Those of use who have been writing for a while and making efforts to find an agent and get our work published are faced with a plethora of choices now. After years of trying to slip past the gatekeepers of the publishing industry, we now have folks like Amazon and other eBook and publish-on-demand vendors enticing us to use their services like Darth Vader before the chasm.
“Come with me, Luke. It is the only way…”
To eBook or Not to eBook
I first faced this question with something more than passing speculation a few years ago at a writers’ conference in New York. Indie publishing and services like Create Space were really starting to take off. Agents and editors were freaking out. “What does this mean for our industry?” Writers were freaking out, proselytizing like Amway salesmen. “You better get in on the ground floor of this thing before everyone does it and the market gets saturated.”
I started to get caught up in the panic and began looking into what it would take to make an eBook happen. It sounds surprisingly, almost disconcertingly simple at the outset, but the more I peeled back the layers, the more complicated the endeavor seemed.
Is this really what I wanted to do?
“Luke, it is your destiny…”
Are eBooks Right for You?
There is no one answer for everyone. Yes, the publishing industry is changing. But, you know what? It’s always been changing. Perhaps it’s changing now at a faster rate and making a lot of people feel uncomfortable, but it has always been in a state of evolution.
The answer to whether eBooks are right for you lies within. For me, every time I thought about or looked into indie publishing, the sicker and more nauseated I felt. And it was that feeling, that internal barometer, that made me realize that it’s not right for me. If I did it, I would be acting from fear, not because it was something I really wanted to do.
In the end, I think about the keynote speaker at that conference, an agent from a large and well-established agency. “Calm down everyone,” he told a ballroom full of industry insiders that morning at breakfast. He outlined for agents, for editors, for authors how things might change.
For writers he said, “Focus on the writing. Truly create a superior product, and the success you’re looking for will come.”
Are eBooks right for you?
“Trust your feelings. You insides serve you well.”
Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.