Michael Haskins

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome to the Dark Side

I am a stubborn person. It took two friends to drag me, kicking and screaming, away from my typewriter and force an old Apple computer on me. Since spelling is only one of my many weak points, I learned to appreciate what the computer could do and what it allowed me to do.

Things haven’t changed much – with me being stubborn – and my fellow blogger Mike J spent many Saturday afternoons trying to explain to me the benefits of eBooks, after MWA luncheons.

The thought of giving up holding whatever book I was reading, turned my stomach. I want to turn the pages of my book – and my newspaper and magazine – and not read on a computer screen on a book-sized Kindle. I love my home library and had already lost it once, during Hurricane Georges. It has taken me years to rebuild it.

Well, reality can be horrible to a stubborn person. I remember sitting with Mike and Mary, Jerry Healey and Sandy Balzo after a luncheon and listening to Mike talk about his success on Kindle. Both Sandy and I were on the cusp of joining the dark side. Sandy more honestly interested than I. Either Mike or Jerry then said something that shook my stubbornness.

“No one with a Kindle is going to show up at your signing. If they hear about your signing, or your book, they’re going to the Amazon Kindle store to see if it’s available. If it isn’t, they’ll buy someone else’s book.”

I wasn’t convinced, but thought about what was said on the four-hour ride back to Key West. It was as if Mike was Darth Vader and offering me a place on the ‘dark side.” On the other hand, maybe he was Satan tempting Jesus? (I had to compare me to Jesus ‘cause no one else would! (Sorry about comparing you to Satan, Mike)).

I read some of the websites Mike told me about and soon put my short stories on Kindle for ninety-nine cents. I found a company that would convert “Chasin’ the Wind” for Kindle and bit the bullet and had it done. It was pretty much painless but I had to keep repeating the comments about Kindle owners not buying my writings because they were not available. I was slowly making them available.

I now have three novels on Kindle and Nook. My sales on Kindle have been steady at around 200 sales per month. Not up there with Mike and many others, but I see little changes each month. I am almost done with my next Mick Murphy Mystery – Stairway to the Bottom – and have my website woman working on a cover for me and have an editor willing to go through it when she returns from California the middle of September. My wish is to have it on Kindle and as a trade paperback on Amazon before the winter holidays.

I am still a believer in the hard/paperback book – and paper newspaper and magazine. However, reality, no matter how brutal, tells me to check my bank account. Not that, as my father used to say, “may ship has come in,” but each month there is a deposit or two from eBook sales.

I had a signing in Key West a couple of weeks ago featuring my three trade paperback books – Revenge, Tijuana Weekend and Chasin’ the Wind. To my surprise and the store’s, most of the copies available sold out. Scott, from the bookstore said people were buying two books.

Trade paperback, $15 or hardback for $25. In today’s economy, it isn’t a difficult choice.

I’ll talk about CreateSpace soon and, yes, Mike played a role in that too! Mike ain’t no devil, but he has sure proven to be a Godsend to me. Maybe he’s an angle. I’ll have to check with Mary and get her opinion.

I would like to know what you think of Kindle and giving up holding a real book in your hands. It’s the future, I know, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

This week ends with the beginning of September. Welcome to the Fall.

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