Chat Transcript: August 30, 2000

Everything you've wanted to know about epubbing but were too slow to ask with Karen Wiesner. E pubbing has been growing at a rapid rate, with web shattering changes every second. What has been happening with epubbing and where it is going...

Karen Wiesner is the best-selling author of ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The Definitive Guide {The Most Complete Reference for Non-Subsidy E-Publishing}, the 2nd Edition of which was recently released by Avid Press LLC. Publishers Weekly calls the Guide a "...must-own resource" and it has been nominated for an EPPIE.

Karen is also the author of three, popular on-going series' published by Hard Shell Word Factory. Her novel FALLING STAR has been nominated for a coveted Romantic Times' 1999 E-Book of the Year and is also a finalist in the EPPIE. In addition, she has a romance anthology published with DiskUs Publishing, a Frankfurt Award nominee. Her Inkspot column, "ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING Q&A", recently won the 1999 Epub Ambassador Award. She's currently shopping around a new nonfiction book titled THE PRODUCTIVE WRITER {or how to avoid carpal tunnel with all those revisions} and her upcoming releases include two more romance novels, a paranormal romance and a children's story. Visit her web page at

Related Links


-- Start log: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 7:33:33 pm CDT

JeffStrand says, " Hi Deena."

Deena says, "Hi Jeff and Milo"

KarenWiesner arrives.

Deena says, "Hi Karen! Great to see you here"

JeffStrand says, "Welcome back, Deena, and hi, Karen!"

Deena says, "Jeff, what have you been up to lately?"

Deena says, "Karen, make yourself at home. Just type"and start talking"

KarenWiesner says, "I'm having some weird problem with my server, but it shouldn't occur during the chat. If it does and I'm booted off, I'll be back in a few minutes. "

Deena says, "Sure, no problem. I've been booted off many times myself"

Deena passes around boot protectors --commonly called galoshes

JeffStrand says, "I just got back from the EPIC conference, where the highlight was purchasing LEATHER & LACE by Ms. Karen Wiesner."

Deena says, "Hmmm...sounds like a great conference!"

KarenWiesner says, "It was. I'm still a little lagged from it."

Deena says, "Where was the conference? What went on?"

The housekeeper removes Deena

JeffStrand says, "I was lagged DURING it."

KarenWiesner says, "Do I have to type " before I respond?"

Deena rubs her rear end ruefully.

Deena says, "Forgot to put on my galoshes."

Deena says, "Please tell me about the EPIC conference, it sounds like fun :)"

Milo quietly enters.

Milo arrives.

Deena says, "Hi Milo, we are talking about epubbing tonight with Karen Wiesner""

Alix arrives.

Deena says, "Karen and Jeff just got back from the EPIC conference, "

Deena says, "Hi Alix, we will get started talking about epubbing pretty quickly."

Milo says, "Hi Deena, Stuart suggested I poke my head in""

Deena says, "Why don't we all introduce ourselves?"

Deena says, "Great! tell Stuart hi for me. "


Deena says, "I am your host tonight, Deena Larsen, and I work mostly with hypertext lit. I've been doing that since before the web, so I am counting all of my grey electronic hairs..."

Deena really wants to know how to order how to rescue a dead princess...sounds like a great title...

Deena is busy fixing her keyboard...

JeffStrand says, "It's available from, just like Karen's Gypsy Road series!"

Deena says, "Jeff and Karen, how long have you been e-pubbing?"

KarenWiesner says, "My sold my first book to an e-publisher early in 1998."

Deena says, "You can all share URLS (and see them at the side of your screen by typing @URL http://www.whatever..."

Deena says, "You can also see more about Karen, our guest tonight, by clicking on the look button and going to the General Elit chat links."

KarenWiesner says, "Not sure how this works, Deena. Whenever I type something, I get "You say...""

JeffStrand says, "I think that's what it's supposed to do."

Deena says, "Karen, that is no problem. The system is reflecting what you said and then broadcasting it to the rest of us."

KarenWiesner says, "So you see KarenWiesner says?"

Deena says, "Just ignore the you say and read above it."

Deena says, "Right. I see You say "whatever I just typed in, and then I see Karen Wiesner"

KarenWiesner says, "OK. When do you want me to give my prepared intro? "

Deena says, "Well, some people are still popping in and off, so let's give them a few minutes and then start with your prepared intro."

KarenWiesner says, "OK. "

Deena passes around a plate full of favorite goodies, wines and cheese, and undescribable shimmering goodies.

KarenWiesner says, "Coffee?"

