Thursday, July 16, 2009

VW #4 -- E-Future Part II

The winners of the VW#2 giveaways are:

BookWish: Big T, whose comment began with Thank you, Lynn. I try to use the train of thought, "Enjoy the journey, not just the destination" but faith is hard to keep.

Goodie Bag: Tamlyn Leigh

Winners, when you have a chance, please send your full name and ship-to address to LynnViehl@aol.com, and I'll get your prizes out to you. Thanks to everyone for joining in.



I. Writers of the E-Future

I often complain here about how tough it is for me to keep up with the current technology. I don't like having to get used to a new operating system every time I blow up a computer (every other year), and I am officially sick to death of having to teach myself Word all over again to cope with the latest version Bill Gates decides to dump in my lap (and hey, Bill, version 2007? It sucks.) Don't even talk to me about the slang for all this stuff; I'm still trying to figure out what the hell RSS is and why someone always wants me to feed it to them.

I'm not apologizing for this, either. I am cranky and I am maxed out on how much technobabble I can absorb at the speed of light. Enough already! Stop changing stuff before I can finish learning how to do the old version.

My frustration is really more with myself than the latest tools of our trade, however. I am an older person, and I didn't grow up immersed in technology. When I was a kid, our video games were pinball machines; if we wanted to see a movie we didn't rent or download it or buy it on DVD, we went to the theater. We didn't do math on calculators, we did it in our brains. Computers were enormous things that took up entire rooms, and belonged to fun people like the CIA and NASA and the IRS. You know what was the big technological breakthrough of my childhood? 8-track tapes (and I promise, I will smack the first one of you who asks what the heck that is.)

The bottom line is I was not born to the computer age -- I didn't actually see a personal computer until I was 26 -- and I don't think I'll ever catch up with those of you who were. That = frustration.

Despite my inadequacies as a technojunkie, I am in awe of this era -- I love living in it and seeing it unfold. I am enchanted with all the amazing things computers can do, and the way the internet has opened up the world and brought it together and interconnected us. Thirty years ago I could never have done what I'm doing right now, talking shop to people all over the world. Just think about it for a second. How many countries are represented here today? How many languages do we speak among us? Without the technology of this era, most of us would probably never have connected in any way -- even those of us who live here in the U.S.

When I was a kid, writers couldn't meet unless they did it in real life, or corresponded by letter. Whatever books I read were those I found at the library, or at the book store. There was no global community of writers. Most of us lived and worked and dreamed apart from each other, sometimes getting together with a few others in the immediate area but otherwise never crossing each others' path.

Right here, at this blog, gathered together at this post, we are the writers of the present. If you think of what the internet has done for our industry and for us just over the last ten years -- e-mail, web sites, blogs, list-servs, forums, communities, workshops, Jesus, even Twitter -- it makes your head spin. We are the first generation of the electronic age writers. Where is that going to take us, and what is it going to demand of us? How are we going to have to change to keep up? How can we play a part in shaping and influencing the E-Future?

I can tell you how we're not going to be a part of it -- by clinging to the past. If we are going to make a place for ourselves in the industry as it evolves, we have to start thinking ahead.

II. The E-book as Income Generator

I think the first instance I remember of the e-book being used as an income generator was when author Stephen King decided to play with the e-book in serial form back in 2000 by releasing The Plant exclusively online. While it didn't quite go the way he wanted it to (I think putting it on the honor system of payment might have been the problem there) it was an interesting experiment.

Today there is a growing trend of writers -- many of them pros -- who are now self-publishing their works in e-book form. In fact, self-publication has never been easier. Kindle's Digital Text Platform allows writers to self-publish for profit, as does Scribd.com with their new online store* and a growing number of other entities involved in acting as distributors for self-published e-books. Unlike King's experiment, there are also fixed price tags attached. * Note 9/3/10: Since Scribd.com instituted an access fee scam to charge people for downloading e-books, including those I have provided for free for the last ten years, I have removed this document, and no longer use or recommend using their service. See my post about this scam here.

Whether it's self-published or published by an e-publisher, the e-book usually does generate a modest but steady income for many new and established writers. The traveling booksigner/Kindle self-pubber J.A. Konrath, has reported on what he's earned, as have e- and print-published authors like Sasha White. While it can't compete with my print sales, my one and only e-book for sale, a joint venture I did last year with my print publisher, also did nicely in the first quarter.

There are plenty of online readers and readers with electronic devices out there, and they're looking for content. Self-published e-books usually have a very reasonable price tag on them, and unlike print books they're readily available and instantly accessible. As more readers come into the E-Future with their gadgets and gizmos, reading preferences are going to change accordingly. Popular authors can use the self-pub e-book platforms to bypass the snail-pace of traditional publishing to round out their income, and new names can build their reps without ever having to endure the industry's laborious and often harrowing submission and acceptance process. What's not to like about the e-book as an income generator?

At the moment I'm sort of on the fence about selling e-books myself. Although the economy has taken its toll, I still make a decent living selling print novels, so right now I don't have the financial pressure to find additional income. E-books are more valuable to me as experimental playgrounds, where I can try out new ideas and see what the readers think, and marketing devices with which I can promote my work in print while not yelling Buy My Freaking Book in everyone's face. I don't see anything wrong with writing and self-publishing e-books for profit, as long as the writer produces a quality product and doesn't set their expectations too high. This new market is exciting, but it's still in its infancy.

III. The E-book as Marketing

After more than ten years of watching the industry, the internet and the development of e-book technology, market share, etc., I still see the e-book as the ultimate in cost-effective marketing. It has several big advantages over every other type of advertising and promotion out there, primarily in that e-books cost little to nothing to produce, and cost absolutely nothing to distribute globally. The e-book also provides the one thing readers always like: free content.

As the number of books people read seems to decrease every year, competition for book sales increases. Publishers throughout the industry are transferring more and more of the marketing responsibility for books squarely onto the authors' shoulders. So anything that can help us promote effectively while not emptying the checking account can be a huge benefit and an enormous relief. It can also give us a competitive edge over writers who are mired in the past and refuse to acknowledge that the E-Future has arrived.

Anyone who looks back over my career can see that a good chunk of my readership discovered me through the e-books I've distributed for free online. I'm not an overnight success, or a fortnight success, or even thousand and one nights success. I'm like every writer who ever got the business and didn't explode with the first novel, or the tenth, or the twentieth (which is pretty much every career writer.) To date, my first and only novel to rank in the coveted top twenty on the NY Times paperback bestseller list happened to be my 40th published novel.

I knew early on that I needed to build a readership, but I soon discovered that I had no talent or tolerance for the traditional ways of doing that. I'm not a pretty person or a gifted speaker. I'm not comfortable talking about my books. I have a terrible voice for reading out loud -- nails-across-a-chalkboard terrible. I did the con circuit for three years and utterly flopped; I never learned how to swim with the sharks or hang with the girlfriends or depend on the kindness of strangers.

What I can do -- maybe the only thing in life that I will ever do well -- is write. I write fast, and I write a lot. I write in a bunch of different genres, and I love doing it. Granted, it's not as cool as being a former beauty pageant contestant, or a 5'10 blond with great legs, or a scholar with a bunch of letters after my name, but readers seem to like it just fine. After failing so miserably at all things self-promo, it was the only thing left that I really wanted to do. I think when it comes to marketing, you should do only those things you feel comfortable doing. For me, writing was never a problem.

