Sunday, December 4, 2011

Indie Publishing and the age of the ebook

One of the hardest thing for us as authors is advertising - marketing - tooting our own horns! We want someone else to do it. Eons ago, it seems, the trick was to get a publisher to notice you and print your book. Traditional publishers were picky, picky, picky! They only published 8 to 10 books a year and the cost of putting the books into print and publicizing required them to be sure for certain they would sell. Well, as sure as they could be.

They began using formulas and certain stringent requirements and really pretty much decided what the public was allowed to read. The book had to fit into a genre and the formula. Ex: girl meets boy, girl breaks up with boy, girl and boy get back together - Voila! - happily every after. Authors were regularly asked to pretty much scrap the manuscript they sent in favor of getting published. The book often didn't resemble the original submission much.

Enter ebooks and the age of computers, iPads, readers and even cellphone readers! Indie publishers have always thought outside the box, but now there are 50,000 small publishing companies and many of them do not put books into print. Many of the traditional publishers are going to POD for their book printing - McMillan among them. Times they are a-changing, as they say.

So, what does that mean to the reader? Lucky us! We are now able to drive the market. No longer can the publisher limit what we read. We can choose from millions of ebooks. We are challenged by this; thousands of ebooks are not very good. Quality is a problem and Kindle and others are opening up the book for you to look at - to read the first chapter or so and decide if you want to buy. It's like standing in the bookstore and reading the covers, but a little deeper.

And what does that mean to the writer? Lucky us, too! We are now able to publish what we write. Writer-friendly publishers like Gypsy Shadow and editors like me will work with the author to produce the best book we can from the manuscript submitted. The challenges are many, but the rewards are off the scale! Authors are free to advertise - market - blog - toot their own horns, or join with other authors and even other publishers to get the word out and sell their books.

It's a new age of book publishing. We are still shaping it. It feels great to be part of a tremendous recognition of the basic talent of scads of authors!

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