Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ebooks Make Publishing Easy (But Is That A Good Thing?)

How important has the ebook marketplace become to writers? For lack of flourish: Really, really important.

For the first time ever nothing stands between the writer and his readers other than an Internet connection and a finished book. No more waiting for a publisher to recognize your work, offer you a contract and pay for the publication of your masterpiece. If you have finished your work and can get online there are plenty of ebook outlets for you to load it to. If it's good enough you might actually start making money. Even if it doesn't start making money at least you can see your finished work for sale someplace.

Unfortunately, as popular as ebooks have become they have done little to increase the quality of the books being written. In fact, I'd say they have further diminished the luster of being a published writer because now just about anyone can do it. You don't even need to be tenacious any more; pounding on doors, enduring a near endless stream of rejection notices or learning to have a thick skin for the harsh critiques you are likely to receive in response to your manuscript.

I am not suggesting every ebook is crap. There are a number of excellent ebooks on the market today and more are likely to be uploaded tomorrow. I'm simply saying that just because it is easier to publish a book now than ever before doesn't mean everyone should set pen to paper and write a book.

Writing is a skill. Writing is an art. Quality writing is something that only comes with hard work and perseverance. Just because you finished a book and have it for sale on Amazon doesn't automatically make you a writer. To paraphrase Truman Capote, it just makes you a typist.

No longer do authors need to send manuscripts to publishing houses in hopes of winning the book deal lottery given to so few writers. And while self-publishing has become more popular over the years, the difficulty and expense of DIY publishing and printing a hard copy book is quickly becoming out-dated in the e-book age.

It's a huge technological change for writers, and one that Petaluma author Rob Laughran had no problem accepting. The author of 23 books, his latest novel, “Tantric Zoo” was released on e-book and hard copy earlier this year. In November, he decided to completely embrace the new age of books by releasing his first children's book, “The Smartest Kid in Petaluma,” only on e-book.

Click here to read more about Laughran.

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