Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Kind of Publisher to Choose, Electronic Publishing


Epublishers are like traditional publishers in the ways they acquire books through editors, and they edit their books, create formats, and covers, but they release their books in digital format although some also offer print options mainly in the form of print-on-demand publishing.

The advantage to epublishing is a wider range and number of publishers as well as less pigeonholing of book types. Since the costs of producing an ebook are much smaller than with paper-published books, the publisher can afford to publish books that don't fit tight market requirements.

Most epublishers handle the cost of editing and cover design, but only a few offer a very small advance on royalties.

You will usually have a great deal of impute into the cover art, editing, and the book blurb.

Distribution is nonexistent in bookstores, of course, but the books are available at the publisher's website, and most use ebook distribution sites like Fictionwise and the Amazon Kindle store.

One major disadvantage is less money. Not enough people are buying ebooks yet so the money isn't there.

Even erotica, the growth market for ebooks, isn't offering much profit for most new authors because of the glutted market.

Those most successful in ebooks are prolific writers who are able to produce three or more high quality books a year that are sold to the same audience. That audience buys all their books, and each new book draws in more readers who buy the backlist. Darrell Bain and Charlee Compo are good examples of this kind of success.

Epublishing companies also have the same disadvantage as small press. They are run by individuals so an illness or family tragedy can put your book on hold, or the publisher can fail completely.


You can format your book into an ebook then sell it from your website and through a few distributors like Amazon Kindle.

The advantage is total control and a much cheaper setup cost than a paper book.

The disadvantages are much the same as with a paper self-published book.

Those who have had the most success with self-publishing already have a reader base created when they wrote for traditional publishers.

You will also need to learn a whole new series of skills to format your book, etc.


The final market really isn't a market because no profit is made.

If you want to be read and money doesn't matter, putting your book on the web for free via a website, a blog, a free download site like Memoware, or a listserv like Yahoogroups may be the route to take.

You will have to promote for readers, but you will get them, and a few will actually comment on your work.

Some writers do this as a learning experience. Others simply don't want to bother with the hassle of the publishing process.

The disadvantages are no money and the possibility your book may end up elsewhere without your permission and may have someone else's name on it.

The simplest way to gain popularity, readers, and comments is to write in a popular fan fiction universe like Harry Potter. A decent writer can become a big fish in a very small pool with lots of fans and none of the heartache of the professional markets.


If you're still confused about which market you should try, think long and hard about what you really want from publishing and go from there.

And welcome to the wonderful world of publishing. Tighten your seatbelt because you're starting one heck of a bumpy but fascinating flight.

TOMORROW: How to find the right kind of traditional or small press for your book.

NOTE: Links of Interest will be back next week.


Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World. October 4-31, 2010 at October 4-31, 2010 at

Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.

1 comment:

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Hi Marilynn-

Just thought you'd like to know that I highlighted you on my blog today.

Thanks for all the ways you help other writers!