Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Book Idea

Never been much on writing non-fiction, though I have done the odd article or book review from time to time. Over the last few years, I've certainly posted a shitload of it here, though, and waste not, want not ...

As I warned potential readers when I started down the road to blog hell, I figured that, aside from allowing me to warm up my fingers before real work, there might eventually be enough material here to prove useful, and ... I do believe that might have happened.

To wit: I have gone through the pages, culled what I think is about a book's worth of essays on or about the subject of writing, which I am pitching to my agent thusly:

No Man But a Blockhead:

Personal Essays Ranging from How-to-Write, to Humor,

to Fond and
Not-so-Fond Memories of the Biz

From a Long-Time Toiler in the Fields of Genre.

About sixty-eight thousand words, total, including a trio of short pieces of fiction, and even a brief stand-up comedy routine I wrote, hoping to get it to the late Richard Jeni before the silly bastard killed himself.

'Twould be my intent to have my agent take this to one of the New York publishing houses and sell it. Of course, markets being what they are in general, and worse since the -- ah -- We don't call it a "Depression!" -- days George and the boys left behind, that might not happen. We'll see.

If not, I believe I shall offer it up as an e-book. Most of it has appeared here before, so long-time readers will have already seen it. Been touched up a bit hither and yon, and a couple of pieces added. I can stick up a PayPal button, and cast my bread upon the waters ...

There is some useful stuff here, I do believe, at least as useful as in some other how-t0-write books I've seen.

I was happy to offer it for free originally, but bundling it all up and putting it together into a kind of flow ought to be worth a little something. Certainly one can hardly become rich from such a project, but it's nice to feel useful. And the overhead costs are very low.

True, free is a very good price, but even if you knew the names of the various essays and wanted to go back through the archives and dig them out, that would take a lot more work than whatever I might ask for a PDF of the entire collection, probably talking dinner at McDonald's for two -- and one of 'em ain't hungry.

Not to mention that the selected pieces aren't there any more, anyhow ...


Formosa Neijia said...

How do publishers feel about stuff that has already appeared on the web? I've had magazines advise me they didn't want anything that had remotely been on the web before. Obviously Rory didn't have any trouble.

What have you heard about that?

Brad said...

Once I found out about your blog, I went back the beginning and read it all. Besides the stories you tell, I like the way you write. The way you tell a story in even the most mundane of things.

Hell, I'd probably read your grocery list and enjoy it. (But not King's. The man just goes on and on and on and on).

Put the book out in any form and I'll buy it.

Steve Perry said...

It varies, from what I understand.

If they think people will plunk down money for it, they'll buy it. Lot of stuff being done in treeware that was allowed out of the house in somebody's blog first.

They don't want competition -- why the Kindle's book prices are sometimes equal to the hardback book on some titles, but the market is changing so fast I don't think there is any hard and fast rule.

Jillian Gaudio said...

I love writing books very much, they help me alot in my classes. My major is Creative Writing/English so I like to learn from the best. I hope you get it published! Keep us up to date on it!

- Jillian Gaudio

Evan Robinson said...

How about Kindling it? With the Kindle software now available for the iPhone, there's a pretty decent sized market, and you don't need to DRM it if you don't want to.

Steve Perry said...

Not up to me, viz the Kindle; Amazon.com has its deals with various publishers, and it depends upon who is signatory and who isn't.

This isn't the kind of book that hits the bestseller lists, the market is smaller, since it is aimed at writers, and mostly at newbs there.

If my agent can sell it, which is not a given, then whoever publishes it may or may not have a deal with an e-reader.

It's a labor of love, I don't expect to make much money on it. If my agent can't find a home for it, I will stick it up on the blog as a PDF.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

I have copied most of your writing advice posts. If you put something out in book form from your blog (as I am planning to do also) I would be first in line to buy it, period.

Really, no shit...I would shoot whomever was in line ahead of me, and attain head-of-queue status. Although I would probably only have to whack one or two and the rest would scatter like crows.

Seriously, publish it.

Worg said...

I don't know how well an ebook of that kind would do, especially if you're only advertising it here. I don't know anything about the market but I think probably you would get more sales if you ran it through a publisher.

After I finish my current book, which should be done this month, I am thinking of writing a right-wing doom and gloom book, self-publishing it, and running advertisements for it on ad networks that run on rightwing blogs, etc.

No, I'm not a right-winger. I just think it might be a good time to try to push them farther into know-nothing populism. Got a systemic branding problem? Joe the Plumber will fix it!

Some guy said...

Well, lately I've been vaguely contemplating thinking about considering my intentions to perhaps write, so I'd buy that book in print. (Who am I kidding? I'd have the library where I work buy it, and then read it for free.) I would pass if it were an E-book, only because I don't like the medium.

I have no idea if you do author gigs at cons, but if you do that seems like a natural market to sell piles of such a book at. (And if I ever do write anything I'll be sure never to use the previous sentence.)

Some guy

Steve Perry said...

SG --

Best you get used to the e-book medium, it's the coming thing. It won't happen overnight, nor will books in their current form go away completely, but more and more of them will start to be available in electronic format and not treeware.

Newspapers are already fading -- one went away in Denver last month, and The Christian Science Monitor is electronic only. Those table-top computers will get cheaper and you get newspapers on the Kindle now.

I'm not thrilled with the notion, but if I want to stay in the biz, I will learn how to accommodate it. You gonna try your hand at writing, best you consider it, too ...