As followers of this blog know, I’ve become a bit obsessed with e-books over the last little while. Not the assimilation of them into our culture: that’s inevitable and will take place with or without me. Rather, what’s compelling me right now is how to create them and how to vault them into a spot in the sun.
As any author will tell you, the business of creating books can be an emotionally trying process. First the book, of course. Writing the good ones make you bleed. Seriously: just open a vein, yet that’s the joyous part.
And then, in the world of old school legacy publishing (I borrow this phrase from JA Konrath and Barry Eisler, but it works), the author takes a backseat. Perhaps he is trotted out occasionally to stand at the front of a room somewhere and read or opine or maybe to speak with a carefully vetted reporter or two. Other than that, he is left alone to contemplate the weighty matters of life and to create.
So that’s in theory, right? And it’s also in the olden days. More recently, authors have been mostly doing all that stuff while also blogging, tweeting, Facebooking and whatever other thing we can think of to keep our smiling mugs in front of the folks who might buy books. But because the way legacy publishing works is to spend time and money on the authors whose careers least need it, the rest of us are sometimes investing our own time and money into doing all this stuff despite our publishers who insist on patting us sweetly and telling us not to worry our pretty little heads overmuch about matters we probably don’t know much about anyway. It’s a little frustrating (she said mildly). Especially for those of us whose backgrounds in related matters run quite deep.
All of this is part of the reason why some well-published authors are jumping rather enthusiastically on the e-book bandwagon. Finally we’re at a place where we can do something. We can do anything and we will either see direct results or not, but we will know that whatever we’ve created is the result of our creation, participation and, to a certain degree, our love.
Obviously, not every author is going to want to be this involved with their books. But for me, and those wired the way I am (I’ll call it a bit controlling. You might call it something else.), it’s incredibly freeing. Joyous. It’s like having spent more than a decade being cast around on an unwieldy sea, I’m suddenly at the helm of this fun little daysailer. And the water? It’s calm and blue. It isn’t tropical. Not yet. But I can see where I’m going.
So where am I going? I sat down to introduce you to my newest e-book, Hitting Back, just out today. I wanted to tell you about the book’s genesis and how it came to be. And I guess, in a way, I have, though the canvas I brought was larger than the one intended and the story I told had more scope. You get the idea, though: Hitting Back -- complete with another gorgeous cover by David Middleton -- is part of my evil plan, though it’s also a love child with a story of its own. I’ll get to that another day. Maybe tomorrow? But for now I’m moving more deeply into this clear, blue lake. I can’t see the other side yet but -- man! -- it’s a gorgeous day and the water looks very fine.