Deena says, "Hi Bryan, we are settling in to listen and chat with Karen Wiesner"

JeffStrand says, "No-Doze."

Bryan_Alexander says, "Coffee's great, thanks."

Deena gladly accepts the coffee and adds lots of cream and sugar.

Deena passes around everyone's favorite electronic stimulant

KarenWiesner says, "Wish I had some! Thanks, Deena. My last name is spelled Wiesner, says Ms. Picky. ; )"

Deena says, "I am sorry. I will get it right!"

KarenWiesner says, "No problem. "

Deena practices typing furiously.

JeffStrand says, "And it's pronounced WHY-ZNER."

Deena says, "I just got back from Japan yesterday and sleeps, so I am really tired"

Bryan_Alexander says, "Yep, walked right into that one."

Bryan_Alexander :)

Deena says, "Karen, why don't you start with your intro?"

KarenWiesner says, "Here goes... "

KarenWiesner says, "I'm the author of ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The Definitive Guide, which is in its 2nd edition with Avid Press ."

Nick Monfort ducks in.

KarenWiesner says, "I also do a monthly column at Inkspot titled Electronic Publishing Q&A ."

KarenWiesner says, "I've had 6 electronic novels published, a novella, and have sold 3 more novels, a children's story and another nonfiction. "

Deena says, "You can see these links by going to the Eliterature chat links at the right hand side of your computer"

Margie arrives.

The housekeeper removes Deena

Nick Monfort says, "Hi, Margie"

Margie says, "Hi gang, I am here with Diana Slattery--we're so glad to be here, sorry late!"

KarenWiesner says, "Haven't done more than introduce myself yet, so you're on time. : )"

Nick Monfort says, "Deena seems to have derezzed"

Margie says, "Question: how is the scene with author's rights and ebooks playing out?"

KarenWiesner says, "Authors are definitely becoming more savvy, but so many of them have already lost out by signing the contracts that give the publishers all rights, including e-rights and not-yet-invented ones. "

Deena has connected.

KarenWiesner says, "Seeing how they're getting less than 6% royalties on e-books, I think maybe traditional authors will think twice before signing over everything."

Margie says, "How do agents relate to these new formats? "

KarenWiesner says, "Right now, agents aren't really entering into the game. Agents, truthfully, aren't really even needed in e-publishing, unless the author also has traditional sales."

KarenWiesner says, "It must be a little scary for them."

Deena says, "Christian Crumlish is working as a hypertext agent (We had a chat with him a while back that is in our archives)"

Nick Monfort says, "Poor people can go to libraries now and read physical books, which have been purchased and placed on shelves there for them to use, for free. How will they be able to read eBooks?"

Margie says, "Maybe just a matter of time and savvy, but there are a lot of "pure print folks out there being pure."

Deena says, "Margie, what do you mean by pure print folks being pure?"

Deena says, "Yes, are libraries getting ebooks, and if so, are they figuring out how to check them out, keep them, etc.?"

Deena says, "Has Hard Shell been working with any libraries?"

KarenWiesner says, "Many libraries are looking into e-books and figuring out ways to incorporate them. Right now it's on a very individual level, but it's definitely happening."

Margie says, "This is Diana actually. I have a completed manuscript and trying to decide what to do with it."

Deena says, "How are libraries learning about ebooks?"

Deena makes a note of who people are.

Margie says, "And Margie is here as well."

KarenWiesner says, "I'm getting lost here. Too many questions! Libraries, yes, Hard Shell is looking into placing e-books in libraries. "

Deena says, "Don't worry, chats are supposed to get you lost. But we can scroll up and down and pick up questions."

Deena says, "Right now we are talking about libraries and how they deal with epubbing, I believe."

KarenWiesner says, "Deena asked what "pure print" meant. I think it means that readers won't read anything that isn't in traditional print format."

Deena says, "What are the other points we have missed while I was being booted out and in?"

KarenWiesner says, "We talked about agents in e-publishing and author rights and ebooks."

Deena says, "Ahh yes, we sometimes refer to that as the I wanna read in the bathtub school of thought..."

Deena says, "Wow. I will definitely have to go through the logs! This chat will be archived by the way at click on community"

KarenWiesner says, "LOL! I heard someone say to put your Rocket in a ziplock bag while you're in the bathtub."

Margie says, "By "pure print" folks I mean those who buy death of the book books and start endangered species groups. (d)"

KarenWiesner says, "please send me the URL after the chat is over, Deena. "

Deena says, "Sure will :)"

Nick Monfort says, "I find some of the 'pure bits' crowd can be just as dogmatic, actually."

