I have learned the secret to great writing productivity: Have your Internet connection go down for most of the day. Starting sometime between 12:30 and 1 p.m., I lost my Internet access. I had network connectivity, but the network wasn't connecting to the Internet. That sometimes happens intermittently, so I figured I'd just write until it came back. After a couple thousand words, I checked again. No dice. After another couple thousand words, still no Internet. After another 2,000 words, I called tech support and got a recording saying essentially, "we know, and we're working on it." I ended up with nearly 8,000 words, which may be a one-day record for me. The Internet is back today, and it's funny that AT&T hasn't sent any kind of acknowledgment or apology to its customers, although I've seen reports that it was a system-wide "rolling blackout." Maybe I could get them to take down the Internet more often. I'd get a lot more written.
Fortunately, it was back in time for the flood of birthday wishes on Facebook. I feel so famous and loved.
Among the messages and e-mails and reviews I couldn't deal with yesterday without Internet (oh, Internet, never leave me again, unless I need to write) were a lot of the same questions I've been getting about the new book release. Since I suspect some of the regulars are tired of seeing the same questions come up in the comment threads whenever I post about the new book, I thought I'd do a nice Frequently Asked Questions file and maybe deal with them all at once.
Will Much Ado About Magic be available for Nook, Kindle, Kobo, other e-readers?
Yes. It will be available in the mobi format for Kindle and epub format for other readers and will be offered for sale at most of the usual e-book outlets, starting with the on-sale date of August 15. It's currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Apple's iBookstore because those are the outlets that allow pre-orders of self-published titles. Some of the stores, like B&N, are good at making the books available almost immediately. Others take a while. That's not too different from the way physical bookstores work. Some have the book out even before the official on-sale date. Others may take a few days or longer to get the book out of the box and onto the shelves. The digital world seems to work the same way. We're making the title available to all these outlets at the same time. It's up to them when they want to start selling it. There will also be a pdf version available at some outlets, and it will be made available for the Overdrive system that libraries can use to offer e-books.
Will there be a print edition available?
Yes, there will be a print edition available through Amazon's CreateSpace, but it may be later than the digital edition is ready because there's more to be set up to get the print book ready. It will be a trade paperback like the earlier books in the series, and it should be available through the various global Amazon outlets. We're also working with Ingram for a print version through their system, and it's possible that bookstores could order that, but it likely won't be appearing in the major chains that way. You'll have to either special order the book through a store or order online.
But I don't have an e-reader and I don't want to wait for the print version. What should I do?
If you're reading this, then you can read an e-book. I don't have an e-reader, but I've been able to proof the e-book files by using free software to read both of the major e-book formats. There will be a pdf version, as well, that just about any computer can read using the Adobe Acrobat reader or Preview on a Mac. I've also got some e-reader software on my phone. If I can manage to review these files without having a reader, then I think it's pretty easy for just about anyone to access this book. It may not be the way you normally choose to read, but you can do it.
Will I be able to buy this book in bookstores?
Probably not. Bookstores tend not to stock self-published titles. You may be able to special order it, and some really supportive independent stores could choose to stock the title, but this is one you'll probably have to order online.
That sucks. I wish I could just go to the store and buy it instead of having to order it or deal with an e-book. Why are you doing this to us?
The original publisher opted not to publish this book and the other publishers weren't interested in continuing a series started by someone else. The Japanese publisher did want to continue the series, which was why I wrote this book in the first place, and then I finally forced myself to admit that the US publisher was never going to see the light, so I'm doing what I can to make this book available. This is the best I can do without the support of a publisher, so it's either this way or keep waiting for a publisher to come around. Would you rather read this book in a way that doesn't entirely fit your usual reading preferences, or would you rather not get to read it at all? I have to admit that anticipation of this gripe was one of the reasons I held off for so long, and while most readers have been joyful and appreciative, there's been enough whining to validate my concerns in this area and to dampen my enthusiasm. "There's a book I've been dying to read for years, and now it's available, but it's not available in the way I want it and that makes me angry" is such a first-world problem.
If I buy a print copy, can I get it autographed?
Because these books probably won't be available in stores and because bookstores hold author signings to sell books, I probably won't be doing bookstore signing events. If you're going to be at a convention I'll be attending and if you want to bring your copy, I'll be happy to sign it for you. If a library or writing group invites me to speak, I'll sign books there. If a store wants to sell copies and have me do a signing, I'd be open to that. But signing opportunities for this sort of thing will naturally be somewhat limited.
Will this book be available in other countries?
This e-book is being offered in English worldwide and with no DRM (but I'd best not find it pirated). There is a Japanese edition already available. Other foreign translations will depend on publishers in those countries buying translation rights. I'm not in a position to do self-published translated editions. Something is possibly in the works to make the English versions of the first four books available digitally outside North America, so stay tuned for that.
I'm a reviewer. Can I get an advance copy to review?
A review copy is available via NetGalley. You can easily get a NetGalley membership and submit a request. I would recommend that your profile include the URL for your blog or review site and information about it, as well as where else you might post reviews, what your audience size is, etc. When I evaluate requests, I make sure the site is appropriately targeted, has been updated somewhat recently and frequently, and is moderately professional. If you meet those criteria, then you'll get a review copy.