E-Publishing: Welcoming with Open Arms

Copyright Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved


You've taken the courses, honed your craft, joined a writer's group or two, found a critique partner, bought and read a raft of books on writing romance, written some work you're really proud of, and now you're ready to take that next step. But for many, that step of sending something out to a publisher is often fraught with disappointment. For new romance writers, the electronic publishing industry might offer them a chance to be published that traditional "brick and mortar" publishers, like Harlequin, don't.

And for already published established writers, who might be jaded by their publishing experience with traditional publishing, or seeking a fresh, more global, audience for their work, e-publishing could be the answer.

In the last ten years or so we've seen the emergence and tremendous growth of electronic or online publishing. There now exists a huge number of thriving small press companies with more appearing every day. These are royalty paying houses seeking work from both established and emerging writers. As the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Internet Connection) website states, "Even though E-Publishing is a relatively new venue, there are many readers, writers, and traditionally published authors who believe this is one of the major marketplaces of the future."

There are several publishing options to choose from. You need to research and find out which option will work best for you.

The safest (in my opinion) is to choose one of the many royalty paying e-publishers. It's easy to research them online. There is no cost to submit your work. Your work is professionally edited and there is a partnership between the author and publisher to market and promote your work.

Another option is a subsidy publisher. Here you pay for a publishing package. The services you pay for determines such things as amount of editing, promoting, etc. You would be responsible for the bulk of the promoting and marketing for your book, and would have to be diligent about editing it yourself.

If you like to have total control, than perhaps a self publishing option is more to your taste. You then have total say over every aspect of the book, but also all the work. You'd have to be a top-notch self-editor to make sure product quality is high. Or you could use one of the POD (Print On Demand) companies that exist now (Lulu and Cafe Press, to name two) There is no up-front cost for you, but you must do all the designing, editing, marketing etc. And another consideration is perhaps producing your work in ebook formats only, rather than going the print route.

When researching what options are best for you, beware of scam artists. And there are many online. Watch for those who claim to be one thing (legitimate royalty publishers) and are really something else (subsidy) Read sample contracts carefully. Watch what rights you're being granted and what is being taken by the publishing house. Use the EPIC sample contract (available at www.epicauthors.com) as a guideline. Check sites like Preditors and Editors (www.anotherrealm.com/prededitors.htm) who post red flags about scam artists or less than scrupulous publishers.

Finding the right e-publisher for you is easy, as easy as using your search engine. I go into more detail on finding a publisher in my December 2006 column, Romance Publishers: Finding the Good Ones. You can find information about publishers at www.epicauthors.com, www.hipiers.com, and www.anotherrealm.com/prededitors.htm.

For a long time, electronic publishing has been seen as a "less respectable" or somewhat "less legitimate" sibling of the traditional brick and mortar publishing companies. But that is changing. As ebook sales rise and ebook reading technology gets refined and less costly, these same traditional publishing houses that looked down on ebooks, are now launching their own ebook lines and looking to get a piece of the pie. And some electronically published authors are "crossing over", being discovered and picked up by larger traditional houses.

Whichever road you choose to follow, of course, there is no guarantee of success. The best you can do is write the most polished piece you can, believe in your work, do your homework, and hope you find the publisher that shares your vision.


About the Author: Judy Bagshaw has been published since 2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include 4 novels, 1 collection of short stories, and short stories in three anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website: www.judybagshaw.com



Easy Way to Write Romance - by Rob Parnell