This week on Slate Tammy Oler wrote about Hugh Howey, the author of Wool. Wool began as a short story sold as an e-book on Amazon. It was so well received that readers on Amazon asked Howey to continue the story. Howey went on to release Wool as a serial novel and it has since gained a remarkable following.
Time was this was not possible for writers. Being a writer – of any genre – involved systematic rejection. Submitting your work for publication felt like running a cheese grater over your soul. After 5,492 rejections, maybe, just maybe, you established yourself as a writer.
Now an unknown writer can go on Amazon, Lulu, or Blurb to publish their book. Rather than submit their work to umpteen publications and wait four months to be rejected, a writer can peddle his short story in electronic format for 99 cents, and a reader can purchase it. Rather than submit their novel to an agent who reads hundreds of manuscripts, a writer can publish an e-book and sell it directly on their blog.
E-readers give readers these choices. For a few dollars I can purchase an e-book written by someone who is unknown to me.
I can’t say that e-readers by themselves have opened up these opportunities. There are too many factors to make such a broad statement. However, it has given readers and writers choices.
If you have experience in self-publishing or any thoughts on the subject, I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to share your comments below.