eBooks – horses for courses, it seems

Following on from my piece yesterday, I have received a flurry of comments advising caution.  Here are a few that highlight the main points:

My old mate Brian: While I still find reading a book on my laptop “bulky” I haven’t tried a Kindle yet. You know my love of books but it doesn’t mean I am anti anything else.   A conversation I overheard W.H. Smiths. “I love my Kindle you should try it.  If you really like what you have read you can always buy the book.”  That would be the best of both worlds for you. I never thought that ebooks would replace books, after all we didn’t all throw our radios out when we bought our televisions.

My editor, Debi: The thing is, the demise of traditional print publishing is not around the corner. For full length novels, it remains the best possible route. Anyone who has written a really stonking book, had it edited, and has never given up will get there.

Cyberfriend Spangles: Rightly or wrongly, publishers are still very suspicious of writers who can get traditional deals but who veer off into self-publishing. To give you an example, I am currently putting together a collaboration with an author who wrote two books for a mass-market publisher, but who ten years later self-published their next book. This came up while I was discussing everything with my agent. She asked very sharply about the self-published project and said ‘Publishers won’t like that because they’ll wonder why he couldn’t get a trade deal.’

So there you have it.  Accepting that eBooks are here to stay does not mean that they can’t coexist alongside the printed word.  For me, that would be the best of all worlds because there will be more people reading and more media from which to read.  It also means that I need not get embroiled in the self-publication process and can concentrate on what writers do best – writing. 

*phew* that’s a relief!


2 Responses to eBooks – horses for courses, it seems

  1. Alanboy says:

    Yes, it all very well for established authors who are traditionally-published to denigrate ebooks, but what of the writer now at the crossroads? I have written a maybe-hard-to-categorise novel. If Roger’s experience is typical then my chances of acceptance by an agent are as good as zero.

    Presumably Debi meant stonking and in-genre.

    I have an art background, so can do a presentable cover. I am a careful writer who spots 99.999% of errors. I have time, and I am computer literate.
    Easy, when I analyse the options.

    And, I would wager that my novel has fewer errors than the last traditional, and very average, book I read – which, incredibly, IMO, won a Whitbread award. Maybe the author (being the son of two writers) had a little help. Oh, how cynical.

  2. rogerjhardy says:

    I’ve been probing my way in this business for almost four years now and try to take the best advice. The message that I get loud and clear from events like York is that quality will succeed eventually and that the agents and publishers are committed to that, above all. The problem with self-published eBooks (and self-published hard copy) is that there is no quality control; you can find the best and the worst but it’s difficult to get bad stuff published on paper unless you’re a footballer or page three girl.

    Self-publishing is always an option but it will be difficult to shrug off the perception that it is a last resort and the work couldn’t be published any other way. Not always true, of course, but perception is all. I don’t disparage self-publication and have self-published most of my novels on Lulu. Ebooks are something else, of course, but there’s a big overlap. The question is: are eBooks the future or will they coexist alongside paper? The general wisdom seems to be that rumours of the death of books have been exaggerated.

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