Apparently Scott Turow’s rant against Amazon was a faux pas rebutted by Joe Konrath & Barry Eilser (who also mention David Gaughran‘s excellent post on the topic and add an open letter to Mr Turow by author Suzanne White) – it’s a long read, but worth it. My take on the whole paper vs.ebooks or brick-and-mortar vs online is: as a foreigner living in a non-English speaking country (albeit in a town with a few brick-and-mortar English bookstores) shopping online has become the norm. On Amazon I can find all the DVDs I want without flying to London, on Smashwords most ebooks, and those I can’t find there, I find them on Amazon, where they have the print version (if the ebook is not available) shopped to my door. No more heavy bags when I come back from my travels!
As an author writing in English but living as above, through Amazon and Smashwords I can reach my readers all over the world. Eventually I might try to get my books into brick-and-mortar bookstores as well, but at the moment I’m all for the digital revolution – and I don’t mean only the two e-distributors above, as I now have titles on XinXii and DriveThru as well (no sales, but I’ve just started with those two).
And I don’t care if I’ll never be able to join the Authors Guild – especially after what I’ve heard from them (the article criticized above is not the first I hear about). Nor am I interested in the Big Six at this time, as I’m still experimenting and having a lot of fun without bothering to wait months for a rejection because they don’t know how to market my adult, character-oriented fantasy.
The Smashwords ebook week brought 2 sales with 50% off and 1 full price (99cent short) – then Smashwords crashed and all the books looked “pending for premium distribution” for 48 hours. But I also discovered BoI – Prequels had been rejected because they couldn’t see the Smashwords license (which was at the end instead of the beginning, grunt!), so I also resubmitted that.
Hopefully in April I’ll see my first payment from Smashwords, which means it took me one year to start seeing sales (I closed December with 9$ and change, and the minimum for PayPal payment is 10$… It’s now more than doubled in two months and a half! ;-)), so it’s a very slow growth. But still a growth.
Do we still need publishers? I don’t. Because I’ve developed a self-confidence throughout the years. As I mentioned, I’m rewriting CVE3. One chapter I had translated it way back when (original file is from 1994), for one of my English courses in London. It had been saved on floppy disk (anyone remember those? ;-)), then copied on CD-rom (and now added to my Dropbox folder because the CD-rom didn’t work properly on Desktop and I had to open it on Laptop), so I printed it out to check it – my old song-lyrics-English was awful! But I kept also the Italian version at hand, and it wasn’t much better. In 1993 I still hadn’t done any creative writing courses, knew nothing of POVs, and of course it was the “old” Silvery Earth. So, major rewrite in translation, not in the plot itself (which is fine) but how it’s written. I have to take out (from the whole novel, not only the translated chapter) all the head-hopping, on-the-nose dialog (“as you know, Bob…”) and telling instead of showing. But it’s OK, I can do it – and have the Editor check for passive voice and other grammar issues.
But then, writing is a muscle – if you don’t exercise constantly, you lose tone. I’ve never stopped writing since that long lost summer of 1978. I have a huge unpublished backlist – most of it is and will always be unpublishable, but it was good exercise, and I’m not running out of ideas anytime soon. Between rewrites and shiny new thingies bouncing in my head, I don’t know what writer’s block is. Because I keep writing.
And then – finally – I put it out there and move on. I don’t linger on the same story for years. One year of rewriting hell was enough for the lest of my life. I trust my creative mind to churn out the best story at the first try and my editing mind to catch plot inconsistencies and other mistakes when I reread (or type) it. Then it’s off to betas and editors, one last pass, and I let go.
I think I spent too many years rereading my own stories (without changing a comma), it’s time I move on – reading time is limited and the choices out there are unbelievable. I might still be my own favorite author (LOL), but I also want to discover new ones! So I’m going to end this post (rant?) first by showing you last weekend pastime (almost 3 hours) – also to break that big block of text with an image.
And then I’ll answer the five questions found on Stephen’s blog (follow his link to see where he got them from and read his answers), because hey, it’s Writer Wednesday, and those are writing questions! Here we go.
1) What inspired you to be a writer?
I wanted to tell stories. All kids do. I just never stopped and started writing them down at a very early age. With (awful) drawings most of the time. Or (badly written) balloons. I still have them – scenes drawn of people talking, the first comic books and short stories… Not for public consumption, but a very solid base to build on.
2) What is love according to you?
Love is passion and losing yourself. In another world or another person, as you wish. In my case, as I couldn’t find a person, I stuck to Mr. Writing.
3) What are your writings to you?
Babies. Imperfect or maimed or sweet or sad or whatever. I’m glad some of them are standing on their own now. And they’ll soon be joined by many brothers and sisters. Reader, beware! A small army is coming!
4) How will you define yourself as an artist?
I’m a story teller and world creator. A writer with some (limited) drawing skills who dreams of an illustrated book for adults. Maybe in my next life!
5) What are the qualities in you which others do not have, and because of which you can write?
I’m prolific. I don’t have anything better to do. Feel free to tell me “Get a life!”. I will smile, nod and ignore your suggestion!
Happy writing, reading, drawing or whatever your passion is! Oh, and about the PayPal/Smashwords controversy… it’s over!