone who can't. (I can convert doc to pdf too - openoffice has 'save as PDF' built right in.)
    If I put the files in a folder with no web code you'd only be able to email a link to your own file, which is what's needed in this case. You wouldn't see everyone else's. (And they wouldn't be listed on a page full of ads.)
    I wouldn't be reading them all, though - that's PBW's job ;-)
    If PBW is okay with my offer I'll share my email address here. Then, you send me the file and I'll send you back a link.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I accept that challenge. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cool idea. I am in! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. ooOooo. Definitely a fun challenge.

    must think of ideas... must think of ideas...

    ReplyDelete
  16. This sounds like pure fun. What to do for Halloween.....what to do? I'll have to turn this loose on the subconscious.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ah, a shot of inspiration plus a gentle kick in the ass. Just what I needed. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fantabulous! I'm in.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm in, too PBW. This will be fun.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have to ask: does the story need to be Halloween-related (i.e., ghosts, paranormal, horror, maybe Samhain-inspired, etc.), or can it be anything? I'd love to do the challenge (for deadline-writing experience, if nothing else), but my Halloween-type ideas are few and far between. If I could work on a few of my novellas that aren't so specific, I'd definitely love to. *-*

    ReplyDelete
  21. You know what you're doing to me? I'm a slow writer who edits as I go, I work on three novels, have another in revision and do the research (lots of research because it's historical fiction) for a fifth. I'm already bravely, and probably in vain, fighting the urge to participate in Nano again though I never make it and only get new projects that way. Plus, I'm going to visit some historical sites this weekend that damn sure will come with plotbunnies. And now you tell me to write a story until Oct. 31. Just when I'm going to get a fresh batch of plotbunnies. Evil. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great idea! Count me in.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous11:58 AM

    I was one of those people who read your e-books on your old site. I had bought and read all your books as fast as they were published and was desperate to read more!

    I also think e-books are a great way to try out a new character/situation in a series to see how they would fly with your fans or to add “richness” to your “world”.

    One thing it made me think of as I read was “would S.L. Viehl ever think of having other authors write stories for her world like some of the short story books about Darkover?”
    … Would you?

    -- Cheryl at work

    ReplyDelete
  24. Okay, here's a link to my story which has the pdf link on it:
    A Fary-Tale Love

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm in...I think.

    My book of writer's prompts just arrived. Thank you. There are several that have my devious little mind cooking.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, this was a pretty good idea, huh? Lol.

    Jaye wrote: Now, you want an e-book? You, slave driver, you.

    I ask nothing of you that I would not do myself. :)

    Milady wrote: Does it have to be for download, PBW? Can't we just post it in one whole chunk?

    Since posting on weblogs is a form of electronic publishing, works for me. I'll amend the post to include weblog posts.

    Simon wrote: have server space to burn, and I'm willing to host PDF files for anyone who can't. (I can convert doc to pdf too - openoffice has 'save as PDF' built right in.)
    If I put the files in a folder with no web code you'd only be able to email a link to your own file, which is what's needed in this case. You wouldn't see everyone else's. (And they wouldn't be listed on a page full of ads.)
    I wouldn't be reading them all, though - that's PBW's job ;-)
    If PBW is okay with my offer I'll share my email address here. Then, you send me the file and I'll send you back a link.


    That's incredibly generous of you, Simon, thank you. Please do post the e-mail addy for interested folks.

    Andi wrote: I have to ask: does the story need to be Halloween-related (i.e., ghosts, paranormal, horror, maybe Samhain-inspired, etc.), or can it be anything? I'd love to do the challenge (for deadline-writing experience, if nothing else), but my Halloween-type ideas are few and far between.

    The story does NOT have to be Halloween-related; it can be any genre, any style, on any subject. I just chose Halloween as a target date because everyone knows when it is and it gives everyone a bit more time to write if they want to put together something new. You also do NOT have to write a book-length story; a short story is perfectly acceptable.

    Cheryl wrote: I was one of those people who read your e-books on your old site. I had bought and read all your books as fast as they were published and was desperate to read more!

    There's a testimonial as to the power of free e-book marketing. :) Thanks, Cheryl.

    One thing it made me think of as I read was “would S.L. Viehl ever think of having other authors write stories for her world like some of the short story books about Darkover?” … Would you?

    I would love to have a series that is so successful that it becomes an opportunity for other writers to get published. Not quite there yet, though. If one of my series ever does reach that level of popularity, and the publisher is amenable and willing to hire other writers, I would definitely make an open submission call.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm in!

    I have a free short story up on my site right now, but it's just a page on the site, not downloadable. However, I can do that. :) Plus, I thinkI have a great idea!!!

    Thanks for the kick in the butt!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This reader thanks each and everyone of you for your generousity. Looking forward to the great reads.

    ReplyDelete
  29. count me in!!! I already to an ebook and just started on the other day, which i'm going to try to have done by Oct to enter in the contest.


    Wa-hoooo!

