Tag Archives: self-publishing

If eBooks Don’t Make It and Traditional Books Don’t Make It, What Will We Read?

The Guardian recently posted a article by Ewan Morrison questioning e-publishing and whether or not it’s bubble was about to burst. It was a follow up to his article “Are Books Dead and Can Authors Survive?”, which isn’t so much about whether books are dead but whether authors will be able to make a living in the digital reading world. My question is, if e-publishing is going bust and books are dead, does that mean people aren’t going to read? Albums and cassettes are dead and CD’s are following, but we still listen to music, or more precisely we still pay for music.

I don’t think reading is going away. But the question about whether or not writers can make a living is a valid one. While Morrison talks about people’s expectations of “free” in the digital world, I think avid readers will always be willing to pay for a good books. Maybe not $25. Maybe not even $10. So I believe the change we’ll see is that except for the current big names (i.e. Grisham), authors won’t be getting the same deals they once had. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make a living. One thing that the Internet has done is leveled the playing field for writers. Amazon and Barnes and Noble are filled with new authors that were turned down by publishers, self-published, did well and now have traditional book deals. This suggests that authors who write well and market (which you have to do in the traditional world anyway) can have a successful writing career. Take HP Mallory, who now has a three-book deal with Random House after selling nearly 200,000 self e-published books.

Clearly traditional publishing is going change. And while the big advanced might go away and book prices may drop, that doesn’t mean authors can’t make money. HP Mallory’s books sell for $0.99 to $2.99. At 100,000 books, that’s not chump change. What will change, which has already changed anyway, is that authors will need an existing audience and do their own marketing.

Traditional or Self-Publish?

I’ve sent out a handful of pitches to agents. So far only one has emailed back saying, “No thanks.” I’m no stranger to publishing so I know I need to accept rejection as part of the deal in traditional publishing. But with ebooks going like gang busters and hearing so many stories of self-publishers who are making great money selling their books directly through Kindle and Nook, I’m seriously wondering if maybe I should do that.

I’m not sure I could get it out in time for Valentine’s Day, which would be perfect because book one ends on Valentine’s Day. But I’m sure I could get it out sooner than if I went through traditional publishing. I’ve actually already made a cover. It’s not perfect yet. And I’m not sure it really fits the mood of the book. Deadly Valentine is a murder mystery, but it’s lighthearted and romantic. This cover says “serious” to me. If you’ve read the excerpts and have an opinion, let me know. I’m on the hunt for good graphics to make a different cover. Perhaps I’ll have a poll to see which you think will be best.

As I finish this post, it almost sounds as if I’ve made up my mind to self-publish. I’ve determined that I’m going to work towards that (formatting, editing and cover design take time), and if one of the agent’s I’ve contacted me are interested in the book in the meantime, then I’ll pursue that route. If not, and all the agents say “no”, my fall-back route will be ready.