Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Self-Publishing and Ebooks

I like being a part of the American Christian Fiction Writers. One big benefit is being a member of the main email loop. Industry topics are brought up all the time. Recently, a lot of discussion has been going on about Thomas Nelson's new self-publishing option (read about it on Michael Hyatt's blog here). This sparked a lively discussion about ebooks v. print books and self-publishing stereotypes.

I must confess I read every one, curious what the prevailing opinion is about both. One blogger friend, H. Charles Dilmore, went the self-publishing route with his first book, My Quirks and My Compass. His blog garnered a lot of attention (rapid following), and I honestly think it was because he was so encouraging and inspiring to authors everywhere. Here was a guy who was going to try the traditional route, but wasn't going to sweat bullets over getting an agent. He set a deadline for himself, and then stuck to it. The book was going to be in print by that time. And it was. And we all wished (deep inside) we could be just like him.

I haven't read his book, although his excerpts at the blog address above were really, really good. (No, Chuck isn't paying me for any kind of endorsement, Federal Trade Commission.) I think that there plenty of authors out there who have quality work, like Chuck, who don't want to stress out over getting published.

The whole ebook thing is wonderful to me. Authors getting more royalties, not having to worry about returns on books, cost of production is down, not to mention the "green" factor of saving trees. Ebook readers are SO convenient, too. I don't have a Kindle, but I have the Kindle foe iPhone and LOVE it. I can read while I'm eating and not have to worry about the spine of the book closing on me. I can travel and bring TONS of books with me without the weight. I can pay less for the SAME book. I don't have a problem with this at all. All good things, and this from someone who said she'd never buy them. Sheesh.

But I've gotten to thinking about self-publishing in the same light. I said I'd never do it. I wanted the traditional route all the way. Blood, sweat, and tears. But I remember at the ACFW conference a few weeks back when they announced that ebooks were going to be considered "books" for all practical purposes. Ebooks are coming into their own! Self-publishing is right up there with it.

I'm not saying I'm going to self-publish. I've currently got a manuscript out on submission to an agent who requested it. We'll see where things go. But I'm just looking at viable alternatives to this crazy route I've chosen with a new eye.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

Wordle: signature

19 comments:

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

First of all, being able to read your kindle while eating (instead of having a book flop closed) is an excellent perk I never would have considered!

Right now I'm still not there. I've read too many blogs and columns saying that self publishing is a death sentence if you want a career with a traditional publisher. Exceptions to the rule and the fact that the culture is changing rapidly aside, it'll take a while before I consider it. But I've only been actively seeking publication for a few years. Maybe in a few more--when I know more about it--I'll be willing to consider it.

Ebooks confuse me because I can't touch them. I need tangible things, especially for something as important as a book. But a friend of mine has a kindle and I was really impressed!!! Maybe in a few years!

Oh yeah, and congrats on the request!

Jody Hedlund said...

I think Michael's post was very interesting and pointed out the reasons someone might self-publish. There are viable reasons to go that route. But I'm not sure that for fiction, it's the best route to getting your book in front of the maximum number of people. But perhaps if more and more people go that route, then it will become more acceptable? Not sure! But good thoughts, Jeannie!

sherrinda said...

Goodness...who knows? The Kindle sure makes for easy reading and, after the intital purchase, makes book buying cheaper. I guess my sense of smell makes me a bit stubborn on this issue. I LOVE the smell of books. I just don't think a Kindle will ever smell good like that! :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Good food for thought on the subject. And don't forget about small presses and indie publishers!

Cindy said...

Good thoughts, Jeannie, and I was just about to add small presses and indie publishers when I saw Angie's comment above. Aside from all those negative stories out there about self-publishing (and small pressed for that matter), I think it's a matter of what's best for you and your book. What your intentions are going into publishing and how much effort you're willing to put into something. Self-publishing simply to get your book out there, your name out there, as a starting point, IMO is not a good idea. Even if your sales are great and you get a lot of attention, if it's not where your heart is leading you for the future of your writing career, then it's still a step in a dangerous direction. However, if you know self-publishing is for you (and I know someone who has that conviction right now), then more power to you!

Tamika: said...

Jeannie I have been hearing about the Kindle for a few weeks now, and I must say my interest has peeked.

I love the feel of a book in my hands.

As far as self-publishing I am just stubborn about wanting the traditional route. It will take God for me to even consider. I want the Agent/Publishing experience.

PatriciaW said...

I'm thinking a lot of writer bloggers are going to take on this topic. I'm musing over the subject myself. :)

Ava Walker Jenkins said...

I can see a lot more benefits to e-publishing, than I used to. But for me it just wouldn't feel right. Taking that route because I was impatient just seems like the easy way out. I would feel like I cheated, avoiding the typical "blood, sweat and tears" route.
To me, having succeeded through a traditional publisher would feel like a triumph!
But who knows how the market and public opinion on this topic in the next few years will sway us to the other side.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts. i think we'll just have to wait and see...time tells all as to what's going to happen with self-publishing and ebooks. thanks for dropping in with your thoughts.

Terri Tiffany said...

I don't know. I can't leave the good old real book feel in my hands. Also don't want to self-publish fiction--if it were non-fiction and I had a great venue to get it out there, then I might.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I love my Kindle and the whole concept of ebooks. However, with the self publishing thing, I feel like I need outside validation. I want some professional publishing person to say--yes this is good enough to pay for.

Cathy Bryant said...

Loved your post, Jeannie! It completely echoes my thoughts. I'm seeking the traditional route first, but I'm not going to stick my head in the sand and pretend there aren't other viable options. God is my agent, my mentor, my editor and my publisher; my work is for Him and Him alone. The route He chooses to take with my sacrifice of praise is up to Him...

...just my two cents worth. :)

Hugs!

Katie Ganshert said...

I read all the comments on Michael Hyatt's blog too. It's all very interesting. I'd still like to go traditional, but who's to say what anything will be like in a few years.

I feel like butt today. Absolute butt.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I really think it's just another venue to attract more readers which can't be bad in the long run.

Heather Sunseri said...

yeah, Michael's post and Rachelle's post today has some really good information. I'm trying to process it all.

Dominique said...

While my jury's still out on the whole Kindle issue, I think I'm a traditionalist all the way for my own publishing methods. But to each's own.

Shelli said...

if you are getting requests - i woudl wait.

Jamie D. said...

I'm completely open to self-publishing, though I'm going for traditional as well. JA Konrath is an author who has had several books published through Hyperion, and also self-publishes ebooks online. His ebooks aren't making as much as print, but they are making a fairly respectable profit, esp. the ones he sells for $1.99 through Amazon. He's very open about all of his numbers on his blog - head over there for a fascinating viewpoint: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

Personally, I'd like to do both. I'd like to have my books published through a traditional publisher, but also have the option to self-publish ebooks on the side as well. I think diversity is a great way to build a solid career. So that's what I'm aiming for.

I read ebooks on my PDA all the time - love it! I still buy and read print books too...nothing like it in bed late at night. I'm all about variety - the more, the better. ;-)

Diane said...

Good thoughts. I still like to hold a book in my hands and not a cold piece of electronic machinery. Hasn't anyone seen Superman 4 with Richard Pryor and that mess from computers? :O)