Sunday, January 28, 2007

Are we all taking in each other's laundry?

I'm a newbie epublished author, but I'm starting to wonder how many actual readers there are out there for ebooks... Well, I know there are SOME. But so many people are involved in "the industry" as reviewers and promo loop list owners and publicists and writers and editors and publishers, that you start to wonder if maybe we're all buying each other's books in a sort of closed circle.

The ambitious authors are all making lists of twenty promo loops and twenty-five review sites and posting excerpts and promo blurbs everywhere. In the flood of promotion that everybody tells you that you have to do -- despite the fact that it seems to do very little real good, probably because we're all advertising to each other -- that there seems to be very little REAL word-of-mouth.

How many new erotic romance ebooks ARE there coming out every month? (We won't even talk about anything else because nothing else seems to sell.) Even the hardcore reading addicts can't keep up with it. And where are you going to get the real scoop on something that's good? When the average rating is 4.5 stars, how can the reviews help?

At least the higher bar for publishing in New York means that some of the sorting has been done for you. After getting burned on the quality of the stories a number of times, you become more hesitant to put your money down. When I first started reading ebooks one of the attractions was that there were different kinds of stories, a greater variety of sub-genres and settings. Then NY picked up lots of the paranormal stuff, and started up a bunch of erotic romance lines, and now ... Well, let's just say that there's not nearly as much of a difference as there was just two short years ago.

So if it comes to a choice of paying $5.99 for an ebook with a 40% chance that I'll quit after two chapters because apparently the author's "voice" consists of awkward sentences and sub-standard verb tenses and plot holes you could drive a truck through--or $7.99 for a 90% chance of finishing the book... I tend to play the odds.

Everything may change if somebody comes out with a GOOD handheld ebook reader, with type that aging eyes can read. Meanwhile, I'm not sure if the epublishing industry is maturing or stagnating or settling down to be a niche purveyor of sexy stories for women.

(supplier of sexy stories for women)

1 comment:

Linnea Sinclair said...

Hey Sara, First, thanks so much for the plug for GAMES OF COMMAND! I'm so excited about the book. It has my CAT on the cover! :-) Watch for it, end of February and do check out my gorgeous cat, Daiquiri, masquerading as Tank the furzel.

As for ebooks, I read on a Dell AXIM PDA. I can justify the cost because the PDA does other things, including internet access. I use Microsoft Reader (LIT) format and find the back-lit screen WITH the added option of being able to enlarge the font MUCH easier on these aging, tri-focaled eyes than paperbacks. Plus when I travel I can load 10, 20 novels into the PDA and it doesn't weight any extra. And yes, I read NY pubbed authors--such as JD Robb and CJ Cherryh--on the Axim as well as small press authors.

I agree, there is some bad editing (or bad acquisitioning) in small press. But the good authors are easily and quickly well-known. Watch for those with multiple EPPIE and PEARL and other awards.

As for who's reading, honestly readers can read 'em faster than we can write them. When I'm on a reading (ie: non-writing) binge, I can do 7-10 books in a week (on a cruise, usually). Not even JD Robb/Nora Roberts can write that quickly. So I think there's always going to be a huge audience.

Where I see the audience diminishing is in the younger generation that plays video games rather than reads. That concerns me. I'll be doing a book signing and I see the 20-somethings walk by my table and refuse to take even a free bookmark because "I don't read books"...but their bodies are draped in cell phones, ipods and playstations.

Just my two cents... ~Linnea and felines, Daq & Miss Doozy