To Be or Not to Be…
Over the past year or so I’ve read differing opinions about ebooks and what they mean to the publishing industry, to authors, to agents…to readers. I won’t even begin to claim to know the ins and outs of most of the publishing world because frankly I was never invited into the inner circle. I never experienced the publishing world from the inside. And no, I’m not bitter about it either. I’m simply stating a fact.
And here’s another — I love books. Real books. I love curling up in bed, or on the couch, or sitting outside under a tree with a book and drifting off into another world. I’ve loved books ever since I can remember. I started reading at the age of four, and I’ve never stopped. The library is one of my favorite places to visit. So are bookstores. I love the smell of bookstores. And if you’re a book lover, you know exactly what I mean. Just recently I even started working in a small indie bookstore–and I absolutely love it.
“So why did you decide to publish your book as an ebook if you love ‘real’ books so much?”
Because I felt it was the best way to share my work with the public. More and more people are turning to e-readers and I felt this was the most direct route to take in order to connect with readers. Without big-name recognition, I felt the only way people would get to know my work is if I told them about it myself. And if I was going to go through all that work then I wanted to have most of the rewards too. I’m not looking to get rich quick. This isn’t some money scheme. This is a lifelong dream I’m pursuing and I intend to continue publishing my books exactly the way I want, when I want and how I want for as long as I want and I feel as long as I’m not putting out crap then I will grow my fan base over time.
“What do you say to people who say ebooks have cheapened the reading experience?”
I think it takes all kinds. Take TV for example. Personally, I’m not a big fan of many of the reality shows but those programs are often big hits and have millions of viewers. Why? Because it’s entertainment (for some). The same goes for movies. Some are simply awful, nothing more than mind-candy, and yet many of those are the largest box-office draws. Again, people are entertained by them. The same I think is true with books. There will be authors who craft masterpieces and people will be drawn to them for their characters, or their settings, or their beautiful prose or even what they say about the world…and then there will be other authors who barely can string together a handful of words and yet they too will have their fans. Why? Some people just want to be entertained. For every type of author who is willing to let their art loose on the world, there will be someone out there who will love it…or hate it…or at the very least, be entertained by it. And for some, that is enough.
“But with anyone able to publish anything, how can the reader know what is and isn’t crap?”
You’re assuming the reader can’t make up their own minds about what they like and don’t like. You’re also assuming that people won’t call out an author for publishing true crap. Word of mouth can make or break an author. Will there be some who try to make a quick buck by preying on readers who are plopping down $.99 for a download and finding themselves staring at a screen full of a nonsense? Sure. But does that mean all $.99 ebooks are crap. Definitely not! I think many authors like many other artists, simply want a way to share their works with the world and this is the most direct way.
“But . . . how can I know I’m not paying for crap when I’m buying an ebook?
How do you know you’re not paying for crap when you buy a ‘real’ book? I guarantee at some point in your life you bought a brand-new book, came home eager to read it and partway through thought….what the hell is this crap? Maybe you even threw it across the room in disgust. It happens. I suggest before you buy an ebook, see if the author has provided you with a sample of the novel. I did with The Penitent Assassin. I figure it’s only fair to let you, the paying reader, decide before you buy whether you like my writing style or not. You can read the first 15% of it on Smashwords.com (and I believe there are sample chapters available through Amazon.com too). Or check the author(s) out online. Do they have a website? A blog? Do a little research first and if you like what you find, then buy.
“But that’s too much work!”
Really…? You do want it both ways, don’t you? 🙂
“Okay, seriously though, how can you possibly claim to love books and then publish an ebook?”
I don’t see why they have to be mutually exclusive. Look, I understand that some people will ONLY read ‘real’ books and some people will ONLY read ebooks now. That’s fine. To each their own. I love both. Someday perhaps I’ll create a ‘real’ version of The Penitent Assassin just for the people who insist on having a ‘real’ book in their hands. I’m even considering trying to create an audio version of my book for people who ONLY like to have books read to them…I just like the idea of sharing my work with the world and hopefully along the way, people will find my stories and enjoy them too. Because frankly, no one is reading them while they’re still in my laptop.
“Any last words?”
Wow. That sounds serious! Let me close by saying, while I can’t guarantee you will 100% of the time love my work, (though I would love it if you did!) I can tell you that I’ve done my best to produce the best story I can and I hope you are entertained by my book.
Thank you for your time — and I hope you all have a great day!