I gave an interview to author Jasmine Bale for her blog. Here it is...
JB: First, thank you for taking the time for this interview. I know you have a lot going on right now. Let's start with that. What are you working on currently?
Max: The Underground Press is moving into ePublishing in a big way. Personally I have the first two manuscripts in the Ezekiel Strong Saga ready to go. I'm currently looking for a good agent/publisher to get it into print. I'm also working on a separate story with a character from that series.
I've taken on the position of editor and resident writer for The Underground Press as well. I've edited two eBooks, which are currently available on MobiPocket and Kindle, and working on others.
JB: What do you think the future of ePublishing looks like?
Max: I think publishing is following the path blazed by the Indie Music scene. Where we saw bands burning CDs on their computers and selling them directly to the fans, we are seeing authors self publishing and marketing their own books. The new tools and services are great - from Mobi, to Kindle, to BookSurge.
JB: So why are you still looking for an agent/publisher for the Ezekiel Strong series?
Max: I don't see Indie publishing replacing traditional publishing, just enhancing it. We see some bands stubbornly remain Indie, no matter how big they get, and others grab for the brass ring of a big record deal as soon as they can. It's the same in publishing. A big part of being “published” is the huge marketing network that comes along with the big boys in New York backing your book.
JB: Your first book, ArchAngelxx, was written for the new eBook market. What makes it different?
Max: ArchAngelxx was written for the net. It was never intended to be bound in paper. In it I leveraged the power of on-line media, which is hyper-links. There are links in the text that open expanded content the reader can access if they choose, or pass over if they like. It was a very tech driven story, so I also provide links to definitions of some of the technical terms and concepts. You can't do that on paper. Footnotes, and having to flip to an appendix, are cumbersome and pull the reader out of the story. In the electronic format, the flow is maintained naturally.
JB: Do you see eBooks becoming a new form of media?
Max: The possibility is there. Right now, big and small publishers are enhancing their lines by producing eBook versions of their printed books. Authors are publishing eBooks because it is faster and cheaper than self publishing in print. Basically the books are just electronic versions of printed books.
As eBooks become more popular, and eBook readers get better, I think a new form will emerge and writers will start producing content for the new media. There is so much more you can do in an electronic format than on paper. Again we can look at the music industry model. With the advent of CDs and DVDs artists began adding new content to their albums – video, pictures, all sorts of bonus content. They couldn't do that on vinyl or tape.
JB: Are you concerned about copy-write protection in a digital age? How are you going to protect your books from pirates?
Max: I think all of the concern over pirating is holding the big publishers back, just like it has the record industry. They seem to be scared to death they might loose a sale. I don't look at it that way. If I have a printed book I like, what keeps me from loaning it to you? If I pick up a book for a dollar at a yard sell, no one gets residuals. So what's the big deal with eBooks? The way I look at it - if you give your copy of ArchAngelxx to someone, they my be the first in line to buy my next book. I may not get paid for the book they read, without purchasing, but I get excellent promotion for all my other books.
I can understand the need for some protection against wholesale copying of eBooks, but we need to allow for sharing. I'm not sure how to do that. With MobiPocket you buy the rights to have the book on up to three devices. You can only read it on those devices. I can't give you my copy to read. I'm looking for a new distribution model that will allow sharing and allow for library copies of eBooks. Maybe as devices become more advanced and less expensive a new distribution model will emerge.
JB: Thanks, Max. We look forward to big things coming from The Underground Press in the new year, and I hope to see Ezekiel Strong on bookshelves soon.