So, I wrote a book, and now I want to sell it.

Well, as the title. I took a look in Writer’s Market, and I even worked up a letter. However…

I thoguht about it, and e-publishing seems sensible. You can list books on Amazon ebooks for very little. What I wonder about, however, is how effectively you can get readers this way. It’s definitely growing, and some very successful authors have been pushing into this market, but I’m not sure how well I could get attention there. And of course, I’d be selling the books for pennies but with a big need for volume.

Any ideas or experiences you’d care to share?

People talk about epublishing as if it were some totally new and different thing.

From everything I’ve read over the past few years - and that’s a lot since I’m a professional and professional boards have been squabbling about the issue obsessively - nothing has really changed.

Yes, it’s absolutely true that you can get anything you want published. The numbers of “books” published has gone from around 50,000 a year to more than 250,000 a year over the last decade and next year’s numbers will probably dwarf that.

Those 50,000 books published by mainstream print publishers included a few dozen bestsellers, a few hundred moderately good sellers, many genre books that sold whatever was typical of their genre, and lots of books you’ve never heard of.

Those extra 200,000 ebooks that were self-published included a few dozen bestsellers, a few hundred moderately good sellers, many genre books that sold whatever was typical of their genre, and lots of books you’ve never heard of.

The only difference is that the tail of unknown books is longer. There have been many estimates of the average sale of an ebook and they all come in at around 100.

There are successes. The one is the news recently is Amanda Hocking. She couldn’t sell any books to publishers, self-published them, saw them take off, and had sales of a million through Kindle. And now she’s going through a traditional publisher. Because they and only they can get books into bookstores and because marketing and fulfillment for a successful author are full-time jobs beyond the writing.

She’s as typical of ebooks as J. K. Rowling is for print books. It won’t happen to you. (She writes young adult paranormal aimed at girls, which is the hottest genre. I bet you don’t.)

The marketing is the part that writers never figure on. A few writers have become very successful through incessant online promotion of themselves as brands and commodities. It works for the same reason that Coke and Pepsi market themselves incessantly. If you’re the type of person who can do this and do it well and do it incessantly then you have a good chance.

If not, then you will be among the 200,000 others each and every year who sell 100 copies.

Unless you’re a genius, of course. They make their own rules.

If it’s a special interest book, then self-publishing online or offline will probably be your best solution. However, if you’re hoping for mass appeal, you’ll need a publisher.

Are you trying to make some money, or did you just write a family history and want to print it and distribute to relatives?

Sounds like the former. Unless you are a marketing whiz with lotsa capital to invest, getting a publisher to do it is a good idea first.

If your book could be targeted to specific markets, self-publishing and distribution might work. Examples: I put together some history books for local people, and they made the rounds of all the local bookstores and gift shops and are selling them there. Or, say your book is about tropical fish, you could try to market it thru tropical fish suppliers, magazines or web sites, where your advertising dollar would go the farthest.

Umm… well… :o

Not just young tween/teen girls. Boys, too.

Rowling did it, so it can be done. But a) it’s very, very hard and almost all successful tween/teen series are aimed at girls because that’s who buy books; and b) everybody on earth is trying to copy Rowling and there is such a flood in that market that almost nothing can stand out individually. Wizards are dead. Vampires are dead. Zombies are dead. Hocking writes about … you’re going to think this is satire, but I’m quoting here … a world of beautiful trolls.

The other point about Hocking is that she released eight books simultaneously, thereby giving her fans something new to read and build on. Releasing one book without marketing support is probably a failed model in 2011. If you’re doing a series I’d highly recommend that you write all the books first and release them as a set so there’s no waiting and no way to let the next fad creep in before you release another book in a year or two.

Check out kindleboards. They have a bunch of self published authors floating around. I’m sure that some of them would be glad to give you hints.

Wait - really? That’s very depressing. I have male cousins in middle school; I must remember to buy them books. Maybe “Ender’s Game” - sure, OSC is something of a twit, but the man can write, and “Ender’s Game” is a fantastic read.