Who Should Go E-Pub?

Many first-time authors start out querying a gazillion agents, only to rack up scores of rejections. When these writers are fed up with the traditional publishing track and yet still want to publish, they are faced with pros, cons and tantalizing stories of electronic publishing.
Writing Tip for Today: As far as I can tell, the writers who have produced huge sales of their self-pubbed e-books have had a few attributes in common. Amanda Hocking, John Locke and a few others make the rest of us salivate when we read about their sales. But is e-book the way to go for you? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Are you a very good marketer? Shy writers who hate book promotion might not be willing to spend the time, energy and money necessary to market their e-books. Readers can’t purchase your e-book (or any other book) if they  don’t know it exists. But it’ll be on Amazon! you say? Out of the millions of titles on Amazon, how will your readers find your book? More on this later.
  • Are you an A list author but you’re not contractually bound for a book? If so, you’re probably not reading this, ha ha, but if you have name recognition, you may be able to reach your audience on your own.
  • Are you a midlist author with out-of-print (OOP) books? If you can get the rights returned to you, you can cheaply offer those books in e-book form. Your back list will help whatever your front list (current or recent publications) is doing.
  • Are you unpublished but your writing quality is very high? By this, I mean that you’ve “come close” with agents or publishers, had a good agent who for some reason didn’t sell your book, or maybe you’ve won awards or contests for your work. In this case, an e-book and solid marketing/promotion by you may attract a large publisher as was the case of John Locke’s recent deal with Simon & Schuster. He’d already done the work successfully, garnered an audience, so S&S took a chance on print books with him. Just be aware that if you e-pub as a first-timer, you will be working very hard for a reward that may not come. If all you care about is “writer’s satisfaction,” this may be enough.
  • A word about Amazon/net marketing: If you want readers to find your book, you’ll have to go to them. Learn which tags or labels the typical reader of your genre uses and attach those tags on Amazon and other Internet sites. You will need to know exactly who your readers are, and I think it’s easier with a genre book such as zombies or murder mystery than a mainstream book.

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