Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To ePub, or not to ePub...

I'm sure you have noticed there has been quite a buzz lately about self publishing for e-books- I certainly have anyway! And what perfect timing it is, because Hubby and I have been in the market for a tablet, and all of our research on the topic has coincided rather nicely.

Which is good, because I don't really enjoy doing research for a techie product. I do have to admit that this is something I'll need to know a lot about, because the future of children's books are indeed a techie topic. So I wondered, which product should we buy... the iPad? the Xoom? and what about all the other new tablets whose-names-I-do-not-yet-know coming out, (nearly daily, it seems like)? And what about self publishing in an e-book format? How do I feel about that little controversy?

I had to think hard about what all of this e-pubbing means to me, and what kinds of tools I am looking for. We have smart phones, iPods, and various laptop/netbook/computers. And I really do prefer books in their floppy, flippable, stinky-paper form. So why do we need a tablet, anyway? (Other than to satiate my Better Half's undying quest to collect all things plug-able?)

  • Well, for one thing, it's a super duper handy tool to show off one's portfolio. I've been hearing that artists all around have started using them, and with good reason. The clarity of the images is quite amazing! It is lightweight, small, and (unlike a laptop or netbook), it boots up instantly. No waiting time!  I also won't be wasting as much ink and paper for printing (which always comes out the wrong color). And I'll be able to wow my clients in a superhero kind of flashy way!
  • Bloggers will appreciate the larger screen and built-in camera that are seamlessly integrated with one another, (although the missing keyboard might lead me to use a computer instead. I refuse to buy a keyboard, and I'm pretty cozy here at my desk.)
  • With the popularity of the iPad and e-books, e-reader apps are available for everyone to use. So there truly is a market for children's books on these devices. Where else can you find sounds, animation, and little games hidden within a picture book? Only on a computer, which is less travel friendly and harder to use for little fingers. But with a touch screen? Only on a tablet, my dear reader.
  • Also, if I do consider e-pubbing one day, I will need the actual tool to test it on. I will have to see what in the market is selling, which can be best viewed on... you guessed it, a tablet.
  • Plus, Angry Birds is so much easier to play when you can see the whole screen in one shot. (I'm just kidding!! Actually, no, I'm not... but that isn't the reason why I'm in the market for one.)

And although there are plenty of people out there who are pro self-publishing and against Big Publishers, or are pro Big Publishers and against self-publishing, or even stuck right in the middle with no idea what to think about all this (like I've been for a while)- I have finally come to my own conclusion! *ta daaaaaaa!* (now would be a good time to toss some glitter up in the air)

It's just another medium. *gAsP!*

There, it's out in cyberspace now, let's see how long it takes to get around. The arguments people are having over traditional publishing versus self e-publishing are the equivalent of me saying that "Acrylics are the proper medium with which to illustrate a picture book, and anyone who uses Watercolors are not taking this job seriously."

Yes, I know, watercolors are awesome! But there are just some things that they cannot accomplish, like being waterproof. And acrylics are awesome too, but sometimes the job just really needs the delicate wash of a watercolor. Why can't we all just get along, and use both?

For example: I have a picture book in dummy form that I am currently working on, sending out, and generally grinding my teeth over. I'm not planning on self publishing this book, in paper or digital form. Why not? Because of the art, my dear reader, the art! The style in which I am painting my story needs to be printed on paper, just like an oil painting needs to hang on a wall. I want my viewers to see the brush strokes and perhaps even trace them with their fingers, without moving a screen around in the process. That book is just meant to be a real tangible book! And I want to do my first-ever book the Classic way, through rejection letters and nail biting. It just feels like the way to go for me.

BUT- On the other hand, (or hoof, or hook, depending on whatcha got): I have another picture book (series) I have been twiddling around with, and because I think it would be really neat to illustrate it in a digital format, it would be even neater to publish it with all the bells and whistles and such nonsense. It's just downright fun! Why not make my character squeak each time you squish him? Or run off the page when you flick him? He's part of my imaginary world, and his character literally comes alive on the page. Who wouldn't want to take a tour of Hogwarts??? (By golly- I've just realized this! I hope they make that app someday! Or maybe it already exists!?! Must investigate...)

Anyways, that's my schpeel on the topic. I'm no Pro- heck, I'm not even published yet! But this blog is all about my journey, and why I come to certain conclusions, and the HOW of it all. It may or may not help you with your own agenda, but I betcha these links will do the job just dandy-fine:

Amanda Hocking's story (be sure to read the comments- very insightful!)
Nathan Bransford's response (again, the comments here are also quite ravishing)
More Authors... 
Should You Self Publish? 
The Economics of Self Publishing
E-Book History 'n stuff 
Lulu Self Pubbing and Book Printing 
Best Kids' Book Apps
And just for fun :)

As you do your own research, let me know if you find any more of these lovely gem-like links, so I may share them here in this post. The comment box is ready for you!

As always, thanks for reading! :)

p.s. I found some more links since I've posted... so here they are! (last edited 3/22/11)
Indie vs. Traditional
A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
Smashwords Blog
Pigs, Gourds, and Wikis
Technology & Reading Devices by Elizabeth O. Dulemba!


  1. Love your post cuz I'm doing the same thing right now, to e-pub or not to e-pub. I suggest the ipad just cuz I have one and I like the aspect ratio over some of the more wide screen tablets, also great for testing those e-pubs of yours if you get around to it. And the sad reality is that all the bookstores are going away:(

  2. Thanks for your comments, Missy!

    I think the best we can do is watch and read every possible bit of news we can find on the topic, until we each find our own answer.

    I don't think book stores will go away, though. Not quite yet! There are still plenty of us who love the real thing too much (myself included). But I think it is important to realize that e-pubbing is a very different medium, and we will have to go about it the right way. Books and e-books each have their own pluses and minuses, and playing to each medium's strengths will benefit not only the author/artist, but also the reader!

    We ended up going with the Xoom, by the way. Only because we're having enough trouble as it is with two iTunes/iPod users sharing the same (but different) music. It's been driving us crazy! Haha! So far we're happy with our purchase- this particular tablet can handle Flash, has an SD slot, and by summer time will be 4G capable. :)