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  • How eBooks Can Help pBook Writers

    And Why You Should be Thinking About Digital Now

    by a Writer, for other Writers

    This past weekend saw the New Yorker Festival book signings at McNally-Jackson. Get ready for some serious name-dropping: Not only did Sarah McNally ring up my purchases, but Jennifer Egan shook my hand, Gary Shteyngart invited me to email him, and Jonathan Franzen asked that I call him “Jon.” After the 2-day festival concluded on Sunday, I went to Williamsburg to hear Alexander Chee and Josh Mohr read at an event hosted by Jami Attenburg. We talked about everything from magazine industry frustrations to cookies. My weekend ended as I toasted the emerald-green Empire State Building across the river (Gatsby reference, anyone?).

    Talking with literary writers, I often have trouble describing what I do. I’m a writer, it’s true. I’m a huge bibliophile—I love meeting authors and getting my books signed—but I’m also more interested in digital than print.


    1. For one, digital is the future. We’ve all heard that eBooks are outselling print books—or “pbooks”—on Amazon.com, a retailer that already represents 15% (?) of a publisher’s distribution market.
    2. Secondly, eBooks are wonderfully portable. The first Vook I read was ZMOT, by Google’s Jim Lecinski—as I waited in line for a concert in Williamsburg. As a writer, it’s important that I waste no downtime. In On Writing, Stephen King agrees.
    3. Thirdly, you can do things in digital that simply aren’t possible in print. The second Vook I read was Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary’s a fine writer, but watching him speak at conferences (in the video in the book) was inspiring.

    I think a lot of print natives may not yet understand how important eBook design is. As we saw with Neal Stepphenson’s Reamde scandal last week, it’s easy for production errors to ruin an experience. If you want to succeed in digital, you have to bring the same loving care to your eBook that you do to your pbook. Users notice and appreciate well-designed work.

    I’m just glad that our Vook’s platform makes it easy for everyone—from designers to writers to publishers (to grandmothers?)—to do just that. That is, create a great-looking eBook in seconds, control the output, and distribute to all major channels. Vook makes ebook publishing as easy as working in Word. Now, as for the writing itself, that’s another matter…

    Related posts:

    1. Guest Blogger Laurie McLean: Where to Learn All About eBooks
    3. The Front page meets the book section
    4. How Vanity Fair does eBooks right

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