Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ask Angela Featuring Angela Wilson

eBooks: Profitable for Authors?

Rachel asks: What do you feel are the benefits of the new electronic readers such as Kindle to the environment? What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors in the end? Do you feel they have a negative impact or positive, or no impact at all that you can see?
Blessings,Rachel - Book Reviews - Honest E-tailer Reviews!

Angela Says:
First, let me share my bias. I dreamed of eBooks when the first PC came into the home. I craved a time when I could bypass publishers and post my own items in a worldwide forum, where I could share my work, cultivate fans and create my own brand - all while remaining in the driver's seat, rather than at the mercy of publishing houses. As a radio host, I also wanted to share stories with readers in audio, have specific shows like those from years ago, with mystery, romance and suspense.

Thankfully, technology has caught up, and now the globe is open to authors everywhere who want to find their audience.

eBooks are a fantastic way to reach fans. You can publish full-length novels and sell them, or offer free short story bonuses on your blog or Web site to generate more buzz.
Some eBook publishers give generous contracts to their authors, who receive upwards of 40 percent in royalties. (Yes, it's true.) I've heard more complaints from authors with big name publishers, who give a pittance compared to what they should. After all, eBooks are easier - and less costly - to produce. Whenever you negotiate with a publisher, be certain to get specifics on eBooks and make sure you get your fair share of the sales profit.

If you self publish, the profits are yours. Period. Any PDF will work in eBook readers like Kindle. You can use a service like Amazon, or go out on your own. If you choose the latter, buyers will just need to email it to their eBook reader account, instead of directly downloading. You can easily create a PDF, post it on your blog or Web site, and charge for it, or ask for donations. PayPal is a great service to collect your profits.

eBooks are fantastic for self promotion. They are cheap to produce and easily downloadable from virtually anywhere. Readers love freebies of any kind. They are more likely to feel like they really "got" something with a free story, and remember you later on.

They also open up market share. Some city dwellers don't have space for traditional books, but they do have space for a small eBook reader that can holds hundreds of titles. You get an opportunity to sit on their virtual bookshelf that you would not get with a traditional hardcover or paperback.

If you do self publish, I encourage you to consider offer your eBook at a price less than a traditional book. I never purchase an eBook that costs the same or more than a paperback. I know technology and I know the only thing it takes to create a PDF is time. I refuse to spend my dollars on something intangible when I can get the paperback instead. I am not alone in that thinking. If you strike out on your own, find ways to generate interest in your work - including financial incentives.

Many authors have expressed concerns of copyright infringement if they do eBooks - especially in light of the unauthorized release of Stephenie Meyer's unpublished work. This podcast will tell you your rights.
~ Angela

Find Angela Wilson at:


  1. Thanks for a very interesting post. Makes me think my own ideas for a potential book on local history with a lot of input that would assist others in family tree research would work a lot better in an e-book format than on paper. Still have a long way to go though before thinking further on that subject.

  2. Angela,
    Great Subject. Ebooks have been around a bit, yet readers are just getting around to thinking of ebooks as more acceptable. I'm glad my novels are in print and ebook.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. I don't care for eBooks at all. After spending all day on the PC I have no desire to read eBooks from it or even to have them on an eReader.

    I find even as a reviewer that the few times I've gotten an eBook it has taken me months to write the review because I find the format limiting to how I read. Most of my reading is done in the tub at night to relax. I'm not sure eReaders would like steamy, bubbly water. LOL!


  4. Anonymous8:54 AM

    Oh let me tell you something. If you want to make money on the side, like say you have an informational product, an ebook is the best way to go and sell it on your website and blog. I've been doing this for 2 years. My opinion on ebooks is that if it's a book I can use for research and all I have to do is click, pay and it's in my email box, I'm so there. I'm not a big fan of fiction ebooks at all. I have a few that authors have sent me, but I daresay I have finished either of them. It's too much competition with other stuff I can do on the Internet. But give me a Kindle? I think it would be really cool to sit in a doctor's office or sit at the beach and read whatever you want on a Kindle. The Kindle has my vote.

  5. Angela,
    I love my Kindle, but the only way I've found to read a PDF file on it is to save the file as text or HTML. Anyone who just has the Adobe Acrobat Reader and not the full Adobe Acrobat can copy and paste the text from the PDF into Word or Notepad to create a text file. Have I missed understanding how to read a PDF directly on the Kindle?

  6. I don't have a Kindle. Not that I wouldn't try it out - just don't want to spend the money to buy one. I downloaded a book to my computer, but never actually read it. And I signed up for a free ebook that would be sent in installments - never received anything after the first installment. So, I don't have much experience with ebooks.

    But what Angela says here is intriguing. I feel like I'd have to take a class in it to really grasp how to do it, though.

  7. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Ebooks are OK, my last book came out first as an ebook and it still has ebook and kindle book availability. I'll probably offer all my future books in those formats as well, but never as a replacement for the paperback or hardcover versions. Personally, I like to curl up with a physical book, reading, touching, smelling it, all that. I stare at a computer moniter enough already. Books are my special time, my me me alone time.

    But there is a huge and growing market for ebooks. Sign of the cyber times.

    Appreciated this interview, information and perspectives!

    Marvin blogs at Free Spirit:
    Eye Twitter 2 -

  8. My two books are published in ebook and paper format. I sell a little of both.

  9. Thank you for such a positive outlook for ebooks. Mine is coming out in a few months and this made me feel great about the prospects!

  10. Thanks to everyone for your comments!

    eBooks are an excellent - free - tools for self promotion. Each eBook reader is different on how they read the files, so you will need to consult your guide. Thanks Lillie, for letting me know about the copy/paste option.

    Cheryl - I am a Bubble Book Girl as well. There is just something about holding a book in your hands, the smell of the pages... eBooks are not for everyone, but they are here to stay. (Especially now that O has the Kindle as one of her favorite things.) They are sometimes the only way a burgeoning author can get their book in the hands of reviewers. For some reason, I find it easier to review nonfiction in eBook, rather than fiction. They are typically shorter. Although, there was one on marketing I received that was 700+ pages... It didn't get very far, because it was poorly organized and the font was SMALL.

    I know a few authors who started as erotic eAuthors and moved quickly into print with major publishers after building a solid brand in a smaller niche. They were not afraid of the technology, and used it to their advantage. I know other authors who refuse to even try this route, because they feel it is beneath "real" publishing. These are talented people who cannot break through the glass ceiling of the shrinking publishing world. eBooks - marketed well - can change that for any author. I truly believe that.

    Thanks again, everyone! I could write a book on this topic, so I'd better stop now. =0)

    Be sure to submit your marketing questions at, where I have a contact form.

    I'll see you next week.

    Angela Wilson
    What's Your Marketing Question? Ask Angela


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