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Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Get Your E-Book Published: An Insider's Guide to the World of Electronic Publishing

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Electronic book publishing is booming, a trend that fascinates and frightens most writers. Richard Curtis, author, agent, e-rights guru and e-publisher, both allays writers' fears and gives them the guidance they need to conquer this exciting new marketplace. They'll find information on: * The basics of how an e-book works * E-book security methods * Ethics and copyright issues * E-readers, such as handheld computers and Rocket Books * Print-on-demand books * Agents, marketing and promotion Curtis also explores the process of e-publication, helping readers decide if they should seek an e-publisher or e-publish their own work. This book is the most authoritative, step-by-step guide of any book in the marketplace--packed with the information any writer can use to navigate the dark waters of this mysterious new technology.

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Customer Buzz
 "This Can Help You" 2007-03-21
By Joy V. Smith (Lakeland, FL United States)
I bought How to Get Your E-Book Published: An Insider's Guide to the World of Electronic Publishing from Writer's Digest Book Club. It was on sale, and I was curious to see if it would help me when my SF novelette, Hidebound, comes out as an e-book. (It's been published in print; I decided to go the e-book route too.) It's from 2002 so some things are way out-dated (oh, the changes since then!), but there's lots of interesting history, background, and resources. I think it's helpful; it covers the basics, and I learned a lot about the Internet too, AND it made me less fearful of html. Some websites are probably gone, but I know some are still viable; I'll do a little browsing. I think the resources and background make the book worth buying. The two authors appear to be knowledgeable in their fields.

Customer Buzz
 "As soon as you send the book, I can review it." 2007-03-08
By Judy M. Johnson (Skandia, Michigan United States)
Have waited for months for this title to come in. Did I miss something? I have books to sell, am waiting eagerly for this book for the how-tos I am missing.

Judy M Johnson, author- "Tapping Into Joy, A Handbook to Reveal Your True Light" available on Amazon.

Customer Buzz
 "Skim it or skip it" 2006-01-04
By Anthony D Ravenscroft (Santa Fe, NM United States)
This book is meant to be a tool. As such, I'm grading it harshly -- if you find it at the library, by all means read it, but if you feel compelled to buy it, I hope that you don't pay more than a dollar or two.

My copy was sitting on my shelf for more than two years before I got around to reading it, because I quickly found all the info I needed on the Internet, back around 2001, & I bookmarked many of the sites I found to keep myself updated.

I'm an editor & a writer, so I fault this book on a few technical levels that might never occur to most readers. The first thing that leapt at me is that it's an awkward combination of "type in this incredibly long URL" clashing with "there's this new invention called the Internet."

Though first published in 2002, it feels like a collection of disjoint articles from maybe 1999 with post-hoc connectivity. The e-book phenomenon is a fast-changing fragment of two fast-changing industries, publishing & e-commerce. Given those factors alone, half the advice you give on something like e-publishing will be aging badly in a year.

And let's look at what businesspeople call "proof of concept." Richard Curtis appears to have all of three titles listed on -- NONE of them available as an e-book. As a reviewer, that makes me question whether making an e-book is as easy (or profitable) as the authors claim. If Curtis can't get an e-book onto between 2002 & (to be fair) late 2005, what hope does anyone else have? He's not only a proven how-to author, but a respected literary agent.

As for co-author William Quick, who's held up throughout the text as an example of a published author whose out-of-print titles benefit so richly from the "e-book revolution," I find seven other books on, only two of which are available as an e-book. (Apparently, Mr Curtis has not had much luck at getting the e-book rights for his writing partner, which does damage a few of his claims.) One title (in either available e-book format) has an Amazon sales ranking of about 3,641,200, which means "has sold a copy in the last three years." The other fares somewhat better, at about #1,412,000 in Microsoft format, or "one or two a year" (but the Adobe format crawls in at #3,441,000).

The only reason I give this book a solid solitary star is because it's well-written, the research is credible, & it's not outright misleading. Simply, the authors took on a light-speed topic & covered it methodically for the horse-&-buggy crowd -- the very people who probably wouldn't read such a book in the first place.

