Beginning Authors Advice: Ebooks, Paperbacks and Audiobooks…

MORE FORMATS MEANS MORE READERS

When I first started writing a lot in 2007, I had one goal in mind: Publish my first book. Become an Author. The original handwritten manuscript for that book, This Number Speaks took 3 months to write, three months to edit, and three months to get published. That’s nine months, the same length of time as a human pregnancy. And pregnancy is a good analogy for writing and publishing a book, except that instead of the body giving birth, it is the mind that brings new life into the world.

When the book was released, I was overjoyed! I was a published author! However, soon after, I realized what that really meant: That I was now in business and that it would take some real ingenuity to be successful. Sadly, it was years later that I actually started learning the real ins and outs of the publishing industry, but I did eventually learn. Perseverance and persistence, (and postage) are why I am successful now.

So, one of the things that I have learned is that not all readers are the same. Some readers are not even readers, they are listeners. Some people want their books delivered to them on paper, some on screens, some in their ears. That is why it is a very good idea to diversify your publishing portfolio over multiple formats, including (in the future) Virtual Reality and Hologram formats. When you have your book available in more formats it does two great things: It makes your book available in more places, and accessible to more people. This is part of my Magnify and Multiply author business strategy.

Ebooks are easy to publish, easy to buy, and easy to enjoy for readers. You can basically handle the entire process yourself without any outside help whatsoever, including online retailers. You can set up your own store, create your own digital versions of your books, and sell them directly to readers. That is how I started. However, because there are so many people in the world, and every one of those people is a potential reader, it makes sense that we cannot reach all of our potential readers on our own. We need help. We need publicity and reach. When we create a great quality product and people know about it, we make sales, as long as that quality product is something that people are wanting to buy. I mean, I can create a high-quality book about watching the grass grow, or observing the viscous qualities of drying paint, but no one is going to buy it, because those subjects are not interesting to readers. Do your research and find out where your passion for writing and the interests of actual book-buying readers meet.

WHY PHYSICAL BOOKS ARE AWESOME

Paperbacks and hardbacks are the prevailing format in the world of print books. These are wonderful, and cannot be undercelebrated. I love print books. I love LARGE print books, because I have bad vision. When I was a child, there was no such thing as ebooks. If I wanted to do some reading, I would put paper in my hands and look at the ink printed on it. This method of reading is still incredibly popular. There are some places in the world where (believe it or not) they do not have access to ebooks and the internet, and print books are all they have ever had. Some people really like the physical experience of print books. They like holding the book in their hands, turning the pages, being able to put it down, folded open, where they left off reading. There’s nothing at all in the world like the site of a real bookshelf full of real books. That’s something that makes me very happy every time I see it. And, in a technological apocalypse, if for some reason electronics become unusable, paperbacks, hardbacks and other physical formats will be all we have left of literature.

AUDIOBOOKS MEAN FREEDOM

Recently, I started getting into producing audiobooks with narrators on ACX.com, and I am glad that I did. Audiobooks provide yet another avenue for readers, (read: listeners) to enjoy your work. Not only do audiobooks help low-vision people enjoy and learn from books, but they also free up anyone and everyone to other things while they listen. People listen to audiobooks on their way to work, on cross-country trips, while sitting on places, while exercising, while working, while doing whatever it is they want ot do while listening. The point is, Audiobooks mean freedom! All you need to enjoy audiobooks are ears. You don’t have to hold anything in your hands.  And the experience of working together with narrators can be very rewarding, because voice actors usually do have their own fans and followers, some of whom will crossover and become your fans and followers, because of the collaboration.

FUTURE BOOK FORMATS

The reading and writing revolution will continue. New technologies will emerge that will make ebooks seem quaint in the long run. Virtual Reality and Holograms are the most obvious formats on the horizon, but there will be something else that comes along and makes sense when it does. Mark my words: It will be the authors who embrace these new technologies and formats who will have an edge with readers in the future.