hello, book!

Through the Cracks comes out officially tomorrow. I’m a little nervous. Much as I understand that each person reads a different book, and everyone’s tastes are different, waiting for reviews to appear can offer more nail-biting suspense than any thriller, though it’s not a particularly enjoyable kind of thrill; it feels more like waiting for the results of a medical test. Though people often liken the arrival of a new book to holding a newly-delivered baby, I don’t feel that way. It’s like a very long pregnancy, a birth, a few complications as you work with an editor to clean it up. Then it’s swept away to the hospital nursery for its final check-up and plopped back in your arms a year later.

Hello, baby. Oh, look at those sweet chapter headings. You have your father’s font. Now let’s see if everyone else in the world thinks you’re an ugly baby or not.

Meanwhile, I’ve been giving some thought to the baby’s older sibling. It’s not easy getting people to read a second book in a series unless they read the first (and let me tell you, a lot of people haven’t read the first.) My publisher wasn’t interested in releasing a paperback, and nobody wanted to do an audio version (and why would they? the production costs are enormous, and that makes the end product expensive; you have to have a fairly large guaranteed audience to make it worthwhile). So being a DIY kind of person, I  fiddled around with free software and made my own.

There is now a trade paperback version of In the Wind available through Lulu and selected independent booksellers. It’s not cheap–$14.00, plus a hefty shipping fee if you order from Lulu–but I didn’t want to do any harm to the independent booksellers who have supported me and do so much to promote books and reading. This is the price it takes to provide it to them with the discount that helps them pay their rent and light bill and not lose too much money at my end. I’ll happy if I break even. If I accidentally make a profit, it will go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Meanwhile, I got to learn a few things about cover and page design and how to make the layers in Paint.net to work.

I also recorded In the Wind in an amateur audio version. No, it’s not as polished as a professional audio book–I used open source software and recorded it in the spare bedroom. The cats were strangely fascinated by the whole thing, so you might hear an occasional meow in the background. But I have several friends who are blind, and wanted them to have a chance to read the book. You can listen online or download the .mp3 files, chapter by chapter. Thanks to my employer for hosting the files.

I really wanted to pull a Cory Doctorow and make a Creative Commons e-version freely available, but the publisher had secured electronic rights, as they do, and didn’t want to give those back. (It took months just to get the paperback rights reverted.) Strangely, though you can get the second book electronically, with a side of DRM, In the Wind is not available for e-reading. Hey, I’m just a librarian. Who am I to question the ways of publishers?

But that gives me an idea: you can always check In the Wind out from your local library.

17 Responses to hello, book!

  1. Maxine says:

    Congratulations, Barbara, that the book is out, and with your preferred title!
    What a saga about the first in the series, though. I am not sure how available it will be in the UK even via a library but I hope to check it out. In the meantime, how essential is it to read the first in order to get the most out of the second? The Swedes and Norwegians (and Icelanders) seem to manage OK being translated out of order – would you say that your situation is analagous?

  2. bernadetteinoz says:

    Congratulations Barbara, though I understand the desire to hide under the covers until the reviews come out. But I’m sure they’ll be positive if the first book of yours that I read is anything to go by. I have Second Wind here and have to read that one before this one (‘cos I’m just a wee bit OCD). As for all the various ‘rights’ I won’t even try to understand.

  3. bernadetteinoz says:

    I don’t know what made me write Second Wind instead of In the Wind – old age? lunacy? lack of sleep? we’ll never know I guess

  4. Barbara says:

    Thanks, friends; you are encouraging. (Second Wind wouldn’t be a bad title, Bernadette – it sort of felt that way…)

    Maxine, I tried to make it possible to read the books out of order, but I’m usually reading out of order and am not bothered, so maybe I’m a poor judge. If you send me your address off line and I’ll mail you a copy of In the Wind if you like. Of course you only have six thousand books awaiting your attention….

  5. Sly says:

    Barbara I am so glad for you but isn’t this your third book? I get confused easily ya know. ;-)


  6. Barbara says:

    Yes, it’s the third, but second in this series. I get confused easily too. As a character in a Brian Friel play says, “confusion is not an ignoble condition.” I always loved that line.

  7. Maxine says:

    hi Barbara, thank you for your kind offer. I have already ordered a second hand copy of In the Wind and it is en route (slow boat from Canada). I am looking forward to it! (Sounds good from your “scrapbook” of it.

    As a keen reader of translated crime fiction, I have got well used to being confused about order in a series!

  8. Dear Barbara,
    Congratulations on the release of the new book!!
    I’ve just ordered my copy and can’t wait to dive in. I hope you are enjoying these early days…

  9. Kerrie says:

    Hello Barbara – just worked out the Kindle version is not available to Australian subscribers

  10. Barbara says:

    Bummer. I will never understand the logic of regional rights in a digital world. I think Macmillan is in a particularly “no, you can’t” mood these days. Sorry.

