It seems that every day there is a new e-book publisher or small press that bursts onto the market, and some authors who would otherwise have remained undiscovered are carving out profitable careers from e-book publishing (as Brian S Pratt explains). But with the area growing so quickly and so erratically, what are the potential pitfalls of e-publishing compared with more traditional formats?
The first thing to look out for is the e-publishing rights in your contract if you are publishing with a 3rd party (ie not self-publishing). Many first time authors are being ‘encouraged’ to sign over the e-rights of their first novel (for free) to secure a book deal. DO NOT DO THIS!!! E-book sales make up 10% of book sales on Amazon, up from 5% 12 months ago. You don’t need to be a mathlete to see that soon the e-market will be worth as much as the paper book market. This is just one more reason why you should always get an agent. A good agent will not give away your e-rights.
Recently author J. S. Chancellor discovered another one of the potential pitfalls of e-books. Many of the e-publishers do not support security on e-books, meaning they can be copied and shared ad infinitum. To get around this you include a brief paragraph at the beginning of your e-book reminding people that the author has put a lot of work into the story and deserves to be paid for it. People can still choose to ignore this. J.S. Chancellor’s debut novel was stolen and widely circulated –meaning thousands of people were reading her book, but she was not seeing a cent for her 14 years of work!!!!
Now any authors reading this would probably want to cry at the thought of such a thing happening, but this story does have a silver lining. With the media coverage that this theft received, coupled with the request for those who had read the book to please review it, meant that the book has now sold exceptionally well and has excellent rankings in the e-reviews. You can bet the next book in the series will have much stricter security, as well as a huge fan-base waiting for the next instalment. Lucky she was writing a trilogy!
Next week I’ll talk about the myths surrounding e-books. And remember, if you want to check out my e-book Paragon is still available here.