Dont Accept Another Rejection: Become An E-published Author

By: K. F. Zuzulo

If you have a book, you should have a website. If you have a website, you’re just a few steps away from becoming an e-published author. Don’t accept another rejection from a literary agent. Publish yourself electronically and find your readers. Here’s why you should do it:

E-books are cheaper. They're also easier to distribute and can be just as engrossing as paper and ink. You’ll still need to set a budget, especially for advertising and marketing. But it won’t be nearly as expensive as printing hard-copy versions of your book.

E-books can reach a wider audience. One book, usually not more than 500kb can be downloaded endlessly. You won't need a garage to store the unread remnants. Or, more depressingly, a piecemeal promise with a POD (Print on Demand) publisher.

Crafting your book was the hard part. You wrote a book! Publishing it certainly should be manageable. Nobody says you can't write a book. There are conferences, workshops, seminars, programs, and faculty to help you do it. What they may say is oh, don't expect to get published. But they encourage you to keep trying anyway ... and to keep signing up for conferences, workshops, seminars, and programs. The "they" are literary agents, editors, editorial services, and publishers. Explore the publishing industry, but listen to yourself. If you’ve written, revised, edited and refined your book - and you’re satisfied with the result - then you’re ready to publish, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Skip the agent. Unless you enjoy the administrivia of rummaging through agent names, categories, and submission requirements, you're being kept from writing the next book. If you really believe you need an agent to get published, then query, copy, and stamp away. Just be sure the agents you approach at least belong to a professional organization like the Association of Authors Representatives. Visit anotherealm.com for a comprehensive listing of literary agents, their contact information and genre preferences, as well as those that are recommended with a $. Be sure you don't send queries to any of the agents on the sfwa.org list of the 20 worst agents.

Build your e-book. Anyone can publish and be read. You just have to package, message, and market. The package is your website about the book and your cover art, which you will use over and over again for online marketing. The package is also how your book appears online. Amazon has “Digital Platform" which will convert your Word document for free into an electronic book that is available for download to their Kindle, the new electronic reader that accesses the Amazon marketplace. Stop there and, voilá,you’re a published author. MobiPocket (which is owned by Amazon) will do a similar conversion that will put you in their store. Microsoft Reader is another software that can be used to convert and upload books to websites that can then be downloaded to laptops, desktops, and PDAs.

Convert your book into an Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format and you can upload it to your own website. If you have Adobe software already, do it yourself for free. Available to Windows PCs, desktops, laptops and Macintosh, Adobe offers free reader software the customer can download and install. The software is small and easy to use.

MobiPocket, MS Reader and Palm Digital Media have dictionaries in those formats that integrate easily with the reader software. If you don’t own the software, there are services, such as CyberRead and OverDrive, that will do it for you. The typical fee is around $200 for one converted text-only book. You will also have to consider the issue of Digital Rights Management and how secure your book is when sold online. Amazon and MobiPocket take care of that. But if you’re selling your book, you will typically get less than one-third of the retail price if you use a vendor other than yourself. Offering your book in an encrypted version helps to protect it against piracy, but is a more complicated and expensive process.

Find your readers. That's really the point isn't it? So, you have an e-book. How do you get people to read your book or, at least, find out about it? That’s where the message and market come into play. The message is ad copy you use to promote your book online. Try variations on three or four sentences, each no longer than six words, that describe your book. Test them on friends. Once you have catchy copy, move into the “market." Join networking groups, such as Yahoo, LiveJournal, MSN. You can post a blurb about your book and yourself and target it to groups with coordinating interests. When you begin all this, you should sign up with a web analytics service that will chart traffic to your website. If you use Google for that, you can also sign up for their AdWords service, which offers a pay-per-click feature that lets you target your ad according to particular keywords and locations.

You can also select topics that fall within the spectrum of your “expertise" (remember, you’re a published author now) and write articles about them. For instance, if you’ve written a book about organic gardening, write an article on natural fertilizer. You can distribute your articles, which are meant to inform rather than perform (the article is not meant to be a plug for your particular book) through such services as iSnare and Phantom Writers. You won’t get paid for each article, but you will get exposure through your byline.

You also have all the traditional avenues of advertising and marketing, such as newspaper and magazine print ads, billboards, circulars and direct mailers. Keep in mind, however, that you have an electronic product - your e-book. Your readers are, more than likely, already online. You just need to find them.


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