Today’s guest post comes from Hope Clark, the founder of Funds For Writers and author of the mystery Lowcountry Bribe. I noticed today that 45 out of 54 reviewers at Amazon have given her book 5-Star reviews. That’s great feedback!
I have been very fortunate to know Hope over the past decade through the online writing community and I know that she is constantly reaching out and helping writers to understand the business of writing and publishing. Today she shares her insight into some of the wrong reasons many writers have for creating an e-book. Plus, she gives you some of the right reasons to e-publish!
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 e-book?”
I fight to hold back the sigh, because the image of an e-book shouldn’t be that of last resort. However, the ease that has developed in publishing an e-book 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 e-book:
- Rejected by agents and publishers –
One author thought twelve rejections was too much to bear, so he self-published his story as an e-book.
- 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 –
The Barnes & Noble Glossary of Book Terms might make your head spin, but 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.) Even if you publish for free via CreateSpace, without all the bells and whistles, you have to buy the books and manage distribution.
E-books are remarkably easy to do; too easy. But the tools are there, so if you go down this path, like any good book, an e-book 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 e-books are so much easier, then maybe you are publishing for the wrong reason. Traditional publishers automatically publish in both print and e-book, and in many e-book 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 e-book:
- You’re passionate about your story.
- It’s been edited almost to a fault, by 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 e-book 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 change for a do-over, and an e-book mistake haunts 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.
C. Hope Clark is founder of FundsforWriters.com, voted one of Writer’s Digest’s ‘101 Best Websites for Writers’ for the past twelve years. Her newsletters reach 43,000 readers each week.
However, Hope is also a mystery author. Her new release, Lowcountry Bribe, is available in print and e-book, published through Bell Bridge Books, February 2012. It’s available via Amazon, B&N, and most independent bookstores. Find Hope at www.fundsforwriters.com and www.chopeclark.com