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New publishing. Ebook vs Paper
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Author:  johnson1010 [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

I would like to hear from some of you old pros out there.

If you've been published, which do you prefer? Digital, or paper? Do you see any trends in benefits or any drawbacks to the two methods.

Author:  GreggMattson [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

johnson1010 wrote:
I would like to hear from some of you old pros out there.

If you've been published, which do you prefer? Digital, or paper? Do you see any trends in benefits or any drawbacks to the two methods.


Though I have written for many years, publishing in various paper based trade newsletters and just for fun, I am a new pro. With that aside, I can make a comparison.

Traditional publishing is a quagmire of disaster upon disaster. With traditional paper-based publishing being an established industry, victimization of authors is common by the toll-keepers.

Except for one newspaper article, for which I was compensated $50.00, all of my paper-based works were for non-profit journals, which were begging for content and never paid. (If they publish my work but I’m not paid, does that mean I’m not professional?)

Here is my two cents:
Paper publishing requires a lot of commitment from many people. Why? It is expensive. Once a book is printed, glaring flaws are set in stone. To make any money, a complex system of checks and balances are necessary. The hours, days and years invested in evaluating, editing, printing and shipping are only a part of the overall process. This makes a book viable, but also limits the resources available for new or untested authors. If the work makes it to print and the book is available, an advantage of the traditional publisher is their distribution chain, which can put your book on shelves for readers to find…if they go there.

Digital publishing gives control to the author. Once published, a glaring mistake is simply a repost to replace the defective version. For the sake of readers, I would recommend not allowing the situation to happen in the first place. The traditional editing and fact checking process should still take place, but a mistake won’t trash tens of thousands of dollars. Turnaround time is significantly reduced. More recently, digital publishers, like Smashwords.com, are improving distribution channels. With broader acceptance of digital books, the volume of this type of publishing will be staggering.

In either case, will you see true success one way over the other? Not necessarily. Marketing is an issue either way. Many traditional publishers are looking for volume combined with the occasional best seller to survive. Again, they have limited resources so the chances of getting top reviews, book signings, etc. to market your book are still slim. With Digital publishing, you have the potential for greater exposure through the internet but, so far, the author does the bulk of marketing.

Author:  DamianLake [ Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

Several excellent points, GreggMattson! I happen to be acquainted with a romance author who has published multiple books before the multi-national conglomerates bought up most of the publishing houses and changed to a bean-counting method of book editing. E-publishing is becoming more and more the way to go, if I might be allowed to make my own opinion plain.

At most of the authors conferences in the past few years, the discussions at the various workshops agree that e-publishing is pretty much the future. It is attractive because of the control over distribution the author has and the increased royalty per book the author gets, but the biggest bonus is that the authors aren't required to cram an entire story into 80,000 words. Since digital space is pretty much free, the authors can return to the art of crafting a well-told story, and to hell with the paper costs. The bean counters nearly assassinated the art form during the 90s and now here too in the 21st.

But this brings us over to the point you made about marketing. I am not well versed in this area myself, though the romance author I mentioned has re-published most of her works for kindle and other e-readers. Her publisher handles most of the marketing for that. I seem to remember that at some point, someone mentioned that smashwords was increasing its marketing capabilities for authors who publish through them. Does anyone know if that is true? Also, have there been any new developments in websites or tools that self-published authors can use to spread the word about their works? What are the best forums and/or venues through which an author can most effectively work as we come closer to 2012?

I have been trying to research this very question myself since I will be publishing my first fantasy trilogy of novels sometime next year, but I have yet to come up with very much. If I learn anything promising, I'll share it here for others to take advantage of too, though hopefully someone who knows more already might share the knowledge first!

-Damian Lake

Author:  johnson1010 [ Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

Thanks, all.

Welcome to booktalk, Damian.

Author:  R. LeBeaux [ Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

Can’t really say that I have any particular personal preference, but I can report that, starting about a year ago, sales of my novels in electronic-reader form began to increase dramatically and now account for nearly 80% of all my sales (up from zero some 18 months ago). This has, it appears, come at the expense of some of the paper sales, which have not increased at near the rate of the electronic sales. Still, I’d have to speculate that the advent of the Kindle and other electronic readers has contributed substantially to the overall increase. One reason for this could be that the electronic versions sell for $7.99, whereas the paper versions sell for between $10.79 and $14.99. But then again, sales of electronic readers have increased considerably over the past couple of years, so it’s probably a bit of both.

Author:  DamianLake [ Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

R. LeBeaux wrote:
I can report that, starting about a year ago, sales of my novels in electronic-reader form began to increase dramatically and now account for nearly 80% of all my sales.


Well, you were available at just the right time. I haven't had the chance to look at your book, (though I must confess the cover art certainly attracts attention). What I mean to say is I can't comment on the draw of your book's content, but I do know that since the ipad came out, sales of e-published materials have been skyrocketing. You see, most of the younger trend crowd weren't really into kindle. That was a sad attempt to sell technology to grandmothers, (their view, certainly not mine). But with the ipad in their hands, a multi-purpose tool capable of so many different things, all of a sudden there was a desperate need for content to pour into its flat-screened universe. Now that it was trendy to read electronic books, (thanks in large part to apple's commercial campaign demonstrating the device's versatility), a whole new market segment of millions upon millions of souls were thirsty for literature.

And, as I mentioned, I am sure a lot of people thought your cover would look awesome on their ipad screens. :) I hope they loved it once they read it. Don't ever let it be said that a cover didn't sell the book. I am having some designed for my own works right now, as a matter of fact.

