Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How I see it

Blechta back again.

On the long car trip back and forth to the New York area over the holidays, I had a significant amount of time to think. As my work situation is now changing considerably, most of it was of the “what now?” variety. Since I announced that I was seriously contemplating releasing some of my earlier novels in e-book form, I wanted to think through the ramifications of what I might be getting into.

As is my custom, I first looked at the problem from outside the framework of “how is this going this going to effect me?” “How is this going to effect us writers?” is the more important question that first needs answering. Some of what I’m now going to say is similar to things I’ve said earlier on TypeM but I’ve refined the focus as I’ve studied more about what’s happening in the publishing world currently.

First off, obviously our lives as writers are going to change and I now believe it’s going to change for the better. But with all major paradigm shifts, life is going to be far too “interesting” for many writers’ tastes. We must ride the crest or be sucked under. To resist will be futile.

Get used to it: e-books are here and they’re going to take over. The parallels to the music business are consistently the same, so I think I can prognosticate with confidence. Here’s a breakdown in point form.

→ ipod = e-book reader: one is huge, the other is going to become huge
→ LPs = books: Books will become a niche market over time, maybe not as small as LPs, but definitely smaller than they are now
→ Download a song, download a book, what’s the difference? If you want portability in your reading, buy a Kindle.
→ Your backlist need never go out of print – ever.
→ It’s now stupidly simple to publish a book, but you’d be simply stupid to not consider your options first.

The final point is the crux of the issue, and next week, I’ll delve into this further.

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Case in point: A good friend and experienced editor is looking over my latest opus and she has one of the Sony readers. She asked if I’d send her the ms in that format. Since I write using InDesign software, I only had to do a very small amount of work, push a button and in less than 30 seconds I had a fully-formatted e-book. Can you imagine how much money publishers are going to save by using this technology? Do you think that given the current economic climate, they’re going to be able to resist?

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