Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another First

This week, in fact tomorrow, I'll be presenting at my first ever online conference. I'm a bit awed, but grateful too, that they want to hear what I have to say. And, I will have lots to say. I guess it's the teacher in me but I want other people to know what I know.

When I started into the publishing business years ago, I wrote either by long hand or on a typewriter. Most of the computers were monsters, used by industries and very expensive. I'm discounting the small computers introduced into a lot of schools in the late eighties. They didn't do much. The world of the internet was unknown. The only ways to publish a book was to pay someone to publish it for you, convince a college or university you had something worth printing, or if you were lucky, a major publishing house would buy your work. That was it. From conception until it hit the book shelves took a long time. Even with self-correcting typewriters, revising meant retyping and retyping and (you get the picture). And then there was the time of actual production.

If you paid to have your book printed, it was expensive. I know because in my family, two relatives had books printed. Both of a religious nature and both costly. (And not because of the subject matter.) It simply cost a bunch no matter what the book was about.

Of course the colleges and universities weren't interested in modern fiction and heaven forbid you wanted them to publish a romance. They printed scholarly works! Or text books, or theses of graduate students. A romance was certainly not considered scholarly, a text book (despite the claims of some) or even remotely like a theses.

Oh, how things have changed. That's the thrust of my workshop. Where publishing has been and where it's going. I would like to believe I saw the handwriting on the wall years ago, when I sold my first e-book before the turn of the century. I have to admit I was lucky in that what I'd written was what they were looking for at the moment. However, people had absolutely no idea what I was talking about when I said I had a digital book published. At the time people were just waking up to the age of the computer. Sales on my books were at first slim to none.

Now I smile as I remember how people looked at me like I was from a different planet when I tried to explain how to read a digital book. But that was then and this is now. Just the other day, in the doctor's office I saw a woman reading from a Kindle. I couldn't help striking up a conversation and asking her what she thought. She loved it. I see people using digital readers almost everywhere I go these days. Not a lot of course in one place, but a few and those few are growing as more and more people learn how practical reading digitally can be.

So Wednesday I will begin this conference with a history of publishing. I can only hope for those who attend my workshop, I can share my enthusiasm for this new industry, this new world of digital publishing. If I've tweaked your interest you'll find me at Savvy Authors, one of the presenters for their SUMMER SYMPOSIUM.

Allison Knight


Angela Barton said...

Good luck for tomorrow Rosemary. I'm sure you'll be wonderful!

Do you give talks to writing groups? I'd love you to visit us at Nottingham Writers' Club for a chat about publishing. We're based in the city centre - are you far away?

Oh, by the way, I have changed my blog address to www.fontsandfiction.blogspot.com after a lot of persuasion from twitter friends who keep saying I'm not an 'aspiring' writer!!

Ange xx

Anonymous said...

I'll do ya one better rep girl. My first book was created on an old old IBM magcard typewriter. Yeah, I'm that old.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

January Bain said...

What a wealth of knowledge you have to share! And so positive, Rosemary. Wish I could be there for your talk! Best, January

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Ange - this is actually Allison's blog post, one of the other Champagne authors (I just blog here once a month)! And I'm pretty sure she's based in the USA.

Sounds a great symposium, Allison.