it doesn't pay to be a publishing purist.

| Monday, August 16, 2010
Today's Tune: They

Multimedia. It is the way of the future oOoOoOoOoOoOo!

No, really. It is. Everyone's constantly wigging about the direction that writing, publishing, storytelling, et cetera is going. eReaders, aaargh! Social media marketing, ulp! Vlogs, Amazon CreateSpace, interactive eBooks, OMG WHATDOIDO?!

First: Relax.

Second: Realize this is happening. It's kind of freaky and confusing, but you're going to have to adapt.

Third: SERIOUSLY, RELAX. Here's a paper bag. Breathe.

For a lot of people, this all feels like the rug is being pulled out from under them. Either they just learned the ropes and now everything's changing, or they've known the ropes for a long, long time and now the ropes are all turning digital on them. There are a lot of questions. Do we have to forum? Blog? Vlog? Join every social media site and dedicate eight hours a day to building an online following? Are our books ever going to be in print, or will we be sentenced to sad pixels on a soulless screen?

Okay. Here's the good news: Storytelling isn't going anywhere. Books aren't going anywhere. This is not the first time in our history that new media has come onto the scene. Music, radio, film, and television haven't managed to kill The Novel. YouTube, Kindle, and video games won't kill it, either.

Here's the OTHER good news: Books have finally found a way to branch into other media. It's not just the possibility of a movie being made down the line anymore. An entire subculture can be built around a book. A book. If your novel strikes a chord in the public, people WILL hear about it. Twitter will explode with discussions about #yourbookhere. Teens with crazy-cool hair will create fan videos for YouTube. People will type your name into Google and find pages of information.

Aaaaand here's the thing: It doesn't pay to be a purist, because this "pure" idea of publishing and books? It doesn't exist. This is not the death of fiction; it's the evolution.

I admit, I have fantasies in my head just like any other aspiring author that one day my manuscript will be a BOOK, with PAGES and a COVER. I have a hard time imagining it any other way. But I also realize that it's my own bias creeping out. I grew up with paper books. I find them comforting and romantic. And really, it's still very likely that should I be published, my novel would be published in paper form.

But what if it isn't? Am I really so attached to the idea that my book isn't real, isn't important, if it's only available as an eBook? No, I'm not. Those are still my words and my passion on that screen. The format doesn't change the love I put into it and the realness of the characters on the "page."

This idea that the only kind of "real" publishing is ink on paper on the shelf of a bookstore is rapidly becoming outdated. I mean, just because you end up with a "real" book, it doesn't mean anything. What does it matter if it only sits on the shelf? ePublishing is huge exactly because it's going to get novels - good, awesome, amazing, life-changing novels - into so many more hands than physical books. The word of mouth is going to soar. The fans you never imagined existed will have access.

Don't panic. I'm not saying that you have to be a digital whiz. I'm not saying you're going to get ROFLstomped if you're not on Twitter. I'm not saying books are history. Trust me, our beloved paper and ink books aren't going anywhere. Our kids will still have access to them. But as long as we're willing to explore the multitude of new options that are popping up every single day?

Our books won't just be books anymore. They'll be forces of nature the future.

And that is. So. Cool.

15 comments:

{ Matthew Rush } at: August 16, 2010 at 8:55 AM said...

That is really cool, well said Stephanie! I can't wait until my novel comes out in a e-format that allows it to have its own soundtrack. That would be dope.

{ Emily White } at: August 16, 2010 at 9:42 AM said...

I couldn't agree more! What an exciting time to be an author, and a reader.

{ KarenG } at: August 16, 2010 at 10:27 AM said...

Awesome post. I couldn't agree more. And I am one who was hyperventilating a year ago.

{ Theresa Milstein } at: August 16, 2010 at 10:34 AM said...

I agree with this. Sometimes I worry I'm not on Twitter, but I don't have to do everything. And please don't make me vlog.

The point of writing is to share. Paper book or e-book - the method doesn't matter.

{ Steph Sinkhorn } at: August 16, 2010 at 10:58 AM said...

I'm glad you all feel that way! :D It seems like more and more people are coming around to this line of thinking, though I'm still running into holdouts. But this is one of those pivotal moments in technology advancement - you either adapt, or you end up that person who's sitting around mumbling about how things were better in the good ol' days.

{ Brad Jaeger } at: August 16, 2010 at 1:29 PM said...

The future is coming, and I'm going to welcome it with open arms and cupcakes.

{ j.leigh.bailey } at: August 16, 2010 at 2:41 PM said...

Hear, hear! (Or is it: "Here, Here"? I always wonder about that?) :)

{ Summer Ross } at: August 16, 2010 at 4:24 PM said...

This was an amazing post! I love how you put so much thought into it and gave us facts. thanks for posting.

{ Steph Sinkhorn } at: August 16, 2010 at 5:26 PM said...

Brad - Cupcakes are always welcome. I'm sure the future will be pleased.

j.leigh - Haha! It's "hear, hear." As in "hear him, hear him" :D

Summer - Thank YOU for reading!

{ aspiring_x } at: August 16, 2010 at 5:41 PM said...

wonderful post! love the attitude! esp. this line: "This is not the death of fiction; it's the evolution."
!!!! :)

{ Whirlochre } at: August 17, 2010 at 8:16 AM said...

I'm holding out for musical tattoos. My book would work very well as a singing tattoo.

{ french_garret } at: August 17, 2010 at 11:47 AM said...

You're so upbeat about it. I'm one of those people who need to breathe in the paper bag. Great post, thanks.
--Heather

{ Steph Sinkhorn } at: August 17, 2010 at 5:39 PM said...

aspiring: Hehe, I'm rather fond of that line, too ;D

Whirl: You must keep me abreast of this technology. It's REVOLUTIONARY.

Heather: What can I say... I am all about the new technologies! It'll be okay, I promise :)

{ E.J. Wesley } at: August 20, 2010 at 10:49 PM said...

Hi Stephanie,

EJ here (met you at "The Mansion") ...

Just wanted to let you know that I linked to this post on my blog. Loved your take, and wanted my readers to check it out.

http://the-open-vein-ejwesley.blogspot.com/2010/08/fab-five-friday-big-thank-you.html

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