How Can an eBook be different?

On Monday, the 11th, I, Judas: The 5th Gospel will be published exclusive to Nook for 30 days as part of Nook First.  Because of this unique platform, I want to do something different with this book.

eBooks are organic and flexible.  That’s something we focus on at Cool Gus Publishing.  We can change a cover (like we just did with the Atlantis books).  But we can also change the book itself.  With the Internet, an audience can be engaged in a book like never before.  As an author, I listen to my readers.  So what can we do differently with this eBook given these capabilities?

We have a Facebook page set up and a blog for the book where people can post comments.  But I’m thinking further.  Should I consider possibly even rewriting the book into different version based on reader feedback?  Change the ending? It’s a controversial topic, where I cover faith and intellect.  The plot revolves around the apparent end of the world in three days. Some believe it’s the Rapture, but others see it as a scientific event they can battle.  But what if both are wrong?

Do you believe in redemption?  Do you believe that science trumps faith or the opposite?  Or can they co-exist? How does your religious faith conflict (if at all) with what you have come to know as science? Or the how has science affected your faith? How do various religions across the globe handle such questions?

With such issues as this, I really want to get readers engaged and give them a positive reason to be actively involved in not just the story, but the storytelling itself.

The book will be available on 11 June 2012, so we have until then to add your thoughts to that version.  But after the 30 days on Nook, it will go to other platforms, such as Kindle, Kobo, iTunes, etc. Please feel free, after reading I, Judas: The 5th Gospel to post your comments to either Facebook or our blog and based on reader reactions I could have another version based on reader engagement ready for all other platforms.

Also, what other suggestions do you have for reader engagement in eBooks? What would you like to see an author do in an eBook that would get you involved and keep a discussion going?

About Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer is a NY Times Bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret (including commanding an A-Team) and the feeder of two Yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He's had over 60 books published including the #1 series Area 51, Atlantis and The Green Berets. Born in the Bronx, having traveled the world (usually not tourist spots), he now lives peacefully with his wife, and said labs, at Write on the River, TN.

Posted on June 4, 2012, in Write It forward. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. kierankramer

    Bob, hurry up and put an N after A in your title –change it to AN ebook–and delete this comment. Love your posts. :-)

  2. I’m all for reader/writer engagement, but I’m not sure about the idea of reader input affecting the structure of the book. I wouldn’t want to do it with a book that meant anything to me. If I were just playing around with something lightweight, like chick lit, and if I felt it would increase my bottom line, then, maybe.

    Redemption? It’s inescapable.

  3. Maybe I’m not clear on the meaning of readers engaged in the storytelling, but it seems like there would be too many cooks in the kitchen for that to work. In fact, I’m getting tense just thinking about it. I love the idea of asking readers what they think about certain aspects of a book and allowing them to ask the author questions on Facebook or a blog or whatever. That could get really interesting and also help tighten the relationship between readers and writers. (One of the many advantages I see in epublishing.) I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  4. Seriously, I think part of the joy of reading is letting someone else steer the ship, in this case the storyteller. I think you should write the best book possible — and end it in the most satisfying way you can. That will leave your readers wanting more. I understand the desire for reader engagement, but there are other ways to do that rather than dicking around… oops, sorry… tinkering with your book endings. Opening it up for that sort of think takes away from your “authority” as the author of the piece. If you want to do something on your blog, say list some characters and a situation and let your readers have fun with it, that’s fine. I also think you are creating way too much for your yourself and for Jen Talty in the process.

  5. Rachel’s suggesting maybe a little fanfic? Can’t help noticing all the commenters are women. Where’s the men’s viewpoint? Interesting.

  6. Non-fiction material is a natural for this kind of progression, especially self-help books. In many ways, that’s how I’ve been managing my blog PTSD Relief…with reader feedback and volunteer opportunities. That way, I know I’m addressing the issues and questions that are most important to my reader. Based on the information I collect and the response to blog topics, I weave that information into the plots and characters of my fictional novels.

  7. Yvette Carol

    I think anything that gives the reader a voice is fantastic. I love following blogs by fellow writers, like yourself, however I’m turned off by blogs I can’t respond to. When I get to the end of a post and find there’s no way of leaving a comment I unsubscribe immediately.
    Yvette Carol

  8. Helen W. Mallon

    I appreciate how (from the above comments) people are already playing with the ebook form as a new narrative possibility. I think the notion of reader input could spur sales and interest and enrich the writing experience. Obviously you can’t take everyone’s advice (no more than you can in a writing workshop) –But if people have had their say and are listened to, the exchange is fruitful both ways. The trick is to let people know ahead of time what the rules are. Also, if reader input is sought in the form of a “contest,” not everyone can win, but the suspense engages people. On my blog, I sought reader feedback on the latest title for my soon to be published short story, and it’s been great. I think there’ll be more of this as ebooks become more a part of our notion of what constitutes a “book.” Not such a fixed thing any more.

  9. I do believe in redemption! I think it’s an amazing spiritual concept that can have powerfully uplifting long-term effects in our lives. Good for you, Bob! Best of luck!

  10. I am not sure I beileve in redemption, but I know I have given my teenage guardian angels redemption by making them do tests to stop other teens on Earth from ending up dead like them after foolish acts. Here is somewhere I have listened to readers. I had a couple of reviews on Goodreads, where the reviewers said they felt my first book was too short and wanted to read more about the main character’s background. I have decided to put more of this in the current Angel book I am writing, so her back ground is spread out over books.

  11. What is this DREAMS OF ADA that’s on sale at Nook? Shows the publisher to be BookRags, published in 2011. You’ve never mentioned BookRags. It’s 62 pages and priced at $4.99.

  1. Pingback: Creating the well-rounded artist « Natalie C. Markey

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