Customer Buzz
 "Elementary, My Dear Watson!" 2005-05-11
By Kelly Garbato (Kearney, MO USA)
In the last several months, I have borrowed and read just about every book on traditional, print, and self-publishing that I could find at my local library. Being a self-published author and freelance writer (read: starving artist), I prefer to check out a book for free before actually shelling out money for it. As of yet, I STILL haven't found a publishing book that's actually worth purchasing. Not only are most poorly written and out-of-date, but none of those carried by my library focused on ePublishing, my main area of interest.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to find one (one!) ePublishing book on my library's shelves after months of looking. After reading "How to Get Your eBook Published," my elation turned to disappointment. While the authors' writing is more mature and organized than many of their peer's, the content in "How to Get Your eBook Published" leaves much to be desired.

Curtis and Quick's main error is in trying to cover EVERY aspect of ePublishing, from the basics of the Internet to promoting eBooks. The book's text runs about 260 pages, and the content is divided into 49 (yes, you heard me right - FORTY-NINE!) chapters. Consequently, each topic garners between two to six pages of coverage. Although the authors do manage to broach a number of subjects, each is discussed only superficially. Those with any modicum of experience in publishing, promotions, marketing, or the Internet will find the material rudimentary. Only those who are complete newbies to the `Net and/or publishing will find this book even remotely helpful.

For those who expect more in-depth information, the authors point you towards other resources that you can consult. Many of these are books, which I find somewhat insulting. Why purchase a book that 1) doesn't give you any helpful information, even though it promises you it will; and instead 2) tells you to buy a number of OTHER books? You may as well just browse through Amazon and consult the reader reviews (for free!) to find relevant resources - no need to pay for this service! Also, Curtis and Quick include a number of URLs, but most are just different pages on the same web site! In fact, they lift entire articles off of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' web site, rather than summarizing the info in their own words (or, God forbid, doing additional research and including facts and opinions from a number of sources!).

Finally, the authors waste so many pages explaining what the Internet is, how it was developed, how to go about getting Internet service and a web site, etc., that they devote very little space to actual ePublishing. For example, in regards to promoting your eBook, they suggest setting up a web site and then making liberal use of email signatures in newsgroups. Period. No, really, that's it! That's the extent of their wisdom, I swear!

You'd be much better off buying Marilyn & Tom Ross's "Complete Guide to Self-Publishing" and/or "Jump Start Your Book Sales." Even though neither concerns self-publishing specifically, many of the strategies are applicable to ePublishers in addition to "regular" print publishers. Their writing style can be extremely grating, but at least you get your money's worth with the Ross's.

"How to Get Your eBook Published" is elementary, my dear readers, elementary. The only way you'll benefit from this book is if you think that pressing "Tab" on your keyboard will magically produce a nice refreshing beverage, a la Homer Simpson. In other words, this book will prove helpful only if you have absolutely no Internet experience whatsoever. A definite pass for anyone who has had Internet access for more than a week.

- Kelly Garbato

Author, "13 Lucky Steps to Writing a Research Paper"

ePublisher, Peedee Publishing / Hot Dog!, LLC

Customer Buzz
 "A good overview and reference resource" 2003-07-21
How To Get Your E-Book Published covers a lot of material - some in-depth (some regrettably not) - and brings up a lot of things I wouldn't have thought of, and haven't seen covered in other e-publishing books. In the body of the book the authors list tons of helpful web links and recommended books. I bought a copy of this book (after originally reading a library copy) largely for this info alone.

The book does, however, have some curious shortcomings. For example, though the authors devote dozens of pages to marginally helpful subjects like the history of e-publishing and writer's agents, they completely skip much more useful information. There is, for example, nothing on how to copyright your work (except to list the website of the U.S. Copyright Office - buried in the back of book). And after having packed the book with so many links and book recommendations, the authors fail to compile these all into a more easily referenced format in the surprisingly scanty "Resources" section at the end of the book.

But overall this book is a valid addition to the library of any author (or potential author) considering e-publishing their work.

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