Thursday, September 21, 2006

E-Book Challenge Update

This week's e-book challenge nag: remember quality.

With this challenge, you're not just writing a story, you're creating a promotional tool that should showcase your talents. Readers like free stuff, but not if it wastes their time. My philosophy is that whether it's for a seven-figure contract or a freebie giveaway like this one, you should always give the readers your best work.

Now, onto things to consider adding to your e-book:

A bibliography page: make it simple, easy to read, like a shopping list for your reader. If you write under more than one name or in more than one genre, as I do, group your titles logically. Indicate what titles are out of print. List any future releases and when the reader can expect them to hit the stores.

Author bio: Traditionally a bio is printed on a back page or somewhere on the back cover; you can do the same by adding one to the last pages of your e-book. Bios are customarily written in third person, but I've read a few in first person that were fine. I'd recommend keeping it brief, because unless it's about an extremely interesting person, a bio is boring to read. Resist the urge to be cute, too; it can sound really amateurish. A good rule to remember is never put anything in a bio that you wouldn't include on a business resume or C.V.

E-mail or other contact information: this is optional, but nice for the reader who wants to respond and great for the author who wants feedback.

Links to your other online publications: If you've got more out there on the net, offer it to your reader.

Weblog and/or web site links: If the reader likes what you write, they'll probably check out your sites.

For those of you who are just coming across the challenge, it is still open and anyone can participate. Click on the challenge link below for more details. For those of you who are procrastinating, there are still fifty days left until the October 31st deadline, but if you're not writing yet, park your butt in that chair and get moving.

More writers are joining the challenge every week, so from now until October 31st Thursdays here at PBW will be devoted to different aspects and topics involved with promotional e-books. Next week I'll discuss creating ways to create copy and advertising for your e-book, so stop in if you have a chance.

Take PBW's E-book Challenge

9 comments:

  1. "quality"

    Gulp!

    Don't you know some of us slightly or non-published authors are lacking, um, how shall I put this gently . . .

    a pair of bright shiny metallic nodules and confidence.

    I personally found this post a combination of four things.

    1) Chinese water torture (50 days of drips to my forehead)
    2) Second guessing all of my work now and having my inner editor drooling over words like, crap, garbage, etc.
    3) Lost, and I'm not talking crashed airplane and tropical scare-adice.
    4) Motivational in that scary, do or die (inner editor - die,die,die) kind of way.

    So, um, thanks for the "prep" talks - I think.

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  2. Mine is coming together nicely. I hope to have the first draft finished in a week or so, and I will let it sit for a few days before the first of probably three revision passes.

    I hadn't thought of things like a bibliography and a bio. Really, the things I learn here...

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  3. Hey there!

    I'm going to go ahead and participate. Quick question ~ do we have to wait til Halloween to post the ebook on our blog? And how do we let you know it's there so you can add our link?

    Thanks in advance!

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  4. I'm working on my story already. But first I'm warming up with the flash fictions. Tomorrow I'll be posting my first one, follow by another next Friday. Hopefully it'll get me in the mood to write. Of course, I also need to find the title. No title, no story. I'm weird that way.

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  5. Thanks for the virtual nudge. :)

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  6. Good reminders! I think I forgot to include author bio and bibliography on my first free read.

    I'll 2nd you on giving your best. I'm always conscious of the fact that ANY story could be the first (and potentially last) any reader sees and I bust my butt to produce the best possible story I can every time. Also, why build sloppy work habits?

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  7. Still banging away on mine. It's almost done. Course I had to go and add a subplot to it so it might take longer.

    *Gulp* Tall order. Will try my hardest. :)

    Cheers,
    E.

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  8. Paul wrote: Don't you know some of us slightly or non-published authors are lacking, um, how shall I put this gently . . . a pair of bright shiny metallic nodules and confidence.

    Big publishing insider secret: no matter how well-published we become, no one has them. We just get very good at pretending we do. :)

    Dean wrote: I hadn't thought of things like a bibliography and a bio. Really, the things I learn here...

    Next week I'm going to teach you all how to knit sweaters. ;) I think a freebie e-book is the best promotional widget you can offer; way better than any silly bookmark or postcard because it's not about the story, it IS the story. Consider what you'd want to give readers to tempt them into reading more of your work and try to incorporate that into the designs for your cover, chapter headers, fonts, and way you write extras like a bio and bibliography.

    JM wrote: Quick question ~ do we have to wait til Halloween to post the ebook on our blog? And how do we let you know it's there so you can add our link?

    Because people's sites and pages change, and because there are probably going to be a lot of last-minute entries as people get things finished, the week before October 31st I'm going to post a special e-mail address and instructions on how to send me the link. So definitely stop in here between 10/23 and 10/30 to get the info.

    Tempest wrote: Of course, I also need to find the title. No title, no story. I'm weird that way.

    I know what you mean. I use working titles as placeholders until I finalize the title, but I can and will drive myself crazy looking for the right title (Midnight Blues took four days of randomly playing with keywords and poetry.) Which only makes it to the final version 75% of the time anyway. :) Have you tried putting in keywords from your story at Bartleby.com's verse section's search engine? Sometimes I get my best titles from old poems.

    Nancy wrote: Thanks for the virtual nudge. :)

    Anytime you need a cyber elbow to the ribs, come see me. Lol.

    Charlene wrote: I'll 2nd you on giving your best. I'm always conscious of the fact that ANY story could be the first (and potentially last) any reader sees and I bust my butt to produce the best possible story I can every time. Also, why build sloppy work habits?

    There's another excellent reason, folks -- it's good for your writer self-discipline. Thanks, Charlene.

    Erin wrote: Course I had to go and add a subplot to it so it might take longer.

    I have to do a parody on the amount on subplots that pop up in my stories. Sometimes they're like cockroaches. :)

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