Monday, February 22, 2010

Guest Author -- Allison Knight

After teaching school for many years, and loving it, author Allison Knight decided that writing happy-ever-after stories appealed, especially when she knew she could do a bit better than some of the romances she read. In her own words, Allison "loves creating characters and then making their lives miserable until getting to the happy-ever-after part". We are happy to have her dishing with us today as she weighs in on e-Publishing versus Print Publishing. Please welcome Allison to The Romance Dish!

With the advance of the internet, many authors wonder, ‘Is e-publishing for me?’ And it’s a legitimate question. Before you decide there are facts you need to consider.

Before you submit to an e-publisher, you have to have a finished book. That makes sense because an e-publisher needs to know how many words are in your manuscript. And there is also the little known fact that some people write a great beginning, but can’t finish a book. Then there is the time factor to consider. No matter the stories out there, most of the big print publishers look at a proposal and have many steps to go through before the decision is made to buy the book. It takes time, as much as two years. So you have time to finish the book.

I’ve mentioned time. With most e-publishers we’re talking weeks, perhaps two or three months before a decision to buy is made. That’s quite a difference from the one to two years I’ve mentioned with big print publishers.

I have to mention postage costs. Many of the major print publishers want a hard copy of your work. Only a few editors insist on e-mail, so you’re dealing with the cost of postage. It’s a tax deduction if you file taxes in the United States, but it’s an expense you have to consider. And mailing a full 90,000 word manuscript costs money. With e-publishers everything is handled over the internet, so you have your internet expense, which you probably would have anyway.

I’ll pause here and mention something called vanity publishing and POD. Vanity publishing is when you pay to have your work published. It’s given the name because, let’s face it, the reason you want the book published is a boon to your personal feelings. You want your name in print, or you want the information you’ve research available with your name attached. The new electronic machines available to print books at once, POD (Print On Demand) make it all possible. But I contend you don’t want to have to pay to have someone to buy your hard work.

Everyone wants to talk about “Money”. With a print publisher, you are offered an advance against royalties, if they decide after a year or two that they want your book. However, If you don’t finish the book, they want the money back.

Let’s say they decide to buy your book, you have your advance in two, three or four installments, then the book is released. You wait for the first royalty check. And surprise, surprise. After they subtract the amount paid in the advance, they withhold anywhere from a fourth to half for something called reserves. This is what the most people don’t know about print publishers. Their business model, especially with paperbacks, says they can print so many copies, but if the copies don’t sell in a month or two, the bookstore can rip the cover from the book, throw away the rest, return the cover to the publisher and get what they paid for the book returned to them. The story is a bit different with trade paperbacks or hard copies, but they don’t print many of them. So after the advance, you wait a while, sometimes a long while for whatever money the book nets. Also there is the percentage of royalties on each copy. Most digital publishers pay three to four times the amount of percentage when compared to a major print publishers.

I have to mention the cost of buying an e-book compared to a print book. E-books are much cheaper. They don’t involve print expenses, paper and distribution costs. You don’t have to spend money on gas to go to the store to buy the book or pay the shipping costs if you order the book from an online store. If you have a cell phone with internet connection, you probably can read the book on you phone, or on your computer unless you splurge and buy a reader.

Which brings up distribution. No one can deny the major publishers have a lock on bookstore and chain store distribution. But with the internet and more and more place available to purchase digital reading material the means of distribution are slowly changing. No matter the method of publication, an author must promote his or her work. Again the internet seems to be the most effective means of communication.

One last point. With e-publishing, you have your book available for a long, long time. Several of my original e-published books are still available on the internet. As long as the publisher and I agree the books can be bought they can be purchased. If you like one of my books, others are available for sampling. But not least is the fact that with e-publishing your book can be sold worldwide without waiting for a foreign company to buy rights and translate.

So there you have it. The reasons I like being an e-published author. And yes, I do have the credentials to compare. My first six books were purchased and printed by a major print publisher. My next ten books are e-published book. I plan to have all the rest of my literary endeavors also available in digital format.

Thank you for dishing with us today, Allison! Readers, what are your thoughts on e-Publishing versus Print Publishing? And do you have any questions for Allison?

What upcoming releases does Allison have coming up? In March, she has a gothic short story called The Haunting at Hastings Hall, part of the Shadowed Hearts Series. Here's a blurb....

Late at night, a ghostly light announces, "Find the will." The voice sounds like Aunt Phoebe - but they buried her that morning.

