Until Amazon arrived as a major force in book retailing, aspiring writers had few choices when seeking to publish their work. And the choices themselves were fraught with dangers and delays that the publishing trade itself refused to tackle. The result: a lazy and inefficient marketplace dominated by a few powerful publishing organisations and retailers. Just the sort of place to intimidate the novice writer. Big players throw their weight around and rarely have time for newcomers. But ebooks are beyond their control. The internet, computers and ereaders mean that writers can publish to the world at large, bypassing many of the costly and time-consuming procedures associated with the traditional trade.
A book can be written in weeks, months or years – that’s a matter for the writer alone. Once, however, a manuscript is accepted by a traditional publisher – and that process itself may take many months, and sometimes years – it’s highly unlikely your book will appear for sale in any bookshop for at least six months, and more likely nine. That’s the system. That was the system that faced all new writers. Daunting! Expensive! Off-putting!
If you have a well-written draft for a book, aimed at a specific readership, large or small – but well-defined, then a sensible course for you might be to publish this as an ebook, either independently, or with the help of a dedicated ebook publishing service. In a matter of weeks you will be a published author. There will be no guarantee that you will be a wealthy published author, but your book will be out there, for millions to see . . . and the cost in terms of time and money will be but a fraction of the traditional route.
Ebooks need to be edited and proofread with the same degree of care as their printed cousins. Skimp these necessities and your book will die a death and ruin your reputation. They also need to be formatted so that they read well on ereaders such as the Amazon Kindle and then professionally listed on the internet – a task for marketing specialists Attend to the above items and you will have given your book a decent chance of success. All that’s then needed is additional publicity; a task that you alone can bolster. Don’t pay anyone to do this for you. It’s money down the drain.
How much will all this cost. Not a lot!
If you have the time and ability, editing, with a professional online to guide you as you self-edit, needn’t break the bank. Beware of any service that suggests the more you pay the better the book will be. Nonsense. If you can write then that’s not true. If you can’t . . . you should be taking a writing course; much cheaper, and more productive. Formatting your manuscript and listing the book properly requires a set number of hours, depending on the length and demands of the text, but these too need not be onerous. Once your book is published, according to the deal you strike with your ebook publisher, you should be seeing a return on your investment in weeks. A brilliant and potentially lucrative alternative to the print route.