Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The E-Book Craze

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I’ve been thinking about the new e-book craze and the startling statistics stating that e-book sales have surpassed print books. While e-books are good for authors…in a way, and good for readers…in a way, e-book publication has its drawbacks, too. Unless you’re Nora Roberts or Stephen King, who have more money than God, most of us would like to be able to pay the bills with royalties from our books. The most successful e-book authors boast of sales no more than 2000 units (books) a month.
            I did the math and $1.99 to $2.99 a month, the typical price of an e-book before taxes, the e-publisher's cut, cover art and promotion, doesn’t bring in enough to meet expenses even if our sales were in the 2000 a month range. Most are not.
            Why, then, do we bother with electronic publication? There are two reasons I came up with: to re-release out-of-print books, books that may have had a poor sell through or a low print run, books we spend laborious hours creating, strong books that deserve another chance to do well, or, reason number two: to bring out an original that hasn’t yet interested an agent or editor in the hopes that strong electronic sales will encourage those illustrious people to offer a print book contract and a large advance.
There are reasons why original novels don’t sell. An author might face resistance when he wants to branch out into a different genre, editors may feel a subject is overly used or there isn’t enough of an audience. Or, more than likely, the book may simply be a bad book, badly written, a weak plot line, characters that don’t engage, etc. Which brings me to the most important point: agents, editors and publishers are discriminating. In general, published works are very good. A trip to the bookstore typically results in a variety of books screened by agents, editors, copy editors and reviewers. How, then, in this brave new world of technology, does a reader discern which e-book is of the quality on which to chance his $.99? Comments are appreciated.
            Given all of the above, I’m including the cover of my new e-book original, WITCH WOMAN, out at the end of January 2011. I think it is an excellent paranormal, set during the Salem witch trials in the late 17th century and in contemporary Salem. I hope you give it a try and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.