…and today it’s a whole batch of somethings, one right after the other. So let me just plunge in rather than waste time searching for a clever approach.
1. If you’re a writer…
…I hope you were able to take advantage of the StoryBundle package of which Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel was an ingredient. It was a great deal, 10 books on the business side of writing for $15, and I’d be hard put to dream up a better investment, yielding no end of short- and long-term dividends. The bundle was up for grabs for three weeks, and I know a lot of you took advantage of it, and I’ve heard from others who regret missing out.
There’ll be other chances, and when they come along I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, may I put in a word for P2P2P? Never out of print from 1978 to 2012, it’s now expanded (from 60,000 to 93,000 words) and updated (with a full discussion of ebooks and self-publishing). I’ve published it myself as an ebook, a handsome trade paperback, and an audiobook, and I’m pleased to report that the book’s sales all across the board have been heartening.
The links above are to Amazon—but, while many of my self-published titles are Amazon exclusives, I’ve elected to go wide with P2P2P. So here’s where you can find the book in its various forms at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Audible.
I’ve perpetrated quite a few other books for writers over quite a few years. Here’s a quick rundown on what’s available:
Telling Lies for Fun & Profit and Spider, Spin Me a Web are the first two compilations of my instructional Fiction columns for Writers Digest. Write For Your Life, a home seminar for writers, is the version in book form of an interactional seminar with which my Frequent Companion and I barnstormed the country three decades ago; it works on the writer within, and might have been called The Inner Game of Writing, if i’d had the wit to think of it. (I think it holds up, and recommend it, but would urge you to choose the paperback over the ebook, as you’ll get more out of the processes if you have a physical book in hand.) The Liar’s Bible and The Liar’s Companion, both currently out of print, are two more compilations of columns; the rights recently reverted to me, and I’ll be bringing out ebook and paperback editions soon.
Oh, that reminds me—
2. If you like to read with your ears…
…we’ve got you covered. I’ve already mentioned Mike Dennis’s superb audio rendition of Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel, and Telling Lies for Fun & Profit is also available in audio, narrated by its humble author. The Liar’s Bible and The Liar’s Companion, presently unavailable in print or ebook, are readily obtainable as audio downloads, capably voiced by Robert Sams. And Hit List, the second Keller book and one inexplicably left out of the world of unabridged audio, is now on offer from Recorded Books, narrated by George Guidall.
But that’s not all. I’ve been doing some audio self-publishing via an Audible division called ACX, and they’ve just released my novella Resume Speed, the Kindle bestseller. Theo Holland supplied the narration, and I think you’ll enjoy listening to his rendition; I liked it so much myself that I’ve arranged for him to do the same for Four Lives at the Crossroads, a pseudonymous 1962 effort that’s either a very steamy crime novel or a dark and violent work of erotica. (I flipped a mental coin and published it as #18 in the Collection of Classic Erotica; it’s eVailable now, and will be in paperback soon.)
I’ve narrated several of my own works over the years, and took on that role again for Keller’s Fedora, our favorite assassin’s latest adventure. Note: I was busy writing the preceding sentence when an email popped into my box informing me that the audio had made its way through channels at ACX and was now on sale. The novella’s doing wonderfully as a Kindle Single—more on that in a moment—and it’s scheduled for deluxe trade-and-limited print treatment early next year from Subterranean Press, so I’m delighted to be able to complete what someone less capable of verbal restraint than I might call the hat trick. Give it a listen; I do hope you like it.
And while I’ve got your ears, may I put in a word for some of our other ACX audios? Emily Beresford voiced three of my Jill Emerson titles, Warm & Willing, Enough of Sorrow, and Thirty. (The first two are sensitive novels of the lesbian experience, the third an erotic diary of a woman at a critical stage in life; I’m very fond of all the Jill Emerson books, but then I wrote them, so what do I know?) Emily’s a real pro and did a great job with all three of these.
I only got to work twice with Don Sobczak. Before his way-too-early death, he brought my resourceful little lawyer wonderfully to life in Defender of the Innocent: The Casebook of Martin Ehrengraf. Don also voiced Wide Open: New Modes of Marriage, one of my John Warren Wells titles.
And let’s not forget Mike Dennis, who may be said to have started it all when he read the Hard Case edition of my early novel Borderline and approached me in the hope of recording it. That was my first venture into audio self-publishing, and Mike did such fine work that I recommended him to Recorded Books for their audiobook of The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes.
