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Brave New Word: Ebook–What is it and how does it fit into our lives?

According to Wikipedia the first ebook (electronic book) was created by Michael S. Hart in 1971 when he typed the United States Declaration of Independence into a computer.  Hart, an author, had been given unlimited computer time by the operators of the Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois and wanted to do something worthy of his time. While computers were being used mainly for data processing then, Hart decided to use it for information distribution.

It wasn’t until 1992 when Sony created the Discman that there was a reader for the ebook. Now the ebook has grown in such popularity that not only have many new devices sprung up for reading it, but it is an alternative format for print books, with its own category on Amazon.

Ebooks have many benefits for authors and readers.

  • Ebooks enable authors to get their books disseminated widely and more quickly. Some authors test the market with an ebook version of the first few chapters of their book and finish their work according to reader responses.
  • Ebooks incur no production costs  and  are much more affordable to purchase. With no startup or setup costs involved, an ebook is almost all profit for the author or publisher. Then with an average cost range of 99 cents to $7.99, the ebook is much more appealing to readers.
  • Ebooks are so much more accessible and portable. One frequent traveler and avid reader shared how he was slow to embrace the Kindle when it first appeared on the market, until he discovered the joy of being able to carry up to 1500 books in a device he could slip into his briefcase.
  • As eReaders have become more and more sophisticated, one of the biggest benefits of an ebook is its hyperlink capability. Now when an author mentions a source or website in the text, you can visit the source with one click. You can take notes, save your spot, look up terms and interact with a text in a way not possible with print books.

Ebooks mean no amassing and storing inventory

  • Ebooks and magazine articles can now be available in digital libraries, enabling educators, researchers and students to access information instantly and conveniently without geography or limited copies being a barrier. At a meeting for online teachers recently, one of the university librarians shared the ease with which our students can now access books and articles from the library from within our online courses. We were also learned that the library will create  digital guides specific to our courses if we will identify the materials we want our students to access.
  • The popularity of the ebook has lead to it being accessible even if you don’t own an eReader.  While eReaders must still be purchased, the software for reading ebooks  is available for free for your computer, smartphone and other devices.

Books are no longer the only material that is digitized and available in electronic form.

Magazines, journals and newspapers are now easily accessible in e-versions, saving money, sparing trees, but unfortunately also leading to the demise of major companies that were built on print reading materials.

Ebooks have called many things into question

  • When aspiring authors ask how long is an ebook, there is no definitive answer. The number of words on a print page no longer applies since the page size of an ebook depends on the size of the device on which it’s being read. Then there are varying font styles and sizes which affect the number of words on a page.
  • The pricing of  ebooks has caused one of the biggest disruptions in the world of publishing.  The reading public who was quite willing to pay $19.99 for a 6″ x 9″ paperback, refuse  to pay the same price for the digital version.  This issue gained attention in the news when a lawsuit was filed against Apple and five major publishers charged with illegally fixing the prices of ebooks in an effort to fight back against Amazon.
  • While ebooks were at first the digital version of a print book, many authors are writing ebooks as the first and sometimes only version of a book.
  • Bestseller status no longer applies just to authors of print books. Bestseller is now based on number of sales whether they were print or digital books.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that book lovers are not ready or willing  to give up the touch and smell of  “real” books, much less the indescribable pleasure of browsing library or bookstore shelves and sharing copies with their friends.

While we have yet to settle on how we will spell ebooks (Ebooks? e-books? eBooks?) we can’t deny that they have changed writing, publishing and reading forever.

The ebook is indeed the Brave New Word.

Download the ebook version of my book, “Color Your Life Happy: Create the Success, Abundance and Inner Joy You Deserve”  here or the Kindle version here.

An Author is an Amateur Writer Who Didn't Quit

Richard Bach encouraged us to never stop trying. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

That’s great advice from a wonderful author. The only catch is that many amateur writers don’t aspire to become professionals, at least not at first. They often just want to tell their story, right a wrong, share a solution to a problem, or offer motivation to people struggling with problems they once had.

Does this sound like you?

Almost everyday I meet amateur writers who have been churning out amazing work, but have never published it.

