Tag Archives: e-books

How Will I Feel?

How will I feel…the first time I become a published author?

No, I am not an arrogant, overzealous poser who think she is destined to be a best-selling author. The truth is that I have a dream to be a published author, and I plan to work hard until I can achieve those goals.

So, how will I feel when it happens? Over the years, I’ve read the books of people I’ve never met, admiring their ability to shape the English language (and sometimes other ones) into beautiful works of art. Writing isn’t about making a political statement or placing universal themes that will make your book literature with a capital L.

The first aspect of writing is about expressing the emotions and ideas that make up the human condition. Even in the vast universes of science fiction or the actions scenes of westerns, the human condition can be found at the center of all writing. It is there, in the unconscious mind of the writer that we find the purpose of writing. To tell the stories that mean most to humanity. The ones about love, war, and grief. I am lucky to live in a world where information can travel instantaneously around the world, sharing ideas with people in different cultures. The desire to share my ideas with everyone is what began my love of writing.

This brings us to the second aspect of writing. The storytelling part. Bards eventually turned into scribes, when they realized the value the written word held for the stories of the past and present. Once a story is transcribed on paper, it can easily travel faster than one person telling the story. And hundreds of copies? Whoo buddy, you are really cooking now.

For those of us who cherish print for it’s massive contribution to passing our favorite stories across the globe, print can do even more for the aspiring writing these days.  Whether you choose the big six, a small publishing company, or venture out into the publishing world alone, there is always a point to having your story available for the masses to experience. I don’t care if it’s on a $200 device that uses e-ink or a paper back with it’s glossy cover art. The thought of having my words available for people to purchase (or free) and read is overwhelming.

Now that I am being taught the process of writing from the inside, I can understand the feeling excitement and anxiety of preparing my work for the world to read. I already know the pitfalls of revising, of working under strict deadlines, and constantly doubting my own skills. Not that all of these hurdles must be faced by everyone, but they are some of the basics. The next big leap in the future will hopefully land me with a book bound, printed on paper (or on a screen) with my name on it. I have the pleasure of meeting many published authors in my first residency of my master’s program.

What is even more exciting is that my fellow colleagues are being published even before the program is finished.

Be sure to check out their published works below:

http://www.amazon.com/Episode-Equals-Chronicles-Professor-ebook/dp/B007Q3LV0W/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0865348782/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_alp_M7JKpb0KQXRM5

This increase in publishing has surrounded me with a boatload of optimism and one seemingly unimportant question. What will it feel like to have your work published for the first time? Ideally, the answer should be elation, joy, gratitude, happiness. However, the act of getting your work published is typically not easy. Louisa May Alcott was forced to change her ending and betray her characters to appease publishers. These days, if you jump through the hoops necessary to publish the traditional way, you may find yourself in need of several consultants to show your book is worth reading. Web designers, twitter accountants, and marketing agents are some of the few necessities that accompany being published right now. You have to be your own promoter. This makes the daunting task of getting the word out much more difficult than just simply writing the book.

Now, you're your own promoter. Takes a little of the fun out of writing it if someone else can't promote it with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to go 15 kinds of crazy when my first book is delivered to my house “fresh off the press.”  I know that no matter what the cost (tears, money, and especially blood) I will be published. I want to reach people and share with them the joy that books have given me my entire life. At the same time, I have to be willing to sacrifice a whole lot more once my baby has been published. It’s  a completely different job before and after publishing because you have to be a separate person from the writer of the story.  Although that is not always a bad thing. I am excited and nervous for all parts of the process, especially for the first time. Even the rejection letters will be greeted with a smile. That badge of honor will be accepted with a slice of humble pie and a tall glass of get back to work. As I work diligently to perfect each story, I look forward to the day I can post on here, facebook, and twitter that I will now be promoting my book tour instead of working on my next homework assignment.

This cartoon is just for fun, but it shows how truly imaginative you can be if you self-publish.

What are your hopes and fears about publishing? Share them here and happy reading/writing!

