Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Authors Energized by the Emergence of eBooks

Howard Sherman is my guest today. He describes himself as an implementor. I call him an interesting man of many talents.

Anyone even remotely connected to the book world can't help but notice that eBooks are changing everything! For some time now Amazon has been reporting that their eBook sales have overtaken the sales of published books. Stories of authors making impressive amounts of money selling the Kindle versions of their books were once anecdotal
but are now becoming common place.  Who's the big winner here? The reader.

That's because the reader has instant access to fresh fiction at lower prices backed by peer reviews, either encouraging ownership or warning away would-be buyers from making a mistake.  It's hard to go wrong with a $2.99 eBook even if there aren't any reviews one way or the other.  Thanks to the free chapter sample the reader can take all the time they like to peruse that chapter and then decide to own the book...or not.

Authors are in the winner's circle too, of course.  Writers get direct access to readers, cutting out the erstwhile middlemen collectively known as "the industry" or "the man" if you're somewhat jaded by "the industry" like I am and make more money in the bargain.  Yes, I one time dropped major coin on an all-out media campaign with Phenix & Phenix. Yes, I tried the traditional route to promote my library of interactive fiction eBooks.  And that campaign, while successful beyond my wildest dreams in ways I never imagined, fell short of the mark I established on other fronts.
Thanks to my own blog, Twitter and Facebook, I'm no longer constrained by industry standards because there are none anymore. The write-the-book, shop for agent who then shops the manuscript who then makes the sale and then takes his cut and then get published and then market your own book more-or-less on your own model is history.  Doomed to the fate of the dinosaurs.

Yes indeed, friends and neighbors.  That's energizing.

I can write from my passion, give my readers what I know they want and let them vote on the matter, casting their ballot by buying my titles.  As each vote is a sale I always know where I stand.  Unshackled from the antiquated publishing model, authors like me and thousands of others have a new sense of promise, of hope and enthusiasm.

That's the mindset I've molded over time and it gives me the gusto to give my all without trepidation.

That's exactly how I approached implementing my latest work of interactive crime fiction; Four Badges.

What an exciting time to be a writer.  Or a reader.  Or even a bystander.

Visit my book blog at http://www.howardsherman.net  
I invite you to browse my works of interactive fiction books at http://www.malinche.net


jenny milchman said...

I agree--it's an extraordinarily exciting time in the world of writing and books. I'm interested to see how the lower barrier to entry plays out--I find it's possible to make my way to the terrific independently published sensations, through WOM (always the best seller of books) and the ways you mention. But will it be so when tens of millions instead of roughly 800,000 e books are out there? As someone who is just about to sign a traditional contract (after 11 years of trying) I am watching this brave new world very carefully. I think there are definite advantages to it--ones I won't have. Similarly, I think there are advantages on the other side of the fence. The interesting thing will be to see if the best of both worlds can somehow emerge--so that quality books don't take 10 years to find homes--or readers. Great post--thanks!

bj said...

Folks, calm down. Surely there are some down sides to e-books. Let's hear them, please.

Ellis Vidler said...

Jenny, I agree that it's exciting. If the quality is there, I think the indies have a good chance of doing well. If it's not, nothing will make a difference. I'm a big fan of eBooks, so I'm crossing my fingers that writers of good books find a way to stand out. Traditional publishing still has many advantages, especially in credibilty and distribution. Having someone in the profession say your books are good makes a big difference.

Maryn Sinclair said...

Good post, Howard. And yes, it is a new world out there, and the author is the beneficiary. As one who went with an ebook publisher, I feel like I have the best of both worlds: editing, cover design, and a built-in readership. An author still has to participate in social networking as part of the package, but a lot of the angst is eliminated. And I'm angst prone, so this works for me.

Ellis Vidler said...

BJ, yes, there are downsides; they are few but significant in my opinion. The main thing is quality; what you can't do yourself you must be prepared to pay for or you'll end up with a disappointing book that you don't feel good about. The second is that you have no built-in readership or any kind of distribution--you have to do it all yourself, and it's hard. And last, you have no one to "vette" it and give it any credibility. There may be other things, but those are the ones I can think of. I don't guess I need to repeat all the pluses, do I? ;-)

Gail M Baugniet said...

Another intersting viewpoint on the future of ebooks and the benefits to a new author. I'm in the very beginning stages of marketing my first novel/ebook. It is a pleasurable learning experience for me.

Ellis Vidler said...

Gail, marketing is still foreign territory for most of us. As exciting as eBooks are, it still takes a lot of effort to get them noticed. Good luck!

Sandy Cody said...

Great post. This is something no writer can afford to ignore. I'm on the edge right now, trying to learn all I can before I make the jump. Discussions like this, with input from multiple sources help us all.

Star said...

I found you through Vicki Lane's Blog and I'm very glad I did.
I have recently published three e-books on the Kindle at Amazon.com and I am just now marketing them through a new Blog http://amandamarigold.blogspot.com
Promoting one's own book is hard work, but at least one knows one is doing something. It can be very frustrating waiting for other people to do things for you when you know that you are not their number one priority.
I read your Blog on 'foretelling' and foreshadowing' with interest yesterday. I read quite a lot of outdated fiction where the rules seem to be different and it seems ok to write extremely long and descriptive sentences and tantalise the reader with tidbits like you mention. Times have changed and modern fiction is very different, isn't it. There is more dialogue and less description and everyone talks of 'showing' not 'telling'. Maybe I'm old fashioned because I still like to be 'told' a story and I actually like the tidbits that make me want to read back and follow through.
You asked for an example from one of our books and I tried to find one. I'm sure there are lots. The first I came up with was when the writer (me) tells the reader that the protagonist has three black cats and a broomstick in the cupboard under the stairs. That will make some people want to read on, but turn others off, I suppose. It doesn't quite fit into your example request, but is the best I could come up with.
I'm looking forward to reading your posts and welcome you back to my Blogs.

Ellis Vidler said...

Star, I'll have more time after the 15th and would like to talk more about your eBooks. Three black cats and a broomstick in the cupboard sounds fun. Do the cats get out much?