Still More Ebook Fun


… in our last installment, Professor Ghostly and the Wildly Gesticulating Windup Sparrows from Tomorrow’s Spain were facing off against the Whimpering Menace of the Cutout Dolls while the Perpetually Perky Percy Pureheart and the Men from Boy’s Own Adventure, Ltd raced against time to get the Pearl of Solvency back to the Citadel of Missing Keys and end of the reign of the Tuneless Dogs once and for all …

Ooops—sorry: wrong story. What was I talking about? Oh, yes: e- books. Though I have to admit the story of Professor Ghostly does sound kind of interesting ….

Anyway, I mentioned in my last installment that choosing a publisher—or more than one, which I’ll get to in a sec—is a subjective thing. What you like, or want, in an e-book publisher might not be what someone else wants. So just what criteria should you use in selecting the e-book publisher for you?

Here’s a quick, and by no means complete, rundown of some of the things to consider when choosing an ebook publisher.

Size is an important consideration. Many writers like working with a house that has a large stock of titles. They feel that such publishers likely have a lot of experience as well as resources. Maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t. Don’t be quick to dismiss a smaller house; with them, you might be important rather than just one of a thousand. As a result, they may have more of a stake in your success.

Another factor to keep in mind is how they handle your genre of choice: do they handle multiple genres, one of which is erotica? This diversity is good because it means you can probably branch out if you want to without having to switch publishers. But if they specialize in erotica it also means they would more than likely act as a landmark for the genre, so you could have a bigger audience with them.

Most publishers understand, if not support, a writer working with more than one publisher. They understand that if you succeed with another publisher, your popularity will carry over to them. But some publishers prefer to have a writer be theirs alone. They like the idea of building a brand (yes, you are the brand). The choice is yours but frankly, I’d suggest a really hefty payment for this kind of ownership because it means you won’t be able to expand your writing out to anyone else.

Alas, advances have vanished—though a few rare publishers offer small amounts—so percentage of sales is the new thing. I wish I could offer a concrete good or bad breakdown but it really depends on your situation and what you might also want from of a publisher. Being happy and feeling warm and cozy with your publisher may very well be more precious to you than a check.

Looks may also be an important consideration: does your publisher have a user-friendly, attractive website, and create attractive cover art, or is this not important to you? Some feel that covers are also going the way of the dinosaur and that content will again prove to be king, but other people feel that, like a good meal, the reading experience begins with the eyes. Again, this is up to you.

What content and copy editing does your publisher offer? Some work very hard to make a book as clean as possible while others pass that work of to the writers. As a notoriously sloppy writer, I like a publisher that has good copy editors and struggles to make my work sound like English, but if you’re a master of the language that may not be as important to you.

Publicity, as most of us know all too well, is key these days. One might even call it essential. So how your publisher spreads the word about you and your book may be important to you: do you want them to help you out with getting your work out there or is that something you feel you can do better yourself?

Here’s an important one: is the publisher you’re thinking of a good fit for you? Can you see yourself being the author of one of their titles? Many people see who they work with as a symbol of their success while others see a publisher as simply a means of getting their work out there while they work on their own ‘image’ as a writer.

Okay … that should give you a bit to think about. Keep in mind that, aside from issues such as “Is your publisher honest?” “Will your publisher pay you what you’re due?”—which you can usually discover by asking other writers and doing a bit of research—the rest is really a matter of personal preference.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to Professor Ghostly, and what publisher I’d like to work with to get him and his adventures out into the world ….

M. Christian
August 2009

“Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker” © 2009 M. Christian. All rights reserved.

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