Several authors have tried the dandelion fluff approach of simultaneously releasing a free e-book version of their print novels, but while it's daring, I don't see that ever gaining widespread support among publishers (which will be explained two paragraphs down.) Also, it may work very well for an author who already has the most popular web site in the world (and likely makes a very nice living solely from the advertising dollars that weblog earns) but the average writer doesn't have that financial advantage -- they need the income from their work in print.

Offering free teasers and excerpts isn't enough; readers want more than a couple of chapters. What most readers tell me is that they really want something totally for free, and they don't want to jump through hoops to get it. A complete freebie minus the strings: no newsletter to sign up for, no embedded advertising, no limited-time access, no geographical restrictions. They want to be able to read it, back it up, print it out, and pass it around to their friends -- and they don't want to pay for it.

Publishers can't do this, or rather, they won't. The minute you say, "I want to give away this book for free to everyone on the planet with no strings attached" they shut you down or tune you out. I know, I've had that conversation. As it was explained to me by the head of one marketing division, if you want a publisher involved in distributing something to readers, they have to make money on it -- especially if it's available outside the U.S. I've argued until I'm blue in the face, but I've been stonewalled and ignored and told (repeatedly) that it's just the way it is with publishers.

That puts it back on us, the writers. It's not really fair when you compare what a single writer can do on their own to what can be done with the millions major publishing houses spend on marketing (but when was this gig ever fair?) I know how long it takes to write a story, or a novella, or a novel. When you give away your work, you are kissing goodbye the income you might have earned by selling it instead. The first thing we're told as professional writers is that we're paid to write. And that is correct, in the short-term scheme of things -- but not in the long-term.

IV. How the Free E-book Works as Marketing

Every time I post a free story or novella or book for anyone to have, I market directly to those readers with the absolute best advertising for my work that I've got: my work. No, I don't make any money on it. Where I make my money is from the readers who liked that freebie so much that they start purchasing the other stories that I'm not giving away for free. That's where I make my money and build my readership. And since I can't or won't do any of the other types of marketing available for authors, it's really the only place where I do spend money, not by spending it but by trading it for potential sales. I'm investing in myself when I give away original stories; I'm saying that I think my work is that good, that it will generate sales for me.

Look at it another way: how much would you pay to take out a five, ten or even twenty-page ad that shows your work at its best in a popular industry magazine read by many devoted fans of your genre? It's a ridiculous question, I know; no one but the biggest Name authors could afford something like that. Let's try another angle: how much would you pay to advertise directly to seven thousand readers who were interested in your work or your genre (this is assuming you could get their names and valid e-mail addresses for them)? How about mailing a free book to over two thousand of them, assuming again you could get their names and home addresses? I did both and it cost me a dollar.

How: to date, my free 102 page e-book novella Incarnatio has been viewed 7,615 times and downloaded 2,142 times. I wrote it, uploaded it to Scribd*, which hosts it for free, put up a link on my weblog, and that was it. The e-book sits there and attracts readers all on its own. What was the $1 for? I bought a royalty-free photo from Dreasmtime and photoshopped it to make the cover art. For one dollar. * Note 9/3/10: Since Scribd.com instituted an access fee scam to charge people for downloading e-books, including those I have provided for free for the last ten years, I have removed this document, and no longer use or recommend using their service. Incarnatio may be read online or downloaded for free from Google Docs here. See my post about this scam here.

Now show me a traditional form of self-promotion that reaches as many readers without SPAMming them for the same cost, and gives them as much content. I'll save you the trouble: you can't.

It is a risk to use free e-books as marketing tools, and I don't think it will work for everyone. It takes away from the time you could use to write stories to sell, and for writers who need more time to produce quality work, that's a big minus. You can forget about getting any significant support from your publisher; there is no money in it for them. And you can't just throw anything out there. It has to be the real deal; the best you've got to offer the reader. If you're not writing at a professional level, it can even work against you.

My advice is to start with something simple. Write a short story; the best damn story you can produce. Add your backlist, your web site URL and a little bio to the back of it. Post it on your blog, or on your web site, or at a free hosting site like Scribd. Invite readers to send you feedback. See how many hits you get on it, and what the general reaction is. You'll never know how it will work for you until you give it a try.

V. On the Electronic Horizon

Sometimes, especially during snitfests like the most recent e-publishing smackdown, I get depressed. I'm no psychic, but there are times when I can catch glimpses of the future of Publishing in what the next generation of writers are doing. I don't see it as Bradbury did in Fahrenheit 451, a future where books are burned, or Phillip K. Dick did in The Minority Report, where everyone is digitized and retina-scanned. I see storytellers working their craft in innumerable formats: print, electronic, graphic, audio, and even some formats we haven't thought of yet. I see the signs, and dream about the E-Future.

The only time I feel blue is when I watch my colleagues working so desperately to hold it off or discredit any advances toward it. Why does the industry always have to be either/or? Why can't we embrace the future while bringing into it the best of the past? I don't want to give up my print books. Like many of you, for me nothing replaces a book I can hold in my hands. Does that mean there should be no other kind of book, ever? Not at all. Everyone is not me.

Why does such an old-fashioned writer and book collector like me feels so strongly about technology, advancements in Publishing and doing what we can now to help usher in the E-Future? As if in a hundred years, any of this matter. I won't be around to know what will matter, but maybe someone who reads the electronic book version of this post in 2109 will be kind enough to answer that question (alas, the print version will no longer exist.)

I feel that a universe of wonderful things are just around the corner for writers and books. Imagine going shopping and stopping by vending machine where you can select the novel of your choice to be printed and bound, and that book pops out in a few minutes (the machine already exists.) Or turning on a video panel that plays a novel in images and sound, creating virtual, customizable characters from the story's datastream to act out all the parts (maybe the folks who designed The Sims could get in on that.) We might have books someday that we can read in our minds via a neuroprosthesis while we sleep or bathe or fold laundry (my money is on the Australians and their development of the bionic eye for the blind.) Having one book made of real paper that we can program to show us any story we want to read (LiveScribe can download whatever we write on their smart paper into a computer, so why not the reverse?)

In the future, anything is possible. Writers who want to be part of that future can't cling to what Publishing was. We can bring our traditions with us, but we also should be open to making new ones.

Maybe, if we all work together and do it right, in a hundred years someone will still be reading something we wrote today.

VI. Related Links:

For those considering self-publishing, check out Henry Baum's article Why Do People Hate Self-Publishing So Much? and Slushpile.net's post Why People Hate Self-Published Authors.

Two DIYers tell you how to get it done for free: How To Create Your Own E-book For Free by Colin Galbraith and Create Your Own E-Book for Free by Nicholos Gene Poma.

Everyone's dream e-book: Oprah's free download of Suze Orman's Women and Money goes instantly e-platinum.

If you're interested in reader views on book promotions, check out Barbara Vey's advice in her article Author . . . Promote Thyself as well as some of the interesting comments.

Publishers Weekly cites some interesting stats in a report here on the number of on-demand and short run titles published in 2008.

Today's LB&LI giveaways are:

1) A signed set of all eight of my StarDoc novels published to date, plus the ninth, Crystal Healer, my August '09 release.

