Hi LDS Publisher!
A smaller, but quickly growing, publisher has very recently offered to publish my book (yay!). Because I am a new author, they want to publish it first as an e-book. If the book sells, then they would publish the book more traditionally. Is this a new trend in publishing? What are your thoughts?
I’ve seen this popping up more often. From a publisher’s standpoint, it’s a very safe offer to make. It limits the financial risk significantly. They don’t have to come up with the cash to invest in a full print run, the cost of warehousing and shipping the books, nor take the chance that they’ll end up with a stack of books they can’t sell and a loss in their profit margin. Too many wrong guesses and a small press is out of business.
From the author’s perspective, it’s not such a good deal. Yes, more and more consumers are using e-readers, but there’s still a large group of readers who want tangible print books. Your sales are limited right there. Also, the lower the financial risk to the publisher, the greater the temptation to give up if initial marketing tactics don’t work. Kind of the “cut your losses” mentality.
Here’s a checklist I’d go through with the publisher before signing:
- What resources SPECIFICALLY are they going to put into creating your ebook?
- Will it get a close edit?
- Are they going to design a good cover that will help sell the book?
- How will the book be coded? Are they just going to take your Word file and run it through an autocoder? (You can do that yourself.) Or will they actually take the time to have someone look at the code and clean it up?
- What are their marketing plans?
- How will they let the consumer know the book exists?
- Will they set up a virtual tour for you?
- Do they use the various social medias to spread the word?
- Do they have a customer base they send emails to?
In my opinion, it’s better to stay unpublished than to have an unedited or poorly marketed book just sitting out there and languishing in cyberspace.
Another thought: If a publisher is going to assign resources to do a good edit, create a cover that will sell, and then typeset it enough to make a clean ebook, then they’re 90% of the way there for a print edition as well. They might as well do the little extra it takes and create a print version using CreateSpace (Amazon’s print on demand service) and at least have that available to online customers.
Readers, what do you think?