Deena says, "yes, Karen, have you found any marketing strategies to combat these pure print folks?"

Margie says, "Congratulations Karen on getting so much work out the e-way."

KarenWiesner says, "Very true. Personally, I feel all formats can live in harmony. People like different things. Why not offer them all the options?"

Deena says, "Any way to reassure them? (they sometimes remind me of the handwriting folks after Gutenberg, who wanted to keep illumination as a rigorous art form... but I usually don't say that.."

Deena says, "True enough. We can't have too many options :)"

Nick Monfort says, "Actually, Karen, I tend to think that formats will eat each other and leave themselves partially digested."

KarenWiesner says, "We were talking about marketing strategies at the EPIC conference. "

Margie says, "Which are the hungry formats you are referring to?"

Nick Monfort says, "Meaning that some Web pages will take on the better attributes of books, others more cheesy attributes, while books will also imitate digital media for better and worse."

KarenWiesner says, "We should be targeting younger people because ebooks are natural to them and older people who find it hard to read print books because of the smaller type. "

Deena says, "Karen and Jeff, can you share some of these marketing strategies with us?"

Deena says, "Have people found that ebooks offer other advantages, such as being able to follow links and go where you want in story?"

KarenWiesner says, "I also find telling people the obvious--that ebooks aren't going to replace print books any more than audio books have really offers some reassurance to those who are afraid, intimidated or just don't trust it."

Deena says, "Or combining graphics and sound?"

KarenWiesner says, "For nonfiction, you can't beat the convenience of e-books. For instance, in my book Electronic Publishing The Definitive Guide, you can jump straight to web sites if you're using the electronic version and you're on-line. Authors love that. It's great for finding promotion too, easily."

Epic Guest arrives.

KarenWiesner says, "As for graphics and sounds, children's e-books are doing this wonderfully, but I don't think e-publishers do as much as the possibilities offer in this way. But I think they will start doing it soon. "

Deena says, "Hi Epic Guest. Karen is explaining the value of ebooks for nonfiction"

KarenWiesner says, "When you think about how much you can do with an e-book--soundtracks, graphics, interactive qualities, it just makes sense!"

Margie says, "So EPTDG is published in print and as an e-book?"

Deena says, "Yes, I think that ebooks offer a lot of flexibility, and that as people find out about specific uses and convenience, they will start to use them more."

KarenWiesner says, "EPTDG will be in print in a month or two, yes."

Deena says, "could you spell out EPTDG again, thanks"

KarenWiesner says, "ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The Definitive Guide (The Most Complete Reference to Non-Subsidy E-Publishing), 2nd Edition"

KarenWiesner says, "That's the full title. ; )"

Nick Monfort says, "From the standpoint of making your work available to the public for reading, what's the difference between 'e-publishing' and placing your work on a well-designed Web site for people to look at for free? Aside from the element of commerce, is there a difference?"

Deena says, "Karen, in your Inkspot column, you provide a great deal of useful advice for writers. What hints have you found work best with epubbing works? "

Nick Monfort says, "Or is the latter also 'e-publishing'?"

KarenWiesner says, "First, self-publishing is a very viable alternative."

KarenWiesner says, "However, all books need editing and that comes with the e-publisher. Cover is done by publisher. Formatting is done by the publisher. Some of the marketing is done by the publisher. Reviews are send out by most publishers..."

Epic_Guest says, "Deena Thank you!"

Deena says, "Yes, has there been any discussion of 'reputation' or finding a good book when the site is self published"

KarenWiesner says, "Deena, thanks for your compliment about my Inkspot column. Do you mean what "marketing" hints have I found work best?"

Deena says, "Karen, yes, what marketing hints have you found that work best for epubbing in particular?"

KarenWiesner says, "Much, much discussion about finding quality books. I personally feel subsidy publishing gives e-publishers a bad reputation because so many think it's the same thing. In reality, the two are completely separate. Non-subsidy e-publishers make money from sales. Subsidy publishers make money from authors. Huge difference, isn't it?"

KarenWiesner says, "First I must say that this is a new medium and there's no one definitive way to reach people. I also think there's no such think as a failing marketing tip. "

KarenWiesner says, "But first and foremost, an e-author has to have a website. That's most important. You need to have a single place to send people to find information about you."

Deena says, "Karen, having a website is really valuable. Should it be a particular domain or does the name matter?"

KarenWiesner says, "Again, my personal opinion is that an author should have their website at a high traffic site. A host/designer that caters to authors is ideal because you target the exact kinds of people you want--readers and writers."

