Date: 23 Oct 1995 14:47:55 -0400 From: email@example.com (Jwrawles) Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newsgroups: misc.writing Subject: "Web Books" - New Trend for the W. W. Web It had to happen sooner or later. The World Wide Web has a new wrinkle: "Web Books." Authors around the globe are now poised to launch their fiction and non-fiction manuscripts into cyberspace. Within a few years there may be more new books offered on the Internet than on the shelves of your local book store. Its is anticipated that most Web Books will be sold as "shareware." Readers can log on to a web site, download complete books to their hard disk free of charge, and then either read them on their computer screens or print out a hard copy. Just like with software that has been sold as shareware, if a reader finds it useful, they can send payment directly to the author. Typically, authors ask for $5 from their readers. Shareware payments are voluntary, and it is difficult to estimate how many readers will actually pay post facto for a book that they enjoyed reading. However, if a Web Book should become the Internet equivalent of a best seller, there is the prospect for considerable profit. For example, even if just 2% of a Internet readership of 500,000 sends in $5 checks to an author, he would still receive $50,000 for his efforts. One Web Book that has recently attracted considerable attention by browsers of the Internet is a novel titled The Gray Nineties by Jim Rawles. His was one of the first novels to be distributed via the World Wide Web, and is a hot topic of discussion in several Internet news groups. His novel is a piece of speculative fiction that follows a survivalist group through the dark days of a devastating stock market crash, subsequent socio-economic collapse, and its aftermath. Rawles is an Idaho-based freelance writer. He formerly served as a U.S. Army intelligence officer, and was an associate editor of Defense Electronics magazine. "I doubt that I was the first to come up with the idea of a shareware novel on the Internet," Rawles said, "but I certainly won't be the last."
He said that he was surprised by how much response he has had for The Gray Nineties. "Every morning my e-mail [electronic mail] box is full of letters with comments from people around the world who have read The Gray Nineties. It is simply astounding. I get e-mail letters from all over the United States, England, Switzerland, Finland, Australia, you name it." The Internet is a likely venue for novels or non-fiction books with unusual or controversial subjects. Some authors, like Jim Rawles, have had trouble selling their manuscripts to mainstream publishing firms because their books are controversial or considered politically incorrect.
Rawles said: "Most publishing houses are located on the east coast and are dominated by editors that have a traditional eastern liberal viewpoint. They wouldn't touch a novel like the Gray Nineties. It is so politically incorrect. Lets face it. This novel is pro-family, pro-Christianity, pro-preparedness, pro-gun ownership, pro-hunting, pro-militia, and pro-hard currency. At the same time, it is anti-big government, anti-racist, and anti-urban. I realized that it didn't have a chance with the big eastern printing houses, so I decided to sell it as shareware, via the Internet. I hadn't heard of anyone previously using a web site for direct sales of a novel as shareware. I just dreamed it up and decided to give it a shot." Following the rapid success of The Gray Nineties, dozens of other shareware novels and non-fiction books are expected to pop up on web sites around the world in coming months. While some fear that the World Wide Web could become the home of a lot of poorly written "schlocky" manuscripts, others are more hopeful. They contend that the "no holds barred" free exchange of ideas that typifies the various Internet news groups could be enhanced by the advent of full length Web Books. Jim Rawles summed up the latter position: "The Internet is on the cutting edge of social and political debate. Among the Web Books in the next few years will be real some landmarks in publishing history." Any readers who are interested in getting a free look at the full text of a Web novel with hypertext links between chapters can find The Gray Nineties at: http://www.teleport.com/~ammon/gn/cover.htm Your comments/flames on the novel are welcome. James W. Rawles c/o P.O. Box 2289 Orofino, Idaho PZ 83544 voice: (208) 476-4440 e-mail: Jwrawles@aol.com
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