I’d like to say it’s because I get to keep more money. That is partially true, but no, the real reason is I really wanted to get published.
Oh, I did all the things you were supposed to do. I am a long-term member of a great writing group. I had friends outside of the group edit my manuscript as well. I did all the good writerly things (rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite), and I went to all the writers’ conferences in San Diego and LA. I talked to agents. I talked to editors. I talked to Big Name authors.
I did my research. I went online and found agents and editors who would be interested in my genre. I think I developed a list of nearly one hundred, or so. I sent out query letters, and when requested, I sent out synopses, bios, chapters, and manuscripts. Whatever the submission guidance of a particular agent/editor required, that’s what I sent them. Most of them answered my letters. Some were form-letter responses, some looked like a human had composed them. Most of them said the same thing: “Not for my list.”
Now, as a writer, I appreciate feedback from any and all sources and I use it to improve my writing. You got to admit “Not for my List,” is not a useful comment. It also meant to me that the list maker did not read my manuscript. I did find one publisher who actually read it, provided very good comments and recommendations, and proposed to print my book. When we got to the final negotiations, it turns out he wanted me to pay him to print and distribute the book.
This is not what I had in mind. Writing is my hobby. I love making up characters and situations. Writing a novel is like living in a world you invented. What’s not to love? So, as much as I enjoy my hobby, I’m not going to pay someone to print my book.
This is where ebooks come in. At most conferences I have attended, invariably at least one panel addresses the growing market share of electronic books which is currently about 30% (dollar amount) of the total non-education book market. Some panel members welcome this technological innovation, while others, most notably editors from the bigger publishers, view ebooks as a threat. As a retired Marine officer, I like to compare (mostly in jest) this view with the concern of US naval officers who talk about the Chinese developing an aircraft carrier.
eBooks have many advantages for most new writers because you can do the whole thing yourself and avoid print book roadblocks. You don’t need to find an agent. You don’t need a publisher. You still have to pay someone to get the book online, but not a lot.
To publish an ebook, you need to translate the digital manuscript to a reader compatible language (epub), something you can do with the proper software, or you might want to chose one of the many vendors on the Internet who specialize in that sort of thing. Some charge for translation (varies around $100 or so), some take a percentage of your future earnings, but there is no 15% cut to any agent. In most epub translation shops, no one edits your manuscript, so there are no mouths to feed there. I’m not suggesting that you don’t need to edit your manuscript. A good writer always submits professional work.
So once you are online with your new ebook, the advantages of the Internet kick in. Books stores may have thousands of customers, but the Internet is available to tens of millions. Distribution is instantaneous and complete. No more “not in stock” for anyone and no mailing costs. Impulse buyers have to wait seconds, not weeks, for an ebook.
Most new authors have to promote their own books (If you just received a $100,000 advance, why are you reading this? Get back to work.). Promoting an ebook on the internet is really no different than the effort required to promote a print book. Promotion costs money, but not always. When doing an Internet search for promotional opportunities, be sure the first word in the search phrase is the word “free.”
So you excite a customer with your promotion and now it comes decision time: buy a $27.00 hardcover from an unknown author, or a $10.00 ebook? Not a difficult choice, is it? An author gets up to 8% royalties from the print book and up to 80% from the ebook, that’s $2.16 versus $8.00. Everybody wins.
So, now I get bragging rights as an (e)published author and I get to keep most of the money. In the world I’ve invented, I have ordered an Aston Martin Virage Coupe. What’s not to love?
David E. Knop’s thriller ‘Mining Sacred Ground’ available now on ebooks.
Modern Native American detective steps into the world of his ancestors.
Mining Sacred Ground is a gripping tale of threatened Apache, Anasazi, and Aztec archeological treasures. In Arizona’s harsh land of enduring legend, former Marine and Cochiti tribal policeman Peter Romero witnesses his cousin’s violent death. Seeking vengeance, he battles a deranged sniper, drug-dealing bikers, and angry local Apaches. As the investigation continues, the all-too-real intrusions of his heritage draw him into the world of spirit warrior, a world that threatens his way of life
Mining Sacred Ground was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Contest and finished top ten in the prestigious Killer Nashville Claymore Award contest.
David E. Knop is a retired Marine officer and a lifelong student of Native American mythology. Dave is a member of Sisters in Crime, Southwest Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Public Safety Writers Association.
David E. Knop is a retired Marine officer with twenty years of service. He saw two tours in Vietnam as an artillery forward observer and naval gunfire support officer. As a staff officer, he wrote and edited numerous military operations plans. Dave also authored feature articles for the Field Artillery Journal and Marine Corps Gazette.
In civilian life, Dave became a technical writer and produced many electronic and automotive manuals for industry leaders such as SAIC and Computer Sciences Corporation. Dave’s work for the Eighth Air Force received an award of excellence in a Northern California Society of Technical Communications competition.
Dave’s first novel, The Smoked Mirror, a supernatural thriller featuring former Marine Cochiti Pueblo police officer Peter Romero, placed honorable mention in both the Maryland Writers' Association and Reading Writers contests. The manuscript also qualified top ten in the Wahmpreneur Books Fiction contest. Dave’s second mystery, Mining Sacred Ground, brings the role of spirit warrior to the subgenre of Native American detectives. This novel was a semi-finalist in a recent Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Contest and placed top ten in the Killer Nashville contest. Dave’s third novel, Poisoned by God’s Flesh is in progress.
An alumnus of Book Passage Mystery Writer’s workshops, Taos Institute of the Arts, Maui Writer’s Retreats, Dave is a lifelong student of Native American mythology.
David E. Knop
See the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0bqhdLtBPI
Visit the webpage at: http://davideknop.net/
And from Marilyn:
Great post, David. I wish you the best with your new venture into e-publishing. I've been a far of e-publishing long before the majority of people knew what it was and before any kind of e-reader.
Keep us posted on how it all works out for you.