KarenWiesner says, "But I'll also add that if you update your links at the major web sites every couple of months, that really helps you."

KarenWiesner says, "Other great ways to promote are attending live and on-line conferences, live chats, on-line interviews, getting great reviews, getting involved with as many e-author groups as you can. Get your name out there, on-line and off."

Deena says, "Jeff, others, what insights have you found in the 'quality debate"? how have people learned to judge quality in ebooks? With so many around, how do people know where to turn for good reading?"

JeffStrand says, "People have learned to judge quality in e-books by buying mine!"

Deena applauds Jeff. "how have you marketed your books, Jeff?

JeffStrand says, "Well, for one I targeted a lot of the review sites in the FIRST edition of Karen's ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE."

Deena says, "How did you approach review sites?"

JeffStrand says, "I got lots of great reviews, which I could use in my other promotion."

JeffStrand says, "Most review sites have an e-mail contact."

KarenWiesner says, "Thanks, Jeff. : ) This man deserves great reviews. He's outstanding!"

Deena says, "How does marketing an ebook differ from a print book?"

KarenWiesner says, "So many ways! Sales of e-books aren't built in the way they are with print books. (i.e. readers will buy all Harlequin's books in a month; doesn't matter who wrote it.) "

KarenWiesner says, "We have to find more avenues to catch reader interest, starting on-line, but it's just as crucial to move off-line and really meet the people that way."

Deena says, "Do you think that sales are getting to be built in now? Are any epubbers starting series such as Harlequin?"

JeffStrand says, "With e-books, you not only have to sell your OWN book, but you have to sell people on the idea of e-books in general."

Deena says, "How do you move off-line to sell online books?"

KarenWiesner says, "Actually, yes, sales are becoming built in!"

Deena says, "How are the sales becoming built in?"

KarenWiesner says, "I just talked to my publisher at Hard Shell this past weekend and she said she has many, many patrons who come back every month and buy every single new offering. So it's happening."

Deena says, "Jeff, which brings another question, How are we tying sales of ebooks to erasers and other electronic devices to read the ebooks?"

KarenWiesner says, "No, I don't think anyone starting series, but I know they're doing things similar to Harlequin Duets."

Deena claps loudly for these enthusiastic customers

KarenWiesner says, "How do you move off-line to sell online books? Speaking at conferences,"

Deena says, "Margie and Diana, have you found the ways to approach epubbers with your manuscripts?"

KarenWiesner says, "attending book signings, putting ads in trade magazines (co-ops are very popular now!), getting reviewed by print magazines."

Deena says, "How do you arrange for book signing for electronic books?"

Margie says, "Haven't tried yet. Total novice. Any advices ? (Diana)"

KarenWiesner says, "Jeff made a great point about selling the idea of e-publishing to people before you can sell e-books."

Nick Monfort says, "Deena, haven't you heard of digital signatures?"

Deena says, "Yes, Jeff and Margie, How did you approach your epubbers"

KarenWiesner says, "But I do think more and more people are beginning to understand what an e-book is because of Stephen King. Now they're making the connection and looking a little closer."

JeffStrand says, "The same way I would any print publisher...a query letter, followed by sample chapters, followed by the complete manuscript, followed by the contract!!! But it was e-mail rather than snail mail."

Deena says, "Boy, I knew we would get around to Stephen King! What kind of an impact is he having on ebooks?"

KarenWiesner says, "Book signings...basically, the same way. You meet with the manager of the story, sell him on the idea. Usually, the publisher will consign the books to you or the bookseller will occasionally be able to order them directly from the publisher. Book signings are a little embarrassing because you don't usually sell more than 1 or 2 books. But you do educate and that's important."

KarenWiesner says, "Maybe next time the person will buy a book."

Deena says, "Nick, digital signatures would be a great way to sign ebooks!"

Margie says, "Margie says--All my work is multimedia. So I am waiting for an e-publishing format other than the web that will be portable..."

JeffStrand says, "Of course, the BEST way to do a booksigning is to be at the EPIC conference with 25 other writers signing in the same room!"

Deena says, "Yes, I have found that bookstores have a hard time selling electronic books as the patrons can't sit there and read. Any way around this?"

Deena says, "Yes, Margie, all of my work depends on links, sounds, graphics, as well. Jeff and Karen, have you seen a lot of multimedia books in the epubbing world yet?"

The housekeeper arrives to remove KarenWiesner.

