Thursday, April 28, 2011

I moved my cheese

It’s another day at work and time to ponder. Now in case anyone is thinking does that girl do nothing but ponder where she works, I do work, but I do have down times and spend them doing this.

But back to the pondering – AAR had an interview with Connie Brockway not long ago in which she stated she is going to go the epublishing route. Some of the reactions to this announcement I found quite enlightening. It was only a short while ago when this announcement would have upset me, as I was one of those who swore I would never get an eReading device. Nope, not for me thank you. First, I liked to hold a book and second and more important they intimidated me. Here I am in the other side of my fifties and there was this whole new way of reading books. I’m of the generation that still used main frame computers and those yellow punch cards things that when you folded the corners and painted them green, made beautiful Christmas wreaths if one was crafty enough and had a supplier of them.

But that was then and this is now and when I started seeing the number of different devices, hearing about the problems with DRM, the horrors of glare and all the other issues I read about, well, I went right back to that little thing I was in Grade 9 and had a little Japanese teacher for Computer Sciences. He had an accent that for the life of me I couldn’t make heads nor tails of. This was the class that I was traumatized in when I got a 26 out of 100 – the lowest grade I ever got in school. And that was a large part of fear of a reading device.

But, there were getting to be more and more books I wanted that were only available as ebooks; Liquid Silver, Samhain, Carina Press and *blush* Ellora’s Cave. And I knew that it was time I faced my fear. I still remember the exact moment when I knew I was going to take that leap, it was during a seminar given by Angela James (of Carina Press), Jane Litte (DA) and Sarah Wendall (SB) It was at that moment that the little engine in me said “I think I can, I think I can. And I did

Fast forward to the dialogue that went on at AAR. Many of the posters were delighted to hear that Ms. Brockway would be coming out with a new book. And the fact that she is planning on writing about one of her secondary characters that appeared in a couple of books from a long time ago made it even sweeter. I don’t know precisely the character they are referring to though I’ve read both books he appears in. Ever since I’ve been part of the on-line romance community readers have been hoping for his book. So the comments of joy and congratulations weren’t unexpected. I was feeling that myself.

But some were of the opposite tone. Some romance readers were quite upset with this development. The fact that she was doing books in eformat was NOT welcome news. Ms. Brockway made very clear in the interview that it was because the NY publishers refused to publish what she wrote that she was going in that direction. But that passed over some of the posters heads. One of them even owned a book store and with this news stated, in a number of posts, that she would no longer stock any of Ms. Brockway’s books. If some brought any in, she wouldn’t take them. Now it’s her store and she can accept or refuse whatever she wants, but I couldn’t help but think it’s a drastic stand. And it also strikes me as being somewhat passive aggressive. There were also others who planned on dropping this author. They didn’t have ereaders and had no plans to get them thank you very much. On the one hand I could relate – I was them. But on the other hand, I wanted to smack them upside the head and say ‘get with the program people’. This is the way of the future and like it or not if one doesn’t adapt, they will be missing out on a lot of good reads. I’ve discovered some real gems at Carina Press. Two of my very favourite books from one of my favourite genres, Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold and Sing my Name, both by Ellen O’Connell aren’t available in print format here in Canada but they can be got for a real good price at Smashwords. I would have missed these really beautiful reads if I hadn’t explored brave new worlds. I have seen some incredible deals at Smashwords and Kobo for some really oldie but goodie books. I just finished a reread of A Promise of Love by Karen Ranney that can be found at Kobo. And before that I had a delightful reread of Theresa Weir’s Amazon Lily that is available FREE at Smashwords.

I think Connie Brockway’s move is a brave and wonderful one. Far too often New York publishers have told authors they won’t print what authors want to write. It’s a terrible thing, that writers we’ve loved can’t sell books we know we will love because some group somewhere says so. With this new option for writers opening, with the fact they are no longer so dependant on big publishers, I can only see it as a positive for us readers. For those who say they won’t get ereaders, me, a former member of the club, says be willing to Follow that Cheese! It’s always going to be moved and we can either cross our arms and refuse to go where it is, or face the unknown and reap the benefits. I have found some great benefits – what about you?


