Monday, 13 June 2011

Ebook Debut - Ann Evans

Well I've just scraped in by the skin of my teeth. My ebooks have been up there on Amazon for a whole three days now, so I'm a genuine ebook author – and that feels so good!
Can't actually recall when I first made a decision to bring some out-of-print books back to life in e-form, it was just a vague wishy-washy idea that was hovering around in the back of my mind.
Once that idea stopped swishing about in the old grey matter and became something a bit more tangible I started focusing on three particular 'out of print' books that I would love to revive.
In 2000 Scholastic commissioned me for four 'Sealed Mysteries' then only published three of them (ho hum!) so as well as the three out-of-print titles, there was also a book that hadn't seen the light of day. These 'Sealed' murder mysteries had the last chapter tucked away in a little seal and while I couldn't emulate that in an ebook, I could add a little quirky bit by leading the reader right to the point of discovering whodunnit, and then offer them some additional clues via a website link.
So, plenty to think about. Firstly a new series name. I wanted readers to know they were murder mysteries for kids, (so youngsters of a nervous disposition didn't get traumatised) so Murder Mystery was going to be there somewhere. Then I wanted a word other than kid oryoung reader. Tyke popped out of my thesaurus and I remember as a child, some adult yelling “You little tyke, you!” (they were obviously yelling at one of my brothers, not me, I hasten to add – ah hem!). Nevertheless Little Tyke Murder Mysteries sounded okay to me.
Then, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a Little Tyke logo. I didn't have to look far. My six-year-old granddaughter, Megan arrived for her photo-shoot as requested in baggy shorts, t-shirt, baseball cap, baseball boots, and pink skateboard – very cute (but then I am her Nan). Some photo wizardry later (not by me, I'm not clever enough) and my Little Tyke was born.
Then came a lot of copy-typing, as the three stories had been stored on floppy disc eleven years ago, and my floppy disc computer has long since gone to computer heaven (okay the tip). So that gave me chance to bring the stories up to date. I now gave my characters mobile phones which hadn't existed when I wrote the stories. I just had to make sure there was no signal to land them in the same predicament.
But I had to smile when re-writing Stealing the Show. My characters take a flight to Paris and there's a bag search by the gendarmes at one point. My characters were carrying liquids, make up and a Swiss army knife in their hand luggage and the officer didn't bat an eyelid! Where's that delete button?
So, once the stories were all re-written, then came the new covers, so again it was with the help of my friendly photographer pal, Rob Tysall to turn my ideas into reality.
The came the really tricky bit, formatting the books into the correct format and uploading. But now that it's done, it doesn't seem tricky any longer. Mind you, I've been pulling my hair out every step of the way, they say you learn best by your own mistakes. If that's the case, I must be a genius by now.
However, I was lucky in that I also had lots of guidance from a fellow writer from the Coventry Writers Group, Mike Boxwell. By the time I'd picked his brains, he realised he'd got enough knowledge to write a book on how to Write an Ebook. So he did and I'd heartily recommend it.
So finally, my four ebooks are up, and it's so exciting. Benjamin Fisher in Fishing for Clues, Alex Foxton in Stealing the Show, Henry Lambert in Pushing his Luck and Ronald Claymore in Pointing the Finger are all being resurrected again – well for a while, until they're bumped off again – by whom, you may ask? Well that's for a whole new generation of readers to figure out – and that's the really exciting bit.


Anonymous said...

It's so exciting when you realise the days of remaindering are gone and your books really do have an eternal life outside of the British Museum library - certainly a more accessible one, and I look forward to getting my paws on your Kindle stories!
(This is Karen by the way - still having trouble posting comments on this blog except as anonymous - it just sends me through an endless cycle of signing in - even though I already am - and letter copying. aaaagh!)

Emma Barnes said...

I absolutely love that picture! It makes me want to go out and read the books - in fact, why not? But it looks like a drawing - I am very ignorant here, but how do you get to that from a photo?

Susan Price said...

Great post, Ann - here's wishing you mega-sales!

Debbie said...

Yes - how do you turn a photo into a drawing? Something photo-shoppy? I'm clueless when it comes to covers. Great post - will have to check out the books. They sound exactly like the kind of thing I would have read as a child.

Rosalie Warren said...

Congratulations, Ann! Your Little Tyke is wonderful and so, I'm sure, are the books. Well done.

Ann Evans said...

Thank you for those lovely comments. The photo began as a normal photo and then my friend, Rob - a professional photographer, used some skilled wizardry on photo shop and turned her into a cartoon, which I love.