1. Samantha94x
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    Samantha94x New Member

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    Thoughts on E-books?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Samantha94x, Jun 18, 2013.

    Hello, I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback on self-publishing an e-book. I have a few questions that keep holding me back from publishing one, and I was hoping to find some useful insights here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Here are a few of my questions:

    1. Has anyone tried or thought about self-publshing an e-book recently? If so what do you find appealing about it?
    2. Are there any major drawbacks that I should be aware of before I publish an e-book?
    3. If you have considered self-publishing an e-book, which website would be the best to publish it through?
    4. Do you think adding music to my e-book will enhance it or take away from my writing? (I plan to publish a children's book by the way)

    Thank you.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    1) Most self-published books (I assume that's what you mean) sell very, very few copies.
    2) Most writers don't have sufficient talent at editing, design, marketing, etc., to beat the negative stigma of self-publishing and have a chance at being the rare exception to (1). This is not an insult to those writers; it's pretty unreasonable to expect one person to have all of the skills of several professions.
    3) Once a book is self-published, its chance of being taken on by a traditional publisher are drastically reduced.

    So when you self-publish a book, whether in e-book or paper format, that action has eliminated most of the potential for that book to be read by a substantial number of readers.
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree with everything ChickenFreak has said and would still say it's a jouney well worth taking for many of us.

    So first - yes most self pubbed books sell few copies. But most people who go through the traditional route don't get pubbed at all so sell no copies. That's not knocking the traditional route just pointing out the realities for all writers.

    Second not many writers have the talent at writing, marketing, cover design etc. Completely true. Taking the self pubbing route is not an easy road. Not if you want to do it well. And poorly edited works, sloppy cover designs, terrible blurbs etc will also quickly lead to poor sales. But to my mind there are ways around this. You can hire (though paying money is an anathema to me) people to design covers and edit your works. Personally I use my sister as my editor in chief and one of the things I have truly come to love about self pubbing is the cover design part. So my advice would be if you have your heart set on self pubbing, upskill those things you can, outsource those things you can't, and don't expect to become a millionaire. Also don't be afraid of hard work.

    Third, yes if you self pub the chances of that book being picked up by an agent / publisher decrease drastically. But they were already pretty poor to begin with.

    And to your questions. Yes I've self pubbed three this year, thirteen in total. Some have sold thousands of copies, some less. If I'd gone the trade pub route I would not have got an agent so as far as I'm concerned it's a win for me.

    As to the process it's a long and difficult one. There are skills to learn at every step, and you will be knocked back. Expect to have your nose bloodied from time to time, from bad reviews and the various pitfalls of the publishing business. For someone who manages to snag an agent and a publishing deal there will be less blood along the way and I would expect greater success. But you take your lumps early on in rejection letters. I have quite a few and apparently I'm in good company in that.

    As to companies I use Kindle and Smashwords for my digitals and this year have begun re-editing my books for paper through CreateSpace.

    Regarding music - I have no idea. My books are all just books.

    Most important thing to say is that whichever road you take, it's a marathon not a sprint. If this is your choice of career etc, prepare for the long haul. Don't expect to simply write a book and be done. You have to write more books, garner a reputation, improve your skills and learn your craft (which if you self publish is more than just writing). But there are also resources out there which can help self pubbers in particular support communities of people on the same road.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. Samantha94x
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    Samantha94x New Member

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    Thank you both very much! This information has been helpful!
     
  5. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    1. it’s attractive because you don't have to hope to get lucky getting a publisher to accept your submission. It's not always talent that gets people published. Some of it is of course, but look at the millions of truly bad books in print. Then look at bands like the Beatles in music or J.K Rowling, as they got turned down over and over again before they finally got signed - and we know what happened with those two examples after they were.

    2. Drawbacks have been covered pretty much by the others. You have to do all the marketing, editing, book art and all other items yourself, and that’s not easy for everyone. You can of course get some of these things done by other people, but will have to pay for it, which could mean you make loss on your book if it doesn't sell anything at all.

    3. I did mine through Amazon. Is that the best? No idea to be honest. It worked for me, but your best bet is to do your own research on this even if you get people saying "this one is best", as what is best for them may not be best for you. Different fee scales for sales or pricing etc. may affect you and so find what deal will work for you best.

    4. Adding music is a tough question. Films can be made better or worse by a good soundtrack. Not everyone likes music, and even those that do don't have the same musical tastes. So I guess it's up to you if you do, but I'd think hard about it. If you do it then you are adding another thing you are likely not skilled in, unless you have some background in music composition or similar that would help you put together good music that fits your books theme.

    One thing I would say if you are self-publishing is to make social media your best friend. From Facebook to utube get as many friends/followers as you can. This is going to be your major source of marketing if you publish. Also read some guides on publishing tips for e-books. This can be a goldmine of information for first-timers to stop you making silly mistakes and also to increase the chance of improving your book sales. Amazon has a fair amount of information and tips if you publish there, but you can find plenty of other sources via Google or even from other e-books on self-publishing.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Greg makes good points, above. I'll just add that it isn't an either-or proposition. There's good reason to do both. For example, take one work down the self-publishing route, learn what you're doing, and see how it goes. Choose a different work and go the traditional route with that one.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. I'm in the process of making one. What attracted me to it is the ease of publishing a material that was already popular with the readers. No hassle and complete creative control.

    2. The biggest drawback is publishing sometthing that is of low quality, There's nobody there to tell you,mso you have to be ypur own harshest critic. Also, don't expect to earn anything. If that's your main motivation, chances are, you'll be disappointed.

    3. Amazon, Smashwords but also you can make an e-book and pdf by yourself on the computer and sell files for download through PayPal.

    4. As long as you have the copyright to the music, it shouldn't be a problem, apart from possible large file size, but I don't know a lot about it.

    Good luck :)
     

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