I was chuckling to myself on Easter weekend. I was invited to Easter dinner at my soon to be in-laws who live an hour or so away. As I unplugged my cell phone I had charging, made sure I had the GPS ready to plug into the cigarette lighter, checked my purse to see if I'd added my IPad and Kobo, it occurred to me. I may have a fear of small electronic devices, but I sure have enough of them!


nath said...

Hey Kristie :) Interesting post, keep pondering, we're enjoying it!

Really, I can understand both sides. I mean, it's great for Ms Brockway, because she gets to publish what she wants instead of conforming to the publisher... and there's tons of people out there who will be able to enjoy it because they have e-readers.

At the same time, I understand people who don't. The problem is that e-reading has grown so fast in the past few years with the advance of technology and also, the e-publishing world that I feel that I've been forced into e-reading. Like if I didn't convert, I'd be missing too much.

Let's forget instant gratification and storage issues and all... if we take all that away, what does e-reading offers, really? Also, what I'm going to say is unfortunate and I don't know how people are going to be receptive to... but hey, let's be honest. Okay, so a lot of time, I feel that authors that haven't been able to get published in print by a big house, well they're not "real" authors. Know what I mean? I know out there that there are some amazing authors that have been published only in e-format which is why I have my e-reader, I know how hard the publishing world is and sometimes, it's just luck... but sometimes, I can't help but feel they haven't made it yet because they're not in print... and I think that a lot of people who refuse to get on with e-reading thinks this way. Why bother reading the books that are only published in e-format? Why hasn't it been picked up by a publishing house.

all in all, like everything else, e-publishing has its cons and its pros. If one of my favorite author announced that she was going to go the e-publishing way, I'd be disappointed yes... but I'd also be the first in line to get the book she has to offer.

orannia said...

Fascinating post Kristie. I've had my iPhone for a little over a year now and...I love being able to read eBooks on it. Yes, there are now dedicated eBook Readers available here - Sony, Kobo and (finally) Kindle - but that all happened at the end of last year (too late). I wanted to read eBooks as I discovered the m/m genre and reading on my computer just wasn't easy.

I have to admit to not reading m/f eBooks, maybe because they are still available in print (and thus usuall at my library) but also because of the ridiculous geographical restrictions! If one of my favourite author released a book in eBook format...yes, I think I would be purchase it...if it was available in my non-North American country. All the m/m books I read are from small presses, so this whole geographical issue just doesn't come up. The book is available everywhere. If a book isn't available then I'm not going to wait around to buy it - I find something else. Dear Author has a great website listing lost book sales. Sorry, got on my soap box without realizing it :)

Hope the Easter dinner with the soon to be in-laws went well?

Rosario said...

Nath said:
"Let's forget instant gratification and storage issues and all... if we take all that away, what does e-reading offers, really>"
Sorry, Nath, but I can't resist:

"All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?"

laurawilson25 said...

Great thoughts! Good for you for moving your cheese outside your box!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nath on one thing -- keep up with the ponderings. We luvs them.

I actually went to ereading for the convenience, for price, and because I love technology.

But one point you made, "I would have missed these really beautiful reads if I hadn’t explored brave new worlds." is really the heart of why I eread now. It opens up so many moe possibilities that the big publishing houses would have closed off.

Lynne Connolly said...

I started reading on early readers because I started my writing career with small epublishers, and I felt a bit hypocritical not getting the experience for myself.
I discovered some great authors, and I also discovered that reading like that was a better experience for me. I have appalling eyesight, have to wear varifocal glasses, can't even wear contact lenses, so the ability to change the size of the text is a Godsend. Glasses off, small text, glasses on, larger text.
The ereaders now are fabulous. And it's no longer all about the big six. I know three writers personally who have decided not to write for them and make more money writing for the epublishers than they ever would for the big six. And they are less restricted in what they write. They aren't going back.

