Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Book

On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
Day 2
B is for Book

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.
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Book – noun. A set of written sheets of skin or paper or tablets of wood or ivory. -Mirriam-Webster online
From the time of Johannes Gutenberg until Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet (the first ebook I heard about) books were printed on some form of paper. Almost six hundred years is one heck of a good run, don’t you think?

The printed page was the standard, the norm, the expected. Suddenly, that one bullet changed the world (as bullets often do). Now we read media on our computers, our laptops, our tablets, our Kindles, our Nooks, our cell phones, and yes, we can still read them on good old paper.

So is it fair to continue to call all this non-papered media books? E-books have been around for over ten years now and the question persists. Those who started their careers in print and had good success are often uncomfortable with the notion of calling a story sold digitally a book. I can personally testify to this based on my experience at the Romantic Times Convention in Pittsburgh, 2007.

One of the grand dames of my mother’s style of romance was beside me in line and upon learning I was e-published admonished me to follow the guidance of the Romance Writers of America. I chose to continue to follow my heart instead – thank heavens!

I'm proud to be able to say I’ve been an e-book author for nine years now, in one incarnation or another. I see the same arguments against ebooks and epublishing presented today as I saw in 2003. I’m reminded of the wonderful Billy Preston song, “Will It Go Round in Circles.” Yes, it all goes round in circles.

Times HAVE changed. Epublishing is coming into its own, claiming a bigger percentage of the romance industry. For 2009, the RWA reported ebooks claimed $313.2 M of the romance market. I think it was a lot more because many e-publishers do not report their sales to the RWA. Why should they when the RWA has historically refused to acknowledge and support them, and the publishers have proven they can do business without the RWA? Will it go round in circles? Yes.

More and more “print” authors are finding their way into the e-publishing arena. (Why do you think that’s happening?) So are they still writing books, or are they now writing media with those they used to look down upon?

The question of why they’ve turned to ebooks has already been answered – money. Will they try to say their royalties aren’t any more real than the ebooks that earned them? Will it go round in circles? Yes.

For me, a book is a book is a book. I write the manuscript and a publisher turns it into a finished product that is marketed as a book. I don’t feel the need to split hairs or redefine the language. In our modern usage, a book is a story told by the written word regardless of the media upon which the words appear in order to be read and enjoyed.

I write books.

KC Kendricks
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vjicha said...

Enjoyed your post and learned a lot.

jabblog said...

All things evolve or they die - no different for books. Monks used to use beautiful calligraphy to write books which few were able or privileged to read. The printing press (and education) enabled many more to enjoy reading.
Who knows what the next development will be?

Gregg said...

I love books. Can't get into ebooks or readers. I want to hold a book. I love to cherish it and even caress it.

Gregg Metcalf

Sarah Pearson said...

Oh yes. The book is the story, not the cover.