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It's Revolution Time

            It is revolution time, though many don’t realize it.  We have reached a critical inflection point that many haven’t heard of or noticed.  Recently, Amazon announced that since April 1 of this year, it is selling more Kindle books than physical books.  It’s now selling 105 e-books for every 100 physical books (whether there is a Kindle version or not).  The Association of American Publishers recently announced that while adult paperbacks sales tumbled 7.7%, the sale of e-books exploded to 145.7% over the same period.  E-books will be about a billion dollar industry this year. 

            These are the seeds of revolution.  E-Books are cheaper than physical books.  Quicker and easier to acquire.  They offer a free sample that mimics the bookstore experience of perusing before buying.  But e-book publishers have gone the next step of making their platforms easily accessible to authors, so that you and I can by-pass the nonsense of agents and publishing houses and distribute our works directly to a reading public that hungers for more and more digital entertainment.  Gone can be the days of sending query letters to agents, waiting for the form rejections, reading the half-hearted comments when the manuscript is requested, and the misery of searching for the next list to send queries to in hopes of some form of encouragement.  The agents aren’t to blame for this.  They are simply relics of a passing era.  No longer is there a need to search for representation because you and I can represent ourselves and go straight to the source:  the reading public. 

            But how to do this?  There are resources and firms out there who are ready and willing to help you and I take our manuscripts, put them into the proper digital formatting for different e-book readers, and upload them to the channels available:  Nook, Kindle, iBook, Kobo Covers, etc.  Or you can go and teach yourself how to do it and go completely solo.  You and I control the content; you and I control the formatting; you and I control the price; you and I control the promotion.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that 15 of the top 100 digital titles on Amazon’s best-selling list are priced at 99 cents.  This is another seed of the revolution.  99-cent books are from those authors who go directly to their audience and bypass agent, publishers, and reap 35% or more of their book sales directly.  Now, I’m not naïve, and I know that publishers have marketing, distribution, and other resources they make available to authors.  But let’s be real.  Those are more and more perks reserved for the vaunted few best-sellers out there.  You and I are now able to take advantage of social networking tools to promote our own works.

So we are in revolutionary times and the question is simply, will you and I embrace them?  You and I have the chance to do what we have only dreamed of:  publish our books and find out if there is anyone out there who likes our writing!  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Getting the chance to see if there is an audience for our work.

So over the past couple of weeks I took my manuscript of a historical thriller on the twenty-four hours leading to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and sent it off to Telemachus Press so they can design a cover, format it for all e-book channels, and then upload it to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.  I don’t know what the future holds or if there will be the audience that I hope for for my writing.  But I do know this:  I am embracing the e-book revolution and taking my work straight to the reading public. 


Join me and join the revolution.


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1 comment | Add a New Comment
1. Larry Phipps | May 30, 2011 at 01:09 PM EDT

John, not a minute too soon. There is a reading public out here waiting to be part of the revolution. I already read more books on my iPad than I do in hard or soft cover. I may miss the tactile sense and smell of paper and ink (being an old typewriter jockey in my newspaper and wire service days), but I love the access and availability of ebooks.

One of my favorite features in this e-world comes from the content-enriching Web access that deepens understanding and rewards curiosity. Too many books get hung up in the play-it-safe offices of agents trying to ride popular interest without blazing new trails.

You are going to be a part of this new revolution, John. Heck, you already are. Can't wait to join you there.

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