Wednesday, July 6, 2011

E-Book Publishing- the new Wild West!

Sisters in Crime gave a link in their e-letter to the Wall Street Journal article by Eric Felton entitled: Cherish the Book Publishers—You'll Miss Them When They're Gone

Very good article that makes you stop and think. The part that bothered me was the reference to an e-book author asking other self-publishers for reviews to make them more noticeable. So many writers are bombarding Amazon with, in my opinion, works with no merit that any author who can construct a wonderful story will not be found among the drivel. Sort of like a reader's slush-pile.

Kindle readers I know don't even try any more. As one said, "I've been stuck a few times. Now I only go with publishers/authors I know." She went on to say she looks at who the publisher is before downloading no matter how good the book sounds. "It may be only 99 cents, but that's what I can use toward my favorite authors, instead of throwing it away."

I find myself doing the exact same thing.  Traditional publishers have established their reputation for putting out a quality product, if they keep to that tradition, they will thrive in the e-book market as more and more readers get "stuck".

I'm thinking Amazon may have to eventually change from accepting anything anyone wants to upload to having some kind of control or evaluation since they are moving into the publishing business.

E-book publishing and marketing is definitely the new wild west--open and free for the taking. I wonder what things will be like twenty years from now, even ten years.

16 comments:

  1. Great post. I'm with you. Readers (among whom are all the writers as well) will learn to appreciate the gatekeepers they earlier scorned. Editors sort through the garbage so you don't have to.

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  2. Interesting thought about Amazon eventually having to have some kind of criteria for accepting e-books. I'm definitely out of the e-publishing loop since I don't have an e-reader, but it's still interesting to watch.

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  3. I agree with Karen, and love your comparison to the Wild West--it feels that way, doesn't it? I wonder if they'll end up having some sort of submission process, or if another big e-book source will pop up and gain a reputation for only publishing publishable works, forcing Amazon to make more informed choices. That said, I realize that many people are thrilled with the ability to download their work and make it available to the public, so to each his own :)

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  4. Karen, I definitely have learned to appreciate the gate keepers! Even though they are keeping me out :)
    Anna, I predict you will own one of some kind in the future. They are going to be as common as the cell phone!
    Jess, I'm wondering if Amazon might wind up having different categories they produce. The ones that they publish might come advertised as having been edited, and so on.

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  5. This is a great post, Cathy. It really does seem like a writer's gold rush. I think it would be difficult to find a treasure in so much out there. I'm still sticking with paper books for now. I have a Kindle on my computer but I only download freebies or stuff I know will be well written. Hooray for the gatekeepers!

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  6. Thanks, Shelli, I like your gold rush comparison :) So many out there available on Kindle--very few hitting it big!!!

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  7. Amazon is starting to do a "Look Inside" feature with Kindle books, so in addition to being able to download a 10% sample right to your Kindle, you can also read the sample immediately right in your browsers. It seems to still be in a beta stage, but it seems like at least 30% of Amazon users are seeing it. Also, not all books are in it yet as I've found some new books without the Look Inside feature. It will be akin to browsing at a bookstore, opening the book and deciding if the writing will engage you.

    I have no doubt that soon all Amazon users will see the feature. When that happens, it won't be all that difficult to find a good book. In fact, I think it might even be easier than finding one at a physical bookstore, since there are also reviews to help guide selections.

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  8. Mary,that would be so much better than the hit and miss system for "unknowns".

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  9. e-publishing is sure the talk of the town recently and I'm finding it fascinating.

    I agree with you and think that Amazon should have some system like you mentioned where the ebooks are categorized based on professional editing, formatting, book covers, etc.

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  10. Kimberly, I think that would work,too.

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  11. A very good post, Catherine.

    The problem with self-published ebooks definitely is quality control. If there's no sample to download, I don't buy the book, esp. if I haven't read anything else by the author. It COULD, of course, happen that the sample is the only good part of the book; but mostly I haven't been disappointed.

    Re: Mary McDonald's comment. That's good to know about Amazon. Yes, you might be able to force "good" reviews onto your site. But I suspect if word got around you'd get zapped. Honesty is still the best policy. And I think word of mouth is still powerful.
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

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  12. Ann, I couldn't agree more! Also, I'm beginning to notice that actual, honest reviews from readers who've read the books seem to stand out a little as more personal.

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  13. This is my biggest gripe about the convenience of self-publishing. Great post, Catherine! I always check the books I'm about to read to make sure they're from a reputable publishing house. I sincerely hope we don't lose the editing expertise and gate-keeping that comes from real, live publishing professionals.

    Amy

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  14. Amy, you are so right. I don't think I even appreciated what goes into a book from the real live professionals until I looked at a few that were definitely "vanity" produced.

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  15. I've been reading a lot about what's happening in publishing right now and I find it all pretty fascinating. I've never been good at foretelling the future, but what I believe will happen is that quality self-published works will start to be distinguishable from the others by their sheer sales numbers. The books that are well-written are going to succeed, just like their traditional counterparts. And the crappy ones aren't going to do much of anything. Like their traditional counterparts...

    We shall see. Like you said, the next few years in the industry should prove very interesting.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  16. Becca, thanks for the input. I think you are right. The self-published authors who take the time to make sure they have a quality product will do well as a few already have.

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