Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Experiment in Screenplay Publishing

(UPDATE: I am pulling this screenplay from publication. It has sold less than a dozen copies. Normally that wouldn't matter, but I have decided to novelize it instead. I might even serialize it.  As of this note, it is still available on Smashwords, but should be disappearing from all of the partner sites over the next month.  I expect to unpublish from Smashwords in July.)

I spent this evening finishing up the publication of The Scenic Route. It's up on Smashwords right now, but it's going to be a while yet before Amazon and other ebook sites get it up and going. (Harsh Climate is still not up on Barnes and Noble. Feh.)

I'll post more about the story and all that when it is actually more available.

Here is a little bit more about the adventure of creating an ebook/screenplay:

In Hollywood, screenplay format is sacrosanct. You don't mess with it, and so the only electronic format that is right for it is PDF. The problem is that the 8.5 by 11 inch pages are simply not readable on a tiny device like an iPhone. They aren't all that great on a Kindle either -- although many people in the business do read on them. The iPad or a net book are really the best size for screenplay reading.


That formatting that is so hard to read on an iPhone? It makes screenplays just plain hard to read for ordinary folk who are not in the business. It takes practice to read a screenplay, and your average person is not interested in learning the skill.

So when I decided to publish some screenplays for e-readers, I decided that I have to simplify the format. It would make the thing more readable on small devices AND... it would just make it more readable. Ordinary readers are not looking to read a blueprint of a movie they intend to produce, they want to play that story in their heads as they read it.

The question is whether I can get people intersted in reading it, or whether only screenplay fans will give it a try -- and they'll be pissed off because I changed the format.

(Apparently both Smashwords nor Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing didn't quite like my format, because they both added a slight indent to every paragraph, as if the thing is a novel. It is, however, still quite readable, I think. I have to wait until Kindle is done processing so I can check the sample on my iPod Touch to be sure.)

I think I'm going to have some fun with this particular experiment, even if it fails. I'll keep you apprised.


"The Scenic Route" is now available as an ebook at the Amazon Kindle Store, Amazon UK and Smashwords (where you can get many different formats). Soon to be available at Apple's iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony and Deisel.

(Warning, The Scenic Route is an R-rated crime comedy -- with bad language and mild sexual situations, and main characters who have serious trouble understanding right from wrong.)


Karl Peter Smith said...

My name is Karl Peter Smith (my screeplays are on google)... I published through Lulu in US Letter format and 6x9...

If you cut and paste a page of your script from WORD2003 and paste it into the 6x9 page template(increase original size by 250% and it will fit)

=Correct US Frormat for script on a 6x9 page.

The Daring Novelist said...

Karl -- the problem is not with publishing in a paper book, but publishing in an ebook.

Sure it's fine on a large 6x9 paper book... but it's unreadable shrunk down to a 2x3 screen. That's what we have to contend with in the next generation of publishing.