Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of eBooks, is brought to you by prolific article writer Nadia Jones.
The Viability of E-Books
I love books. I love the touch of them, the smell of them, and the way they aged as if having lives of their own. My childhood was built upon holding physical books, turning and earmarking their pages, and jotting occasional notes over the moments I loved in them.
When I first heard about the rising trend of e-book publishing, I was naturally skeptical. How could anyone sacrifice the tactile feel of a soft page? Slowly, after finally trying out various Kindles and Nooks, I began to realize some of their benefits. They weigh about the same as a paperback. The screen does look pretty similar to ink on a page. I can increase the font size if it’s too small, and I can easily search for words I want to quote or analyze.
There’s no denying that, with the rising tech trend of reader-like tablets, e-books will be on the rise for a while. But what does the rise of e-books mean for writers? While changing trends and the slow death of print may naturally scare a good many writers, I think most of us should view this shift to electronic publishing as a golden opportunity. With the rise of electronic copy publication, more and more publishing and marketing options will open up to those who dare to think outside the box and put in enough effort.
Three Types of E-Book Publishers
E-books are typically written, marketed, and distributed in three different ways. Each way has its own merits and opportunities for advancement and success although some methods are definitely more accessible to the up-and-coming author than others:
- The Big Industry Books – If you have a book published in physical print, you would be pretty foolish not to publish it electronically as well. Whether they are released first in print or electronically varies by the book and publisher. The publisher will pay overhead costs such as paying editors, designers, author royalties, and marketing. This type of publication has the largest barrier of entry as you have to attract a publisher or agent to receive this type of publication.
- The Self-Publishers – These e-books are usually written, self-edited, and then uploaded immediately. They have extremely low overhead costs except for the time spent writing and editing. While there are some exceptional self-published e-books out there (many of which you can find here), many of these works are published way too quickly and do not receive enough attention with proofreading or editing, and they generally sell for 99 cents.
- In-Betweens – These e-books are a type of self-publication that usually involves contracting other professionals to help market, edit, and design your cover at your own overhead cost. It can be a considerable investment, but with the amount of time already spent writing the work, many authors find that it is worth the extra financial burden.
Which Is Right For You?
This is ultimately a question that you will have to answer personally, but I do have some tips as to which type of publication may best be suited for your tastes and expectations. Each publication method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s best to base your method of publication on what you are currently doing in your career and where your reputation currently stands.
I will go out on a limb and say that if you currently only exclusively do self-publishing (also known as “home publishing”), you should consider investing either your time or money into marketing, editing, and cover design. I question the mental stability of people who write .99 cent novel after .99 cent novel expecting to one day have a best seller.
That being said, I have witnessed a good number of self-published success stories but these stories do not come without a great deal of work and time invested. One of the best marketing decisions you can make as a writer is to create a blog already. Network with other blogging authors, create a Twitter account, but most of all, create useful content. While your experience as a writer may be valuable to some, your blog should offer much more, including unique writing and editing tips, author interviews, and a balanced assessment of the publication industry. This blog is a great example of a blogging author doing just that.
While it is a smart idea to contract the marketing, editing, and cover design of your written work to other professionals, it is also extremely risky to pay this overhead yourself. You have no guarantee that it will pay off, and I definitely do not recommend spending any money you don’t already have saved up.
However, I generally think this middle-of-the-road approach to publication is a great way for up-and-coming authors to make their big splash and perhaps ultimately get scouted by an agent or publisher. Particularly if you don’t have any experience in online marketing or graphic design, you will be much better off paying someone else to do that work for you rather than figuring it all out yourself. Still, you will likely have to still put in time maintaining some form of blog or promotional site.
Big Industry Tips
If you are trying to go straight to big industry publishers, you will likely need to attract the attention of a good agent. To do this, guess what, you’ll probably still have to market yourself online through a blog and social media outlets. In order to be recognized, you have to produce commendable content and put it in areas where agents and publishers will likely see it.
Thank you Nadia, especially for the compliment about my blog! I’m happy to call myself an ‘In-Betweener’ (assisted by a great editor). 🙂
Nadia Jones blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).
The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with mystery author Lou Allin – the one hundred and ninety-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (my guests love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.