Like the

  • poet who has readings with friends and family but hasn’t collected his work in a book or ebook where we can all enjoy it
  • the gourmet cook who has created amazing recipes scribbled on sheets of paper stuffed in a recipe box
  • the home gardener who has figured out a foolproof way to nourish perennials that anyone can follow
  • the social worker who has kept a journal for years chronicling her successful techniques in working with many struggling families
  • You see, a  published author does not have to write massive tomes, winding novels or an aloe vera cure for skin cancer.A published author is an amateur writer who takes an entertaining idea, a solution to a problem, a stirring memoir or a collection of inspirational poetry and gets it into print or digital form where we can all enjoy and benefit. With so many improvements in the publishing industry this has gotten easier than ever.

    To see your book published, however, is not in the hands of the publishing industry alone. You must do something unpublished writers never do.

    You must finish.

    Not when you feel like it, but consistently, feverishly, obsessively, until you end up with a first draft.

    The first draft is called a rough draft, but it is more than that. It is the magical first step to becoming an author. Every author, whether famous or not, has to meet this challenge using whatever energy, time or resources are available to him or her.

    The first draft is not perfect. It may be choppy, tentative and in need of many revisions. It’s not ready to go to print yet, but it has to come first.

    When do you write?

    Today.
    Tomorrow.
    Whenever you can.

    Will you sit idly sometimes wondering if you’ll ever think of another word to write? Absolutely!

    But you keep writing, and you don’t wait for ideal conditions.

    –You don’t wait until you can get away to a Walden Pond where you can write in a pristine setting free of  interruptions.

    –You don’t wait until the kids are grown or until you can afford the latest computer or pen.

    –You make time in your day or night to sit down and begin to organize your scraps of paper, journal entries or random ideas into an order that can be understood by another person.

    As a matter of fact, if you are going through struggles in your life right now, write about them. You may not end up publishing all of this, but what better time to hone your writing skills than now while you are in the heat of your challenges. Besides, it is therapeutic to talk about what’s happening in your life, even if it’s just in your journal for now.

    Here’s a message I got from an aspiring author
    ==============
    Hi Dr. Brown,

    I am a procrastinator. I have not gone to the website that you suggested to take the training to learn how to write my book. I need motivation. I have a burning desire to write but my current life situation does not lend itself to privacy to write. I currently live with my mother who has a pacemaker and is 80 years old. I have to spend time with her and my mind is not clear to write. I have writers block. I am also working a part time job in [deleted her location] and having problems getting accustomed to the culture since I left the South due to the racism but now that I have returned it is very prominent and I am not accustomed to the type of culture that I am forced into in the work environment. I can’t stand living in the past where people are prohibited to learn and advance. This is what I am experiencing.
    ============

    My response to her

    You express some of the same pain and challenges that other writers undergo. Add to that your return to the South and living with your mother and it definitely makes for a writing challenge.

    On the other hand, some writers find that when they make time to journal about their struggles they feel better and after many, many entries often have the makings of a great book.

    Do you write down your feelings and experiences? Get your feelings and thoughts on paper/computer and watch what a relief it’ll be. Instead of being blocked, when you write about what you’re going through, you’re likely to have a gush of writing.

    ===========

    There are many ways to go from first draft to published book, but there is not just one way. The one essential element is YOU, the writer willing to finish a first draft. Another vital element is ANOTHER PERSON, like me, willing to take you by the hand and point out some ways to get your book published. If you would like to have a conversation about your writing project, I’m ready to explore ideas with you. Contact me at http://coloryourlifepublished.com/website/contact learn more.

    How Do You Write a Book Worth Reading?

    When Jonathan Fields, blogger, author, and entrepreneur recently announced his book marketing program, Tribal Author, he wrote

    This is the most incredible time in history to be an author. Power, freedom and, yes, money, are there for the taking…if you get what’s really happening and are willing to act on it.

    Doesn’t matter if you’ve never published or you’re an established author. Nor does it matter if you’re a writer’s writer or a business person wanting a book to use as a business card. You don’t need to censor, cannibalize or sell-out to benefit from the revolution. In fact, it’s more important than ever to write a phenomenal book.

