25 January, 2013 | By Goldie Alexander
There’s never been a time when it’s harder to get publishers to take on unknown authors. Most seem to be waiting for the next JK Rowling to come along. The biggest selling book today is ‘fem porn’, and it’s not high literature. The major advantage is that it is easily read on tablets and iPhones. I enjoy picturing po-faced commuters reading hi jinks porn as they head to their dreary jobs in banks and IT companies. When I was a kid we read comics. Is this the contemporary adult equivalent?
So what about the unknown writer who wants to publish? The answer seems to be ebooks. But unless this is under the auspices of a big company, it has the unfortunate flavour of being ‘vanity published.’ Vanity publishing has a bad name because sometimes money has been saved on editing and interesting covers. It is assumed that if a book hasn’t been picked up by a well known publisher that it can’t be any good. Rest assured that publishers don’t always know what they are doing. One reader for a distinguished firm once told me that she had never ever recommended anything in case she made a mistake.
From a strictly personal perspective, eBooks are wonderful. After a recent and very serious accident, I think I would have gone insane except for my Kindle. I downloaded wonderful, and some not so wonderful novels, at a third of the price I would have paid for hard covers. Considering that I read at least two hundred samples and at least half of these as whole books while stuck in hospital, how else could I have managed to tackle a whole library? I could never have afforded it. Nor would anyone have been prepared to bring me that many books.
However the problem for new and not so well known writers seems to be; if you bring up any selection of books on your Kindle, it only lists about 20 or so of the above. Maybe less. However, if a particular book or author is typed in – and you have to know who you are looking for – that book or author will come up, even if all the books that author has written isn’t listed. I have a number of books on Kindle, but it certainly isn’t everything I have written because most of my books were published before this revolution took place.
So the problem as I see it with ebooks is this: unless this author/book is recommended on Kindle’s 1st 20 list, no one will ever know anything about it. I thought it was popularity, but this isn’t always the case. And as far as I can see, this list is random. I think the crux of ebook publishing is: How do we get our books onto that ‘A list’? Social media seems to be the answer. Your name has to be known. So if you want to sell books, it’s a good idea to blog, twitter and facebook as often as you can stand. At least several times a week.
Incidentally, my “Grevillea Murder Mysteries” can be picked up as ebooks on every site of you type in my name. So can my latest YA novel, “Dessi’s Romance”