Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa's Gift to Writers

by Calista Taylor

With the price of e-readers dropping under $100—$79 for the Kindle with advertisements—many have speculated that there will be a whole lot e-readers sitting pretty under the tree this holiday season. This means there's going to be a big jump in the number of people owning e-readers, and that's a whole lot of people buying eBooks.

If there was any doubt as to whether or not e-readers and eBooks were here to stay, it's likely those thoughts have been laid to rest. And as writers, we've never had more options open to us. If there was ever a time to consider the benefits of e-publishing, now would be it.

This doesn't mean you should stop pursuing a traditional publishing deal if that's your dream. However, there's nothing to say you can't pursue both avenues. In fact, e-publishing an eBook, especially when there's going to be a jump in those purchasing eBooks, could help you build a readership. Do you have some great short stories laying around? Or how about the wonderful manuscript you shelved because the market was doing something different when you queried it?

The best part is that it costs you nothing to e-publish a book on a site (I'm not saying that it will not cost to get a book professionally edited or a cover professionally made). And the royalty percentages are considerably higher than that of traditional publishing deals. This means you can price your book to your advantage, and still make out well because of the higher royalty rate.

Though there is currently a bit of a slush pile with eBooks, I still believe that a great book will rise to the top. I think more and more writers will soon be joining the eBook revolution, so now is a great time to stick a toe in the water, especially while that slush pile is still relatively small.

If you do decide to venture into the eBook waters, make sure you have a polished manuscript and a great cover. If you want to be successful in this venture, it will not happen with a poorly written and edited manuscript. As always, quality is a must if you're to rise to the top of the slush.

So, what do you think? Is publishing electronically something you've considered? Or have you already jumped in with both feet?


Kaz Augustin said...

At first, I was digitally published through the, er, traditional channels. This was great because it was a way of experimenting with different subjects and POVs, etc., and getting fast feedback. (Fantasy romance sells well, nobody seems to like first-person martial arts erotic sf. ;) )

I started self-publishing digitally in August of this year. It's too early to say how things are going. I am of the opinion that you have to give this strategy 3-4 years before you can draw any meaningful conclusions so, yes, you can say I've jumped in with both feet. :) I pay for professional artwork and professional editors for all my ebooks. So far I'm a nobody, tbh, but it's early days yet. I'll let you know in 2014!

Calista Taylor said...

Kaz, best of luck! So true about giving this strategy a bit of time. Here's hoping all the ereaders under the tree this holiday season will give you a nice boost!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I'm all in. I self-published my first book, a science fiction novella called Lyon's Legacy, a couple of months ago. Sales are slow yet, but it takes time to get the word out. In the meantime, I'm working on three projects to self-publish and one to submit to an anthology. Next year will be a busy one for me!

Christopher Hudson said...

Your work will either be buried in a slush pile of paper or digits if you're not on top of the marketing. E-publishing might be a little easier to get into, but it still comes down to marketing. You want to sell books? You gots to market, homey.

Baur said...

Enjoyed reading this thank you for posting!

Calista Taylor said...

Sandra, best of luck! Like you said, it takes a while to build up a momentum, but the more books you put out, the more they'll feed off each other.

Christopher, you're right! It's all about marketing and social media, but I think that's the case whether you self publish or traditionally publish.

Baur, you're most welcome!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm still learning & polishing several stories, but it's an option I'll be open to when the time comes! :)

The Red Angel said...

Great post! I think my main focus as a writer is publishing through the print industry, but having my novel available as an e-book as well would definitely be a high priority for me as well.

Even though I'm not a huge e-book fan, as an author it's important to make the book accessible for as many readers as possible, and in this tech-based society I think the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.


The Red Angel Blog

Shannon Lawrence said...

At this point, I am always considering every possible avenue! It is definitely exciting to see how many e-books are selling. I saw both Nooks and Kindles for sale at Best Buy today, and many in the line to buy.

Calista Taylor said...

Jemi, it may not be for everyone, but either way, it's smart to wait until you and your manuscript are ready. It's something you want to feel comfortable doing.

TRA, luckily, most publishers will put a book out in both print and ebook. It's just nice that the ebook option is a viable one for those not going the traditional route, and many have seen success with it.

Shannon, ebook/ereader sales numbers have already exceeded those that were initially predicted, and I definitely think that this most recent drop in ereader prices is just what's needed for an even bigger jump.

Jane Steen said...

Jumping in in 2012...I am spending money on copyediting, cover etc. so there's a financial risk involved, but it's a finite risk and not an excessive one by business standards. And at the very least I will gain valuable experience and connection with the reading market. I can't wait.

Calista Taylor said...

Jane, I think you're wise to spend a bit of money in order to make sure your book is as ready as it can be. Best of luck!