Guest Blog: E-Publishing Myths and Advantages from Author Christine Bell

Today, I'm happy to turn over the blog to the lovely Christine Bell, whose first novella Pray releases today from Cobblestone Press!  Let's all give her a squee to celebrate her first release!  She also has another title upcoming from Cobblestone and one from Carina Press (Harlequin's digital first publisher). She's on a roll!

Now, I've made it no secret that I'm a supporter of e-books. I heart my Kindle and regularly buy titles from digital-only/digital first publishers. I've discovered some terrific stories and some new favorite authors that way. However, I know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about digital publishing. So, I thought I'd have someone "in the know" discuss her experience so far with e-publishing since she can give us the nitty gritty information.  So, Christine, take it away...

I want to start by thanking Roni for inviting me to guest blog!  It’s a real pleasure for a couple of reasons. First, because her crib is way more glam than mine.  If blogs were dogs hers would be a bichon frise and mine would be a basset hound (and by that, I mean sad looking).  Second, because it gives me a legitimate excuse not to work on my current WIP.  Since I prattled on for a long (long) time, we’ve split this into two parts.  Part one is here and part two is on my blog, so come check it out. I’ll try to clean up before you get there, but try not to judge me too harshly.   

Myths and Commonly Offered Advice That I (and think you should) Ignore and Why, Part One (catchy title, no?)

E-Publishing is Less Valid Than Print Publishing 
I’m going to have to disagree with this one.  I know there are going to be some doubters out there who think because I’m strictly e-pubbed, I’m just fooling myself here.  Making excuses because I haven’t managed to grab the brass ring; *cue lights and choir* New York.  Truth is, I’ve never even tried.  

So far, I’ve written novellas, which are far better served in a digital format.  One is a steampunk novella that begged to be written, so I wrote it, never thinking, “Who’s going to buy it?”  I knew exactly where I wanted it to go; to Carina Press, where no great story goes untold.  So when Angela James called me to tell me they wanted it, there was no reservation. I was 100% elated.  I cried, I laughed. I never thought, “Well, this doesn’t really count” or “It would be better if it was a print publisher.” 

When I got my first contract offer from Cobblestone Press for my wolf-shifter novella, Pray, I felt the same way.  I know that some people feel that anyone can sub just about anything and get e-pubbed.  I have a pile of R’s to refute that. Most reputable e-pubs only accept about 3-5% of their submissions.  Per a recent post from the Carina Press website, of the 1600+ submissions they’ve received, only about 160 of them were acquired and of those, only 80 of them came from the slush pile. That seems pretty choosy to me.  

I think if any good e-pub is going to invest time into editing, cover art and marketing (and from my experience so far, they do) they have to feel you have a good product. Since my first contract offer, I have sold five manuscripts and gone through the editing process with two of them. I can promise you, it’s the real deal.  The process is rigorous.  My editor for Pray (Hi Darcy!) was completely sans ruth, and I love her for it.  My dealings with the cover art department have been nothing but professional and wonderful.  All in all, it has been fabulous.  

And, given the fact that print books will likely be all but obsolete in the next 50 years, I think aspiring authors should take advantage.  That’s not to say that I’m anti-print.  I totally understand the desire to want to have your name on a physical book.  And when I decide to write a full, I may choose to submit it to a print publisher.  But if and when I do, I will never stop e-publishing.  It’s the wave of the future, the antidote for the instant gratification junkie and I think it's really fantastic medium. 

5 Reasons I love E-pub
 1. The wait times are shorter and I'm impatient.  
I hate waiting on pins and needles to see if a publisher wants my book, and once I find out they do want it, I want to get it published.  I want my cover art.  I want to start edits.  I have friends who are contracted with big print publishers that have been waiting longer from submission to publication than I have been writing.  That’s just depressing.  Send your partial and wait three months.  Get a request for full.  Six months later, get a revision request.  Nine months later, the full is accepted.  Publication date?  12 months after that.  Ack!!!  I could make a toddler from scratch in that amount of time. 

2. No messy mail. 
I use my computer for everything.  It's how I connect with family around the world, how I pay my bills, how I get my news.  The idea that I have to print out hundreds of pages on paper, go to a post office (I haven't been to a post office in this millennium), and mail something is a hurdle for me. 

3. More options.  
Not many print publishers accept unsolicited ms’s from un-agented writers and actually reads them, unless it's category romance.  E-pub isn’t just erotica anymore.  Pubs like Carina are offering to read and publish all types of stories, almost any genre, almost any length, and some are even branching out into audio-books. 

4. Your backlist is easily accessible and (almost) never goes out of “print”.  
Once you have a few books under your belt, fans can easily go back and find your earlier books and download them.

5. I buy e-books, therefore I want publish them.  
When I'm in bed at night, looking for excuses not to write, I can go online and get just about any book I want, RIGHT that second. 

So, to sum it up, I’m thrilled with how things are going for me right now in e-publishing.  And if you’re on the fence about it, while you're waiting for your New York dreams to come true, I encourage you to try it too.  If you want to become a published author, build a fan base, write something erotic, something mainstream or even something that doesn’t fit perfectly into an established niche, and make some money while you’re at it, e-publishing might be for you.  Come on in, the water's fine!

Thanks again to Christine for her insight and be sure to click over to her blog to read the second part of this post AND to enter her contest where you can win all kinds of fab prizes!

So what are your thoughts on e-books? How do you feel about some of these points/myths, pro/cons, etc.? Do you read e-books?  Are you considering e-publishing for your own work?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Who Knew" - Pink
(player in sidebar, take a listen)