What are the advantages of e-publishing?
I have many friends who have opted to e-publish their works, and with good reasons, not to mention good results.
Let’s face it, publishing is a hard business for any writer. At one time, there was about 75 to 100 print publishing companies, owned by people whose tastes and criteria varied. Now five major media corporations own most imprints. Titles are chosen by committee who consider content less important than demographics of the customer base. The major publishers want books that will sell. They are not interested in producing mid-list authors, or in keeping books in print, or in publishing a good book that won't find a wide audience, just because it’s good.
So here's what my research turned up.
Luckily, there are more opportunities for first-time/unknown authors, or authors of unusual books in e-publishing. For writers whose stories don't fit the mold, e-publishing can be a way to find an audience and good reviews. Deb Staples says that e-books are a great way to put your foot in the door. Now you can say you are a published author, and begin the process of marketing and learning how the industry works. “E-books get talented authors into a market that might otherwise never see them.”
And here’s a few more good reasons for those writers involved or interested in e-publishing:
Less emphasis on standard novel lengths. E-publishing offers a market for books that are longer, or shorter, than traditional print novels. It is an excellent market for novelettes, which sell for a lower price than a paperback novel, and often more acceptable to the consumer.
More control over the process. Writers have greater freedom with characters and plot, more say in revisions, and possibly more input in cover art and sales blurbs. While e-publishing editors make suggestions for revisions in a manuscript, authors note that there is considerably more room for discussion and negotiation.
Higher royalties. Because the costs of e-published books are significantly lower than print books, authors receive a far higher percentage of revenues. 40 percent is fast becoming the industry standard. Most e-publishers pay royalties every quarter rather than once or twice a year like print publishers. However, keep this in mind and don’t expect to get rich quick. Karen Wiesner, who has sold hundreds of copies of her romance titles and several thousand copies of her nonfiction e-book, notes, "I don't think the combined total from all my book royalties would equal what a standard mid-list author with a traditional publisher makes off a single advance."
Author-friendly contracts. I think most e-publishers ask only for electronic rights, leaving the author free to market print rights and subsidiary rights elsewhere. In addition, most e-publishing contracts are renewable rather than indefinite.
Shorter response times. Most e-publishers attempt to respond to submissions within two to four months. Response times are lengthening, however, as the number of submissions increases.
Faster publication. Some e-publishers will bring out a title within months of acceptance. However, this is becoming less and less common, particularly among the larger e-publishers, who have backlogs of manuscripts.
International availability. "Readers in Australia can buy the book the same day it's released to buyers in the U.S. It's immediately accessible to everyone, everywhere.
Longer shelf life. Since it costs very little to keep an e-book in stock, a book does not have to sell thousands of copies. As long as sales remain good by e-book standards, most e-publishers are willing to keep a title in their inventory, rather than dropping it for a more profitable title.
How do you feel about e-publishing? Does anyone with e-pub experience have anything to add, or dispute here? Let us know your ideas on this subject good or bad.