If you’re like me — trying to polish a work you hope, some day, some how, hordes (or at least a respectable handful) of people will read in a finished form — you’ve given some thought to self-publishing, either on paper or digitally. Yes? No? Maybe?
I urge you to read this front page (!) article, ‘Vanity’ Press Goes Digital, in today’s Wall Street Journal. Here are the first couple of sentences just to get you started:
Writer Karen McQuestion spent nearly a decade trying without success to persuade a New York publisher to print one of her books. In July, the 49-year-old mother of three decided to publish it herself, online.
Eleven months later, Ms. McQuestion has sold 36,000 e-books through Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle e-bookstore and has a film option with a Hollywood producer. In August, Amazon will publish a paperback version of her first novel, “A Scattered Life,” about a friendship triangle among three women in small-town Wisconsin.
Pique your interest? The article is definitely worth reading, no matter how you feel about e-books. I personally love the feel of paper and turning the pages of a well-loved book, underlining my favorite passages. But let’s face it: there’s something pretty cool about the instant gratification of absolutely needing to read A Certain Book RIGHT NOW and being able to download a weightless copy.
And admit it. It sure would be nice to have 36,000 readers, whether they’re hauling around stone tablets, papyrus, or a Kindle.
J.A. Konrath, a novelist whose blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing is crammed with practical information from the trenches, not an ivory tower, is quoted extensively in the article. His May 30 blog post, Steal This Ebook, starts a 30 day experiment to spread some of his published writing freely across the electronic ozone layer. Many of his books are already available, for free download, from his website.
Do these free downloads help or hurt sales of his books? That’s what he hopes to find out. The post and comments are provocative, evocative, and well worth reading. I particularly like this quote: “As a wise man once said, writers should fear obscurity, not piracy.”
So read the WSJ article and check out Joe Konrath’s blog.