Friday, July 8, 2011

The Wacky World of E-books

It's early days, yet.

The presence of E-books in popular culture is only going to increase.

As a science-fiction writer, I suppose it's part of my job description to make predictions.  So here goes:

For one thing--speaking as a baby boomer who's old enough to remember betamax video recorders and quadraphonic sound--they haven't really reached the typical mainstream consumer yet.

Well, there could be varying descriptions of the TMC, I suppose, but trust me--a majority of TMCs are waiting for two things right now: a compatible universal format for all e-books, and more affordable hardware.

I predict those things are coming.  Then we'll see the E-book phenomenon really take off.

And yet, E-book sales at Amazon are already greater than old-fashioned book sales!

If you're a writerthe revolution has arrived. It's sort of obvious. 

But some people don't welcome its coming.  They think (and rightfully so) that if anybody can publish a book just because the want to, that lots of people will. 

And that most of these books will suck.  As J. A. Konrath says, they're worried about a "tsunami of Crap".

To an extent they're right. Let's admit it--a lot of self-published fiction won't be very good (just trying to face the facts here, folks--this doesn't apply to you!).

So what? 

So there are enormous new opportunities for readers and writers, that's what.  I personally fail to see the downside.

I've always felt a lot of traditionally published books were sucky crap anyway.  Why should e-publishing be any different?

I love what Kris Rusch has to say about this:   "The slush pile isn’t some growing, breathing, horrible thing to be avoided.  It’s a tower of hope, of dreams".

It used to be editors who looked at the slush; then they stopped, and supposedly the job was passed along to literary agents.  But now most of them don't look at it either.

Basically, nobody's been looking at it.  Which is why it's so damn hard to break into publishing these days.

So now the readers get the chance to wade through our slush.

They don't have to.  But some of them will.

And I say, thank God somebody's finally taking an interest.

Readers are people who like some books but dislike others.  Editors are people who dislike some books but (hopefully) like others.  Oh, and they get paid for it.  That's all.  End of story.

Maybe somebody out there has written a series of novels about a Vampire Starship Captain.  And every editor who's seen it has passed on it.  (Some of them might have gotten a kick out of it privately, but passed on it anyway because--well, let's not go into all that just now, okay?)

But there might be a few readers out there who would enjoy something like that.  Enough so that maybe now some new writer can make an honest living, and a bunch of readers can scratch a peculiar itch most folks don't have.

Win/win for everybody!

I mean, what's the harm?

Gotta love it...

1 comment:

  1. You're absolutely right. This is extremely good for readers: as long as writers write and publish stuff, we can find things we love that would never have been published. And that means that writers are a lot freer to write what they love. Thank you for the upbeat view on this: I've been reading a lot of negativity lately (as well as other positive posts, too).