How to Write a Successful e-Book

I chose this hubris-laden title after some discussions with writers and editors, and after reading several threads on KindleBoards.

Obviously the main reason for chusing a title like this is that it will generate lots more Google hits for my Blog. Clearly I'm going to give you the magic formula for making $$$'s from your writing. That much, we can take as given.

Actually I hope there's a little more to it than that.

Publishing in Turmoil

Rarely do I think that a tabloid style banner headline is warranted, but it seems that indie ePub has thrown the world of publishing into confusion. This is a good thing. A writer can reach readers in a way that he never could before. And you don't need anyone's approval, you don't need anyone's permission, and you don't need anyone's help.

This certainly makes some big changes to the process of publishing. This in turn has consequences for the process of writing itself. Before I became an editor, I had a very narrow view of what the process of writing was. I thought that all writers were either jobbing hacks turning out formulaic pulp for the likes of Mills and Boon, or they were unknown geniuses wrestling with their magnificent octopus* until that golden day that they would send it to an agent and be trebucheted to global stardom, or that they were skilled and insightful airport thriller writers, one eye always on the bestseller list, predicting the next big thing and writing it as fast as possible.

I've no doubt that all of those people existed—and still exist. I learned that the field was a little more varied than that; but that all writers who got published had one thing in common; a publisher believed that their book would sell a specified minimum number of copies. To get to the point where a publisher made that judgment, they all had to go through a remarkably similar process, and most got edited in much the same way.

That bottleneck has gone.

To stretch a metaphor: readers thirsty for new books were drip-fed what publishers claimed was the purest, most rarefied, most refined selection. Now, we can all jump in the river. Readers have never had it so good. Not just because of choice, which is getting bigger by the day, but also because of art.

Since writers no longer have to satisfy the exigencies of a tiny elite of self-appointed "gatekeepers", their art is free to develop and flourish, do diverge and to deviate, to discover, to innovate and to bloom.

Writers should realize, recognize, that this freedom is of as much benefit to readers as it is to writers.

Then, they should realize that the process of creating a book can be whatever they decide serves their aim as a writer, an artist, a professional, an amateur, a hobbyist. Whatever. It doesn't matter. It has at last come to pass that anyone who writes can be read by anyone that reads.


In my next couple of posts I will discuss the process of writing a story, and what elements I think the process should contain, from my personal point of view as one for whom the story is the core, heart, purpose, the very point of writing fiction.

* ahem, magnum opus.

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