Selling our Souls to eBooks

I know many people who swear that they’ll never read an eBook. They love the feel of turning actual pages between a thick hard cover. Something tangible they can hold in their hands.

But I also know a number of converts who once swore they’d never read an eBook, only to become a devotee.

So where does that leave us as self-published writers? Do we struggle to lay out the funds for a hard-cover book or simply upload our work into online publishing services like Smashwords, where our only expense is incurred when there’s a sale?

I don’t over-romanticize hard copy books. You don’t need coke-bottle glasses to see the writing on the wall for this hallowed medium. One day, and soon, eBooks will have the lion’s share of the market.

Why not embrace this fact and sell your work electronically? A good social media strategy can make your book stand out from the thousands upon thousands of other titles out there. The price point is attractive to readers as well. What’s $2.99 for a book?

Can’t sign an eBook? Maybe you can digitally sign a limited number of copies. Feel silly at a book event without a hard copy book? Sell coupons for downloads. There are lots of things you can do.

Who knows? You might just sell enough books to attract the attention of a traditional publisher (if that’s your goal). It’s happened before. But be warned: it’s much more the exception than the rule.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Occupy the Library!

Occupy Wall Street? Occupy Toronto? Occupy London? How about occupying the library?

Libraries are among a writer’s best friends. Not just because of the potential to see one’s work on its hallowed shelves, but they also provide a warm, quiet atmosphere in which to write.

It’s a sad fact some of these venerable institutions are facing cutbacks and possible closures due to budget constraints. So, in an effort to raise funds to keep our libraries healthy and strong, I would like to propose they open a coffee bar within each location.

Just think: the ultimate marriage between libraries and the writer’s other best friend: coffee. More people in general would use the libraries and the added revenue would keep the system going.

Writers writing longer, the system getting stronger. The occupation might never end.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Love the Readers, Not the Business

Book publishers, that venerable old institution that has been around almost as long as the printed word, represent an exclusive number of authors that nearly any writer would love to be a part of. I was included in that wanting population as well, doing whatever I could to get my novel Raincloud noticed and picked up.

Well, anyone who knows me or has followed this blog for a while knows the story. I self-published, worked hard to promote my book through Social Media and book events.  I sold a lot of books and could call the entire venture a success.

But I felt the exercise was lacking one thing: the support of a traditional publisher. Only then would it really felt like I had “made it”. And when I had a short story published by one such (albeit small) publisher, I felt I was on my way with my next novel, The Orphans of the Creek.

Yet I still give pause. Why?

I kind of enjoyed being my own boss. Calling the shots to everything from content to the book cover. And I’m on my own schedule to promote my work without someone breathing down my neck asking about 2nd quarter projections.

 Not surprisingly, the biggest detractors to self-publishing are the traditional publishers themselves.The simple reason is that they don’t like the competition. They want readers to buy their books, not those from the self-published author.

In short, to them it’s not about the love of the printed word. It’s about the dollars.

I find readers don’t care whether a book is self-published or not. They just want a good read at a fair price. With self-publishing eBooks sites like Smashwords, uploading, publishing, and selling  your work is a snap. 

So what if I don’t have a relationship with a big-time publishing house at this point? Right now, strengthening the relationship with my readers is the most important thing anyway. And with each technological advance, that’s getting easier and easier to do all the time.

RST

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!”

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Don’t Be That Guy!

Ah, Facebook. The ultimate time waster. Nothing like watching the news stream float by, capturing glimpses of the all-too important moments in the lives of people you may never have met.

The other day, while scanning the feed for something interesting, I came upon an item I hoped would amuse me. Little did I know that it would have the opposite effect.

It was a picture of a boy sitting on the lap of a garishly made-up clown. The boy was crying hysterically; the clown was smiling. The poster called for captions. Expecting untold degrees of hilarity, I clicked the link to view the replies.

None were very funny, but one representing some literary journal leapt out of the page. It went something like: “Another ‘indie’ author trying to sell a book on Twitter”. A few people clicked the ‘Like’ button. If there was a “Dislike” button, I would have been all over it.

I don’t know what makes some traditionally-published authors look down upon independent authors. Is it literary snobbery? A feeling of accomplished superiority? Weren’t they struggling writers once as well, or were they offered publishing contracts at birth?

I’m writing this post not just because some goofball took a shot at indie authors. I’m writing it because I’ve seen it before, not only online but also in person. And as a proud self-published author, whose work has received praise from many readers and critics, I think it’s unfair to forget that we were all in the starting position at one time. It’s just that now more writers are empowered to showcase their work.

That doesn’t mean they’re less talented. They just haven’t gotten lucky. Yet.

For successful people to forget their roots is folly. And it’s a mistake I intend to avoid. I don’t want to be “that guy”, because “that guy” is ugly. And a jerk.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.