Amanda Hocking, Self Publishing, and E-readers

As I walked by my computer this morning, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes- I saw that a friend had instant messaged me a link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/01/self-published-author-amada-hocking_n_829906.html

Honestly, I saw the words, “self published” and continued my journey into the kitchen. It wasn’t until sometime later that I actually snagged a moment to check the article out.

Let me start off by saying that I am by no means downing the profit or purpose of self publishing. Before I had even completed LIVIAN, self publishing was something that I had looked into- I am many things, but normally not an optimist.

I read the article, shared it on twitter, and just a bit later I noticed a tweet where Nathan Bransford had also blogged about Hocking: Check out Nathan’s Blog here.

Nathan always offers some of the best literary information and thoughts that can be found on the internet. I hold his opinions in high regard. Several comments had been posted on his blog by the time that I had finished reading.  I do think that you should read this blog, so instead of rehashing the highlights, I will simply post a portion of my comment on his blog.

“I have seen several first time authors that have yet to complete their first book and have already stated that they will self publish- no doubt- no need to even consider an agent, or even publishers that allow submissions without agents.
Here is what I think about not even trying to get your book published through a publisher
When I was in my early 20s, I was poor and depressed. I was awake one night and I caught an informercial for SMC…Tom Bosely was the spokesman, and come on- If the dad from “Happy Days” says you are going to make money- it must be true.
We saved and saved and instead of investing or just living a bit better- we sent our money into SMC and, gosh darn it- we were going to be rich like that little old redneck man in the feathered cowboy hat. If he can make millions, we could rule the world via household items and gifts.
( I think I just heard Charlie Sheen yell, “WINNING!”)
As it turns out, those results are not typical as the little man in the feathered cowboy hat seemed to make it sound, we were even more poor than before and I was now set with plenty of candles and dragon shaped incense warmers to unload on ebay for next to nothing.
Hocking may have made the mother load with self publishing ebooks, but to me, she is the old redneck in the feathered cowboy hat.
I want my book in print, with a publisher. I want to smell the pages of my freshly printed novel. Kindle and Nook can not offer the reward of smelling the pages of my book.
Not to mention, if you do not have enough faith in your own writing to at least attempt to have a publisher consider it, why are you writing?
Hocking did try to get published the “old school” way, and I do admire her for not giving up…but to never try the route of print publishers, to me, it seems to lack a certain part of the journey.”

I am still new to the publisher submission process, and I am by no means close to considering self publishing at this point. I have poured much of my heart, soul, and time into LIVIAN but eventually, years down the road, I would consider self publishing compared to stocking LIVIAN in a box somewhere and admitting defeat.

I also mean no ill will towards the authors that have indeed set their goals to completing a book and heading straight to self publishing. I realize the theory of “to each his own” and “different strokes for different folks” though, with that being said, I do deeply feel a lack in one’s on work when seeking a publisher is not even a consideration. I do not see shame in an author taking this route if a publisher does not snag them within time, such as Hocking- providing proof that not being scooped up by a publisher does not mean that your book is doomed. Yet, the thought of an author never trying does disturb me.

On the other note of this hype, I must address the boom of the ebook. I see the future before me. Everyone doing a happy dance with their nook or kindle in the palm of their hands. Keep in mind, I still have my collection of vinyl records and even some 8 tracks. I love the popping and crackling that you hear when you listen to music on records and 8 tracks. You get a clean crisp sound with modern computerized MP3 music. At times, I want clean and crisp, but if I am listening to the Beatles or the Monkees, I want crackling and popping.

When I read a book, I want to smell that book. All books smell differently. They all feel differently- the shapes, the binding, the thickness of the pages…Each book on my shelf is unique beyond the words printed on the inside. When I was a child, I dreamed of what it would feel like to hold my own book in my hands. I wondered what scent my own book would carry and what the pages might feel like as I skimmed across with my fingertips. Not once did I day dream about what it might smell like to download my book onto an e-reader or if a nook or kindle would feel differently if it were my book on the screen.

I promise you, I will own a nook or kindle- or what ever the next breed of e-reader is to come, but it will not be soon and I shall not break out with my happy dance when I pay to lose some of my favorite aspects of an amazing book.

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2 thoughts on “Amanda Hocking, Self Publishing, and E-readers

  1. I agree that the old-school method is the first port of call, not that I have made it to that port yet. My manuscript is still awaiting completion, but I long for the day when I can say “Darren Graham. Author.”

  2. People forget that physical objects carry memories with them, something that electronic forms cannot. Besides, I love the feel of turning pages in a book, especially if the pages are thin and of high quality. After all, there’s nothing like a well-bound, beautiful volume to lose hours in.

    I also enjoy the crackle of records, and the music on them tends to shriek less in the upper registers than they do on CD, particularly for orchestral music.

    As for self-publishing and ebooks, I still wonder why more people don’t use the latter method for publishing short stories, essays, and poetry, since the cost of printing collections of those works is often more than what they make, and short forms would seem to be a great niche for ebooks, as they could take the former role of magazines in introducing new authors to the public. For novels, though, I agree with you: try to get them published the traditional way first.

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