Monday, April 30, 2007

Why Write An E-Book?

I love settling down to a really good book. Actually, I love the whole process, from going to the bookshop or library, browsing the books on the shelves to choosing one with a catchy title and bringing the book home to read at my own leisure. So why recommend writing an e-book? Regular paper books have so many advantages. I can pick it up anytime I want to. I don't have to wait for the computer to be free, hope for a good internet connection, get a neckache trying to read it on-line... I can put a bookmark where I've stopped reading in a regular book, instead of scrolling up and down on the computer screen. I can't read an e-book wherever I want. Unless of course, I kill a few trees printing the entire book out in a larger font than it would otherwise have been in a regular book.
E-books mainly have words. Pictures take a long time to download and take up a lot of space. I like books with pictures. As they say, a good picture is worth a thousand words.

Back to my question. So what's so great about an e-book? Let's look at it from the author's point of view first.

I have a friend who has been thinking about writing a story book for months now. She's got the whole plot worked out. She's even thought about some illustrations. She went as far as entering her book into a competition, hoping that if she won, it would get her some prize money to fund the initial start-up, and provide free publicity. So what happened ? Well, the whole long-drawn process of finding a good illustrator, trying to get her some funding, being really busy with her usual life, and probably sheer inertia got in the way.

That's when I suggested she consider an writing an e-book instead. Here's why.

1. Writing a regular book and getting it published needs money. Not everyone has enough money to start the process going. It becomes worse when you consider the lag time between the publishing of your book and the time you see any money from the sale of your book. E-books need very minimal capital. There are programmes that help you get started at the fraction of the cost.

2. Finding a publisher that will publish your book. You could try to publish it yourself, but you'd have to pay for your own printing. Writing an e-book eliminates that problem. The internet will allow you an easy, cheap and quick way to get your book out.

3. You can publish the book the way you want to. Nobody edits bits out.

Sometimes people get so thrilled with the idea of writing that great story, they forget that great story can only be sold if people want to buy it and read it. It has nothing to do with how well you write. Great book but no traffic equals no sales. The key word here is MARKETING. As Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the best-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad pointed out, he wasn't the best WRITING author. Many people, he felt, could write better than him. He failed English in school. But their books weren't being snapped off the shelves like his were.

So why get round to writing an e-book, or any book at all ? There's the attraction of having financial independence and a passive income stream. You get the satisfaction and prestige of being an author.

Writing a book, e-book or not, is not just about having a great idea and putting it down on paper. It takes a lot more to turn it into a best-seller quickly and profitably.

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