Sunday, January 14, 2007

The E-Publishing Explosion

Is it just me, or is anyone else a little worried about the glut of e-publishers flooding the internet? My relationship with e-pubs is both dramatic and curious, since I have had very good experiences and very bad, as well. Many regular blog visitors will recall very bizarre experiences last year. Yet the little voice in my soul who cries out in hope for the industry refuses to simply "go negative."

True, a new e-publisher seems to appear every week. I'm not speaking figuratively, either. Last night I was cruising one of my favorite forums after a long hiatus away and noted two new names in the announcement section. One was an offshoot of another e-pubber with a somewhat positive, though not widely recognized, name. The other was brand new and had a website plagued by broken links, sloppy and unprofessional design and graphics, and spelling errors that would make a college freshman majoring in Math cringe.

On the one hand, romance has been one of the few successful genres in e-publishing, with Ellora's Cave blazing a path that very good e-publishers followed. To date my experiences with both the writers, review coordinators, and literary quality found at Freya's Bower, Amber Quill, and Forbidden Publications have been very good. There are others I've heard good things about. And then there is the endless, perpetually appearing, mysteriously staffed, dubiously promoted tide of others.

It makes me nervous. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does. I see talented writers who seem impatient for publication rushing to submit without carefully considering the legitimacy of this new, hyped up, bucket of promises. I see new names appearing weekly, often with absolutely no muscle behind them.

Interestingly, when Susan Schulman and I sat down over a year and a half ago to consider opening some kind of online publishing venture, we considered e-publishing. Romance News happened when we both decided it would be the most fun. But before that decision came about both e-publishing and "personalized books" were strong contenders. We shied away from e-publishing because we felt the market was being flooded to the point of ridiculousness and few were delivering the quality promised.

I find myself wishing more people were as hesitant as we were.

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