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When Self-Published Ebooks Become Best-Sellers #FED_ebooks #author #writer #ebook

 

When Self-Published Ebooks Become Best-Sellers

 

What do publishers do in a world where anyone can publish a book? It’s a question with a good answer.

What isn’t as clear is what publishers do in a world where anyone can be publish a best-seller. One of the interesting trends in the ebook revolution is that established authors who have had long-standing relationships with large publishers have in some cases decided to abandon those publishers and go it alone. Some of them have been so successful at it that they’ve made more money doing it themselves than they ever did working with a large publishing house.

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market Take Bella Andre, for instance. She has been published by Hachette, Random House and Simon & Schuster but has long since left the traditional publishing world to go it alone. She told me earlier this year that she made over $1 million in 2011 and recently told TIME Magazine that she’s made $2.4 million this year. In the past three months, she has appeared on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller List twice.

This week, another self-published author with a long history publishing with full-service publishers rocketed up the list. Stephanie Bond’s Stop the Wedding is currently the No. 6 best-selling ebook in the U.S. Bond has been published by HarperCollins, Macmillan, Random House and others. In the past few months, Bond has had several top-selling titles that have graced best-seller lists (here, here and here, to name a few).

Publishers are of course not ignoring the opportunity in self-publishing. Most recently, Simon & Schuster decided to launch a self-publishing business in partnership with Author Solutions. Author Solutions is another good example of publishers trying to capitalize on self-publishing: One of the world’s largest self-publishing platform businesses, Author Solutions was acquired by Penguin earlier in the year for over $100 million. Publishers are also using the self-publishing world as a new source of talent. For instance, Simon & Schuster recently acquired the rights to distribute some self-published works by Tammara Webber (Slammed and Point of Retreat) and Penguin went ahead and acquired the rights to publish her hit Easy.

At $0.99, Stop the Wedding isn’t your typical ebook best-seller. Most ebook best-sellers are published by the largest publishers in the world and sell for over $10.00. So, the book isn’t racking up the revenues like the big boys — but it is racking up the readers and that’s something worth paying attention to.

Source: www.forbes.com By: Jeremy Greenfield

When Self-Published Ebooks Become Best-Sellers

About First Edition Design Publishing:

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

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Why I chose to self-publish #FED_ebooks #indieauthor #author #ebook

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Why I chose to self-publish

Guest Blog by Geoff Veit

      It isn’t hard for me to explain why I chose to self-published my first book. I think my reason is common, but certainly not the only reason. When I have asked other writers why they self-published, their answers are usually one of these or the same reason I have.

  • It is faster. I wanted to get this information out as soon as possible.
  • It’s the way of the future. Self-publishing is the new platform.
  • My book has a unique or narrow reader base. It is easier to target that base.
  • I don’t have the time to send out query letters and find an agent.

             And there are probably a few others that I don’t remember. As you can see, in most cases, it had to do with a timing and effort issue. I agree that it takes time to write letters not to mention the expenses involved for mail or for copy materials. If you work a full time job then your time is a legitimate issue.

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Fott’s Journey by Geoff Veit published  in eBook by First Edition Design Publishing

     The reason I published electronically the first time is, in a single word, discouraged. I was discouraged about the conventional route. I wrote the query letters, I emailed, I called, I tried to get a foot in the agent’s door, any way I could. After struggling with that issue for a few months, I tried contacting the publishers directly. I had the same result approaching publishers that I had trying to find an agent. Dead ends, No person actually read my book and said “I don’t like it, no thanks” or “You need to clean it up.” They never asked about my other writings or tried to find out who I was or what might be the opportunity in my future writings. Nothing, no comments at all except an occasional letter explaining that the agent or publisher wasn’t accepting anything new.

     I was past discouraged and in fact I almost let the discouragement stop me from doing what I love. The lack of publisher interest left me feeling like a failure. I didn’t realize there was an alternative until one Christmas morning, about 6 years ago. I was given a Kindle and that got me thinking about electronic books and from there I thought about self-publishing and a short time after that, I self-published my first book. All the things that I had let hold me back, were gone. I wasn’t discouraged any more. Sure, there was still a lot to do but now I had control of what to do and when.

What are your thoughts about self-publishing?  Enter a comment below.

