I didn’t mention HTML.
Prior to this week, one of the versions/formats my eBooks were available in on modernevil.com (for the books which were available there) was HTML. It was basically just the .rtf dumped into a single huge web page. I didn’t do anything to it to make it more web-readable or web-friendly or whatever you want to call it. I’m not doing weblit. I author the book/story/whatever first, edit it / et cetera, and then I share it with the public. Fully formed. Eight of my eleven novels (including all 6 Untrue Tales… books) don’t even have chapters, and in those few with chapters, they aren’t as short as people expect web pages to be. The only chapter in Dragons’ Truth (a YA book) short enough to be a single web page has always felt like an anomaly. Even the chapters of Forget What You Can’t Remember are almost all ~2500 words (though some of them even further sub-divided), which is about 5 times too long for a single web page (for most people – obviously not me on this blog!). How to make my books easily readable online is a bit of a conundrum, as far as I’m concerned. So I never really tried to do it right, myself.
This addendum to my main post about my eBooks in 2011 is to say that this year I’m thinking about (practically planning, now) going to the effort of putting together proper HTML versions of all my books. I’m only in the planning stages right now (though could be moving forward with this as soon as this week, depending on how sleep and other projects go; I’m also planning on beginning recording of the Untrue Tales… Book Five audiobook this week, but that work requires very specific circumstances) but at this point I’m thinking I need to do a separate WordPress installation for each book, and divide the book up into bite-size/page-size chunks (250 words? 500? same as the paperbacks?) which will each be their own WP post, and possibly use Commentpress or digress.it to enable per-paragraph commenting throughout all my books.
I’m also thinking about deep linking the books one to another, and possibly to outside resources. If I go with the Commentpress/digress.it installs, I can add a link in the comments on a paragraph, rather than in the text itself, which feels better to me – especially in the Lost and Not Found universe of books, I feel that the books are really more of a conversation with one another than directly linked, and parallel rather than serial. With the books so granular, connecting subtle repetitions of a phrase or idea, or even connecting obvious things like the short stories in More Lost Memories with the specific scenes and characters they’re spawned from, would be relatively straightforward.
In fact, building a comprehensive, nearly-chronological version of all the stories in the Lost and Not Found universe (something I’ve been toying with putting together for a limited-edition hardback release, or an expensive eBook, for fans) would be relatively easy as well, once I’ve got everything chunked like that.
I look forward to playing with my options, getting a feel for what works, and seeing where the possibilities take me. Not to another whole-book-dump-single-HTML-file for each book, though. That was silly/terrible. I’m not sure whether the 13% of downloads of the .html versions of the eBooks were ever actually read, or just seen as awful and abandoned for something readable. Hopefully this year I’ll develop a working alternative. Ooh: and once I have that settled, I’d like to use something like the setup I’ve described here to pseudo-live-write my books. Would you be interested in reading them (and commenting on them, pointing out errors, questioning the story/characters/pronouns, as I write them, et cetera) in a setup like that? Heck, would you be interested in reading my existing books in a setup like that?