Writer M.J. Rose On Free eBooks

October 22, 2008

Why Is My Book Free?

It’s because trying something for free is the best way of discovering it. And free doesn’t mean sampling a quarter of a cookie – it means the whole cookie. It doesn’t mean someone spraying my wrist with perfume – it means them putting a small bottle of the fragrance in my shopping bag. It means spending a weekend in a hotel and taking two showers using the same soap. It doesn’t mean reading the first five pages of my book online – it means reading my whole book for free as a way of discovering me as an author.

I agree with the sentiment. Just not the method.

This guy got screwed:

What a colossal ripoff.

I went to the site, clicked the link, and I was required to give a lot of personal information (which I did). When I finally clicked the “download PDF” link, (after entering the free code) there was no PDF, only a 1 k file called “ebx.etd”. NO PDF, NO BOOK.

So basically I just wasted a lot of time and gave away my personal information to your publishing company… FOR NOTHING.

Glad I didn’t.

Not-Free Free eBook By M.J. Rose

October 22, 2008

Via Twitter from book_blog:

Dear Reader,

I want you to discover the worlds I’m exploring in the Reincarnation series so much, I’m offering you the first in the series – THE REINCARNATIONIST – free.

No strings, just the free book — all you have to do is click on either of the links above and download the entire novel and start reading THE REINCARNATIONIST (which has just been released in paperback) now! Readers and reviewers say it’s “un-put-downable.”

The series continues with THE MEMORIST (which is out now) – and early reviews and reader reactions is the same – it seems I’ve tapped into a universal interest with these books that explore who we were and who we are while at the same time giving you a page turning read. I hope you’ll agree.

I would have liked to have gotten this to read. But proceeding with the download brought me to the eHarlequin eBook Store where I could not complete anything for free. It wanted me to create an account.


I lambasted Sony for this with its Reader Revolution free classics promotion.

All of you out there: Free means no strings attached. Stop calling it free if it requires creating an account at a store!

(Yes, Tor asks for you to create an account for its free eBooks too — but that has the significant benefit of making you aware of more free eBooks to come.)

There’s also a link for owners of the abominable Kindle. I suspect, for those who already have an Amazon Alcatraz account, that version will indeed be free for real.

Free eBook: Spaceman Blues

October 22, 2008

Free e-book from Brian Francis Slattery

My preposterous (but hopefully effective) cover copy for Spaceman Blues called it a “literary retro-pulp science-fiction–mystery–superhero novel.” But when I think back to why I first picked up this book and started reading it, I can’t help recalling a line Brian wrote on his cover letter when he first submitted the book to us a bit over five years ago: “This book is painted in browns and grays, sparked by sudden fires. I suspect it is not for everyone, though I hope it is for you.” Here’s your opportunity to find out which camp you fall in.

These are the eBook formats available:

But there’s a catch:

As usual, the links above will only work if you’ve registered for Tor.com and are logged in, so if you haven’t joined the site, you might want to do so now. In return, you’ll get access to this book, many other useful site features, and more free e-books in the months to come.

But click this for your incentive:

Click = big

That amount of money saved should compel you to register!

Thanks for another freebie, Tor!

Direct Publishing FTW: Urban Fiction

October 22, 2008

Urban Fiction Makes Its Way From Streets to Public Libraries

Urban fiction’s journey from street vendors to library shelves and six-figure book deals is a case of culture bubbling from the bottom up. That is especially true in New York, where the genre, like hip-hop music, was developed by, for and about people in southeast Queens and other mostly black neighborhoods that have struggled with drugs, crime and economic stagnation.

like Mark Anthony — who at 35 is Ms. Miller’s contemporary and the author of “Paper Chasers,” based on his youth in Laurelton — found themselves being rejected by agents and publishers. So they paid to self-publish their books, with rudimentary design and cheap bindings, and sold them on 125th Street in Harlem, or on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, around the corner from the borough library’s main branch. Soon, a stream of people — high-school students, first-time library users, the library’s own staff — were asking for the books. And the librarians went out on the street to buy them.

Emphasis added by me.

I’ve seen a ton of these books for sales on the streets of Manhattan for at least ten years. I wondered if they were all self-pubbed or small press. Now I know.

One frightening thing. I got to read over the shoulder of someone waiting for the ferry and my hair stood on end. The page was blasted with bad spelling and punctuation. (And no, I don’t mean bad spelling as in jargonistic dialogue, I mean bad spelling!) If these are now being picked up by the dying dinosaurs of print, I hope they’re all undergoing remedial editing. I think I’d pass out if I saw a book in a public library that was like the one I saw.

Mainstream publishers saw dollar signs and jumped in. St. Martin’s Press now publishes authors from Mr. Anthony to the rapper 50 Cent — another Queens native, born Curtis Jackson — and a subgenre of black erotica led by the writer Zane.

Zane has been prominently featured in bookstore windows too. Zane has a monster following.

“There are black librarians who hate the genre, because they feel like it’s an embarrassment culturally,” said Vanessa Morris, an assistant teaching professor of library sciences at Drexel University.

But she says the genre tells the stories of African-Americans who survived the 1980s drug wars: “This is about documenting history, or, I should say, collective memory.”

Librarians point out that Harlequin romances, the Bobbsey Twins and even paperbacks were once considered too lowbrow for libraries — and that Stephen King and Ms. Collins also trade in sex and violence.

Well those objections are just stupid. As long as the books have all the words spelled correctly and the punctuation is correct too, put them in the damned libraries! Have these librarians never read crime fiction at all?! I think Derek Raymond would make them reach for some calming pills. And yes, Derek Raymond is in public libraries here in NYC.

Publish these as eBooks! Watch the market for eBooks and eBook readers explode!