My friend, Joanne, another would-be author, forwarded a newsletter to me from The Big Thrill, a web site for thriller readers. This month the list of e-published books is longer (not by a huge amount, but still longer) than the traditionally published books.
After reading my blogs on the publishing quandary, she also mentioned, that for her, e-publishing and self-publishing are two different animals. She wrote: "Self-publishing had a bad reputation - and to me that involved paying for your own printing of books. E-publishing is really a necessity to stay up with technology."
This is true. Self-publishing does have a stigma attached to it, one that reflect badly on the author, while e-publishing is being pushed in many areas, because devices such as Kindles and smart phones are so prevalent these days. In her email, Joanne mentioned that the RWA (Romance Writers of America) is supporting the e-publishing wave.
That brings me back to traditional versus e-publishing.
I believe one of the reasons e-publishing has caught on so quickly, and with such vehemence, is that new authors have a pretty tough time getting an agent/publisher to even recognize them. Traditional publishing houses are complaining about how e-publishing is taking their business, but many of the authors who have gone down the e-publishing route have done so because they can't get anyone in the traditional publishing world to even acknowledge their existence. J.K. Rowling may have chosen to go e-publishing if it had been around when she was trying to get an agent. (Remember, she got turned down more than ten times before she found someone willing to represent her. And those agents are now kicking their own butts.)
We'll see how it goes for me.
I started writing before e-publishing was around, and for me, it still holds some of the stigma of self-publishing. [If you don't believe me, try a random sample of the badly-written, poorly-formatted free e-books on Amazon. Yes, there is a diamond here and there, but not very many. Just because you can get published, doesn't mean you should get published.] I guess I want to know whether I'm good enough, whether I can get accepted into the good-ole-boy's club of publishing, which means at least attempting to go the traditional route.
Due to some networking, I started with an advantage. I was given a lead by one of my teachers, but if I don't hear anything from that agent within a month or so, I'll start doing cold-call-query letters. If six-eight months passes without a bite, then my need to be good enough may just fly right out the window. I'll have no fear of going the e-publishing route, and if that's what it takes for me to get published, I will do it.
Finally, contrary to popular belief, e-publishing isn't free. You do pay something up front, as with self-publishing. For my book of 110K words, with everything I would want included (virtual cover, Amazon one-time edit, Amazon promotion, and so on), I would need to put up somewhere between $8-10K before a single word I wrote hits the whisper-net. Plus, right now, I don't know if the work done for that $8-10K at Amazon would transfer to another e-publishing house, say Barnes & Noble. This could get very expensive, very fast, but if you saw my previous post about royalties, that up-front money could be a drop in the proverbial bucket when compared to what I could make e-publishing if my book becomes a block-buster.
Hence the quandary.