The Author – An Anachronism?

A web friend of mine recently published her first book – an eBook.  She is thrilled.  I would be, too.  She also has a very fun blog that interviews her characters.  This is not only clever, but shows she is aware of one of the most current methods of marketing her book.

One of the recent articles on Digital Book World is by Don Linn, former owner/CEO of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, entitled, “Caught in the Middle, Publishing’s Other Customers.”

The cost of hardcover books is going down.  Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it.  It is for the reader, which I suspect applies to most of us.  He notes that authors like Stephen King will not suffer.  They and those like them can self-publish and will still sell the same number of books they always have.  Even us newbies may do all right, as long as we do not seek to make a living from our writing.  I add, as long as we are willing and able to do all of our own marketing, delivery, follow-up etc., etc.

What about “those who fall between these two groups. They are the people who write for a living and who bring us the workhorse books in their categories (from literary fiction to genre fiction to all manner of non-fiction). Their advances have historically been relatively low and their sales relatively modest. They write for major publishers and independents. They write books that backlist and, in a small but very important number, they write really important books that either break out commercially, or say something significant that might not otherwise get said.”

Yet another consideration in this age of transitions.  Will the future look back on us and declare we produced nothing new, nothing of worth?  For the lack of funds, art suffered?  No more authors, only people who “write on the side.”

You may want to check out his article.  More food for thought.

Scary Things and EBooks

I was not sure, but NanoWriMo is a good thing.  Once again, I have found that the things that scare me are the things from which I learn.  Things.  Such an all-encompassing word, one most of us cannot do without.  My things, your things, whatever you wish to put in that mammoth open bag, or box.  Imagine what you will.  That is why we write, isn’t it.

I am writing better.  Each day.  Pushing for those 1,677 words.  I knew it was true.  I declared so earlier on this blog, and I have proved myself correct, at least for me.  It gets easier, too.  After the sixth day I noticed a difference.  Write every day.

I was writing before, sporadically.  Trying to “get out” short stories for those magazines and epublishers.  “They” said, those who supposedly know, that a writer should include a list of all previously-published stories when submitting a query along with all the other information that agents and/or editors generally require with a sample of your novel.  They want to see that you are successful, that you have previously been published.   So I am trying.  Only I am not a short story writer.

Some are.  So many wonderful short stories out there, anthologies and all that.  All those literary magazines.  All those popular erotica sites on the web from which you can buy something to turn you on from one to five dollars.  How do I know about those?  No comment.

I love novels.  I love to get deep into a character and watch him or her grow.  I love to go somewhere else and live there for days or weeks.  I love to learn about other times, other places.  I practically never read short stories, never buy an anthology, even at the used book store.  I appreciate a well-written short story.  A few have amazed me; others have made me chuckle.  Only they are not my “thing.”

I am so much happier writing my NanoNovel.  I live it.  I think about the characters.  My writing is more fun and it is improving.

It remains to be seen whether a publisher will take a novel on its own merits.  Maybe this is another place where ebooks offer more possilities for us all, particularly yet unpublished writers.

Bloggers, Are You at Risk?

Fellow Nanos, we have begun.  Not every writer does well with this sort of pressure, and it remains to be seen whether I will . . . or not.

I came across an article by Kay Day at The Writer magazine, who always has something interesting to say about writing on the web and how the web affects the rest of us.  This time she posts on the government’s new interest on blogs and advertising.  If you have advertisers on yours, give book reviews or even post comments to someone’s monetary advantage, beware.

“It was only a matter of time before watchdog organizations and the government took an interest in blogs. And if you’re doing paid reviews for products or services, you should adopt a low-risk position. Disclose what you’re doing. The Federal Trade Commission is expanding the agency’s interest in blogs and other advertising media on the Web with a sharp eye on endorsements and testimonials. The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) is doing the same. But the issues go beyond the mommy blogger who praises a toy brand after she received a free sample.

“If you blog, even if you don’t write paid reviews, regulations will affect you. So it’s important to protect yourself from a liability standpoint. For starters, if you have third party advertising on your Web site, place a notice telling your visitors they leave your site for another if they click on the ad. Make the reader aware the destination may have a different standard for recording private information.

“If you are writing paid reviews, disclose your arrangement to the reader. Otherwise you are in violation of the FTC’s guides on Endorsements and Testimonials.”

This was to be expected, as someone takes advantage of every new thing, and there is always that bad apple that makes it difficult for the rest of us.  The larger the community, the more opportunity for those rotten apples and the more of them.  So we give our collective sighs, follow the new rules and move on.