September 23, 2010

Am I trying to ride a horse & buggy…

Filed under: The Writing Life — jenny @ 5:51 pm

…when the first Fords are rolling off the line?

Today I read this blog post by author Joe Konrath.

You all have heard me refer to Joe before here, and I’ve also been lucky enough to feature Karen McQuestion, whom Joe mentions in his list of Kindle success stories.

It’s all made me wonder. Am I trying to sell a radio show when television’s just been invented?

Here’s the reason why I think not. While Joe Konrath is happy about his ability to focus on writing and not having to spend countless hours on appearances–and I know plenty of writers who would similarly see this as a gift–I’m not one of them.

I have a dream of going to as many independent bookstores across the country as I can get to–the Declaration of Independents tour–and if the readers aren’t lining up yet, then I can meet the booksellers.

For this, of course, you need a book. An actual print book, which I dearly hope is not a horse and buggy, or the lovely Boylan sisters (were they even real?)

I love books, and bookstores, and I also love the prospect of meeting readers. In person, live, no matter how much the cost and effort required from me.

I can meet readers on-line–here, and on the blogs I recently rounded up (another list coming soon, I promise)–and other great forums and listservs. Those outlets aren’t lesser to me, but they aren’t the whole story either.

I long to shake a physical hand and hand over a physical book.

Now about to go on submission again, I guess we’ll see if I ever will.

If not, then I’m awfully glad that the Joe’s and the Karen’s and the Rob’s have proved something else can be done.


  1. You’re not nuts. I want a book I can hold too, and I think books NOT available in hard copy miss a certain type of reader (me, for instance)–some people will continue wanting to read hard copies for a long time to come. When PoD gets fully functional (like you can get them just about everywhere) I might shift. Until then, I want a BOOK.

    I am NOT thrilled with the idea of ‘appearances’– I am a bit reclusive that way, but the hard copy just seems so much more tangible to me. (how the heck does an author autograph a Kindle copy?

    Comment by Hart — September 24, 2010 @ 8:23 am

  2. That’s all true for me, too Hart–you’re right. And yet, I kinda feel like I’m languishing here, you know? And I want to read your book(s) too!! But–I don’t even own an e reader, so not like that would help us…

    You will do GREAT at appearances! Just look at your blog! Anyway, I want to meet in person sometime, so you must do at least one :)

    Comment by jenny milchman — September 24, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  3. I think the horse and buggy can co-exist with the automobile. Just think of the Amish. LOL

    Seriously, I like the idea of e-books for those who are into the new technology and paper books for those who prefer that. I have a foot in each camp. I still love a paper book where I can actually turn the pages and feel the quality of the paper, but I also have a Kindle and enjoy many features of electronic reading. Having a title as an e-book does not mean the same book cannot be in paper, too, so all tastes can be met.

    Comment by Maryann Miller — September 25, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  4. I love Maryann’s analogy. I love books, but I’m thinking of asking for Kindle the next time there’s a gift-giving occasion. You’re going to break through, Jenny, and I’m looking forward to introducing you at my local bookstore.

    Comment by Carolyn J. Rose — September 26, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

  5. Carolyn, I cannot WAIT for that day! In fact, my hello gift for you will be a Kindle (or at least a Kindle gift card good for some downloads, being a starving writer and all ;)

    Comment by jenny — September 26, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  6. Best of luck with your dream, Jenny. What fun to travel from bookstore to bookstore, meeting others who are passionate about books!

    Comment by Vicki Lane — September 27, 2010 @ 6:57 am

  7. I love this line: “I long to shake a physical hand and hand over a physical book.”

    Lately I’ve been wanting an electronic gadget on which I can read books, but this would only be for purposes of manuscript critique and review, in the hopes of saving paper and not sitting in front of the computer for hours reading.

    I love holding books, seeing them cover my walls, feeling the texture of their pages. No plastic device could ever replace those tiny joys.

    Comment by Beth Hull — October 1, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  8. Thank you, Vicki. Maybe I can come somewhere near you and we can both display our wares? I would love to be in the company of your beautiful books.

    Beth, welcome to Suspense Your Disbelief! I do agree with you about mss. My agent submits electronically and reads my drafts on her Sony reader and that all seems better all around than the old days of ream boxes and printing.

    I just hope we don’t throw out babies with bath water, you know?

    Comment by jenny — October 1, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

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