Thank god Miss Snark has derailed the increasingly boring discussion of fabulist James Frey and his “con” (which some consider bloody good publicity). Now we can break out the numchucks, because this is going to ignite a storm. Says Snark:
E-books are so not-viable that it annoys the crap out of me that publishers even want the rights, cause they have no useful way to exploit them. However, they learned from the audio book fiasco to hang on to everything they can get their greedy little mitts on so just in case e-books become money machines, the money will be in their coffers not mine.
Basically e-books are gimmicks. Yes people have them, yes, you can buy readers. Yes those people claim they are the wave of the future. No, no one I know actually reads books like this (but I’ll bet this post will bring some of them out of the woodwork).
I bet she’s riii-ight.
E-Books. Sigh. I’m torn. Personally, I think anyone who has toiled for a year-plus to write their book, and then have someone willing to buy the rights for it even if it’s not going to sit on a shelf, is a published author. I also think that the world of electronic publishing is a good training ground for authors to learn their craft. MJ Davidson and others cut their teeth writing e-books, and when they found a voice and an audience, they caught the eye of NYC. Stealth marketing, you might say.
BUT, if e-books were a viable way to make money, MJD and others (you know who you are) would have stayed with e-pub, because the royalty percentage with e-books far outstrips the coppers flung out by print publishers. They couldn’t scrape the dirt of the e-pub morass off their hinnies fast enough, because THEY WANT PEOPLE TO READ THEIR BOOKS.
Hence the controversy. E-books offers a way for authors to see their name in print (maybe authors who shouldn’t ever see their name on a dustjacket); but e-books aren’t mainstream yet, and the jury is still out whether or not it will EVER be mainstream.
All I know is that my agent snorted up her coffee when I mentioned e-publishing, and then politely changed the subject.