Christy Award Finalists


ReadingThe Christy Award finalists were announced today. I know that awards like this can easily leave out some of the best books—they might be independently published or the publisher chose not to invest in submitting a particular novel. All kinds of reasons.

Still, there’s no doubt these books deserve to go on a list of novels readers should consider buying. I mean, first an agent chose to represent the author, then an acquisitions editor took the manuscript to the publishing board, they decided to publish it, a substantive and a copy editor each worked with the author on it, then Christy judges chose it to be included with the other finalists. That’s a lot of people in the writing profession who believed in these books.

So why not consider adding them to your to be read list? I mean, this is the end of April, which means May is just around the corner. And we all know what follows May: SUMMER!!

You need good books during the summer to take with you on that vacation or to read when all your friends are away on vacation.

With all that in mind, here is the list of finalists:

CONTEMPORARY

Farewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord (RiverNorth, an imprint of Moody Publishing)
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate (Tyndale House Publishers)

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Multnomah)
Firewall by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)
Undetected by Dee Henderson (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

CONTEMPORARY SERIES

The Amish Blacksmith by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner (Harvest House Publishers)
Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney (Abingdon Press)
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

FIRST NOVEL

Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton (RiverNorth, an imprint of Moody Publishing)
For Such a Time by Kate Breslin (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
House of Living Stones by Kate Schuermann (Concordia Publishing House)

HISTORICAL

The Advocate by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking)
The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Tyndale House Publishers)

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer (WaterBook Multnomah)
With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

SUSPENSE

The Color of Justice by Ace Collins (Abingdon Press)
A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson, a division of Harper Collins Christian Publishing)
Sky Zone by Creston Mapes (David C Cook)

VISIONARY [Also known as speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, fairy tale, futuristic, etc.]

Once Beyond a Time by Ann Tatlock (Heritage Beacon Fiction)
Shadow Hand by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes (Enclave Publishing)

YOUNG ADULT

Failstate: Nemesis by John W. Otte (Enclave Publishing)
This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof (Independently Published)
Storm Siren by Mary Weber (Thomas Nelson, a division of Harper Collins Christian Publishing)

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Published in: on April 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Censorship


Censored_stampI’m being muzzled! Gagged! Restricted! Censored! And it’s all right. In fact, it’s appropriate and right that I am. I’ll let you think about that and see if you can figure out when and why it would be OK.

When I thought about the inability I have to blog about what I’d like to right now, I started thinking about the whole “censorship” charge. Yes, there are people who claim books are being censored in America.

The issue is most evident in school libraries. It seems the American Library Association’s response to parents’ concerns about the content of some books on school shelves is to cry “censorship.” In one instance a book was removed from a summer reading list, and therefore made its way onto the “banned books” list.

Odd. It seems the great complaint from the parents was that some subject matter wasn’t age-appropriate. But the ALA official responded with this comment:

“Young adult is a big trend right now, and a high number of complaints are directed at those books,” said Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association, which organises Banned Books Week. “There is a lot of pressure to keep teenagers safe and protected, especially in urban areas, and we are seeing many more complaints about alcohol, smoking, suicide and sexually explicit material.” (as quoted in “Book censors target teen fiction, says American Library Association,” emphasis added)

Imagine that! Wanting to keep kids safe! What are these parents thinking? Silly old adults! Why, don’t they know infants should be allowed to play with razor blades and toddlers allowed to play in the streets? Why goodness, such a provincial idea–keeping kids safe! Absolutely, such efforts need to be contended!

Silliness aside, I don’t think these ALA people and their supporters actually understand the concept of censorship. If a child can still buy a copy of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey or any of the other titles on their banned books list, if they can find those books at the public library, then nobody is censoring them.

By taking them off school summer reading lists, or even moving them to a library shelf that requires parental permission is in no way preventing children from reading the book. Rather it’s putting in safeguards for children who might not be ready for such material.

It’s the oddest thing–making rules based on those least in need of protection. Because one four-year-old child can swim, is it banning swimming to put gates around pools so that small children who can’t swim are prevented from inadvertently getting into the water?

