Just when you think you know where it’s at, somebody moves it! That’s how I felt about the e-book revolution. I had no problem with e-readers and e-books . . . as long as I had print to fall back on. The feel of a book in hand, the sight of it on the stands, the thrill of opening that box of author copies - to me, that’s what being published was all about.
That’s not to say that publishing hasn’t changed - massively - since I was first on the shelves in 1987. I’ve seen book distributors and wholesalers shrink for around 500 to 5 or less, bookstores and book chains closing their doors, shelf space devoured by the bestseller list and reprints, and now the Big Six of New York condensing into the Big 5. Like the vinyl platter LPs of music and bulky VHSs of movies, was the paperback becoming the next dinosaur in this digital age?
When my publisher approached me with the idea of writing two e-exclusives for my next contract, I confess, I was cautious. I’m not one to leap on new technology in any shape or form . . . but the advance was a tempting carrot. I like to be gainfully employed. But I didn’t know anything about selling e-books as a product, and the Pocket Star e-exclusive line was a new venture for my publisher as well. Time to weigh the pros and cons . . .
- Money. A nice advance to pad my 9-to-5 income.
- Faster turnaround. I’d get another book out in 2012 and one in early 2013.
- My “By Moonlight” series would continue.
- Money. Over half of new book sales are now e-editions.
- Space. There was no more room under my bed for boxes of author copies.
- No pressure to do book signings. I do them but, other than the chance to meet readers and booksellers, they’re not my favorite way to spend an afternoon.
- Money. A bigger royalty percentage. Bigger is better (unless it’s a pant size!)
- Easier to do giveaways. The hassle and cost of mailing paperbacks, especially to international winners, would be as simple as my Amazon One Click.
- An aggressive publisher marketing plan. A new venture for them – more exposure for me.
- Money. Competitive price points to lure new readers and reward regular fans. Pushing a $7.99 book in a $0.99 download world is tough.
- Not everyone has an e-reader.
- All my PR connections were through print avenues.
- Loss of dependable review routes like Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly, and no exposure in venues like Romance Writers of America’s RWR.
- No early covers to make use of advertising opportunities.
- Going from a print paperback pond into an e-ocean of available books ( I have a fear of deep water!)
- Disgruntled fans. The minute faithful readers of the series found out Books 7 and 8 weren’t coming out in paperback, I’d start hearing from them. They had all the other books in print and would want the entire series that way.
I’m still like an e-virgin. I’m upping my social media game (I’ll be talking about that tomorrow!) and working the digital ropes, which is a good thing since I’ve gotten a big chunk of my old titles reverted back to me and can look toward e-books as a means to recirculate them.
Speaking of money (my shameless motivator), here’s one HUGE perk of having a new e-exclusive: Special pricing!
For the first four weeks after my 12-17-12 release, BETRAYED BY SHADOWS will be available for sale at the jaw-dropping price of $1.99! No waiting. No lines at the checkout counter. No shipping & handling fee. $1.99 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and Shazzam, you’re reading it!
Merry Christmas from me and Pocket Star!