“All I know is that my brother’s kids are 7 and 3 and they’re always trying to get to the ipad.”
I feel like I have been hearing and having this conversation a lot lately. What is epublishing? How does it happen? What will happen to traditional print books? The questions are everywhere.... on every writing website and, in this case, overheard even at Starbucks.
When I start talking about writing books, though, the first question people have is how do I get my work out to traditional publishers. As most writers know, this is a tedious question to answer, boring for everyone except those who have to go through the piles of queries and rejections. Yesterday I read a rejection letter Usula Le Guin received on her first novel (BTW - thank you for putting that out there Ms. Le Guin!... if you want to read it yourself check out my Writer's World link to her site).
So, the idea of epublishing is particularly appealing, I think, if for no other reason than it feels like there are no gate-keepers. Of course the problem with that is that there may well be a lot of unedited and unusual stuff that gets published. The responsibility begins to fall to the reader to sift through the books and find what is worth reading.
But, I have to say I agree with the second speaker at Starbucks... there are a lot of reasons why epublishing is taking off right now, but one of the most important is that the readers of today have already gotten used to picking their books in Amazon. Even more importantly, kid's school libraries now have computer systems which mimic the 'If you like this you will like this' feature and the 'Your friends are reading this' feature of Amazon, Goodreads and Facebook.
So, ultimately, the readers have become the gatekeepers. And if you are a writer like me this is a good and bad thing. Good because we can get right out to the people who read our books. But bad because there is way more pressure to build a well written, fantastic story, with great characters and a voice that appeals to a targeted reader set.
I'd write more on this topic, but I have to get to the library... I have books to return!