- by Patricia Rosemoor
Along with using social media as publicist Rebecca Crowley suggested yesterday, many career authors are digitizing available backlist and making their ebooks available in various formats as a way to promote themselves and interest new readers.
And there are increasing numbers of readers who have Amazon’s Kindle, BN’s Nook, the Borders Kobo, Apple’s iPad and Sony’s eBook. In addition, there are new devices cropping up all over. I was shopping in Menard’s for an under cabinet light and saw an ereader I’d never before heard of. It was priced under $100. The same thing in Costo, only their ereader was more expensive and did more things than the iPad.
I was in a hair salon yesterday having my hair transformed for the holidays and I decided to bring my new Kindle with me. I basically know how to use it but thought I would go through my online directions and see what was left to discover. I was amazed when four different women asked me about the Kindle – did I like it? how long had I had it? was it easy to use? One woman said her brother bought his girlfriend a Kindle for Christmas and asked my advice about what she could buy to go with it to add to the gift. Like I said, I was pretty amazed.
I’m equally amazed at the shift in the publishing industry toward digital books. And how authors are feeling empowered by being able to put up backlist themselves. After attending the Novelists, Inc. Conference in Florida in October, I went home knowing I would have to try it for myself once I was done with my latest installment of The McKenna Legacy for Harlequin Intrigue. I found that the digital rights for the first three McKenna books–See Me in Your Dreams, Tell Me No Lies, Touch Me in the Dark–were still mine. I thought of digitizing them as an experiment…
I’d gotten on a writers list of other authors who were digitizing backlist. And for two months, I sat behind the curve, trying to take in all the details of getting the manuscript in the correct format. Since I don’t use Word, instead write in WordPerfect and simply convert to Word when necessary, the challenge was particularly difficult for me. And I’m someone who is pretty tech savvy. I created and maintain my own website and started and run this Ninc blog, but faced with Word and having to transform documents first for Kindle, then for Smashwords…it was nearly enough to make me give up.
To compete in the professional market, it is imperative to have a professional looking cover and a professional looking and edited– manuscript. I know I’ve done it with Kindle. I did buy a reader, so I can see for myself that it worked. But I’m still waiting to see if I get in the premium catalogue at Smashwords, which will distribute it to several other markets. I had to rework my manuscripts three times before I stopped getting error messages. And now I wait to see if I got it right this time.
I’m not a good waiter. I’d hoped to have my digitized backlist books available everywhere for that after-Christmas rush to fill all those new ereaders. Maybe it will still happen. This is my experiment into the future of publishing and I’m waiting anxiously to see how it will turn out.