David Marusek: Ebook Launch and Giveaway

Regular 49 Writers contributor and noted sci-fi author David Marusek sent us this post (note the rapidly approaching deadlines for the giveaway), with more details on e-publishing to come when he is a featured author in April.

This week marks not only the launch of three ebooks of mine, but the launch of my own e-publishing imprint, General Genius Digital. In celebration, I’m giving away two of my ebooks for the Kindle and Nook.

Now, you may be a book lover who has not yet succumbed to the lure of e-reading devices. I’m with you on that score; I still prefer snuggling up with old fashioned paper bricks than with these electronic gadgets. However, the convenience of digital readers and the potential for enhanced reading experience has won me over, and I suspect that you will come around sooner or later as well.

I was an early adopter of the Kindle, buying mine about two-and-a-half years ago. Interestingly, I bought it not as a reader but as a writer. I had a project in mind that could not fit within the covers of a traditional book. I wanted the text of my novel to serve as not only a complete and thorough telling of my story but as a portal to related articles, music, videos, art, and interaction with my fans, and it looked like web-capable e-readers were the means for doing this. Indeed, they are, and I wasn’t the only one exploring this terrain. I’ve come to learn that this new direction in storytelling is called transmedia. Here’s a few good articles about it.

Not convinced? Well, look at it this way. With the introduction of blogs and flash fiction in the early 1990s and Twitter and text messaging in the 2000s, prose forms seem to be shrinking in length. People are learning to express themselves with a minimum of words. Transmedia novels offer us novelists the opportunity to go in the other direction, stretching our favorite long form out to extraordinary lengths. Consider this, why are novels these days usually around 125,000 words? Answer: Price point. That’s the amount of text a traditional publisher can pack between covers and sell for around $26.00, the price of an average hardback. With digital publishing, there is no length limit, only the limit of a reader’s interest. And a reader’s interest, my writing friends, is ours to kindle and sustain. I foresee the novel of the future becoming an open-ended affair, infinitely discursive, malleable, and collaborative.

Though I entered the digital book game as a writer, I quickly discovered advantages for the reader as well. My NYC agent gave me my first clue; he used to read manuscripts on his hour-long commute to and from Long Island. That meant lugging a satchel with several reams of paper on the train with him. Then he learned how to convert paper manuscripts into digital files for his Kindle, and he never looked back. I, too, read a fair share of pre-published stuff from students and colleagues, who send me a Word file. I hate reading on my computer so I would usually print it out. No more. It goes straight to my Kindle. Even longish articles I find online are easily converted.

I used to be a bookstore browser; I’d take a couple of books off the New Arrivals shelf and read the first chapters. With my Kindle, I can browse Amazon and download dozens of first chapters in a sitting, for free. And then there’s Project Gutenberg, that marvelous non-profit effort to digitize and distribute our cultural heritage of public domain literature. It now has over 38,000 free ebook classics ready for download and more every day.

There’s a lot more to this topic, including the nuts-and-bolts questions of just how one creates an ebook from a manuscript, but it’ll have to wait till April when I do a guest blogger stint here on 49 Writers. In the meantime, please download a couple of my ebooks for free. They’re reprints of several of my short stories (not transmedia). For the Nook until February 20 (that’s Monday) and for the Kindle from February 23 through 27 only.

4 thoughts on “David Marusek: Ebook Launch and Giveaway”

  1. I'm very happy for David's success and the freedom he's found in the medium. While I concur that an e-book is a tool and not an inherently evil device that's opposed to the regular book, and while I totally understand that for some people's lifestyles or projects, digital text is superior, it's this phrase that breaks my heart:

    "I used to be a bookstore browser."

    A bookstore browser is not just a consumer, but also a forager, a participant in the physical community of book-lovers, a detective, a receptor for the beautiful serendipitous gift of finding something we didn't know we were looking for.

    I don't think we'll understand for decades the full cultural, personal, economic, and spiritual ramifications of this shift.

  2. I think it is a great as a writer that you are looking at transmedia ideas. I am trying to apply them more in my blogging, in the ways I think about content delivery. I actually have not thought of the Kindle as being a portal to related media, but it certainly is! As they become more sophisticated there is little they won't be able to do 🙂

    Thanks for including the link to my blog about transmedia resources.

  3. Great post, David, and thanks for the link to transmedia articles. But are you seriously suggesting that you don't browse bookstores anymore? We took Kindles abroad last year and they were fabulous, but they're just one tool (or toy) among many for us. (Certainly the one I'll use to read your next transmedia text.)

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