JeffStrand says, "My publisher Wordbeams has a couple children's books with animated pictures and sounds, with an interactive mystery coming soon. And a lot of non-fiction, rather than a bibliography, is filled with hyperlinks to the source material.""

Deena says, "How have epubbers reacted to multimedia and hypertext?"

Madeline slips in.

Margie says, "Sounds interesting! (Margie)"

Deena says, "Hi Madeline, we are talking about epubbing and ebooks with Karen Wiesner. "

Madeline says, "cool. Mind if I listen?"

Margie says, "Hi Madeline.."

Deena says, "Sure. Stop and stay a while"

Madeline waves to all.

JeffStrand says, "For example, Karen's book on e-publishing has hyperlinks to just about every non-subsidy publisher out there."

Deena passes out multicolored sprinkles and lined cupcakes and coffee

Deena says, "That is a great place to start, to show how useful links can be. Sooner or later someone will start putting up fiction with links to websites, graphics, etc."

Deena says, "What format are ebooks usually in now?"

JeffStrand says, "Most e-publishers use HTML and PDF."

Flipper swims into the room.

Deena says, "Jeff, have any epubbers accepted formats other than PDF and HTML?"

JeffStrand says, "Yes, but PDF and HTML are the standards."

Flipper says, "What is going on in here"

Deena says, "Hi Flipper, we are talking about epubbing and asking about formats at the moment. Feel free to swim on in"

Deena says, "I hope that we can see ebooks opening up soon"

Nick Monfort says, "I do want to say..."

Nick Monfort says, "I really have to wonder about your contention, Karen, that you have to e-publish though a commercial publisher in order to get your work properly edited and to get nice cover design."

Nick Monfort says, "My experience with The Ed Report where I collaborated with another writer and we cross-edited our work, was very positive"

JeffStrand says, "I think Karen got booted."

Deena says, "Yes, let's talk about the valuers of epubbers in this"

Flipper says, "What is an epubber?"

Deena says, "I think she did too. We can bombard her with questions when she re-boots"

Deena passes around thicker galoshes to all

Margie says, "Hi Nick!"

Nick Monfort says, "And another collaborator was a designer, who did a great job in making everything come together in a visually beautiful way."

Karen Wiesner quietly enters.

Nick Monfort says, "But not having had the e-publishing experience, perhaps there are other benefits I'm missing out on."

JeffStrand says, "Welcome back!"

Deena says, "Yes, we should probably all introduce ourselves again, with all the comings and goings. I'm Deena Larsen, the theoretical host here, to keep things lively. I write hypertexts, my last one is on the web with web links at"

Karen Wiesner says, "Sorry about that. I had to restart my browser"

Nick Monfort says, "I guess I picked a great time to say that, sigh."

Deena says, "Hi Karen, welcome back. We wanted to ask What the value and role of epublishing houses is in epubbing."

Flipper tiptoes out.

Nick Monfort says, "I'm Nick Montfort, with a Web manifestation at"

Deena says, "Nick's question was I really have to wonder about your contention, Karen, that you have to e-publish though a commercial publisher in order to get your work properly edited and to get nice cover design""

Karen Wiesner says, "I think e-publishing gives authors who have spent years beating down traditional doors and getting "great" rejections like "I love it, just don't know What to do with it" a chance to see publication and to realize that it's not that they're not talented but that the current state of traditional publishing is a little screwed up."

Karen Wiesner says, "Ok, can you give me an example?"

Nick Monfort says, "Yes.. that was the rest of my comment."

Margie says, "I'm Margie Luesebrink (M.D. Coverley) writer of hypermedia fiction, and Diana Slattery is visiting from New York--hyperfiction and print writer, authored of "Glide" and other great pieces"

Nick Monfort says, "I'll repeat"

Deena says, "Yes, why are we taking the traditional roles (publisher, agent) so carefully into the web? We had a great chat with Christian Crumlish showing that the agent can also be a networker and can find ways to introduce the work. We should have some value also for the publisher as well"

Deena says, "Have the epublishers been branching out beyond cover design, editing, etc."

Deena peers under the masks at everyone.

Nick Monfort says, "Actually I'll just retype it approximately:"

Nick Monfort says, "I wrote the Ed Report with one other writer (we cross-edited our work) and a designer (who made things come together visually in a really nice way)."

Karen Wiesner says, "I want to clarify about my stand on subsidy publishing. I have no disrespect for the author in any way. I have a friend who used a subsidy publisher on one of her books and I think she's one of the most talented authors I've ever read."

Deena says, "Karen, could you define subsidy publishing again?"