Author:  R. LeBeaux [ Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

DamianLake wrote:
I am sure a lot of people thought your cover would look awesome on their ipad screens.


Never thought of it that way, but you might be right. Another of my novels that has a somewhat sexy cover has also done considerably better in the Kindle version than in the paper one, so the cover art thing might have something to do with that as well (as my marketing people are constantly reminding me, sex still sells, though I was hoping that wouldn't have to be the primary draw for my work). Anyway, I don't know if you were talking about the actual cover of CUTE, or my profile image, but I wanted to include both covers here to see if you (or anyone else) think these designs and people's desire to have them on their Kindles has had some influence on sales of the Kindle versions.

Image

Author:  DamianLake [ Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

I'll be honest, but I think Cute might have sold more copies than were read. I mean nothing disrespectful about that. It's just that you have no idea how may idiots I have run into that have bought books, (in any kind of format), mostly for the cover, and years later STILL had not gotten around to reading them. If Cute seems to have dramatically outsold Barbara, then I would put money on that being at least part of the reason why.

It is a phenomenon that an author can try to tap into to goose their sales, but I am going to try and avoid that with my own books next year. I'm having some quasi-minimalist fantasy themed covers worked up. I'll post the first one on here for reactions once the art student who is working on them finishes her mid-terms and has some time to finish up the first one.

Author:  R. LeBeaux [ Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

DamianLake wrote:
I'll be honest, but I think Cute might have sold more copies than were read. I mean nothing disrespectful about that. It's just that you have no idea how may idiots I have run into that have bought books, (in any kind of format), mostly for the cover


Thanks; and you're probably right. Still, the covers are pretty much up to the marketing department, so I don't have much say in them.

Author:  kasteer [ Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

Just my $.02... I'm relatively new to writing. I have a small management book and a novel self-published so far. Both in the last two years. I had not attempted to get the management bok published, but I did reach out to maybe 12 or so agents for my novel. When non of the 12 accepted it, I simply self-published.

My mindset to self publish: Better to have a work out there and available than sitting on my hard drive waiting on that one, right agent.

On to the point (and ebook vs paper): I chose Lulu to self publish. IT's pretty much the cost of a proof copy plus $25 for the distribution package... nice. This is a paper copy with a pdf available for free. I like to physically see the book and I think it is good to see it in that format. At least for my satisfaction. I think self publishing is the way of the future... its fast and low cost. However, I think paper will fade to maybe 10-20% of the market before it plateaus. The ebook is growing rapidly and will take over the market share. It's completely free, very fast, and easy to update to new revisions. No publisher can top that. The ebook will (or already has) revolutionize what is available for readers. It will be data overload... A few large publishers will remain but not much. Their marketing machines will become cleverer and more eficient. The challenge for all of us is marketing and getting our work out to the readers who will enjoy it the most.

Like I said... my $.02, from a newbie.

Author:  JAJACKSON [ Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

G'day Mates,
I too am a new author, and having looked at various options, went for eBooks. My rationale is partly based around correcting any errors missed by either the proof readers, or the editor. A second consideration for me was upfront costs, eBooks have none. To promote your book properly does require, in my opinion, a great website. That can cost anywhere from a little to a lot. It is a new era for readers and writers alike.
I wish for you all to do well.
James

Author:  Dpotts [ Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

I agree with kasteer and James 100%. I'd rather have the work out and getting whatever notice it can than sitting at my house, gathering dust. I know I have a strong product. I'm not waiting for the right agent who doesn't have competing projects to notice. It stinks to not have the support of traditional publishing, but there's something exciting about building a following from the ground up.

Author:  BJMorgan [ Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

As a newly published author (4th Jan) I've also gone the e-reader route with Amazon Direct Publishing, which was a little bit of a learning curve but there's lots of help there to guide you. Seems that the Kindle is a very popular reader with millions sold in the UK alone for Xmas 2011 (apparently 1 in 40 people in the UK got one!). Also seems that the "Stack 'em high. Sell 'em cheap" marketing method is the way to go, and since there's no inventory to hold it makes it even more viable - anyway, that's the direction I've gone so see how it goes :wink:

Have also gone with Amazon's CreateSpace service to have a the option of a physical book if preferred, though have to say the business of setting this up was a lot harder than doing it for Kindle - and slower !

Author:  JAJACKSON [ Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

G'day BJMorgan.
I would also suggest Smashwords. They provide an ISBN if you meet their 'Premium' requirements. Not too hard, just follow the formatting guide. If you go this route I would suggest paying the $9.95 to keep yourself as the publisher of record on Bowker. There is much discussion about this, but at the end of the day I feel more comfortable being on record as the publisher and author. Smashwords will get your book to the iTunes store, KOBO, and eventually Diesel and SONY stores. If folks have other suggestions I am certainly open to them. Self publishing via eBooks has allowed some rather badly edited works to enter the fray, be better than these and your sales will climb. We all hope to become that top 1% of authors. GL :)

Author:  BJMorgan [ Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New publishing. Ebook vs Paper

Looked into Smashwords and decided that Amazon Direct Publishing was the way to go but the title is exclusive to them as I've enrolled it for their lending scheme. I've got a publisher too, my 'other half' set herself up as an imprint a while ago to publish a local playwright - upshot was she had to buy 10 ISBN's and only used 3 before the venture came to a stop (he got a better offer!). Maybe if the lending thing doesn't do anything I'll drop out and investigate other avenues. Guess the main thing is to work on the publicity so that's the focus now. Helps that my other half used to do PR and we also edit the local village magazine - every bit helps get the word out :D

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