There’s a very interesting conversation going on in the comments of the Why Harlequin Authors Should Move to E-publishing post at Dear Author. I could jump in there, but I won’t. JEL scares me. (I’m kidding. She’s actually on my ATLSF list. While its tempting to let y’all work on that for a while, I won’t. It’s Authors To Learn Shit From. I’ll save further explanation for another day’s blog.)
I digressed. You’re trying to conceal your shock, I can tell. Anyway, I thought I’d do my own little thing on e-publishing.
“E-pubbed authors laugh all the way to the bank, AND we get to do it monthly/quarterly!”
Umm…yeah. You know what? There are some e-published authors who laugh their way to the bank every month. Some, in this instance, meaning not the majority. For every e-author who makes a decent check, there is one who didn’t make enough to recoup the loss of paper and ink used in her revision draft.
My personal feeling is that the “big name”, high-selling e-authors became that way when digital and erotic romances were a niche market. It’s not a niche anymore. It’s a pandemic. Is there money to be made? Yes. But if you’re looking to break in for that reason, here are my two cents:
You’d better go with respected, established e-publishers (I got that one right), be very, very prolific (me, not so much), write the kind of books that sell like crazy (me, not so much), be able to make damn near as much time for promotion as you do writing (me, not so much), and be extremely comfortable promoting the hell out of yourself (me, not at all).
And a note to any newbies out there: The market’s being flooded with shitty, non-edited books put out by anybody with a webpage and a PayPal account. That does not a publisher make. Do your research and aim high.
Oh, gloom and doom. I’m not doing very well with my New Year’s resolution to be more optimistic. I also haven’t lost any weight, quit smoking, given up caffeine, cleaned out my closet, washed the inside of the truck’s windshield, or discovered the fate of all those things I put in a safe place in 2006, so I’m not surprised. Mandy’s seriously kicking my ass in the resolution department. While it’s already the 5th and she hasn’t killed a single person, I’m still an overweight, caffeine-guzzling smoker with messy closets, grimy windshields and no idea where the sync cable for my MP3 player is.
Thank you for flying Tangent Air. Now back to my point, which is optimism. Let’s continue…
In a word…Freeeeeeeedooooooom! (Sorry, Anna. I know William Wallace probably didn’t really say that, but it’s so fun to quote guys wearing checked skirts and blue makeup.)
So there are a lot of good things about e-publishing. A large, welcoming online community. Faster turnaround. Faster payments. Very accessible editors and publishers. I’m not going to itemize every good thing, because this post is already shaping up to be longer than my last book. I’ll cut right to the two things that I love the most about e-publishing:
Freedom in word count: This is big for me. I write short and tight. I’ll use 72 Hours as an example: It’s a little less than half of single title word count. I tried to make it longer, but it’s a face-paced, adrenaline fueled story, and describing the sofa and what they had for lunch wasn’t working for me. One of the things I now love about that book is that is was able to be what it was. Fast-paced, no filler. Nowhere else could I have done that.
Freedom to write what I want: Let’s see…I’ve done an S-rated romantic comedy and an E-rated futuristic Quickie with my EC editor. My Samhain editor’s dealt with (in order): A traditional secret baby romance with zero sex. A secret baby action-adventure romance with a little sex thrown in. Followed that up with a hot, naked shapeshifting raven of death and some broody, emotional sex. Then came Zach the ghost, in a fun, light, sexy Christmas short story. She’s awaiting the sequel to 72 Hours, which will be a little longer and a little sexier. Then a historical western, which will be sexy, but not too explicit because that one’s for my mom.
Really, how cool is that? Very.
Now, I’ve previously mentioned my resolve to start pursuing a category career again (that doesn’t mean giving up e-publishing) , which I was doing for several years before I sold Roadtrip to EC. So I know a little bit about e-publishing and a little bit about category.
Should Harlequin authors jump ship? Oh, hell no. All publishing’s a crap shoot, but with H/S, as with other print pubs, at least if you roll the dice and win, you’re guaranteed a minimum earning. With e-publishing, you might go buy a new car…or you might combine your check with change from the couch and scrounge up enough for a pizza.
Does that mean e-publishing is not as good? Oh, hell no. See above.
No matter how much people try to compare them, it’s still apples and oranges as far as I’m concerned. Lining them up on opposite sides of the line and trying to volley point-by-point comparisons at one another only leads to frustration, misunderstandings, and another brick in the wall between print authors and e-authors.
Print publishing and digital publishing are different animals in the same family tree. Know their pros and cons. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Before you step into that gerbil wheel, make sure you’re comfortable with the cage it’s in.
Okay, that’s pretty much it (finally). I need to find that damn sync cable.