This story appeared in the Daily Telegraph recently. The news doesn’t entirely surprise me,and trying to stay optimistic makes it more likely that I’ll secure a literary agent and a traditional publishing deal. I’m not surprised,because I don’t know anyone who owns a Kindle or a similar e-reading device. I haven’t even seen one ! I say this,after writing and publishing ebooks for the last eighteen months.
I briefly corresponded with a self-employed owner of a Cornish cosmetics company,who did a lot of international travelling trying to get new markets for her products. She owned a Kindle,and loved it for its ability to store dozens of titles,saving her weight and space in packing her bag.
Everyone else I know reads books. The main advantage of downloading an ebook is price. I thought about buying a highly-praised book ‘The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook Guide To Getting Published’,which is written by a helpful chap called Harry Bingham. He set up a useful web site called Writers’ Services,after finally achieving success and getting published. The cheapest I’ve been able to find the book in paperback form is £12.23,but it’s only £9 as a download.
But then,one needs an e-reader,the cheapest being about £50 – unless one is prepared to squint at the screen of a tablet or iPhone to read a downloaded book.
Traditional books have a lot of advantages. I’m increasingly thinking that people who look for free ebooks expect all artistic content on the Web to be without charge. After all,we can all look at wonderful paintings,photographs,funny videos,music videos etc without any charge beyond what we’re paying to be connected.
As a promotional ploy for the launch of my new novel,I decided to make all of my already published books free for a couple of months. I did so after reading of the success of other authors who’d made their books free on Smashwords,which forced Amazon to price-match and also offer them for free. This entices readers to try your work,meaning you enter their chart of popular downloaded authors. From that point of having raised one’s profile as a writer,one can publicise and charge for future books.
2,100 readers have downloaded my books in the last 32 days,since I started giving them away without charge. Of course,I have no way of knowing if they’ve actually read them,and I’m sure that some just grab whatever they see is free at the time,storing them away like a squirrel with nuts. Had they paid for them,at an average price of say £3/$5,then I would be a very happy chappy !
The problem of how to sell myself,and my work,becomes more complex the more that I learn.