About Geoff Veit:

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Author Geoff Veit

      Geoffrey J. Veit, was born in Ithaca New York and now resides in Central Florida. Until now, his writing has been for the business world but a love for all children and having raised three children of his own, brought about a strong desire to write a children’s adventure book.

     Without a fixed genre, Geoffrey is free to offer fiction and nonfiction in several subjects. 

Follow Geoff on Twitter — @valuesys or Like his Facebook page

About First Edition Design Publishing:

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design eBook Publisher Aggregator Master Distrbutor  

I never dreamed my book would be available world-wide #FED_ebooks #ebook #Author #Indieauthor

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I never dreamed my book would be available world-wide

Guest blog post by Robert Boyd, DO

Sitting in my own little corner of the planet I had a head full of ideas.  I knew no one else had them.  They were the outcome of many years of research and what I believed to be original thinking.  They were also at odds in many ways with the orthodoxy in my own field.

We all have our dreams.  Mine wasn’t so much to become an author as to get a message across.  The message was a universal one in the area of health and healthcare and I just had to get it down into the written word.

I had previously self-published a book pre-internet days – local printer using old style type set and all that – and it finally served a very limited professional audience.  Next there came another book for which I engaged a self-publishing company and it cost a lot of money with very limited results.

 This time, and with a bit more research and lessons learned, the eBook seemed the way to go.  The cyber age was upon us and seemed destined to be the dominant player in the years ahead.  Not only was it simple to operate as a reader, even to senior citizens like myself, but by its very nature, it was to be available instantly anywhere in the world, be it Singapore, Sydney, New York or anywhere else in the English speaking world.

 For an author the publishing ramifications are also a relatively hassle free process.  I often compare this experience with my earlier ones and marvel at the differences but this time it was really important to me that my book would have a world-wide audience.  The whole purpose was in the message and so I kill two birds with one stone – be an author globally and get the message out globally.

 There are publishers and publishers, of course, and my one caveat is that the choice of publisher has to be well researched.  I spent a lot of time on this one and it proved to have been well worth the effort.

About Robert Boyd, DO:

Robert Boyd, DO, was a (now retired) Registered Osteopath, trained and living in the United Kingdom. His first love was in the field of herbal medicine and he graduated from the London School of Herbal Medicine.  He subsequently became a Faculty member in their Education Department. 

Robert later graduated as a Registered (Licensed) Osteopath and soon developed an interest in Cranial Osteopathy.  The cranial dimension became his lifetime passion.  His research is groundbreaking and he is regarded internationally as a leader and teacher in his field.  He is now President of the Bio Cranial Institute International, located in St Louis, MO.  He is the author of An Introduction to Bio Cranial Therapy and The HeadWay to Health, with a new eBook published November 2011, The Gateway to 10,000 Illnesses.  He has also authored teaching manuals and had numerous articles published in professional journals.  Robert is married to Vera, a certified Bio Craniopath, Aromatherapist and Yoga teacher, and who has closely shared his journey. He has two daughters, Cheryll and Sandra and two grandsons, James and Matthew.

For more visit:

www.biocranialinstitute.com

www.youtube.com/user/BioCranialInstitute

Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

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First Edition Design eBook Publisher Aggregator Master Distrbutor 

When Writing Goes From a Hobby to a Business #FED_ebooks #writer #author #indieauthor #selfpublish

First Edition Design Publishing

When Writing Goes From a Hobby to a Business

Guest Blog By: Linda Maria Frank

Did I ever think that as a science teacher I would write a book? The key that made it happen for me was teaching something that became a passion. Trite? I’m not sure about that. Passion is a word I often see connected to success.

Teaching forensic science at the high school and college levels dovetailed with my love of mystery books, and a childhood hero-worship of Nancy Drew. In fact, I market my books as Nancy Drew meets CSI, mystery stories for girls of all ages.

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Author Linda Maria Frank

It all started in the high school library where I began to write case studies for my students, to make the science come alive through stories that included intrigue and sympathetic characters. The characters were so sympathetic that I decided to turn the plots and the characters of those case studies into my Annie Tillery Mystery series, The Madonna Ghost and Girl with Pencil, Drawing.