But let’s hit the Mute button for a moment, shall we? Because I find myself with more to say about those two novellas, and modesty compels me to lower my voice to a whisper…
3. Resume Speed and Keller’s Fedora…
Yes, they’re the ones I had in mind. Both were written within the past half year, both were published as Kindle Singles, and both have been sufficiently well received to suggest that perhaps the old fellow’s not yet completely past it. Admittedly, that’s the sort of thing one would prefer to believe, and I’m inclined to clutch at any straw that might support the premise.
So I got a big boost Thursday morning when I learned that both novellas had earned spots on Amazon’s list of Best Kindle Singles of 2016…So Far. There are 20 books on the list, and Keller’s Fedora is in the #3 slot, with Resume Speed at #7.
I’m a big fan of the Kindle Singles program, and am very happy it’s come along at a time when I find the novella length particularly inviting—and the prospect of writing a lengthy novel not a little daunting. And so I look forward to mid-July, when I’m scheduled to hole up once again in an Undisclosed Location, with every hope of returning a couple of weeks down the line with a novella in hand.
And what will I be writing? I honestly don’t know. Will it feature one of my recurring characters? Will it be something wholly new? Hey, it beats me. All I know for sure is that I’m planning to write it in English.
4. Not that there’s anything wrong with other languages…
Like German and Spanish, for instance.
Earlier this week, my email inbox held two versions of A Candle for the Bag Lady, the second of my Matthew Scudder short stories. Stefan Mommertz supplied Eine Kerze für die Stadtstreicherin; Ana and Enriqueta Carrington sent in Una vela para la vagabunda. And my Goddess of Design and Production obligingly furnished me with covers for both.
Self-publishing translated works is an experiment, and time will tell whether it works. In the meantime, let me tell you what’s available.
First, the works in German. The first Scudder short story, Aus dem Fenster, was Stefan’s initial effort at translating my work. He followed it with the first Scudder novel, Die Sünden der Väter. A German edition of Resume Speed was next, with the title Mit leichtem Gepäck. And now Eine Kerze für die Stadtstreicherin has become our fourth German title.
The above links are to amazon.de, the German site, but the books are available on all Amazon platforms. Aus dem Fenster bears the introductory price of 0,99 Euros (or 99¢ US). The others are all priced at 2,99 Euros (or, duh, $2.99 US). And Die Sünden der Väter is also available in paperback for 10,69 Euros or $9.99 US.
And what of Spanish? Well, Una vela para la vagabunda is the third work of mine for Ana and Enriqueta. They began with Such Men Are Dangerous, which became El hombre peligroso, and then moved on to the first Scudder short story, Salió por la ventana.
As with the German editions, links are to the Spanish site, amazon.es, while all titles may be found at all Amazon sites, including amazon.com and amazon.com.mx. Prices are 2,99 Euros (or $2.99) for Vagabunda and Hombre, with an introductory price of 0,99 Euros (99¢) for Ventana.
Subscribers already on our German list received the new story free. To sign up and have a chance for future perks, just send an email headed NEWSLETTER—DE to firstname.lastname@example.org; to get on the Spanish list, make the header NEWSLETTER—ES.
And what’s next? Well, Stefan has completed turning the second Scudder novel, Time to Murder and Create, into Drei am Haken, and we’ll get it into production as ebook und Taschenbuch once it’s back from the proofreader. Meanwhile, las Hermanas Carrington are at work on the third Scudder story, By the Dawn’s Early Light.
5. Meanwhile, I just sit around raising expectations and lowering prices.
Well, one price, anyway. I mentioned the audiobook of The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes, which Hard Case Crime published in hardcover back in September. Now, after a nine-month gestation period, they’re about to deliver the paperback, with the same compelling Glen Orbik cover. To celebrate its release, I’ve reduced the price of the ebook from $9.99 to $6.99.
This is the novel my film agent described as “James M. Cain on Viagra.” It’s a dark and devious tale of obsession and amorality set in a part of Central Florida that’s off the tourist track. It’s the quintessence of noir, and it’s also a love story.
6. OMG, will you look at the calendar!
It was June 23 when I went to work on this apparently endless newsletter. Now it’s June 24, which makes it my birthday. (My RPM birthday, if y’all are keeping score. Last year was my Sunset Strip birthday, and the year before that was my Trombone birthday. Time flies, when it’s not standing in a long line at the airport.)
You’re probably wondering what to get me for my birthday. Hey, I’ve got a better idea. Celebrate the day by giving yourself a present, something you’ll really enjoy. Just click on one of the links in this newsletter and treat yourself to something nice.
PS: As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might find it of interest. And, if you’ve received the newsletter in that fashion from a friend and would like your own subscription, that’s easily arranged; a blank email to email@example.com with Newsletter in the subject line will get the job done.