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On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

eBooks, ePublishing and RWA



First, let me apologize about this blog being so late in the day. My computer hasn’t been cooperating the last couple of days. I can only surmise it is as under the weather as I am feeling with sinus headaches and hurting joints. That’s what happens in the desert when you get clouds and humidity for a few days. Your body is forced to get used to something not normally here. It took me two days to adjust and it just might take the computer a little more.

Second, the blog topic for this week is epublishing and ebooks. As much as this pains me to say, the blog Dear Author had a very relevant topic with the following blog today. Here’s the link, so please go read it and take the poll. This is one blog the industry pays attention to a lot and I suggest we participate.

While the Dear Author blog is not known for playing nice in certain areas, they have actually tackled a subject which should be near and dear to all of us. They are also fierce supporters of ebooks and that is good for all of us.

Here’s the link: http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/06/10/how-many-readers-have-bought-an-epublished-book/

When I read the blog, I had to pull out my RWR and look to see if they were telling the truth. Sigh. Sadly they were and all I could think was another RWA president put their foot in their mouth before really thinking about a large chunk of their membership.

In the letter, RWA President, Diane Pershing says because of the lack of advances, epublishing does not serve the RWA membership well. Apparently, RWA feels that anything less than $1000 up front is not good, not even the industry standard of 37.5%+ royalty base serves the membership as well. I would like to know just what planet this woman is on.

I am a past RWA board member and I just don’t understand how, in this economic climate, RWA can not see the benefit of their members receiving a monthly or quarterly paycheck instead of a biannual or annual one which may or may not see any cash in hand. I receive monthly royalties from a couple of my publishers and am quite happy with the arrangement. I didn’t get an advance and to be honest, I didn’t miss it at all. I would miss my monthly royalties if I didn’t receive them at all.

Now, I expect another RWA battle in the works and it’s not going to be pretty. BUT the only way to be part of the solution is to state our opinions and let the world know just how you feel about the ebook and epublishing industry. I know I am.

I know I did when I voted on this poll that RWA and NYC industry leaders will see. Even NYC is seeing the writing on the wall and has the foresight to understand ebooks are the wave of the future. Most books in print from NYC also have an ebook component. It’s a necessity to survive in publishing today. Why can’t RWA see this? Why can’t they ride the wave of the future? What is it that’s holding them back?

I don’t understand and I’ve been a member of this organization since 1984 for the most part. I’d like you all to let me know just what you think and go vote on the Dear Author poll. It might just help us all.

Remember, for all of you who comment, you’ll be entered into my June contest. I plan to give out basket full of books and goodies as a celebration of me being back writing full time and my birthday. Yeah, I’ll be a year older this month. And the solstice never looked so good. LOL!

Till next week…

Lynn

28 comments:

quiltingreader said...

I voted and the yes votes are winning. I love e-books!

Anonymous said...

Just another reason why I left RWA after ten loyal years.

carl brookins said...

I only have one small disagreement with your piece, Lynn. E-books are certainly A wave of the future, just not the only one!

Anthology Authors said...

Considering the state of the publishing industry, I would say ebooks are the way to go right now. And the RWA president obviously doesn't know what she is talking about. It's still the "ebooks aren't quite good enough" attitude that does a huge disservice to their members.

I spoke a few months ago at a local RWA. The members were very interested in what I had to say about ebook publishing. It's strange that the locals can get it, but the brass don't... or maybe it's not. Often, the brass is out of touch. When that happens, the companies stagnate.

Anyway, I think I'm preaching to the choir. LOL

Marci

Lynn Crain said...

Thanks, quiltingreader! I love them too!

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

I so understand your sentiment, Anonymous. I have thought of it many, many times myself.

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

I do agree with you, Carl. eBooks are just one way the future will get out the information.

I'd be interested in hearing what other ones you're thinking about, see if we're in sync as I know there are quite a few different ways to get books out in the world.

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

Marci,

Yes, you're preaching to the choir! LOL!

I am just so think RWA doesn't have their finger on the pulse of the industry right now.

And that's not good.

Lynn

dena celeste said...

I understand that it's hard to let go of the past. I really do. But when the numbers say that something REALLY WORKS...why bring it down?

I think we'll always like print books. The feel of the pages, the scent of a fresh book.

But E-books sell very well, they're more convenient and they don't cost as much. Which typically means that people buy more of them.

All this hullabaloo about advances? Seems a bit desperate on the part of the people upstairs...

Nice blog post!

Blessings,
Dena

Lynn Crain said...

Dena,

I so agree with you. I will always love print books and will get at least one every month. BUT there are a lot of great ebooks out there as well.

And like I said, money, money later or money monthly, is what it all comes down to...and frankly, money monthly right now is looking the best for me because you never know if you'll earn the advance back. Especially if you are a new author.

And many authors are now coming up from the ranks of the epublished. Things definitely a different point of view.

Lynn

RachieG said...

Happy Birthday :)

lindseye said...

I currently buy many more ebooks than print books since I have a Sony ereader. Many of the authors I follow only publish ebooks though most would love to have a print book and a New York contract. I read many sub genres which are not published in print or not as frequently. I think RWA is downgrading a huge number of authors and losing its way.

Chris Redding said...

