| 8.1°C Dublin

Thomas Coady: Top Tan reasons why ebooks are the business in these recessionary times


A Kindle in use. Photo: Reuters

A Kindle in use. Photo: Reuters


A Kindle in use. Photo: Reuters

THE times they are a-changing...and never more quickly than when it comes to ebooks. Digital publishing is causing ructions in the traditional, stuffy world of publishing.

Just take the month of March as an example. According to Amazon, 16 of its top Kindle books were ebooks exclusive to the Kindle store and to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. That's a serious dent in the sales figures for traditional publishers.

Martin Crosbie is one ebook author with a lot to smile about. His ebook, My Temporary Life, earned more than $45,000 in March alone from paid sales and loans from the Kindle Store. Crosbie is just the latest example of an author seeing the true benefits of ebook publishing. He is on the way to emulating the poster boys and girls of the ebook world, John Locke and Amanda Hocking, who have outshone traditional publishers and bestselling authors when it comes to utilising an online marketing formula.

With tighter budgets, publishers are facing tougher competition and struggle to give full support to many new authors. According to M.J Rose, founder of the book marketing site AuthorBuzz, 85pc of traditional published books only get $2,000 for marketing while bestsellers can get up to $150,000. M.J. Rose also emphasises that PR and marketing cannot make a bestseller, but it is almost impossible to have a bestseller or even a good seller or even a seller without PR and marketing.

However, being a merchandiser and an author at the same time is not for the faint hearted. Dubliner David Lawlor is one of the latest batch of self-published authors to stick his toe in the world of book marketing with his novel, Tan, which is set during the war of Independence.

'I'm attending a course in Independent Colleges on ebook publishing, which is great. It has opened up a whole new way of approaching things books-wise. I've written three novels and have managed to secure myself an agent but even so I couldn't secure a traditional publishing deal, so opted for this route instead.

''You really have to take a deep breath and just go for it when it comes to the marketing - no oneelse is going to do it for you! I've urged everyone I can think of to download my book, which is on special offer this weekend on Amazon.'

Lawlor is referring to the five free promotional days that Amazon give their ebook authors.

'I had my book edited and formatted to go online by BeCreativebooks.net. The people there have been great and have hammered home the importance of the promotional days. A good campaign at this point can mean a huge surge in interest in your book, helping to life it above the vast amount of others that are out there.'

Being able to isolate a target market and then convince them to buy a book takes practice, and traditional publishers certianly have the edge and patience. But as many self-published authors have shown, it can be done. All you need is the know-how.

There are some great eBooks available that can help, like Catherine Ryan Howard's guide to self-publishing called 'Self-Printed'. There are also ePublishing companies and classes like the ones Lawlor used that will help guide you along the path.

It's a learning curve for everyone - the self-published and the traditional publishing houses - but one which is leading to better quality and lower priced books....and what's not to like about that when you're in the middle of a recession?

David Lawlor's novel Tan is available to Kindle users for free download from April 6 to April 8