The revolution in ebooks and self-publishing is putting more power into the hands of writers – and benefits readers too. A panel of experts at the Geneva Writers Conference http://www.genevawritersgroup.org last weekend explained how:
- Producing an ebook costs very little and you can do it without any great IT expertise.
- So writers can reach their publics without having to pass the gatekeepers (conventional publishers). They receive a far larger share of the proceeds.
- Amazon last year sold more books as ebooks than in paper format.
- The bestselling author on Amazon UK in the last 3 months of 2011 was a self-published novelist who sold some 250,000 copies, beating stars such as Lee Child, James Patterson and Stieg Larsson.
- The key to success is discoverability. People surfing the Net need to be able to find your book. That means using metadata i.e. words or phrases which alert the potential reader to your genre, your subject, your themes and what you have written before.
- Ebooks tend to be sold for $2.99, $4.99, $5.99 or $9.99, depending on subject matter. That is not much, so readers benefit too.
- Besides fiction and nonfiction, you can also publish poetry, plays, novellas and short stories electronically. Children’s stories less so, since parents and children like to hold a real book to read together at bedtime.
- Evidence suggests ebooks expand the total market. They do not cannibalise paper sales. Hard-copy publishing is still a viable business model.
- Readers who buy ebooks often buy several at the same time. They also buy more paper books than other people.