I love print books. I love to hold them, relax anywhere with an adequate light source and a good book. My husband, Tom Robinson, and I must own about 25,000 books (Tom has dealt rare books and been a partner in various Bay Area bookstores).

But the ebook revolution of a mere four years ago has been a huge boon both to professional authors and those authors who have chosen or been forced to choose independent publishing. Independent publishing gives an author power and freedom over his or her career, from choosing one’s own cover art, to deadlines, to far greater royalties than a traditional author earns on an ebook.

In a previous blog, I noted that Smashwords predicts independent authors will command fifty percent of the ebook market and ebook earnings within the next five years. And as people are becoming more acclimated to ereaders and appreciating the ease and modernity of them, more readers of print books will buy readers and ebooks.

In a mere four years, ebooks have gone from ten percent of the total book market to thirty percent and more. All the Big Publishers are making hundreds of millions of dollars on ebooks!

But thirty percent leaves seventy percent of books sold to the print market.

You may be tempted as an independent author to jump feet first into print publishing. If you and your family have enough income to afford an expensive hobby, go for it. But there are many reasons for independently published authors to exercise caution before investing in a print edition of their books.

First, it has always been expensive to self-publish a print book and still is. Createspace tells authors they can create a print book for free, but immediately there’s a huge caveat attached to that. You have to know HTML programming and have a good design sense. If you don’t, you can’t do it on your own for free. You’ll need the Createspace team to help you—for a hefty price.

Createspace is a subsidiary of Amazon.com. Most independent bookstores out there and the one major remaining bookstore chain, Barnes and Noble, refuse to stock Createspace books.

Plenty of other self-publishing businesses are out there and eager to take your money. Some are out-and-out scams.

But let’s assume you can handle all that and want to produce your book in print, anyway. Great! Be advised there’s another huge problem.

You can’t compete with the Big Publishers and Big Media.

Even if a Big Publisher doesn’t lift a finger to publicize an author’s book, that book still gets listed in a catalog of forthcoming books that goes out to all the bookstores, may be submitted for review in trade journals and newspapers, and gets listed on the Big Publisher’s website.

Independent authors have competed well with ebooks, but even the best don’t do well when it comes to their print books. I’ve been following various authors, including authors promoted on the Kindle Direct monthly newsletter. In every case, an author who may have a fairly high-ranking ebook lags way, way behind with his or her print book.

So there you have it, my friends. Until private people can compete with Big Media—and I don’t see that happening any time soon—you’re better off producing an ebook at little or no cost but your time (which isn’t free, I know!) than tilting at windmills with a print book. Sad, but true.

There are a few other tools that you can use, however. Namely write a brilliant book, produce it up to professional standards, write more books, and pursue hybrid publishing. I’ll address those tools in upcoming blogs.

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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