Entertainment | Books | October 2009
|Self Publishing - The Digital Revolution|
October 27, 2009
The new day is here, and it may be sooner than you think until that bound, paper and ink thing we know as a book will be an endangered species. But the species is not dying, it is evolving. In fact, take the first letter of 'evolution' and add it to the book we know and love and you have the new sub-species - the Ebook.
|R.D. Lyons has written 3 novels, which can be purchased in Puerto Vallarta bookstores and at Amazon.com.|
It strikes me as ironically fitting that Jane Friedman, former President and CEO of one of the world's largest traditional publishing houses, HarperCollins, is forming a new company dedicated exclusively to the distribution of digital media, i.e. Ebooks.
A statistic I just discovered surprised even me, an early adapter of the Amazon Kindle Ebook reading device. In February, 2009, Amazon reported that of its books available in both book and Ebook formats, Ebooks accounted for 10% of sales. Just six months later, Ebooks accounted for 35% of sales. Wow!
The reason behind this explosive development is indisputable. Traditional printing is expensive and ecologically unsound. Think of the trees, the cost and pollution involved in the paper milling industry. Then there's all that ink; and the energy consumed in nationwide distribution.
Carbon neutral is not a term that can be applied to the publishing industry. To buy a book, you have to go to a store, drive across town, pay for gas and parking as well as the book. An Ebook is environmentally friendly, is downloaded to your reading device in seconds and costs a fraction of a book.
Then there are the economics, strictly from the writer's POV. As an author, would you prefer to make less than a 10% royalty on a $25 book with a traditional publisher, or a 35% royalty on a $10 Ebook? How about an 85% royalty on a $5 Ebook? Do the math.
The third option wins hands down and it is available now. Moreover, rather than wasting years seeking an agent and/or editor to give you the time of day, your finished work can be made available to the general public almost anywhere on the planet either free or at a nominal cost to you - in a matter of hours! Rather than risk the psychological scars that accompany rejected manuscripts, you let the public decide if they like your work - which was your original intent anyway. Could anything be more democratic?
I recognize that traditional publishers have the expertise and resources to achieve best seller status and nothing comparable yet exists in the Ebook industry, but that will eventually change. When the first author becomes rich and famous from the sale of their Ebook alone, it will be the official dawning of The New Day. That first author could be you. Or maybe even me.
Until quite recently, the Amazon Kindle was available only in the U.S. Now, it can be purchased in over 100 countries. There is talk of numerous competing Ebook readers soon to be available on the international market, and the cost of these devices is dropping dramatically.
Google, Apple and Barnes & Noble are jumping in with their own devices and/or new platforms for transmittal of electronic media. Additionally, many people are downloading digital content to devices they already own like cell phones. In fact, there are currently over 2 million readers downloading Ebooks to their iPhones, Blackberries and similar gadgets.
So how does one enter this brave new world? First-and there are no shortcuts to this essential step-you must write your book. Then you choose your manner of distribution, i.e. the internet Ebook company you choose to work with. You format your work in accordance with their requirements, set your price, upload, and the late comedian and philosopher George Carlin's words were never more apt: "Wherever you go, there you are."
Since the Kindle blazed the trail and Amazon is currently the gorilla of internet marketing, you might consider this the best place to offer your Ebook. The advantages are obvious, but a drawback for those of us not living in the U.S. is that Amazon makes royalty payments (35% of your sales price) by electronic funds transfer to U.S. bank accounts only. If this is not a problem for you, go to their site and you will find instructions for getting your work on Kindle. With the new international device, perhaps this manner of payment will change.
Another company I'm looking into is smashwords.com. They pay up to 85% royalties. You set your sales price, and payment is through PayPal in most of the world's major currencies. Another possibility is scribd.com. There are many, many more and a simple search will get you on your way.
Ebooks still not for you? You want to caress and turn the pages of your masterpiece with your own fingers? No reason why you can't. My article on self-publishing in the traditional book format is available right HERE on BanderasNews.com. But I suspect that many writers who have already gone that route will find Ebooks to be a fascinating challenge that will be hard to ignore.
A long-time resident of Puerto Vallarta, R.D. (David) Lyons is an accomplished author who has published 3 novels and contributes educational and entertaining articles to several local publications. When not writing, he can be found singing jazz standards to his own guitar accompaniment at several of the town's most popular venues.
Click HERE for more articles by David Lyons.