Ms. Danzo writes fiction and has twenty years experience working in Sales and Marketing and has published various articles on a variety of subjects, including articles on professional/fictional writing and marketing.
E-publishing , Print on Demand (POD), and Kindle Markets–Are They The Wave Of The Future?
by Sia McKye Danzo
For most of us, writing is a driving force within us. A passion. I’ve written and told stories all my life, but have only gotten serious about it the last couple of years. Some of you have been writing for many years.
Our goal, of course, is getting published. Getting noticed by an agent or publisher. We write to entertain others, to take them on a journey. To do that we have to have an audience, which means being published. We’ve worked hard towards that goal. We’ve entered contests, are trying short-stories and articles to build up our credits to get noticed. We’ve used other writers to read our stories and give us back constructive feedback all with the goal of getting published. We’ve queried. We’ve gotten back rejection letters and we sigh. We keep going, yet sometimes it’s discouraging. We get excited about an agent who requests more of our manuscript–almost afraid to hope because haven’t we all been there? Waiting on pins and needles for them to get back to us, hoping that maybe THIS time, it will be the one who gets our story published.
I get discouraged. I know some of you have as well. How many of you have really considered publishing to Print on Demand (POD) publishers or places like Kindle? It’s the wave of the future, I’m sure. One good indication of that is the hoopla with Amazon and e-books. Most major publishing houses have an e-publishing section because of reading the trends. Granted some of the e-books they offer are a bit out there. I know Harlequin has had down loadable stories, for a small price, for some time. I rather think they saw the handwriting on the wall and were testing out the market for e-publishing. They now offer some of their authors through e-publishing and some authors are strictly e-published.
A benefit of e-publishing and POD, is a bigger share of royalties, than with a traditional publisher–but not advances–as a rule. Your work is out there, but not necessarily on the local book store shelves like you pictured in your mind. Unless you are willing to promote yourself and your writing to get it there. You have to market, via blogs, websites, and social networks. Authors have to do that regardless of the medium, but the marketing is pretty much on you rather than assistance from a publisher.
Self-publishing/Vanity Press is where the author paid someone to print their book and not always a good quality of book either in writing style or subject matter. Unfortunately, some negative stigma of Vanity Press books still color people’s perception of e-publishing or Print on Demand publications.
Is e-publishing, not self-publishing, a good thing? Or do you think it’s harmful for an author in the long-run? Some of you have gone that route. What are your experiences now that you’ve done it? Have any of you been approached by an agent or publisher? Have any of you heard of anyone getting picked up by a publisher going this route? Does it count as being published when doing our queries?
October 7, 2008 at 8:03 am
Good questions, Sia. I’ll be interested to see if anyone has answers.
Thank you for guesting my blog today.
October 7, 2008 at 9:29 am
I think e-publishing can be a good route for some people to take. Look at MJ Rose. A great deal of her success came from the e-venue, so it is not something I would discount in my own pursuit of publishing.
October 7, 2008 at 10:50 am
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with e-publishing. Self publishing is a whole different thing. I just sold my first story and it was to an e-zine which is fine with me although I still consider paper publication to be the ultimate goal for my novels. I’ll give you my reason: I’ve heard people proclaim, over and over, that e-books are the future. At the same time I don’t know a single person who owns an e-book reader or who has ever bought an e-book.
Want my opinion on why e-books are going to have a hard time really taking off and becoming mass market? Tradition. They’re distributed via the internet. People are used to the internet being a free source and when they come across things that they would have to pay for will often bypass it. They feel they can find something just as good that they don’t have to pay for. On the other hand, when they go into a bookstore or see the row of books at Walmart, they are looking at a physical product. They don’t expect to get physical products for free. They expect to pay for them. So they do.
October 7, 2008 at 11:18 am
I think the same restructuring that is ongoing in the music industry will happen in the publishing industry. Also the widespread pirating, though not so prevalent because readers are older, richer, and have better ethics? That remains to be seen. In the same space of a hardback book, I can carry 100 or more books and they are cheaper. The readers need work and to come down in price, but that’s inevitable.
The publishing business has a hard road ahead. What value do they add? They improve the quality of a manuscript, but how many typical readers care? We care, but we’re writers. They own the brick and mortar bookstore supply chain, but Amazon is beating them silly.
