Trash BooksThe ebook revolution is dying under the deluge of rubbish that is being passed off as books.

It may sound like a whole lot of moaning and groaning, but ebooks have in general not really helped author’s or small publishers’ income. Forget the outliers like Amanda Hocking, as these are rare instances of success.  Ebooks have in fact moved most of the profit in book sales to a few electronic distributors such as Amazon, B&N and Apple and killed street front bookstores with a sad loss of jobs.

As I begin to write my next book, I really wonder why I am bothering at all. Quite honestly, I can make more money from Adsense advertising on my blog or writing blog reviews for useless gadgets. At least these avenues will pay for the hosting fees of my website.

I see so many terrific new and enthusiastic authors (and a lot of really terrible writers as well) appearing with their fabulous new books everyday. Hopeful of fame and fortune from the self publishing bonanza. But it’s a bit like a gold rush. By the time you get there, all the gold is gone. Kindle ebooks in particular are now so numerous, and of which so much is rubbish, it has swamped the market to the point where it is difficult to find the decent books that are there to read.

Even worse is the new wave of ‘spamming authors’ who are proliferating at an astonishing rate on social media and in the process are devaluing the work of genuine authors, as well as polluting the enjoyment of social networking.

Yes, you could say I’m being pessimistic, and you’d be right. To be quite honest, I don’t see a bright future for writers. Unless that is, you’re happy to give your hard work away for next to nothing and watch monopolies profit from your labour and then envelope your work in an ever increasing pile of ebook garbage.

But then again, I’ll probably wake up tomorrow morning in a far better mood and get back to being a writer, come what may.

 

 

Who’s Killing The Ebook Revolution?

47 thoughts on “Who’s Killing The Ebook Revolution?

  • 25/10/2011 at 10:52 pm
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    Ah! The spamming authors Lorinda. There are three main offenders or categories for me.

    There are the ones who use ‘rights free’ text to churn out book after book. Many of them are self hep or motivational crap, but they clog up Kindle especially.

    Then there are the spamming authors who fill social media streams with ‘check out my book’ or ‘buy my book’ every ten minutes without one iota of interaction.

    Or there are the spamming authors who think it is great marketing to ploy to turn off every new follower they get with ‘buy my book now’ auto DMs on Twitter, or worse, use the contact fields on your blogs etc to bomb you with messages and email.

    Then, as a bonus category, there is Goodreads! Ouch. Spamming author hell. ( I detest being incessantly invited to damn ‘events’)

    As for etiquette? Interaction, interaction, interaction and the odd promo. No one minds that.

    As for you point about books vs ebooks. I have extremely real books ready to deliver to my grandchildren. :)

  • 25/10/2011 at 11:00 pm
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    Sorry, my remarks were not directed at you, Derek, but rather at those who publish only on ebooks; they are likely to see their creative efforts evaporate.

  • 26/10/2011 at 2:02 pm
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    Morning, everyone.
    Derek, I saw your tweet this morning about spamming authors, clicked on it, found myself here on your blog, and I’ve learned a lot. Thank you. As a children’s author, I’ve been published and I’ve self-published. One major difference between the two is money. Unless you’re Steven King, there’s really not much money in being published by a traditional publisher — I find I’m making much more per book, self-published.
    Love your blog!
    Warmest regards,
    CJ Heck

    • 26/10/2011 at 2:34 pm
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      Thanks for dropping by CJ. Very interested to read your comment about self publishing. No matter how much I (we) moan and groan, it really is a great new opportunity for authors.

  • 26/10/2011 at 3:10 pm
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    I agree, it’s a great opportunity, but there’s one heck of a lot of work that goes into self-publishing, too. I used Createspace, a P.O.D., (Amazon.com). You must do all your own book formatting, cover design, uploading of pdf files, images, illustrations, etc., unless you want their people to do it — very high prices — so I chose to learn to do it myself. My first book was published traditionally 11 years ago, and the publisher provided an illustrator. I’m afraid my book was their first and last children’s book. Luckily, I’ve built up a nice following during those 11 years, and just recently, I self-published the sequel to it and illustrated it, too, so add that to the list of work to be done when you self-publish. In spite of the work involved, I’d still self-publish again.

    Have a question for you. I’ve seen ebook prices all over the place, really high and very low. I’ve priced my 4 books low — I’d rather sell a lot of them at a low price than just a trickle of them at a high price. What are your thoughts as to pricing?

    Thank you.
    CJ

  • 26/10/2011 at 4:36 pm
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    Hi Derek,

    I imagine that you might have been in a particularly bad mood while writing this. Regardless, I do hear both of your points loud and clear.

    On the death of eBooks, I’d say that the ePublishing revolution is a bit of a double-edged sword. A few short years ago, none of the people who are self-publishing now would have made it to market unless they had gone through a vanity press. In the “olden days,” agents and publishing houses would have served the purpose of culling the horde, and shaping up the survivors’ books into market worthy products (bad and good).

    Today, the floodgates are open, and anyone who knows how to create an ePub file —and probably some that don’t—can be a (self) published author. I think this is good because there are a lot more good books out there that might have never been published. I think this is bad because there is more schlock than ever that is going on to the shelves from which readers must choose their next book. I think what is important here is for readers to find a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    It’s my current belief that the reader has become the agent of the ePublishing revolution and that free samples are the litmus tests that would have been agent submissions prior. With the advent of eBooks and the Internet, readers can freely download these samples and decide whether to read further or not. After that, word of mouth should serve its purpose as the true marketing tool for the self-published works that abound today. And here is where we get to the icky marketing bit.

    I, myself, have fallen into the trap of thinking that social networking is the marketing tool for the self-published author, and I was wrong—I have done more than my share of “read my book” tweets and me culpa for that. I do now, more than ever, connect with people and engage in real conversations rather that simply broadcasting my marketing agenda. I do believe it takes a while for people to realize this, and I do believe it will get better in spite of the daily deluge of “robot marketing” we see that seems to grow consistently day-by-day.

    What one eventually learns is that social networks are for making friends online, and when your friends start treating you as customers it can be pretty irritating. It’s even more irritating when these are “friends” you’ve just met. There’s not much worse than saying, “Hello,” and getting a “check out my book” in an automated response. At the very least, there should be a little foreplay here, but unfortunately robots are not very good at that. Many today are using Tweet Adder and the like to do their “marketing” for them, and I wholly disbelieve that this does them any good. Hopefully, after a while, everyone will come around and realize that these social networks are not their exclusive marketing platforms and that “real” book marketing comes from their readers—not just spamming anyone that they can.

    Frankly, and this has been said before, the best marketing there is to be had is the word of mouth advertising that occurs when someone reads a good book and tells their friends about it. To elaborate on your point, it bothers me when people try to shove things down my throat—this goes for music as well. I prefer to hear music and decide I like it, just as I like to decide what books to read on my own accord. In fact, when I feel like I’m being sold on something, my natural inclination is to run away. I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in that regards.

    So, with all that said, I don’t believe that there will be a death in the ePublishing revolution. What will occur is an evolution where those with shitty books (that are shittily edited) and shitty marketing schemes—yes, I just used shitty three times and as an adverb to boot—will cast off a warning glow that is obvious to the reader. It will say, “Don’t read me, I’m a shitty book by a shitty author” (I just did it again). It will say this via poor reviews and an inglorious lack of sales. And that, Sir, I believe will be the saving grace that allows readers to finds self-published authors with excellent ePublished books amidst the flotsam and—better yet—among the traditionally published works that they should be worthy of contending with.

    All the Best,

    Kim

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