“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Cheap Shortcut To E-Oblivion

He’s an award-winning author and an agent, and he self-publishes his own ebooks, but it may be coming time for some enterprising publisher to employ Allan Guthrie as a commissioning editor. Allan was one of the contributors, along with Stephen Leather, Susanne O’Leary and Victorine Lieske, to a feature I had published in the Irish Times yesterday on the subject of epublishing, where he suggested that the publishing industry is missing a trick in not utilising the new technology to its own advantage. To wit:
“I find it odd,” says Guthrie, “that at a time when ebook sales are escalating, more publishers aren’t setting up ebook-only imprints and acquiring titles for those new lines like there’s no tomorrow. It seems like a no-brainer to me that you could put out cheap digital editions first, see what flies, and produce paper versions of the more successful ones (and print on demand for the others). So to me it seems that digital and print can be complementary. But then, I’m not a publisher. At least, not of anyone other than myself.”
  For the rest of the feature, clickety-click here
  There’s a podcast that dovetails with the feature, in which yours truly, Anna Carey and Fintan O’Toole chat about epublishing and the future of genre publishing in Ireland. Both Anna and Fintan make the same point about epublishing, as did a number of people who contacted me from the publishing industry in the wake of the feature’s publication, which is that epublishing isn’t as simple as it looks, particularly in terms of the need for an editor. With which point I agree wholeheartedly - my own ebook, EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, was a previously published title which benefited from having an editor. I’d further suggest that an editor isn’t the only requirement: if you’re going to successful at self-publishing as an e-author, you’ll need (among other things, including a bloody good book) a professional to design your cover, another to format / typeset the work, and you’ll also need to invest heavily (time or money) in promotion. In other words, readers are fully entitled to expect the same quality from their ebooks as they would from a conventionally published title. Any writer who believes epublishing is a cheap shortcut to getting published is taking a cheap shortcut to oblivion.
  For that podcast, clickety-click here