Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just Some Observations - E-Publishing

I don't know if you have noticed this lately, but in the last several editions of the RWR the newly published authors are showing us a little interesting tidbit. Almost every new author has gone to a e-publisher. Very few have been published with the print publishers that everyone (or at least the ones that come across my desk) seem to want to publish with.

Does this mean that e-publishing is the new wave of the future?


As I see it, this simply means that these writers are not submitting projects to the print publishers that are what they want to see. It isn't that print publishers aren't signing new contracts. Just follow Twitter for any of your favorite agents out there and you see them constantly working through new contracts. For many writers, they are assuming these are for new authors. My bet, they are for the writers already established in the business.

Many of the editors I talk to openly tell me they want to see some great new projects. They are desperately searching for that golden gem. They want that great author. Agents are doing the same thing. The problem is that the stories just aren't there.

I said this a couple of weeks ago, but you can't blame the editors for not buying. The real issue is that the stories just aren't coming in.


  1. Do you think this may be due to a more "stringent" set of guidelines in the bigger publishers? I'm not sure if there rules set in stone, but again, is it bad if authors are pub'd through epubs? In your opinion as an agent - does that make an author less desirable for you?

  2. I began writing after another major career in January, 2010 and became a debut author with a short story submitted to an e-publisher. Since then I have had 7 e-short stories published. Yes, I'm working on that "golden gem" but don't have enough to query and I don't know when the right time will be. I'm a little older than the usual new writer. Is this a problem?

  3. "The stories just aren't there."
    What does that mean exactly? That the stories they want to SEE aren't there? That the writing isn't up to par? The plotting?

    I'm on a lot of different writers loops and in a number of RWA chapters. I think/know there are a lot of REALLY GOOD stories circulating from agent to agent and publisher to publisher. I don't know what the problem is but I think they're all looking for the next Harry Potter or Twilight. The next big money-making fad.

    I think the writers who are going with small presses and ebooks are taking their writing future into their own hands and doing something with it. They're tired of submitting to a publisher/agent and it taking 6 months or a year for a rejection with no personal comment to come back. More power to them. I wish I had the courage to do it. I've never been an advocate of self-publishing, epubbing or even POD. I've never really been too excited about small presses, but now, I'm thinking the writers who have gone this route are finally in the right place at the right time.

  4. I also noticed that a majority of the books posted in the First Sales section of the RWR were to e-publishers. Though I didn't assume that these stories “just weren't there".

    Eighteen of the twenty-six First Sales featured in September and October were to e-publishers.

    Five of those eighteen sales (almost 28%) were novellas. Not something larger print publishers usually acquire in a stand-alone sell.

    Three others crossed genres. I have heard that genre crossing becomes sticky with brick and mortar stores (to whom traditional publishers sell their product) due to shelving issues. Not so for ebooks where cross categorizing is common practice.

    So 45% (eight out of the eighteen e-publisher sales) are projects for which most traditional publishers would pass on irregardless of the quality of the writing. Yet choosing to publish them with an e-publisher gives these authors the opportunity for exposure as well as income.

    Two others, which were neither novellas nor cross-genre, happened to be erotic romance. As I've seen, erotic romance generally does well in e-book format. So from a business standpoint, perhaps e-publishing those stories made sense. Perhaps not.

    We all have our differences in opinion. Different tastes are what diversifies many aspects of our lives and helps the publishing industry. But in the case of approximately half of the authors in this sample who chose to go with e-publishers, it appears to be a reasonable decision for the types of projects they were shopping.