Saturday, October 19, 2019

I Was An eBook Author Before eBooks Were Cool

I submitted my first book to Awe-Struck eBooks in the year 2000. I decided to go to the Predators and Editors list of publishers and submit to recommended sites only. That means the authors that wrote for them thought—the contracts were good, they paid on time, were easy to work with, knew what they were doing, etc.  

I started at the front of the directory at A. Awe-Struck was the first on the list that was recommended and open to submissions for Historical Romances. Plus, they were interested in unusual time periods and mine was set in the dark ages, at the onset of the Saxon Wars. Awe-struck, the first publisher I submitted to, accepted my book and I signed a contract with them. The Fox Prince, later retitled The Celtic Fox, was released in January 2001. It came out in eBook format at that time and in print later that year. 
The eBook could be downloaded anytime, anyplace to be read on a Rocketbook reader, a palm pilot, a laptop, or desktop. Later other ebook readers came on the scene like Gemstar, Mobi pocket (a popular ebook reading software), and others. I had a Gemstar. 
These eBooks could also be autographed and sold at book signings, book-fairs, festivals, and conventions. The publisher sent a kit of 3.5” paper folders with the front cover on one side and the back cover on the other. The blurb, copyright, and publisher information were printed on the inside of the folder.  We got several of these in a kit from the publisher, I don’t remember how much the authors paid for the kits but it wasn’t much. I and the other authors put those tiny folders inside the little 3.5” square plastic cases, they were called jewel cases, and then we downloaded the eBook onto 3.5” floppy disks and put one in each jewel case inside the paper folder. Readers inserted the floppy disc into their computers and read them. Those little folders were what we autographed for readers when they bought eBooks at book signings.  
 Amazon purchased Mobipocket in 2005 and used the Mobi software to build its Kindle platform. This is why Amazon uses Mobi formatting for its eBooks though the other distributors use epub. 

In 2007 Amazon introduced the Kindle eReader. They also created Kindle Direct Publishing at that time, which lets authors bypass publishers and download (publish) directly with the distributor (Amazon). Later other eBook distributors, (Barnes and Nobles, Apple, Kobo and more) offered direct publishing to authors.

The other day, on an application for panels for a 2020 comic con, I had to answer the antiquated question, is your book an ebook? Some books, mostly picture books, comic books, or children books, don’t work that well at this time in eBook form. But, it can be said that if you publish a book for ages ranging from teen to Adult in 2019 that is print only and does not come in an eBook format then maybe you shouldn’t be in the publishing business.
When I first eBook published in 2001 people actually told me eBooks aren’t real books. Of course, whether print or digital, not a single word of the book was different, it was the same just in a different form. So, if one’s real then the other’s real too. People know that now.
 Most reviewers wouldn’t review eBook ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) back in 2001. It seems that back then print on demand books only came out on the release date.  So, we’d print the ARC out and take it to Kinkos and have it put it into a spiral binder with a clear cover so the cover-art on the first page showed through, and we mailed those ARCs to reviewers. One reviewer always asked me to sign mine for her. Who knows they and the 3.5 floppy eBooks disc might be valuable historical artifacts one day. I should have kept some. 
I could tell you a lot more about those early days of eBooks, but those days are gone. eBook publishing and eBook reading are much easier now. But, I’ve always been glad that I published my first book as an eBook in 2001. I’ve never regretted it. The Beatles song paperback writer always captured how I feel about being an eBook writer. When I sing it I substitute eBook writer for paperback writer.
I’m proud to have been an eBook writer back before eBooks were cool. To be honest, though, they were always some people who thought they were cool, including me. One day I might even be thought of as cool. It’s highly unlikely but possible…you know kind of like time travel.

Feel free to contact me any time to discuss the 37 published books I've written in my name, or my Ghostwriting or Self Publishing Consultation services at or visit my site at

No comments:

Post a Comment