Truth be told, I like books. I like to hold paper, read paper, smell paper. I like to write more than type, although the latter is more practical in the end. I don’t want to read off a screen, although I admit that I do an abnormal amount of my reading on my iPod.
But that is all about my personal preference. That is me, the consumer.
What about me the querying writer awaiting the call that will take my books off of this computer and place then into the hands of actual paying (hopefully) readers? How does the idea of E Books affect my world?
To be honest, I wouldn’t care if my book was printed on paper, a soda can, a billboard, a chalkboard, or yes, an electronic screen… I wrote a novel (well, three and counting to be precise), I never intended to write a novel, but this scene came to me and I had to know more, so I wrote to discover her story. When I had two full length novels completed I finally said, ‘Hm, what now?’ Coming out of the writing closet and finding my first reader was an amazing feeling. This world that had existed only in my head, this world that I loved, was now free and someone was sharing it with me. One reader became two; became a dozen; became requests from people I didn’t even know to be allowed into my little world! That is an amazing feeling. Sharing something you love with others and others falling in love too, wow!
So, no, I don’t care what format consumers want to view my books in. No, I would not be offended by publishers interested in e publishing as a first means instead of second means. Yes, I would love to hold my book in my hands (I do even now, every time I print a formatted copy, with cover page and all.) But what is more important to me, having my book in the hands of anyone wanting to read it, or having it bound and printed? The first.
So where do agents fit in to all of this e publishing. Well, for starters, I spent the last five years writing in my spare time and being a wife, mom, daughter… Do I know anything about publishing? Marketing? E commerce? No, truthfully, I don’t. The moment I decided to start pursuing publishing was the biggest wakeup call I never expected! An agent? What do you mean you have to have an agent first? Search, search, read, read… Oh! Then came the queries, then the refined queries, then the requests, then the rejections that mounded up, then the waiting and complete silence that followed. Ok, yes, I have figured out quite a few things by now. I’m plugging away on my querying, my patience, and my perseverance. I’m also writing and continuing to pursue the other stories and worlds that are coming into my thoughts and outlines day after day. I don’t have the time or interest in learning the things that a trusted agent could help me with. I need their publishing connections and knowledge. I need their marketing skills and advice. I need their editing expertise and experience (no matter how refined I have made it on my own!) When it comes down to it, I need the skills an agent possesses, because I don’t posses them. That fact is entirely independent of what my novel is printed on.
So how does the looming threat of digital publishing affect my pursuit toward publication? Well, publishers are apprehensive about the future. Agents seem desperate to get publishers’ attentions and to snag books that will do that. Therefore, I, the unpublished author, need more patience, more perseverance, thicker skin, and a willingness to continue to write while we all wait out the storm of publication uncertainty. I might need to know when to shelf a project, when to try something new, and when to go back to that old shelf someday too. Lucky for me, writing is a bit like exercise… the more I do it, the better I feel and the easier it becomes to take the time to do it, plus I become a more ‘fit’ writer.
I have to write. I have to hope.
Whether I have one reader that I mail a manuscript to, one thousand e books sold, or a hundred thousand novels in the hands of readers… I still sit in my dimly lit room and type my stories late into the night. It’s just what I do.
Thank you for listening to my take on an industry that is full of surprises, adventures, and amazing stories.
Please feel free to put in your take on the state of publishing!