Saturday, October 06, 2007

Is e-publishing the answer?--veinglory

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.

9 comments:

Pepper Espinoza said...

I had a similar list of questions when I started epublishing. I stick with epublishing because of its flexibility. I enjoy writing 3somes. I enjoy writing m/m. Sometimes I want a whole lot of smut and a very little plot, and sometimes the opposite is true. There are some frustrations with epublishing, and I wish the audience was bigger. But ultimately, it seems the best outlet for the stories I want to write, for now.

twizzle said...

Hmm. I'm not so sure e-publishing is that far off into the future. It's niche now, but it's funny, once people do realize it's out there, they get hooked. I love ebooks, personally. And was only turned on to them last year. so?

Thursday said...

I tend to recommend that writers think long and hard about e-publishing before taking that road -- but not because I think it's a bad option. Instead, I've run across a lot of writers who decide to go the e-publishing route, but aren't willing to put in the effort to make their work a success.

The same is true of print publication, of course. But, I've seen some amazing work come out of e-presses. I think they're perfect for works that may not be traditional in length or topic.

Emily Veinglory said...

I think the people that get hooked may be a minority. But of course I have been aware of ebooks, and writing them, for almost a decade and have bought... um, about three in all that time. I've actually written more than I've bought. They *kill* my eyes and I enjoy the experience of reading and owning/collecting/sharing less then with tree-killing paper.

If the revolution is coming I may be one of those up against the wall ;)

Jules Jones said...

Thee and me have a lot of similarities, Emily -- I'm epublished for the same reasons as you, and I too don't buy ebooks because however much I may love the idea of ebooks, they physically don't work for me...

But I'm grateful that there are enough ebook lovers out there for several of my titles to meet RWA's requirements for PAN recognition.

Marilyn said...

I've thought of e-publishing if only to get my work out there. I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing, maybe this is the way the tide is turning. When Blogging first came to the fore did people really think how big that would become? Probably not and look how influential it is today - even main stream media is doing it.

Elrena said...

This is great -- I was just looking for some thoughts on e-pubbing, and here they are, all spelled out for me nicely. :)

Thanks!

Kathleen Frassrand said...

Put me in the category of not buying e-published books. I love the feeling of a true book in my hand. I also don't think that e-publishing makes you any "less" an author than traditional publishing. I can certainly see why you would feel the need to make a distinction, but my guess is that most non-writers wouldn't give it a second thought. Non-writers don't have the same prejudices agains e-pubs as writers do. So, IMHO, you could just say you were published, perhaps making the distinction only to other writers. :-)

Anonymous said...

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