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Converting to e-book: An author’s strategy

Sep 11th, 2012 | By

Tired of giving away his books on his website, retired JJA member Donald Clarke has uploaded an updated version of All or Nothing At All: A Life of Frank Sinatra, first published in 1997, to Amazon.com as a Kindle download, and to Barnes & Noble.com as a Nook Book.

“I first uploaded it to Amazon earlier this year,” Clarke said, “but it wasn’t properly formatted. They tell you they are going to help you do it, but they don’t, so I hired eBook Architects in Austin, Texas to do that for me, and now the book looks great.”

The updated edition costs $4.95. Any income from this source would be welcome, since the jazz historian recently retired from his job as a floor salesman at the Barnes & Noble store in Allentown, PA, where he and his wife Ethne Clarke, a horticulturist and author of gardening books, make their home.

“The reviews were really good back in ’97,” Clarke said in an e-mail.“The Daily Telegraph in London wrote, ‘[Clarke] is able to put Sinatra in his musical context in a way that no mere biographer could. He knows the history of jazz, of radio, of recording technology — and how these impinged on Sinatra’s career.’ Publishers Weekly in America found the book ‘effectively conveys a sense of the time and place in which Sinatra was so important . . . [It] helps readers not of that era understand why Sinatra meant so much to so many.’”

If the book does sell, says Clarke, the next one he’ll offer online will be The Rise And Fall of Popular Music, “and after that I’ll bust up my lexicon into Donald’s Encyclopedia of Classic JazzCountry Music, and other categories.” The compendium of nearly 4,000 entries is currently posted on the writer’s website. Google “Donald’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music.”

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