2) a goodie bag which will include unsigned new copies of:

Just After Sunset by Stephen King (hardcover)

Master of Shadows by Lynn Viehl (author-printed, signed and bound in a three-ring binder)

Halo ~ The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell (trade pb)
Wicked Ways by Donna Hill (trade pb)
The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi (trade pb)
Wicked Hot by Charlene Teglia (trade pb)
The Missing by Shiloh Walker (trade pb)
My Prerogative by Sasha White (trade pb)

Taken by Sin by Jaci Burton
Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti
Hawkspar by Holly Lisle (paperback)
The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu
Nightlife, Moonshine, Madhouse and Deathwish by Rob Thurman

plus signed paperback copies of my novels Evermore and Twilight Fall, as well as some other surprises.

If you'd like to win one of these two giveaways, name something that you think will happen in the future of Publishing, or comment on this workshop before midnight EST on Friday, July 17, 2009. I will draw two names from everyone who participates and send one winner the set of signed StarDoc novels and the other the goodie bag.

Everyone who participates in the giveaways this week will also be automatically entered in my grand prize drawing on July 21st, 2009 for the winner's choice of either a ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-P 10.1" Seashell Netbook or a Sony PRS-700BC Digital Reader.

As always, all LB&LI giveaways are open to anyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past (and if anyone wants a peek at this year's LB&LI goodie room at Casa PBW, and see what's going in those goodie bags, stop by the photoblog today.)

Other LB&LI Workshop Links -- new links are being added every day, so keep checking the list for new workshops (due to different time zones, some of these will go live later in the day):

E-publishing: From Query to Final Edits and Beyond -- Authors Madison Blake, Paris Brandon, Cerise Deland, Fran Lee, Afton Locke and Nina Pierce provide helpful insights and tips on e-publishing. Today's author: Afton Locke

Writing Transformative Sex - Part One by Joely Sue Burkhart -- Any writer who has studied much of the craft at all knows that if a scene doesn’t move the story forward, it should be cut. But have you really thought about what that means for a sex scene?

Birds and Language by Suelder -- second in a series of workshops on birds that will focus on the science as well as how to adapt this information to writing.

Why You're Not Writing by JM Fiction Scribe -- Examining the reasons behind your writing block - because the identifying the 'why' of the problem is the best way of getting past it.

How-To Books that Saved My Life by Alison Kent -- a look at the three how-to books the author can't write without, and why.

Break through your fears and write! by Tamlyn Leigh -- One of the biggest obstacles on a writer's path is their fear. It can be for anything: fear people won't like their stories, fear they aren't good enough. In my workshop I want to offer tools to break through that fear, and get everyone writing!

Writing Prompt Series - Where? by Rosina Lippi -- Pick from the images supplied by Rosina and give your characters a context. You might have to rewrite What? to make it work.

Writing in the Labyrinth by Marjorie M. Liu -- Characters are people, too. And people are the story (second in a series of workshops about different aspects of writing and publishing.)

From Pantser To Plotter: How I Joined The Dark Side by Kait Nolan -- Thursday's topic: What I've Used In My Conversion (Part B)

Writing Sex Scenes That Matter by Jenna Reynolds -- Readers sometimes say they skip over the sex scenes in a book. And usually it's not because they have a problem with the sex. It could, however, be because, other than the sex, nothing else is going on. This workshop provides some suggestions on how to write sex scenes that matter and that readers won't skip over.

What eBook publishers look for: Loose Id by Midnight Spencer –- About Books, Accepted Genre’s, Sending a Proposal, Formatting your Submission, FAQ, and Contract Terms.

Left Behind and Managing Crazy by Charlene Teglia -- Sanity in a crazy business.

Epubs-wondering where to start? by Shiloh Walker -- Info for those curious about epubs and where to start.

Killer Campaigns: Podcasts by Maria Zannini -- Podcast an interview

115 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I havent read a lot of e-books but the growing trend in e-readers and the growing popularity has me amazed. I really cant wait to see what comes next.

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  2. Not so much something I think will happen as something I'm afraid will happen: libraries (for non-academic works) will disappear in favour of book rentals. Right now I'm seeing a lot of money being spent on movies instead of books by my local library.

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  3. Anonymous1:42 AM

    I also haven't read that many e-books myself.

    I've noticed it's becomeing more popular these days.

    Wow another awesome prize pack and good luck everyone.

    Thanks for the extra links and for giving us a chance to win books, etc.

    Terri W.

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  4. Anonymous1:44 AM

    I also haven't read many e-books but I've noticed it's becoming more popular these days.

    Another awesome prize pack and good luck everyone.

    Thanks for the extra links and for a chance to win books, etc.

    Terri W.

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  5. Thanks for doing this and keeping up with the workshops. I'm especially liking Marjorie M Liu's and Kait Nolan's entries. :)

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  6. You're right: version 2007 does suck.

    Anyway... the future. I suspect that with all the environmental concerns, e-publishing is the way. It's quick, it's easy, it's global.

    More and more people get their news online - to the detriment of newspapers - so why not their fiction? And if publishers are determined to cling to their traditions and keep sneering at e-publishing, they will lose writers and revenue.

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  7. Honestly? I'm a teenager and I still go "Whoa, technology." I am, however, incredibly interested in the rising eBook trend. Reading from a screen as opposed to a page has never bothered me, and anything that can keep distribution- and therefore selling- prices down has my vote. And it's not like I'd stop reading an author I loved if the medium they wrote in changed.

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  8. I really hope all publishers will embrace ebooks as one of the formats of the books they publish, and to make it available to everyone on the planet. You can't know how frustrating it is to want to buy something on fictionwise only to be told I'm not eligible for it because I don't live in the US or Canada.

    *whew*

    There, I've let out steam on one of my grievances against publishers.

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  9. Sheila3:54 AM

    In the future I would love to see an e-reader have the ability to show hologram enactments of just a few various scenes from the e-book. Doesn’t have to be the whole book because that just turns it into a movie, but show just a few pivotal scenes or even just parts of them.
    I think it would be kind of cool to see if what I imagined was even close to how the author pictured the scene.

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  10. I'm of the opinion e-books are here to stay. I generally have one or two available for free download.

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  11. I can see ebooks used in schools, students not having to lug so many around, more affordable and easy access to the most current, revised edition of textbooks, inclusion of online links to references used, etc.

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  12. I don't know what's going to happen. I still prefer print books, but also read e-books.

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  13. I'd like to add a clever comment here, but all I can do is drool and beg you to choose me to receive your signed StarDoc novels.

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  14. I'm hoping publisher can work out a way to keep ebooks DRM free but protected from piraters.

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  15. I don't know if this will ever happen, but I'd like to see a single format for ereaders. It would certainly make things easier for everyone.

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  16. As someone who has only been published in the non-fiction short story market, the thing that truly appeals to me about jumping into the epublishing market is the fact that the lower production costs means most places are more willing to take a chance on a new name.

    I'm still learning so much about the epublishing industry and the way things work... It's amazing, to say the least.

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  17. Nicole7:16 AM

    Interactive book trailers...your digital photo gets shopped onto the head of the hero(ine) of your choice for ultimate wish fulfullment.

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  18. There is just so much to absorb here, I really am going to have to print this workshop out and read it again - and again. Lots to ponder here...
    Margay

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  19. I like your free content of e-books and short stories, but I like your blog even more! That's how I found you at first, and then I bought your print books. Short stories and e-books are great, but a quality blog full of quality content can also get you new readers.

