“Would You Like That in eBook or Paper?”

Whether to publish digitally or traditionally seems to be the question of the day in the writing world. And to that I say…

Well, let me back up a little.

I am a writer. I’ve written a lot of words. I am, in fact, well past the “10,000 hour” rule. Nearly all of that writing has been done for the simple fact that I love doing it. I find the undertaking to be exciting, even seductive (and we won’t talk about the aggravatingly challenging parts). When I am writing, the rest of the world might not even exist. Food? Oh, yeah, I probably should get some of that so that I don’t faint along the story-writing path. Laundry? Um… I’ll get to it. No, really. Bills? Did I forget to pay something?

I’d never!

From time to time I have submitted my works to publishers, and I even had a short story accepted. I want to be published – and even recognized. I really do. I have long dreamed of seeing my name on the cover of a book-read-by-other-people. But the road to that point has been desultory at best, lazy at worst. I wanted to do the writing part, I didn’t so much want to do the selling. I confess, I still don’t, but… Now I am willing to do it anyway. I have made a conscious, purposeful decision to put some serious effort into pursuing that castle in the sky. I have made the announcement to Friends, Foe, and Family. I do have my moments of doubt, but they do not rule. I am serious about this endeavor! Witness the eStory (It’s short; I can’t, in good conscience, call it an eBook) decorating my sidebar. Have you read it yet? If so, have you been kind enough to rate or review it? Ratings and reviews are gold to starving author types (I so stole borrowed that line from the lovely K.M. Weiland)!

Coincidentally, my decision to write for fame and fortune (Actually, just the latter would be fine. I am not a fan of paparazzi. Did you see the movie? Oish!) has come at a time when indie publishing is really taking off – and when my husband has decided that we want a new house, a new car, a yacht… Okay, not the yacht (maintenance and taxes, hello!), but definitely some travel. I’m not really seeing my earnings (cough!) paying for those, but he’s sweet to have such confidence in me.

At any rate, researching the possibilities of indie publishing has been inspiring. Distracting, but inspiring. I have learned all kinds of things, refreshed my skills, brushed up on some basics. It was with excitement and a sense of accomplishment that I made available my first short story as an introduction to my style and voice, as as a way to begin connecting with a wider circle of readers. It is so exhilarating to be able to share this passion! I am wading in the shallow end of the Social Media Pool, and it there that I have found references to articles that continue to educate, challenge, and inspire me. I have recently come across the blog of Shawn WickersheimThe first time I read his blog, I laughed. I laughed again the second and third time, but then I wondered what this fellow was doing in my head! It’s probably not safe there. Very busy. Very crowded. But I kid you not, Shawn often writes what I’m thinking. It’s kind of spooky. For instance, these are his/my thoughts about e-publishing:

Because I felt it was the best way to share my work with the public. More and more people are turning to e-readers and I felt this was the most direct route to take in order to connect with readers. Without big-name recognition, I felt the only way people would get to know my work is if I told them about it myself. And if I was going to go through all that work then I wanted to have most of the rewards too. I’m not looking to get rich quick. This isn’t some money scheme. This is a lifelong dream I’m pursuing and I intend to continue publishing my books exactly the way I want, when I want and how I want for as long as I want…

He goes on to discuss the oft-expressed opinion that ebooks are devaluing books in general, and brings up an amusing comparison involving reality shows. (I don’t care for them at all; neither does he. Go figger!)

“But with anyone able to publish anything, how can the reader know what is and isn’t crap?”

Find out here how he answers: To Be or Not to Be… – and be sure to check out his other posts as well.

You might also want to check out Five Ways to Get More Amazon Reviews by K. M. Weiland. “The candid reviews of other readers are one of the most important elements in this purchasing experience, and authors everywhere check and double-check their Amazon pages for their next review.”

Jody Kihara teaches us about formatting special characters for Smashwords on her blog. (Very helpful for those of us who are into D.I.Y.!)

So how about you? Do you approve or disapprove of e-publishing, and what are your thoughts on the matter? 

6 thoughts on ““Would You Like That in eBook or Paper?”

  1. Thanks for the very kind words and the mention. I'll have to drop by here and read more of your blog a little later once I've had more than a few hours of sleep. Since at least in this case we seem to be like-minded, would it be inappropriate to say this is an awesome post?! 🙂 Good luck with your future writing projects…(and yeah, I wouldn't necessarily go for the yacht either. Better to keep your mountain of money and just make friends with someone who has a yacht already. That way you can still go out and have fun on it without having to mess around with the upkeep.) 🙂

  2. I approve wholeheartedly of e-publishing. It is a means to an end: get the story to the audience. The world has changed and writers must change with it if their stories are to be enjoyed. I have read enough books to know for sure that print does not equal great. The best stories, the ones worth telling and retelling, will be passed on, just like the ones told around crackling fires long ago.

    Terrific post, Robin! Of course, I expect nothing less. 😀

  3. @inkcompetentwriter You know what they say about great minds thinking alike, and how can one not approve awesomeness? 😀 I'm so glad you visited, and I hope you come again!

    @Narratus People have different reasons for writing, and for publishing. There are those that love the "e-revolution" and there are those who will, of course, hate it. (Contrary creatures!) Not very long ago there were all kinds of people that didn't like computers and were *sure* they would never be widely used… 🙂

  4. I found this post via Twitter and am glad I did. You've said things that I wish I had thought of. It's not about the fame or the publicity at the end of the day. It's about doing good work, work you enjoy, and entertaining people with the final product.

    It's true that quality is an issue with e-books but we're all on a learning curve; we can only get better as we practice the craft we love. Well done and thank you!

  5. I've been following Joe Konrath a/k/a JA Konrath for awhile. He's primarily self-pubbed his work. Now, mind you he's written A LOT OF BOOKS. And pretty much says to do the same. Keep writing, keep publishing and pray for some luck.

    I just – and I mean like within the last 48 hours – ePubbed on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel. There is shit out there – real shit – that is self/ePubbed. You just have to be careful not to publish garbage. But one man's trash – yada yada yada

    Good Luck!

  6. @P. J. Benney What you said is so true. And quality is an art form — I love that we have the resources readily available to ease that learning curve if we will but make use of them. So very many talented people freely offer their experience, their advice, and their support. Isn't that just awesome?

    @Kim Mullican Konrath is quite the inspiration, both in the example he sets and in his willingness to help and encourage indie publishers.

    I have been a little astonished at some of the "garbage" being offered; more so at how popular some of it has become, and I'm not talking about my personal preferences in style or genre, but the fact that the works are poorly written and appallingly unedited.

    However… I do think that the cream will float to the top. It's amazing that *we* get to have a say in that just by taking the opportunity to rate and review, and to spread the word via our social networking. It is a different publishing world that we are entering, to be sure, but isn't it exciting?

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