Margie says, "I think Nick has a good point about it being possible for the collaborative writers to do it all--Nick and William have done a fine job with Ed Report. "

Nick Monfort says, "I can't imagine what a publisher would have added to the mix, really in terms of actually getting the writing we did shown to the public"

Deena says, "I think Nick's point is that we can do a lot of the editing and designing without the publisher."

Karen Wiesner says, "Subsidy is basically when the publisher makes the author pay for any part of What should be standard service--editing, cover, etc."

Nick Monfort says, "I don't mean to say the publisher is useless, but I'm wondering if the commercial use is really the central one"

Margie says, "But many writers don't have the talent or the personality to promote their work like that (even to the extent of fun readings, interesting printed cards, etc. etc."

Deena says, "Yes, we are finding ways to collaborate directly with editors and designers"

Karen Wiesner says, "As for true self-publishing...if an author has the courage and the skills, it's fantastic. I'm all for it!"

Deena says, "But I think that we have to go back to the role of selling works and the question of reputation, etc. As Karen said, many of the epubbers are getting reputations so that they have a base of customers signing p for each new book..."

Karen Wiesner says, "Yes, if you're self-publishing, you better believing you have to promote your a&^ off to get your work out there! That's a very hard road, but more than anyone else, they lose without aggressive marketing."

Deena says, "Right, but do you have to do more marketing as a self pub than with an epub or even a traditional pub?"

JeffStrand says, "That's right. If you don't promote an e-book, NOBODY will buy it."

Nick Monfort says, "That's a very good point, regarding reputation."

Deena thinks with all the pubs around here, she should start serving Guinness, so she does.

Nick Monfort says, "But I suppose I prefer to have a reputation that isn't based on a large corporation thinking they can make money by selling my work."

Margie says, "Well, it does depend on the audience one is seeking. Nick and William, for example, were looking for a "little literary" audience to start off with--and they had the connections to get to that audience--"

Karen Wiesner says, "Jeff is right. In the literal sense nobody. Even your family may not because they might not believe it's a real book."

Deena says, "How do you target audiences?"

Margie says, "They did a very enthusiastic job of hustling, clever promotion--much talent expended here."

Deena says, "And the conferences, book signings, etc. Nick, Scott, and William's The Unknown does a lot of spoofing on that..."

Karen Wiesner says, "Go where the readers are. Bookstores, on-line sites in your genre, join clubs."

Deena says, "Have ebooks been crossing genres?"

Karen Wiesner says, "I think romance writers have a hard time selling because the word "romance" turns a lot of people off. Would be better to just call it something else. ; )"

Margie says, "Karen's comments about knowing the readers in your genre are spot on--this is always, key, print or electronic, I believe."

Nick Monfort says, "Margie, who sold 50 CD-ROMs in about one day in a San Antonio hotel conference room, is being generous with her praise :)"

Editor's note: this refers to Califia, a multimedia novel from Eastgate.

Karen Wiesner says, "Wow! Way to go, Margie!"

Deena says, "Yes, in ebooks though, we have a chance to play with genres and do combination works as well. Have epubbers been receptive to this?"

JeffStrand says, "VERY receptive, yes."

Karen Wiesner says, "Definitely. Look at Jeff's book, for example. How do you categorize something like that? I imagine he had a hard time with print publishers."

Margie says, "This WAS very exciting--but again, as Karen and Jeff and Nick have pointed out, that was in an audience that had been primed for four years, haha"

Deena says, "Califia is a wonderful book and deserved all the sales!"

Deena says, "How have epubbers worked with these cross genres in marketing them and targeting audiences?"

Karen Wiesner says, "I got the same rejections because my books straddle all the fences between mainstream and category and multiple genres."

Deena says, "So epubbers have really found a way to answer the traditional publisher's genre blinders?"

JeffStrand says, "Yes, most definitely."

Deena says, "How do epubbers attract readers to books that straddle genres?"

JeffStrand says, "That's probably the #1 reason people get into e-publishing."

Karen Wiesner says, "Well, from what I've seen, the e-publishers still divide their books into categories (i.e. on separate pages), but they put the books in all the categories it could fit into (i.e. on all the separate pages.)"

Deena says, "Karen, that makes sense. After all, it is the traditional booksellers that have to put the book on only one shelf--thus rigidly defining genres"

Deena says, "In each category, do they have a different description for it?"

Margie says, "Thanks, D.--interesting note here, though, with respect to Karen and Jeff's cross-genre. Califia is pretty straight that way, other than being electronic, it is just about a classic literary historical fiction..."

