What I didn’t discuss in that previous post is the relative success many authors were having in publishing directly for the e-reader market. I am not talking about the success of the e-book version of the latest Stephen King novel. I am referring to previously unknown and unpublished writers who are publishing original fiction for the first time in e-book format and are selling via Amazon.com and BN.com.
What does this mean? Why should you care?
Well in my recent poll on e-readers, 57% of respondents indicated they either had an e-reader or planned to get one soon. I imagine across the English-speaking world, when prices continue to drop, more people will buy them. Those that do will find that they read more and buy more e-books than they normally would buy print books. This increases the market for new material.
Buy more e-books?
Yes, when you can log into the Amazon store right from you Kindle and can immediately search and download a new book at midnight, from the beach, or in an airport you’ll probably agree.
And you’ll agree that the price of e-books, which currently ranges from free to an average of around $12 for the latest bestseller release, is attractive and you may find you don’t miss those $25 hardcover price tags.
It also means that times are changing. Technology is bringing writers and readers closer together and the time it takes for a writer to publish a book and put it in the hands of readers can be drastically reduced with direct e-publishing.
A writer can finish an edited, packaged, formatted, e-book on Monday and have it posted for sale that same day. That may not seem like a big deal, but consider that the average time a print publisher takes to publish a new work is close to a year and often much longer. That means the brand new bestseller you bought last week for $25 was written by the author a year ago. Yes, a one year delay.
But who is doing this? Who is publishing e-books only and is having any success? See this announcement in the NY Times: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/self-publisher-signs-four-book-deal-with-macmillan/
Who is this Amanda Hocking?
A bout a year ago, Amanda Hocking was a frustrated writer of young adult paranormal romance/fantasy, like “Twilight” and others. She couldn’t attract the interest of a print publisher, so she published several of her novels as e-books through the Kindle store and within ten months or so she had sold over 1 million copies. She made over $2 million dollars and now has a big deal worth another $2 million plus for four new books with St. Martin’s Press, one of the big six publishing houses.
She came from nowhere, couldn’t get published, published herself via e-books, and now she has effectively taken the publishing world by storm. Read what she has to say about this big deal here: http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog.html
This news and Amanda Hocking’s success is what you call a game changer. The landscape for writers has been redesigned and is far more open than when the only path forward was through the gatekeepers in New York.
Let’s be honest. Many, many people will publish their e-books and 90% of them will be unedited, unpolished, unformatted, or just plain terrible. When it is that easy to create something to sell, people will indeed try.
But, the marketplace is the great equalizer and only the cream will rise to the top. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other e-books vendors display sales rankings and customer reviews so a discerning reader can sift through all the dirt to get to the gold. There will plenty to choose from, but unlike the slow browse through the stacks at a library or bookstore to find something good to read, you can simply do a keyword, author, title, or genre search and then sort and shop the results to find what you want.
It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s not the future.
It’s the now.
It’s a brave new world for publishing and I, for one, think it is a great time to be a reader AND a writer.
What do you think?