Producing the books required knowing how to write a book. I was not a trained writer. I found a writing course that met my requirements, and learned what I needed to know to get that story in book form.

Self-publishing had not yet exploded into the phenomenon it has become, so years went by before I screwed up the courage to publish.

The climate seemed right in 2009. I approached the self-publishing company I used at the time, and I began the process of submissions, revisions, editing, proof-reading, cover design, cover- copy and securing publishing rights. When that book was done I moved on to the next book with the same publisher.

Next came marketing. Marketing is a bear! New to this book business, I had no idea how much was out there by way of opportunities on the Internet. Signing up with First Edition Design Publishing was a no-brainer. It saved the time it would have cost me to get my eBook versions in so many different markets.

I am working on number three in my series, and am glad I self-published because it gives me lots of control over the entire process.

I’m digging deep into the world of marketing. I even do a program with another author about our journey through self-publishing, “So You Want to Write a Story?”  Social media, so important to anyone who markets, can almost be a full time job. There are also blog radio shows and local access TV.

What a surprise that my favorite classroom experience would turn into being a published author. If you have a good idea and want to produce a book, check out my website. If you are a published author and want to be on my TV show, “The Writer’s Dream”, get in touch using the contact information below.

 About Linda Maria Frank: With the introduction of the Annie Tillery Mysteries, Linda has been happily launching a new career as author. Inspired by a childhood passion for Nancy Drew books and the popular television series, CSI, she successfully married an appealing heroine (Annie Tillery) with a gripping story plots to create these new fiction books for mystery readers. The Madonna Ghost has earned the distinctive “Editor’s Choice” and “Rising Star” awards. Girl With Pencil Drawing, the second book in the series, ramps up the adventure and suspense. Annie stays one step ahead of the bad guys by the skin of her teeth.

Before venturing into writing, Frank’s first love was teaching science, her assignments ranging from Middle School to graduate level courses at Hofstra and Adelphi Universities. It was the forensic science courses that gave her the story lines for her heroine, Annie, who is based on a composite of former beloved students.

Presently Frank is involved in a project at LTV in East Hampton called “The Writer’s Dream,” a series of shows with writers who discuss different aspects of the profession.

Frank is a native New Yorker, who enjoys sailing, cross country skiing and traveling. Today, when Frank is not writing chapters for the next Annie Tillery Mystery, she is out there doing presentation of her books. See Linda Maria Frank on YouTube or visit her web sites, www.lindamariafrank.com, www.annietillery.com and Facebook pages: Official Fans of the Madonna Ghost, and The Writer’s Dream.


Ebook Publishing Design Edition First Graphic Aggregators Ebooks Publishers Distribution POD Designing Approved Aggregator How Services Academic Distributor Chapter Submission Professional Firsteditiondesignpublishing.com published book market
First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) book distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts and formats manuscripts for every type of platform (e-reader). They submit Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and over 100,000 additional on-line locations including retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company’s POD division creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. First Edition Design Publishing is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

First Edition Design eBook Publisher Aggregator Master Distrbutor

The Changing Politics of the Self-Publishing Stigma #indieauthor #writer #selfpublish #author #FED_ebooks

First Edition Design Publishing

Sticks & Stones: The Changing Politics of the Self-Publishing Stigma

Written by Terri Giuliano Long for indiereader.com

Bookselling This Week just reported that brick and mortar booksellers are making it easier for self-published authors to garner coveted shelf space in their stores. With indies crossing into this and other territory usually staked out by the traditionally published, the battle between self-published and traditionally pubbed authors has heated up. Rumor has it, one big-name author even resorted to rallying fans, fuming about the deleterious effect eBooks have had on her income. Another traditionally published author went so far as to refer to self-publishing as “literary karaoke.”

The lines, it seems, have been drawn.

The “literary karaoke” slur notwithstanding, the stakes are less about the quality of indie books and more about the money indies are grabbing from their traditionally pubbed brethren. From the outcry, you’d think self-publishers were stealing and eating their babies—and, in a way, maybe they are.

While traditional publishers have seen an increase in overall profits, their mass-market and hardcover segments have been hard hit by burgeoning digital sales. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), in 2011 e-book sales rose 117%, generating revenue of $969.9 million, while sales in all trade print segments fell, with mass-market paperbacks plunging by nearly 36%.

