Fifteen minutes of--what? Fame, that's what! Local fame, at least.
Yeah, I got the royal treatment from my local press last week. My international romantic suspense A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND came out in trade paperback last month so I told a nice reporter about it. Next thing I knew, she had me come in for an interview and a photographeer took my picture.
Forty eight hours later, guess what? My ugly mug and a very nice article appeared on the Saturday edition of the Sedalia Democrat. Front page, no less. Now I'm notorious. It won't last. Nothing around here lasts very long. But it was an ego boost when I needed one, and I had a number of people comment favorably on it.
I have a book signing at Sedalia Book and Toy on August 27th, and this will help that as well. Funny how you work for years among friends, family, and acquaintances with nary a mention of any special talents you might have. Then, something like this happens.
Well, enough of that. The fifteen minutes are up and I'm not sure I got my three wishes in. Oh wait, that's a different fable. Now that things are back to normal, I've been thinking more about the amazing changes rocking the publishing world. As I understand it, Dorchester is throwing in the towel on mass paperback traditional print publications. They want to 'pioneer' in the burgeoning electronic publication market. Pioneer? Where the heck have they been for the last decade and a half?
For those of us who still prefer a processed tree in our hands to a melted lump of plastic, print books are not going away any time soon. On the other hand, for anyone who wants to take her/his entire library along on a vacation without overloading the car or plane, e-books are the answer. I've waited a long time to see my creative efforts in a form I can hold in my hand, sign my autograph for those who want it, and point to on my book shelf. Now it's here and I can revel in it for awhile.
Really, though, the idea of having my book available for years at the touch of a button is just as intoxicating. Maybe more. POD makes that possible for print books. Electronic download makes all books available until they are withdrawn by publisher or author. Meanwhile, traditional print novels are available for a month to three months in most cases. Longer, if the author achieves a significant level of fame, though that is not guaranteed.
Nobody has a crystal clear handle on where all this will lead, but we can deduce a few facts that can act reliably as markers for the future. A quick analysis of sales figures and it doesn't take a genius to see that e-sales are up and typical print sales are down. The day of significant advances is drawing to a close, so now we write; we publish; and then, maybe, we're paid for our effort.
The maybe in that last sentence is like the proverbial back-breaking straw.
If we write for money, it's all a roll of the dice. If we write for that 'fifteen minutes', it's still a roll of the dice. If, as I do, we write fiction stories because we can't not write them. what does it matter?
I've always been an optomist, so why stop now? Write for the love of the story. Put unforgetable characters on the pages of your fiction and your readership will grow, whether they prefer to read your story from a piece of paper or the screen on a reader or computer. Put your heart into it and write like your fame depends on it. Because it does.
Cheers from hot mid-Missouri!