Publishing,  Writing

Change in Design Philosophy

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I’ve recently undergone a bit of design philosophy change when it comes to e-books. Well, books in general, but e-books specifically. I’ve always enjoyed those few pages some publishers put in the back of the book giving you a taste of the sequel or another work by the author. The first couple of chapters or to the end of the scene that breaks 5,000-ish words. A glimpse of things to come. Love it.

Not everyone does, and that’s fine. But I have seen a few notes here and there that it upsets some people to get to the end of the story before they’ve gotten to the end of the book. I’m not one of those folks, but I think I understand. You’re innocently reading and enjoying the story when you run into that fateful phrase, “The End”, with twenty or twenty-five pages left between you and the back cover, or the end of the file. And it’s not an epilogue or a pronunciation guide for the weird world you’ve been inhabiting, or a brief author’s note, or even a list of characters in case you need to refer back. No, it’s an entirely new story that you’re not invested in and don’t want to be because the end of the previous one came sooner than you were expecting.

It’s difficult to be all things to everyone, but I think I have a solution that works for me. There will only be a sample of another work in the back of a book I publish if it’s from a direct sequel to the story that just ended, and there will be a “warning” at the beginning of the book so the reader knows its coming. In all other cases, there will be links to samplers, which I’m working on putting together right now.

The plan is for there to be two, one each for things I think of as Science Fiction and as Fantasy. Each sampler will contain the first few thousand words (I’m thinking a 10-15% sample) of three or four novel-length stories plus a couple of complete shorts either taken from a collection or other previously published work. Free, instant downloads from your preferred location out of what I have available, including my own website.

That’s for e-books. Print books will follow the rule of “only from a direct sequel” and then regular back matter will have a list of publications and where to find them that doesn’t take up too much space.

Once the samplers are complete, I’ll be going through all the items I’ve previously published and updating the back matter to reflect the change. Anything shorter than a short novel probably only has a list of things currently available at the time it was published anyway, so it’s time for an update, and adding the sampler links to those won’t make a huge difference in size. For the novel-length stuff, it will actually shrink the page counts a bit, depending on what I’ve done for a sample in each one.

And this will all happen before I publish my next novel, which is currently slotted for March. Probably. I’m planning a novelette in February that I’ll just include the new design shift in so there’s really no reason not to do it with Draugr Rising, either.

Always more to come.

Be well, everyone.

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