As sales decline, industry leaders worry that some houses may focus on the more profitable hardback format, publishingFirst Edition Design Publishing paperback editions of only their highest grossing titles. For conventional authors, especially mid-listers, this would be a significant blow. As Rachel Deahl reports in Publisher’s Weekly: “ . . . the shift will kill the much-needed second bite books get at the marketing and publicity apple.”

If e-books are causing the ruckus, why focus all the ire on indies?

Fact is, most people buy a book for one reason: they want a good read. Assuming the book delivers, they don’t care who published it; many don’t even notice. With publishing cachet exerting less influence on purchasing decisions, price has become more of a factor. In a depressed economy, it’s only natural to look for a deal—and indie authors offer one. With greater flexibility and lower overhead, self-publishers can afford to sell their e-books for a fraction of the price charged by large publishers.

Now, in addition to declining paperback royalties, traditional authors face stiff competition from inexpensive self-published e-books. No wonder they’re angry.

Nevertheless, casting aspersions by aggressively promoting the indie stigma is unfair – and unwarranted. “The idea that all self-published books are sub-standard is erroneous,” says literary agent Jenny Bent, founder of The Bent Agency in Brooklyn, New York. Will Clarke, one of Bent’s clients, self-published his first two books, “Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles” and “The Worthy”. After Simon & Schuster republished, Bent points out, “he got a full-page rave review for both of them in the New York Times Book Review.”

Self-Published Books ”Refreshing and New”

Naomi Blackburn, founder of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book, a 400-member Goodreads book club, believes self-publishing has opened the door for new voices and given readers a far greater selection. Ranked #29 on the Goodreads list of top reviewers in the U.S. and #35 globally of all time, Blackburn reads nearly a book a day. She’s grown tired of traditional publishers “shoving dried-up authors down consumers’ throats and subjecting readers to substandard work, especially if they find a ‘cash cow.’” These days, Blackburn veers toward self-published books or works put out by smaller houses. “I usually find the works to be refreshing and new,” she says.

If bestseller lists are any indication, and surely they are, then millions of readers are following in Blackburn’s footsteps. Nowadays, indie titles regularly crack—even top —the NY Times and USA Today bestseller lists. John Locke, Barbara Freethy, Gemma Halliday, and Amanda Hocking have all broken into the million-plus sales club, and well over 100 indie authors have sold more than 50,000 books. No, gorilla-size sales figures do not guarantee the quality of an indie title, any more than huge numbers indicate the quality of a conventionally published book. The numbers do suggest that readers see value in indie books and they’re purchasing indie titles in droves.

Which is perhaps why some offenders have resorted to bullying, aggressively promoting an indie stigma that ceased to be unilaterally credible (if it ever was) around the time The Shack—an indie publication—sat for approximately 172 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

With millions of indie titles on shelves, some are bound to be lacking. Sometimes, says Jenn, a book editor and blogger, also known as “Picky Girl,” the lack of quality is immediately evident. “A cover that looks childish, out of date, or amateurish often speaks for the story it houses.” By publicly decrying the need to perfect their craft or bragging about writing and publishing quickly, Indie authors make themselves easy targets, says M.J. Rose, bestselling author and owner of AuthorBuzz.com. “Self-publishing shouldn’t be an excuse to not do the hard work,” Rose adds.

True enough. But not all traditionally pubbed books are Pulitzer-worthy either. The difference is, when a traditional title garners negative reviews, only that book gets panned. No one cites examples of poorly written traditionally published books to support any conclusion about all traditional titles. Besides, lousy books are a non-factor anyway. Readers don’t talk about books they don’t like and retailers don’t put poor selling books in recommendation queues, so the books languish on the shelves.

Nor is it true, as detractors claim, that it’s impossible to separate the chaff from the grain. Jennifer, the blogger at Books, Personally, finds the best indie reads through her Twitter network and blog. Like Jennifer, readers can use their social networks to find fab indie titles. They can also peruse reviews on reader sites like Goodreads, ask their friends for recommendations, or rely on reviews posted by a favorite book blogger. For the most popular current titles, readers can check the IndieReader “List Where Indies Count,” a list of the top 10 best-selling indie books, updated weekly.