I haven't bought an e-book but only because of the price of the reader.
But.
I'm going to ask for a reader for Christmas. And I'm going to buy e-books.
It will be so much cheaper in the long run and I will get to read some amazing authors.
BTW, I'm pubbed in both e and print form.

Lynn Crain said...

Thanks, RachieG!

I was lucky enough to be born on summer solstice, June 21st. It's a great day and when we were in England on it I tried to get my family to take me to Stonehenge. They said there would be too many people. But I got to go the next time we went. What an experience!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

lindseye,

I so agree with you on this one. They are disinfranchising many of them members and it's not the first time.

I just have the feeling once we reach that bar, they will put up another one to hurdle. Not everyone needs an advance to consider themselves an author nor do authors need to live by the NYC way of publishing.

Thanks for dropping in!

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

Chris,

Good for you! BUT you don't need a regular reader to get an ebook. I get PDF versions for my computer all the time. MOF, that's what I started with but I too plan to get a reader here in the near future.

There is one coming out that is about the size of a lipstick holder and it has a flat screen that pulls out. Then there are ones coming that will be as flat as a credit card. The new innovations people are thinking of are fantastic!

And I know it's great to be both in e and print...congrats!

Lynn

Liddy Midnight said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Lynn. The blog on Dear Author, I mean, not the RWA kerfluffle. I have been following that for too long.

At the end of April, I did not renew my RWA membership. Come on, what were they thinking? Failing to meet the needs of so many of their members who are e-published AND raising the dues? No, thanks.

I believe they bank on most members remaining because of the local chapters. That may work but not for long. All of those local chapters may realize that they can become an ad hoc writers group and still get together, or they'll spin off and form competing organizations like the all-inclusive Liberty States Fiction Writers.

As for the insistence on advances, those authors may find that moot. As competition increases and publishers adjust to the combination of digital and print versions, part of the new business model may involve the disappearance of advances. With better real-time information, payment of authors on actual sales becomes feasible. The attraction of less up-front investment may cancel out the attraction of reserves against returns.

JAT.

Stephani Hecht said...

As a member of RWA I felt a little hurt when I read the letter in the RWR.It made me feel as if they don't my published works as important as others because I am epubebd.

elaine cantrell said...

I don't understand RWA's attitude either. I had lunch with a friend of mine today, and her daughter had both books and videos on some kind of electronic device-I'm not sure which one it was- but with younger people using technology from the time they are small it's obvious to me that ebooks are here to stay.

Amy said...

As a former editor for a company whose ebooks by and large go to print within a matter of months, I am annoyed with the continuing misperception that ebooks are second class at best, and those who write them unworthy to call themselves "published authors." I speculate that the RWA stance on advances/royalties is merely a rack upon which they can hang their hat of prejudice against ebooks. Something to consider, at least. I'm off to Dear Author. I wanted to post here before I read over there and potentially muddied the theoretical waters for myself.

Bright Blessings on your Solstice Birthday!

Lynn Crain said...

Liddy, great to see you!

And I so understand what you are saying. I renewed this year and wonder now if it were the best use of my money. BUT I do know that sometimes the best way to make change happen is from within the group it self.

Once I get my writing back on track, that's just what I plan to do. Change the system. I'll keep you all posted on that one.

So good to hear from you! I know I'll be seeing you around the loops soon!

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

I know exactly what you mean, Stephani. And I truly don't think the women at the top have any vision any more.

They certainly don't have the realy world view in my opinion.

I surely do hope we can change that from within the organization.

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

That's why I call ebooks the wave of the future. But like Carl pointed out, it is but one portion of the wave.

Things are only going to get smaller and more and more electronic as we go into the 21st century. And RWA better get with the program or get lost in the shuffle.

Lynn

Lynn Crain said...

Amy,

Thanks so much on the birthday blessings. I appreciate it.

And yes, I think you have it right. Every time a group comes in with a different philosophy than RWA has, they raise the bar.

At first it was for small press. They weren't amused that the small press folks managed to do what they asked, so they changed the rules. Then they had something in there regarding 5000 copies for any publisher and when an epublishing group made it, they weren't happy.

This isn't the first time RWA has done something like this. HOWEVER, this needs to be the first, but not the last, time the members rise up in protest against this horrible discrimination.

Thanks for posting!

Lynn

Patyann said...

More that 95% if the books I buy are ebooks. Mainly because they are easier to find, have a larger range of books to choose from then the book stores, I dont have to leave my house and battle the insane traffic to get to the store and when I do go out, I can take more than one book with me without having to carry a huge bag or suitcase. Most of the print books I buy are work relate.

Lynn Crain said...

Patyann,

I so agree with you. I love my ebooks and they are certainly easier to carry now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lynn

Erin Sinclair said...

Lynn,

I dropped RWA when I realized they are becoming more narrow in their guidelines. I can't do politics without allowing myself to become angry. They are not realistic in their approach and will be eating their guidelines once NY and other major publishers go e-book within the next ten years.

Erin

Lynn Crain said...

Erin,

I so understand your position. Just wait till you see this week's blog. It's amazing just what side some of the NYC editors and agents are really on. I was surprised.

But I agree. Politics need to stay out of the whole process.

Lynn

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