Saturday, August 7, 2010

Traditional meets Digital by Cynthia Brayden-Thomas

Recently, an editor I know at Lyrical Press (where I also edit) sent the loop the link to this article:Celebrated authors bypass publishing houses to sell ebooks via Amazon.
To sum it up, writers like John Updike and Philip Roth have decided to get a slice of the e-book pie. Because some big, traditional houses have published their books in e-book format without paying them (or paying much), despite the fact that the cost of publishing e-books is minimal and warehousing, nonexistent. In fact, those authors are fighting with their houses, who claim to own the rights to the books in any format, even though the contracts were signed long before digital books existed.

You see, the big writers and the big publishing houses know something that other writers—especially new writers—haven’t caught on to yet: e-books offer opportunities .

True, you can’t hold an e-book in your hand, or smell the ink on the pages or sign your pseudonym on the flyleaf. You can’t wrap it up and give it to your mom for Christmas. You can’t buy a box of them and carry them in your trunk to pass out whenever you run in to someone who made your life miserable in high school. (“So nice to see you! What are you doing? You’re the manager of a trailer park? Oh, well, I’m a published author. Here’s a copy of my novel. Let me sign it for you…To Bobby. Bet you wouldn’t have dumped me for a slewbag if you knew I was going to be the next Nora Roberts…”)*

What you can do with an e-book, however, is make some money. Granted, it’s not a lot. However—speaking as an e-book writer—it’s consistent. I’m pretty confident that my books will not have a limited print run and then end up remaindered somewhere. Instead, I get my little royalty checks each month from one small publisher and quarterly from another. I get a deposit in my paypal account for my percentages of royalties on the books I’ve edited.

All things considered, these small amounts of income are better than nothing. Which is what I’d probably be earning if I’d continued to write in the hopes of landing a contract at one of those traditional publishers; with many submissions, few slots available and their (understandable) reluctance to risk spending lots of capital on an unknown writer, it’s hard to get signed.

This is one of the things I love about editing e-books. Not only are we able to accept really good short stories and novellas without worrying (too much) about word count, but we can accept stories that are different and unique. No secret cowboy millionaire’s twin anonymous babies with amnesiac nannies (or whatever the trend is, now) for us. No, e-publishers are not only willing to take a chance on an unknown writer with a unique voice and a different plot, we’re happy to offer a contract—as long as the writing is solid, the writer appears professional and the manuscript follows the company rules (all publishers have them—things like no incest, no rape, no pedophilia, no bestiality, etc.). Because we’d like a piece of that e-book pie, too.

E-books are giving writers a chance to be published, to make a name for themselves, develop a following and even—enjoy writing the story that sings to them instead of forcing their story into a predetermined trend. Not only can an author write the book of their heart and their dreams; somewhere on the web is a publisher—and readers--for it. More and more readers are buying their e-book reading gadgets and loading them up with new, exciting and fresh stories (and maybe, some old). E-books tend to cost less than print books. Another reason is the quick availability via download. And, more and more, buyers and readers are people who are comfortable with electronic media. There’s a whole new wave of consumers on the way; raised in a computerized world, familiar with a lit screen and happy to work with a keyboard and a mouse or a touch screen.

I keep telling people—in the eighties, it was easy to write for Harlequin. They accepted more and were more flexible. Then, they started becoming more and more selective and now, it’s next to impossible to be published through them. I have a feeling that e-books now are our Harlequin. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. The “big guys” are starting to take notice. You should, too.

*Bobby and the slewbag are completely fictitious. At least in my life. If you’ve got a Bobby and a slew in your life, feel free to slander them all you want. 

About the Author:
C.D. Yates never knew what she wrote until her publisher told her.

Turns out that she wrote romantic comedy. She attributes her ability to find the funny in everything to growing up the youngest and practically only child in a family of five children. (Living across the street from a funeral home also helped her to look past life's bleakest times to find the humor hiding on the other side.)

Currently published by The Wild Rose Press and Blade Publishing, Ltd., she also edits for Lyrical Publishing under the name Cynthia Brayden-Thomas and for Breathless Press as Veronica Swift. Her friends call her Cyn, her mom calls her Cynthia Jean and her father calls her Linda.
Though she can identify what she writes, she is no longer able to identify herself...Rumor has it she'll answer most readily to "Mom."

Blurb for In the Cards-
Alex Demille writes historical fiction, not erotica. But now, her editor wants her to write a story about a cowboy and a bordello and gives Alex a “present” to aid her. Can she do it? Will Alex, a woman who writes sweets, be able to come up with enough erotic scenarios to write a best seller, the best seller her editor is hoping for?

Zach O’Conner is a cowboy cursed by his own looks. His best friend Alex, the one woman who doesn’t treat him like a piece of meat, has asked him to give a demonstration at the upcoming romance writers conference on what real cowboys do.  Given the chance to be alone with Alex he accepts. He’s going to show Alex she’s not just the sexiest, most exciting woman he’s ever known, but the woman of his heart as well.

1 comment:

  1. This post was pretty interesting and the Cards sounds great. I look forward in reading it.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post. Just a heads up I moderate my comments, sorry for any inconvenience.