The Impact of E-Books on New Authors


E-books have been a game changer for the modern day author. With printing and distribution costs nearly eliminated, the once high hurdles to get published are now more like speed bumps, opening up the world of being a “published author” to thousands of more writers per year than the traditional path could ever handle.

Numerous self-publishing, e-book publishing and print-on-demand companies have sprung up to help authors publish their work. On one hand, these companies are making it much easier on authors. But on the other, the numerous options available have made the process vastly more confusing.

Here at Novel Selling Secrets, we recommend a simple strategy for most new authors: Try the traditional route first. And if your best effort doesn’t get you where you want to be, then begin looking at your self-publishing options. Here’s why:

#1) Resources

With a traditional publisher, every author gets access to tons of the publisher’s resources: Editors to review and critique the story, Artists to design the cover, Copy Editors to double and triple check grammar and spelling, Line Editors to ensure consistency, Marketing teams to build and execute marketing plans, and Public Relations departments to help get interviews. Authors get to focus on writing and promoting, and the rest is taken care of.

#2) Distribution

Major publishers have entire sales departments dedicated to getting their authors’ books into numerous bookstores, both bricks-and-mortar and online, and in both physical formats (i.e. hardback and paperback) and multiple digital formats (i.e. Kindle, Nook and other e-readers).

#3) Foreign Distribution

Traditional publishers and literary agents also have teams dedicated to selling manuscripts to other countries. With little to no work on the author’s part, their books are sold and translated into many different countries, expanding the author’s reach far beyond just their native tongue.

#4) Favorable uncertainty

Self-publishing before seeking a traditional publisher can actually hurt the author’s chances of signing a book deal. Yes, there are cases where self-published authors have collected huge followings that have translated into major publishing deals (a la Amanda Hocking), but it doesn’t happen often. And if sales are low for an author’s self-pubbed work, it could be viewed as a strike against them when seeking literary representation and/or a publishing deal. In many cases, having no track record at all is better than having a track record with limited success.

#5) The advance

Traditional publishers pay the author for their work. The only out-of-pocket expenses of the author are any marketing or promotion they choose to do on their own.

At the end of the day, traditionally published books are not better than self-published e-books. They have simply gone through a different channel to reach the market. Yes, there are more hoops to jump through for a traditional publishing deal and probably more resources applied, but that doesn’t mean that great work doesn’t come through the self-published channels. Self-publishing can make a lot of sense for some authors, with simple contracts and a healthy cut of each sale going directly to the author. But for those who dream of seeing their book on the front table at a bookstore – traditional publishing is the way to go.

Your dream of selling your novel is within reach! Check out this video to see how The Complete Guide to Getting Published can help you land an agent and a publishing deal with a major U.S. publisher!