  11. Mary Graham says:

    I am a retired 30 year law enforcement officer and detective. I just finished reading “In The Wind, ” the first and certainly the last of your liberal, and neo-communist work that I will ever pick up. I read three or four police mystery type novels a week, such as James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell,John Lescroat, Sandra Brown, etc, But this is the first one that I ever had to contain my inner rage to finish. You, madam, are one of the reasons the country is in the shape it is in now. As every agency does, the FBI has their bad apples, maybe 1 or 2%; but to slam an entire fine agency is treasonous. And you should thank God for the Patriot Act or we would be living under Sharia Law. No wonder I bought your unknown book for a dollar at a Dollar Store. You most certainly have writing talent, but it is so misdirected that I hope you put it away and go back to whatever liberal hole you crawled out of.

    • Barbara says:

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but I’m glad writing fiction (or being critical of a federal agency) is not grounds for a charge of treason in the United States. I don’t actually think I portrayed the character who is an FBI agent as a bad apple – he was acting (fictionally) within the law; I just think some aspects of that law are unconstitutional and contrary to American ideals. I realize this is not something we are going to agree on. Luckily there are lots of writers in this genre who satisfy many different tastes and different political perspectives, so I am sure you’ll find lots of mysteries to read that are much more satisfying.

  12. Good Lord! I am, as ever, surprised by people’s reactions to what they read and their willingness to express same so vehemently and without regard for inaccuracies or, you know, logic (i.e. Patriot Act = only thing saving US from Sharia Law). Gobsmacking. However I have now determined to read In the Wind immediately following my current book – how can I possibly not after that?

  13. Barbara says:

    When I saw it yesterday (I moderate comments the first time someone posts to avoid spam) I was caught by surprise, not so much that someone hated the book because they thought I was too critical of law enforcement – quite a few people have told me they don’t like to read books in which the police aren’t treated unilaterally as heroes because they have such a hard job to do; it’s a perspective I can understand. But I am still (silly me) surprised when people tell me we were this close to being taken over by Muslim extremists and every measure taken, however it curtails civil liberties, was absolutely necessary. I guess I have enough faith in our social and legal institutions and the sense of the general populace that I don’t think our nation is all that easy to conquer.

  14. kathy d. says:

    Cheers, Barbara!

    Sharia law, Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., the health care bill is socialized medicine, Social Security is a ponzi scheme (yes, the Texas governor said that!), etc.

    Jeez, am I on the same planet as these people?

    I’m worried about the tax deal giving almost a trillion dollars to the super-rich, endangering Social Security and Medicare, unemployment hovering at nearly 10 % with no end in sight, no jobs, the 99ers going without benefits, foreclosures, homelessness, 58 million without health insurance/care, poor Arizonans being denied organ transplants, women’s rights in jeopardy, civil liberties being curtailed, teachers being laid off, public education in jeopardy, hikes in college tuition, infrastructures falling apart, etc.

    That’s the planet I live in.

    Love the blog(s), love the books. Am waiting for the next one and realize I have to read the first.

  15. That one sentence from Mary above has kept me awake the last couple of nights. The ‘you should thank God for the Patriot Act…’ sentence. I was a pretty good debater in my University days (made the national team one year) and I can (and have) taken any side of most topics. But I haven’t been able to see my way clear to taking Mary’s stance on that topic. I mean there’s no logic, no cause and effect, no sense…nothing.

    Anyway, I’m kind of glad she made the comment (bizarre as I found it) because it made me pluck the book from my TBR and it’s fantastic. I’ll do a review in a couple of days (so behind) but thought I’d stop by and say that unlike Mary I thought it was pretty balanced in showing different angles of a complex issue. I’m the original swinging voter (and lean Libertarian if anything) but I loved the way the different characters were used to show both the extremes and the norms of that tug-of-war between the police and the policed.

    But aside from all the politics it’s a great story and I read the whole thing in two sittings (had to sleep, sorry) and liked Anni a lot. In fact I enjoyed it so much I immediately went and ordered the second one (though once again it’s a SH copy because the book’s not released here).

  16. Barbara says:

    Oh dear, I’m sorry my blog comments have caused insomnia, but I’m awfully happy you liked the book. I value your opinion enormously and I’m also chuffed that you felt I wasn’t being all lopsided in the way I brought issues into the story. I find, when I read crime fiction, I want the same kind of impartiality that I like in good news reporting or good research writing. I guess it’s a variation of the old writer’s saw, “show, don’t tell” – let the facts (or in this case the invented stories) speak for themselves, don’t try to force the reader toward a particular conclusion. And though it’s fiction, people learn a lot from it, so it seems important.

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