January 28th, 2004

Last night I did a chat at my local RWA meeting about e-publishers with a special section dedicated to my publisher Ellora’s Cave. It really got me thinking about e-publishing in general. So I thought I’d list a few of the pros and cons for those considering taking the leap into e-publishing.

First off, let’s start with the pros. The number one thing to consider when thinking about e-publishing is the money. I know that’s harsh, but I consider my time valuable and you should too. The second thing to consider is you get to learn/hone your craft as you go. By this I don’t mean you can send in a jumble of sentences and expect an editor at an e-pub to ‘fix’ everything for you. But you can become a better writer while you’re getting paid to write. The third thing to consider is shorter wait times between submission and acceptance…aka instant gratification. :-)You can also practice meeting deadlines, develop a fan base, write non-cookie cutter subject matter, and learn combat marketing. (I call it combat marketing because you’re dropped into a s*&t storm and have to carve out a career. LOL!)

Now the cons. The number one thing I’ve encountered is burnout from keeping up such a hectic writing schedule. In order to develop a name and jumpstart a career you have to have a lot of books available. Unless you’re Nora Roberts, this is very difficult to do. The second is not having your books in bookstores. It’s really hard to market without people being able to go to the store and pick up your book. The third, I haven’t experienced with Ellora’s, but I know it happens. It is uncertainty of payment schedules, invisible release dates (as in your book may never come out), and sloppy editing skills. If you don’t have a good editor, you’re dead in the water. I don’t care how good a writer you are. You need a good editor. The final thing to consider is return on investment. You’re going to take just as long to write the book for an e-publisher as you would for a NY publisher. The release dates at e-publishers are starting to be a year out just like the NY publishing industry, but you don’t get an advance with e-pub. (Or if you do, it’s so small it might as well not be there.)

So make sure you know why you’re writing the book. Are you trying to establish/develop a career or are you working at a hobby? If you simply want to be published then I highly recommend going the e-pub way. Good luck whatever you decide.

Everything written here is solely my opinion and my personal experience. Others may have experienced something different. How’s that for a disclaimer? LOL

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