When I speak at workshops and conferences, and we’re delving into the whys and wherefores of finding a publisher, a question invariably arises: “Should I just go ahead and publish an eBook?”
When an aspiring author as me “Should I just publish an ebook or wait to get a book deal?” I fight to hold back the sigh, because the image of an eBook shouldn’t be that of last resort. However, the ease that has developed in publishing eBooks has unfortunately been misinterpreted as a chance to publish when other hopes are gone.
Via emails with the disheartened, I see all the wrong reasons for creating an eBook:
Rejected by agents and publishers
One author thought twelve rejections was too much to bear, so he self-published his story as an eBook.
Traditional takes too long
Young writers say they have to make a name for themselves electronically to be current and savvy like Amanda Hocking, and they rush to join the traffic of writers making big bucks online. Senior writers say they don’t have enough years left to wait for all the steps of traditional publishing.
Traditional is too complicated to learn
If you don’t understand the business, how do you know you’re making the right decision for that story you’ve slaved over for months, even years?
Self-publishing print is too costly
Yes, self-publishing costs. There are no grants for self-publishing your first book. (The most common question I’m asked.) But BookBaby’s bookstore-quality print services are affordable, quick, and professional (with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!)
eBooks are remarkably easy to do; maybe too easy. But the tools are there, so if you go down this path, like any good book, an eBook needs excellent independent editing, a striking cover, professional formatting, a platform, and stringent marketing. And sooner or later, you’ll need a print copy in your hand. Some readers still want paper. If that scares you, because eBooks are so much easier, then maybe you are publishing for the wrong reason. Traditional publishers automatically publish in both print and eBook, and in many eBook formats to boot! You must be willing to do what it takes for your story, not create a story because you have an easy means to publish.
Let’s turn this around and study the reasons you should publish your eBook:
- You’re passionate about your story.
- It’s been edited by someone other than you.
- You are a serious writer, seeking to make a living as an author.
- You’re positive this is as good as you can be.
- The book accentuates your brand or name.
- You want to reach out to the world.
- You have a well-honed marketing plan.
- You’re willing to bust your butt to self-promote.
Amazingly, the reasons are the same for electronic publishing as they are for print – whether traditional or self-pubbing.
An eBook is a means to publication. Instead of thinking that the struggles of the publishing world are making you electronically publish, stop and wonder if your work is ready for the world. If you have the least doubt, hold off until it’s superb. You get no chance for a do-over, and an eBook mistake can haunt you for life.
You don’t resort to e-publishing. You proactively choose it because it best suits the image you’ve painted for your writing career. It has to be clear that you’ve written a book that’s not only competitive in design and delivery, but also beautiful in craft.
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