It’s not a new idea–that adding a new edition of your book can boost your overall book sales.  But while many self-publishing authors choose to begin with an ebook edition for a variety of reasons (it’s cheaper to produce, is findable using a keyword search, and is easy to distribute and download) and are only too happy to expand into print editions when their ebooks take off … well, suffice it to say the reverse is not quite as common.  Why?

I have a one-word answer for you: stigma.  Many authors who choose to begin their self-publishing experience by going straight to print and eschewing all other options do so because they themselves have a personal preference for the printed book.  Which is lovely.  I too adore the weight of a physical copy in my hand, the almost unidentifiable smell combining paper and industrial toner!  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with preference.  However–and you knew there would be a however in here somewhere!–when authors enforce their own preferences on their readers, there’s a grave danger that they will also enforce a stigma.

And let’s face it, the stigma against ebooks is doing just fine without any help.  A seachange may be starting, but the fact remains that major news outlets like The Guardian and Publisher’s Weekly and the Wall Street Journal have all at one time or another bemoaned the “death of print” instead of lauding the ingenuity of authors who found new ways to reach their readers. And authors themselves have contributed to the stigma–Stephen King, Maurice Sendak, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Ray Bradbury have all spoken out at one time or another against ebooks.

But here are the facts:

Releasing an ebook edition of your novel does not lead inevitably to the “death of literature.”  In fact, it helps to complement your print editions.  You as an author will be able to reach a wider audience by offering both print and ebook editions–and more importantly, your willingness to do so demonstrates a profound respect for your readers and their various needs for accessibility.

An ebook edition is a smart, affordable, effective, efficient, and respectful addition to your work.  Just as an audiobook version of your book (more on that in the future!) can help render your work accessible to a hearing-impaired reader, an ebook renders your work accessible to the visually-impaired reader, the mobile reader, the traveler, and the international reader who maybe doesn’t have access to Amazon shipping or a physical bookstore.  And maybe, just maybe, your book can reach a person who would otherwise feel alone in this world, just as I am here each week to remind you that:

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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