A short time ago I ran across a comment about ebook publishing somewhere in CrimeSpace and did some investigating. What I found was some way to get some of my old western stories that had been published a while ago back out into public view. As I'm not overly proud of the westerns ... they were my apprenticeship for writing fiction ... I also have been publishing as ebooks a couple others, crime stories. Coming soon will be at least two non-fiction and even a SF novel. 

But I wonder ... how popular are ebooks? Apparently in the US people are buying eReaders which makes me think those same folks will get into reading ebooks. I don't see that happening much down here in Australia. I could be wrong, and hope I am. Anybody have information on that?

By the way ... http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BillSheehy to see what I have up there already. 

And thanks to the CrimeSpace member who wrote about Smashwords. I forgot who it was or where he/she can be found, but then I'm getting old and forgetful.

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My guess is that sales are excellent as long as the gadget is new and sells like hotcakes for presents. Once you have a Kindle, it needs to be fed, and we get book sales. How long this will last depends on how soon the gadget owner tires of the novelty or when a new gadget comes out that doesn't fit existing e-books.

The phenomenon can be studied in the sales history of kids' games and adults' cellphone combos.

My own preference is for books. They look awfully nice in a house and can be consulted on a whim years after purchase. I may eventually own a Kindle, and I may find that it's easier to read from while in bed than a book. It's also easier to carry around with you. Perhaps the longterm outcome means that certain genres will be electronic and other will be print.
I like my information to be tangible. I have folders full of webpages that I've printed off because I don't trust that they'll still be there when I want them again. Technology changes so rapidly - information is there one minute, and then it's dissapeared completely. Books put the information down where it can be queried, adjusted and enjoyed whenever the mood takes you.

I liked your point, IJ, about the possibility of a new gadget replacing eBooks. It's like Videos and DVDs. First, you had the Lion King on video, right? Then when DVD came out, video became obsolete and you had to buy the Lion King again; this time in a different format. Then came blu-ray and, again, the Lion King was re-purchased to fit the new technology. Books will never become obsolete because you only buy them once, they last a lifetime if you treat them right and when people see a bookshelf in your home they think you're thought-driven and intellectual. When people see a Kindle in your home they ask "Awww, fully sick mate! Can you play games on it?" Three guesses which one's my favourite!

I don't think I'll ever own a Kindle to be honest. Even if I publish eBooks, I'll still have them printed in hard copy (at my own expense if necessary) because I don't want my hard work to end up in some pile of used-to-be-cool DVDs and iPods.

Plus, with eBooks, you don't get that satisfying flick when you turn the page! That's a nice sound.
There are things you can do with a Kindle you can't do with a book -- ENLARGE THE PRINT. Not just for older folks but when your eyes get tired. You can bookmark it as well; you can search a word or phrase as you would on a PC. You can't put it in the Microwave but you can take it to the beach with you. It is about the size of a large man's palm and ten times lighter than the avg. paperback, expecially a paperback like Shogan, so there is that. The other advantages are obvious such as loading up as many books as you like for a trip and not worrying about weight -- Reading in the bathtub might be a bit dicey but I've ruined a few paperbacks that way. Unless you have held one of these cool gizmos in your hand, you can't call it a passing fad. People at KindleKorner and elsewhere to LOVE their kindles speak of them as if they were their children, babies, pets and I am hearing again and again that they would kill anyone who tried to make off with thier kindles. No, I do not think you can equate game-players with this highly sophisticated group who are reading anything from Madame Bovary (free books) and classics to my Kindle Original titles Dead On Writing and Children of Salem.

Rob Walker
PS - ebook Indie publishing is a snap at dtpamazon.com and great for backlist titles, out of prints, remainders
Hi Bill,

I'd go with an epub the next time around if the deal was right (and if my agent let me), and if they could provide good marketing and helped me get my books out to avid ebook readers. My only worry is the prejudice ebooks still face. I love ebooks and only became a fan in December when I got my Sony Reader for Christmas. Since then, I love them. And yes I've been trying to convert everyone around me into using ebooks, LOL. If I were to publish with an ebook company next time around (if that's what my future holds), then my only concern would be not getting the support from readers who are deadset against them. I used to be the same way until I tried them and now I love them. I don't think ebooks are going away any time soon and I wish people would be more open to them.

Some people still believe that all epublishing is self-publishing. I had to explain the differences to a lady the other day. Just because someone has an ebook doesn't mean they self-published. Guess she never heard of epubs before? Where she been, she's in the industry! LOL!