Anonymous said...

I read that blogpost at AAR and the subsequent comments, I was pretty annoyed by those who wanted to "take their marbles and go home". Did they not read that Ms. Brockway couldn't write what she wanted for the big publishing houses? It was an it's all about me attitude and I wanted to smack them. (JK - sorta) Even if one doesn't want to use an ereader I think one should respect her decision and move on.

In the larger picture, it's evident ebooks are here to stay. One can choose to avoid them, but to deny their growing influence is to bury ones head in the sand.

Karenmc said...

Kristie, I'm so proud of you for moving with the cheese. I'm on the far side of fifty, too, but I inherited a love of gadgets. Hence, it's been a fun ride the last few years with reading on my ipod Touch and then my iPad (having all the different reading apps available means never having to choose one device over another).

I read and commented on the AAR Brockway post. Change can be painful, and I understand the frustration of the bookstore owner. I think she's working her way through accepting what is rather than what was, and it's taking her a while to come out on the other side.

Anonymous said...

So far, I've bought one e-book simply because I couldn't get it any other way. I read it, but I can't remember a thing about it, because, I think, electronic print suggests the ephemeral so intensely; it lacks substance. My reaction may be due to age, to having held a book in the hand for too many decades...whatever. Regardless, I won't soon buy another e-book, thinking it pointless to read what doesn't impress.

nath said...

No need for being sorry, Rosario LOL.

Kristie (J) said...

Anonymous: I swore I wasn’t going to get an ereader. But like you, I wanted books that weren’t available in print. And even less than wanting an ereader, did I want to read them on my desk top computer. I stare at a computer all day at work and didn’t feel like reading on one in the evening too, not to mention the portability of the thing! But I’ve been very fortunate. Most of the books I have as eformat only are wonderful. I can relate though to how tough it is to adapt to these new fangled things. At times I think why does everything have to change – but alas, it does.

Karenmc: LOL!! One of my sisters love gadgets too – when we were kids she cut the belly out of a talking doll to see how it worked and she’s been loving this computer ages. So she was pumped at the thought of ereaders and is on her second one. But I’m as different as night and day from her in that regard so to me it was very scary!
And I do understand where the book seller was coming from – ebooks are bound to affect their business and not for the good – I get that. But it just struck as rather harsh, her reaction on not stocking any Brockway books. She (the author) has quite a number that aren’t related in any way so if she (the bookseller) refused any of the McClairen books for example – well I don’t get that.

Jane A: That’s how I felt too reading them  But then, I’m a converted ereader now with not just one but TWO reading devices. But I’m like a willow – in some ways, certainly NOT in others (I could only wish) and was willing to bend, even if it was quite a bit against what I wanted to do. And now that I have, I am so pleased/proud that I did. And you’re also right – the reason Ms. Brockway is going this route is because THE PUBLISHERS WOULDN’T PRINT WHAT SHE WANTED TO WRITE. Instead of “selling out to the man” and compromising on what she was willing to write, which I think many an author has done, Ms. Brockway has found a way around the block. And I really do admire her for that.

Lynne: The only drawback I can see for an author going digital is lack of awareness for many a reader not plugged into the internet. A real good example of how buzz can work though is with my experience with the Ellen O’Connell books. Readers were praising them on the AAR boards and when I read the threads and discovered they were Westerns, well I was interested. And when I saw the price for them at Smashwords, I was totally sold! That’s one of the best things about having a blog. When I find something I adore, it’s such a thrill to share it with other readers. I kind of feel bad for romance readers not online. It’s totally changed my world in so many ways.
And it is such a nice way for those authors who have been dropped by the Big 6 as you call them *g* to thumb their noses. I like that – heh, heh, heh.

Kristie (J) said...