Deena says, "Right, but Califia depends on a rich source of graphics, sound, and links to get the story across. So it's another of those works the traditional pubbers don't know how to deal with."

Karen Wiesner says, "Different descriptions in each category--not really, but it works anyway. People are more willing to read a book, say, if it's listed in paranormal but they don't realize it's also a romance."

Deena says, "I wanted to also ask Karen how epubbers have worked in different business models. "

Karen Wiesner says, "Can you be more specific, Deena?"

Karen Wiesner says, "Your books sounds wonderful Margie. Did you self-publish it?"

Deena says, "Yes, have epubbers experimented with giving away part of the book then selling the rest, giving the book away and selling peripherals, or other ways of selling the work?"

Margie says, "Karen--would love to send you a copy, if you like. It is published by Eastgate Systems--the only publisher I know of doing electronic, hypermedia fiction on CD-ROM just now--"

Karen Wiesner says, "Yes, there are many different business models this way. Some e-publishers let you read the first half of the book free; if you want to read the rest you pay."

Karen Wiesner says, "Others will let you read 2 or 3 chapters free, then you buy it if you want more. "

Karen Wiesner says, "I've even seen some who barely give you a paragraph of the book, which doesn't make a lot of sense, but everyone seems to be doing it different."

Deena says, "Right. Margie's work is in Toolbox, which depends on a CD-Rom. so it won't work in an ereader. There are many works like this, and we need to find epubbers willing to find ways to get these works to an audience as well."

Deena says, "Karen, What business models seem to be working the best to sell the concept of ebooks and to sell the ebooks"

Karen Wiesner says, "You'd just give me a book, Margie? You're generous. Eastgate sounds like a great company. I've talked to several of the people in the company and I know they're doing new things."

Margie says, "Whooo the whisper effect--do tell Nick"

Deena says, "You can whisper by paging: type page NAME "MESSAGE"

Karen Wiesner says, "I feel that giving 2 or 3 chapters free--giving the reader a taste of it--works best because it's very readable from any browser, rather than requiring the reader to download something first."

Nick Monfort says, "That's the crack model."

Nick Monfort says, "First hit free."

Deena passes around the glass pipes

Karen Wiesner says, "Ah, there's a term for it. I hadn't heard that before."

Margie says, "Karen--I know that the business models have a bias toward money--but I will have a small readership at the best outcome--my best bet is to get people used to reading hyperfiction at all."

Deena says, "Right. I would far rather give away my books at this point to explain How hypertext and multimedia and electronic lit works"

Karen Wiesner says, "I think it's going to become popular because games like Journeyman and Myst are very similar to e-books like this and they sell like hot cakes. Just a matter of time."

Deena says, "How have the games been marketed and can we jump on that bandwagon?"

Karen Wiesner says, "That's very true. That's why I think sampler disks are very popular as giveaways. You're letting a person see what an e-book is as well as letting them read part of yours. Great marketing strategy."

Margie says, "Yah--but serious fiction has never sold like hot cakes and probably won't in any scenario we can invent. Myst cost a fortune to produce, not the kind of thing lone authors can mount"

Karen Wiesner says, "I'd love to know how they market those games. I think they target kids and computer geniuses."

Deena says, "Karen, are epubbers receptive to authors giving away sample disks? Are there any problems with copyrights, etc.."

Karen Wiesner says, "Yes, very receptive. You always include your copyright page directly in the file. Get publisher permission. And including an order form doesn't hurt. ; )"

JeffStrand says, "It's generally contractual."

Deena says, "Yes, we are looking more and more at collaborative ventures, with programmers, graphics, and designers, but without the possibilities of the monetary rewards after all of the work. How do we do this?"

Deena says, "Jeff, How is it listed in the contract?"

JeffStrand says, "For example, I can give away the first three chapters of my books in any form I choose."

JeffStrand says, "As long as it's the final edit, of course."

Karen Wiesner says, "Yes, I imagine it's expensive to produce those games. I think that's why so many e-publishers haven't ventured into the true possibilities e-publishing presents."

Nick Monfort says, "There's some tension between selling things like computer games and publishing things that are 'serious' and taken seriously by, say, literature departments at universities, which are important institutions for many authors"

Deena says, "Right, How do we entice epubbers into these true possibilities?"

Margie says, "Which new true possibilities would those be?"

Deena says, "Nick, How do we get our cake (get our works taken seriously by universities) and eat it to (get our works sold like computer games)?"

