Saturday, October 06, 2007
When I spend time on forums for writers I tend to see the same questions come up over and over. One of them is 'should I e-publish?' And it seems to me that whether e-publishing is the answer really depends on the question.
Some people and groups push e-books as democratising the publishing industry, toppling the tyrants of literary culture and saving the environment at the same time. But realistically epublishing less than 1% of the industry and is likely to stay that way for decades to come.
If we live in the present, e-publishing is a niche and it does not compete with the mainstream in terms of average quality or sales volume. This is my opinion, not only as a writer, but as a reader--and many people may disagree. Indeed, when I specify that I am e-published and small press published many writers think I am suggesting embarrassment at that status. They think I am suggesting e-publishing is a distant second best.
The way I see it I am just being clear. 90% of people have no idea about e-books and even less about print-on-demand. I feel that saying how I am published and then explaining is better than letting them assume I am published like Brown or Rowling and then talking their expectations down to my level.
But that does not mean I e-published because I was not "good enough" for the mainstream, in fact I never even submitted to a major NY press. I e-published because it was the answer to my questions, and these were:
1) Where can I publish novella length gay romance?
2) How can I be active as a writer in a flexible way that will fit in with my main career?
3) How can I write in a way that is profitable but also enjoyable as a hobby and does not introduce yet another source of stress into my life?
So when any writer asks me: should I epublish? I say that epublishing an answer, but only if you are asking the right question. And that is something only the writer can know.