Monday, August 25, 2008

eBook debate

I was recently asked to share my thoughts with one of Canadas largest print book retailers... here is my response.


You raised some very good questions and after considering them, here is my professional opinion as one of the very few eBook publishers in Canada.

The popularity of eBooks is on the rise and will continue to grow, just as it did with the CD and the DVD. There are many reasons why this trend will continue to grow and eventually replace what we call the norm today.


They are environmentally sound. It is my personal belief that print books will become collectables in the future in the same way vinyl records have. The call to be more eco-friendly these days is finally beginning to make some positive changes in the way we do things. More and more people are seeking out eBooks on that merit alone. The actual benefits to the environment can be monumental, and it’s not just the trees and cleaner air. A lot goes into manufacturing the paper. Pulp-mills consume massive amounts of energy and create waste. Toxins and chemicals are used to bleach and treat the paper and some toxins are left behind during processing that also damage the environment. The machines consume oil, electricity and some processes are still using coal. What about the dyes, inks and glues used (chemicals)? The books have to be shipped, using more resources and polluting the environment via the transport used, not to mention the customer who drives to the store to purchase the books. Many books pile up in peoples houses and after being passed around from one person to another, the majority of these books end up in our landfills. Sure they are biodegradable, but regardless of that, the inks and glues still leave toxins to leach into the soil.


There are still a few hurdles to contend with, but in the end it’s the consumer who finds them economical and this is drawing new readers to the eBook industry. The costs are lower to produce the product, and therefore the consumer is able to benefit by paying less. There is a very damaging idea floating around that eBooks have low quality when it comes to the skill of the Authors. That may be true for those who are self-publishing without going through the rigorous editing process with a professional publisher, but this is not so with a reputable eBook publisher. If this myth about sub-standard quality were really true, eBooks would have never gone further than a short fad. All of the eBook publishers I have met and networked with that have a standing in the industry, all have full a staff.

Example: My publishing company, Eternal Press, has in its employ an acquisitions editor, a senior editor, eight editors, four copyeditors, three cover artists and a handful of other people who take care of administrative tasks and marketing. A lot of work goes in to each book. It’s reviewed by acquisitions and is given a yes, no or a request for rewrites. Then it’s sent to the senior editor who schedules it and assigns it to an editor who is suitable considering genre and heat levels. The book will then be sent back and forth between the editor and the author, sometimes up to three or four times, until it is ready to go to the copyeditor. The copyeditor reviews it and the edited manuscript receives one last review between editor and author. When that has been completed, the senior editor reviews the work and the book enters the formatting stage. Each book is formatted to be easy to read and attractive to the eye. The cover art is made months in advance for the authors to use for promotions before its release date and contains amazing artistic talent and effort.

This is a process used by larger print publishers, and just as much effort, skill and professionalism goes into each eBook. The main difference is the fact that an eBook publisher gets to skip a few steps such as manufacturing a hard copy, and distribution with hopes that what was printed will be sold and not returned. I send my eBooks direct to the consumer in an economical and environmentally sound form.

I know there are some companies out there that will publish eBooks without the vigorous editing and processing. My opinion is that these are the kinds of companies that hinder the industry. With a bit of research into each company you deal with, this lack of quality can be avoided.

How to Boost the eBook Industry

At the moment eBooks can be read on your PC or Laptop computer, PDA, cell phone, Blackberry, palm pilot, i-touch, and other small hand held devises. There are also eBook readers for those who want something larger that makes the reading easier.

