February 1st, 2010

snark maiden

Want more Marla Mason? Neither Amazon or Macmillan can help

One of the reasons I'm in the 'plague on both your houses' camp on Amacmill-fail is that they're quibbling about which of them gets most of the money form ebooks and who gets to decide how much to charge for them before they inevitably fall to the $4.99 price the mass market will accept for them in a rather deckchairs on the Titanic way. Neither of them has a solution for getting mid-list writers the mix of editing support, marketing support and income stream they need. Take one of my favourite writers, T A Pratt. His four Marla Mason books are fantastic (magic plus snark plus PUNCHING); you can get the first one as a free ebook but that didn't make the rest of them sell well enough for book to get picked up. That's bad for any fan; worse when book 4 ends on a cliffhanger. Pratt wrote a near-novel-length novella prequel that he put on his Web site and solicited donations for; it did better than he expected but he told me he didn't want to get into the self-publishing game; as both a writer and editor myself I completely understand that. Good editors make good books better; good publishers make good books sell better. This is the quandary neither Amazon nor Macmillan (nor Apple nor Barnes and Noble....) is really addressing. So, I was really excited to see him say this today:

"I'm debating whether or not to write Broken Mirrors -- the fifth full-length Marla Mason novel, which will resolve the cliffhanger in Spell Games -- this spring, to be published online as a reader-funded serial in the summer or fall... I suspect I'll use this model: I'll put up the first chapter, and post subsequent chapters as soon as I receive a certain amount in donations for each chapter (probably between $200-$300 depending on how many chapters there are), not to exceed one chapter per week... If I get a pretty healthy response to this call for interest, I'll do it. If I only get a handful of responses, well... I probably won't."

So, if you wouldn't mind wandering over to http://tim-pratt.livejournal.com/105839.html or mailing tapratt@marlamason.net to say Make Mine More Marla, I'd be very grateful...