22 March 2011

It's a Whole New Book Game

Publishing is changing by the moment these days. Espionage-thriller author Barry Eisler recently turned down $500,000 (yes, a half-mil) advance to write his next two books in favor of publishing them himself in ebook formats. He tells about it HERE:  Ebooks and Self-Publishing - A Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

One very telling exchange about the paper v digital dialogue:

Barry: The question, then, is what advantages does the previous technology retain over the new technology? If the answer is “none,” then the previous technology will become extinct, like eight-track. If the answer is “some,” then the question is, how big a market will the old technology continue to command based on those advantages?
Joe: You’re talking about niche markets.
Barry: Exactly.
Joe: We’ve discussed this before. Paper won’t disappear, but that’s not the point. The point is, paper will become a niche while digital will become the norm.

Now, two things to keep in mind: 1) Barry Eisler is already a major selling author with a huge fan base and megabuck advances already under his belt, and 2) he barely mentions ebook distribution here. Sure, you can publish your ebook yourself but how are you going to get it to markets where readers shop such as Fictionwise and other lists?  

Ebook publishers are popping up all over. Authors need to do a bit of research, look at longevity, royalty payments, stability, and distribution prospects, but the bottom line is an ebook publisher can get your book out there. YOU still have to do all the marketing, but hey, you get to keep a larger slice of the pie than a traditional print contract. My ebook publisher is Champagne Books, established since 2005 with a large stable of authors and continuing to expand.

The point is, digital publishing is taking off like a land rocket. Those who look down on ebook authors and indie-published authors need to pull their heads out of their big fat -- uh, the sand -- and realize not only are these authors adventurous innovators, many are just as good as or even better writers. 

So to those new authors out there wondering where to submit a manuscript, look at digital publishers first. Read Eisler's blog interview for the information on how quickly a digital book can be out on the market, how large the royalty percentage is, and the troubles the print industry is experiencing (Borders closings, anyone?) to weigh options. 

Would love to read what you think...


  1. Great post, Jude. I like the comment that paper books will become the niche market while digital will become the norm. Think it's already happening and much as I love my print books (and want see my own first novel in print), I do love my kindle very much!

  2. Thanks, Rosemary. I don't have a Kindle - yet - but the request has been made for my birthday. I love print books, but I can see from the business standpoint how much more economical e-publishing is in terms of saving trees, paper, space and distribution costs.

    But I still want a library in my house someday - like Henry Higgins. ;-)