Jessica: LOL – I’m always pondering – it’s the carry through I fall down on sometimes. I have more posts that I’ve started at work, got busy doing work-like stuff and thus mailed it to myself at the end of the day, only to have it still sitting on my home in box.
And I know I keep using Ellen O’Connell, but as far as I can figure, she is completely self-published. She’s not even with any of the epublishers like Carina Press or Samhain – so you HAVE to try her really you simply must – only $2.99 at Smashwords and I would pay quadruple that amount for her books. But, yes!! It does give us readers more choices and not just what the big publishers dictate what we can read.

Laura: It was required reading at a job I had a few years ago – Who Moved My Cheese and while it couldn’t have been simpler, it did carry a message that had a profound effect on me. There is always going to be change. And it seems these days change is happening even faster. So we can either being willing to go where the change takes us or we can stay where we are and miss out on what can turn out to be wonderful opportunities. That’s how I worked it when I broke my leg. I could have been all upset at what happened, or I could go with it. And as a result, I still haven’t had a cigarette since and then less happily, but better for me, I’ve only had one hot dog since then too. At times I’m not sure what I miss more – the smoking or the wieners.

Ro: LOL! We don’t really appreciate many of these things at the time do we – it isn’t until we look back that we can see maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

Orannia: As I said, I will never give up print books altogether. I know some romance readers read nothing but books in eform now. But still print books have their pluses. One never has to worry about a print book losing it’s charge in the middle of a really hawt scene. In more ways than one – heh heh heh. If a book is the same price in either form, I’ll go with the print copy.
And the dinner went very well. We played this real silly game where you had to do some really dumb things. Ryan had to wear lipstick – really bright red it turned out to be – and mascara. The hour drive was worth it for that alone.

Nath: LOL - it offers books I never would have read otherwise. And as more and more authors are starting to put their back list on Smashword; authors such as Marsha Canham, Theresa Weir, Karen Raney etc it means some really golden oldies that might not be very easy to find in UBS’s. Many of them don’t stock books older than a certain publishing date.
And *laughing* I am ALL for instant gratification.
And it’s that cheese thing. People aren’t obliged to follow the cheese, but in the end if they don’t, they are the ones who don’t get the reward. Same thing can apply in the workplace. I work with an older group of women and a younger group. Some of the older ones don’t like the new technology. But it sure does make things easier

orannia said...

One never has to worry about a print book losing it’s charge in the middle of a really hawt scene.

LOL! So true. And Ryan in lipstick and mascara - definitely worth the drive :)

CindyS said...

I'm now looking forward to the day I get an e-reader (I'm thinking the kindle) although I think I will miss paperback books.

That said, I'm starting to think that the paperbacks I have might end up being my retirement fund as maybe they will become rare ;)


Leslie said...

Fascinating post Kristie! I've had my e-reader for about a year. I love the fact that I can carry hundreds of books in my purse with the ability to buy more, wherever I am. I've had my Android phone for about a month - love it! Love that I can read both Kindle & nook books on my little phone. I was surprised that reading on the little screen doesn't bother my eyes. I used to think that people who read on their phones were crazy. LOL

Being a reader that frequently shops at UBS, that is one draw back of e-books. Can't trade them in for credit. On the positive side, no more searching for more space to stash books.

Like many things, there are both positive and negative for e-books & print. As for authors that go the e-book route instead of the more traditional - they have to do what's best for them. It's a business and their livelihood. If readers don't like e-books, there are still plenty of print books published every month.

Lorraine said...

Yep. It's exactly why I haven't bought an ereader...there are so many different ones available, I tend to be a technophobe and technology improves so quickly a device can become obsolete in months.

All that aside, the biggest reason I continue not to buy one is that whenever I read a PDF book on the computer I tend to read too quickly, almost as if I'm scanning the book. I find that I'm not as invested in the story. I much prefer to read each and every word and luxuriate in both the book and the process of reading, which I seem able to do only when reading dead tree books.