I am, as you can probably imagine, a big fan of the independent publishing movement. The digital era has made it easy for people to get their story out where others can easily find it, through blogs, websites, and eBooks. This means that there is a lot of content to wade through, and you really can’t be sure of what you are getting, but then again, I’ve read some ‘traditionally published’ stuff that was utter drivel. Just because something has a big name imprint on the spine doesn’t guarantee that what is inside the covers is worth your time, anymore than the fact that a writer has taken matters into their own hands indicates that the work isn’t worth a read. (Of course, I’m biased in that regard. Oh well.)
The truth of the matter is that barriers to entry are lower in the electronic publishing world: the up front costs are minimal, and if you can do all the formatting yourself, with a service like Smashwords, the entire adventure is free.
Still, the technological barriers are real impediments for some people. Getting the formatting just so, putting hyperlinks in so that they work in the electronic world, testing the files out on the various software platforms available to see if the book will work in all the different readers … this takes the proper tools, the skill to use them, and some time.
It’s work I happen to enjoy, though: I have the tools, I have the skill to use them, I have the time. I like tweaking Word documents and running the file through the conversion process to see it transmogrify into six different types of documents, all with the push of one button. It’s cool. I like being able to get words up where people can get to them quickly and easily.
If you are a writer and are looking for help publishing your work electronically, I’m available to help. Look here for more details.