Thursday, June 16, 2011

Publishing Today: How E-books and Self-Publishing Have Changed the Writing World

What a difference two years makes.  Just two years ago I attended a panel discussion about "The Future of Publishing," which was part of the Nebraska Summer Writer's Conference. The panelists seemed to be stuck in the past. They talked about traditional publishing and didn't even bring up ebooks or self-publishing until someone in the audience dared mention it; and then it was "pooh-poohed" (for lack of a better term).

This year the panel focused on e-books, print-on-demand and how to use social media to promote your writing. The panelists included a couple of agents, three writers, a publicist, and an editor with a small publishing house.  Here are a few tidbits of info that I gleaned from the panel:

  • Writers can use YouTube to promote your writing.  Here's a link a clever book trailer.  Because it's entertaining, it grabs your attention, and you don't realize it's a book trailer.  It's very well done.  (However, I still cringe when I see the pregnant woman drinking alcohol.  I know it's fiction and all, but it really bothers me.)
  • What is success to you?  Is success selling thousands of books? Or is it simply telling your story.  The new world of e-books, blogging and self-publishing can help you reach your goal of telling your story.
  • It's hard to find an audience for self-published fiction.  However, nonfiction seems to do well.  (And I was VERY pleased to note that there was no ranting about nonfiction writers needing to have a "platform.")
  • Self-published books still need professional editing.
  • Find an agent you can work with. Not all personalities will be able to work well together.
  • Work on your craft. Make sure your writing is in the best shape it can be.
  • Write now.
  • Be open.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Talk to others. (Critique groups are great.  I share this from personal experience.)
  • Look at what you like to read and who publishes the books. 
  • Write even if you don't feel like it.
  • Be ready to sell your book and sell yourself.
  • Tell the story. Only you can tell the story.
  • Get to know independent book publishers.
  • Have a book signing at a bar and give away a free glass of champagne if someone buys the book. (Split the cost with the bartender.)
  • Pen names are usually only to hide a bad sales record.
  • Don't put in changes in your book that you don't agree with.


  1. Thanks, Marcia. All good points. Let's write.

  2. Writing, photography, reading, the Iditarod... how wonderfully eclectic!

  3. ok.trop cool et je reviendrai la prochaine fois.

  4. E-books is the greatest invention of the century!!!