    Further down the page he stresses the importance of building an enterprise (more than what most call a platform) and learning to launch a campaign because writing a great book is not enough. If you are scanning his blog page fast you may miss when he says this

    (Hack alert: this assumes you actually know how to write a book worth reading. Nothing will save a book that’s horrid).

    I  agree that this is the most amazing time in history for authors who grasp the part they must play in selling their book, but how do you determine if a book is worth reading?

    Some pretty horrid books were forced upon me in college because somebody had decided they were great literature. I survived to go on and write some pretty horrid stuff myself, some of which a few people bought.

    Who decides if a book is worth reading?

    The road to writing success is paved with rejections. A few of these are legendary:

    • Chicken Soup for the Soul books were rejected by more than 100 publishers before they found one who would print their book.  They still had to create demand for the book, working everyday for a long time until their idea caught fire.
    • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of ideas.
    • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
    • By the time Stephen King was 14 he had received so many rejection slips that they were too heavy for the nail holding them up. He replaced it with a spike.
    • J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers and almost by a 13th publisher, who gave in when his daughter pleaded with  him to publish the book.

    These authors could have been rejected for many reasons, of course, but it’s clear that their writing was not considered worth reading.

    Who decides if a book is worth reading?

    Since a publisher takes a substantial financial risk in carrying a book to market, it’s understandable that they get to decide if a book is worth reading. Publishers don’t like taking risks. They are like banks that only want to loan money to people who already have plenty of it.

    If a literary agent is being asked to shop your book around to find a willing publisher, it is the agent who quickly decides if she thinks she can convince a publisher to take on your book.

    But what if the end user, the reader, got to decide what is worth reading. Wouldn’t that be great?

    That is exactly where we stand now with blogs, ebooks and other digital products. Because the reader is free to read these types of writing directly from the author, it is the reader who decides if your work is worth reading.

    No one is born a great writer

    “Some critics will write ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer’–which is right after being a natural heart surgeon.”
    – Maya Angelou

    Like learning to play the piano, lining words up to convey our thoughts may come easier to some than others, but we all have to practice, refine and hone our writing skills. Who is to say when our writing is good, good enough or great?

    Writing is a lifetime endeavor, in fact. Every time an author starts a new book, she is at the beginning again.

    There is a point at which you must let a manuscript go, a point at which you must decide you’re finished. You remember that feeling when an assignment was due in high school or college and you had to turn it in, imperfect as it was.

    Writers don’t have to be great to be worth reading

    Changes in publishing  have made it possible for anyone  to churn out a book. Some may have to hawk their work directly to readers to find their audience. But every writer’s  goal may not be to please a big audience or to rake in millions.

    Take the poems I write every Christmas chronicling the year’s events in my family, for example. My audience is small. My poems are corny and the ryhming fractured. And yet, if one of my friends fails to receive his copy of my Christmas poem, he calls requesting it.

    Since greatness is in the mind of the reader, I encourage writers to write, to rewrite, to read what they consider good writing and then write some more.

    “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”–Toni Morrison

    If you intend to make your living from writing or will measure your book’s worth by how copies sold, then by all means you must turn substantial attention to marketing. Introvert or not you will have to hustle.  The traditional publisher, even after you win his blessings, won’t be much help with this. Dan Poynter, Mr. Publishing, points out that whether you go with traditional publishing or self-publish, you will have to market your own book.

    How do you write a book worth reading?

    Write a book worth writing.

    How do you decide a book’s worth?

    Writing a Book is the Rage: Are You a Published Author Yet?

    Is it just me or does writing a book seem to be the latest rage?

    My email bulges with announcements of teleseminars, conferences, retreats, summits and classes all set on helping aspiring authors and ambitious entrepreneurs write books, and fast. Workshops and packaged courses promise that you can write [Read more…]

    Authors Welcome Here

    You have found your way here. That tells me something. You are either writing a book, thinking about writing a book, or trying to figure out how to publish the one you wrote.

    On this site you’ll find help in many forms. Resources, tips, and announcements of classes and other events for aspiring authors and self-publishers.

    Get [Read more…]