E-book Sales, Romance and Memoir Publishing

About a year ago Sandy Naiman, a journalist friend I hadn't seen for many years, asked me if my book would be coming out in print or E-book format. No one had ever asked me that question. I was taken aback and replied: "Oh, print, of course." Now I'm reconsidering my answer.

This week the stats came out on E-Book sales: up 172% in August and almost 193% for the year. I sat up and took more than passing notice because a couple of other things happened this week to make me stop and think about E-Books.

E-book Sales Jump 172% in August

At this month's WCDR breakfast meeting this month I met a writer who has 4 different E-Book publishers for her novels and is making a passable living from royalties after only one year. She specializes in romance, fantasy novels; there is a big market and many publishers for this genre.

The advantages for the publisher are obvious: lower costs, less risk. But the advantage for the emerging writer are that a publisher may willing to take a risk on you and the royalties may be greater than in print books.

Another wake-up call was the news that my cousin Mary self-published her memoir in Naples, Florida and though she has  printed copies for family members, has also posted E-Book versions on a wesite for others to read. Congratulations, Mary! This is an admirable achievement and will be appreciated by many. I have posted a link to the left of this post.

Now I will investigate the possibility of an E-Book publisher for my memoir. Are you considering an E-Book for yours?

Copyright © 2010, Ruth Zaryski Jackson

Pit Lit and Writing Your Memoir

I sat riveted to the TV last night watching with the world as the 33 Chilean miners were rescued at the San Jose mine. While overcome with awe and joy, I also thought: What an incredible story! Sure enough, among the journalists given free access during the miners' 70 days of entombment, one has announced a book deal already. Jonathan Franklin of The Guardian will have his book "33 Men" published by Transworld in 2011.Other TV, book and movie rights are pending.

Then I felt depressed. My lifestory isn’t nearly as engaging, dramatic or unusual as those stories. Who would want to read my story when they could read a Pit Lit memoir? Why bother telling my boring little tale?

After I’d cried a bit and given myself a little shake, I thought about it. I’m not famous. I don’t have authors bugging me to ghost write my autobiography. But, if I didn’t tell my story, who would? The fact is : my life is my story, no one else’s. I’m the only one who can tell it my way. My brothers have their own take on our shared histories. My sister who is 10 years younger, has her story. My parents’ stories are their stories and form only the backdrop to my own.

It’s difficult to give yourself permission to write or continue writing your memoir. It’s a contract with yourself that has to be renewed daily. We play little games to trick ourselves into writing. I’ll just write it down. Maybe I will cut it out later. Pretend that this is a story in the 3rd person and what is happening is happening to another girl, not to you.

When we do this and produce a scene or two, we are still self-critical and often tempted to chuck it. The best thing to do is wait. Put it aside and wait a day, a week or months. Often in the fresh light of another day , what we thought was garbage, now looks brilliant, or at least salvageable for a first draft of our memoir. The lesson here is to write, keep writing, and save everything. You may not in the end, have a memoir like one of the Chilean miners, but you will have your memoir and someone will want to read it. You may be surprised how many.

Copyright © 2010, Ruth Zaryski Jackson