So, ebooks. Wow, tempting. So, so tempting. People reading your stuff and maybe even paying for the privilege? Sounds pretty good to me. Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ Grand Experiment is well worth your interest. I know for a fact that it’s worth mine. Chris Lynch and the Tangled Bank Press went the ebook direction as well with their first book (although there will be a print version out soon.)
Note: For the purpose of this post, I’m talking about selling a DIFFERENT novel to a publisher, not selling the same work as an ebook on your own and then selling the same book to a publisher. Obviously in that case you’ve given up your ability to sell first rights…
When it comes to novels (and, let’s face it, it pretty much has to…), the way I see it, if I choose to go this route I risk:
A: When (yes, when, not if, I’m American, remember. An unearned sense of confidence is pretty much encoded in my DNA) I get a publishing contract, the novel that is published will not be my “debut” novel. I truly believe publishers have a soft spot for this sort of thing. And so do I.
B: I don’t think (although I guess this can/will change in the future) that pure ebooks are eligible for all the awards I’ve been saving room on my mantelpiece for.
C: Who knows how these things work. I guess I could damage my reputation if ebooks don’t work. Of course, for ebooks not to work it means traditional publishing has to stop its decline and ebooks have to stop their rise. (I’m really just putting this here because I wanted there to be three things I felt I was risking. 2 is too easy for me to ignore, you see…)
Yes, yes, of course there’s work involved. And cost. Formatting, editing, commissioning a cover, marketing, etc. Still, it does give you the option of LIKING your cover, which isn’t always a certainty in the big bad world of “real” publishing. And I think we have to be honest about how much marketing you’d actually be missing out on unless you were Stephen King or something.
So, if we say that the work in question is of a quality to eventually be published (and of course, not everything is) going the ebook Amazon/POD route does give you a path to market, a more “steady” source of income and more control over the final product at the cost of (and we can argue this all day long, but I think the current climate still warrants me to write this) prestige and reputation.
And prestige and reputation are nice. Trust me, if I ever get some, I’ll let you know how it feels. 🙂 My real goal, though, is to share the worlds in my head with as many people as I can, and it is starting to look more and more like ebooks are a very viable option.
Edit – I had to edit this post three times to fix mistakes, so maybe publishing myself isn’t the greatest idea after all. 🙂