Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On E-Books and the State of Publishing

So you're frustrated by the endless complications of trying to break into publishing. Or you've decided all that stuff with agents and big New York companies is a big waste of time. Or you want to start now, and you don't mind starting small and working your way up.

Should you consider e-publishing? The unfortunate answer is the same as everything else in publishing: it depends.

You won't be able to hold your book in your hands (unless your e-publisher, like many of the good ones these days, also offers a print option). You won't see tens of thousands of sales. You won't be interviewed on Oprah.

Despite these disadvantages, there are a lot of pluses to e-publishing. You will have readers. You will have the satisfaction and the feeling of having done something great that comes with being published (yes, really - ebooks count as being published!). You will make a little money. You could even make decent money, if you exercise diligence and research the publishers you're submitting to, and take being e-published seriously.

E-publishing is a lot of fun, and surprisingly satisfying. I'm going to expound on this subject more in the coming weeks - I'll offer tips on choosing and submitting to publishers, promoting your e-books, building an audience, and making the most of the e-publishing experience.

For today, I'll leave you with an interview about e-publishing I was able to get with the blogosphere's beloved Miss Snark before she retired. The Snark, she is wise and knowing. And succinct. :-)


Miss Snark on E-Books

1. In your opinion, are there any legitimate e-book publishers? If so, what makes them legitimate? 

MS: Sure.  There are some very reputable one.  What makes them legit is the same thing that makes any other publisher legit: they pay the author; they don't expect the author to be the sole engine for sales; books are available to libraries and to the general public through regular sources.
2. If an author with strong e-book sales through a legitimate e-publisher queries you, does this lend any weight to the query? 

MS: "Strong ebook sales" is an oxymoron.  What constitutes big congrats in the field of ebooks is negligible in print sales.  What would work is what happened with Ron McClarty's audio-first book.  If something is an ebook and it gets a lot of buzz, I'd probably take a look.  The trouble is however that what makes an ebook "good" isn't necc. what makes a print book "good".
3. Have any of the authors you have represented been successful with an e-book, or an e-book version of a traditionally published book?
MS: Nope.
4. Do you believe e-books have a place in the future of the publishing industry (as part of the industry as a whole, rather than a replacement for print books)?
MS: Yup.
5. May I attribute your responses to you in my materials?
MS: Sure.  But you have to say it very snarkily when you do.
**Thank you!**

MS: You're welcome.


s.w. vaughn said...

Disclaimer: please note that this interview was typed very snarkily. :-)

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Great blog on an important topic! Thanks!

s.w. vaughn said...

Thanks, Sylvia! I plan to talk a lot more about e-publishing - there's so much stuff out there, and I'm finally getting the hang of it. :-)

Sheila Deeth said...

Good article. Thanks. It's certainly getting more popular.

Kim Smith said...

Thanks SW for posting this positive view on ebooks. I am also e-published and feel like we don't get the best shakes sometimes.

Kim Smith said...

Thanks SW for posting this positive view on ebooks. I am also e-published and feel like we don't get the best shakes sometimes.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Oh, the indefatigable Miss Snark! Glad she was able to retire, but I miss the snarky blogs! Thanks, SW. The publishing scene is always changing... good to keep up with these trends!!