Sunday, September 18, 2011

‘Cache’ finally goes live as an e-book

The reason I’ve been so silent lately is a nose-to-the-grindstone devotion to preparing my mystery novels for e-book publication—and getting them published in’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook formats.

The $2.99 Kindle version of Cache of Corpses went online last night, and the Nook edition (same price) went live today.

It took a while to get ’er done. Self-publishing old printed books as e-books is not rocket science but requires time-consuming attention to detail.

An unedited electronic manuscript for Cache—the one submitted to Forge Books away back in 2006—existed, but the hardcover publisher's edits had to be applied to it, a few mistakes rectified, and the end result carefully proofread.

Fortunately a couple of loyal readers volunteered to proofread the cleaned-up e-version, and they found quite a few typos as well as a couple of infelicities the publisher's copy editors missed. To protect their privacy I will not name these volunteers, but hey, I’m grateful. You know who you are.

Because Forge did not give me the rights to the jacket art when it returned author's rights to me, I had to come up with a new cover—and my friend Tina Davidson, a gifted artist, was an immense help here.

The next step was to convert the e-manuscript from Microsoft Word to Kindle and Nook formats. First I saved the manuscript (with maps) as a HTML file, then ran that file through a keen (and free!) program called Calibre, which quickly coughed out pristine versions in Kindle’s .mobi format and Nook’s ePub format.

Publishing the result (and the cover) on Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! wasn't difficult, but I wish I’d gone through all the steps (except for actual publication) for practice before actually posting the book. That would have saved a lot of backing and filling, looking up bank routing numbers and old review quotes to post on the book's web pages. I also had to redo the cover—both Amazon and Barnes & Noble want rather large versions for their web store pages, though the original was fine for the actual e-books.

The most difficult decision was whether to apply Digital Rights Management encryption to the book to prevent freebie hounds from pirating it. After talking with a few other mystery writers, I decided against DRM. In their experience, applying DRM irritates readers who might want to share good reads with a few friends. Only pathological tightwads, they said, would avoid paying the $2.99 pittance. If they’re wrong I can always go back and check the DRM box.

Now the hard part begins: getting the word out that the book’s available. Social media will help, but it’s going to require a lot of electronic shoe leather to reach mystery fans.

And, oh yes, there's Season’s Revenge and A Venture into Murder to get online. Very soon now.


  1. we should make sure it gets on the great lakes digital libraries site. i'll see what i can do.

  2. I can relate, after spending untold hours getting "Our Own" into digital format. (Had to ditch all the sidebars as a start.) And you can imagine how much fun it is to format cookbooks.

    I look forward to downloading your ebooks. I only read things on the Kindle these days. Sad but true.