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Bestsellers: Epitome of Success or Overrated Expectation

In response to Joe Konrath’s The Myth of the Bestseller— Hallelujah! There is something insane about the expectation as a writer to make millions to be successful. The above link takes you to a first hand experience of what self-publishing and e-books can do to transform a writer.

As hesitant as I am to switch to e-books, there is something magical about this blog post. This author has published his writing and successfully sold his e-books online. Now you must be thinking, that’s success? I thought success for a writer was getting in the New York Times Bestseller’s List. How do you do that self-publishing in digital form? Well, it’s easy.

Being on that list is overrated. If you look at the books on those lists, you’ll find a majority of them have sacrificed more than they needed to get their book published.  According to Konrath and many writers (including myself) success doesn’t come from millions of books sold. It comes from one. Stephen King once said if you get paid for your writing, you’re a success. The truth is that if you get satisfaction from your writing that should be all that matters.

Don’t set your sights on a career that is littered with rejection, despair, and loss of money. Maybe, the future of writers is in taking the publishing into our own hands or smaller groups of people looking out for the creators of the works. We deserve some credit after years of being underpaid. We need to be recognized for the work we do, instead of being swept under the rug if we don’t make millions in the first year. What if paying for the groceries is enough? Selling a few books a day may be all the success you need to fulfill your dream.

Join the revolution! Self-sufficient, confident writers who take the action into their own hands. They make their books happen because they have the dream that no one else supported. Now we don’t have to create a pile of rejection letters. We can publish our books on our own letting the fate of the readers decide our paycheck rather than a corporation that doesn’t know us.

Although this revolution is just beginning, don’t rule it out. Someday, self-published e-books may become the standard. Give it a try if you’re ready and the big business publishers just don’t see the same vision you do.

Yes, ideally we all think we should be able to sell millions of books, but that isn’t the most important aspect of writing. What’s most important is being true to yourself as a writer to affect someone else with your words.  To me, if I can make one reader learn about him/herself or more about life, then I’m a success. I want to entertain. If I can pay the bills, even better!

One of the shortcomings of traditional publishing as we all know is dealing with the big wigs, the publishers,editors, even agents taking parts of the profit. One of the solutions to that is e-books. The cost of making the books is terrible. As much as I love print books, they cost money to make. That money comes out of the profit of selling the books. If my book fails all of those book costs come out of my future. If I don’t make millions for the people that invest thousands into me, my career is sunk.

The glory of self-publishing is that the writer takes the majority of the profits in royalties. The money isn’t divided 15 ways to nothing by the time it gets back to the creator. The allure of this is so tempting that writers all over the world are jumping on the self-pubbed, e-book bandwagon. AND IT WORKS! It’s not something one or two writers are making money from now.

The key to success is the faith you have in yourself to achieve your dreams

This is the future of writing. It may just be the beginning, but think of a world where writers get to choose how their book turns out. Give it a shot because when no one else has the faith in your book to make millions, you do. You can publish it and make as much money as you are willing to market it. That control/freedom has never been felt before by writers. With the internet at your fingertips you can reach the readers of the globe in an instant, and reap the benefit in a much more personal way.

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The Funny Side to the E-book Debate

As the sales of e-books soar past print books without a second glance, I feel the need to bring some laughter to this heavy issue. I will not be stating any argument on the debate, as I feel there is merit to both print and digital books. I will, however, give you an example of the downsides to e-books only Cracked.com would bring to our attention.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-unexpected-downsides-switch-to-e-books/

What happens when you take a well-known comedic site and combine it with the debate of oh the next 50 years or so? The monstrosity of an article shown above. It details the satirical and true downsides to e-books coming to power.

The first downside, you ask? Where will assassins hold their guns? With security and surveillance becoming more high tech, assassins and hit men must become more creative in hiding their weaponry.  So why not just hide it in your coat? Metal detectors solve that problem outright and as the author of the article goes through the strangest places to hide a gun, we come across books as the cliched place to hide a gun. If e-books take over and make books obsolete (don’t think it will happen for a while) then carrying one around will be odd and out of place, making guns in books undesirable for killers.

