“Just Do It!”…just make sure you do it right!

When I was a kid, I have a vivid memory of my grandma asking me if I wanted to hear a story.

I set down my Nintendo Gameboy and said, ‘Sure.’ She sat down next to me and pulled out “The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

By the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the shining Big-Sea Water…”

Yeah, about this point in the poem, my grandma had lost me. 

"Does This Story Come With A Smart Phone App?"

 Sitting through an entire recital of Hiawatha was torture for a 8 year old when there were more exciting things to do.

 I remember her suddenly stopping and asking me straight up, “Do you want to finish this later?”

“Yes,” I said as I ran back upstairs. She never finished the poem and personally I’ve never read more than that first line.

Poetry recitals are not going to capture the imagination of most people anymore. We live in a society of instant gratification. We want what we want, and we want it now.

Nothing could excite me more!

That’s right, this is not a blog bemoaning the bygone days of yesteryear when men were men and women were women. No such nostalgia here! Our world has changed and we are all struggling to keep up. Forget the past. Unless a nuclear winter sends us all to hiding in caves for another Ice Age, the digital world is here to stay. Why does this excite me? Because as a writer in 5 years my market will be this:

Instant Gratification for a digital e-reader means a consumer browsing online and checks her facebook which has an update about a book her friend says is ‘way cool’ and three clicks later, the book is instantly downloaded to an Iphone, Android, IPad, Nook, or Kindle.

We will see what that means for traditional publishers of paper books. I’m not Nostradamus and I can’t see into the future. I know that 80% of all sales of books are still bought in the traditional ways which goes somethign like this: Getting in the car, driving to Barnes ‘N Noble, searching for a book, getting frustrated and finally asking for help to find said title, then standing in line and waiting to check out.

 I don’t have to have a magic mirror with images of the future to show me that just like our society rejected selecting movies like this from Blockbuster, consumers will soon begin to reject purchasing books like this as well.

I’m not saying anything that most of us have not heard for the past few years.

But here is something I didn’t know. My dream of having Barnes ‘N Noble carry my book is just a few downloads away RIGHT NOW. Powered by Nook, Barnes ‘N Noble has begun releasing self published titles. That means your book that is linked on your blog and facebook can be stored in the Megamemory of some super-duper Barnes ‘N Noble database and downloaded as your followers check out your blog.

Check out: www.pubit.com

Amazon already has this feature and others are close behind.

The ebookstore is here and our consumers are looking for instant links to download. If we can provide the quality product and control our own marketing, suddenly or futures are no longer solely in the hands of traditional gatekeepers of disseminating printed information.

Our careers will rise or fall on our own merits alone. If our material is quality and we have connected with our followers in a personable way, we have a chance to succeed. That is all I ask for. Just give me a chance and don’t bury my query letter under a pile and some agent’s “To Do” list.

Now, before I jump off the deep end and download my book tomorrow, I want to do this right. It’s one thing to impulsively open a blog and just start banging out posts. Its another to make sure that the jewel I’ve been working on for several years is READY to be downloaded by readers. This is where the quality comes in. I want my work to be worth more than the download price Amazon or Barnes ‘N Noble charge. I want my readers to know that to the best of my ability, everything I offer is the best I can make it and has been reviewed by a professional team of editors and revised until it is ready for the general market. Please take the same professional care with your work. I do not mean this blog to sound like a “Get Published Quick” scheme. But when your book is ready, there are other options to consider.

Keep in mind, self-publishing is not as easy as copying your .PDF and pasting it in some window linked to Barnes ‘N Noble. Get your suit and tie on, because we are about to start our own business! (Without the Monday morning board meetings) If we publish ourselves, we will be responsible to register an ISBN number, collect sales taxes and manage our business. We will be responsible for the editing of the book and the cover art that will be associated with it. Remember that saying, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover.”? Forget about it. Our cover art DOES matter. Not only that, but getting our stories in the proper format for each outlet takes a knowledge of typesetting and code that I for one do not know. Each ebook seller has their own process for uploading self-published works which is something else I don’t know much about. I’m just a writer with a dream.

But this is America and for every  dream, there is a business to help you achieve it. Check out: www.fastpencil.com

“FastPencil” is book publishing without the pain.” Or so their website says. It is an exciting tool that will connect us to a network of people who’s business it is to help us get our material ready to upload to the ebook outlets. We can network with reviewers, editors and collaborate with other authors from one site. When we are ready, they will help us release our work to EVERY distributer available to us, including all ebook distributors! Now, that’s what I”m talking about, baby!

Check it out. I want to hear from you and if you have any experience with this particular site, or if you know of any others that are similar.

Welcome to a brave new world!

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17 thoughts on ““Just Do It!”…just make sure you do it right!

  1. You are young enough to have played with a Gameboy?? Holy Cow! I’m old. I had to drive to Putt-Putt to play PacMan and Centipede–the cutting edge of technology in the dark ages. *Sitting back in my rocking chair, knitting.* “Yeah, sonny, I remember when I was young…”

    Nice blog, Aaron. I agree 100% that the future is in eBooks. I still love the smell and atmosphere of a bookstore. Not just B & N, but any bookstore, Mom and Pop Used Bookstore or whatever. I love to be surrounded by books. That being said, my husband keeps sending me links about people self-pubbing their own e-Books and doing it well. He was never subtle, that one.

    Let me see your first ten pages, Aaron. Those are the most important and I’ll give you an honest opinion. Let’s see your baby. Don’t be shy.

    I have no idea what to blog about tomorrow. Sigh.

