E-Publishing for Indie Authors: When to Bypass Print

With the introduction of e-readers it's become almost essential for authors of print books to offer e-book versions of their works if they want to reach a broader market. But e-books have been around for a while now, and they serve purposes beyond being alternative versions of existing books. Sometimes it's best to only e-publish your work.

Let's take a look at some situations where it might make sense to focus solely on e-publishing.

5 Times to Bypass Print and Only Publish E-books

  1. You know interest will be short-lived. -- If you publish something so timely that the information will be obsolete in a matter of months, you might not have time to go through a professional print publishing process. Sticking to quicker e-publishing might be a better option.
  2. You plan to write for an extremely small niche. -- Some niches are simply too small to justify publishing print books. Even POD publishing isn't always an option due to its generally higher cost to the end reader (if you have a very small market to work with, weeding out buyers with high prices could be the death of your book).
  3. You can't afford to bring a professional quality print product to market. -- If you can't afford to professionally publish your book in print, e-publishing can help you cut out some of the costs.
  4. You want to test a new market. - Sometimes it's less about not wanting to publish a print book and more about wanting to test a new market first. Publishing solely in e-book form early on can let you see what kind of demand really exists in your niche (and for your work) before publishing print books. It's also easier to test different price points and marketing (anything from promotional tactics to cover designs) when you work solely in electronic formats.
  5. You would like to release short books mostly to promote another business. -- E-books didn't come about because of e-readers. They've been around for years, mostly from entrepreneurial types either selling them to make relatively quick money in specialty niches or to promote other business interests. If you run another business and want to provide an instant gratification element to ancillary products, e-books might be a good option for you. For example, when I ran a PR firm and worked with independent professionals I sold a short e-book on press release writing. Not only did it bring in direct income, but people who liked the writing style but didn't feel comfortable publishing their own releases ended up becoming clients. It was predominantly a tool for bringing in new business.

When would you opt to publish in e-book form without considering a print book? Can you think of other situations where it might make sense? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

Get More Content Like This in Your Inbox

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter where you'll be notified of new blog articles and receive subscribers-only content.

Subscribe now.

2 thoughts on “E-Publishing for Indie Authors: When to Bypass Print”

  1. https://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/ebooks-and-self-publishing-dialog.html

    Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath talk about why you SHOULD self-publish your e-book. This is not only for authors who have a print deal – Konrath talks about hundreds of authers who have never had a print deal or an agent, but are selling hundreds – some of them THOUSANDS – of copies per month in e-book format.

    • Yep. And they’ve been doing it quite well even before the traditional-to-indie converts jumped on the bandwagon and started promoting it. Just sorry it took that and the likes of Amazon (who really screw up e-book marketing in some ways) to get more people to take notice of what was a good thing for a long time. 😉


Leave a Comment