Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Old Novels into New—Part 1

November 6th, 2010

My first four novels were published in the 1990s. They went out of print in short order, and the rights reverted to me long ago. Now I’m putting them out into the world again, this time as e-books.

At this writing, Tech-Heaven and The Bohr Maker are already up on and available in Kindle format. Deception Well should follow in the next few days, and Vast within a week or two. After that I’ll work on getting them up on iTunes, and B&N if possible.

I thought I’d share some of the process I used, in case there are other writers out there who might find it useful. If you know a better way to do this, let me know! Same if you read any of my books—please let me know how the formatting holds up for you.

Step 1— Obvious, but worth mentioning: make sure you’ve got the rights back!

Step 2— Decide who’s going to publish them. For myself, I wanted a publishing company, and since I have some other projects in mind I set up an LLC, which is relatively easy to do in the state of Hawaii. My publishing company is called Mythic Island Press LLC.

Step 2a— You’ll need to purchase an ISBN number, or package of them if you have more than one book. I’ve read that an ISBN isn’t needed, but personally, I wouldn’t think of publishing without them. You cannot re-use the ISBN from your original publication. There will be a specific agency selling ISBNs depending on what country you’re in. Google it.
End update

Step 3—The cover.
This is the step that held me up for a long time. Yes, it’s an e-book and doesn’t really have a cover, but you need a picture to sell it online, so you need a cover. I looked at a few options, but in the end I did the covers myself.

I had a design theme in mind, to tie all four books together. I’m not really interested in covers that illustrate a scene from the book and I certainly don’t have the skill to create something like that anyway. So I set out to find images that illustrated the books in an abstract way.

It took a few days of exploring stock photo websites, but I ultimately purchased pictures from,, and I also had access to a beautiful galaxy photo by my daughter, which served as the background for all four covers.

Using Photoshop, I put together high-resolution files that will work for trade-size books, if I ever decide to print them. For the ebooks, I then created *.jpg versions at a web resolution of 72 pixels, and a size of 600×800 pixels.

For better or worse, my covers are pretty different from what’s usually seen in the genre. Here they are:

Cover: Tech-Heaven, 2010-version

Cover: Tech-Heaven, 2010-version

Cover: The Bohr Maker, 2010-version

Cover: The Bohr Maker, 2010-version

Cover: Deception Well, 2010-version

Cover: Deception Well, 2010-version

Cover: Vast, 2010-version

Cover: Vast, 2010-version

You might have noticed they all have a subtitle: “Book X of the Nanotech Succession.” That’s a new invention. The books are not a series but they all share the same story world, so I decided to wrap them up as a set, and numbered them according to their place on the timeline, rather than by publishing order.

Next time—Step 4: preparing the manuscript.

Posted on: Saturday, November 6th, 2010 at 2:33 pm
Categories: E-book How-to.

One Response to “Old Novels into New—Part 1”

  1. Hahví.net » Blog Archive » Old Novels into New: Overview & Links Says:

    […] Part 1: Starting steps & creating a cover. […]