    -K

    • KRISTINE: Gameboy first came out in 1988, I believe. I know I was in 5th or 6th grade. It was a big brick of a divice, black and white screen and the graphics looked like squares and triangles, but it was the RAGE during recess! Don’t feel old! I’m old enough to remember hanging around the ‘big kids’ at Pizza Hut or Putt-Putt and looking over their shoulder as they played Packman and Centipede. They ignored me, but as soon as they stood up, I took their place! Who knows…I might have been looking over YOUR shoulder when you were trying to play. I know, I was just a little geeky kid back then with scuffs on the knees of my jeans and you were way too cool to notice!

      Broke my little heart! *sniffle sniffle*

  2. I’ve considered going the ebook route. Trying to get agents to notice your work seems like an impossible dream. I know that if you self-publish with Amazon’s Kindle app, you get 75% of the profits. However, they do suggest a starting rate of $1.99 or so, but most of that is still yours. Which is tempting, especially when you have to do all the work.

    But I’m still exploring traditional publishing routes for now. 🙂

    • Hey BARBARA: I heard Kindle is 75%. I think the Nook is around 60% depending on your list price.

      Here is something to consider: I have a friend who was working with a Publisher and when her old books went to ebook, the publishers retained sole rights of re-negotiating and gave her $0.01%. Yeah…that’s right…1 Penny per book. Now, new titles she fights for and gets more. Also, find me any publisher anywhere who will offer you 60-75% royalties on your book…it wont happen.

      So, self-publishing allows us to control our own material including title and content, control our own cover art and marketing. And the lion’s share of profit goes back to us.

      If you had asked me six months ago, I would have rolled my eyes at Self-publishing too. Now…I think it is the wave of the future and I want to be on the cutting edge. Besides, when/if I’m successful I can negotiate with a traditional publisher from a platform of strength rather than holding my hat in my hands and begging them for just 2 minutes of their time.

  3. OK OK. I think I may do something that I may regret later. As part of my e-publishing guide, I have created a chart detailing all of the ‘major’ players for uploading your book. Within this chart I have listed where you will see your book listed, and the most important, how much it is going to cost you!!! Who wants to see it???

    This information took me at least ten solid research hours to collate, followed by agonising waits for email responses to ensure i had this date 100% right!

    This is my stage in getting this book to print….I need a cover! That is all I am waiting for, well actually I am waiting for the funds to make sure I get a quality one.

    Let me know thoughts and I shall upload if we think this will help us all!

    • ELLIE: Yes, yes and yes! If you publish a blog with that chart, I will backlink it here and on my Facebook. (Both of my Facebook pages. LOL…I have two, one that you just joined, and one with my friends and family)

      The point is, if you released such a chart, I’d do everything I could to help you promote it on your blog!

      This is exciting!

      • The chart is on my blog! it hasn’t translated to The WordPress world that great but i think it still does the job. Your thoughts would be appreciated

  4. Defnitely has possibilities, but I think the transition to ebooks might taken longer than some anticipate. There something about a book. Call me old fashioned! Still, I wait and watch with anticipation!

    • HEATHER: You are right. There will always be a market for paperback books. I can’t imagine taking my Ipad with me into the bathroom.

      Traditional publishers will always have a corner on that market, for sure!

  5. There’s no doubt that paper printing still controls most of the market, but digital reading and digital publishing are picking up so much faster than anybody expected… nobody knows what’ll happen next! I agree with you that it’s seriously exciting. I personally love the fact that suddenly there are more choices available to me: I don’t necessarily have to play the lottery game of submitting to agents and hoping somebody reads more than the first sentence of my book.

    As a reader, I also find the rise of the e-book exhilarating. I bought my first e-reader a few months ago and I love, love love it. It doesn’t replace my paper library, but that’s not the point – it’s a vital addition to paperback reading. And there’s nothing better when you’re stuck at an airport and need a new read, fast.

    PS Ellie – please post that chart. I’ll link it on my blog too!

    • CHARLOTTE, What kind of ereader did you get? My mom got a color Nook. My dad got a black and white one, barking out some answer about “Not needing all those bells and whistles” kind of thing.

      Then, about a week later, I think he was ready to return his Black and White and get a color.

      What has encouraged me as a writer considering epublishing…if my parents can get ereaders and use them…than ANYONE can…and I believe in time, everyone will.

  6. Very insightful and educational. I have only been focusing on traditional publishing methods so far, so it’s good to hear the different sides of this business. And P.S. ~ I played with a gameboy too!

    • JARED: Welcome to my blog! It is an exciting time to be a writer. I don’t know exactly how the relationship between traditional publishers and self-published ebook releases will work out in the future, but it is a sure bet that very soon, everything will be different for how a writer approaches a career.

      As you can see, some of my followers have offered more information that their own research has uncovered and I’ll be updating this post throughout the week as I compare some of the services that these online publishers will offer us.

      I’m glad to have you following us and look forward to reading more of your stuff in the future.

      P.S.S. Were you cool enough to have one of those “Totally Awesome Powergloves”? Honestly, I’ve never met anyone who actually did own one. They were always something you heard that a friend of a friend had…and couldn’t figure it out.

  7. I got a Kindle, which is black and white. So far I haven’t even noticed the lack of colour.

    I bought one for my mother, too, and it’s taken her a while to get over her instinctive fear of anything electronic with buttons on it, but even she swears by it now. Surprisingly it’s been the younger generations in my family who’ve been more suspicious of them, but I think they’ll give in eventually.

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