Got Live…Do You Want It?

August 31st, 2010 by Max Allan Collins

The Crusin’ gig at Wilton Founder’s Day (Friday night Aug. 27) went well – we had a nice big Friday night crowd (though not rivaling the Saturday night mob hometown boys the XL’S drew). The night was cool and pleasant, but humid, with lyric sheets and guitar/keyboard cases getting soaked; and playing on a long/narrow flatbed truck was daunting – we were lined up like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and I couldn’t even see guitarist Jim Van Winkle down there somewhere past bassist Chuck Bunn and drummer Steve Kundel.

We needed a professional sound company for the gig, which the fee didn’t really cover, but my pal Mark Johnson of Rock Island’s Brass Sail Recording (he did the sound and co-wrote the music for Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life) cut us an amazing deal. In addition, Mark made a sound-board recording, and the result was positive enough that I’m thinking about putting together a live CD. This would primarily be a promotional tool for getting Midwest bookings, but I may offer it here on the site, as well.

I am in frequent touch with Charles Ardai, who is being courted by a number of publishers in the search for a new home for Hard Case Crime (and QUARRY’S EX). I can’t be specific, but I will say I’m optimistic. And one of my first projects for a new Hard Case may be finishing THE CONSUMMATA, Mickey Spillane’s sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR with modernday pirate, Morgan the Raider. Speaking of Hard Case, here’s a fun write-up on Hard Case Crime.

And check out this a nice little review of ROAD TO PERDITION (the graphic novel).

BombshellNate and I are discussing starting up an e-book company to get my backlist back in print. We may do Heller, although I probably will make at least some effort to get the series back into traditional print first. I fear e-book publishing may doom titles to never seeing “real” book format again.

With BYE BYE, BABY coming out next July – Nate Heller solving Marilyn’s murder – I am considering putting out an e-book of BOMBSHELL, the Marilyn book Barb and I wrote (we may use the popular “Barbara Allan” byline). I’ll probably include some bonus features – possibly the original short story that the novel was expanded from and a Marilyn “vampire” story, both written solo by Barb. Maybe I’ll include the Heller novella, KISSES OF DEATH. We’ll see.

Opinions welcome….


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7 Responses to “Got Live…Do You Want It?”

  1. johnrplatt says:

    The lack of your books in ebook format is one of the things holding me back from making the investment in an e-reader. We downsized our space, so most of my paper books are in storage. It would be great to have a library that didn’t take up any room. (But that doesn’t mean I’d get rid of your hardcopy books.)

  2. Brian_Drake says:

    E-books would be a fine option but you could also go through CreateSpace, right? That way we could get “real” books and I must admit that, as I am currently without an e-reader and have no plans or ability to purchase one in the forseeable future, hard copies are my first choice. I don’t mind spurgling for a real book.

    And thanks for mentioning the Hard Case update! To hear that companies are approaching Ardai is terrific news indeed, and not just because of Quarry’s Ex, of course, but all of the future titles.

  3. dan luft says:

    Funny, I just began to fiddle with a kindle for the very first time a couple hours ago. My mother-in-law didn’t like hers so she gave it to my wife and me. I think that you putting out your back catalogue yourself is a great idea. The dealers are the only ones making money off those old copies of Quarry and Nolan. I’d rather pay a reasonable price for the script without a cover than $20.00 for a coffee-stained copy that’s also missing part of a cover. (I have some beat-up copies of some old Dan Marlowe books that fall apart in my hands — they were listed online as “fair” condition or “reading copy.”)

    I think the e-reader is going to be like the early days of paperback publishing. Huge quantities will sell for small prices and prolific authors will do okay.

  4. Nathan Collins says:

    Brian: I think it’s safe to say that my father and I would both prefer having “real” book editions available and in print, but, as he wrote in the update, we do have a fear that publishing e-books will hurt the chances of a book seeing a “real” reprint. I think using any self-publishing service like CreateSpace to make and sell physical copies would carry an even bigger risk of that happening. That said, we’re generally for anything that makes it easier to read (and buy).

  5. Brian_Drake says:

    Nathan: I understand the risk, but I would think it’s only a risk if the books have a chance at being reprinted by a regular publisher anytime in the next few years. If that’s the case, I would go for the reprint route every time; if that’s not the case, there’s nothing to lose and fans will be really happy.

  6. Nate and I will be putting something together in the e-book arena soon. The only question is…which books?

    Eliot Ness (all four books) has been offered an e-book deal elsewhere; I’ll likely take it. It’s possible print-on demand will be part of that deal.

    I think it’s likely Mallory and Nolan will wind up e-books that Nate and I publish. So will BOMBSHELL, REGENERATION, MIDNIGHT HAUL, MOMMY, MOMMY’S DAY and various short story collections. Jack Starr is already available on e-book. Some of the disaster novels are, too, I believe.

    The big question is Nate Heller. A small but well-respected publisher is looking at Heller with an eye on a trade paperback reprint program. We’ll see. If this house does want Heller, perhaps someone else will.

    This does seem to be “either or” — Perfect Crime, who are doing the first five Quarry novels in trade paperback, do not want e-books competing with their “real” books. Fine by me. I just want the stuff easily available.

    As Don Westlake once said, “The difference between being in or out of print is the difference between being alive or dead.”

  7. Brian_Drake says:

    Just the idea of Nate Heller reprints coming out makes me grin. I have yet to read Neon Mirage. I have a mix of paperbacks but to have a complete set from one outfit would be great.