Posted by: nancycurteman | August 4, 2011

Ebook Publishing: A Great Market for Mystery Writers

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Ebook publishers are pretty much the same as traditional publishers in terms of contracts, author support and submission standards. The basic difference is the absence of paper. Companies like Amazon and Smashwords publish ebooks with lightening speed and expect an excellent book will rise to the top of their lists.

There is a ready-made mass market for ebooks. Consider the iPad, Amazon Kindle, Barnes&Noble Nook, and Sony Reader. Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, a digital publishing house, claims his company’s biggest number of downloaded books goes to iPhone users. Think how many people now have smart phones they can whip out and read while standing in line to do whatever.

Today, ebooks make up an estimated 9-12% of the market. Their popularity is accelerating rapidly and their share of the market could easily climb to 25-40% by 2012. Amazon has recently sold more ebooks than print books. According to the Los Angeles Times (May 19, 2011), “Amazon…notes that year-to-date sales of Kindle e-books total more than three times those sold in the same period last year.”

Added icing on the cake for struggling mystery authors are low production costs that allow digital publishers to pay writers better royalties than traditional publishers that pay $2 in royalties for each $20 hardcover book sold ( Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency). Digital publisher Smashwords pays $2.21 in royalties for each $2.99 ebook sold, about 85% of the sale price. Amazon pays royalties of about 70% of the sale price.

While the market for ebooks is growing, the life expectancy of brick and mortar stores is getting shorter. Borders is barely breathing. Barnes&Noble has closed several stores. People are turning to online stores and digital books.

One fringe benefit of ePublishing is that many agents are using the Kindle lists as a proven resource for finding new talented authors.

More publishing tips:

4 Ways to Use Blogging to Promote Your Mystery Novel 

12 Reasons Mystery Writers Should Consider E-Publishing


  1. I looked around, you have such a fine site. Good info and I have a lot to learn. I’m always on the lookout for excellent sites such as yours to supplement what I’m learning from my consultants et al. (Iretweeted your tweet with comment)


    • I enjoyed reading your mystery posting.


  2. Aack! Too many options. I have a hard enough time trying to write/finish the blinking book much less all this other stuff. Need more energy!!


    • You’re right. So many options. I wonder if print publishers will some day not be an option.


    • How do I comment on your site?


  3. Wow…I almost don’t want to miss the train, but it’s still so new. I guess we’ll see… great post.


    • I think most people are a little nervous about looking at ebooks as an option for publication. I do know that I much prefer reading a book on my kindle if possible. Maybe others are beginning to feel the same.


  4. Hi Nancy! I read a fair bit of K. Lamb’s blog and my head is spinning! I am trying to learn so I’ll keep delving into this brave new world of writing. Thanks for all your tips and pointers…..


    • The thing I like about writing is that you spend your life in a learning mode—information gathering. The electronic age certainly makes it easier.


  5. […] Ebook Publishing: A Great Market for Mystery Writers […]


  6. I am a reader, not a writer, however, I loved your blog and others attached to your site. I felt as if I was being treated to tasty gossip and the inner workings of entertaining minds. Thanks.


    • Hello Ann,
      So glad you enjoy Global Mysteries. I have a lot of fun writing it, both the travel and mystery segments. The first thing I saw when I visited your blog was the lemon cake recipe. Yum! The second thing I enjoyed reading way your “About Me” section. It reminded me of my own childhood favorites. Great idea to read a novel and prepare a recipe from it. Nancy


  7. Nancy, I’m going to make a serious attempt to market my mysteries and other fiction that I’ve been writing for years and haven’t really tried to get published.I think maybe a good way to break in is to start now with epublishing, probably meaning ebooks rather than paper books. I’ll be looking here and elsewhere for ideas and inspiration.

    Really enjoy the posting on this site. Thanks. Keep ’em going . . .


    • Hello Marcia,
      I certainly believe e-books are increasingly the wave of the future. I belong to a book club and most of the members prefer choices they can read on their e-readers. When I check out indie publishers on line, I find there are several houses that either publish only e-books or combine publishing e-books and print books. In addition, a large percentage of top selling novels are also available in electronic format. All that signals a coming tipping point.


  8. […] This is an interesting article by Nancy Curteman. […]


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