Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Second Career

We guess it isn’t surprising that, at the start of our second careers, our feelings have been reversed.

For the last three decades, Lynn has been passionate about helping young people as a high school teacher and counselor. While Evans has enjoyed the mental challenges that come with being a systems analyst, he has found his la joie de vivre outside the job. At first this included writing stories, poems, and plays for the family. Recently, as it has dawned on him that his creative energy could be the foundation for becoming “a real live novelist,” Evans has begun to be consumed by his passion for turning wild ideas into books. The necessity to commute for the fat paycheck is growing ever more burdensome and he has begun to be quite possessive of his writing time. Meanwhile, Lynn has begun the slow transition from the “Queen of Poway High School” into the west coast champion grandma with eyes toward a national title. While excited by the idea of having books out with her moniker, the current grind required to make that a reality hasn’t thrilled her.

This attitude reversal has naturally led to some tensions for our famous pair. After years of putting her job first, Evan believes it’s time to make their collaboration the top priority. Lynn is still emotionally invested in her school, her children, and her grandchildren. She needs time to reorder her life. Evans pushes. Lynn counsels patience. There is now strain that hasn’t been felt in the relationship since there were young children and not enough money.

Don’t be worried. We’re not. We’ve worked through harder issues and we know that when it gets right down to it, we are each other’s lives. Also we have our first big release coming out in about a month so you can help save our marriage by downloading our eBook.  J/K  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

eBook Sharing

Around our house, sharing a favorite book is a long tradition. We have shelves everywhere crammed with paper books, many of which were purchased by someone else and given to us. We have given away literally hundreds of books in return. Naturally, in our embrace of the eBook universe, the idea of sharing a favorite read is a hot topic, especially since it is still open on how or even if eBook sharing will be allowed.

Digital Rights Management or DRM is a fancy way of saying electronic sharing. In eBooks right now, DRM tends toward the extreme. The major publishers and eBook distributors currently favor heavy DRM. This means that eBooks are only allowed for a single user and often a single device (reader, PC, tablet, smart phone, etc.). It has been getting a little easier to share with yourself, say between your Kindle and the Kindle Reader on your laptop, but getting an Amazon purchased book from your Kindle to your neighbor’s Kindle is a trick and highly frowned upon.  The other extreme is DRM-free eBooks. The people who support keeping downloadable files free of electronic encumbrances are often fanatical in their devotion to open media. The problem is that it costs nothing to share DRM-free files with anyone in the world and to keep on sharing the same file over and over again. There is a natural geographic limitation on sharing a paper book. If it costs less to buy it than to mail it, it makes more sense to purchase a local copy (or have it shipped from Amazon).

As authors of future best selling eBooks (oh please… please…please) and avid readers, Lynn Evans believes in the middle ground. We are promoting a 5-50 DRM scheme. We think all eBooks purchased by an individual should be able to be loaded on to five separate devices. That way an eBook can be shared with a few friends anywhere. It will even make those people who love to prowl libraries and garage sales for ten cent paperbacks happy. We think someday we’ll hunt up a one-load-to-go eBook gem for a nickel at someone’s online garage sale. We also believe that libraries deserve a break and should be permitted 50 checkouts on an eBook before it needs to be replaced. Paper books don’t last forever and are repurchased by libraries all the time. The authors of popular eBooks should likewise be compensated for frequent library checkouts.

This summer we are planning a big eBook promotion to raise money for a good cause (the Student Services Office at Poway High School). We intend to release our first eNovel through all the major eBook distribution channels with their heavy DRM and to offer the same eBook on our personal sales page DRM-free. We’ll let you know how both sales channels work for us.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Manuscript Dieting

Lynn and Evans differ on weight management. Lynn is a dieter and Evans believes exercise is a cure-all. This philosophical difference spills over into our collaboration and makes it stronger. What’s that old saying; “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Well, it’s like that.

Evans isn’t afraid to let his love of a story idea race on and on. The first draft of our novels will ramble down tributaries and climb hills well away from the story’s main course. Evans thinks these side journeys are delightful. Lynn thinks they are a distraction. With the ruthlessness which would make Freddy Kruger proud, Lynn will take the electronic chainsaw to early drafts, cutting away themes and narratives not core to the central idea. Evans has learned that neither shouting nor moping has much effect when Lynn is trying to trim down our work.

A good example of this interplay can be found in one chapter of our manuscript, Promise. The protagonist in that story is an exceptional young lady who quits basketball to train for a triathlon. Sport is just part of the background in a coming of age novel centered on building and destroying relationships. In the chapter devoted to the heroine’s first race, Evans paid loving tribute to the sport he loves by describing intimate details that make triathlons such a wonderful challenge. Lynn cut everything that wasn’t essential to the protagonist’s feelings as she prepares and then competes in her first race. Although he lost some enamel from grinding his teeth, Evans has had to admit the chapter is better after Lynn’s efforts to limit the descriptive calories in order to concentrate on lean emotion. You can see for yourself. We’ve attached the before and after chapters below.

WARNING: The F-Bomb is dropped by the protagonist’s best friend in order to help her relax before she competes.
Evans' Chapter   Lynn's Chapter

Saturday, April 2, 2011

EBook Hunting for Fun and Profit

Books are changing. EBooks will be a liberating force for both writers and readers. No longer will those of us with stories to share and those who wish to discover those stories be shackled by what we like to refer to as the “tyranny of paper.”

We understand why some readers have a hard time believing that the eBook revolution is something to get excited about. So many of today’s e-only books are poorly written. It sometimes feels like a reader must wade through a sea of e-garbage before they find a jewel. However, we’re sure this will change. Once they realize they’ve been set free from the constraints of the publishing oligarchs, good writers who are unwilling to endure a system designed to “churn out more of the same” will produce memorable e-only books. While others believe these fine works will be lost in a sea of mediocrity, we believe they will find a large and loving audience. Why? Because eBooks are a new treasure anyone can hunt.

Every eBook distribution avenue we’ve investigated offer affiliations. Simply by providing a link, the owner of a blog or website can make money when a reader clicks through and buys the recommended eBook. Right now, most of the affiliated sites seem to stress quantity over quality. However, some discerning soul is going to figure out how their love of good eBooks can be turned into gold when readers like us click-in to see what he or she is reading that week. Somewhere there is an eOprah waiting to emerge; probably more than one. Their ability to ferret out good e-reads will lead readers to new joy in the written word and well earned remuneration for finding e-treasures. If we weren’t so busy trying to figure out this brave new eBook writing, publishing, and marketing, we would give it a shot ourselves. We certainly plan to at least dabble. So don’t be surprised when you see a link to someone else’s eBook here. We’re not averse to digging up a little e-booty. Yo Ho Ho.