Today’s Indie Authors Choose to Self-Publish

No question, traditional publishers play an important role in the publishing world. Still, for better or worse, the days when they were the sole gatekeepers are behind us. Today, rejection by traditional houses says little about a book. “Some wonderful books [are rejected] for various reasons—nothing to do with quality,” says Jenny Bent. A publisher may reject a book because it doesn’t fit into a clear category. A traditional house may also turn down a book if it doesn’t have an obvious audience or if the author has too small a platform or a poor sales track with previous books.

In the old days, determined authors turned to self-publishing—or vanity presses, as they were called—as a last resort. Serious authors, concerned about being black- balled, dared not self-publish. As a result, talented authors like John Kennedy Toole, whose posthumously published masterpiece, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” won a Pulitzer Prize (1981), went to their grave believing their work did not measure up.

Today, many talented authors choose the self-publishing route and they do it for a variety of reasons. Jackie Collins recently shocked the literary world with her announcement that she planned to self-publish a new, rewritten version of her novel “The Bitch”. “Times are changing,” Collins said of her decision, “and technology is changing, so I wanted to experiment with this growing trend of self-publishing.”

Industry superstars like New York Times bestselling authors Barbara Freethy and C.J. Lyons use self-publishing platforms to market their out-of-print backlists. Other authors are drawn to self-publishing because of its flexibility, the ability to publish within their own timeframe, for instance—perhaps to leverage topical interest or mark an anniversary. Others authors self-publish out of a desire for artistic control.

Self-publishing can also be a practical way to build an audience. Today, publishers expect authors to have a solid platform. By self-publishing, emerging authors can build the fan base necessary to attract a traditional publisher for their next work. Other authors, long-timers as well as newbies, feel they can make more money on their own. At $2.99 a pop, authors earn nearly $2.00 on every eBook sale. Even at 99¢, with average royalties of 33¢ to 60¢, earnings on a hot-selling book can quickly out-pace the meager advance offered to all but the superstars by a traditional house.

These days—insult-hurling aside—traditional and indie authors are more alike than different. Mindful of their increased scrutiny, self-publishers take full advantage of the myriad professional services available to authors. Indies hire experienced editors to copyedit and proofread. For their cover and interior designs, some work with the same graphic artists who design for the traditional houses. Professionals are available and widely used to covert documents to digital and paperback formats, and POD printing has gotten so good that, to the typical untrained eye, print-on-demand books are virtually indistinguishable from books printed on an offset press.

Literary agent and publishing consultant Joelle Delbourgo, founder and president of Joelle Delbourgo Associates, Inc., formerly a senior publishing executive at Random House and HarperCollins, says some self-publishers go a step further and work with a professional publishing partner, a strategy she recommends. A publishing pro with a track record of success can bring an author to the next level, Delbourgo says.

For a few years, Bethanne Patrick, a publicist and media consultant also known as “The Book Maven,” creator of the global reading community Friday Reads, was skeptical of self-publishing. Through her work in social media, Patrick has read more indie titles and gotten to know writers who’ve chosen to self-publish. More and more indie authors, she’s noticed, seek the advice of freelance editors, publicists, and marketing consultants—and she’s intrigued.

As well-educated and experienced writers—emerging authors who’ve honed their craft as well as established and traditionally published authors—increasingly opt to go the indie route, the bar is rising. As with indie musicians and filmmakers, indie authors bring new life to an evolving industry. Today, readers have access to a wealth of funny, poignant, brilliant voices of talented new authors from around the globe—voices that, just a few years ago, might have been silenced by the old guard.

The opportunity to self-publish—to publish their books their own way—has given both emerging and established authors more freedom than ever before. So, yes, now thatreaders choose which books to purchase and support, dollars may shift and some traditional authors may be forced to give up a slice of the pie. Change is never easy; inevitably, there are bumps and bruises along the way. But, like or not, indie publishing is here to stay. And the publishing world will be all the richer for it.

Terri Giuliano Long is a contributing writer for IndieReader and Her Circle eZine. She has written news and features for numerous publications, including the Boston Globe and the Huffington Post. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. Her debut novel, “In Leah’s Wake,” began as her master’s thesis. For more information, please visit her website. Or connect on Facebook,Twitter or Blog.