One of the biggest obstacles that the eBook revolution faces is the cost and quality of these eBook readers. From what I hear from consumers, staff, various blogs and websites who talk about such matters, the customer wants a product that they can hold in their hands much like someone would a book with a screen size that is comfortable to read. That means clear defined fonts, backlighting that can be adjusted for comfort, and size adjustment for those with bad eyesight who need to zoom in. It must be light, durable and rechargeable. But the most important thing: cost. The prices of these devices are still far too expensive to make using them an economical choice for the consumer. They range in prices from $150.00 to $500.00 and up. The quality of such devices are not worth the expense when it’s believed that the product could break when dropped rendering it useless and a waste of their hard earned money. The longevity of the technology itself is often a hindrance. Why spend $300 on something that is uncomfortable to use because it is lacking all of the basic features listed before? It’s still much cheaper to buy the paper copies of books than invest in an e-reader that is not functional to a degree that makes it worth the investment. When the technology is developed to make the e-readers both functional, affordable and durable, then the e-book industry will have no limits to its potential. There is no reason why an eBook reading device needs to be above the cost of an upper end calculator. The technology just plain isn’t that complicated.

In order to create a boom in the eBook industry, someone needs to manufacture an eBook reader that is between $50.00 and $75.00, that will read and store up to 2Gs of information, can plug into a computer or USB port and have a few options allowing change in the text size, lighting and bookmarks. It should be made with a durable shock resistant interior and exterior that will not harm the product if dropped. If someone were to offer such a product, I could guarantee a major boost in the industry; the growth would be phenomenal and eBook sales would expand exponentially.


At the moment eBooks are available almost exclusively online, with the exception of those authors who have put their eBooks on CDs to sell and sign for readers/fans at book signings. Publishers and authors are beginning to offer downloads at their individual booths at writer’s conventions and book festivals etc.

Online publishers offer their products directly from their websites. They also use other online retailers who specialise in selling eBooks and software. Fictionwise, Books on Board, All Romance eBooks, and Content Reserve all market, sell and distribute the eBooks to consumers in many different e-Formats. Fictionwise alone increased my sales at Eternal Press by 5 times. Amazon climbed on the bandwagon and sells over 1,000,000 different eBooks in many e-Formats and have their own reader (Kindle) which, if offered at a better price, would make more consumers permanent eBook readers.

At the moment as long as you have a PayPal account or a credit card, you can purchase eBooks from your cell phone and any other wireless device used to read them. But for those who have no wireless technology, they’ll need to go to a website and download the eBooks they want to their computers, or in some cases directly onto their e-reader device.

Most large book stores have computers available to the consumer to help them search for the titles they want by author, genre etc. Even then, there is no guarantee it will be available, and often items have to be ordered. This inconveniences the consumer, many of which are likely to give up and buy something else that’s more readily available. So why is it that there is no kiosk at the checkout where a consumer can purchase the book they want and plug in their device to download the eBooks they purchased? For those who only use cash (not credit) this route gives them the ability to buy eBooks which otherwise is completely unavailable to them. Why can’t there be eBook kiosks in airport terminals, bus depots and hotel lobbies where a consumer can purchase and download directly? What about hospitals? Instead of renting out TVs and passing around old used books with limited selections, how about renting e-readers and offering millions of selections so a patient can chose anything they want to read, literally bringing the library to them?

How many publishers are kicking their behinds because they turned down J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books because they believed kids don’t read books, that they would rather be playing video games? Why is Canada’s largest book retailer ignoring this growing industry that will one day be the norm? Are you willing to go bankrupt as the industry grows around because you refuse to adapt to change? Also I would like to add something my senior editor said to me. She is a Canadian living in Australia and as my senior editor I asked her to copyedit this letter for me. Lauren said in a comment... Quote “You may also want to add something about availability and cost of books in smaller foreign countries. I’ve mentioned to you before how expensive books are here, and how often times, the books I want are simply not available here. They have to be ordered from Amazon at my personal expense instead of the book store. I’d love to have a functioning, affordable e-reader and download a book from on-line instead of waiting six weeks to have it shipped using surface mail from the a very high cost to me!

