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Ebooks? How About Epublishers?

August 2, 2010

Good day, everyone.

I’m new to Wicked Writers. I apologize for this post being late, I didn’t realize I was scheduled for the first day of the month. C.J. and I are working on setting up my bio and everything, but for now I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself.

My name is Jenn, but everything writing related goes under my pen name, J.D. Brown. I’m 25 years old and I live smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin and Illinois. I grew up near the ‘urbs of Chicago and will always be a city girl at heart, but I enjoy the quiet Wisconsin country side too. I write … you guessed it … urban fantasy! More about that when my bio is complete. This is, obviously, my first post for Wicked Writers. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you didn’t like it, or if it wasn’t to your standards … or if you love it, I’d like to know that too! Okay, on to today’s post.

This week’s topic is: Where do you think the future of books / ebooks will be in five years?

That’s such vital question since it affects every aspect of the writing industry, and one I have pondered before myself. Ebooks are quickly gaining popularity. What does this mean for hard cover and paperback sales? What does this mean for the author trying to sell their book?

Since ebooks is a rising trend, I’m positive they’re not going away any time soon. Simply put, the word has gone digital. The writing industry is not the first to make the adjustment from paper to electronic, and it certainly won’t be the last. However, I doubt books will become obsolete within the next five years.  We’re not talking about Blue-ray vs. VHS here. Yes, ebooks are more convenient in many ways, but there is still something special about being able to hold the actual book copy in your hands. Feeling the cover, turning the pages, the image in your head when you hear the phrase “curl up with a book”. No, ebooks can’t replace that.

However, as a writer trying to break into the biz – or even as a published author! – one must always look ahead and be wary of the trends. When you finaly get that contract in your hands, make sure it includes ebook rights before you sign it! (*Ahem* I have no idea how publishing contracts work! All I know is you’re selling yourself short and missing out on great sales opportunities if your publisher doesn’t do ebooks!)

Let’s talk about something related to ebooks – epublishers! When I think about ebooks, I think about “jumping on the bandwagon” and riding into Publication Town. Epublishing houses are easier to be accepted into than the big NY houses. Basically, epublishers are at about the same level as small-press. You don’t need an agent and you have a better chance of getting your foot in the door.

Now personally, I want nothing more than to see a hard-cover copy of my book on a display shelf in a Barnes & Nobel. But as a first-time writer, when the cursor on my Word Document gets to the portion of the query letter that is supposed to include my credentials, I sit there and stare with dread. The thought that runs through my mind during times like that is what if I wrote a novel or two for an epublisher so I can use those titles as credentials later?

Temping idea, isn’t it? Of course there is a down-side. There is no guarantee I’ll get a deal with an epublisher. Also, many epublishers have very specific details for the content of their books. They have a reputation to uphold and they are still growing in the industry as well. In fact, one epublishing house I was interested in had exact instructions for the main hero and heroine!

It all comes down to how badly you want to be a published author and what your personal career goals are. I know quite a few authors who make a cushy living by writing strictly for their epublishing house, and that’s awesome! Personally, I’m still undecided if I want to go that route. Of course, I could do both. But for now I’d like to see how my manuscript does with the bigger fish.

What do you think? Are you epublished and/or prefer ebooks?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 8:09 pm

    I haven’t tried reading an Ebook. I read unpublished work on the computer, in small enough segments without problem. However, I’m not looking forward to reading whole books online. Also, some schools are doing textbooks that are ebooks and I did try that. Disaster. Had a Psychology book and Statistics. The statistics books was a struggle with going between the chapters needed and the appendix sections that had answers to parts of equations needed. The psychology wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the font. Something about the type of font and size made it hard to read. Even if increasing size, I ended up using my glasses (near sighted) to read for that class. I hated the whole experience. And I have a thing for owning books. I like to buy and read paperback. E-readers just aren’t the same.

    If a good ebook publisher bought my book I’d be happy, but I’d also want to have a way to get at least a physical copy for myself. It’s what I like to read and what I envision when I think about having a book published.

  2. August 2, 2010 8:31 pm

    Welcome, Jenn! You certainly stepped up to the plate even when you didn’t have to! I would certainly have told someone if they were supposed to post and didn’t know it, I’m not that bad.

    Okay maybe when a relapse in Lyme’s hits, but hey, not normally. ;-P

    Great job and glad to have you on the team!

  3. August 2, 2010 8:51 pm

    Great post Jenn! And welcome to Wicked! I agree that there is nothing like the feel of a book in your hands!

    It’s great to have you here and look forward to reading more great posts from you.