The list continues to include mundane tasks like holding up a wobbly table and doodling in textbooks. While people might not find ultimate value in these odd reasons, the root of them is the same. What happens if we change the entire facet of books? Just like phones when they became mobile, the culture began to change to create something people 50 years ago wouldn’t recognize. The mobile phone example is perfect because while most people use their cell phones,  land lines are still prominently used. The influx of cell phone eventually leveled out and became consistent while land lines were simply used less. To me, this seems like a possible example future for books. As print books have been such a long standing form in the medium, I believe they will hold strong to the people who need them. At the same time, there isn’t anything wrong with using both for different reasons and keeping the history of the medium alive.

One of the most interesting downsides on the list is the use of ancient texts and mystical books in movies and games. Many movie plots and even whole genres rely on the use of books that either have a magical quality or important information only found in old books. There would be no plot to The NeverEnding Story without the old, mysterious book. If you replaced the mysterious, almost magical book with a Kindle, the movie wouldn’t have the magic in it.  Where would the old witch find her potion recipes or the young sorcerer learn his trade. For the fantasy genre, it almost solely relies on the use of these ancient books in the plot to suck us in to the story. Would we take those out and replace them with e-books as most technological updates have required of movies? I don’t know, but I sure don’t want to live in a world where I’d have to find out.

We move on in the list to the use of books in opening secret passages and the sanitation of bathroom reads. One of the things people don’t understand about new technology is how it truly affects our perception of the world and changes our culture. While some people prefer to read harlequin books in the bathroom rather than take them out into the world, e-readers require you to have all your books in one place. This isn’t ideal for the bathroom reader, but neither is by two Kindles just so you can read on the John.

Speaking of changing culture, the most shocking realization of e-books rising above print books is book burning. What has plagued controversial books for decades? The threat (or not) of book burning. Contrary to Fahrenheit 451, replacing paper books would make book burning less appealing. Would you rather burn a bunch of 5 dollars books or burn a $200 electronic device that doesn’t actually hold the only copy of the book. It make the statement of book burning completely useless.

For authors like Mark Twain and J.K. Rowling (as well as librarians and bibliophiles) this could be a relief. However, the point of book burning is not such a terrible thing, is it? Does it stand to reason that a book, which can rile the masses to burn its pages is important? Without this option, how would we know that books hold a power above just the pages? If a book on an e-reader is too controversial, you would just get rid of it. You wouldn’t burn your Nook. The only indication that a book was too controversial would be the peer reviews on the app and Oprah’s Book Club wouldn’t read it. Although I’m obviously against burning books (unless I’m stranded and have a bunch of Twilight books), there is something powerful in that action to stand against someone’s view of the world. Though many people would find it a blessing to be rid of this act, I find that the world would be a less honest place if radicals couldn’t burn books and provoke people to read them more.

Either way, there are upsides and comical downsides to e-books, but this much is true. There is no way for us to know the results (positive or negative) of this new technology until it has had more time to prosper. Print books have had hundreds of years of head start. Give e-books time. They may have their hindrances, but everything in the world does. Cracked as always gives you a relaxed way of looking at a heated, sensitive issue.

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Why Books are Important (any kind, any format)

Thanks to my constant social networking, I have found another awesome post about the thing I love, books.  The post artfully and directly explains what people have forgotten. The importance of books relies on its history. Books were created to document not only on the history of humans, but the dreams and hopes of humanity.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/02/two-reasons-why-books-matter/

The author of the blog uses two simple explanations for the value of books to people hundreds of years ago, and more urgently to the people of today. He focuses on the books that aren’t documenting history, but the human condition. Stories that propel the reader to reflect upon life because of the characters or the situations.

Books don’t just open you to an entertaining story, they open you to the realities of life that you either didn’t think of before or chose not to think about.  They force you to look at life differently although it isn’t always a conscious change. Sometimes, the effect a book has on your life doesn’t occur to you until days even months after.

More stunning than the  stories that make up the books is the development from simple oral tradition or word of mouth to print. Life before the printing press was difficult.  The few copies of a book were held by powerful religious or political people and as a regular person you had to trust their interpretation of those books because you probably didn’t read.

