Author Thoughts on Ebook Publishing by Pam Hillman

Pam Hillman has published two ebook-only books with Tyndale House Publishers. With all the speculation on which is best a traditional publisher or self-publishing , Pam gives us her thoughts and opinions on her experience publishing ebooks with Tyndale. 

Tyndale’s Digital First Initiative launched in 2011, the first program of its nature in the CBA market. Tyndale wanted to get more great stories into readers’ hands, and the digital wave gave them the opportunity to do that. I was blessed and excited to be one of five debut authors chosen to launch the program.

When Stealing Jake released through Tyndale’s pilot program in 2011, an author friend emailed me and very sincerely asked me the following question, “I am wondering why you went through Tyndale to publish a Kindle e-book, when you could have gone directly to Amazon.”

My shocked response went something along these lines:

                        Are. You. Kidding? My publisher is Tyndale House!

But then I realized my friend asked a valid question given the current hot trend of self-publishing e-books. After picking her question apart, I began to wonder if she wasn’t really asking why e-book only and not e-book and print book if I was going with a traditional publisher. Still a very compelling question, and one that is easily explained. Digital First is just what it implies: E-book first with the potential to go to print as market conditions warrant.

Since my debut novel was through Tyndale’s Digital First program and my second one is too, I don’t have a yardstick to measure e-book only publishing against print book publishing. But from conversations with friends who have print books out, one of the biggest differences might be how quickly e-books can go from contract to available for purchase. Stealing Jake was available for purchase less than three months after we signed the deal; Claiming Mariah in just over four months. Traditional print books generally take 12-18 months to hit the shelves from when they’re contracted. E-books are a great way for publishers to partner with emerging authors without printing, warehousing, and distributing tens of thousands of print books that might languish in boxes. Once an author has developed a fan base, there is always room to expand into the print market as well, which is much more cost-effective for a traditional publisher than for an author to pursue on her own. And what author doesn’t want her books published in every media available?

I don’t see e-books and print books as competition, but as complimentary to each other. Granted, as a reader, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the e-book age, thinking an e-book just wouldn’t give me the same cozy experience as a print book. But I’ve found that a well-crafted book is just as enjoyable regardless of the medium. When a book sucks me in, I don’t care if I’m turning print pages or clicking a little button to go to the next screen. All I care about is finding out what’s going to happen next. As a matter of fact, a few weeks after I’ve finished a great book, I can’t even remember if I read it on my Kindle or in paperback. All I remember is the story.

But even if I didn’t have dreams of seeing my books in print as well as e-books, the benefits of going with a well-established traditional publisher far outweigh striking out on my own.

-My publisher is Tyndale House Publishers. Uh, have I mentioned that already?

-My books are edited by Tyndale editors. They are awesome! The entire process is as smooth as silk.

-My covers are designed by Tyndale’s amazing cover designers. Gorgeous and very professional!

-Tyndale does all the work to get my books on Amazon, CBD, B&N, and Mobipocket. I don’t even want to think about the time involved to accomplish that.

-My books are backed by Tyndale’s good name. Whoa!

-Tyndale has marketing and publicity power. That I don’t have.

How much are those bullet points worth to me? I can’t even begin to measure each one. My fan base is small, but growing. Sure, my friends and family would support me if I self-published, but it’s extremely doubtful I could reach the number of people I’m reaching as a Tyndale author. Not impossible, of course, but still iffy.

Eighteen months have passed since my friend posed that question, and my answers are still the same. Well, except for the fact that I have a second e-book releasing from Tyndale in January 2013. And if anything, I love the cover of Claiming Mariah even more than my Stealing Jake cover, the editing is still top-notch, and the publicity team at Tyndale has gone above and beyond to come alongside and show me the ropes of marketing.

It’s a win-win- win situation for Tyndale, the reader, and for me, and I’m over-the-moon excited to be partnering with one of the most respected publishing houses in the industry on another Digital First campaign.

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Thanks to Pam for coming on the blog this week!
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Tomorrow 12/20, I’ll wrap up our feature on this Winter’s Digital First Authors. With the holidays coming up and gift cards always a hot commodity, what better time to hear about enjoyable reading! See you tomorrow, readers!