As writers, the good news is we won’t have the publishers forming a barrier between us and our readers. I think the future of publishing for us will be more like a monthly subscription service. People will more directly support us and our work. The downside is, as the barriers fall, everyone with a PC and some patience will be a novelist and the noise level will increase. How will we deal with that?
October 7, 2008 at 1:48 pm
“It’s the wave of the future, I’m sure.”
In short, No. I wrote this same paper in Mass Comm 101 in 1999. POD companies were free then. That’s what they’re worth. Unless you have talent of the Paolini’s, who needed Carl Hiassen to get anywhere, it ain’t happening. You should count on that. It’s the safest bet you’ll ever have.
October 7, 2008 at 1:57 pm
“They own the brick and mortar bookstore supply chain, but Amazon is beating them silly.”
Not according to the facts, but who cares when a myth needs shoring up? 11 percent of all book sales happens online. Look it up.
October 7, 2008 at 5:15 pm
I own probably a hundred e-books. I love them! I load them on my PDA, partly because there was no such thing as Kindle when I started reading e-books, and partly because I prefer multi-purpose electronics. I download from Mobipocket, Ellora’s Cave, and eReader. Ellora’s Cave offers books in the Mobi format, which is my preference. In the early days, most e-books were pretty hit or miss. These days, many, many big name authors are offering e-books as just another choice, the way they would offer their work as audiobooks. The quality has improved greatly. Personally, I LOVE e-books!
October 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm
I’m not surprised Pat. I think a lot of people buy books on the internet. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Borders sell over 13 billion in media sales– mainly books, which would also include E-books and POD.
October 7, 2008 at 7:31 pm
Ken, I think that convenience plays into the buying of e-books and POD books. Amazon’s Kindle also increases and encourages books sales.
It seems to me that more and more people are using computers and media devices for music, books, magazines, and movies. Computers seem to have become the new entertainment centers. I know I buy music and download it to my computer and movies too. I like the convenience of getting my product with a click rather than wait for snail mail to deliver it–I imagine that I’m not alone in that. I can use my computer to download PDF book files.
I think pirating is always a concern whether books or music. Artists are becoming more aggressive in protecting their products. Who knows how that will it will all play out.
October 7, 2008 at 7:38 pm
A lot has changed in almost 10 years. I’m by no means an expert in this arena, but electronic convenience seems to come into play. If you look at Amazon’s SEC, they aren’t doing bad in selling media like books. From what I can see, they have a very healthy profit. Again, I’m by no means a financial expert in this.
Personally, I buy about half the books I read, from Amazon and Borders. Almost all my music is bought that way.
October 7, 2008 at 7:48 pm
My curiosity is more along the lines of which will do better in the publishing market–mass media books, offered in bookstores or POD books which can also be offered in book stores as well as on line in places such as Amazon. Is e-books and POD books a good thing? Or do you think it’s harmful for an author in the long-run?
Selling books is still profitable as the book sellers have been claiming profits rather than losses–except maybe Borders who may be selling their chain.
I’m curious to hear from those authors that have published through POD and e-books…
October 7, 2008 at 7:55 pm
“…paper publication to be the ultimate goal for my novels.” KS, I agree. I would love to see my novels picked up by a traditional publisher. Romance writers can make a reasonable living, some great living, after establishing a readership base.
I do know quite a few people that have readers and buy e-books. Like I said above, I buy at least 1/2 my books on the Internet via Amazon or Borders…
October 9, 2008 at 11:40 pm
Dear Ms. Danzo,
I think POD is the way of the future and E-books will gain in popularity slowly, like the computers. When I was 16, I didn’t know the difference between a Robot and a computer! Today, A three year old handles a computer like we used to handle a rattle. It’s just a matter of time.
In India, a country of more than a billion people there are just ten or so Publishers who control the market – so authros are “cheap” to come by. The rejection rate is 99.999999 percent!!
POD is the only way to go for most of the people. And with the popularity of Laptops and PDAs it is not very difficult to imagine a better medium of reading the book in the future.
The traditional Publishers are bound to face a tough competition in the future.
One Step At a Time (Manzilein)