Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elegant New World

Computers begat The Internet begat eBooks begat Internet Distribution begat eReaders...and they had sons and daughters. Small Publishers, Independent Contractors

I put a count-up widget at the bottom reading how long I’ve been doing this, so you know exactly how much salt to ladle out on my experience. But let's round it down to One Year, and an active listening one at that. I’m just muddling-through, and if I suck, it’s not for lack of trying.

This is the story of H2NH ePub’s tentative quest for some damn cover art, and I want to use it to highlight a really cool promotion strategy, and thus the true elegance, by my view, of this New World of Publishing. But first...

Tangent! I’ve heard people call it a Brave New World, but that’s different. I’m just waiting for the first blog salvo from the Self vs.Trad ‘debate’ where the term “Savage” is deployed. When that happens, I want to set a timer to the first answering volley of “soma”. Of course, I won’t be reading that blog post, being too busy doing Work. Think of me as Mustapha Mond. I am above your pointless arguments, but I’m not on an Island. That’s for quitters. /Tangent!

I was searching for a cover artist via all the reliable sources--which translates to ‘asking anybody who had cool cover art whence it came and seeing if the website so linked had a clear pricelist’--when The Passive Voice (who you should be following) posted a link “A Sale on eBook Covers”.

I followed it, because why not? And what did I find? Elegance.

Let’s unpack the layers:

Level 1: Designer, JT Lindroos, had some great cover art that didn’t find a home, so he set up a “Garage Sale” to shift it.

Level 2: Small Publisher, Blasted Heath, had a promotion going that lowers the price of their eBooks from $2.99 to $0.99.

Level 3: Blasted Heath hosted the Garage Sale and made all cover art purchases contingent on buying at least one of their eBooks. Essentially, a one buck fee, but you get an eBook. So, that's OK.

Level 4: H2NH ePub, a small publisher, is looking for cover art. By chance, one of the Garage Sale covers fits the image in David Barron’s writer brain perfectly. How convenient.

Level 5: David Barron buys ‘Phase Four’ by Gary Carson, then works with the designer to modify his chosen cover. While he’s waiting, he reads the eBook, enjoys it.

So, everybody wins:
Designer JT Lindroos gets some money and exposure and almost certainly some repeat business.
Author Gary Carson sells a book to a satisfied customer.
Blasted Heath sells some eBooks, shows off the rest.
H2NH ePub gets to try out a cover designer for very little risk.
David Barron gets a new eBook to read.
...and a sweet cover for his upcoming book:

Around and 'round the mulberry bush,
The monkeys chased the future,
The monkeys thought 'twas all in fun...

Pop Goes The Future
A Novel of the Apocalypse
That’s awesome.

Two other cool things:

First - The Blasted Heath check-out system is really, really well-designed. Seriously, it’s one of the most hassle-free online shopping experiences I’ve ever had. Check it out, it’s slick! If you’re about to start up a webstore, ask them what they did. I know I will, once H2NH ePub rolls out its pro-site. It’s nice to see competence.

Second - ‘Phase Four’ was a good book, and a steal at a buck. (It’s underpriced at $2.99, too, so pick it up before they realize.) A fast-paced, psychedelic story of terrorism, chemical weapons and conspiracy. I’d call it Mundane SF Horror. (Mundane as in ‘near-future, on the Earth’, not ‘boring’.)

H2NH ePub has now pretty much tried everything ‘ePub’: distribution, formatting, pro cover art, ARCs. I’m feeling pretty confident...and excited. Now I just need to bring out at least ten books and a series, then I can roll into print and earn the name H2NH Publishing.

And that’s an Elegant New World.
feel free to comment


  1. That is a sweet cover ... and for novels, certainly worth the price. I'll be looking to do something similar when I finally get around to it.

  2. Ditto Jeff -- great strategy sir, and your best cover yet.

  3. Fantastic cover. Absolutely beautiful. Good work!

    I still like The Peacock's Tower more, though.

  4. Thanks all! The novel itself will come out soon, once I explode this outline into words.


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