Thursday, September 2, 2010

EBook Observations!!!

"This guy got a cool job or what? What's he got to do with EBooks? read on...."

A year ago I was primarily employed as a freelance journalist. Over the past 14 months, I've been on assignment in Africa, Moscow, Italy, Paris, and New York. All totaled I've written probably about 600 short pieces for various global publications over the past 5 years like RT, and Globalspec, written hundreds of professional blogs. Being a freelance writer is hard, so I consider myself lucky. I have work.

But over the past 6 months, my life has changed. With the publication of my new thrillers Moonlight Falls and The Remains, my first published novels since Godchild of 2001, I am now making money again as a fiction writer. Where's the bulk of that money coming from? EBooks and Kindles.

6 months ago, I hardly knew EBooks existed. Now I'm all about EBooks. Why? They are not only the future, they are the present, BIG TIME. I know, I know, you all like to hold a real book in your hands, smell the paper, feel the touch....I do too. Which is why all my books are still being published in trade paper as well. But in terms of making money on paper, let's put it this way, I don't even bother to look at my numbers. What's even more interesting, if not disturbing, my present publishers have all been complaining that distributors are lagging far behind on payments because bookstores are lagging far behind on payments and what's worse, going out of business before they MAKE their payments.

Back to the EBook. Why do I love them as an author? Because....
1. I make far more money per unit sold. So does my publisher and so does my agent, and so long as they're happy, they will want to continue working with me. And my novels are EBook bestsellers so that means my work is popular.

2. I have more control as an author. My rights aren't locked up in some NYC vault for ten years. Also, I don't have to wait a full year for a book to be published. EBooks can be edited, proofed, delivered, and published within a few short weeks, increasing their earning capacity by leaps and bounds. And once they are published, they will always be published and always be making money. If one day I decide to start publishing my own books, I will make twice the money per unit I'm earning now.

3. The EBook market, while ten years old, is in its infancy. As the price per reader device comes down and as EBooks become more popular than even mass market paperbacks, my earning capacity will increase considerably. In fact, it's increasing everyday, which is my my present publisher has not only signed me for two more books.

4. Enhanced EBooks are on their way. I'm looking forward to seeing my novels enahanced with video, pics, audio files, music and more.

5. I don't have to do so many book signings. You might think as an author, I might love doing book signings. That they migh be a big ego boost. Well, they are, and I support indie bookstores as much as I can. However, I've done too many signings where just about no one shows up, and I'm sick of disappointed looks from shop owners. Now, with the EBook, I can sell more books in the time it takes to drink a large Dunkin Donuts coffee by engaging in social media marketing from my bedroom or my sun-drenched stone terrace or my five story walk-up apartment in Florence, Italy, than I can standing all alone in some local bookstore.

6. Digital Shorts. During the span of my near 20 year career, I've published about 20 short stories in various journals and magazines. None of these properties make me any money nor are they available to the general public. Until now that is. Now two of my most anthologized shorts,
True Stories and Pathological, are available exclusively on Kindle for $.99 And guess what, they are both bestsellers in True Crime, Theater and Drama....

7. All of my previously Out of Print books are about to be re-edited, repackaged and re-published. They will be making money again.

8. The future. It feels good to have gotten in on the bottom floor of an ever expanding universe of EBook and Kindle opportunities. Taken altogether, I'm selling about 300-500 plus Kindle units alone per month. That includes Digie Shorts, and all my novels. By this time next year I expect that number to triple or even quadruple. In other words, my sales will explode exponentially.

What all this means of course, is that in a very short time, I won't have to be a journalist anymore if I don't want to. However, I'm not just a writer. I'm also a lover of adventure. I can't imagine a future without packing my backpack with a few days worth of clothing, packing my laptop, my passport, my guidebooks, my camera. I can't imagine not lacing up my big leather boots, slipping on my leather jacket or safari jacket (depending upon the climate), and heading out to the airport for some overseas flight to a destination I've never before experienced. I can't imagine not writing about it either. Only difference now, is that instead of packing and lugging a couple of pounds worth of books with me, from now on I'll take along my Kindle. When I arrive back home, I'll purchase the paper versions for my library.

Bon voyage summer. Hello fall...Hello football weather!
To order the bestselling "Remains," click HERE!


  1. It's amazing that we're watching a revolution occur right before our eyes.

    My debut thriller, FINAL VECTOR, was originally contracted for mass-market paperback release. When my publisher advised me last March that they were getting out of the MMPB format entirely due to lack of profitability and that their intention was now to release FINAL VECTOR in ebook form, I was heartbroken. In fact I seriously considered demanding the publisher relinquish the rights to my book.

    Now I'm very glad I didn't. While I would still love to see an actual ink and paper version of my book, I know the opportunities for authors in the digital media are exploding. Thanks for leading the way!

  2. Right on Al....My royalties for MF are late because distributers aren't getting their money...On the other hand, with ebooks it's cash on the barrelhead...:)

  3. Very interesting post - and a perspective of epub I haven't seen discussed before. I suppose it's because there isn't a supply chain waiting to be paid. I was always getting excuses from my publishers about cashflow - not a lot I could do about it either.

  4. I'm at the moment getting ready to publish my very first ebook, Down Among the Dead Men. I'm still published in hardback, but I've made a start in putting up my out of print books in my Rafferty & Llewellyn humorous crime series. I've also just made my first video and set up a blog! Sharp learning curve here, but I think it's gonna be worth it.

  5. Yah, Geraldine....took me a while too. But once I learned about the reality of Kindle and EBooks, and the benefits to the author, I quickly embraced it. I love to be pub'd in paper too and always will be, but from now on it's paper AND EBook....:)

  6. Welcome to the revolution, Vincent. I'm not published yet, but looking seriously at the eBook route when the time comes. In the meantime, I'm enjoying reading much more on my Nook than I could ever carry on a trip in print form.