If you haven't been living under a rock for the last few years, you know e-books are electronic books which are downloadable from publishers' Web sites. When e-pubs first started springing up you could only read e-books on your computer, but now people can download them to readers (like the Sony Reader or the Amazon Kindle), their cell phones, iPods, and any number of other electronic devices we carry with us every day.
Publishers, writers, e-zines and a number of other companies, organizations, and individuals have partnered to create a week devoted to promoting the e-book revolution. They call it "the future of books." Do I think print books will ever disappear...no, I don't. People enjoy holding books in their hands. But like the scene in one of the Star Trek movies, print books as we now read them might one day be a luxury rather than the norm. But hey, that was the 24th century or something and we're only in the 21st, so don't panic yet.
The Read an E-book Week Web site offers some great reasons for reading e-books:
- It's green - because it reduces your carbon footprint.
- It's cutting edge - you can get the newest books when they're new with no waiting for copies in a book store.
- It's getting less expensive - e-books are already less expensive (or at least comparably priced to print) and the readers are dropping in price. Also since you can download to your phone, you can read anywhere.
That's great for readers, but what's in it for authors you might ask. Let me tell you - cause I'm an e-book author.
My first book was published by Ellora's Cave in January and shortly I will be receiving my first royalty check. Yeah, that's right. It came out in January and two months later, I get my first royalties.
On e-books, my publisher pays 37.5% royalties on each book sold. That is a very nice royalty rate. Now, I received no advance - that's true. However, I don't have to worry about sell through (where you don't make a dime more until your book makes back your advance). I also do not have to worry about holds against returns. That's where a publisher will hold some of the royalties your book has earned because they might get returned from book stores.
I haven't yet received my check (due to a bank mix up - darn bank) but I now know how much that check will be for...and I have no complaints. In fact if you heard an odd scream echoing across the fields this morning - it was me. I'm quite happy with my e-publisher. I'll be happier when I receive the check - but hey, no worries.
Don't let people tell you that publishing with e-books is something you do at the end of your career when you're desperate - unless you consider Danielle Steel desperate. DS just announced her books would be coming out in electronic format and she's not the only big name going there. Then when you look at romance - many writers who are household names started out electronic. Lora Leigh and Cheyenne McCray both started at EC. In addition to her fabulous print books, Angela Knight also publishes with Loose Id.
Smart authors cultivate relationships all across the publishing spectrum. Don't cut off your nose to spite you face. I'm happy in electronic publishing right now. One day, I may choose to go to print. If I do, I'll have a solid track-record of sales for EC and be all the more interesting to Kensington or St. Martins or someone else because of it. NOT in spite of it.
But hey, if you choose not to consider going electronic that's cool too. More contracts for me!