Thursday, March 12, 2009

eBooks - Walking the Walk

As Read an eBook Week draws to a close, I've taken the time to think about my own experiences with eBooks and ePublishing. When I first shopped around my inspirational romance (the now out of print Little Flowers) it hadn't occurred to me to approach the e-market. Of course, I had a specific audience in mind for that book - given the dearth of Catholic-oriented fiction, I decided to fill the gap. I only wish somebody had told me at the time that not even Catholics cared to see it filled. Long story short, I found an independent publisher who turned out to be very inept - combined with my naivete and lack of experience in book promotion, the book suffered. Lessons learned.

Four books later, Phaze Books announced its pending launch on the wave of rising interest in eBooks - specifically for the sensual romance readership. My association with Phaze, and later Samhain Publishing, Liquid Silver Books, and Loose-ID, has solidified my appreciation for the industry. Behind the scenes are some very savvy, hard-working people who do their best to shatter the negative myths about publishing. In this present where people in New York and LA are losing jobs and newspapers are folding, eyes and ears are tuned in to digital publishing as a future option.

As an industry professional, I should be happy to see this happen. I write eBooks, I edit and publish, but I must confess that I don't read many of them. My primary excuse is time restraints. I work for my SEO clients, I work for Phaze, I have a young daughter. What time I have left goes to my own writing, and that isn't much because ultimately one of the other three has an emergency that I must fix. When that's done, I look at the clock and hubby is telling me to go to bed. Used to be I could read 20-30 books month. These days...poof.

I have a huge duffel bags of paperbacks by my bed, the TBR pile. It avalanches like that of any other avid reader, yet I don't know when I'll get to it. There's some romance and mystery, English history and literature. Some signed, some ARCs. Good stuff in there, though I won't know if I'll have time to read them. On the other hand, I have a Kindle reader, in which I've stored the latest bio on John Lennon. In spare moments, I'll take it out and read. I love it. Thanks to the Kindle I am gaining back one of my greatest pleasures, and I find when I finish this book I'll want to plug another one in.

So I have decided: I've wanted to reduce the clutter in my home anyway, so by week's end my paper TBR pile will be no more. Yes, we can argue that there's nothing like the feel of a book in one's hand. I enjoy holding my own, but there's also something to be said for space. I need space, I crave it. It's enough I carry the weight of my world, I don't need to add a book bag.

Therefore, I plan to create a Bookcrossing account, starting fresh, and list available paper books. I might set them free, I might designate them to certain people, I don't know yet. I won't think of this as expulsion, however. What I give away, I'll reclaim in eBook format where available. As long as I'm in the world of eBooks, I should be involved in every aspect, including reading.

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