First Edition Design PublishingFirst Edition Design Publishingbased in Sarasota, Florida, USA leads the industry in eBook distribution.They convert, format and submit eBooks to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, scores of additional on-line retailers and libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company also has a POD (Print On Demand) division, which creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network.

First Edition Design eBook Publishing

Quality Books Take Time #FED_ebooks #Author #Writer #Indieauthor

Quality Books Take Time

Source: www.rachellegardner.com

By: Rachelle Gardner

Back in the early ’80s there was an ad campaign for Paul Masson wine where Orson Welles famously uttered, “We will sell no wine before its time.”

The message was powerful; it conveyed, “We care so much about producing the highest quality wine that we refuse to rush the process. We won’t try to bring it out faster to increase profit. We won’t skimp on the craftsmanship that makes our wine so good. It takes time, and we will give our wine the time it needs.”

I couldn’t help thinking about that as I considered what I wanted to say today about the time and craftsmanship it takes to write a high quality book. I’m not talking about a book that everyone has to love. I’m talking about a book that has the basics: a solid story, well-developed characters, conflict that engages the reader, a satisfying resolution, well-crafted sentences and paragraphs, literate use of words, and a lack of typos and other egregious, noticeable errors. Even if it’s non-fiction, the basics apply except instead of characters, we need well-developed ideas.

With the proliferation of self-pub, online retailers are flooded with books that contain almost none of those basics. Books that scream “vanity” and “I just wanted to get rich quick.” Books that say, “I was too impatient, or too arrogant, or too ignorant, to either learn the very most basic writing techniques, or to get an editor’s eyes on this before it went public.”

I’ve said many times — I’m in favor of self-pub and e-pub and all the various ways writers now have to get their words out there.

But here’s the truth:

If you don’t pay attention to the quality control of your work, you’ll kill your writing career before it even starts.

Readers are not stupid. They may be downloading 99¢ e-books like crazy right now. But they’re already starting to figure out that something’s not right. Many of these books are poorly written and desperately need editing. (Even Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series, originally self-published, went through extensive editing at St. Martin’s before they re-released it.)

So why should you care? It seems many have the attitude of, “Why should I spend all that extra time and money on editing when people are going to buy it anyway?” Here’s why I think you should care:

If you self-publish a book that sucks, you may permanently lose potential readers.They pick up the book, it’s poorly crafted, they don’t like it — and they cross your name off their mental list of good authors. Down the road, perhaps you’ve become a better writer, perhaps you’ve finally decided to work with an editor, but unfortunately it’s too late for all those readers who are already convinced your books aren’t worth buying. Why risk that? Why not take the time to make sure your work is ready?

This idea of taking the time to properly craft a book applies to those in traditional publishing as well. Many of my clients become frustrated with me because I push them to make their proposals better and better; I may push them to write more chapters of their non-fiction books, I may push them to do a complete revision on a novel before submission. They’re anxious. They just want to get it out there. But I don’t work that way. I will sell no wine before its time.

I believe we need to keep holding books to a high standard. I want us all to keep insisting on quality reading material, not settling for whatever someone could slap together and impatiently upload to Kindle with barely a lick and a promise.

One of the main arguments writers use for self-publishing is the speed at which they can get their books up for sale. They’re proud of themselves for circumventing the laborious publishing system that — yes — takes forever. But many of them have nothing to be proud of. I’ve bought and read numerous self-pubbed books now, and in general the quality isnoticeably inferior to what most traditional publishers are putting out. (And all of those self-pubbers who are doing it poorly are giving a very bad name to the handful who are doing it well.) Many are sacrificing craftsmanship for speed.

It’s a trade-off that diminishes us all.

I say, let’s commit to selling no books before their time. Are you with me?

Update: Since so many people are mentioning in the comments that it’s hard to know how to find an editor, I wanted to give you a couple of resources. The latest post by Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware is about how to vet an independent editor. Also, I have a list of freelance editors here on my site.

© 2012 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

First Edition Design Publishing http:www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com, based in Sarasota, Florida, USA leads the industry in eBook distribution. They convert, format and submit eBooks to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, scores of additional on-line retailers and libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company also has a POD (Print On Demand) division, which creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network.

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