An Unexpected Alliance

So I opened up my email, expecting the usual amount of ads, necessary requests for stuff, the usual…and I found that I’ve had another story accepted to be released as an e-book next year! I am doing a dance, let me tell you! It will be called ‘The Other Man’ and it’s a quirky, unusual look at family life and the things that influence relationships. I’ll have the blurb up soon.

I find myself a little stunned every time that something like this happens. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited! But I’m also realizing how much I have to learn and how far I still have to go. But I’m also eager and willing to devour new info and do what it takes to make this work.

Because I’ve found such good luck with the e-book route and because Ray Bradbury is my favorite of favorites, couldn’t help but notice this

I have very mixed feelings on this.

On the one hand, I obviously am for the internet, ebooks, and that sort of promotion. I feel like in this day and age where the bigger publishers are looking for a franchise and not a story, for a way to make money and aren’t necessarily willing to take up for new writers that don’t fit their sellable model (I’m sure this isn’t true across the board, but it does feel like it lately. I’d love to be proven wrong.) this is the option to go, especially when trying to gain credits and a fan base. Does anyone else remember when you were limited to hoping you saw a release notice of your favorite author in a paper or magazine? If you were like me you just kept looking up your favorite author in the card catalogue and prayed something new would eventually come up. Now, not only do you know when the new stuff is out, you can actually interact with and know more about your favorite authors. Sure, there’s a line, but there’s always been a line.

Now I do submit to magazines and I do plan to submit some things to print publishers, because I feel strongly about covering all my bases. True, the Kindle, Nook, etc are all very popular, but there is something to be said for catering to all audiences.  While I do buy ebooks and read them on my laptop, I also find it hard to give up the romance of the printed page. I am addicted to the library and I like the ritual of actually going there, getting lost in the stacks, and filling up the backseat of my car with new titles. (Granted, I have the overdue fees to prove it, but I feel like that money’s going to a good cause so I don’t grumble about it too much.) Record stores have already become almost a thing of the past, don’t make me give up my libraries, too!

I get that I’m an almalgam…that weird generation that has a foot firmly planted on both sides. And to be fair, I’m not always great with actually working technology, whereas I know how to work a book. Also to be fair, books are really hard to lug around and I end up opting not to take something to read when I’d rather have it with me. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought a book because they’re getting really expensive.

So I do get both sides of the issue. And this is the man who brought us Fahrenheit – I’m sure it was a hard decision and a very personal matter. I can completely understand why he held out so long. But I’m very glad he finally decided to just go for it.  I’m sure he isn’t happy about it. From the tone of the article you can tell that it’s more of a matter of necessity. I’ve actually often wondered what it must be like for Mr. Bradbury – to see so much of what he predicted in Farenheit come true – maybe not in a police-state way, but in a media and technology way flat screens, Ipods, ereaders, all the variations of computers have come spookily close to recreating his world. Yes, the Internet is not the world. I’m definitely one that uses it for what I have to so I can go out for a walk or something that I actively participate in. People who know me know that I’d much rather be called on the phone if we’re going to have a long conversation. I’ve held out on social networking for a long time, though I’m finally breaking down on that fight, myself. I don’t think it’s a matter of technology being good or bad…it’s how it’s used. It’s like any other accomplishment, machine, or material object: it’s just there. It’s the people behind it that make it what it is. So yeah, if it’s manipulated only to sell product or to promote one way of thought, or to be a cultural and emotional anesthetic then yeah, that’s not so good. But it can also be an educational tool as well as provide advantages to people of all walks of life. Look at television: for every show that’s designed to push something or may not be something you want a certain age bracket to watch you have things like PBS providing remarkable, unbiased shows and services. So it definitely goes both ways.

But I do think that with ebooks…that may be the one way that we give ourselves a fighting chance. Yeah, it’s still technology. I don’t think technology is evil, but I do think it can get excessive, and I worry about the younger generations that are completely brought up on it. But if we are using it to promote literacy, to make it accessible to those who might not slug a book around in their bag or carry on, well then that’s one more outlet to reach people through. So I don’t necessarily see it as Bradbury breaking down and giving in. In a way it’s ironic genius; a whole new audience that might not have picked Farenheit off the shelves can download it, and maybe it will give them something to think about. As long as we’re not totally losing our beloved titles, as long as people are still reading, as long as people who have a real love for writing can be given an actual outlet to share their efforts with the world,  then I can’t help but think that that’s a good thing.

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