  4. August 2, 2010 11:52 pm

    Welcome and great post, Jenn!
    Maybe I’m selfish, but I don’t want to bump around the publishing world like a dust bunny for 10 or 12 years before I get my first contract. I see no reason to be proud of 100 rejection letters. I won’t save them, plaster them on my wall. I will go where they want me, where they like my writing. Right now, I have an epub editor who likes my writing, and that means the world to me. And I have talked to others that are published by them, and everyone is happy. Not rich, but happy.
    But I didn’t sign on to do this crazy writing thing to get rich. It just happens to be the thing (well, the second best thing **blush**) I love to do…

    • August 3, 2010 8:06 am

      Sharon – a girl after my own heart! I never did understand the whole “badge of honor” associated with keeping track of rejections. I have them in an email folder so that I don’t query/solicit the same place again, but other than that, I ignore them.

      I do think in this day and age epub’ing is the way to go when we’re first starting out – unless of course, by some stroke of fate we happen to get picked up somewhere before that. Why wait years and years in a business that is changing by the month?

      Be a part of changing the future by being involved. That’s the idea. Wishing you the very best with your epublisher! I’ve heard good things about them too.

      • August 4, 2010 8:25 am

        Wow, you ladies just killed my interior decorating. I had my rejection letters plastered on the wall of my office, next to all my “Dear John” letters.

        Seriously, just kidding.

  5. August 3, 2010 1:20 am

    Hello, Jenn. You did very well with your first post, and kudos to you for making the first one a tough one! I’m still collecting my thoughts for this Friday’s post. I think I’m going to research a bit. We’ll see.
    Welcome to the team. I’m a newbie here, too. I’m ahead of you by essentially hours. It’s good to meet you.

  6. J.D. Brown permalink*
    August 3, 2010 9:52 pm

    Thanks for all the positive feedback, everyone. 🙂

    Sharon – I completely agree with you, I’m not going to wait years to get published. I do want to try my best with the NY houses, just to see if I can make it. But if not, that’s totally fine. I’ll try small-press and epublishers after that. I didn’t start writing to become rich either. Like I said, I know quite a few authors who make a living writing for epublishers and the more I think about it, the more it sounds like a good idea!

  7. August 4, 2010 8:25 am

    Welcome aboard, Jenn. Like I said in the e-mail, be sure to have fun…at C.J.’s expense.

    • August 4, 2010 10:44 am

      When did this become a trend? 😉 I think I’m going to have to get my Jersey on and reference you in some of my posts more often. Watch your back, man, I got my butterfly knife.

      Now, let me remember how to unfold it all cool-like and quick without cutting myself… it’s been a while.

      … ouch!

      • J.D. Brown permalink*
        August 4, 2010 11:45 am

        LOL. Greg, I have all my rejection letters in a file (and email ones in a file on my email) but um … here’s something most of you don’t know about me … I follow the rules of Feng Shui, which says to throw out anything negative! You may or may not believe in Feng Shui, but it works pretty well for me. I do study my rejection letters pretty obsessively to try and find out where I went wrong, but after a while it’s just down right depressing. Why display my failures? I’d rather have my shelf clean and awaiting something more positive – like my contract or a copy of my published book in a frame! 😉

        C.J. – what the heck is a butterfly knife? I shall google this before work…

  8. Robert C. Nelson permalink
    August 4, 2010 2:23 pm

    Welcome aboard! This is quite an eclectic group you’ve joined. You did a fine job with your first post. I am looking forward to reading more of your work.

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about ‘ The Bigger Fish ‘. I honestly think they’re scrambling around right now, knowing they failed to envision the whole ebook process, and seeing their dominance slip. Too bad for them. The whole Big Six concept is not only becoming archaic, it’s asinine as well. Smaller houses that care about their writers are where it’s at now. No matter who you go with, you have to promote your self anyway. So what difference does it make?

    Getting to the meat of the confab: yes, it’s great to hold that wonderfully bound masterpiece in your hand, looking at your picture on the inside back cover, and all the other wonderful things that go with a paper book. There are many small presses that do both ebooks and paper books. Find a good one. POD is a responsible green alternative to big press runs. I still prefer the feel of paper, but I’m forcing myself to adapt. So, Jenn, you can have the best of both. As you say so well, find a good publishing house. Do your homework.

    Once more, I’m glad you’re in the house.

  9. August 11, 2010 3:51 pm

    Hi, Jenn, first the apology…

    I’m sorry its taken me so long to get to your post! But, as they say, better late than never!

    I’d like to give the excuse that it takes longer for your words to get here, across the pond! But that’s knowingly feeble! I had a busy week durnig you post, with a trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and when you next post comes up it will be Greece!

    It’s great to have you aboard, and I do look forwatd to reading more from you. I think your take on the e-book business is good and personal… the way opinion should be. For myself, I have self-published in print and e-book. While the e-book came first, I only just clocked the first “sale” of an ebook version this month! My Smashwords account is at the grand total of $4.37 after three purchases!

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