I’m new to the world of e-publishing. Truth be told, I tried only one avenue out there in the real publishing world: Hard Case Crime. I wrote The Naked Dame expressly for that fine paperback line of crime literature, and in my mind I never really thought about other appropriate outlets for my throwback tale. In fact, aside from admiring Hard Case Crime and keeping it in the back of my mind, I didn’t even think about publishing Dame as I wrote it. I genuinely wrote it for fun. And when the time came to try to publish it, I thought, naturally, of Hard Case Crime, packaged it up, and sent it off.
The editor of Hard Case Crime, Charles Ardai, sent me a fantastically encouraging rejection letter. In truth, my odds were extremely tight. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many thriving markets right now publishing this particular brand of pulp-noir mystery. Ardai was exceedingly generous with his thoughts, expressing his regret that Hard Case Crime only rarely accepts original manuscripts, and those from more established authors. He did praise my book by comparing it with some of those old Gold Medal paperbacks, so that was gratifying.
Anyway, all that to say, after that rejection Dame lay dormant for quite some time. I researched some other potential publishing houses, but none of them sounded very promising. I switched to another project and essentially moved on. Dame reclined naked in my office, in the dark, forgotten.
Then, something happened. My wife bought an Amazon Kindle. Previously no real fan of the spectre of ebooks, I watched with distaste as she navigated her new device. I had a library downstairs full of real, tangible books, including a few of the pulpy paperbacks from which Dame drew inspiration. I was definitely a connoisseur of physical books—I loved them for their heft, their smell, their artistic value. But as I watched my wife search for books on the Kindle, I gradually became obsessed with the idea of self e-publishing. Even if ebooks would never be my favorite method of consuming books, they could certainly become my preferred method of publishing books.
Seems to me, with the advent of the e-reader, self-publishing has suddenly become a very feasible, interesting, profitable thing to do. And the type of book I’d written seemed tailor-made for such an endeavor: It’s a quick, fun, down-n-dirty read almost ideally suited to the electronic medium. A friend of mine showed me recently how The Naked Dame looks on his cell phone, and I thought—Perfect!
So, my efforts to get my book up into the ether started at Smashwords. I really liked the way this outfit offered so many download options, from HTML to PDF to ePub to RTF—whatever. And the Smashwords guidelines were very straightforward, allowing me to easily format the book for upload. It was a snap. If you’re looking to self-publish an e-book, I recommend Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog as a starting point. She has some fantastic advice.
I’ll talk more about my journey toward self-publishing in future posts. Suffice it to say, The Naked Dame has found its way into the world through the magic of electronic delivery—pulp content in a digital age. I hope you take the time the check it out!