E-Books Now Fashionable, My Story


E-publishing has suddenly jumped into the fashionable, and I am so happy about that! I started self publishing on line around 1998. I called my site Looking Glass Books and I posted excerpts of my novels and sold my novels on-line. I posted the novels but kept the URL’s secret. When someone bought a book, I sent them the URL and changed the URL once a month to protect the books from the web crawlers revealing their locations. Then some friends of mine, probably the very first e-reading people I swear by all that is bookish, told me that Peanut Press, an on-line e-book store, was looking for books. I promptly wrote to Peanut Press, and Peanut Press took my books. Then two things happened, an on-line publisher, Bookbooters.com, accepted my books and Peanut Press was bought out by a fairly indie unfriendly company. Thanks to Bookbooters, I was now “professionally published” which meant I could join the E-Published Internet Connection [EPIC] an on-line professional authors’ group of e-published authors. The requirement for membership to EPIC is that you have to be published by a legit e-publisher; that is, a publisher that does not charge an author for editing, proofing, creating the cover, and selling the author’s book and pays the author, usually with a high royalty. EPIC has always promoted e-books and e-authors and always allowed self-published e-books to be entered in its annual contest, the Eppies (now called the EPIC awards). My sf book Zollocco: A Novel of Another Universe was a Eppie finalist in 2001.

What next happened for me in my e-book saga was that sadly the head of Bookbooters.com was hospitalized and Bookbooters.com closed. I took over my books, starting (or restarting) my family publishing business as Oestara Publishing. I published my father’s story, The Joshua Machine, and it finalled in the Eppies under historical fiction. I co-edited, as a contributing author, The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry and to my, my fellow editors, and my poets’ delight, we won the 2006 Eppie for Poetry. Our poetry book tied with a poetry book called Ghosts, an amusing coupling I think. As I published each book, I requested reviews. Each book I have published has garnered good reviews althoughiIn the early days of e-publishing, it was very difficult to find places willing to review e-books. EPIC members were great in sharing information on who would review e-books. In addition to struggling to find reviewers willing to review e-books, I priced the e-books much lower than the paperback editions from the very beginning of my e-publishing. Since I did not have ware-housing, shipping, and insurance costs, why pass non-existent prices on to readers?

Now readers have discovered what we EPIC members have been saying for a very long time. There are very good books available as e-books. Years ago, we EPIC members were trying to convince those companies who make e-readers to carry our books, not just those by the traditional publishing houses. Now Smashwords gets any e-author’s e-books on the most famous of the e-readers. E-authors have suddenly jumped over what had been an insurmountable hurdle.

In the last few years, though I maintained Oestara Publishing, I returned to writing scripts for my creative outlet. I found, though, that theater and film are still stuck in a world where only seventeen percent of works produced are written by women. Indeed when I mentioned to Eva Eisner, who came to my city on her book tour, about how theaters were telling me how they found my scripts original and how they liked and respected my plays–but were not going to do them, she said: “Welcome to the world of feminist playwrights.” During my time smacking my head against theater and films shut door, an author sent me a book on tarot meanings devoted to issues of romance, meant to be used with any deck, and I found myself again focusing on e-publishing. As I mentioned in my first blog, I decided that one of the scripts I have written would be better suited as a Manga graphic novel. I started this blog to find artists and to learn about Manga and in the process have learned that e-books and self-publishing via the internet have exploded. Many authors are having success self-publishing their e-books; Manga sales are down twenty percent in paperbacks but up twenty-percent as on-line works; and Australia, unlike the US, publishes many well selling women fantasy writers. This last is great news for me because I am writing an epic fantasy.

I do think that fiction writers should publish in all three ways: with traditional publishing houses, with legit e-publishers, and through self-publishing. There remains stigma against self-publishing, but there are those e-authors “who cry about it all the way to the bank.” Each type of publishing reaches additional readers, and that’s what we want to do, reach our readers.

Zollocco reviews:
Bookreview.com: http://www.bookreview.com/$spindb.query.listreview2.booknew.13029
The Eternal Night: http://www.eternalnight.co.uk/books/c/claycynthiajoyce/zollocco.html
Amazon customer reviews: http://www.eternalnight.co.uk/books/c/claycynthiajoyce/zollocco.html

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About Cynthia Clay

I was judged to be a computer program on Shakespeare at the First Loebner Prize Competition of The Turing Test—a truly science fictional experience. I'm an author who likes to write sf, fantasy, updated versions of old myths.
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