Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish...

...and someday, you will be a real book too
Okay assuming most everyone has seen and/or read Pinocchio, we all know that's not how the line goes. Nevertheless, that's how life as a digital first author feels.
Digital first??  What's that???? I am so glad you asked. Before the advent of the eReader, being published was HARD. Like really hard. Like nearly fucking impossible. You had to sacrifice a virgin under a purple moon naked on the third Thursday of the seventh year kind of hard.
Then came the eReader. And digital first was born. It’s not exactly easy now but it is POSSIBLE. And that’s frickin delightful.


You write a book, then polish it to perfection (or your vision of perfection), and begin submitting it to…publishers.
Woowhoo. Used to be you had woo an agent first, then they tried to woo the publisher. But with digital first publishers, in large part, you go directly to the horse.
With the dawn of digital first (no paper) came a flood of small, boutique publishers* catering to a specific demographic – the electronic Reader. These houses accept non-agented submissions largely because they don’t offer advances. And the author is expected to bear the brunt of the marketing – something that was, previously, done in large part by the publisher.
Because there are no agents, no advances and the publisher isn’t paying for the bulk of the promotional work, the publisher sees more revenue AS DO THE ATHORS. This provides a REAL opportunity for new writers and new material to be competitive in a market that, lets face it, wasn't. Non-traditional voices, i.e. not conforming to market trends, are being published, being read, and changing perspectives.
It’s an amazing time to be a writer**.
My books are real books, regardless if they went digital first or not. The rights were purchased by a publisher. They were professionally edited and formatted. They are copyrighted and registered with the Library of Congress. They can be borrowed from the public library’s digital catalog. I get royalty payments. And I can sue anyone who infringes upon my intellectual property.
My books are real books but if paper is how you gauge authenticity – I have those too*.
I have one question for those of you still thinking ebooks aren’t real books:

When your favorite band stopped recording CDs and went digital, were their songs no longer music?



Thoughts? Opinions?
Share them below, please. Just keep them respectful.


* Some digital-first publishers failed. Others flourished. As in all endeavors, quality rises to the top. And several of the finest digital-first imprints have been acquired by a Big-5 publisher [Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and Macmillan], further legitimizing the digital-first business plan.
** I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the rise of the self-published book. However, the topic requires a lot more than a footnote – like a whole blog post or two – so I shall keep those thoughts for another day.
*** Many digital-first publishing houses do offer Print-on-Demand. Instead of the publisher printing out thousands of copies on speculation, a book is printed as it’s ordered by the reader who then incurs the cost of printing that book. It averages about $14.99 per paperback. And is a far more ecologically friendly practice.

2 comments:

  1. I had this very 'discussion' with a dyed-in-the-wool print traditionalist a couple years ago on a panel we both sat on at a conference. He insisted ebooks were not books. I asked him what constituted a book. He showed me a hardcover book (c. 1960s) and said that was a book...it has a cover and pages. So I held up the notebook I'd been keeping for conference notes and said, "So this is a book too then." He got upset and the conversation went downhill from there. In the end, I suggested we're not selling 'books'...because they can be anything from mass market printed to blank journals (covers and pages). What we're selling are STORIES. If we can all agree on that, then it shouldn't matter the format in which they're produced. He got up and walked out. I ended up staying and answering questions at the end of the panel for another 90 minutes lol

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    1. Excellent point!!! We're writing and selling STORIES. Love it! I've had the argument more times, and with more people, than I care to count.

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