Tag Archive: online bookstores



With the holidays coming fast, I thought now was the perfect time to cover a topic I’d hinted at many times: Print books vs. E-books.

I will be the first to say that when e-readers came out I was more than a little skeptical.  I really didn’t think they would take off the way they had.  Online newspapers I could see, because for one thing it was a great way of lessening the amount of paper going into landfills (in spite of the fact that me and great number of people out there try to recycle).  However, I also saw it as a chance for less trees to be cut down because let’s face it, a number of them were being taken down in spite of all the paper recycling (yes I’m very much into ‘green’ living and recycling).  But I digress.  At the time I really did not see a lot of benefit coming from making books electronically available.

Besides, I was already in love with bookstores.  They’re like a magnets to me and my wife Helen.  And the books inside are like mint to a cat (catnip for those who don’t get the reference), we go bonkers over books.  So you can understand why the concept of electronic books did not really capture my fancy… at first.

However, things began to change when I tried my hand at writing.  I went the traditional route, looking for an agent, getting rejected, and so on and so forth for three years.  During that time I was told time and again I had something unique and interesting (i. e. my Para-Earth Series), BUT it was too unique.  I had crossed too many genres to the point that even agents who were interested had no idea who to try and sell the idea to.  Most publishers have been quite strict about genres and from what I understand still are.  So I had to take a few steps back and have a really long think about what to do.

I could go back and whittle certain elements out and make the story a more traditional horror, or a mystery, a paranormal tale, or a work of pure science fiction.  But none of that appealed to me.  The people who had read or heard about what I was creating were fascinated BECAUSE I had created something entirely new and different.  To lose any of those elements would be tantamount to killing the entire series before it began.

Meanwhile, Helen and other writer friends had been talking about going the independent author route and use Createspace or some other print/electronic publishing system.  I’d be responsible for my own marketing, but as I found out through research, most traditionally published authors were responsible for their own marketing these days as well.  Unless you had the power of Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, or some other mega-star author, most publishers don’t help out as much as they used to.

So I took the plunge and “The Bridge” saw the light of day.  As expected, I soon found e-sales rocketing while traditional paperbacks were only so-so.  This disappointed me in some ways, but I found the benefit of still having paperbacks available a benefit.  Because there are no substitutes for owning a SIGNED edition of a book in the eyes of even the most devoted e-reader fan.

Still I did not invest in any e-readers.  Oh from time to time I thought about it, just to see how my own works appeared so I could see if the formatting held up to the transition (I’m very particular about my work looking right for my readers).  But I still bought paperbacks and haunted used bookstores left and right.

Then last Christmas something unexpected happened.  Helen and I were given a Kindle by her mother as a gift.

Helen took to it right away for its photographic capabilities, while I was pleased but slightly hesitant.  I guess a part of me was afraid just touching it would lead to me falling out of love with my beloved books.  But over time I found the internet function useful, but still I resisted trying to read a book on it.  The screen ‘felt’ too small and I didn’t like not being able to see how much was left to read in each volume.  (I’ve since learned how to know the # of pages left)  But still, I held back.

Then some of my fellow writers online were offering free copies of their books for an honest review in return.  Some had done this for me and I wanted to return the favor.  Plus, with our finances being so tight, a free-read seemed acceptable.  (also in one or two cases, they only had e-versions of their books) So I began downloading a couple of freebies and proceeded to read.

I soon became quite comfortable with using the Kindle and even found my reading speed increasing, much to my surprise.  Eventually I started actually buying some new e-books every so often.

Now, I suspect you’re all thinking “That does it! He’s hooked. Good-bye paper, HELLO Electronic!”

To find out, you’ll have to tune in next week when I complete this two-part entry.  Please understand I’m not just doing things this way because I’m hoping to really boost my numbers.  This topic is lengthy and I don’t want one entry to become as long as the classic “War and Peace”.  So please sit tight and I’ll be back next weekend or sooner to finish my tale about print vs electronic and what the results turned out to be.

Until then, take care and keep writing!

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Go GOOGLE yourself!

And I mean it folks.  Now I’m not trying to be rude or obnoxious folks.  I’m actually being quite serious about this.  Sometimes putting your name in Google and checking out what pops up can be a real eye-opener.

The other day when I was sitting in the library with my wife who was tutoring a student of hers, I pulled out her spare laptop and set it up so I could do some writing.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my flash-drive with me.  Which of course meant, no writing.

So I just started net surfing.  I don’t know what prompted me to do it, but I decided to put my own name into the Google Search to see what would happen.  The results took me ever so by surprise.

Not only did I find all the usual links to my blogs and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, FB, Twitter, etc. but I also found a host of other book sites that were carrying my two novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.  Naturally I was flattered, but then I started checking some of the places listed that I was not familiar with.  It turns out that most of them were outlets that Createspace and Smashwords (who I used for my printed editions and my non-Kindle e-book editions) had forwarded my information to.  It was quite interesting to see how thorough they both were about getting my work out there.

But then I started seeing sites that really surprised me carrying my books.  Places like Chegg and Half.com which are usually associated with school textbooks.  I checked into them and found they were simply selling used copies by people who had grabbed up a copy on the cheap and were now reselling it.  Which came as a relief because, I have known other author who have had their work ‘pirated’ by others.

These ‘pirated’ copies are put out by various people who sell copies of the book without the author or the companies like Amazon, Smashwords, and Createspace knowing about it.  And just like in pirated movies or music, the author gets nothing for every sale made by these people.

So it is important to research who’s carrying your works every so often in case someone has stolen your work and is making money off of it.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom folks.  Sometimes you’ll find something that will really take you by surprise…

One of the things I found in my Google Search was a newspaper review of my first book “The Bridge” which I had never known about.  Why?  Because it was a newspaper over in Michigan and I’m in California.  Apparently, one of the people who had gotten a free e-copy during one of my Kindle ‘Free-Days’ lives there and did a nice review of my book.  I’ll be sharing that review in an upcoming post.

I was completely blown away by this fact.  The only newspaper review I was aware of was one that had come out recently for my 2nd book “The Ship”, where I had personally contacted the newspaper to see if they’d be interested in reviewing the book (hint-hint… remember to do this with your finished works folks.  Contact those local newspapers, radio stations, and even local TV stations).

So it really does pay research your name on the internet sometimes.  It’s not about vanity, but seeing who might be saying what about your work.  And also guarding your creative property from piracy.  Plus you might find some sweet and wonderful reviews you never knew about before.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

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