Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh, It's Only An Ebook . . .

I've always considered myself a reasonable, pretty low key person. I enjoy life, I enjoy my family, and . . . I enjoy writing. As an author, I've had some neat experiences. I have books published by traditional publishers, I've self-published, and I've released books in the now-popular ebook form. I have enjoyed each and every avenue and have learned much.
That being said, I had a comment addressed to me a week ago that really got my creative dander up.

I just released a romance novella ebook. It's one I've rewritten a couple of times over the past few years, and because of life and other projects, it took me a while to get it just the I wanted it.
Oh, I was proud of it when I finished and I was excited to finally release it to my millions of fans (in my mind, at least) hoping the story would touch some romantics out there.
I started advertising and marketing it, talking to many people about it. One day I had a lady say to me:
"Hey, I'm so excited to read your new book! Where can I get it?"
I replied, "You can order the ebook from my website, then either read it on your computer or print it up and stick it in a folder."
"You mean it's not published?" she asked.
"Yes, it's published," I replied. "I published it. I wrote it, I set it up, and you can buy it. I'd say that means it's published."
Her expression changed and she said, "Oh, but it's only an ebook."

Now, because I'm as meek as a lamb (people who know me think otherwise) I bit my tongue and let the comment slide. I smiled, or rather, I winced, and swallowed the bitter bile her words produced.
Only an ebook? Only an ebook, she says! This is my baby being cast aside! Saying it is only an ebook is like saying, "Oh, your child only came in second," or " Oh, your ring is only a cubic zirconia," or "Your child only got a B+ while mine got an A." It's like saying, "Your son is only a scout while my son is an eagle scout," or "Your pearls are only imitations," or "You only have hair extensions, mine is real."

Come on! Why is an author of an ebook not taken as seriously as an author of a printed, published book? I love ebooks. I buy them all the time. There are some great authors out there who make their work available through ebooks. And they are making money! So my new book is an ebook. So what? Does that rank me lower on the totem pole of the writing world?
Absolutely not!
Writing is an amazing job. and whether your book is traditionally published, self-published, or self-published as an ebook, seeing the finished product is very satisfying. You spend countless hours working on a writing project. You write, you learn, you write, and you learn some more. Being an author is an ever-learning profession. There isn't an author out there who can honestly say his or her writing is perfection and there is nothing more they need to learn. Every author should be taken seriously. Every author should take their writing seriously.
And every reader should take every form of book seriously (unless, of course, it's marketed with a crayon-drawn cover, hole punched, and twisty-tied together.)

If you are a writer, everything you write is of value. Never stop learning and growing, and never, ever, ever give up. You can go as far as you want to go. And even if you never reach best seller status, just know that you have something important to say, and by saying it and putting it out there for the world to read, you have indeed reached your own personal best.


  1. Jewel,
    I enjoyed this post. I can see both sides and the reason is-- ebooks are still new. There are lots and lots of great ebooks out there, but there are also lots of ebooks that just aren't great. You understand the ins and outs of publishing, editing, revising a ms to death etc. But let's face it, a lot of people don't.
    Some of the ebooks I have seen look like the person wrote a first draft and published it as an ebook without any revisions, reader feedback etc.
    So hopefully it will make you feel better to understand that opinions might be skewed because of what someone has been exposed to thus far in ebooks. In the same vein, there are lots of actual printed books that are pretty scary too, so you just have to learn to be selective.
    Kudos to you for tapping into new technology and being brave enough to stand up for your work.

  2. I keep reminding myself digital publishing is in its infancy. Nothing more irritating that someone who asks about your book, gets excited, then says, "Oh, tell me when you write a REAL book" when they find out it's electronic.

  3. I admire you for tapping into something new. I really enjoyed your book, and highly recommend it!