Thursday, May 26, 2011

Electronic or Print? Same Difference, Either Way

'Same Difference' by Martin Harris (Kindle version)A while back I published my first novel, Same Difference, a hard-boiled detective story set in 1970s NYC amid the “grindhouse”/42nd street/Times Square scene. One of those things where after many years of reading similar kinds of fiction, I thought I’d give it a try myself.

The print version has sold modestly, and I’ve been fortunate to receive some nice feedback from those who’ve read it. I very consciously attempted to write it as a “page-turner” and not necessarily get too carried away with trying to shoehorn in there a bunch of deep, “literary” moves. There are a few attempts to sneak in some symbolism, allusion, imagery, various recurring themes, and so forth. (Maybe even a “hidden message” or three.) But like most popular fiction, I tried mainly to keep the plot front and center, and thus (hopefully) keep readers turning pages in order to discover what happens next.

The first line of the novel is “Everything started with the package.” My private detective, Richard Owen, receives an unsolicited mailing at his office, which come to find out contains a human bone. I always liked how whenever someone orders a copy of the book, that person, too, receives a package.

After putting it off for some time, I’ve finally created an electronic version of the novel. So no more “package” for those who buy it. Nor can we really call it a “page-turner,” either. I mean, what do we say? It’s constantly clickable? You’ll scurry through the screens?

'Same Difference' by Martin Harris (print version)The fact is, I’m old school enough to have resisted the whole “death of print” thing for a long time. I actually have never personally read a book on an electronic device like the Kindle or Nook or what have you. I don’t even like reading long pieces on the computer, preferring to print them out. And so when the novel first appeared, I didn’t even consider an eBook version.

But now I’m seeing how many people enjoy reading long fiction this way, and so I decided finally to offer up Same Difference as an eBook. And, you know, as much as I consider the sensory experience of holding a book in your hands and turning the pages part of what it means to read a novel, I guess in the end it doesn’t matter too much which way one reads the book.

As it turned out, I procrastinated long enough for it to have become especially easy to format and publish books this way. Took some time with the formatting, but the actual publishing process took less than a day to complete, if you can believe it. The Kindle version of Same Difference can be found on the Amazon site by clicking here. Good for the Kindle, obviously, but you can read it on your iPhone or iPad, too, by getting a free app. Meanwhile, I’m looking into making it available for the Nook and in other formats, too.

The print version remains available, too, of course, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, and elsewhere on the web. You can also order a signed copy from me (see the PayPal thingy on the right-hand column). Do that and I’ll send you a package (and not charge for shipping).

For those who do check it out, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have. There are definitely certain elements of the book which in retrospect I’d try to handle differently and which I’m keeping in mind as I work on a second novel. But overall I’m pretty glad with how it turned out, and am grateful to Vera Valmore for having pushed me to get it out in the world like this.

One note for readers of this blog -- I think I’ve mentioned this before whenever I’ve brought up Same Difference here on Hard-Boiled Poker, but there is absolutely no poker in the novel whatsoever. Nor is there poker in any of the other fiction I’ve been working on of late. I could say I write so much about poker otherwise that I want a break from it when I try to write fiction. In truth, though, I’d have to admit I’ve been too intimidated by the idea of creating fictional stories about poker -- the true ones are often so compelling they’d be difficult to match!

Anyhow, thanks for indulging me this post about something other than poker. And big thanks, too, to those who have bought the novel thus far (both in print or as an eBook).

(Photo above by early Same Difference Kindle version purchaser Matt Waldron -- thanks, Matt!)

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Blogger Otis said...

I'm glad you made this decision. I own a hard copy of Same Difference, but will be buying a Kindle version. I'm the guy who calls himself a traditionalist but now doesn't buy a book unless can get it on my Kindle. Odd, huh?

5/26/2011 1:43 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Just bought your book on my Kindle for iPhone app. I know what a fine writer you are from being a regular reader of your blog and look forward to reading it next week on my trip to Puerto Vallarta.

5/26/2011 2:34 PM  
Blogger AVIGANOLA said...

Please make available for the Nook. I will buy it right away so 1 copy sold! Keep up the great work on this Blog. You the man.

5/26/2011 6:57 PM  

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