Saturday, March 1, 2008

On the publishing path...

Dana over at and Jendi over at had a couple of questions after I posted last week about learning how to get your writing published.

Dana wanted to know a bit about e-books, especially how to choose a topic. She also wanted to know if marketing for an e-book would be a harder or easier journey then going the traditional publishing route.

First, let me say thay I'm a newbie at this so don't take my answers as gospel. Crystal over at has been running a Monday series on e-books from concept to publishing. This is where I recommend you pick up some good information. She has quite a few successful e-books out there.

Deciding what to write (e-book wise) is just like writing anything else. Write what God puts in your heart, what you have a passion about, what you know, what you are good at AND, here's the clincher, what people want to read. E-books do well if they are non-fiction and how-to orientated. In Dana's case, I know she is a artistic and craft orientated person. I would suggest researching what other crafting e-books are out there and seeing if there is a hole you could fill. Beginning sewing instruction, art for kids, success at craft fairs, quick and easy doll quilts.

As for marketing... e-books/self-publishing will require just as much work, if not more, then traditional publishing. It's all you... no agent, no publishing company. You have to make every single contact. If you don't market or market correctly, you don't sell. Make sure you think about who is going to buy your product, why they'll buy it, where they'll hear about it and where they'll go to buy it. The upside to self publishing- you are working only for yourself. There is no agent or publishing company steering you in directions you may not wish to go. Your time is your own. Beware... once you self publish a work it is very hard to get the same product traditionally published.

Jendi was curious about children's books. I am assuming that she is thinking about illustrated picture books. If you have a niche market, I could see you doing okay in the e-book form, if you have a quality product. But part of the joy of picture books is holding the hardcover in your hands and reading it to your child. You lose some of the "romance" of the picture book by reading it on a computer or having a paper print out. By niche, I mean a small, distinct group of people who aren't being reached through traditional routes. I'm thinking of quiverfull families, homeschooling families, etc.- people who fall outside the mainstream.

If you want to go the regular publishing route be aware that you must be more than good. You must be excellent. The children's market right now is saturated and agents/publishers are being very choosy. Make sure your idea is unique and you have a solid book proposal to pitch. I have never approached this field so I'm afraid that is all I have on that subject.

If you're reading this, want to get into writing and publishing and don't know what some of the terms I used (agent, publisher, pitch, platform, proposal) mean, drop a comment and I'll post more on the topic in the future. Feel free to ask away. If I don't know the answer, I can find someone who does.

If you like to write and want to participate in some writing exercises, check out . Every Wednesday you can get writing prompts and join a Mr. Linky to have others read what you do with it.


Brenners said...

Thanks for joining in the Wednesday writing exercise. I was hoping I'd get some company on that one.

And thanks for the link back. I was happily reading along about e-publishing, just soaking it all in when I came upon that. I was so surprised my mouth dropped open. I must have gasped because my husband looked at me real weird. :~)

Anonymous said...


Dana said...

I've been reading Crystal's eBook series with great interest. I think the niche part is the hardest part. Anything I can think of has already been done. I guess God will give me the idea when He's ready and the time is right. Waiting is so hard!


Dana said...

I'm back with the writing thing...

Have you ever used software like this:

I think part of my "problem" is that I'm so scattered and disorganized. How do you organize your thoughts into something readable that follows a pattern?

Just rambling...

Oh, yeah, and I like the names Audrey and Olivia.... :-)


Kara S. said...

What a great post! In some shape or form, I've been involved in the publishing industry for the past 10 years. I really don't have a lot to offer as far as advice on e-publishing other than I would much rather hold a book in my hand than read it online - let alone pay to read something extensive on my computer (but that's all personal preference maybe because I read pages of manuscripts on the computer).

If you are considering self-publishing a book of any sorts, realize it is a very tough road. Self-publishing works great if you have a loyal following or have made a name for yourself. Like Cyndi said, as a self-publisher, you are responsible for all of your marketing - fail in marketing, fail in sales and profit.

My suggestion is to attempt to publish with a traditional publisher before self-publishing. Look for smaller publishers, attend writers' conferences, contact a few literary agents. One major benefit of traditional publishers is that many have a legal department that will take care of permissions, copyrights and other misc things you would be responsible for as a self-publisher and if not taken care of properly can lead to major problems down the road.

Just a few thoughts and enough to get my wheels turning for some posts of my own. :)