Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back from the Land of the Dead...

Hello, hello my dear readers!

I'm officially back from hiatus (which really consisted of dealing with the stomach flu and then a trip to Texas for an antiques show) and ready to get writing again.

I thought we could discuss e-publishing today. It seems that it is the topic of choice for a lot of bloggers these days, so I would like to know where you all weigh in on this topic.

My views are probably going to be controversial, so please forgive me in advance. I have hinted at this before, I'm sure, but my main view is that e-publishing is just too dodgy. Anyone can get a book published using this method, and that bothers me. It washes the market with fiction that might be otherwise unpublishable--which devalues those of us who are seriously pursuing the writing craft. Those of us who write and re-write, and re-write again. Those of us who research for hours a day on the right device to properly convey a character's foibles. Those of us who carefully hone our queries to the point that we think we might just go mad. I just can't wrap my head around anyone being able to publish a book without a screening process. And the consequences can be deadly--not only to the aspiring author but to other authors hoping to pursue the same medium. An example of this could be the recent review of an e-published author's work. The author totally freaked out when the reviewer pointed out the numerous spelling and grammatical errors. She blamed everything from the fact that she is English to the reviewer not having the corrected copy of the book. In the process, she made herself look very unprofessional. It was sad really, but one has to wonder how incidents like these affect other aspiring e-authors.

There are obviously some success stories--those few authors who e-published outstanding stories and then got offered a deal from a print publisher or are selling e-books like hot cakes. I know some of you who are cranking out your best work right now and will probably pursue e-publishing. How do you feel about this? Do you worry about being lumped together with others who may not have put the same amount of time and effort into their publications?

I guess at the end of the day, I want to know that my book is good. And my standard for that is having an agent take it on, and eventually seeing it into print. Having my book on a bookstore or library shelf will be a tangible reminder that I have accomplished something truly great. But then again, I am the type of person who would second guess myself if I e-published my book. I would constantly be wondering if my material was good enough, if I was making a fool out of myself, etc. I suppose I am fine if my book is not good enough for an agent to take it on. Crazy, right? We spend all of this effort and time into creating characters and stories--it hurts to think about never "making" it. Maybe it is easier for me to deal with this potential outcome because I never thought my work was good enough to be published. I write because I would go insane if I didn't give my characters a voice, not because I want to get published. It's entertainment and if I get published, then awesome for me! But if I get rejected...well let's ask me again once I've shot off a few dozen queries. You all will be the first know, believe me. I'm sure my blog title for that day will be: "E-Publishing Here I Come!!"

I think another reason that I’m clinging to traditional publishing is that I'm just old fashioned (fancy that!). Sure, I'm blogging and Facebooking (but not Tweeting, mind you), but there's a part of me that is holding fast to the feel of a crisp book page in my fingers. So no, I don't own a Kindle or a Nook or an Ipad. I am generally the last person to get on board with technology or rather I rely on my father to buy me the latest gadget as a Christmas present. It was like the digital camera rage. When everyone was going digital, I was buying my first SLR film camera because I was in love with film. But I finally caved and asked for a digital camera for Christmas several years later. Sadly, the SLR has been gathering dust ever since. But one of these days, I will own a digital SLR because in the end, I have decided that seeing your photo before you take it is pretty awesome!

So in case you've lost count... What are your thoughts on e-publishing? If you are going to go that route, what convinced you to do so? Are you afraid of drowning in a sea of mediocre authors or am I just freaking out about nothing? :-)


  1. I will be e-publishing my books. Not only that, but not even trying the traditional publishing path. This is a decision I've arrived at based upon the research I've conducted over the previous two years. I am not all concerned about being "lumped" in with other authors who self-publish crap. I know my books will be well edited before I consider letting them go. I don't plan on rushing my projects. I believe it's important to be well informed on thus issue before deciding to jump into the deep end. Too many people rush, not knowing what it entails and thus failing.

  2. Good for you researching and putting a lot of thought into this decision. You are exactly right--failing to plan is planning to fail.

    I think I may be overwhelmed by the internet networking that is required to draw attention to an e-published novel. I suck at networking in real life (which is why I'm having such a hard time at finding a new job), although I am slightly better at it on the internet. I hope you will share your tips for successful e-publishing when you get there!

  3. Don't forget that there is a difference between e-publishing and self-publishing. I'm getting e-published in a few weeks - not under my real name because it's a fairly trashy romance, and when I say trashy romance you know I mean smut, right? Anyway...this is being done through an established publisher that specialises in e-publishing, so I don't have to worry about the platform and marketing and stuff.

    I'm quite happy to be e-published, but I don't know that I am confident enough to self-publish, because of the issues you've mentioned. And I agree with JL that too many people rush in to self-publishing, and then fail because they haven't done their research. But I am totally in awe of the people that do it right!

  4. Hi Caroline! Welcome back. I share a lot of your concerns--especially with the reader-overwhelm I know I've experienced wading through the myriad self-published e-books out there, and being lumped in with quite a bit of lower-quality work I've found. Plenty of self-pubbed books are great. There are too many great books being written for traditional publishing to keep up with. But I keep running across so many that just aren't there yet. Not edited enough, not an original enough premise--basically, and I'm sorry to be mean, but not good enough for a publisher to take a risk on. As a reader, I like the extra quality control that the publishing process provides. Plenty of self-pubbed books put themselves through that process. Many don't.

    As a writer--I'm curious to see what happens next. I wonder if self-pubbing e-books is going ot remain the free-for-all it is now, or if traditional publishers will pull a tighter hold on the outlets. (As a writer, I love that now writers have an equal playing field...as a reader, sometimes I wish I could weed out the self-pubbed books in the Nook shop.) It's definitely an interesting time for publishing!

  5. Thanks Jen and Rowenna for your thoughts.

    Jen--I guess I kind of knew that there was a difference between e-publishing and self-publishing. I was thinking more about self-publishing this time around though. Best of luck with your e-publishing endeavor! I wish I had the cahones to publish a trashy romance--it would be too much fun to write I think. :-) You'll have to let us know how it goes.

    Rowenna--I totally agree with you. You put it much more eloquently than I did! I think it would help for the e-publishing industry to recognize the difference between something that is self-published vs. something that is backed by a publisher (if they don't already...as I said, no Nook or Kindle for me!)