Monday, December 19, 2011

Once You Go "E" You Won't Want To Go Back
Guest Post Karen Wojcik Berner

Thank you so much, Beverly, for inviting me to guest post on your wonderful blog.

It was an exciting time, back in March 2010, when I released A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) as an e-book. Electronic publishing was relatively young. Kindle sales were beginning to rise. The Nook was less than six months old. iPads were not on the market yet. The first indie superstar, Karen McQuestion, was generating some buzz. Amanda Hocking was just about to upload the first of her barrier-breaking novels.

My participation in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition convinced me my manuscript might have a chance in the marketplace. It had placed well enough and had garnered some good reviews, even from Publishers Weekly. It had been vetted by two English professors, several beta readers, and a professional editor. Even Peter Gabriel had given me consent to quote one of his songs in it. If it was good enough for the God of Music, as I like to refer to him, it was time to get this book out. I decided to release it first as an e-book to test the waters, to see if it would stick.

The first year A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) was available was like a master class in e-publishing. I hit every online forum. Read every article I could find. Scanned through Kindle Boards for hours on end to soak up as much information as possible. Sales went well enough each month to tease me along, despite the overwhelming information dump I was trying to digest.

Here is an example of what it felt like. About two weeks ago, I bought this top that is either the coolest, most artsy shirt ever or a goofy, multicolored thing that looks like a shortened choir robe. Great buy or folly? I do not know for sure. Mix that feeling with coordinating marketing plans, soliciting for reviews, purchasing ad space and social networking. Write a blog. Create a website. Join the online book forums. Be approachable. My insides churned rapidly on a daily basis.

Had I made the right choice? I really believed in this story, so I forged on.

About a year later, I started running into people around the neighborhood who told me they had wanted to read my book, but didn’t have e-readers. It was time to release a paperback to cover both audience bases.

Today, I still sell more e-books than physical, typically by a 7:1 ratio, so, needless to say, my decision-making anxiety has been banished. The learning never stops, of course, but now, at least the foundation has been laid. It will be much easier this spring, when I release the second novel of The Bibliophiles series about book club member Catherine Elbert’s journey bouncing from coast to coast in search of her true self.

Please leave Karen some love.  Because she's awesome and answered questions you really wanted to know, not simply because if you leave a comment, you could win an e-copy of A Whisper To A Scream!  (Oops, did I say that out loud?)  Or, you could buy a copy right now. And follow her blog, so you are the first to know when the next book comes out.

P.S.  Are you in for the MLK BlogFest?

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