Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't fear the reaper, either

Please enjoy this post in the light-hearted spirit in which it was meant to be presented. In communicating with a number of authors in recent weeks, and reading up on certain news in the eBook world, I feel the desire to offer my perspective on some things. The challenge here is to be as objective as possible, but I am certainly not one to judge any motives or endeavors, nor do I wish to. Being a publisher puts me in an unenviable position at times. As eBook houses appear then fold, and promise the moon but deliver only dirt, the actions of many put the rest of us under a microscope. Some will praise you, others will have people believe we're all sitting in a nice lodge in leather wingback chairs, twirling our Snidely Whiplash mustaches and drinking brandy, chuckling over how the royalties of the great unwashed are fueling our BMWs.

I don't have a BMW or a mustache. I don't chuckle over author/ePub misfortunes because I've been there myself. I don't know that I'll be there again. I'm often careful about the words I post in public because it's simple for somebody to misinterpret or twist words to mean different things. By no means am I the perfect publisher, either. It is something at which I continue to work. You might find some authors appreciate what I do. Others might grumble - if they do, I wish they would just tell me what's on their mind. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Still with me? Good. Whether you are an established author or trying for that first contract, I hope you will bear this in mind throughout your journey as a published writer:

Publishers are not clairvoyant: Trust me, if I knew the future I'd be sitting on tons o' lottery winning right now. eBook Publishers, too, primarily work within the realm of the Internet - of the many authors I publish, I think I have only met about 10-20 face to face, a small percentage. All of my communication is done via IM or e-mail, so if an author has an issue and does not use either to contact me, I don't know that there is a problem. If authors let weeks and months pass without saying anything to me, I still don't know there is a problem.

In reading online surveys of ePublishers, some have complained about lack of response. We write to our publisher and receive no answer. It's happened to me, too, which is why I try to answer every mail I receive. Sometimes, too, I respond to an author and get no response. So if you are using Yahoo or Hotmail, check your junk mail often. I do now, only because I had been finding messages from authors and customers there. Nothing is 100%, sometimes those filters let good stuff slip past. If your issue must be resolved, continue to contact your publisher or whomever is in charge of answering your questions. Chances are if you are with an ePub, you are involved on some kind of author-only mailing list. If you are not heard by private message, post to the list that you need to talk.

As for the mind-reading, I'll work on it, but I already have a long list of things to do. :)

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