Friday, July 07, 2006

ALIEN BEACH as free e-book download

After much consideration, I've made my old novel ALIEN BEACH available for free download in PDF format. You can download the entire book as a single Adobe file and read it from your PC, laptop or handheld device. Enjoy!
(If any technical problems should arise with the file, please tell me.)

Now, why did I hesitate to do this?

The novel has been available on my website, spread out over several pages, for quite some time. It's not as if I stood to make any money from ALIEN BEACH, or get it published in print anytime soon... and frankly, it was getting old. (The first draft dates from 1997. The original web-serial started in 1999. In science fiction, that's old.)
I realized that I could either try to get the book published one more time, or let it die.

By making the whole of ALIEN BEACH freely available in a single file, I feel that I'm more or less giving up all hopes of ever getting it in print.
But that doesn't mean it's now a "Creative Commons" document! I'll keep my formal copyright to the book, just to piss off Cory Doctorow. ;-)


Lee said...

Since I'm planning something similar, a serial YA fantasy novel, followed by a download, I'd love to hear more about your experiences. Did you have a large readership? And why not Creative Commons?

A.R.Yngve said...

Doing a web-serial of a novel can be frustrating IF you want a precise statistic of your readership.

I'm not trying to hide information: truth is, I haven't been able to piece together how many people have read the serials. The information you get is this:

1. Visitor-counter statistics.
These really say nothing more than "X number of people visited your site today." The numbers won't tell you if the visitor stuck around, if she just had a look, if she read anything, etc.

2. Reader messages (guestbooks and e-mails).
OK, almost all the messages have been positive -- but writers need criticism too, and it may well be that readers who got bored didn't stick around to tell me.

3. Actual reviews.
I received no actual in-depth reviews of my web-serials... only one reader e-mail that gave detailed feedback on what he liked. One reader. That's not much to go on!

A small-press publisher did pick up one of my novels after she read the sample chapters on my website. This proved that web serials CAN impress readers: the content isn't doomed just because the Internet is a new medium.

Go ahead with your project... but I suggest you do all you can to encourage valuable reader feedback. Add as many feedback venues as possible to your serial: feedback forms, e-mail address, messageboards, guestbooks, reader polls, and perhaps a blog...

And May the Schwartz Be With You!

A.R.Yngve said...

As for Creative Commons...

Let's just say I haven't decided on the issue yet, and that I like to keep a tight creative control over my fictional characters.

Then again, this may be futile: nobody fanfics anything until it becomes popular. And IF a book should become popular, no copyright in the world can stop the fanfiction from being written... ;)

Lee said...

Thanks for all the suggestions - definitely appreciated. Though a certain amount of reader feedback is interesting, I must find my own writerly way, and hope that there are readers willing to join me. I'm not looking for large numbers - that's the beauty of this sort of endeavour, for I don't have to worry about a publisher's balance sheet.

By the way, don't you have a PDF-download counter? I've read this is possible.