The siren song or voice from the future of e-publishing

I received a cold-call e-mail solicitation from an indie publisher today offering the services toward a combination e-publishing and print-to-order deal for my books.

Ah, the sweet music. Is it the voice of the future or is it a siren song?

The basic terms are pretty simple and sound so lovely. No upfront charges except for specific add-on services, though some of those seem pretty important. I’d retain all rights, except for a three-year deal for the company to distribute through Amazon and print-to-order paper copies. A generous royalty split. The prospect of quick sales and quarterly checks.

I’m flattered that they sought to contact me. I’m going to assume they saw something in my blog or elsewhere that suggested what I’ve written has real promise. The other extreme assumption is that they’ve got software that solicits everyone on the Internet who puts the words “I” and “have” and “written” and “a” and “book” in the same sentence, but I’m too optimistic and naive to think that for one second.
I’m not there yet however. From a practical perspective, all that I read says I had better develop a “platform” first if I want to attempt e-publishing, and I still haven’t quite figured out what a platform is, let alone developed one. I’m working on it.
Also, honestly, I’m not un-sold on traditional publishing, with all that jazz involving a neglectful agent, a cold New York publisher, an irritating editor and months of emotional yo-yoing before we come up with a book that may or may not sell. I might get un-sold yet on that process, but right now I still find that too attractive to give up on its potential.
And I’ve only just begun.
It’s not that I consider e-publishing a fall-back; it just hasn’t won me over yet.
Still, this seeking an agent process takes time, so there is time to think about it, do more research, see how things are going and contemplate the possibilities.
That notion feels incredibly empowering. Intoxicating, even. It says “I have options.” Thank you, e-publishing revolution.
Here’s one possibility: I have two books written. Eve’s Swath isn’t as far along in the prep process as The Murder Plague, but its existence and my intention to write more leaves me with the prospect of experimentation. I could shop one traditionally and try the other out in the e-publishing revolution.
The question is which? They’re like children, and deciding which to send toward the song and which to push through the old-school is almost a paralyzing choice.

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