    (Shaking my fangirl pom pons now.)

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  20. Meleeta8:08 AM

    I like others that have commented see the world losing their brick and mortar libraries but that isn't to say that they won't be available online when e=books increase more. My children go to cyber school. They have all kinds of research avenues for their school work. So I see in the future e-books becoming even more popular and libraries becoming virtual. By the way I can't check out all of the workshops and was wondering if anyone mentions how to get your stuff copyrighted before self e=publishing especially if you want to post something for free.

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  21. Tech leaves me going ~headtilt~ wth? and after hours of cussing under my breath,stubbornly fighting trying to get it myself I go and whine "Help" at someone closer to my kids age than mine on IM. (I first used comp at 14, that was more stare at it and talk to friend in barely supervized 9wk quarter class in Highschool. Got an A, learned how to turn on a AppleIIe. that's it. owned my first comp after at 27? you're not the only one playing catchup w/tech.)

    The biggest factor for me these days is cost. Though some Ebooks have nuttier prices than paperbacks. The promos of free-shorter fiction, get a taste and feel of the author has been the deciding factor when Hey! Mom's getting $20 to spend on herself for once. Then it's going eenymeenieminymoe on my private wishlist. :) I love checking new authors out, but have to be picky about the budget.

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  22. I read somewhere this week that text book companies might be looking at e-books for college text books. I hope this is a trend of the future. I'd also like to see e-books in K-12 public school classrooms. E-books are here to stay, in my opinion.

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  23. Great post. I think ebooks will continue to grow in popularity. I just hope that paperbacks are always available.

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  24. I really think that New York is so resistant to these advances that it's going to take a veritable crash of the print publishing world (a la the Wall Street Crash that predated the Depression) before they finally wake up and say "hey maybe our business model is outdated and makes no sense." They're not going to give it up any other way.

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  25. Thanks again for a good post. I admit I'm not really into e-books. I think the prices of the e-book readers and some of the e-books need to come down before I can consider it.

    I listen to the Dragon Page podcast and the discussions there on sometimes interesting. Mr. Stackpole has a very good handle on using e-publishing to generate income. It might be worth a listen if you are a new author.

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  26. I would love to see an open code platform for ereaders. I haven't bought one yet but I am considering it. I have Adobe and Microsoft readers downloaded and use those but that requires starting at a computer screen and are not very portable.

    The Wall Street Journal had an article with morning about large pilot projects for using e-text books. Appears that results are mixed. Still an interesting idea.

    Our local library has lots of audio books for download. Audio books became a favorite when I was traveling constantly.

    Finally, I think Shelia's idea of enacting a couple of screens in a book intriguing but I would worry about the cost. I also think it might take me out of the story.

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  27. Lynn said: Granted, it's not as cool as being a former beauty pageant contestant, or a 5'10 blond with great legs, or a scholar with a bunch of letters after my name, but readers seem to like it just fine.

    Lynn, I think writing and writers are as cool as if not more so as above. We get to invent, create, develop new worlds, new characters everyday. Why would we want to do anything else?

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  28. I agree with you on how 2007 word suchs, but its not just word. I am not a fan of windows vista either.

    I am all for ebooks and publishers and I think it will be the next best think like iTunes (even though I have not ventured that way) But I don't want it to mean we have to give up our library's. That is not the kind of future I would like to see.

    :winks:

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  29. Helen9:08 AM

    Please put my name in the hat. Loved the essay this morning. Particularly the discussion marketing with free e-books. I know you do it (having read all your books as soon as I find out you've written them) but I wonder how effective it is at getting NEW readers to your work.
    Helen

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  30. Helen9:10 AM

    Re use in schools. I teach for Axia and all of their books and processes are electronic. No physical textbooks are necessary.

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  31. I think the traditional publishing industry will be in a kind of limbo with integrating print and electronic media for the next few years. I believe the biggest hurdle is the way publishing rights are handled. For example, how do you handle domestic and foreign rights when one can download a file from anywhere in the world?

    It'll take a while for the business models and copyright laws to catch up. I'll predict ten years until e-books are as "normal" as print books for the big houses.

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  32. The free ebooks tor.com offered while we waited for their web site to launch actually got me interested in buying print versions.

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  33. The Power of Free... it certainly has gained new momentum in this techno age. Thank you for the insights, Lynn. You really have my wheels turning.

    To new technology, I'm hoping for a publisher/company that takes on JC's (commenter from yesterday's post) idea of "book-flicks" for the e-reader. For one monthly price, I can sample and/or fully read as many books as I wish. They should come with sound too, for the days when I have to do laundry and cook and clean or my eyes are too tired from reading/writing my own work.

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  34. i see e-books eventually being used more often as a introduction to new authors and series. they might be given away as free downloads with print books to try and get new authors noticed.

    also, if e-readers eventually come down in price i see e-books becoming more popular than print books, but i don't think print books will go away entirely.

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  35. One complaint I have about e-books is that there's no way to share with other people (except by handing over your Kindle or Reader to the other person). I can foresee the eventual ability to create backup copies of books to disc/jump drive/pc hard drive. Another idea would be to sell books on cartridges that can be plugged into your Reader, but I can't see that one lasting very long.

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  36. I love this type of workshop! Lots of good information and thought provoking questions.

    I can see the day that we will have online librarys available by subscription.

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  37. Several comments already touch on things I'd want to see happen, the single format, etc. One thing I want to ask though is; I read so many agents who mention it's better not to post your work online, keep your website about yourself, yada yada...

    I think once you're published (whether print or epubbed) the free novellas and such as you've done are probably the best marketing tool you could use. But I tend to agree that you shouldn't post entire stories if you're still looking for representation, though I can't really tell you why. Gut reaction.

    I'm not published yet, but I have a couple snippets up. They evolve as I go back and edit. Is that a bad thing? I don't know.

    Ebooks for students, high school and college would be a dream! Many districts in my state gave each student entering college a laptop. This was some time ago. They eventually quit that when they found most students had one of their own before college started. What they should do now is give each student an eReader and then charge half price for the books. My DD1 spent $500 on books this last semester. HUGE books. Backbreaking books. The problem there though is the college bookstore will lose money because they won't have any used books (which cost 3/4 of the new, even though they're falling apart)and I don't think they're ready to give up any bit of profit.

    I think eventually though, we're going to find, especially with this whole Google settlement thing, any book ever printed, online. Frankly, it makes me sad.

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  38. I don't have an e-reader but I hear they aren't so bad on the eyes.... I assume that in the future e-readers will become easier to use for the handicapped/disabled.

    I'm excited that bringing Publishing into the e-era will increase readership of everything - it's not that people don't read anymore, they just aren't reading so many BOOKS, I don't think. Lots of blogs and magazines though!

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  39. I don't have anything new to add to discussion on the future of publishing, but I do love ebooks to have for my computer as well as for my reader. And I still enjoy my paper copies too. It really depends on the book and what I want it for (to pass time, to research, to be enlightened)...

    What a great post! I am tossing my name into the hat!

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  40. I have an e-reader and like it, but nothing will ever totally replace the feel of a book in my hands. I love going to bookstores and libraries and just browsing the shelves for new books. That being said, I have found some amazing authors that currently only publish ebooks. I know that ebooks are here to stay, I just hope print books stick around too.

