Friday, March 11, 2011

Authors on Self-Publishing E-Books

The stories coming out of the trenches right now are incredible. Success stories from authors who turned flagging or nonexistent careers around, taking matters into their own hands to instant success and wheelbarrows of money. While anyone who has been around publishing -- or the planet -- for a while will greet these stories with some healthy skepticism, if there are e-book failure stories floating around out there, we have yet to hear them. In the meantime, though, the success stories keep pouring in.

The Next Web recently ran a piece called “The Economics of Self-Publishing an Ebook.” While that doesn’t precisely describe the content of the article, it’s hard not to be blown away by some of the numbers they toss around.
A paranormal and erotic romance author named Tina Folsom had tried for years to land a literary agent and traditional publisher to no avail. Almost on a whim she decided early last year to begin uploading some of her novels to various ebook platforms. Sales, at first, were slow — perhaps only a few hundred a month. But then suddenly in October she sold over a thousand titles. In December it jumped up to 11,000, and in January she sold 27,000 ebooks (February, a shorter month, clocked in around 22,000).
Folsom, The Next Web reports, has quit her day job and farms out the parts of e-book creation that require elbow grease in order to concentrate on writing her novels.

Last weekend, the Vancouver Province newspaper ran a piece that also focused on e-books from the author’s perspective. The title itself was enough to bring writers running. “The book is dead -- long live the ebook: Writers are self-publishing their way to fame and fortune as e-readers take over.”

Author and journalist Peter Darbyshire opted to report his story through the lens of someone who has been taking some heat about self-publishing his latest book electronically on the heels of a traditionally published book.
But, as usual, the bad news for some is good news for others. While publishers and bookstores are hurting, many writers are doing better than ever thanks to ebooks. In fact, some are doing so well they've walked away from careers with publishing houses to go it alone on the Kindle, iBookstore, Kobo and the other e-services that are launching almost daily.
In the midst of this flurry of authors getting busy on their own time, at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers, Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio cheerfully urged publishers to prepare for “transformational growth.” From Publishers Weekly:
He said it was wrong to view bookselling and publishing as a “zero sum game” in which the only way to grow is to grab market share, with a limit to the number of books people will buy. Riggio said he sees the digital marketplace expanding at a greater pace than many analysts, and said the sale of e-books is adding new customers and is just not replacing bound books. With the addition of e-books, B&N’s long tail is getting even longer, Riggio said. He noted that during the peak two-week holiday period not only did digital sales soar but comp sales of print books rose as well.

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