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I have to admit that right now my first real solo publishing of anything (I had some material accepted to a book with materials from many others in it, they were essentially a few snarky comments by a famous character written as almost a book of wisdom quotes, and another was a small story like you might hear from a local tour guide about some landmarks history) is likely to be a series of hand drawn mazes.
So the fact of being image files, and also being something that is not often sought out as expensive perchases, sort of makes traditional publishing on paper not the best option. With an E book the cost of 'making it' is really just the process of hosting the download, and the registering it with ISBN and any copy righting I want to do.
But while that one is easy to figure out I have to question wether this method would be valuble for other works of mine. I have several text stories in the works and needing editing. Plus hundreds more things in the works.
E-books have a illigitimate feel to them but they are also the most cost effective for a writer. They don't put you at too much of a risk from unscrupulous publishers, and allow you a greater amount of creator control. That last one is a big one for those who have a real desire to tell the story the way they feel it should be told, not based on what someone else says you should be writing.
You can get some of that through self publishing and on demand publishing but then you have to realise that the costs go up (either for you or your customer) and the legitimacy of the publishing is often questioned more. Many book store don't accept such things for sale in these catagories.
So I'd be interested to hear what others think of E-books, and maybe even on demand publishing.
I think ebooks are fine, and certainly reduce the cost. However, from a reader's perspective, I prefer a printed book. Ebooks are not as conviently portable as print books (unless you buy an expensive device) and perhaps I like the experience of seeing the printed words on the page and turning the pages.
I think ebooks will be on the rise at some point in the future, the the devices get better and cheaper.
I read short stories online but could not read a long novel that was unless I can change the background color since I am dyslexic and having a white background can make my eyes blurry.
I know several people that have been published via online publishers and have made a nice sum from it.
I would always suggest to anyone thinking about having it published in any method to have a professional editor look over their work to get it proof read for spelling, grammar etc.
As for changing your work because someone tells you too, the author always has controll over their work, if a publisher wants them to change it they can say no.
I think it really comes down to choice and motivation, do you want to just be published or do you want others to think you are good enough to be published? (I am not saying either option is better)
Yeah I know I prefer my reading to be on paper most of the time. I do have some favorite universes that are web based writing projects, but on the whole paper is my medium (I also do origami on a regular basis).
But as a writer the ability to cut out all the middle men, save some trees and get my work delivered to a customer instantly and cheaply is greatly appealing. Though the suffering of quality and or percieved quality is a big hurdle. I've read only work after printing it and It wouldn't be hard to supply simple directions and methods for binding and such so you could have a paperback book like a glue binding or stapled magazine style. So you can alway do it that way.
It's just that this method is so much easier that anybody can and do flood the area full of crap. Even paper back sales through conventional publishers are piled high with it.
The going through publishers can be difficult because they have to approve the idea, and may ask for changes, and if you won't change they won't take it in some cases. Then finding one who will give you a shot or who isn't having a bad day. (Many a story of an author who wrote a story submitted it and had it rejected end with the author submitting the story again a few years later unaltered and having it accepted by the same people who not only don't recognise what they didn't like before, but now proclaim the story genius.) You are partly at the whim of others. Refusing to comprimise your work often times means harder to sell.
that's the nature of any bussiness, trade offs and decisions, but I'm just sort of looking to hear others feelings on the topic.
I think that too many of the e-books that you can download off the internet are the product of people who are too lazy to edit for the e-book to ever be taken seriously as a method of distribution. I've downloaded dozens of e-books off the internet over the years. Without exception, I've deleted all of them as junk before I got more than 10 pages.
Publishers can refuse an idea one year and accept it a few years later. Tastes change over time. The original submission may have been seen as too "new". A few years later, the public could want something different and new. Publishers are in the business of making money. They do their best to keep an eye on the trends. Even if a book is perfect, if they don't think it will sell, they won't buy it. And yes, they are occasionally wrong. Publishing is a conservative business. They reject every book that might fail. They may miss a few gems, but they eliminate most of the dross.
As for compromising your work, publishers do make writers re-write. The majority - a vast majority - of the time, it makes the book stronger. A few of those e-books that I mentioned in the first paragraph were from web sites that said something like "writing without an editor's interference". I've already mentioned what I thought of those books. With an "editor's interference", they might have been readable.
Ken, it sounds like you're doing gaming materials, which actually has a slightly different e-publishing history than fiction. The Forge is probably your best entrance to the rabbit hole.
I'll take a look at that for future information but here is a sort of list that I'm going to be working to get out of myself.
A childrens book
A picture book (like a childrens book, but intended for greiving parents
Sciencefiction novels (several)
Fantasy novels (several)
A roleplaying game
A book of hand drawn mazes
a book of cartography for use in fantasy and/or scifi rpgs or just as art.
Self help books,
and thirty one short stories in august, ranging across many genres.