Are Inexpensive Self-published Ebooks the New Blogs?

I’ve read six self-published ebooks this year, and am currently in the middle of two others, all of which I discovered via blogs and Twitter. Most of them have been pretty good, including some notable works by Chuck Wendig, Jim Hanas, and Steven Gaskin that were better than most of the traditionally published books I’ve read in any given year, and whom I would now check out anything else they write.

(There were also two ebook anthologies published by the author’s collective Book View Cafe that you could argue were self-published.)

It reminds me of 2003, the year I started blogging, and how some people were able to attract large audiences for their writing, and the mainstream media scoffed that they would ever be taken seriously. Fast-forward, many of those early bloggers are now considered “real” journalists, some because they went to work for traditional media brands, others because they attracted a significant enough audience on their own that they couldn’t be ignored.

I’ve always been an advocate for owning your platform, not writing anything for free for anyone else simply for the “exposure” cough*FluffPo*cough unless there are clear and tangible benefits coming from it. I’ve also been a bit uncomfortable with the ebook pricing strategy where complete novels are selling for less than $2.99.

Lately, though, my opinion on that is softening as even at $.99, an author is getting paid something while potentially getting the kind of exposure blogs used to promise with little chance of any profit at all. While I still think selling an entire novel at $.99 is crazy and devalues the creative effort involved, there’s something to be said for selling short stories and serialized novels at that price.

We live in interesting times…

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