I have my eBooks on all of the eBook retailers mentioned above and I’m slowly making them available to more and more web retailers. I am a very proud Canadian and I want to offer Canadians a way to buy Canadian products in Canada. There are not many eBook publishers in Canada and I am very happy to know that I can take advantage of the Canadian market, which at the moment is largely unaware of the growing movement. I hope that Eternal Press will one day be known as one of the Canadian publishers who took an active, positive role in the growing trend and stuck it out to help make a successful shift in how all Canadians read books in the future.

In conclusion, eBooks are here to stay; eBooks are growing steadily in popularity and eBooks will one day oversell print books, changing the industry forever. I’m proud to be a part of that.

You asked me how I became an eBook publisher. Well it’s a long story, but ultimately I bought a drowning company and gave it fresh air and a vision.

Ally Robertson

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Psychic Passions Book Trailer

Here is the new video book trailer for Psychic Passions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Psychic Passions by Ally Robertson Coming August 7th 2008

In a few weeks my novel Psychic Passions is due to be released.

At this moment it will only be released in eBook format unless I am able to finish up my publisher page at Lulu on time. Most of Eternal Press books will soon be available in print. How exciting is that! I look forward to the leap in sales it will generate and will finally help to get EP recognized as a legitimate publisher, not a vanity press. My staff consists of a Senior Editor, a Senior Acquisitions Editor, a Marketing Manager, an Administrative Editor, a Personal Assistant, 8 Editors, 3 Copyeditors and 2 Cover Artists. I don't know of any vanity press that has so many qualified people working for them. We also have nearly 60 published authors. I am very lucky to have such an amazing team working for EP. Please pop by my website and see the variety of quality books Eternal Press has to offer. ETERNAL PRESS

Below you will find the summary and an excerpt for my book Psychic Passions.


96,000 words
$5.95 Canadian
5 Flames

Psychic Passions smaller


Psychic Passions is filled with empathic psychic passion, plenty of hot, steamy sex, desire and fire, suspenseful psychological trauma, triumph over tragedy, mental illness, death and rebirth, concluding with a thrilling cliff-hanging victory over deception, blackmail and evil.

Caprice Hutchins and Cassidy Cornwall are both empaths and artists, both struggling to survive with their own distinct mental illnesses. Together they will fight for their very lives and their sanity to find and keep each others souls. They must learn to accept each other and triumph over their inner demons. They will be reborn through death, through time, to achieve a deep psychic connection, filled with desire, passion, obsession and unconditional love.

The Cornwall family, together as a unit are committed and strong. They thrive with unyielding love and acceptance, their devotion binds them. They will fight to the bitter end to protect those they love from harms way.


As for that bitch Caprice, he thought. Who the fuck does she think she is? Comes here, spends some time with the family and she’s given a prize horse like Cherry’s Blossom, just to give her some stupid pussy name. What are they doing? Buying her affection for Cassidy. He’s nothing but a spoiled, self righteous, nut case, bastard. Larkin fumed with anger and resentment.

He’d stayed out of sight behind the half closed door, and watched and heard everything they’d said and done, through the crack in the door hinge. He’d heard all the passionate sounds, Cassidy had elicited from Caprice. Sounds he’d like to make come from her himself, but with more fury, pain, desperation. Oh how I’d love to torture you and make you scream, he thought.


Psychic Passions © 2008 by Ally Robertson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

An Eternal Press Production
Eternal Press 206 - 6059 Pandora St. Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5B 1M4
To order additional copies of this book, contact:

Cover Art © 2008 by Ally Robertson
Edited by Pam Slade
Copyedited by Erin Cramer
Layout and Book Production by Ally Robertson
eBook ISBN: 978-1-897559-23-9
First Edition * August 2008
Production by Eternal Press

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Results are in.

I am so glad I waited for the official cause of of Heath Ledgers death to come out before assuming anything.