As Ellie Parker searches for the missing document, she knows her time in her adopted home will soon come to an end. She'll have to leave when her step-cousin inherits the property.

The husband of the step-cousin insists he's interested in Ellie, not his wife, and the young doctor who cared for her dying aunt also wants to spend time with her. So, why are the men pursuing her? Was her aunt really poisoned as the doctor says and what will happen if she doesn't find the will?

And August brings the sequel to her award-winning novel, Heartsong, titled Battlesong....

Their marriage begins with a lie. Tricked into wedding young Laren Blair, the daughter of a Scottish laird, Arthur ap Brynn Ffrydd, an English baron, abandons her at his keep. When he finally returns six years later she has won the affection of his people but all he sees are the changes she has made. Their battles begin.

She fears her life will be as miserable with Arthur as it was with her cruel father. He envisions losing his property to her Scottish clan. As they learn to tolerate each other, desire draws them together. When Laren is kidnapped and Arthur is wounded in battle they realize they love each other. Reunited, can their love withstand the strain of another lie?

For more information about Allison, check out her website and her blog!


  1. Allison, Your stories sound interesting. I can see where e-publishing would be preferable financially.
    However, I am one of those who like the feel of a book in my hand. I don't have an ereader, but have held them. It would take some getting used to.

  2. Hello and welcome to The Romance Dish, Allison! We're happy you could join us today. I love the sound of The Haunting at Hastings Hall!

    Thank you so much for giving your take on e-Publishing versus Print Publishing. I've yet to jump on the e-book bandwagon because I don't own an e-reader (though the Nook looks nice) and I just don't have the time to sit in front of a computer screen, especially since I'm a slow reader. LOL--I usually take books with me wherever I go. I can see the appeal and the draw towards e-publishing.

  3. Hi, Allison and welcome!

    I recently got an e-reader (the Nook), so I'm using that format a little more. Certainly more convenient while traveling. I will always buy certain books in print, but to save shelf space, I will buy e-books as well.

    The Haunting At Hastings Hall sounds intriguing. I'll have to add that to my e-book library.

  4. One of the great things about an e-reader that I didn't address is the ability to change the size of the font. Some print books have very small print and with a reader, you can increase the font until it's a comfortanble size, but I wasn't promoting e-readers today, just the means to get to one.

    Thanks for the comments.


  5. Hi, Alison, great information. I'm with you on electronic publishers, especially those who also offer print publication. It's the best of both worlds. Another good feature about epubs, is that even if you sell them on a series, you're not pressured to meet a deadline.

  6. Allison, Nice blog! You provided excellent information for aspiring writers. Just to build on what you said about print publishers...The majority of mass market print publishers only take agented submissions. So the process of aquiring an agent is often times neccessary before submissions to the print publishers is even possible. There are definately pros and cons to both sides of the industry, but epublishing is definately an abounding business!


  7. Great post, Allison, and your books sound awesome. I love ebooks, but I also like the feel of holding one of my books in my hands. The ideal solution is finding a publisher who will offer both. Like Sylvia says, the best of both worlds.

  8. Hi Allison! I love this post. I've been wondering about e-publishing and see the pros to going that route. I want to have at least 4 marketable books (that doesn't include the first one I wrote and currently farm for research) before I go that route. The one advantage of having time in print is the time. But I do see E as a wave of the future.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Couldn't agree with you more, Allison. We're pro-e-books...have been for years, and now that one of us has an e-reader, we're just tickled to be able to travel with a ton of books that take up just a wee bit of purse space.

    Enjoyed your post!

  10. Good summary of the elements of e-publishing. Just one little quarrel. The label vanity publishing. There are any number of good writers who self-published through the years who then went on to fame or fortune as revered popular authors. Poe, Collins and Dickens to name three.
    Vince Flynn is another.

    Here's the thing: In every field other than publishing it is normal and accepted for developers (writers) to invest heavily in new products (novels) and sometimes make fortunes and sometimes not. So why is it so bad for a writer to decide to do the same thing. Lets begin to judge the product, not the process!

  11. Interesting post. I learned a lot. Loved the sound of The Haunting at Hastings Hall.

  12. Hi Allison,
    Interesting post!
    I wish I had an e-reader. I like the idea of all the space saved!

  13. Allison
    Very good information. Can't wait to read Haunting of Hastings Hall.

    Cierra James

  14. My publisher does both, so my books are available in print and e-format, but they haven't really begun to actively market the e-books. A lot of us do still love our print books, but for the younger crowd coming up, e-books are the future. They love their gadgets!