As an e-published author, Avery Beck knows the inside story on one of the fastest growing trends in the publishing industry, so I invited her to tell us what she sees as some of the reasons e-books are attractive to so many. ~ Keli
Good things come in ones and twos for Avery. One supportive hubby. Two active young sons. Two Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest finals. Two books sold. And one career off to a great start.
Avery sold her two-time GH finaling manuscript to Samhain Publishing in November 2008. In January 2009, her editor bought a second story. Sexy by Design released in digital download in May of last year, For His Eyes Only in November.
A transplant from Missouri, Avery has lived in Texas thirteen years. She wholeheartedly agrees with a popular bumper sticker slogan, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.” She’s a Nickelback fan who loves hazelnut coffee but can be tempted by a non-fat gingerbread latte on occasion.
The What, Why, and How of E-books
By Avery Beck
[Note: if you read my blog, you aren’t seeing double—much of this article was published there in May 2009. Thank you, Keli, for inviting me back to Romance Writers on the Journey!]
New to digital publishing? It isn’t as complex as it sounds, and it’s easy to get used to. I know, because I used to be a person who couldn’t imagine reading a book without a shiny cover and ink-printed pages I could flip through. But as is often the case with the newest technology I swear I won’t get sucked into (let’s see, I wasn’t going to give up cassette tapes when CDs came out, or the VCR when DVDs came out, and I certainly was never going to waste money on a hot pink iPod like the one I’ve used daily for the past few years), the advantages of e-books overcame my skepticism.
Benefits of E-books
The downloadable format is hard to beat. Instant gratification; shopping without getting dressed, paying for gas, or dragging the kids along; and no shipping charges? Hello, virtual shopping cart! If you read enough to invest in an electronic reader, they’re sleek and fun gadgets, especially when paired with a fancy leather or personalized custom cover. But you don’t have to empty, or even put a dent in, your much-needed savings account—several free e-book readers are also available. (See suggestions at end of post.)
Still not convinced? Here’s my favorite part—e-books are available forever. Once it’s released, it’s out there. You can buy these books as easily several months from now as you can the day they are released. No limited shelf life or out-of-print inconveniences with this format. And digital books are green! You can download hundreds of stories onto your computer or e-reader without worrying about where you’ll store a huge stack of books, how you’ll travel with them, or if you’ll have to throw them out should you (gasp!) decide they aren’t all keepers.
If you don’t make a point of devouring all things publishing industry (like, cough, some of us), here are a few debunked myths about the fast-changing world of digital publishing:
Myth: Only tiny, independent publishers sell e-books.
You can thank small publishers for starting the e-book revolution, but these days, some of the world’s largest print publishing houses sell their inventory in digital format.
Myth: E-publishers just sell erotica, and I’m not into that.
Cue the “wrong” buzzer. My publisher, Samhain, offers all kinds of romance—contemporary, paranormal, comedy, suspense, and tons more. (Check out the long list of options on their left-hand sidebar.)
Myth: E-books are written by authors desperate for publication/the stories are low-quality/the editors aren’t picky.
Tell it to the writers who have received rejection letters from e-pubs—and the ones who are accepted and then slave over major revisions from their editors. Sure, there are bad publishers out there, and you’ll do well to research the publisher you buy from, much as a writer needs to research a publisher before she submits there.
Authors don’t “write e-books.” We write books, and our editors buy stories, not formats. Sexy by Design was nominated for a national award twice and went to the top of a major publishing house before they ultimately passed for reasons having nothing to do with the quality of the story. I’m not desperate, but life is too short to wait for the stars to align in NYC when I know I have a solid manuscript on my hands. After all, the best part of writing is the audience!
Myth: I can’t afford an e-reader, so e-books are out of my reach.
Not so! E-books come in many forms, including simple .pdf files you can print out or read on your computer. Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, and Mobipocket are all free readers available for download.
More E-book Advantages
For writers, here are a few more advantages of electronic publishing:
Wait times. Months, not years—and that goes for submission to response as well as contract to release date.
Full manuscript acceptance. The editors read as much of the book as keeps them interested. You don’t have to risk your dreams on your ability to write one tantalizing paragraph.
Author input. Small publishers (in my experience, anyway) bring an author’s vision to life. If you’ve long-dreamed of a particular cover scene (or title, tagline, or series name) for your story, you’ll likely have the opportunity to use it. No art department nightmares happen here!
Unrestricted storylines. If your manuscript is packed with strong writing and compelling characters, you won’t be rejected just because your hero is from another planet. No, really.
So there you go. Digital publishing is no longer “alternative” publishing—it’s everywhere.
Ironically, in spite of the many reasons I dig e-books, the paperback version of my first book, Sexy by Design, released this week. Leave a comment, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win it…unless, of course, you prefer digital format. If that’s the case, you’re welcome to request one of my e-books instead.
Congratulations to Connie, winner of Avery’s book!
Please visit www.averybeck.com for more information about me and my books!
If you have questions about e-publishing, please leave a comment for Avery. She’ll be dropping by to answer them. ~ Keli