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Senior Correspondent

"Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel" by Phyllis Zimbler Miller (Smashwords, 2011)

In the post I wrote here entitled How Self-Publishing at the Age of 60 Led to a Career (in Social Media), I spoke about how deciding to self-publish my novel through a POD (Print-on-Demand) publisher launched my social media marketing career.

Now let’s fast forward three years later. Of course during this time I’ve been tracking the book publishing industry and following news of changes. And in fact I was rather proud that I had hired someone in April of 2008 (only months after the Kindle launched) to convert my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” to a Kindle format.

But despite my apparent diligence in following book marketing news, I only recently realized I had missed some major sea changes.

To start with, in April 2008 my POD publisher BookSurge wanted me to price the paperback of “Mrs. Lieutenant” at $19.99. I insisted that this was way too high for a paperback book. BookSurge would only come down to $17.99 and that had to be that.

But later BookSurge merged with another Amazon unit, CreateSpace, which gives authors much more control over their self-publishing decisions. And recently I realized I could now lower the price of the paperback of “Mrs. Lieutenant,” which I now have at $13.99. This was big! No longer having to go along with the dictates of the POD publisher! 

Yes, this means I make less per book as the book price drops. But my aim has always been to have as many people as possible read about this slice of women’s social history. A lower price should make this book more accessible.

Multiple eBook Platforms Offer New opportunities for Authors

Now I don’t remember what my Kindle version was priced at, but I’m sure it was too high. And just recently I had an unsettling thought: I bet the Kindle software has changed so much that my Kindle version of “Mrs. Lieutenant” probably no longer looks good. I immediately checked out this concern — and I was right. The novel looked a mess.

Meanwhile, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Sony’s Reader, Border’s Kobo, the iPad, and several other eBook platforms have been making inroads into Kindle’s eBook market share. It occurred to me that I was short-sighted to have “Mrs. Lieutenant” only on the Kindle.

Thanks to Twitter connections, my business partner Yael K. Miller found Chris O’Byrne, whose eBook conversion services are at www.ebook-editor.com.

I hired Chris to do a new Kindle conversion for “Mrs. Lieutenant” as well as converting the novel into the other major eBook formats.

Then I hired Chris to create the eBook-only novel “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders,” which I adapted from two screenplays that I had written with my husband Mitchell R. Miller. Chris created the Kindle version as well as the other eBook versions for this eBook-only novel.

And if you’re a book author and don’t yet own any eBook devices or an iPad, here’s the neat thing about how you can check your eBooks before they are uploaded to the eBook sites. You can download eBook reader software for free such as from Kindle and read the Kindle version on your computer.

Now Why Are These eBook Opportunities So Important?

Because when J.K. Rowling announced she was launching the site Pottermore to sell Harry Potter eBooks for the first time and that the eBooks would be available across all major eBook platforms, her actions can be expected to cause a seismic change in the demand for eBooks.

While eBook readership has steadily risen, with an onslaught of readers clamoring to carry their seven Harry Potter books in a lightweight device instead of the seven heavy paperbacks or hardcover tomes, eBook acceptance and usage should become astronomical.

If you are the author of books that have not yet been converted to eBooks, now is the time to have this done. You want to be ready for the tidal wave of demand for eBooks in all formats.

To buy “Mrs. Lieutenant” for $2.99 in different eBook formats, scroll down this page at Smashwords — http://budurl.com/MrsLTebooks.

To buy “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” for $2.99 in different eBook formats, scroll down this page at Smashwords — http://budurl.com/MollieSandersebooks.

And for sample chapters see www.MrsLieutenant.com and www.MollieSanders.com.

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