This is a one-page synopsis of why the new world of e-book publishing is so exciting.
You’re someone who feels compelled to write (a novel, short stories, poetry, social commentary, etc.) and you want to reach an audience. What follows is a combination overview and how-to listing that provides guidance in five easy-to-remember steps.
CONTENT – You can’t promote or sell anything if you don’t have product. It’s also important to establish from the get-go that your material (i.e., your document or book) is worthwhile and of a high standard. If you’re not sure about the quality of what you’re producing, seek opinions, enter contests and find/hire an editor. Once your work locates an audience, it’s important to have follow-up material. This will sustain interest in what you’re doing and reassure readers there is more to come.
RECOGNITION – One must work hard on name recognition. The modern idiom for this is establishing a “platform” in cyberspace. This is where social media comes in so handy. Try various means to establish your “voice” on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and other sites. Set up a blog and write/write/write. There is no substitute for practice. Encourage readers to come and check out your work. Submit stories to sites such as #fridayflash. Consider every posting, no matter how short, to be a challenge and a means to convey your skill as a writer.
OPPORTUNITY – Recognize that never before in history has there been such a great opportunity for writers to reach an audience. By all means, try the agency route and traditional publishers if you want. However, if that proves frustrating – often due to long time delays and the difficulty in gaining attention for your work – then there is no reason not to self-publish. An author’s work doesn’t have to sit under a mattress and grow moldy. For readers alarmed by the prospect of myriads of low-quality works flooding the scene, keep in mind that reviews and sales will quickly determine which self-published works rise to the top.
SIZE – Think of the integrated Internet as the world’s largest book store. Once a book has been formatted for one type of e-reader, it is possible to convert it to others. Plus the Internet provides access not only to e-book sellers but to traditional retail outlets as well, large and small alike.
SPEED – This may be my favorite aspect of e-book publishing. The speed at which product can be brought to market, both in terms of publication time and establishing a sales outlet, has been phenomenally reduced. The year-or-so delay for agent acceptance, publisher sign on and marketing campaign set-up has been eliminated. That’s at the front end. Further along, as marketing and distribution take priority, a potential reader anywhere in the world – provided he or she has a laptop or desktop PC and access to the Internet – can find, order, download and be reading your book within two minutes.
So by all means, get out there and fulfill your dream.