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  41. Anonymous11:11 AM

    I thought it took WAY too long to get used to Word 2007, and I don't think there is any real improvment, either. It was a waste IMO.

    My hustband loves e-books on his Palm. He uses his Palm all the time, therefore, he is never without his story. Five minutes in the doctor's office? No problem. Sitting in the dentist's chair, waiting between the cleaning and check up? He's able to read. In bed at night? His backlit screen doesn't wake me up. (I however wake him up flipping on the light.)

    I, too, am unable to look at computer screens for too long. When I'm done with my work, my eyes are shot. Plus, I like holding my books.

    I have ust been informed that my new teacher's manual for my writing class will available on the internet only. I'm a little irritated by this, because I was not impressed with the CD they gave out with the last book, which had all the testing questions on it. It didn't work well with Windows 2007 or Open Office. Also, while they say this saves money, I doubt my students will see any significant, if even any, savings by their not printing a small number of teacher's manuals, versus the number of books they are going to print for students.

    And, finally, it actually will cost me money, since I will have to use my own printer to print materials. Sure, I can copy them at school, but I will still, essentially, print much of the book at home. And, oh by the way, I can't access any of it without my computer, or when I'm at school. No going to a remote location without internet service and reading up. So, no working at the vacation spot out of town.

    I guess I'm saying, I can see the advantages. But it's not necessary better or always even advantagous to the user.

    JulieB

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  42. I see ebooks becoming more and more popular, especially with the textbook edition of the Kindle my library's been talking about (community college library). There are certainly some problems with the ereaders/formats for ebooks and so on... but just thinking of a light weight back pack makes me want to swoon.

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  43. Anonymous12:01 PM

    The Future

    Can not wait for a Kindel to be available for purchase out side of the US!

    Issy (Ireland)

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  44. Thank you for the link to Scribd.com. I hadn't noticed them before, and now I've joined - and downloaded last year's LB&LI.

    I'm hoping for a eReader I can prop on the arms of my reading chair and adjust the distance from my eyes. Even the slight weight of a paperback is getting painful on my old hands.

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  45. Athena12:30 PM

    I think that paper books in general will become a lot more expensive as digital books become more commonly used

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  46. Wow. I didn't realize we were becoming that technologically advanced and I also enjoyed the historical references in the blog.

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  47. I love finding new authors epublishing seems to make it more available and convenient. Thanks for all the great info. I still love paper books and enjoy browsing bookstores. Ebooks cut down some on having books all over my house.

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  48. I think that as the technology advances, electronic format for books will be the rule and not the exception.

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  49. Ebooks for profit and for promotion both have a proven place in my publishing plan. Like you, most promo fits me like a bad suit, but I can always write a story.

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  50. Another interesting post Lynn. I'm thoroughly enjoying these workshops especially Marjorie Liu and Kait Nolan's which seem to be the ones I personally need at the moment, LOL.

    I'm one who found you through your free content and through you I found others. My TBR pile has never been so huge! So it does work and work well. Thank you!

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  51. Hi!

    I'm tossing my name in the hat too, what a wonderful prize. You are very gracious to host such a great giveaway :)

    I recently discovered your blog and thanks to this post, I have now just downloaded some of your ebooks so that I can enjoy your work.

    I do buy printed books, a good number of them actually. I really enjoy reading your blog, and I have a feeling I will really enjoy reading your ebooks, and will come back to purchase some of your books in print too.

    In regards to technology, I work at the computer a lot and the last thing I want to do is be stuck to it to read e-books :( I'm in Canada, so the Kindle isn't available yet up here (I wish), and I haven't looked into other e-readers as I think the technology is still young and will evolve/improve some more.

    I personally much prefer to curl up on my favorite couch, turn on my OTT reading light and get the feel of a good old paperback in my hands, flipping the pages as I savor each written word, than reading words on a computer screen while sitting up at my computer desk.

    I believe that there are pros and cons to each type of publication and that both will continue to evolve.

    My husband and I are both avid readers, and own hundreds of books in various languages (I'm French Canadian, he's Austrian), and our love of books is one of the things that brought us together in the first place.

    I wouldn't give up our family room with its walls plastered with bookshelves filled with books for anything. It has a cozy "home" feeling that e-books will never be able to give us.

    Technology has its place, but can it replace everything? I don't think so...

    Crossing my fingers to win :)
    Cheers from Calgary,
    Nathalie

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  52. Shannon1:52 PM

    I confess I have only read a couple of ebooks since I don't like to be tied to my computer when reading a long work. It is easier for short stories for me personally. However, I have a feeling if I had an ereader it would be easier and I'd be more inclined to read books electronically. It would certainly help with space issues in my home due to books lol.


    I imagine ebooks will take off even more (such as being more mainstream) when ereaders become more buyer friendly. This transition time gives all of us (writers, agents, publishers, consumers) a chance to adjust and find a way to make the system work on a smaller scale. Hopefully we all can take advantage of this transition period to work out the kinks and make the technology work for us all, if that makes sense.
    -shannon

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  53. PT Nguyen2:24 PM

    great post! Thanks! :)

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  54. I discovered you through a free e-book. It happened by chance as I was browsing the internet, and I was flabberghasted that somebody with a legitimate publishing career was giving something away for free. Needless to say, your strategy worked.

    In the future, I see (or at least, I hope) e-readers becoming separated from their current purchasing model. You'll be able to buy ebooks from multiple stores, rather than, for example, being restricted to Amazon if you have a Kindle. I just don't think that kind of restriction can hold out for too long; consumers want variety and the ability to choose where to get their books.

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  55. very interesting. I haven't ready many e-books. It's not that I dont' like e-books, but I'm not really patient enough to sit and look at my computer for hours on end. It hurts my eyes. However, if I had one of those electronic readers, I imagine I would. As a concept though, the book vending machine -- that was basically what it was -- is pretty awesome.

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  56. Thanks for the e-pub and self-pub links. It helps to see different perspectives.

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  57. Thanks for the link to Konrath's blog. It was an interesting post you linked to. :) Thanks for this new post, as well.

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  58. While I'm a 40-something and didn't come of age in the era of e-everything, I am also a techno-junkie. When my classmates were buying IBM selectrics in grad school, I invested in a radio shack model 4-p computer. Complete with the green screen and tractor-feed matrix printer. I had one of the early palm devices and still use one to organize my life.

    This year, I bought a gen-1 kindle off ebay when the gen-2 ones came out. I like it because I can have reference books at my fingertips and when I travel, can bring a library with me, though quite honestly, it's not as comfortable and as emotionally satisfying as the experience of a physical book.

    What will the future bring? I can't wait for the digital paper, where I can download anything I need to read on a flexible sheet that is light, portable, and reasonably priced AND feels like a book in my hands.

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  59. I read 3-6 e-book a month on my laptop. In some ways I think that more books will be bought this way but not in the next year maybe 5 years from now.

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  60. Nice balanced post. I am just easing into the e-book thing as a reader and I am enjoying it more than I thought I might. For us, it will not replace print books, but instead e-books will only supplement our reading. In fact we will probably spend more money on books overall now.

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  61. This is more what I want to happen, but with the Internet and ebooks and digital publishing it's possible: publishing moves to a language-based distribution rights system rather than a geographic-based distribution rights system.

