On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Publishing, Self-Publishing, and EBooks

Publishing is going through a seismic shift. Up to just a few years ago, a writer almost certainly took his manuscript to a literary agent, then waited with baited breath until said manuscript was sold to a traditional publishing house. Probably two percent or fewer of the manuscripts were actually picked up. The traditional publisher then produced the book to release about 18 months later into bookstores and other sales places. Some writers, inspired by modern self-published wonders (The Christmas Box, Eragon, The Shack), decided to self publish, almost all to a resounding thud of the beloved manuscript.

Then came the internet. Online bookstores like Barnes & Noble and especially Amazon sold books online, and the buyer no longer had to actually travel to the bookstore, but simply wait for that little brown box to land on the doorstep. For the author, there was a slight easing of the self-publishing process for print books, since *anyone* could have his book available for sale on the internet. However it was still an uphill climb the size of Mount Everest -- possible, but very very few actually made the summit.

Some enterprising authors with niche topics began to put up original books as PDF documents on their own websites. These tended to be pretty expensive -- maybe $30 or more.

But this wasn't enough for self-publishers. The development of e-ink (Kindle) and other factors made e-readers a viable option for reading books. Fast forward five years, and the ebook market is now exploding.

The nice thing for writers about ebooks is that you can format your ebook and create a cover for little or no cost. I lecture on this topic often at conferences, and can tell you that even for a techno-idiot (me), it's pretty easy once you learn how. There are also companies that convert manuscripts to ebooks. I have been so outraged at the predatory nature of many of these places (high prices, continuing cuts of book sales profits, and/or continuing "listing" fees year after year) that (here's my plug) I've developed my own EBOOK CONVERSION AND LISTING SERVICES. I did this for the people I meet at conferences who, for whatever reasons, don't want to convert their books themselves.

You can visit my site at http://www.ebooklistingservices.com. If you want an ebook converted, here's my promise: I will treat you the way I want to be treated, and if I can't make you happy I will cheerfully refund 100% of your money.

For you DIY types there is a convenient DTP (digital text platform) on the amazon and B&N sites that automatically converts your book to mobi (Kindle) or ePub (Nook) formats. There are also conversion systems (Calibre is the best) that you can use on your computer to convert your file. Smashwords has a "meatgrinder" system (their word) to convert and then list your manuscript on many ereader sites.

The point is that publishing is changing. The good news is that it's much easier and cheaper to publish. The bad news is there are now A LOT of truly bad things being released. If you go this route, please make sure your work is worth the money that a reader will pay. I beg you.


  1. I was here on your blog and read your post about your blog post and about your achievements, after reading this whole post i can say that your book "The Store Template" will do better for sure.

  2. Wow, thank you! I wanted to write up template simply so I could put my algorithm in a tangible form -- and am receiving many letters from people about how helpful it is. It's humbling. I'm delighted that I could make story writing a little easier for some people.