    And thanks for all your tips!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is SO cool! I'm going to do it. I've never tried something like this before and it will be a great way to motivate me to complete a writing project.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sounds like fun! I'm in.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow! I'm definitely going to give it a shot. :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I am so in.
    Pick me! Pick me! Pick me! :o)
    I think that I will also have to post it as a chunk, but I'm in more of a teenagers hate me period, so I'll have limited time to work on the post itself.
    Ann @ Fractured Fiction

    ReplyDelete
  34. Looking forward to this challenge...thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm in. Oct 31 is, like, 60 days away. That gives me 59 days to procrastinate and 1 day to write. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Could've sworn I threw my hat in the ring earlier, but don't see the comment now. I'm in.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This sounds fun! I don't have a website up yet but I'm in.

    ReplyDelete
  38. It would be worth it to get your critique alone. (wg)

    ReplyDelete
  39. The internet amazes me sometimes. I forgot that when I post a link to a site, that I can show up as a trackback on the other site. I saw my trackback and figured I should come over and say hi.

    I'm still trying to decide if I have time to write the story I want to write.

    Good luck everyone.

    In case your interested, I'm the "A free poem" in the "Links to this Post" below.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Amie sent me your way. I'm totally IN!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh, I am SO taking you up on this challenge.

    Hmmm.... write something new, or polish up something older?

    ReplyDelete
  42. PBW said: That's incredibly generous of you, Simon, thank you. Please do post the e-mail addy for interested folks.

    You're welcome. People can email their stories as either DOC or PDF attachments to pbwcomp at spacejock dot com (Please don't send the file in the body of the email as text. It'll destroy all formatting.)

    I won't be reformatting, spell checking, proofing or even reading the contents. If they're doc files I'll save them to PDF before putting them online. I'm going to put them on a hidden site and email each person a link to their own file. That's the link you send PBW.

    There might be other technical details for me to work out (e.g. password protecting the download area to stop others getting in.) We'll see how it goes.

    Oh yes, and bear in mind I'm in Australia so my time zone is out of whack with most people here. You might not get an immediate response if you email me at 2am my time ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  43. I forgot to add, it's best if the filenames don't have spaces in. E.g.

    MyStory.doc

    is much better than

    My Story.doc

    ReplyDelete
  44. I cherish all of your novellas and short stories PBW! (and of course your published paperbacks lol) I'm always excited to read more about the StarDoc universe. A Diversity of Houses is my favorite novella.

    I will do my best so count me in!

    lots of love!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I'm late to the game, but I'm in. I have a favorite story that "sold" (in quotes, because the editor has sat on it for over two years and never sent me money). (Um, how's that for desperation on my part?)

    Time to cut it loose and post it on the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I fondly remember your free reads and I have really wanted to read the one you wrote from Duncan's point of view again. It was one of my favs.

    ReplyDelete
  47. what a fun idea! count me in too - and a BIG thanks for the links to the pdf site.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have a couple of short stories up already. Can that count?


    Lazy Kate

    ReplyDelete
  49. Here is my entry to the challenge: THE JOB

    ReplyDelete
  50. I do not have anything public right now, but I will gladly participate in the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I agree, you have to give readers a taste now and then. It does keep them interested. As a recent experiment to test reader interest I released the Filipino short story, Pinay on my website. It generated some good interest, so now I am writing a novel loosely based on the short story.

    So, there is my entry... unless you want another...

    -n.l. (The other Paperback Writer blog)

    ReplyDelete
  52. For days I've been telling myself, no...no...no....

    I'm in. I can't pass this up.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Ah cripes... I'll give it a whirl. Perhaps Chuck, my were-gator trapped in an iguana's body (poor carnivore trapped in a vegetarian ... heh), will find peace at last.

    At least I have a bit of time to work this puppy out.

    ~The Amanda who is not the above Amanda :) (amandajustice.blogspot.com , FTR, although yes, I do tend to rant and ramble as well ::grin:: )

    ReplyDelete
  54. Now here's a competition I can totally relate to.

    I'm IN, er, hopefully.

    I'll be posting my entry here where I have several Free works already posted: http://alex.wrywriter.com

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous12:15 PM

    I have to try this, an excuse to force myself to write a short story and get my livejournal (cuccocc) up and running again, since I don't have a website elsewhere. Great challenge!

    Cya,
    CC

    ReplyDelete
  56. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thanks to the generous Mr. Haynes, I have linkage! Thank you to both Mr. Haynes and the Paperback Writer!

    The Office Mercenary

    I'll also post the link on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  58. After much consideration, I have decided to join the challenge :) I have no idea what to write, but it will work out. Maybe the lady in the idea or... we will see.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I have to do this. I have 2 new short stories almost done, and 1 or 2 old ones I still like that I'll throw in, too.

    Fun and games for Fall!

    ReplyDelete
  60. I have a couple free short stories on my yahoo group but hadn't thought about putting them in PFD on my blog. Hmmm. I was planning on a free Christmas story...

    ReplyDelete
  61. I'm tentatively in ... I don't have something written yet but that never stopped me before.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Anonymous5:49 AM

    Before starting to write about web, I had nothing to write about. However, once started, there was nothing to stop me!

    ReplyDelete
  63. I have a free ebook up at the Midnight Moon Cafe, but where is an address to submit to for your link list?

    ReplyDelete
  64. I'm answering the challenge. You can get my free short story here:

    http://www.michellemiles.net/downloads/Eorwulf.pdf

    ReplyDelete