There are so many reasons an author wants to be published. Some want the prestige of seeing their names on covers, sitting on a bookshop shelf. Others are egomaniacs, needing to share their expertise with the world.
And some of us want to make money.
I have to tell you, publishing electronically is the way to go, as far as making money from writing is concerned. Of course, if you prefer, you can do corporate freelance writing. If that's the case, and you don't care what you are writing as long as you are being paid, then Pete Bowerman is the go-to guru. Or, if you are more old-school, you can try Bob Bly. Both guys are fonts of knowledge, and I recommend their expertise.
Today, though, I'm talking about books, not brochures or marketing writing. Specifically, if you want to make money selling ebooks, then you need to write how-to nonfiction. So, the book you have inside you is really the knowledge you have about how to do stuff.
That's all books are, anyway, right? Knowledge that you have. Ideas. When you sell a book, you are selling your ideas. If the knowledge you have will teach someone a new skill, then your book will have value.
The reasons to publish electronically really outweigh print for me:
1. Ebooks can be produced quickly.
In this economy, if you want to make money selling an ebook, you need to write it and get it published fast, so you can pay that bill. Even self-publishing a print book takes far longer than publishing an ebook. Editing is fast, and if you are a writer, then you know an editor, somewhere. Ask around your writer group, and you'll find someone. Do have your book professionally edited. If that person can format your book, all the better. If you are confident in your abilities, then do it yourself--it's cheaper. But don't just slap something together in Times New Roman font, single-spaced, and call it finished. Make it high-quality.
2. Ebooks can be sold as immediate downloads.
When someone is searching for information on how-to-do something, if you can offer the information for immediate download, this may be the tipping point in your favor. Folks purchase things online all the time, so why not receive their purchase immediately? They are probably going to read it on their computer, anyway, and can always burn it to a CD if they are worried about backing it up.
3. Ebooks are good for the environment.
Think not only of the paper, but the fuel needed to truck something across the country. The paper needs to be trucked to the printer. So does the ink. Then the books are printed. They need to be packed into a mailer (paper and/or plastic). They are mailed, and transported via truck or airplane (fuel) to your door. Over and over and over again. Or, create an ebook, and someone downloads it onto her computer. Done and done. She already has a computer, and so do you. The environmental impact is minimized.
4. Ebooks can provide an interactive reading experience.
Paper books are great. Curling up with a good book is a wonderful experience. Knowing that we read left-t0-right and have to turn pages is important for children just learning to read. However, you are literate, and want to know how to make soap. Fine. While reading that ebook, you wonder, "Where am I going to buy these materials?" Active links can be included in an ebook, and if being read on a device that is also Internet-ready, one click transports the reader directly where he needs to go. Can't do that with a paper book. A large portion of one of my books is a list of the best soap suppliers on the Internet. This also adds value to my book, and if you have that knowledge, will add value to yours as well. Consider it.
In addition to links, the reader can adjust the size of the print, by zooming in or out. I love this feature, more and more, as I age. * sighs *
I'm certain there are other reasons. Do you know of other reasons why ebooks rule? Do you have a how-to craft book inside you? Maybe now is the time to get started on it. Leave a comment, and tell me what how-to book you want to write.