MY PERSONAL HISTORY OF E-BOOKS
With e-books so popular, I thought I'd share some of experiences with electronic books. I know to most readers, it seems like e-books just suddenly sprang up last year and seem to be taking over the publishing world. But you might be surprised to know that I sold my first e-book over ten years ago. It wasn't an easy process, either. I went through ALL the same steps as I would have with a traditional publisher.
In 1999, I attended a writing conference at a castle where an e-book editor spoke and talked about this new method for publishing. I love to try new things, so I pulled out some manuscripts that hadn't sold yet and sent them to HardShell Word Factory. It took a long time to go through the submission process, then when my books were accepted (for middle-schoolers) I had to wait my turn for editing and for the cover art. They had their own artist -- a talented young man who was sadly murdered a few years ago -- and he did the covers for MELISSA'S MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, MAIL-ORDER MONSTER, PHANTOM BOYFRIEND and LOVE POTION (mysterious, magical, romantic books for younger teens). I went through editing the same as with my traditional publishers (at the time I was writing a cloning series for Berkely called REGENERATION). It took two years before the first two books were out in floppy disk format. They packaged these books in little boxes with disks inside and covers like real books. Readers could also buy two-books-in-one paperbacks of these books. I love these books and was excited to embark on a new type of publishing. This was years ago before the Kindle or Nook. But there were e-readers. The best was the Rocket Reader. The first out into the world and a great device. But it didn't survive and the others that followed had battery problems and were still too expensive to lure readers away from paperbacks. (Not that I wanted to do this -- although I have many e-books on my I-Pad, I continue to buy and prefer paper books).
So I had these e-books published and online waiting for readers. Guess what happened? Not much. In 2001, kids weren't going online to look for books. My annual royalty statements from the e-books totaled less than $5. Still I loved these books and was glad to have them out there.In 2003, I gave it one more try and my favorite e-books, DOUBLE VISION, was published by Amber Quill. This YA is about a teen girl who must pretend to be an alternate version of herself in a parallel world to prevent a murder in her family. Still the market wasn't there yet so few sales.
Jump ahead to January 2011. I've published over 35 traditional YA/MG books and still have the 6 e-books out, too. My publisher, Flux, decided to try an experiment by offering my THE SEER book, #1. DON'T DIE DRAGONFLY for free for a month to Kindle readers. Many people received e-readers for Christmas and were eager for free books. My book sold like crazy! My book made it down to #12 in the top free books for Kindle. In May, my publisher tried this again with my book DEAD GIRL WALKING, and it made it down to #7 in the top free-books. Now I seem to make more e-book sales than paperback sales.
And my e-books published years ago--suddenly they're selling. I'm receiving royalty checks larger than 3 digits! E-books have come a long way -- and I've enjoyed going along for the ride.
CHECK OUT MY E-BOOKS:
Now for a giveaway!
Linda will be giving away an autographed copy of DON'T DIE DRAGONFLY. Enter now for a chance to win!