We had a great discussion tonight at the library about how e-books are changing the world--in how content is experienced, in how authors deliver it, and in how various media are going to co-exist and overlap. I believe the e-book model is going to roll in faster than most industry and tech analysts expect, with expectations about six months ago that e-books would comprise 15 percent of the market in five years. Now 50 percent in five years is the general agreement. I think it will happen exponentially faster than that, as various pressure points collide--more and cheaper e-books, more established authors moving over to independent publishing, and cheaper e-readers and tablets that will put them in the reach of most households.
I remember in the late 1990s when people were raving about e-books as the immediate future. I laughed at them. I remember in 2002 when I signed my first book deal and e-books weren't mentioned, or the next year when I gladly gave away half the digital rights because "they were worth nothing." I even had some short stories on FictionWise that earned me a dollar every month or two--I was laughing then. Then I put up my out-of-print title The Red Church in January.
I put it out with a little bit of trepidation, afraid my peers would snub me because I was "vanity publishing." Actually, they didn't notice. They had their own worries, like declining paper sales and the real fear of getting dumped by their publishers. The Red Church went out solid and has stayed steady. Enough that I have put out three original titles this year, something I would have considered unthinkable even a year ago. My mindset has revolutionized itself. I am no longer laughing.
Since I entered this new arena, my creative life has been fulfilled and joyful--there's not enough time in the day to do all the things that should be done. Promotion, blogs, tweets, reading up on my new "industry" (though it is much more like a village than a factory), getting formatting and covers, and making time to write. It's probable that money will follow, because I am now doing what I fully love. But even if money doesn't come, I have won--I have found the right thing to be doing, and the best reason to do it.
Because I work for you. You can fire me if you want. You can buy my next book and encourage me to write another. You can make me drop my price. You can tell me I need to write a different kind of story. You can change the way I deliver content and stories (and it will change in ways we can't even imagine). I'll work for you as long as you will let me. You're the boss. Thank you for giving me the best job in the world.