Eventually, you’ll likely read absolutely everything in electronic format. As e-book readers like the Kindle and Nook (too many to list) become more popular and the cost of producing paper-based products continues to increase, people will naturally gravitate toward the less expensive medium. Yes, many older people, like me, will continue to enjoy at least their fictional reading in paper format, but even the most steadfast amongst us has gravitated toward e-book format for professional and technical reading.
Besides saving trees and reducing costs, e-books make it possible to bring many marginal topics to market. An aspiring author can self publish books that a publisher might not be willing to touch because the perceived profit margins are too low. Articles such as Bestseller Success Stories that Started Out as Self-Published Books point out the times when publishers simply got it wrong. The book idea really produced a great book, but the publishing staff didn’t know it. Of course, self-publishing can also produce atrocities that can hardly be called literature. The book publisher has acted as a kind of testing ground for book material in the past, but that era has passed and now the consumer must filter out the good from the relatively large flow of bad material.
There are many sites online that tell you about online publishing and getting your work self-published. I personally started with Creating an e-book: Tips on formatting and converting your document. It’s a comprehensive article with a lot of great tips that just about anyone will find useful. A problem with many of the resources you find online is that they’re oriented toward a particular genre, device type, publication method, or content type so that the advice is less useful than it could be.
However, my favorite new source of information for everything to do with e-book publishing is The Electronic Author. The material on this blog is published by someone who actually does output a number of e-books each year and has a copious number of books to his credit, Wallace Wang. In fact, I recently reviewed on such offering, Math for the Zombie Apocalypse. So, unlike many other places you could go for information, this blog really is run by someone with a considerable amount of experience.
The point I’m trying to make is that if you do plan to self-publish the next great American novel, you need to research the required techniques before you make the attempt. Otherwise, you could find that your book doesn’t sell well (or possibly at all). There are a lot of resources out there for improving your product. Everyone who wants to read your book also wants to see it in a usable format. Let me know your thoughts about self-publishing at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.