To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’? That is the question…

Like a lot of writers, I am following the revolution in publishing with a mixture of fear, interest and bated breath.  I’m an old fogey baby-boomers’ kid who’s moderately IT-literate but am still a bit suspicious of things like Kindles and MP3 players.  It’s not because I don’t like progress it’s just that I like books and CDs.  However, just because I like them doesn’t mean my kids do or that I’m in a majority.  It seems that I’ll be in a minority in the next few weeks or months or maybe I am already.   I’m getting the feeling that we traditionalists are Luddites, wedded to the past because we don’t like the idea that change is inevitable.  But the more I read about it, the more I feel that to ignore the growth in eBooks is like trying to resist the incoming tide.  To cap it all, I have been reading David Gaughran’s book (see which really says it like it is.  David Gaughran is dgaughran on The Word Cloud, by the way.

Now, my question is:  I have three perfectly good unpublished novels which have been turned down by the publishing world because they are cross-genre, not because they’re bad.  They were all edited by Debi Alper and have the WW seal of approval.  Now, I could self-publish these as eBooks for the Kindle, couldn’t I?  My latest opus is currently with superagent Peter Buckman and I won’t touch that as it is strict genre and should be publishable in the conventional way.  However, I would be intrigued to see how the old compares with the new; eBook versus hard copy.

Q:  Should I go for it?


4 Responses to To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’? That is the question…

  1. Hi Roger,

    Thanks for the mention.

    This is a tough question which a lot of writers are wrestling with. It’s a very personal decision and a lot will depend on your goals and circumstances. And no-one can offer any advice that isn’t loaded with caveats – as it should be.

    As you know, I’m a big fan of self-publishing, and it’s working well for me. Self-publishing is a tough slog, and it requires learning a bunch of new things, as well as working very hard. But it can be very rewarding too.

    With regard to your particular situation, it might be prudent to wait and see how your agent interest plays out. He may want to try and submit your other titles and seek a multi-book deal. Or he may want to focus on the work you have submitted.

    If the latter is the case, I think you have nothing to lose by self-publishing. You get to build an audience, connect with your readers, and peer behind the publishing curtain.

    It’s not a decision which should be taken lightly, as I’m sure you know. But if you have a project that you feel readers will enjoy, and you are unable to attract the attention of an agent for it, and it has already been vetted by someone has knowledgeable and capable as Debi Alper, then you should at least consider self-publishing it.

    While you are waiting for the response from the agent, you can always begin researching – that doesn’t commit you to anything. You may like the sound of self-publishing, or you may not, but at least you can get an idea of what it’s like before you commit yourself.


    • Roger Hardy says:

      Hi David,

      I put this bit on TWC as well because there doesn’t seem to be much traffic between the Cloud and my blog. I always hope that Peter will be interested in my earlier books but he was one of the agents who turned them down and I know he never looks backwards which is why I see those earlier works as ripe for an experiment. I’m with my daughter in Berlin this weekend; she’s into Kindles in a big way and her husband is an IT man (I won’t say geek…) so I’ll get her views. Right now, my feeling is that I have nothing to lose and am just interested in seeing whether any of those books have legs outside the traditional system.

  2. Alanboy says:

    I am traffic between WC and your blog. Maybe an old 3-wheel Reliant, but traffic nonetheless.
    I am also in a quandary having reached the point where I need to decide whether to grit it out with agents, or do it the DIY way. Right now, I favour getting my hands dirty, and after I’ve read Dave’s book, I am sure I will be inspired.
    My novel is also not easily categorised. If agents use that as an excuse then I am damned before I start – so why put myself through it all?

  3. rogerjhardy says:

    In considering the eBook developments, there might be a danger of ‘overshooting’; ie, we see the writing on the wall and commit wholesale to the new kid on the block and abandon tradional means of publishing. Most of the advice I’ve received is that the trad way is not dead but still alive and well and may remain so for quite a while. There are clearly a number of great success stories in eBooks but there are a lot of non-success stories as well. The biggest ptoblem has got to be publicity because you have to do it all yourself. Word of mouth is great but it has to be kick-started. Tony Slater (Tonygetslost on WC) has recently launched a really good book as an eBook with Amazon but found it incredibly hard work, according to his blog. I’ll be sticking with tradition for the time being but keeping a watching brief on eBooks.

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