Publisher's Perspective: What I've learned from eBooks, Print books and Stock Photos
My detailed account of a struggle with ethics. "Luke's Tale" by Carol McKibben is slated to go on sale with Amazon as an ebook ONLY (or was...) on January 1st, 2013. Great date if you ask me!
It's the launch of Troll River Publications and re-entering Author Carol McKibben into the world. I picked, designed and managed the cover myself. It wins the easiest, most heart thundering cover award--in my mind.
The author posted the cover to her facebook and the demand for a print book made it worth while to look as an option. Mind you it was the cover that got people wanting to buy the book. (Yes, we do judge books by their cover, and that's okay.)
Well, the image of the cover is an iStock photo. When I bought the photo I checked the licensing aggreement. It specifically said you CAN use this as an ebook cover. GREAT! I thought. The picture I chose only had about 50 downloads, so it's probably not all over the place and it probably won't be recognized as another ebook. Fantastic! The title screamed to be where it is. Everything was set! It was a total of $90 to produce the finished product. I was happy! Yay for the empowerment of ebooks!
Then demand for print came. I wanted to be sure. I didn't want to claim ignorance because it's no excuse for the law. I checked on iStock. It specifically said with the thunder of God, in the very first line in the "NO YOU CAN'T" catagory -- and I quote, "May not be reproduced for online 'print-on-demand' products".
I could do a limited print run. I could collect orders and send the book out myself. But, I'm one person needing to delegate work not collect more to do. Is it possible? Sure. And it's very possible people would be upset for not getting their book for two weeks as I try to fill orders. No, CreateSpace is the best option and it's...'Print on Demand'.
As irrational as it is, that night I went to bed angry.
Angry at not thinking ahead. Angry at iStock for allowing everything BUT this. Angry at being charged ten times the amount before I learned about 123rf.com and dreamstime.com and a whole host of other stock photos websites that have very different licensing terms. But I'm not angry anymore. Because if the original cover is only the ebook version, at least I have it there. It would be a shame not to use that cover for this story because it's perfect.
The delima of ethics was...will anyone know if I print on demand this image?
Yes. I will.
Oh the tempation of easy. But not this time.
So breathing in this learning experience, the print cover shall be different. The ebook cover will be my favorite. Always. It's mine and Carol's. It will forever be a sore spot in my publishing soul, but no one's going to get sued. If the artist would allow me to give him royalties on the print version, I'd agree immediately. His/her portion would be taken out of my profit, not my author's. And, his art would be in physical hands, not just electronic ones.
My take, even if you're sure it will only be an ebook, you might want to re-think that logic. Becuase you want your book to get in the hands of the audience in the form THEY want it in. Otherwise, you've lost a sale. So be prepared to cover all ground. I believe in delivering a book in the form the reader/listner wants. Print, electronic, audible, download to a chip in your skull, whatever. If I have to become a brain surgeon, manufacture silcone chips, learn software langauges to get it in your brain--I WILL DO IT. Just so my reader can have the book they way they want. But ethics WILL NOT be damned.
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My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
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