Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You've Come a Long Way Baby,

In 1998, I heard about e-books, and to be honest at first I scoffed. They can't be serious, I thought. However, the more I considered the idea the more intriguing it became. First though, a little history, which will give you some understanding why I quickly changed
my tune from scorn to excitement.

For many years I taught school, and when computers were introduced into the schools, I was fascinated. Although the Apple computers first introduced didn't do much, I could see a use at least in record keeping and any teacher will tell you there's a lot of that.

I also worked as a travel agent and the introduction of the computer was invaluable. No more long, long waits on the telephone for an agent for information now available on my computer. It wasn't much of a leap to go from the typewriter to the computer to write my books.

So the idea of a digital book began to grab me a few weeks after I heard about e-books.
Since the NY gothic industry in print was dead and I had a gothic to sell, I thought I would try the market. Low and behold I sold that book. I was an e-author much to the disgust of my fellow authors. For a NY published author to stoop to writing a book
for a nonexistent market was ludicrous, or so they thought.

From my standpoint, the mechanics weren't much different. I had a cover artist, an editor, a copy editor and a publisher. Of course, not too many people were going to read my book. Back in 1999 there weren't many readers, I didn't have an actual paper book, and there was no distribution to speak of.

But, today it is a totally different story. Kindle is out there, the Nook is making news, Sony has a reader. Not only that, we have the iPad, and cellular phones. Everyone I know has a cell phone and most have applications capable of downloading books.

It's no longer strange to see someone reading from a reader. I've seen them in doctors' offices, even customers reading from them in McDonald's. Retails stores are now carrying them and the price has dropped so much, they are actually affordable for many.

Oh, there are still die-hards out there. Occasionally I hear, "but I like the feel of a book in my hands" or (and I never figured this one out) "I like the smell of a book!"
HUH! The paper might smell, if it gets wet and the ink might smell, but the book?
For those of us who have arthritis, a reader is a wonderful help, and even better is the ability to change the size of the font so tired eyes can read without strain.

Just this past week, the NY Times announced it would now have a list of digital best sellers, and last fall, one of the NY publishers announced it would only be selling digital books. It a wonderfully feeling to know that I was in on the ground floor as the world of technology explodes. Digital books are here. So "we have come as long way, Baby!"

Allison Knight
"Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch"


Becka said...

I hear you, Allison! I was the same way. Submitted a few books to NY, got rejected, then was told in 2003 of eBooks. People actually read books on their computer?

Like you, I scoffed. But, I decided to submit to ePublishers anyway.

Why? I don't really know, other than to go a different route because it seemed NY had closed the door. Like you, my friends/family scoffed as well, and for years, I had to love what I do more than I love getting royalty checks.

I stuck with it, though. I've seen first hand the popularity of eBooks, not just because of the eReaders, but because of the cool and totally "out there" plots. NY is a formula machine. But eBooks are new and fresh and the sky's the limit, no matter what you want to write.

A lot of people scoffed at the "sloppy seconds" eBooks were, since they seemed to be publishing the cast-offs from the NY rejection pile. But let's face facts here. People WANT TO READ books that aren't pigeon-holed, books that don't follow formula.

And because of that, eBooks have become wildly popular. It wasn't *because* of the Kindle that eBooks became popular, but in spite of it. It was because Jeff Bezos (of Amazon) realized how awesome eBooks were, that they were an untapped market and needed exposure. If I ever meet that man, I'm kissing him soundly. lol

EBooks had caught his eye (and others) long before Kindle, so there was obviously worth there before eReaders and smartphones.

It's just that now, it's easier for people to read them and access them. EBook authors needed that entrepreneur to believe in us enough to make a device that was cheap that everyone could use. Sure, there were eReaders before Kindle, but Kindle made them hip and popular.

Anyway, I'm on my soapbox, but I couldn't be happier with the road I chose. I got on early, and now I have a big backlist for new readers to find! Thank you, NY, for rejecting me!!! lol


Eve Langlais said...

I love ebooks-- I'm never without something to read. I also love the expanded genres like Becka mentioned with their daring storylines and explicit love scenes for those of us who like the door wide open :)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Love the post, Allison, since I've just recently got into the e-world.

I've blogged about my new kindle and am slowly persuading friends and family that how easy it is to buy books and read them this way.

And it seems many of my UK writing friends are gradually agreeing! I think there will be a lot of e-readers on Christmas wish lists.