I think all of us know that the publishing industry is in a state of flux. Economics has a lot to do with the changes--$26 or more dollars takes a chunk out of a reader's precious disposable income. In this market of shrinking sales, new-to-the-market writers face daunting odds when trying to secure an agent or publishing contract, but so, too, do established writers. Another factor affecting paper/ink publishing is the exponential growth of hand-held electronics. Enter the Ebook and self-publishing.
Gone (pretty much) are the days when publishing houses had a large budget for advertising to support book sales. Today, writers have to hit all these bases on their own. Established writers are their own name-brand, a corporation with multiple products. In addition to hardcovers, paperbacks, and Ebooks, they are heavy into marketing: newsletters, blogging (their own and as guests), websites, TV ads (have you seen James Patterson's?) and even souvenir items. These writers also take their out-of-print books and re-issue them in Amazon's Kindle format and Barnes & Noble's Nook. Granted, downloads range in price from 99 cents to $9.99 and the writer's share can be either 35 or 70 percent, but the Ebook stores are accessible to readers worldwide. Now there's a market!
Not surprising, the Ebook industry has spawned yet another category of how-to--the how to self-publish and how to convert your manuscript to the required E-format. As with paper/ink publishers, there is a definite formatting requirement. All of this requires a commitment of time and some skill. There will be some trial and error, but it is do-able.
Am I the expert on this? Nope. I am, however, actively investigating. There are multiple websites that offer information, some free, some for sale. I have a passion for writing, but I'm not one who'll advance big bucks to see my name in print. Due-Diligence is what is needed here.
Okay, I'm off to continue my research. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same.
P.S. Congratulations to Mahala's winners!