In case you have wondered why I have disappeared, I am now ready to provide an answer to this question. Instead of posting, I have been sitting here watching my page view counts sink to an all-time low. You never can tell, though. One day, after not posting for days, I had over a thousand page views. Who can tell?
What happened is that one insomnia addled night, after being awake for hours, I was looking at my iPad and thought, "How many of these eBooks have I bought, some free, some .99 or 1.99 or 2.99?" And I had a bunch of them on my Kindle and iPad. Forty ways to cook rutabegas. Thirty ways to get rid of the Geico lizard and the new even more obnoxious Geico pig. Just kidding, but you get the idea.
So then I started researching eBooks. I bought five more $2.99 eBooks about eBooks and read them all through in a short time. Then I thought about all the thousands of pages of stuff I had written throughout my life, mostly dry economics research monographs which I doubt anyone ever read. Then I wrote several personal history volumes, a weight-loss book, and a home study manual for money and banking and one for principles of economics. I spent five years writing a principles of economics text which my publisher mercifully (for them) cancelled before publishing after I had finished about 30 chapters.
I explored self publishing after getting rejects from University presses and regular presses, despite favorable reviews. I seriously thought about self-publishing my weight-loss book several years ago, but the main option then was print on demand. And then this wonderful little world of the eBook opened up to us. You can write anything you want (within acceptable limits, of course) and you can hang it out there for the world to see in eBook land within hours or days. Of course, if you want to sell any eBooks, you have to write about something that people will feel will help them or give them information they need, and not just opine about your deep philosophical musings.
So the last several days I have nearly completed my first eBook which is tentatively titled "The Curmudgeonly Professor's Food and Weight Loss Class: Lessons in Controlling your Love Affair with Food and Living a Happier, Healthier, and Longer Life." Part of my objective in writing this eBook is to tackle my own weight loss situation once again. Another goal is just to have a worthwhile project that, I hope, will help people. And, incidentally, if I can make a few $$$, then so much the better. The eBook will likely be priced at $2.99, which would give me a royalty of 70%.
This wonderful eBook world offers so many incredible advantages in comparison with conventional publishing. When I first considered self-publishing, I would have had to invest several thousand dollars in printing my books and then run the risk of using them all for doorstops and cat litter. So I gave that up. And the world of print on demand, however appealing, was not the same world as that of the eBook. Anyone with an iPad or a Kindle or with a Kindle ap on a computer can read an eBook. I figure that if people can find even a few ideas or tidbits of information in an eBook for $2.99 they will feel their money was well spent. The author is out only his or her time. You do need Microsoft Word to format your eBook for the Kindle and a manual (for $2.99, of course) that tells you how to format. I was all set to order Microsoft 2010 since I have been using Word Perfect for years out of loyalty to my Utah friends who started it when I noticed late last night that Word 2013 is out today. Only question is, how many bugs will the new Word 2013 have?
So there you are. I presume you have already thought up a half dozen or so eBooks you want to write. According to the experts, you need about 10,000 words to have a respectable eBook with enough information in it to justify buying it. I need about 2,000 more words, a thorough rewrite, and then the torture of learning to format if that is not beyond the skill level of the Curmudgeonly Professor.
Rest assured I will announce the publication of my first eBook on this blog as soon as I can finish it and launch it for the world to see. Or maybe a dozen or two people. Who knows?