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.