Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Call For Dialogue Between Readers and Authors

Today's blog is in response to Jane's insightful post over at Dear Author ' Digital Publishing Has to Step Up Its Game'. Here at Paranormal Romantics we've been and will be digitally published. We wouldn't be here without you readers out there and much of the business is driven by your input and thoughts as to what kind of books you'd to read.

DA already has a wonderful dialogue going on with its readers in the comments section so I urge you to continue reading if you check out the article.

For a few years now I've been studying the publishing industry with much interest. As an avid reader since I was young I had NO idea the intricacies of pre book production to bookstore sales until my buddy/biz partner/fellow writer Melissa and I opened up our own publishing company in 2007. Boy was that a rude awakening! Co-ops, books turned out (rather than faced in spine out), big corporate publishing was all unknown to me. (Agent Nathan Bransford has a great guest blogger this week breaking the bookstore placement politics in the recent blog ‘Book Sales Demystified’ if you’re interested). In my early reading days I was a library addict and didn't know that sales had to be made from publisher to library just to shelve books either.

I used to go with my family to bookstores and browse with interest, grabbing interesting looking reads based on the gorgeous painted cover and the fascinating blurb. Any SF/F book that had a kickin’ looking female character automatically grabbed my attention which, in the 80's, wasn't as widespread as it us now. I came to the counter to rejoin my family, each with our own stack, and even in the car I couldn't wait to get home before I dipped my hand in the bags to check out what goodies I got.

Sadly those days are gone as much of our favorite independent bookstores have closed (although one is still hanging on) and so went with it blind browsing. Now I mainly shop online for great reads and have recently acquired tons of old backlists at thrift stores (they're gold mines, I tell ya).

Some of it is also because of the business I'm in. The online writing community is a small one and usually I come across someone who knows someone else who frequent my writing boards. Reader blogs report when authors behave badly so word gets around when things go awry in authorland. It makes it hard to browse blindly when you see an author on the shelf who has threatened one of their readers!

On the other hand when I see an author on the shelf who has made a recent sale, I excitedly start sharing the news deal with my fellow browsing family member, including the company and the little author details that, well, that only us authors pretty much care about.

Online book publishing and sales have changed the face of the entire publishing industry and it’s continuing to make waves as online venues outsell their brick and mortar counterparts. With online blogs, zines and publishers cropping up alongside direct reader connection from author to reader and vice versa, a community of authors, aspiring authors and readers are growing. Publishers like Tor and Harlequin are taking note but there is still much to be done.

I would like to get my fellow PRomantics blog family’s thoughts on this as well as all you readers and authors out on the web. What would you like to see for the future of digital publishing? Where would you like to see the industry go? For readers, if you were given a chance to have your greatest reading wishes fulfilled with the oncoming new era of publishing, what would you like to see happen? Anything goes from access to certain books, the perfect digital reading device (that maybe looks like a book?), the types of genres you’d like to see, book cover wishes, anything you would like to see in the books you read.

I’ll try to steer some of my editors and publishers this way and hopefully the wish list spreads to make an impact and make the industry better for readers and authors a like.


Rebecca Royce said...

Rae, What is your feeling? Has it changed the entire industry or just in Romance?


Rae Lori said...

Recently I heard that the first genres to grasp the digital change was sci-fi and romance (probably because of Tor and Harlequin's input along with the smaller presses) but recently the mystery and thriller genres have hopped on so I think it's a widespread thing now. It looks like publishing itself is headed toward a dynamic rehaul and many are saying it won't look like what it was in the past as it will be int he future. It'd be a sight to see that's for sure! :-)

Annie Nicholas *the dreamer* said...

Look at the younger generations with their ipods, DS, and texting skills. I see future kindle/eReaders. They are also more enviromentally conscience. I think epub industry will grow and one take over. Newspapers are folding and NY pubs are struggling but the internet still thrives.

I would like to see the eletronic reader's prices become more affordable. Heck, the cell phone companies give you a free phone with a contract why not a reader with the same deal? I would also like them to become available outside of the America. Can you imagine the sells?

J Hali said...

I agree with Rae, the face of publishing is going to change dramatically. It'll be interesting to watch.

Myself, I'm becoming attached to my mini computer and my ebooks. Though I still buy paperbacks in series from authors I like, I've not read them. Why? I don't carry a book anymore - I throw my computer in my purse and off I go! The paperback sits all alone on my bookshelf and collects dust.

I do have a pet peeve about ebooks - the covers. I can't stand the 'poser' covers and I have a book which has a cover that at least one other person has. So what if they are ebooks...where have all the gorgeous models gone?

Rebecca Royce said...

I agree Joann. I like original looking covers. You must have been bummed when you got a poser cover. Great posting.

Rae Lori said...

That's a good point, Joann and Rebecca! Where have they gone indeed? I know I've come across a few copies and it's a bit unnerving because the cover sets the scene for the book and repeat covers seem a bit, um lazy?

I also agree about the poser covers. They do look mannequin like. I've some good ones (it's true lol) that actually look nice and there are some things you can do in the program so it doesn't look so fakey but most times it does look bleh. :-/