Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
While we’re looking at the state of the publishing industry, I’ve been encouraged by one of my clients to rant about e-books. When a client encourages an agent to vent, I think that agent ought to take advantage of the opportunity; so here goes.
As e-book publishing develops, I’m seeing several common mistakes that writers are making. Here’s a brief list of items to think about before you launch your sailboat onto the roiling waters of e-book publishing.
- Don’t panic.
I’ve found that many authors feel pressure to publish out-of-print titles, manuscripts tucked away in old files, blogging posts–really, anything at hand. Authors seem to believe that if they don’t get these works out there now, the authors are lagging behind, not keeping up with the times, and ultimately their inaction will lead to the demise of their careers.
Actually, the opposite could well be true. To publish e-books without creating a thoughtful plan as to what you’re publishing, when you’re publishing, and why you’re publishing it, is to lead to a potentially lost opportunity later on. E-publishing isn’t going to go away; as a writer, you want to launch into this venture purposefully rather than randomly. Panic is seldom a smart motivator.
- Don’t necessarily go with the first e-publisher you connect with.
New publishers are sprouting up every day. As in traditional publishing, each has its strengths and weaknesses. Some will exist long-term; others are fly-by-night.
- Don’t forget to read the contract.
I’ve seen several e-publishing contracts, and they’re all over the place. No templates exist. Some are draconian; others quite fair. You, of course, know what the royalties are, right, but do you also know how to get your rights back if this publisher doesn’t meet its commitments or if the publisher goes belly up? There are many factors to understand before signing.
I’ll add to the list tomorrow. Meanwhile, have you thought about these aspects of e-publishing? Are you considering venturing into this venue?