ebooks and self-publishing

The two, of course, are not related except that ebooks can be self-published books and self-published books can be ebooks. But in my reading this morning, I ran across tow posts  – one on each subject – that really made me stop and think.

The self-publishing post was entitled the kiss of death or the great leap forward.  In it the author, Elizabeth Dougherty, says she has been advised to bury her self-published novel, The Blind Pig, if she wants to be a “real novelist” (her words, not mine!).  But she goes on to say:

Self-publishing is a publishing revolution. And like most upheavals, it is uncomfortable for everyone involved.

I can assure you that I am uncomfortable. I took a big risk by self-publishing. Some may judge The Blind Pig by it’s publisher. They may assume that it didn’t get picked up by a legitimate agent because it’s not good enough. They may fear that it’s pages are filled with bad writing, a plodding narrative and flimsy characters. They may dismiss it, their foregone conclusion that it suffers a lack of editing.

I have heard from many authors that they get pages of edits from their editors and that these revisions almost always make the book better. I’m sure my book would have benefited from more editing. Even now, with the book already “out there,” I would welcome the chance to receive suggestions and to make the book better.

To me, it’s all a process.

Dougherty has, of course, rejected the advice to remove all trace of her self-published book from the internet and is, instead, focusing on promoting it even more.

I like her thinking.  And yet, as my son and I think about publishing, I admit to wanting to try to find an agent and try to sell the book before I “give up” and self-publish.

I need to do some thinking and try to figure out what is going on there.  I guess it is because I grew up “knowing” how books got published — or at least thinking I did.  I am not married to this idea, though.  My thinking is to give the other way a try and see what happens.  I don’t think I will become fixated on traditional publishing.  I hope not.

When we self-publish this or some other book, it will undoubtedly be sold as an ebook.  we might look at possibilities for a POD option, but we don’t have money to do much other than an ebook. So I was interested to read the ebooks post.

In this post, I’m soooo loving Kindle for PC, the author  describes having downloaded the Kindle app for her PC and, while she had not downloaded any books when she wrote the post, how she loves the possibilities this provides her.  She says:

I feel like the whole world has just been opened up to me. I haven’t even bought anything yet because I’m too busy just seeing all that’s out there. I don’t even feel overwhelmed. Actually, I feel a sense of excitement about what’s now available. I’ve checked out a lot of writers’ blogs, and there is so much out there. I know it sounds a bit cheesy to say this but I am absolutely giddy. I can’t wait to get started reading what so many have written.

This kind of enthusiasm from readers is going to make it possible to actually sell ebooks.  Granted, there is no shortage of people publishing them, but the number of readers is growing all the time.

All of this, of course, reminded me of an article my husband sent me the other day from SF Signal called MIND MELD: The Future of Publishing.  It was the thoughts of a number of successful authors on the future of publishing.  Some people’s thought were a little depressing (especially those of Cheryl Morgan and Nick Mamatas) but they seemed to make sense to me.  The comment that really stays with me is that of Lou Anders who said:

There will be a vast sea of drek (some of it incredibly popular) with a smaller number of truly magnificent works (some of it incredibly popular) and a wealth of “good stories well told.”

I’m not being flippant. eBooks don’t spell the death of publishing, though we are in a watershed moment. In ten years, eBooks will be the dominant form of book, and, of course, some books won’t even have print editions.

But it’s always been about the content, not the delivery mechanism.

Whether we publish or self-publish, have a print edition or strictly an ebook, what we need to concern ourselves most with is being a good story well told.

That seems like enough to strive for without worrying too much about the rest.

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2 thoughts on “ebooks and self-publishing

  1. Steve says:

    It seems to me that the publishing world is going through a big change. Like the recording industry a few years back, the “indies” may well take over the industry. Certainly, without agents editors and others, the self pub world will have some books out there that shouldn’t be. However, there will be more that should, but some agent, editor, or publisher couldn’t be bothered and rejected it.

  2. Elizabeth Dougherty says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I just notice that you’ve reference a recent post of mine and I wanted to say thank you! I hope you will look for an agent before giving up and self-publishing. You might find just the right person and there are lots of resources out there to help you find a good match. Don’t forget that many published authors receive many (often well over 50!) rejections before landing an agent.

    I will definitely try to get an agent for my next book when I’m ready.

    Not that I think self-publishing is a last resort. For me, it was an open door. Things are shifting so much now in so many ways. I don’t know if self-publishing will ever dominate, but I do think it will keep growing.

    Best of luck to you and if you ever want to chat, you can find me back at addverses.com or at http://www.writtenbyelizabethdougherty.com.

    Best,
    Elizabeth

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