Tuesday, 6 September 2011

ebooks - have you read one yet?

When I took the decision to become an independent author, I knew things were never going to be easy.  I was under no illusion that selling my books would be anything other than bloody hard work, and it's certainly that.  And then some!  But it's even harder because I'm not only an independent author, I'm an independent author of ebooks, so straightaway I've alienated what is probably still a substantial amount of potential readers purely because they would prefer a print version.  Well, I'd prefer there to be print versions of my books too, but unfortunately life's not that simple.

As a brand new author unable to find a literary agent willing to take a chance on me, (their loss, because I'm actually quite good, I reckon!!) my only option - if I wanted my books to be seen, that is - was to go down the route of ebooks.  And in doing that. as well as the task of promoting and selling those books, there also came the extremely hard and often thankless job of trying to convert people to the many advantages of digital books.  And that ain't easy!  The amount of people who've said to me "I'd buy your books if they were in print" makes me realise this is still very much an uphill struggle to convert people, but, believe me, there are advantages to the wonderful world of ebooks.

If you have an eReader (Kindle, Sony eReader, etc.) then you're laughing, really.  Because these are fantastic inventions in my eyes.  To be able to download a book in a matter of seconds, build up a library, and then carry it around in this tiny, thin contraption that enables you to read what you want when you want - amazing!  It's like an iPod for books, and I adore my iPod, so of course I'm going to love something like a Kindle!  Music and books are my life!

However, I don't think it's the people who own Kindles that are the ones we independent authors have to worry about converting.  The sheer fact they've bought and now own one means that they are already a fan of the ebook.

No, the people we need to really get round to our way of thinking are those that don't own any kind of eReader, and are left with the only option open to them if they want to read ebooks - reading them on their computers, using free apps such as the Kindle app for PCs.  Not ideal, granted, but even with this you still have the advantage of downloading that book within minutes, having it appear almost immediately, and all of that without leaving the comfort of your own home!  And, let's not forget, that most of us indie authors are selling our books at a fairly cheap price in order to entice people to give us a go!  Mine are out there for just 99p/$0.99, at least until Januray 2012.

But those apps aren't just limited to PCs.  Even without a Kindle you can still read your ebooks wherever you are thanks to the free apps that are available for, not just PCs, but also Smart Phones, iPads, etc., enabling you to access your favourite books whenever you want to!  
OK, so it's not perfect.  It doesn't feel the same as holding a real book in your hand, but the world of ebooks is growing, and devices like the Kindle are going to continue to appear and evolve - a colour Kindle is about to be launched, I gather, meaning that books with illustrations can be viewed how they were meant to be viewed, and reference books such as medical journals can be accessed in digital format.
It isn't going to go away, and I for one am grateful for that, because without this move forward, people like me wouldn't be getting the chance we are to put our work out there and let people see what we can do.

The world of digital books is encouraging new and exciting authors to get out there, get writing, and let people see what we have to offer.  But it also means that we have to sell a whole lot more than just our books!  We're having to sell an idea, make people think differently about the way they read books and that's hard, because for so long all we've known is the feel of a real-life book.  And some people are going to take a lot of budging as far as changing their way of reading is concerned.

But take a little while to think about authors like myself - new authors who've tried to go down the conventional route of finding a literary agent so that we can fulfill that dream we've carried with us for as long as we can remember of seeing our book in print, of holding that book in our hands... only to find out that the chance of agents taking on new authors at this point in time is incredibly slim, giving us no other option but to publish our work ourselves as ebooks.  We have no other option.

So, I guess all us independent authors are really asking is, give us a go, download a book or two and see what you think.  Spend a couple of quid/dollars and take that chance .  You never know, you might actually like what you read.  You might actually discover an author you may never have come across if you hadn't broadened your horizon's and looked outside of the box, so to speak.  Because the literary agents and publishers don't know everything.  They don't have a monopoly on writing talent.  A lot of that is still undiscovered, and just struggling to be heard, and ebooks are giving those authors like me a chance.  But it's up to us to make people sit up and take notice.  Support is everything, and new fans are a wonderful thing to gain.  Because, when all is said and done, I write because I love it.  And all I really want is for other people to love what I create. 

If you haven't yet tried out ebooks for yourself, and you don't own a Kindle, you can download the FREE Kindle readings apps for PC/iPhones etc. here: Free Kindle Reading Apps - Amazon.com  and Free Kindle Reading Apps - Amazon.co.uk

And if you'd like to check out any of my ebooks, you can find all the details here on their respective Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com pages.

'Too Much Trouble in Paradise' -  available from Amazon.co.uk and  Amazon.com

'No Matter What'- available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

And my brand new ebook 'See You At The Show' - also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com 

All ebooks also available from Amazon.de  and Amazon.fr

And don't forget, until January 2012, all of my ebooks are available to download for just 99p/$0.99!

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