Karen Wiesner says, "I'm not sure. I thought it was a huge step when I heard that Eastgate was putting a soundtrack on Jim Farris' e-book THE LAST GOD (written by him.) "

Editor's note, Eastgate Systems has no plans to do this, but "The Last God" is published by DenMark Publishing Corporation

Karen Wiesner says, "True possibilities like sounds, interactive qualities, just everything that can be done electronically."

Nick Monfort says, "I haven't found that treasure yet, Deena, but I certainly think about as I write my supposedly game-like works that are taken even less seriously than hypertexts!"

Deena says, "Eastgate's works usually deal with the interactive qualities and show ways of writing literature that integrates and cannot be separated from links, hypertext qualities, sound, images, etc."

Margie says, "I think we will see those possibilities coming along when the format supports them--when we can do sound and elaborate graphics in e-book covers--"

Nick Monfort says, "It may also be a danger of the 'book' model that, while it makes electronic literature out to be similar to something familiar and therefore acceptable, it also makes it out to be no more than a book in digital clothing."

Nick Monfort says, "Regarding the 'eBook' model, I should say"

Margie says, "good point, Nick"

Deena says, "We need to work with erasers, Open Ebook standards, etc. to ensure that they will support these possibilities. For example, if we just have PDF and HTML as standards, we will exclude works like Califia as it requires Toolbox"

Deena says, "How can we convince the ebook people that we are not just books in digital clothing?"

Margie says, "Well, D., leaving Califia's specific platform aside, even the things we are doing in multimedia now, with Flash, layered graphics, etc. are a long way down the pike from fitting between e-covers"

Karen Wiesner says, "Just books? Maybe we should call them "enhanced books.""

Deena says, "Maybe. That sounds much gentler than multimedia or hypertext :)"

Nick Monfort says, "Voyager tried that label already"

Deena says, "We do need to find ways to get people to try this without scaring them off."

Deena says, "Nick, what happened when Voyager tried that label?"

Karen Wiesner says, "It's funny because the possibility sound incredibly exciting to me. I'm sure they do to all of us. "

Karen Wiesner says, "Possibilities, I meant to say."

Nick Monfort says, "Well, what happened to Voyager is they did some great stuff (not their expanded books - sorry, it was expanded, not enhanced) and then went out of business."

Nick Monfort says, "But there is some benefit to a friendly-sounding name."

Deena says, "Yes, the possibilities in terms of the connections, interrelationships, structure that links and other electronic tools add are incredible. We have barely begin to figure out what we can do"

Nick Monfort says, "'Come play with my signifying machine' is not very inviting."

Deena says, "Right. Come play with my cool interpretations of links and connections is also not very inviting. "

JeffStrand says, "Hey, everyone, I need to head off."

Karen Wiesner says, "I think so. When you say hypertext, it makes me think I'm not sure what you mean. "

Karen Wiesner says, "Talk to you later, Jeff."

Karen Wiesner says, "Thanks for coming."

Deena says, "Jeff, it was great to have you with us :)"

Deena says, "Yes, hypertext is a very slippery term."

Karen Wiesner says, "I'll probably have to check out soon too."

Deena slips in and out of the words

JeffStrand says, "But before I go, I know it sounds like I'm brown-nosing the guest, but I STRONGLY recommend getting a copy of ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE if you have ANY interest in e-publishing."

Karen Wiesner says, "I love that guy! ; )"

Margie says, "Thanks Karen, Jeff, Deena, Nick! and all for a good session--as soon as you have the money rolling in, let me know How to do it!! Margie and Diana"

Nick Monfort says, "'You keep using that word, hypertext. I do not think it means what you think it means.'""

Margie has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Margie.

Deena says, "Any last comments, remarks, ? we could go on about this all night, but.."

JeffStrand says, "I bought both the first and second edition, proving how worthwhile I thought it was."

Nick Monfort says, "Thanks, Deena and Karen."

Karen Wiesner says, "Thanks, everyone. I've really enjoyed this. "

Deena says, "Nick, you are right. I do not think it means what anyone thinks it means. Maybe we should just say possibilities in electronic media?"

Karen Wiesner says, "Possibilities and convenience."

Deena says, "Thanks so much for coming Karen! We had a great chat, and I will definitely get that epubbing book. Sorry I couldn't get it before the chat..."

Karen Wiesner says, "Thanks, Deena. I hope you find it useful. Keep up the good work. : )"

Deena says, "Thanks. I'll let you know where this chat is archived, so we can both market the archive. there is also a forum to continue events, so if you ever have any announcements, let me know and I will post them there, too."

-- End log: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 9:32:56 pm CDT


Related Links: