Monday, January 28, 2008

The Real Book

One of the questions that is frequently asked of an e-published author is when are you going to write a real book? Excuse me? Every book I've written is a real book. I spend untold hours writing it, editing it and filing all the paperwork involved with it (contract, blurb, cover request, and copyright). I receive a monthly royalty check for the copies that sold that month. So in what way is my book not a real book?

When I was thinking about all of this earlier, it occured to me that the reason other people don't believe we've written a book is because of our own ambivalence. We can't quite decide what we want. How many times have I heard an author lament that no one wants to buy their book until it is released in print and then in the next breath, they admit that they won't feel like they written a real book until they can hold it in their hands? Well, what do we want then?

Until we are convinced that we've written a real book--until we believe it heart and soul--then no one else will believe it either. The book is real. The problem is that our book is in an altered form. No one tells Nora Roberts that her electronic books aren't real. Thousands flock to buy her audio books. So what's the problem? I think it stems from our attitude.

When someone levels that when are you going to write a real book at us, our body language changes, we do a little foot shuffle, hang our heads and admit that our book is electronic. Now why do we do that? Why are we apologising? On one of the chat loops that I frequent, there was a lively discussion regarding all the fellow authors that expect us to buy their print books, but then fail to return the courtesy because they don't buy e-books. Hmmm. It seems to me that we need some coping mechanisms to deal with people when they demand when are you going to write a real book?

I've come up with some alternative replies strategies.

1) Look that fellow author in the eye and with your most guileless expression declare that you prefer to buy e-books so you can install them on your e-reader. So... you'll be happy to buy their book when it's released as an e-book.

2) With an innocent limpid expression solemnly declare that you're saving a tree. In a world fraught with evironmental concerns, every effort counts. Print books use trees. E-books are environmentally sound. Then ask them point blank, Don't you want to save the environment?

3) The world's population is aging, but in particular in the United States, the majority is over fifty. With age, the eyes change. Most of us fifty and sixty somethings need stronger glasses. An e-book can be adjusted for a larger font type. Elderly readers suddenly have the opportunity to read any book--not just those printed in large type. That exponentially increases the number of books they have at their fingertips.

4) There is a staggering epidemic of children and young people with back problems associated with carrying heavy school books in their back packs. Many countries are turning to the e-reader as a viable alternative. Consider. School books are practically obsolete before they're printed. They could be edited and reissued at will. One e-reader can hold all the text a student needs with one download. And next year, the texts can be deleted and new texts downloaded. Schools wouldn't need to maintain storage for textbooks. Colleges could eliminate bookstores. And last minute shipping hitches would be avoided entirely. Oh, yeah, think of the thousands of trees that would be saved.

5) In Australia a major bookstore chain has an e-book station in their store where customers can purchase e-books. My book reader has a slot for an SD card just like I use in my camera. Books on SD cards can be purchased and loaded directly on the e-reader without a computer--which is a big incentive for those who don't own a computer. I could keep a thousand books on SDs in an index card box! In a downsizing world we need to exercise all of these options!

Instead of calling our books e-books we should call them green books, proudly emphasizing what we're doing to save the environment. Who are we? We're the authors that are on the cutting edge, willing to do our part to make the world a less cluttered place.

Anny (the e-writer!)
I'm guest blogging today at Romance Junkies about how I create new fictional worlds. Drop by and leave a comment... please?

Absolutely do not fail to stop at Amarinda's Place today as she's running a surprise contest on her blog. Go there now. Win, win, win a free copy of Shades of Gray!

Then go to Kelly's Blog where she has the Saga. And she'll explain about the contest she'll be launching soon. The prize? Pretty Sparklies! Go now and find out all about it at

Tune in here at my blog on the last day of January to find out about my February webpage contest. I'll have all the rules posted on my website on Friday. Win, win, win!

On February 5th we'll be launching our Eternally Yours contest. Prize? 1st place, 5 free books. 2nd place, 3 free books. 3rd place, 2 free books. Win! Win! Win!

Blessings on your day!


  1. Writers will whine regardless and readers will read how ever they want - and again the world turns....

  2. My ebook reader's busted. Has been busted for over a year. Need to get another. I was going to purchase a Kindle but decided to wait a year until the bugs were worked out. Though, I might have to go check out the Sony just to see if the prices have dropped at all.

  3. Anny, thanks for a fantastic article. I think I may just start calling my books green books. I love them btw, because I can carry a ton of them in my purse on my palm pilot. I don't know many people who can carry two hundred books in their purse :D (I have one of those nifty SD cards too)

  4. I like the idea of green books too. And the e-book station in the bookstore. The US needs to get on the ball and do the same!

    Hubby is predicting by the time our little one gets to HS the texbooks will all be on the flash drives.

    And the second year I was promoting my 1st book, a young woman in the target age range asked me if it was on CD. At the time, I didn't know what she was talking about, other than being an audio. But I do now!

  5. Great Blog, Anny!! We E-authors are really hangin ten on the front end of the wave of the future.

  6. I absolutely LOVE THIS post. I can usually shut 'em up with the big grin that accompanies the statement, "I love my monthly royalties from e-books, especially since it smokes my print book royalties." After the mouths fall open, I can hit 'em with the whole green books thing! You're a genius ;D


  7. I love love love the green books angle - brilliant Anny, just brilliant!

  8. Anny, you are hysterical. My personal favorite is answer #1. I memorized and colpied it to paste in my wallet. And after I tell them they ahven't written a real book unless it's epublished I can ask them if they're aware how much higher the royalties are. Then walk awa.

  9. Great blog, Anny. I toddled on over to Junkies and left a comment.

  10. Bravo, Anny! I love that. Especially #2. That will work wonders on the science teachers who look at my ereader like it's from another planet.