Best Wishes,

Thanks, Stacy, Robert and I.J. -- Doing the diligence, I've come to the conclusion that what happens in Australia is about two years after it happens elsewhere. Being at the bottom of the world makes this happen, I do believe.
I've decided to continue writing all the crime stories my publisher in the UK will accept ... it's an ego thing, I like having one of them show up on the local library shelves or in a local book store. However, as the rights revert back to me, as has happened with a couple of the earlier westerns, they'll be republished as ebooks. When, as has happened a couple times, that same publisher rejects a story, it too will become an ebook. This is not to say those stories are bad ... even my publisher can make an error. Who knows how they think?
And that makes me wonder ... do other authors submit to agents/publishers and if rejected then publish as ebooks? Or have they found a way to retain the right to publish the work as an ebook after their agent/publisher have accepted it? My contracts all include the sale of all rights for a period of time.
Enough on this. Its time for a walk on the beach ...
Hi Bill,

There are a lot of authors whose agents are now submitting work to epubs. Agents used to not submit work to small presses or epubs but now, it's so hard in the industry I guess agents realize these are markets to tap into. The only problem with having an agent and going the epub route is that many don't pay authors advances and an agent will most likely not submit an author's work anywhere without getting an advance since that's how agents get paid as well.

So no, epubs are no longer looked at as "second" options. That's a good thing to know. Epubs have come a long way and I believe it's gonna get better. It's just that most authors interested in epubs don't have agents and so the author submits to them alone. It just gets a little trickier with an agent because they're gonna want to get a big advance. But on the flipside, they get you the best deal they can, small press or not.

I've also heard of authors who had agents for a while, the agent couldn't place their work but wouldn't compromise between small presses or epubs so the authors dumped the agents. That's a tough call but sometimes you gotta do what's best for yourself and your work.

Best Wishes!

With Kindle publising you don't need an agent or anyone but yourself; you go into business with Amazon. All at NO cost to you. Check out dtpamazon.com for the steps to Indie Publishing.

To read of a huge success story with ebooks you need go to JA Konrath's blog; he is doing amazing things with ebook sales.

Yeah, I got on to his blog and will spend some time trying to learn.
Stacy-Deanne, I don't have an agent. Worked my fingers to the bone trying to get someone in the US to take a look at my story but ended up going back to the publisher of all my westerns. He took the first one and has another on his desk right now. Plus he's pushing me for more westerns! Ugh! I mentioned epublishing to him and he said his company was slightly interested in that route, but wasn't convinced yet. Neither he nor I have any idea how ebooks are going over there.
So, as noted above, I'll see what Mr. Konrath can teach me and keep writing.
My first novel, The Argentine Kidnapping, has yet to reach the stores ... Amazon.com has it listed but notes that it is 'out of print'... I tried to explain to them that it's not out of print -- it's just been published and they haven't rec'd copies yet. Darn fools didn't seem to see the difference.
So it goes.......
Thanks all

That was seven hours ago ... since then I made an amazing discovery, one that helps me come to terms with the the question of what the future of ebook publishing can be/is/will be.

This is information cribbed from an article in a recent Popular Science magazine ... and it paints an interesting picture which I'd like to share a part of. The article title is Screen Queen, by Lauren Aaronson .. sorry I don't have the date, but recent.

She writes: Between January and September of last year, $112.5 million worth of digital, downloadable books were sold, up from $7.2 million during the same period five years earlier. Since the introduction of the Sony Reader Digital Book IN 2006 and the Kindle in 2007, the number of e-readers sold in the US has more than doubled every year -- an estimated one million in 2008, three million in 2009, and a projected six million this year. According to one forecast, that number could rise to 77 million worldwide by 2018.

Okay, so, if it works that way, it answers my question. Obviously, someone somewhere is buying and downloading a pile of ebooks.

New Question: why aren't more of them mine?

Answer: In order to sell a product, one must have something that buyers want. We'll have to wait a while to find out if any of my ebooks fit that description.

But ain't it fun?
Bill - if it helps, I feel your pain. Lately publishers in traditional mode are being as conservative a Carl Rove....or Roving as they say. Buying next to nothing so far as I can see -- unless it is a sure bet. While working toward publication as you wish it to be, check out my Dirty Deeds at http://wwwrobertwwalkercom.blogspot.com/

Hey Bill,

Nice book cover! Very intriguing! It reminds me of a poster you'd see for a Hitchcock film. I'm a BIG Hitchcock fan.

I asked my agent what she thought of a certain epublisher. She was very optimistic. I was kind of surprised because I thought most agents didn't care for epublishers but I see their attitudes are changing. More and more agents are going to epubs to get their clients deals. Especially if they write things that are kind of out of the box.

That's a good thing to know because once agents start changing their minds about something, that means it's having an effect. I read a lot of agents' blogs too and their attitudes seem to embrace epublishing and some also don't seem to look down on self-publishing the way they used to.

I think epublishing is gonna become a norm for many authors, present and future. With the way the industry is changing, why not?

Best Wishes!

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