It sounds absurd, but as a writer, we view books as the actual evidence to verify our profession. How in the world was a writer supposed to be an author if their books were virtual? Did it count? Did it invalidate all the authors out there? What about the wanna-be authors who think they too can be authors all because their work is out there as a "book"?
Now that we've all gotten a chance to deliberate over it, buy our Kindles or Nooks or Ipads or other e-readers, it seems that none of that matters. My thinking that e-publishing debased authors and their platforms was incorrect. Why? Because good writers, whether physically published or virtually published, still need the readers -- the public -- to consider their work good in order for it to fare well.
I also used to think that e-pubbing was a cop-out; that this wasn't "real" publishing because an editor or agent or publisher didn't pick it up. I'm wrong on that too. How many books have you read, that once finished -- if you even got that far--you wondered how it happened? How fate lined up their work -- their awful work-- and had it published?
And how many e-books have you read that are absolutely mind-blowing, inspirational -- stories that go beyond average-- and wonder how they weren't picked up by an agent or editor in the first place?
Truth is, e-publishing is perfect for everyone. It's great for those who want to write, and can't seem to catch that big break into the actual book-publishing world. This is a new outlet; a way for them to see their words in (virtual) print. Which to me, is better than nothing -- and also better than lining your walls with rejection letters.
E-publishing is good for those who think they can write, but insist on throwing it into the e-pub arena even though their work is absolute trash. If your work isn't good, it won't sell. Word-of-mouth sales are an enormous issue with e-books too. If the reviews are disastrous, the book won't sell. If the reviews are decent, chances are good one person will tell another, who will tell another, who will tell another and so on.
E-publishing is also great because it's worldwide from the comfort of your own home: for those doing the reading or the selling. To think someone from the opposite side of the world can read your book and like it, is amazing! And that it happens instantly, and inexpensively, is just another two cherries on the top of this e-publishing sundae! Who wouldn't want to pay a $1.99 for a chance that the book is good rather than $24.99 and then regret not having spent the $24.99 on a pair of shoes?
If you refuse to e-read, it's okay. There's a lot of people out there who still love to feel the pages in their fingers or inhale the smell of the glue and cardstock, or take in the vivid colors of the jacket flap. Me included. Books will never go away. And if you're one of the lucky that has been published "for real", then kuddos (or extra chocolate on your sundae) to you.
But, I also don't think e-publishing or e-reading with go away for a very long time either. As long as we have writers, we will have readers. And if the reading can be instantaneous, in an instantaneous-driven world, we will have e-publishing. I think it's here to stay. I think it can be a great, great thing. And I think, it might just be what so many writers have wanted without needing to spend thousands on self-publishing (and boxes of unsold books in the years to follow.)
It may not be for everyone, but it might just be for me.
What about you?