Ebooks & self-publishing: a revolution that liberates writers

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.

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4 Responses to “Ebooks & self-publishing: a revolution that liberates writers”

  1. Sylvia Says:

    Discoverability needs more than metadata, though. There has to be a person somewhere, too. Add guestblogging, author page at amazon, GoodReads, Shelfari, Library Thing, etc. Engagement with readers and sharing, not just automation over the various social media boards. I´m waiting to see how a book written by a “computer”, automated over a platform of social networks and targetted metadata fares. Giving is one thing the “computer” can´t really do. And genre is a big consideration, too, so that will also affect sales. Most ebooks don´t sell more than 200, a recent epub article said – will try and locate it. And anyway, I´d say the key to success – but not everyone sees success in the same way – is good, better and best writing. Liberation is fine, but there are also the shackles of marketing more and having less time for writing. Just, my 2 cents worth, Marcus.

    • mferrar Says:

      Agree with everything Sylvia! I believe in the brave old world of paper publishing, 80% of all books published never sold more than 200 either. Read that somewhere. But yes, write, write, write, and do it better. I’ll keep my eye on the ball! Thanks and cheers. Marcus

  2. Corrie Parsonson Says:

    Writers can also (digitally) self-publish conventional hardcopy books. Have you seen what http://www.lulu.com has to offer?

  3. Sylvia Says:

    Yes, Corrie. I´m not against writers selfpublishing in ebook and POD. And I´m looking at maybe going that way myself. I just think there is far too much hype about getting stuff out there and selling. And I think metadata is not enough. With all the amazon moves, I also wonder how soon it will be before ads begin piggybacking on kindled works. Amazon is not really interested in writers per se and their works – the demographics of ebook (human) readers tell an interesting story – and that story will be tapped.

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