Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Why I Love E-books

We had a couple of those "Florida moments" this week. A small nurse shark bit a young woman in Boca Raton and wouldn't let go. She was transported to the hospital with the shark still attached! And in my much-beloved Venice on the Gulf Coast, close to where I frequently got on I-75, comes a photo of another kind of Florida wildlife.

Later - Girl & friends with shark in plastic

4-lane access road to I-75 ( in the background)

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 Breaking Archeological News:

Grace Note: For twenty years I lived near a spring on Florida's Gulf Coast where finding artifacts 12,000-13,000 years old was routine. But the following significant archeological moment turned up in this morning's newspaper -
Summary of an article in The Orlando Sentinel, Sunday, May 22, 2016 - 
Archeologists have uncovered a stone knife in a sinkhole near Tallahassee that dates back 14,550 years. This places people in North America nearly fifteen hundred years earlier than previously believed. The evidence is deemed "unassailable." 

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E-books from an Author's Viewpoint:

Way, way back in 2010, I'd been e-published since December of 1999, so I was no stranger to e-books. I'd already owned two e-readers and absolutely loved them, particularly the first one, which of course was bought up by a larger company and put out of business! But in 2010 my writing life made a sudden change for the worse. I'd been creating two Regencies a year for Signet (Penguin Putnam), everything seemed on track for many more years of the same, and then erotica swept in, overwhelming the romance market and leaving squeaky clean books gasping by the wayside. Oops.

Signet shut down their traditional Regency line (think Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer), and I was out of a job. Oh, I was invited to write biographies of famous women—I nearly choked! Or I could sit home and twiddle my thumbs. I could, of course, attempt to join the flood to hot sex - I even tried it once - but it quickly became apparent I was much too devoted to complex characterizations and plots to ever settle to writing a book that was devoted to "in the moment" sex. So . . . what now?

As I've mentioned, I found a home for my last Regency with Ellora's Cave, which was making so much money on erotica at that time that they could afford to be generous and pick up the Regency slack. For which I was truly grateful. Their Blush line also published other non-erotic romances, I had a wonderful editor there, but what about all the books to which I now owned the rights? 

So in late fall of 2010, I bought my Kindle and set out to explore the grand new world of Amazon. It was a case of instant love. Except for old favorites off my shelf, I haven't read a book on anything but my Kindle since. (The same Kindle, by the way, knock on wood.) And early in 2011 I got valuable advice and encouragement from Delle Jacobs, an author who had already made the plunge into Kindle Direct Publishing. At those early days, authors were offering their books at 99 cents each and racking up sales right and left. In 2011 alone, I made far more money than my books had made since their original publication, beginning in 1999.

Yes, Amazon's KDP soon grew crowded, making our books harder to sell. At the same time, however, it became apparent that we were making a dent in the print market, forcing the big publishing houses to establish e-book departments of their own. That's a "Wow!", by the way. Score one for the power of e-publishing, whether by an online publishers or by DIY via Amazon, Smashwords, or B&N.

In 2016 DIY publishers have become the powerhouse publishers of the world. (But more on that next week.) [For those who, like myself, hate to be confronted by acronyms they don't know - DIY = Do It Yourself.]

E-Books from a Reader's Viewpoint:

OMG, it's so much easier to read a book on Kindle! You can adjust the size of the type. The pages flip forward or back at the touch of a finger. It always reboots to exactly where you left off. Mine has a built-in dictionary. I can actually look up words, as necessary. Or search for a certain word, etc. I could even order more books on it, but it's the Kindle vanilla model, b&w, so I prefer to order in full color on my computer.

And just imagine! (This has happened to me countless times as I'm a nightowl.) It's midnight, I've finished a book, I'm not ready to go to sleep, but oh horrors, there's nothing new on my Kindle. I zip to my computer, usually searching by favorite authors (of which I keep a list).I don't have to wander down an aisle, prying books out of stacks in order to read the blurb. Everything is there, right in front of me.  I read the descriptions at leisure, sitting in my comfortable chair. I order one, maybe two or three new books, walk back to the bedroom, turn on my Kindle, and the books pop up on my index list. Just that fast. Love it!

And there's the easy portability of an e-reader. At the moment I have 187 active books on my Kindle, with 469 in the Archives. Any time I'm traveling, all I have to do is make sure I've downloaded a few new books, pack my charger (and adapter if I'm traveling out of the country), and I have reading matter for weeks! During our long trip last summer I went back to the beginning of several favorite series and enjoyed them all over again. Picture packing 187 books next time you're flying to Europe, South America, or Asia! And wouldn't I love to see the look on the counter clerk's face if you tried to check in a trunk full of books destined for New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. They'd probably cart you off to the loony bin!

Okay, you've probably gotten the message by now that I find people who cite the smell and feel of paper as essential to their reading pleasure a little weird. Yes, I treasure ancient manuscripts - I'm in awe of Yale's Beineke Library - I mean, they have a copy of the Gutenberg Bible! I used an archive of ancient print manuscripts as a benign prison for the heroine of Rebel Princess. And I recall with fondness the very special gift of an actual print book (Moby Dick, as I recall) that Bones gave to Captain Kirk. But having respect and finding print books "convenient" (particularly huge hardcovers) are two entirely different things. They look good on the coffee table. That's about it.

Hey, people, the millennia came. It's time to move on.

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Next Week: Part 2 - The Significance of the Rise of E-books

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.
For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  

1 comment:

  1. Love your insights, Grace, as always :-) You are one busy woman!!