I published my first ebook on Sunday night. I don’t even have an ebook device, but now I’m an electronically published author available to those who do have one.
I’ve been blogging for awhile now (common enough, now that we’ve all had personal computers for a generation). It’s not like the world has had to struggle without access to my opinions.
I’ve also worked in radio and TV and jobs that included communicating with the public as a big part of the work. I’m comfortable with shaping words and images on a computer.
I’ve had a hand in the production of a couple of real books, including one for which I did the ghostwriting. But I’ve recognized that the centuries old traditional marketplace for paper-and-ink books is a tough one. Have you seen how high the piles are on the discard tables at bookstores? Is the last bookstore you visited still open for business?
I’ve resisted the dream of trying to go there. Easier to just buy a lottery ticket.
Then Melanie got the bug. For months she’s been posting short devotional comments on her Facebook page. And she’s been picking up a circle of fans who have let her know they look forward to reading what she has to say. An author friend invited her to contribute some of her writing to a book the friend was publishing. Slowly, a vision took hold to gather more of Melanie’s work into a daily devotional like the ones she and I read during our morning prayer time.
Stay tuned. Film at eleven. [Update: roll film.]
Her project stirred me to research what happens next and who can make it happen. There is no shortage of traditional publishers and vanity presses who will print up anything you like, for a price. Paper and ink are not cheap and neither are brick and mortar offices or shipping costs for heavy books. Joining this game requires a high buy-in up front if you don’t find a publisher willing to take the risk on you.
That is, until lately.
Have you noticed how nobody looks you in the eye any more? They’re staring at the glowing little screen they’re carrying in their hand. Some of those screens are showing nothing but text. The age of the electronic book has arrived to keep feeding our endlessly enjoyable habit of reading books. The traditional paper books have not gone away. But their publishers are nervously taking note of how many readers now find their books in alternate forms and for a tenth of the cost.
I wondered exactly how those ebooks were getting into the hands of their readers. And what I found was so interesting I decided it could be worth a try. I took an easy, traditional formula and decided to publish a collection of essays and pieces I had already written for my blogs and other presentations. I located a DIY publisher whose web page I found convincing and reassuring. The price was right. I took the plunge.
The next step for every author is to become a salesman for their own work. I sent emails to some friends and my family. In less than 24 hours I had my first sale. (Thanks, mom! That was actually kind of perfect! I’ll be telling that story…)
I’ve asked those who are already ebook readers to take a look and tell me if this effort of mine seems to belong in the same game with the professional titles already in the marketplace. I invite you to drop me a line and give me your feedback, too. (A shameless plug for you to buy my book! That was easy!!)
Those ebooks may turn out to be potato chips. One is never enough.