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  62. All I can say at the moment is, wow, thank you for doing these workshops! :)

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  63. I am a Kindle owner that still buys "real" books (for example, your Darkyn series). Love my Kindle, love my protesting-over-full bookshelves, too.

    I'm hoping the growing popularity of ebooks facilitate more new authors. Rather than authors starting in paperback and moving to hardback, I can see publishers starting them as ebooks and moving to traditional print media.

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  64. So fascinating! For me, your posts and this work shop are a peek behind the curtain, very cool thank you so much for sharing with us all. I was just telling my husband last night that our toddler will probably never have to lug all the huge books we had to, she will most likely have all school work and books on an e-reader or the futuristic equivalent. Pretty neato, and dang crazy when I think about it...who knows what-all we will have in 15 years, which is forever in techno years I think. Also wanted to add I discovered you through your free e-books you offer on your blog, and went on to buy as many Darkyn as I can afford! Love them!!

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  65. There's some interesting food for thought here, but I couldn't help being distracted by your intro. For some time, I've thought that, since authors must use computers as an essential tool, IT skills are an important thing to consider. I don't mean the corporate kind that thinks MS writes the only "safe" software in the world, either. I mean understanding enough to find good stuff and live with it.

    I got a computer years ago (my first one was in 1993) and started learning about it in self-defense. There are a lot better tools than Word *ugh!* and ways to convert those files to "MS standard" as needed. There are open-source folks who might write the tools we need - if we ask nicely. ;) There are a lot of options: Linux, especially Ubuntu, is getting easier and easier to use. I'm seriously thinking, for my next machine, of sticking to XP and setting it up to dual-boot with Ubuntu. That way, I can keep the tools I know and love, but go online (where security updates matter) with the latest version of Ubuntu.

    Those are at least things to think about. Writers really need to figure out the IT angle, at least to the point we can live with it. And Bill Gates and the folks at MS don't care about writers - we're too small a market. They just want to please the uptight, buttoned down corporate types who don't even know what they want to do with their machines.

    Sorry for the rant; I just see the future of computing going one way, and our needs as writers going another. The recent realisation that the UI (user interface) can actually affect not just how you work, but even influence the way you think, really shook me up. (Yes, I have strange interests: I've been thinking about UI design a lot lately because of my own struggles to set up a working environment I can make the best use of.)

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  66. Promotion is one of my weak areas--I have an allergy to pantyhose and I tend to be flippant when I'm nervous--but I love the idea of e-books as a promotional tool.

    And by the way, if you were a 5'10" blonde with legs up to your neck think of the problems you'd have finding pants that fit.

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  67. Sadly, I foresee libraries becoming technological centers with banks of computers instead of books.

    What is left of the most important print books will be locked in vacuum sealed glass cases and only authorized personnel will be able to handle......wait I think I just got an idea for a story...

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  68. Anonymous5:00 PM

    Lynn,
    As a compulsive reader (who probably needs therapy) I love e-books. I have found so many authors I would otherwise not know of because of e-books. I have also introduced authors (like you) to friends who maybe do not have the funds to purchase books right away. E-books are also a way for authors to publish their material without going through all the red tape of a regular publishing house. And e-books are a way for a popular author to thank their audience for reading (like you do!). Thank you all e-book authors!
    Tami
    Jacksonville

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  69. Great workshop. I've put a SF short story of mine ("Little Piece of Home")on Scribd and linked to it on my blog. For someone who really only has family and friends reading their blog it's gotten a decent number of reads. :) I agree that it was incredibly easy to put it on the site, and it satisfied a need that I had to get this work of mine out there, even though it wasn't one that I intended to get paid for. I wrote it to explore what might have happened to one of my novel characters in the past in order to get a better handle on that character TODAY. And since there it was, all written, I thought, why not put it out there so others can enjoy it?

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  70. Loving the LB&LI! Thank you!

    Deb, JAVOedge makes a case for the Sony Reader that includes a stand so it'll sit up for hands-free reading.

    "Not so much something I think will happen as something I'm afraid will happen: libraries (for non-academic works) will disappear in favour of book rentals."

    I don't think that'll happen very fast. I'm a paraprofessional at a smallish library system. E-books and digital media are just one more way for us to serve people. Our patrons have access to the region's e-book/audio downloading service. Staff gives in-person demonstrations and our main branch even has a download station for folks who can't afford Internet access at home or don't have computers but do have MP3 players or e-book readers. Also, sharing the electronic copies allows us to economically expand our collections during tight budget years.

    Libraries are much more than book warehouses. I won't hijack the thread and list everything, but I will say that libraries change as society changes. And you can bet on us being around for a long time. :-)

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  71. Wandering Author, I'm with you on the IT stuff. XP is another operating system I'll keep until I can get a better system. Considering how crappy Vista is, and now, you have to have Vista to upgrade to Windows 7 or pay through the nose for the whole shebang, um...no, thanks.

    As to Word, I have Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2007 all on my computer because there are certain things I liked about one or the other program in each. In 2007, I have the newest OneNote. I didn't install any of the other 2007 programs though. XP gives me PhotoEditor which I like for a Q&D.

    Yup, writers need to be tech savvy or use the old pen and paper. I can't, my arthritis is too bad. So I work with what I can.

    Sorry, Lynn, I was going to mention that too in my first post but got too caught up in the other stuff I posted.

    I think I'll shut up now...

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  72. I think e-books will rule over print. It will be extinct in the next ten years because e-readers are taking over.

    Although its neat to fit 600 books into a neat technology, I prefer the smell of books and the feel of them.

    Please count me in.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

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  73. I think in the near future - libraries will go the way of Netflix...being able to rent books online...and download a "short term copy" or have a paper version shipped to your house.

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  74. Thanks, some great stuff ePublishing. I'm definitely going to follow up on some of those links.

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  75. Anonymous6:56 PM

    I think they will make e readers even more friendly more visually impaired readers. I know my Kindle allows for the font to increase significantly that some older people I know think it is a life saver.

    Regards, Ruth

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  76. Christina7:37 PM

    Fascinating post. I look forward to seeing where the future of ebooks is headed.

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  77. I do most of my reading with e-books, except when my favorite authors don't have a particular title in that format. I'm a big enthusiast of e-books, and I sincerely hope they become more common. The influx of digital readers hints that this will be the case, so I can only hope. Thanks for the links again. I'm starting to explore them, now that the weekend is closer, and there is more time to do so.

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  78. You make a good argument for using the ebook as a marketing strategy, but as you said, it won't work for everyone.

    Right now, I have nearly two dozen free ebooks on my computer. Some from big name authors. While it's true that a few of them have persuaded me to check out their other work, I find myself in a mire of free books that I don't have time to read. It has become a case of logistics.

    Presently, there is an oversaturation of blogs, excerpts, interviews, free books and even Twittering. The reader, no matter how voracious must be selective and even prejudicial in what she reads and follows.

    In your case, you have a long, rich back list. A free ebook from you is a treat to long time fans and newcomers alike. But me, just starting out, a free ebook is just another ebook. I don't have enough name recognition or back list to support it. It might work for me in a couple of years, but not right at this moment.

    You were smart in choosing the strategy that works best for you. And because you started this long before the point of saturation you've earned extra bonus points for innovation and longevity.

