Books are DVDs Now

Someone asked me why I wrote Survive by the Sword as a novella. Originally it wasn’t even supposed to have chapters, but the peculiar formatting requirements for Smashwords made chapters necessary for the convenience of e-book owners. And giving it chapters didn’t completely destroy the story, so it was no sweat. Similarly, The Sweetest Death is also more of a novella than a full novel.

At the end of the day, it was a personal decision to release the two shorter works as separate books. The plan is to later, at some point when my book sales cover the original cost of the covers, release an in print version of both books as one volume of the Nicodemus Dean series that will give me something to hold and hopefully sell to bookstores.

It’s a tricky business. I came to the conclusion not too long ago that Books are basically DVDs now. It’s no longer enough to simply write and publish a great story. Books are expensive and you need to give people more of an incentive to buy them now that there are cheaper alternatives.

What are the qualities of the best DVD’s? They have deleted and extended scenes, alternate beginnings and endings, music videos, interviews with the cast and crew, and sometimes four or five separate discs full of information that film students gobble up like candy.

Go the nearest bookstore and what do you find on the shelves of best sellers? Books with “deleted chapters”. Special edition releases of books with the “Author’s cut”. Bonus stories.

In the late 90’s, it wasn’t uncommon for Scholastic, or publishers that produced TV-tie in novels to release information about contests, or specially wrapped books with unique gifts for loyal readers. I myself feverishly collected all of the extra trinkets that the Animorphs series released in their time. (Does anyone else still have tie Iron-on?)

Though I wasn’t a huge reader of adult fiction until I started picking up The Vampire Chronicles, I don’t recall seeing all of the “Extras”. Prince Lestat was the first Vampire Chronicle in ten years, so naturally it was a good idea to have a glossary of characters and terms to give old readers a refresher and keep new readers from getting lost.

I for one am totally on board with this. If I am going to try to make a dent in the print market, I am aware to load the book with as many extras as possible to make my reader feel that their ten or twelve dollars was worth it. (Prices are not set in stone right now)


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