Wednesday, February 23, 2011


By Mark W. Danielson

Depending upon your frame of reference, the word “revolution” may spark images of riots, banners, blood, and death, or perhaps spin the Beatle’s tune in your head. But for writers, the e-publishing revolution is as significant as Gutenberg inventing the printing press.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be passing on what I learned at the 2011 San Francisco Writer’s Conference. Of course, there is no way I can sum up everything, but I will attempt to share its key points. First and foremost, I must say this is a very professionally run conference, and I encourage anyone able to dedicate the time and money to consider attending this event in the future.

E-readers have increased exponentially in the past three years. While the iPad, Kindle, and Nook lead the pack, more readers are on the way. E-book sales increased 190% last year while bound book sales decreased 5%. The repeated message from Writer’s Conference speakers is e-publishing has empowered authors like never before. The up side of e-publishing is authors receive a much higher royalty. The down side is there is no quality control filter that literary agents normally provide. While e-publishers such as will gladly publish your work, they publish whatever is sent to them, good or bad. And while this makes it enticing to e-publish, authors must realize they will be judged personally as much as they will on their work. So, before sending your manuscript to a literary agent, self-publishing, or e-publishing, make sure you hire a reputable editor to ensure it's as good as it can be.

It’s both interesting and encouraging that 80% of the e-books sold are fiction. That’s great news for fiction writers because it shows that people are still reading for entertainment and escape. My two out of print books will be e-published this year. I’m proud to say that Danger Within and The Innocent Never Knew are as pertinent now as when they were written.

It is up to every author to produce quality work. Without quality, there is no credibility or repeat sale. The e-revolution may be here, but if you’re going to wave your author’s banner, you’d better have something worth reading.


Helen Ginger said...

Very true. If you want to have more books and more sales, you have to get it right the first time out. And if you're doing your own publishing, that includes the cover, the blurb, the marketing, the writing, everything. Personally, it sounds very intimidating.

Mark W. Danielson said...

The book business is intimidating, Helen. On the one hand, authors want book deals with New York publishers. On the other hand, big publishing houses expect authors to promote their books, and if the sales numbers aren't good, they'll be dropped like anvils. E-publishing offers plenty of opportunities, but also an equal number of headaches. Bottom line, the book business isn't for the faint hearted or thin skinned.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Mark. Networking and promotional activities are taking up more and more of a writer's creative time. The ebook market is already flooded with unedited books, which is turning off readers to all but the work of well known writers.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Jean, whether a book is e-published or bound, readers will either like the author's writing or not. It's sad there are no filters for e-books. On the other hand, if readers are getting their books for free or with a minimal investment, they probably just discard it and move onto their next book. I'd like to see more quality control, but until that happens, we'll just have to police ourselves.

Jaden Terrell said...

They say there's no better advertisement for your next book than your current book. That is so true and why it's so important to have a polished book and an eye-catching cover.