Smashwords‘ annual Read an Ebook Week promotion kicked off this morning. That means tons of severely-discounted or free e-books for you to download, now through March 12. Naturally, I’m bringing this up because I’ve got a dozen or so novels, anthologies, and short stories over there, all of which are available for FREE as part of this week’s dealie. Visit my Smashwords page for the lowdown—and remember to tell all your Kindle-wielding friends. That’s what the “Share This” links below are for, though personally I prefer to use a carrier pigeon.
On the subject of e-books, Mark Coker, the Big Cheese over at Smashwords, has posted an editorial on the imminent downfall of the traditional publishing monopoly. A choice quote:
Authors are losing faith in the institution and religion of Big Publishing.
Indeed, the only authors I’ve ever heard from who had positive stories to tell about their publishing experiences were those who’d inked a deal with a smaller house, or an indie.
Farther down the HP article, Coker lists several of the nails in Big Publishing’s communal coffin. In a nutshell: Traditional publishers are asking more from their authors while giving less. “But Big Publishing,” you say, “is the only way to get your books onto store shelves!” What store shelves? All the major brick-and-mortar book retailers are gone. Borders is being shown the door; Barnes & Noble is pretty much all that’s left of the glamorous book mega-store days. If you get a traditional-print book deal today (and if you’re not Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling), your distribution is going to be B&N for a short while, small indie stores for a while longer, and online-only shopping carts once your book’s been out for a couple of years. All the while you’ll be asked to do most of the legwork as far as promotion goes. You’ll have to book your own signings, make your own trailers, host your own parties—why not self-publish to begin with and keep 70% of each book sale for yourself? It might take the edge off the realization that you’re standing in a Wal-Mart parking lot dressed as a giant Kindle with the URL to your new book site printed on the fake screen. Then again, it might not.