If you did read and get your hands on a copy of a book, it was awe inspiring. The work it took for someone to use ink and write word by word an entire copy of the original book was astounding. The dedication it took to use calligraphy and ornate drawings was shocking as you flipped through the thick, beautiful pages.  The author of the post describes this as he shows a picture of a page from a book printed in 1495. 1495? And it’s still intact for this person to have it placed on his wall! Now to us, printing millions of copies of a book or even the newspaper is taken for granted.

For the people to experience a book that only had one or two copies worldwide, it changed everything. No longer did you have to travel thousands of miles to read a new or important book. You could have it sent to all the major/minor cities for very cheap. But it wasn’t cheap quality. The quality of those books, the paper and the ink could outlast the people that wrote them. This is the center point of the post. That the quality of these old books is so magnificent that  it lasts for hundreds of years.

The fact that some of the first books ever printed can last more than the ones produced now is not a mystery. The type of materials used and the care taken to give a good quality product is something companies don’t abide by now. We make books the cheapest way we know how and that’s why the books won’t last very long.  The comments below the post invite you into an interesting world of people who prefer print, but also understand the use of electronic books. It may be a long shot, but we can appreciate print books and digital books as equal, important contributions to the magical invention called the book.

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Evolution of Storytelling

Although I have stated before that I am eternally devoted to print books, I give props to technology foremost for its innovation. Therefore, in the video below,presented with the iPad, I am in awe at what the technology is doing for storytelling in its essence.

Books tell stories about people and by people, but the key here is the people. The storyteller or bard has been a crucial aspect of telling stories centuries before anything was written down. The key to the success of writers is how they can bring the storyteller to life in their writing without actually being there in front of the reader.

Part of the magic is hearing the story read to you from someone who knows the story in and out. Although the bard is dead, there is a bit of a revival left in the theatrics of storytelling with the help of the new technology.

The presentation I watched discussed the innovation of, you guessed it, the book. In this case, the presenter discusses Lothar Meggendorfer, the creator of pop-up books, which in itself is an innovation for books. I am immediately drawn in to the slideshow, music, and interactive aspects of the presentation. One could say he is hiding behind his technology, but the presenter still knows how and when to speak to give the best effect of the speech.

He credits the growth of storytelling to this man and showed how storytelling has developed. To be frank, it altered my mind a little and made me relax more on the whole change of books. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of something new. While I still prefer my silent, battery-less paperbacks. The world of books is blossoming into a form of entertainment no one can fathom, yet. So, before I jump down off my soap box, I will confess I’m excited to see what’s in store for e-books. How will they affect teaching, entertainment, and ultimately the craft of storytelling? I know it’s scary, but at the same time, it could be fun if we give it a chance. ; ) Check out the link below to see what I’m talking about and be open-minded!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_sabia_the_technology_of_storytelling.html

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Idea of the Day: The Irony of Technology

The Idea of the Day is dedicated to a topic, article, or video that stirs a discussion in me.

Today’s idea is focused on one of the most influential fiction writers anyone has ever read. Ray Bradbury. Now in his 90s, Bradbury has changed the way readers look at books and censorship from his book Fahrenheit 451.

For those who haven’t read the book, it depicts a world in the future where print books of any kind are illegal and burned on sight by firefighters.

Ironically, the famed book has finally been made into electronic book form.

The article on the subject describes Bradbury’s previous notion of e-books and his dislike of them. The irony is not only that the Fahrenheit 451 is a book about burning print books, but that Bradbury is a futurist entirely against the progression of technology.  He has made negative comments about e-books and internet in general.

What I find the most compelling aspect of this story is that Simon &  Schuster purchased the rights to this intriguing novel for over $7 million dollars. The cost of making an e-book may be a positive one for self-publishing writers, but to keep a classic book available on the internet costs a pretty penny.

So, I pose another question, dear reader. Read the article…Who would you side with, Bradbury who resisted the temptation of the new medium or the publishers hell bent on putting the classic as an e- book?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/11/simon-schuster-releases-ray-bradburys-fahrenheit-451-as-an-ebook.html

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