    Ref: 8 track tapes
    I repurposed mine several years ago as a deer deterrent. I pulled the tape out and laced it around my plants. All that flapping in the breeze kept them away.

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  79. clairecherven8:12 PM

    The e-book technology is changing almost daily and sites like yours keep me as up-dated as a multi-tasking working/homemaker can be. I open your site after all the the other lights are out and I can work on my own story. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  80. Single format for ebooks so I can read on any type of reader.

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  81. Great info. Thanks

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  82. Anonymous8:40 PM

    I've embraced the e-book. I also want to note that outside of fiction, it has been a good avenue for role-playing game writers to get their material out there.

    Btw, Lynn, about two years ago I won an ebay crit from you for my novel Leaf Letters, and I just wanted to let you know the book has beenn accepted by an e-publisher: Sugar & Spice Press. So, I'm happy to be becoming an e-book fiction author. Thanks for helping me get there!

    Christina Stiles (publishing as Christina Lynne Ashley)

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  83. I prefer print books for fiction and cannot see myself switching to e-books in the foreseeable future. This doesn't mean that I'm against making e-books easily available to those that want them.

    However, I do see potential in ebooks for non-fiction and academic texts. We are usually less attached to a non-fiction book than to a favourite fiction title. And ebooks would make dealing with academic texts easier, particularly if you could cite passages via copy and paste, with automatic foot/endnote generation.

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  84. I can't tell what will happen in publishing, but I do love all the links you've included.

    Thanks for all the info!

    Anna

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  85. I love the feel of a book in my hands, and I hope (and doubt) the days of print books will end entirely; however, it was a lot easier reading *Gone with the Wind* the second time around because I read an etext version and could focus on the reading and not worry about holding the darn book up!

    As for giving away reading material, I just purchased two of JA Konrath's Jack Daniels books because I enjoyed his free stuff.

    Save for the freebies, I might not have gotten around to buying him, but having read several of his pieces for free, I wanted more, so I bought more.

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  86. I would love to see books -audio books- able to be heard on your cell phone earpiece.

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  87. I think free stories (shorts are fine) work great as promotional tools. Not sure about giving away free e-copies of commercially available books to millions of people out there though.

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  88. Nothing will ever beat the feeling of holding a book in my hands but my Sony Reader comes close. I invested in a Reader last year after having computer problems and running out of space to store books. I'm a reviewer and having nothing to read my books on was a real pain. Now, I use my Reader for review books and new to me authors. I still have certain authors I will always buy in paper. Those I usually also buy in audio. I love my audiobooks. Download to my iPod and away I go.

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  89. Tam wrote: I'm especially liking Marjorie M Liu's and Kait Nolan's entries.

    All of our LB&LI'ers are doing a great job this year. Marjorie is like fairy dust for my muse, and I really liked that scene worksheet Kait put up with one of hers; that was a great schematic.

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  90. Ashlyn wrote: I'm a teenager and I still go "Whoa, technology."

    You probably have an old soul.

    And it's not like I'd stop reading an author I loved if the medium they wrote in changed.

    I think that's a wonderful attitude. I share it -- I don't care what I have to use to read, even if it means cutting down to prevent eye strain, I'll follow my favorite authors anywhere into the E-Future.

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  91. Carol wrote: You can't know how frustrating it is to want to buy something on fictionwise only to be told I'm not eligible for it because I don't live in the US or Canada.

    That is one of my biggest grievances with how Publishing is handling rights for e-books. Be assured that I and many other authors who feel the same are working toward getting this particular wall torn down.

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  92. Ayla wrote: I'm hoping publisher can work out a way to keep ebooks DRM free but protected from piraters.

    I think Tim O'Reilly suggested using a gentler form of DRM, such as watermarking e-books so that if they're printed out they have a watermark in the background of each page. It could work but I'd just rather see the industry get rid of DRM altogether and issue registration numbers or something along those lines.

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  93. Nicole wrote: Interactive book trailers...your digital photo gets shopped onto the head of the hero(ine) of your choice for ultimate wish fulfullment.

    Nicole, I think you called that one right on the money. Okay, so what numbers should I play for the Lottery? ;)

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  94. Margaret wrote: Short stories and e-books are great, but a quality blog full of quality content can also get you new readers.

    I appreciate the kind words for mine, ma'am.

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  95. Meleeta wrote: By the way I can't check out all of the workshops and was wondering if anyone mentions how to get your stuff copyrighted before self e=publishing especially if you want to post something for free.

    If you post a story on a free file hosting site like Scribd, they allow you to put a traditional copyright notice on your file, which alerts your viewers to the rights you've reserved. Everything you write is copyrighted the moment it hits the page, and all you have to do to copyright something is put that somewhere on the document: Copyright (year of publication) by (your name).

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  96. Sandie wrote: Lynn, I think writing and writers are as cool as if not more so as above. We get to invent, create, develop new worlds, new characters everyday. Why would we want to do anything else?

    We don't have to, as long as we hide from our agents, editors and publishers (mine haven't seen me since 2003. Wait, one of my editors has never seen me, ha.)

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  97. Thanks for another fascinating post in your e-conference. I love print books, but sometimes e-books are convenient - especially on small devices. The first time I started reading e-books was on my Palm Pilot - with out-of-copyright books from Project Guttenburg. Having a small enough device seems key.

    The Sony Reader and Kindle are interesting, but are solely for reading books. One thing I liked about having books on my Palm Pilot was that I had the device with me always. So, stuck waiting for a doctor? No problem,I would just start reading.

    If they're not already available, I bet it will soon be possible to get e-books for the iPhone.

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  98. Helen wrote: I know you do it (having read all your books as soon as I find out you've written them) but I wonder how effective it is at getting NEW readers to your work.

    I wish I had some hard figures to give you, but all I can do is combine a little theory with timing and sales escalation.

    I've been around for a long time in Publishing years (it's kind of like dog's years; you age seven for every one you spend in the industry) but I've always been strictly a midlist writer. I've done well on the midlist, and I'm not complaining, but I was never considered a breakout bestseller.

    I created my virtual library of free e-books in 2008; it's really the only major thing besides the blog that I've done for self-promotion in the last six years. Likewise my print runs didn't change last year and my publisher didn't have any major marketing campaigns for my books. Still, from the beginning of 2008 my sales of print novels went through the roof, and I had two NY Times bestsellers; the second (released six months after I put the library online) got to the top twenty. That second bestseller was the sixth novel in my series, which wouldn't have appeal to new-to-me readers because very few care to start reading a series in the middle.

    As it was explained to me, it was statistically impossible for me to jump from a midlist author to a top twenty bestseller; it just doesn't happen to writers at my level. There weren't even enough copies of my books in the book store for that to happen by volume of sales. While I'm always a believer in luck, I've never had that kind of luck.

    I wish I could tell you for sure it was the free reads who got me the new readers, but I really don't know. Like I said, all I can say is that putting them out there was the only thing I did differently in 2008, which turned out to be the best year of sales I've ever had since I turned pro.

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  99. Guys, I have to get some work done for my editor, so I'm going to unplug now and finish reading and responding to your comments tomorrow. Thanks for all the great ideas and thoughts you've posted so far.

