How to Decide if eBook Publishing Is Right for You

There are a lot of questions about the pros and cons of e-publishing vs. traditional print publishing.


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    Be prepared to 'self promote'. Since e-publishers expect their authors to assume responsibility for marketing and promoting their own books, this is an area with very specific challenges. One idea is the establishment of a network of authors, linked together, with targeted meta tags and keywords, that would result in high ranking on the major search engines.
    • In the early days of e-publishing it seemed that everyone with a computer was starting an ebook publishing business, however, over time, the shoddy ones were flushed out by market demand for quality work.
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    To briefly summarize the e-publishing experience, an author will want to consider the following points:
    • e-publishers do not pay advances, but most of them pay their royalties on a monthly or quarterly basis.
    • The majority of the e-publishers also publish in print (but because they are print-on-demand, the paperbacks are frequently more expensive and because most of the e-book publishers do not allow returns, many of the major chain book stores are reluctant to stock the books (unless the author is willing to personally provide the stock – which many authors do quite successfully). This scenario is, however, changing, and over the next couple of years the industry will see great strides made by successful e-publishers to compete in the print marketplace. My publisher, Cerridwen, for instance, has purchased their own printing press and they now publish trade paperbacks that sell at mass market prices.
    • E-publishing royalties are generally much higher than print royalties – in the 35% range for ebooks compared to approximately 7% for print books.
    • One of the biggest benefits with e-publishing (and their print editions) is that your book stays in print for an indefinite period of time. As long as your books continue to sell your publisher will keep them available and in stock.
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    Understand that one misconception is that e-book publishers are not as stringent in their editing and selection requirements. In fact, the opposite is true. Given the initial skepticism and the necessity to establish themselves and gain respect in the industry, most eBook publishers have extremely high standards and those authors accepted can expect extensive editing. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to break into e-publishing, especially if you do not have a publishing history/track record.
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    Decide if print publishing and e-publishing is what you need. Many authors who publish with traditional print houses have also signed with e-publishers. The reasons are varied with e-publishing you don't need an agent, you don’t have to wait months (and in some cases years) for publisher responses, you can gain a track record as a published author a lot quicker, books come to print much faster.
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    Key to publishing e-books is that you have to love to write: be flexible, be prolific, and be persistent. If you build up a nice library of your published e-books with a good e-publisher and you're willing to do the marketing that needs to be done to get your books recognized – at join a site like Books We Love to get the news about your books out there, you are in a position to make some decent money and build an extensive list of published works.
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    Look at the whole picture. In summary, if you want more control of the books you write, the size of your own personal published library and you want your books to stay in print for an indefinite period of time, then e-publishing is probably a good fit. If, however, you only plan on publishing one or two books in your lifetime and you don't care for any of the online or marketing aspects, then you're likely not a good fit for e-publishing.

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Categories: Publishing | Web Writing and eBooks