Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Friday, May 28, 2010

E-Books: Wave of the Future?

This past Christmas, Amazon reported that for the first time ever, they sold more e-books than paper books. Other published reports suggest that there are six Kindle books sold now for every ten physical books, and the gap seems to be narrowing every day. So if you've been thinking about converting your paper book to an e-book, now's the time to do it.

There are a number of different sites and publishers and book shepherds and the like who will convert your book to an e-book for you. For a fee, of course. But there are also at least two sites that will convert your book for free! They will also list your book on their online e-book catalog. They will collect the money for your sales. And they will send the money to you on a regular schedule. What do you do? Not much. In fact, once you've completed the conversion process you don't have to do anything. Except put a link on your website and send out some emails announcing the good news. And add the availability to your automatic email signature, too. And, of course, promote the news in as many ways as you can.

All three of my books (CROSSHAIRS, DYING IN DEER COUNTRY and KRAZY KRITTERS OF FLORIDA) are now available as e-books at a site called www.smashwords.com. They do the conversion process for free, list your book, along with a synopsis & cover on their site, and also make your book compatible with all the major eReaders, such as Kindle, Nook, Sony, iPad, etc. They also provide very detailed instructions on how to go about formatting your book to meet their specifications. Smashwords will also get your book listed in a catalog that they distribute to Barnes & Noble, the Apple iPad, and Sony e-book stores.

The Kindle bookstore (www.amazon.com) is, of course, the best known e-book store at the moment. Their conversion process is much simpler than the Smashwords process but the final product is only compatible with the Kindle eReader. Although: Kindle also has free downloadable applications that can make their e-books readable on some of the other eReaders. Two of my three books are now available at the Kindle store. The third one has been delayed because the Kindle folks wanted some sort of written verification that I did, indeed, have the electronic rights to publish my book as an e-book. That required a letter to my publisher for clarification and validation, which I got, and then I forwarded that letter to the Kindle folks. Hopefully, my third book will soon be listed in the Kindle store as well.

That brings me to the final point. To do any of these conversions, you have to own or control the electronic rights for your book. If you've truly published your book yourself (bought the ISBN, did the layout, designed the cover, arranged for the printing, hold the copyright in your name, etc., etc.) you shouldn't have a problem. You still have ALL the rights because you were the author AND publisher. If you went through a traditional publisher, however, or through a POD publisher (like Infinity, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, PublishAmerica, etc.) you need to contact the publisher and make sure you do, indeed, still hold your electronic publishing rights. Some POD publishers will allow you to do your own e-books, some won't. Be safe. Find out for certain before you start the process. Just tell them what you want to do, and flat-out ask them if you, the author and copyright holder, have the electronic rights to publish your book yourself as an e-book. At least you'll know, right up front. This info should be spelled out in your contract as well, but sometimes the legal jargon of publishing contracts is hard for us laymen/laywomen to decipher.

E-books are here to stay, whether we like them or not. Get on board while you can. The train is definitely starting to pull away from the station.

Posted by
Russ Heitz
www.russheitz.com