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Ebook revolution makes publishers change their ways

Publishers are preparing themselves for the ebook revolution. The phenomenal success of Fifty Shades Of Grey has forced them to start looking at self-published ebook authors for potential sales success.

EL James published her erotic novel on an ebook fansite initially, before finding a mainstream publisher. Publishers and authors are now realising that the previously enclosed world of fiction publishing has been opened up by the ebook.

The owners of Penguin Books, Pearson, have invested in a US-based ebook publisher called Author Solutions, in hopes of identifying potentially-successful fiction writers at source.

The success of the Kindle and other tablet devices, as well as the possibility of reading novels on an iPad, mean that authors can now go direct to their readers without having the lengthy and arduous publishing process to slow them down.

One successful genre writer, Denise Mina, who writes award-winning crime fiction, believes the advent of the ebook will change the way writers approach a work of fiction, and broaden the horizons of what is possible.

"Nobody knows what sells," Mina said, reiterating a basic truth about all publishing. "More so now because the market's changing so fundamentally because of Kindle and electronic publishing. With literary production, it's going to change the sorts of stories that we hear, which is amazing."

Literary agent Peter Strauss believes that the publisher still has an important role, pointing out that James’s ebook reached a mass audience after a publisher became interested. "The trilogy took off globally when the publishing industry got involved," he told The Guardian. "It was carefully placed and sold by the agent, carefully positioned, edited, publicised, marketed and distributed."

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