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  100. I think if you as author gives away a free book it is great advertising. I know personally that there have been times when I've won and ebook from an author and dang it if I didn't go and buy their whole backlist lol. Made way more money from me than what they lost on that one book. And if I like them I'll keep buying book. Hopefully there'll be more authors picking up on you bad habits. I say contrary to what publishers say that giving a free ebook is good. and it looks like some publishers are jumping on your bandwagon. They are slower and giving away older books but they are getting there. Like now they are giving a ebook version of Faefever great series btw but its an older book not nothing new in the series. I hope there will be places to buy books in whatever format you wish for or that somehow they'd come up with a standard format.
    I love my ebookwise but wish it was wireless and it doesn't take pdf files. So hopefully the publishers will address issues with DRM soon.

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  101. Thanks for a great workshop!

    I read ebooks on my computer and I love them. Ebooks tend to be cheaper (although not all of them are but at least they don't include shipping and handling), quicker to get even during weekends, and I don't have to carry them around in boxes when I move. The biggest downsides for me are geographical restrictions (I live in Finland) and DRM.

    I hope your bright vision of different kinds of ebooks will come true!

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  102. Hi Lynn

    Thanks for another great post - another good examply of why i visit here daily.

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  103. Anonymous11:25 AM

    I just read a more anti take on ebook publishing from C.E. Murphy here: http://magicalwords.net/cemurphy/who-pays-whom-part-iv/#comments

    I'm more in agreement with Lynn.

    Christina Stiles

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  104. Between ebooks and POD, I predict more authors going the DIY route and self-publishing. If an author has to do her own marketing anyway, and does not need the publisher to print the book, what does she need the publisher for?

    I realize a few more things have to change. The stigma against self-pubbed writers, and access to bricks-and-morter book stores for example. But the change is coming. The old publishing model is dead, it just doesn't know it yet.

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  105. A lot of food for thought in this post. I think ebooks will eventually become the industry standard. I'd like to see an ebook reader that could display color photos as well as text.

    Lavern

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  106. This is honestly very true. Anytime a new author posts an ebook in its entirety (for free), I do read it. And if I enjoy it, I go out and buy all their books that I can get my hands on. It's that simple. Entice me with free and I'll buy everything they've published.

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  107. E-books seem to be really picking up steam. I'd just like a reader that didn't make my eyes ache. I'm hoping to see audio book releases (Metatropolis ed. by John Scalzi) become a little more common too.

    Definitely food for thought.

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  108. Wade wrote: I believe the biggest hurdle is the way publishing rights are handled. For example, how do you handle domestic and foreign rights when one can download a file from anywhere in the world?

    You eliminate them and make everything world rights. I know how big a leap that would be for both publishers and writers, but it's the only logical thing to do. Erase the boundaries and open up the world to books. If we want this industry to survive, it has to go global in the right way, and that's what I think we have to do in order to catch up with the times.

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  109. Peri1020 wrote: One complaint I have about e-books is that there's no way to share with other people (except by handing over your Kindle or Reader to the other person). I can foresee the eventual ability to create backup copies of books to disc/jump drive/pc hard drive. Another idea would be to sell books on cartridges that can be plugged into your Reader, but I can't see that one lasting very long.

    I think I'd prefer to see DRM removed from e-books and just trust the readers to be honest. Yes, trust them! People think that would encourage wide-spread piracy, but in reality the majority of readers are honest people who aren't going to do anything more than share a book with a friend now and then. If you think of that shared file as free advertising, it even works in our favor.

    The other way to go would be to offer an edition with a sharing charge to the book's sales price. If they pay that extra charge, they can get a DRM-free copy they can print it out and share it. I think readers would be willing to pay a little more just so they can really "own" their e-books. I know I would.

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  110. Theo wrote: I think once you're published (whether print or epubbed) the free novellas and such as you've done are probably the best marketing tool you could use. But I tend to agree that you shouldn't post entire stories if you're still looking for representation, though I can't really tell you why. Gut reaction.

    I think writers who have yet to go pro should be cautious with what they post online, and how much of their work they give away for free. Gathering a readership before you have something to sell to them is kind of an exercise in frustration (unless the writer is self-publishing, in which case this doesn't apply.)

    I'm not published yet, but I have a couple snippets up. They evolve as I go back and edit. Is that a bad thing? I don't know.

    I think you have to do what you're comfortable doing. I know of the thirty-odd books and things I've given away over the years that I probably could have sold about half of them to NY, if I'd compromised and cut certain things and let them homogenize them down to what they wanted. Part of the great thing about giving these books away was to enjoy the freedom of being able to write and publish exactly what I wanted, without interference from NY, and to get feedback from the readers that helped me decide what direction to take with my career. That was worth more to me than any contract I might have landed for the freebies.

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  111. Charlene wrote: Like you, most promo fits me like a bad suit, but I can always write a story.

    I think it's more than promo, too. The e-book is beginning to change what it means to be a professional writer. I think e-published writers are the vanguard of a new category of professional -- maybe the very first wave of virtual authors in Publishing. :)

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  112. The Wandering Author wrote: Writers really need to figure out the IT angle, at least to the point we can live with it. And Bill Gates and the folks at MS don't care about writers - we're too small a market. They just want to please the uptight, buttoned down corporate types who don't even know what they want to do with their machines.

    I'm willing to keep learning, but it has to be at a reasonable pace or I'm simply not going to be able to absorb it all. If technology leaves me sitting in the dust, I guess that's something I'll just have to accept.

    Sorry for the rant; I just see the future of computing going one way, and our needs as writers going another. The recent realisation that the UI (user interface) can actually affect not just how you work, but even influence the way you think, really shook me up. (Yes, I have strange interests: I've been thinking about UI design a lot lately because of my own struggles to set up a working environment I can make the best use of.)

    I have seen the negative effects of technology on an entire generation of writers, especially on their writing itself. I'll never forget one book by a young writer that read to me like a poorly-composed e-mail. I was in absolute shock, until I realized that poorly-composed e-mails were probably the bulk of this person's every day reading material. This can creep into your work and change it without you even noticing it, and it's one part of progress I think we need to actively resist.

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  113. Maria wrote: In your case, you have a long, rich back list. A free ebook from you is a treat to long time fans and newcomers alike. But me, just starting out, a free ebook is just another ebook. I don't have enough name recognition or back list to support it. It might work for me in a couple of years, but not right at this moment.

    I have to agree with you there, but I think there are still unexplored avenues in e-book promotions waiting to be discovered and used by authors to help them become more established. One thing I was thinking about was if an experienced/established author distributed a free antholoy that contained one of their stories as a headliner plus additional stories by three other up-and-coming or newly published authors. Publishers do it all the time in print to help get exposure for their new authors. :)

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  114. Nadia wrote: I think free stories (shorts are fine) work great as promotional tools. Not sure about giving away free e-copies of commercially available books to millions of people out there though.

    I don't agree with that, either, Nadia. I think writers can promote their work in print more effectively with a free e-book that has original content related to the work in print. Of all the promo I've done over the years, it's the best way to snag the interest of the reader into buying the print book.

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  115. Abby wrote: Between ebooks and POD, I predict more authors going the DIY route and self-publishing. If an author has to do her own marketing anyway, and does not need the publisher to print the book, what does she need the publisher for?

    Production value and distribution are the only two real assets publishers offer to me at the moment, and even at my level that is inconsistent most of the time. The more savvy authors become with self-publishing, the less control NY will have over us. The next twenty years are going to be very interesting.

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