Tuesday, February 8, 2011

book, with a question mark

I saw that Webb Chiles made some changes to his website recently, one of those changes being adding this blog to his list of links (thanks, Webb).  

But what really caught my eye was his new book (?) of short stories called "shadows and other stories," which includes three of Webb's works of fiction - Last Born, St. Stylites of Las Vegas and Sailing to Africa. I add the question mark because this isn't really a book in the sense that you could put it on a shelf.  It is in fact a kindle edition that you put on your kindle or phone, priced very reasonably at $2.99.  The stories themselves have been available for free, in pdf format, on the the site for a while now.  But really, it will be well worth it for me to have it on my Droid phone in the kindle app. (I've found reading books a the smart phone to be surprisingly pleasant.)

Check out the first few words of Sailing to Africa...

Blue:  light, powder, turquoise, deep.  Water.  Sky.
White:  sand.  clouds.
Green:  coconut palm trees covering atolls.

I haven't read the book yet so I cannot give it an honest review.  But I do like the way it starts.   

This isn't the first of Webb's kindle editions that I have downloaded.  I'm currently reading The Fifth Circle, the passage log.  This is quite literally a logbook for his fifth circumnavigation, the daily routine, maintenance, weather observations and thoughts.   I'm very glad to have it on my phone - when I get a few minutes of downtime I can open up The Fifth Circle and find myself sailing the southern ocean on the Hawke of Tuonela (instead of sitting in an office waiting on somebody).

I don't understand the mechanics of publishing a kindle edition or any other kind of e-book.  But I'm glad it can be done.  There used to be a threshold for publishing books, a publisher needed to be convinced that a book would sell "x" number (50,000? 100,000? 250,000?) of copies before they would be willing to take on the risk.  How many great short stories or tales of adventure were never published because an editor doubted that it would sell?  Now it seems that threshold has been lowered, if not eliminated.

As I said, I don't know how it all works.  Webb briefly mentions some of the technology in an earlier journal entry.  But the software and formats don't concern me, I don't expect I'll ever write a book, kindle of otherwise.  But I am very glad that more words, thoughts, ideas and adventures can, and will be published.

(But I'll still plan on carrying a paperback on the next cruise.)



Marius said...

Hi Steve,

You should, you know. No, seriously! You write very well and you have such a lot to share with fellow open boat cruisers. From the building of the boat, your cruises and experiences, your meticulous planning and preparation, advice and tips on packing, cooking, sleeping, etc. I, for one, will really value it if you can put all your personal experience up to this point in a book.
Go for it!
Marius (from South Africa)

Bursledon Blogger said...

Get writing Steve, I've been looking at lulu.com to publish an account of our Atlantic Crossing, the technology isn't that difficult (I just need to find more time to spend with it)

Steve said...

A couple of years ago I did self-publish a "print" book of photographs from a couple of sailing trips using blurb. It was very easy, fairly priced. I did it to make some christmas gifts for family members and I was very happy with the result.
But this kindle idea is a little different. I don't know, maybe it is worth considering putting some sailing logs with notes out there. Might be a nice little project to keep me out of trouble. steve