As a result of the emergence of digital publishing, today’s writers have had to find a way to expand their brands not only through printed publications, but also through the internet. As consumers have started to use iPads, e-readers, and phones for reading, primarily due to an easier access to a wider variety of works, there have been some writers who have chosen to use digital publishing in order gain more freedom, money, and readers globally.
While there are authors who prefer traditional print publication because they feel that digital takes away from the reader, others have ventured out into using e-books as a part of digital publishing in order to connect to a wider audience. According to Joanna Penn’s article “10 Reasons Why Authors Love E-books,”authors have been gravitating towards e-books due to the growth in sales – the idea being that if the sales of e-books are rising, then so are the number of readers.
Penn points out that e-book readers buy more books as well. She states that as an e-book user, she now reads three times more books than before she became an e-book reader. (For more on Penn’s article, visit her website here).
In fact, e-book prices are one of the primary factors that draws in the attention of authors and readers. When the consumers see cheaper books, they feel as though they are getting a deal based on the price of the same book in print.
Authors such as Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler have also found interest in the pricing differences when dealing with digital publishing compared to print publication. The possibility of gaining more money was an eye opener to many authors who were only using traditional publishing.
For example, Eisler began publishing e-books to expand his audience globally, bringing him more sales on his books. In Jason Pinter’s article “Barry Eisler Explains Self-Publishing Decision,” Eisler explains his motives for going into self publishing using digital, stating that
If I don’t earn out the legacy contract, the only money I’ll ever see from it is $142,000 per year for three years. Even if I do earn out, I’ll only see 14.9% of each digital sale thereafter. But once I beat the contract in digital, even if it takes longer than three years, I go on earning 70% of each digital sale forever thereafter. And, as my friend Joe Konrath likes to point out, forever is a long time (The Daily Beast).
Eisler saw the possibility of more money from the digital sales even if he had to lower the prices for his novels in the beginning, realizing that, with time, he would be able to gradually up the price of his works.
E-books have also drawn authors into the digital world through self-publishing, where authors are given more control than they would have with traditional publishing. For instance, Amanda Hockings made over a million dollars using digital publishing. She started off small, selling her book for only 99 cents – until she sold over a million books.
According to Steven Spatz’s “Amanda Hocking Made Millions By Selling 99-cent Books — And You Can, Too,”
Her success is a product of hard work, great writing, and smart decision making… one of the best things about being a self-published author is you get to call the shots. That includes establishing the most appropriate price point for your books, along with shaping your larger strategy for obtaining readers. You’re not beholden to the logic or corporate limitations of large publishing houses (Writing Cooperative).
Having previously been denied by publishing companies and agents, Hockings took matters into her own hands. She turned to digital publishing, which allowed her to slowly but surely build her audience as she wrote more novels.
While Hocking books were sold as e-books for 99 cents, when she began to up her prices, consumers were willing to pay more as she had built a stable and interested audience base. Digital publishing gave her a way to share her novels with readers around the world when other publishers and agents rejected her.
Unlike traditional publishing, digital publishing has allowed authors to be able to be the authority in all aspects of their books, with e-books providing the opportunity for authors to publish digitally without the need for a publisher and agents.
As digital publishing progresses, it will create a bigger platform for other writers who would not otherwise have a chance. Due to its marketability, digital publishing is also cheap for writers to use. Overall, the authors who use this method gain the advantage of getting more money and opportunities with their writings, and authors who have been accustomed to using the traditional publishing have seen the advantages that comes with digital publishing and may begin to follow suit.
Overall, digital publishing has created a pathway for many known (and unknown) authors to advance in their careers and share their works with a wider audience.