I've been in the very same situation with prescription meds where I found out later I could have easily overdosed accidentally... The most recent time was this past summer when I went through a bout of mania and I was sleepless for nearly a week. I had increased my own dosage of ativan at that time to 4 times my original dose in an effort to fall asleep. I was clearly unable at that point to make a clear decision and my calls for help went un-noticed by my Dr.s until the pharmacist informed them of my second refill. I was up to 8mg of Ativan, my body seem to be immune to it and it was to a certain extent.
At that dosage I could have easily went to sleep and died quietly and peacefully in my sleep. After being switched to a different medication that I had such serious side effects to, I decided that was it. I would take my lumps and try to sleep meds free. It was agreed that if in the absence of the drugs I remained awake again for more than 3 days I was to head to the hospital as major mania can kick in without enough rem sleep and I would not be safe with my own actions. I got over the hump. I suffered through sleepless nights several times a week and settled into the routine of... If I am tired I will sleep, it didn't matter if it was 11am, 6pm, 2am, I would sleep for how ever long I could. I am now sleeping meds free, I am back to my usual 8 hours of sleep of 2am till 10am. I swear not to ever return to those meds, my life is more important to me and my family.

I grieve for all of Heath Ledgers family and their suffering. I am saddened that he had to die so tragically. He was so gifted and I admired him like no other before him. I hope that many people have learned and are more aware of the dangers with mixing meds and accidentally over medicating. It would be a shame to know his death served no purpose.

This smile will forever be etched in my memories.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I hate how when I cry or sob I hold my breath between gasps to the point where I feel like I'm gonna pass out. I really should be working right now but I just heard the news not 15 min ago about the death of Heath Ledger. I'm not one who fusses much over stars but I do have my favorites. Heath was one of them.

I remember the first time I saw Heath Ledger. I was at the drive-in theatre out in the country side by BeaverDams Rd between the cities of Niagara Falls and ST.Catharines, only a short distance away from where Tim Horton died. It was a favorite place for me and my kids to go for an affordable movie when they had the carload specials.
I went to see a Knights Tale and was immediately smitten for this young hansom Aussie. So smitten that when I got home that night I scoured the internet to find his name, previous films and pictures. Within a few days I had built myself a very nice Heath Ledger screensaver.

I took my kids back to see the movie a few more times, but they soon tired of my newest addiction and like a closet drunk I got babysitters for the kids and kept returning to the drive-in alone. All in all I saw the movie in the theatres 15 times. Yes I know that's nuts and a little over board, but this is what it did to me.

I don't know why, perhaps it's that obsessive way I fantasize when I feel passion. Heath swept me away into a world I desperately needed at the time. I was so sick and in horrendous chronic pain and he took me away from all that when I allowed my mind to float away with him to a world that I could live in at the time. It was somewhere I wanted to be and I could feel alive again.I pre-ordered a Knights Tale and had rented his other movies to fill in the time between the release of the movie to video stores. I've seen all of his newest movies and own several more.

Brokeback Mountain to me was one of his best performances. I am far from being homophobic and I was excited to see the movie. Both he and Jake pulled it off so perfectly. In my eyes the way they carried their characters was so respectful and convincing. The roles took courage to perform knowing the stigma and banter that they could face with such a movie, but they shined and to me showed their strength, talent and skill as actors.

God... I feel so sad. They say it was an overdose that took him so far and that he was surrounded by pills. Well I can speak from repeated experience in my youth that if you want to overdose you eat all of the pills, you don't leave any behind. I hope the truth doesn't get misconscrewed by the press. I know the stories are flying all over the place right now and I refuse to believe any until the truth about an autopsy is completed and an investigation complete.

For now I know Heath where ever he is can hear the pouring out of souls who are crying today and feel a loss in their lives as a result of his death. Heath was loved by many, adored by many and admired by most. No matter what the cause I remain in my faith to know he is in a better place, protected and will have peace.

My greatest sympathy and condolences go to his his baby girl Matilda. Also to his mother and father whom I do not know whether they are still alive themselves, Sally Ledger Bell and Kim Ledger.