In reality, it seems our society has put a premium on protecting kids physically while disregarding their mental and emotional and spiritual health.

Here in California, we regularly have public paid announcements against smoking. Yet this ALA official sees nothing wrong with letting kids read books that might influence them to smoke.

We have the same disconnect about sex. We let kids read about sex with some misguided idea that they won’t turn around and experiment.

Speaking of the book that was taken off the reading list for eleven-year-olds, Charlie Sheppard, editorial director of Andersen Press, the book’s UK publisher of the title in question said, “Some people felt it was unsuitable for 11-year-olds, but I would be happy to give it to my 11-year-old.” The book apparently focuses on alcohol, poverty and bullying, and includes references to masturbation and physical arousal.

Sorry, but I know a lot of eleven-year-olds who aren’t ready for a story like that. Why should they have to be exposed to things children ought not have to carry?

But beyond that point, the idea that removing the book from a required list is tantamount to banning it is ludicrous!

Perhaps if someone told the ALA they could no longer blog about banned books, they’d get a better understanding of what censorship actually means!

Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 7:55 pm  Comments (6)  
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The Kindness Of God Extended Through The Kindness Of People


US_Navy_100211-N-3879H-006_U.S._Naval_Academy_midshipmen_lend_a_hand_by_shoveling_sidewalks_and_helping_stranded_motorists_in_the_streetsSometimes God’s qualities, such as His kindness, seem nebulous because . . . well, He isn’t digging us out of the snow when our car slips off the road, He isn’t bringing meals when our son is in the hospital and we’re stretched for time, He isn’t watering our plants when we go on vacation.

The thing is, God shows His kindness in a variety of ways, and one of those is through the kindness of people He sends to us at just the right time.

I’ve experienced this in any number of ways during my adventure in “self-publishing.” It’s really a joke to call it “self.”

I learned fairly soon during my first Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference that traditional publishing was a team effort. When I first heard it, I didn’t particularly like that idea, to be honest. I thought the real work was done by the author. I was schooled, however, to amend that opinion. There were editors and cover designers and layout people and printers, sales people, distribution teams, promotion and PR representatives. It was a team effort to get out a book.

“Self-publishing” at that time simply meant the author paid for all those things to be done.

Then along came the ebook revolution and Amazon’s Kindle Direct, and suddenly self-publishing really was self-publishing, wasn’t it?

PowerElements_of Story Structure finalIn my experience of publishing Power Elements Of Story Structure, I learned it’s still a team effort. I brain-stormed titles with my critique group and one, the talented Rachel Marks, volunteered to design the cover. Another member, the brilliant Merrie Destefano, conceived of a series, not just a stand alone, and made suggestions about a forward and endorsements.

So that entailed another group of people–those willing to read the book and write something to let others know what they thought. Those same people, writers themselves, also voluntarily worked as my proof readers, catching a number of errors that had gotten by me.

I still needed Amazon, of course, but to get to that point, I needed someone with technical know-how who could walk me through the publishing process. A friend from the Mount Hermon conference helped with that.

Once the book was about ready to go, people needed to know about it, so another group of friends rose to the occasion, posting the cover reveal and/or follow-up posts with the Amazon link once the book was available.

And still I need help. Reviewers. I hadn’t even thought about that until one writer friend volunteered to do a review as soon as he was free to read the book (in February, I think he said).

Happily, reviews have started coming in. How else will people know if other writers are finding the book helpful or not?

Here’s an excerpt from the first one (posted by someone I’ve not met, no less):

Power Elements of Story Structure is one of the most accessible books on writing that I’ve read . . . (I wish I had read this before I ever began writing, but I’m deeply appreciating how it’s helping me to see my current work.) If you’re interested in writing a novel, this is an EXCELLENT resource.

Well, honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better first review, I don’t think.

I’m really amazed at all this. Each of these people is so kind. They’re giving of their time selflessly. I mean, what does a reviewer gain by taking time to write something on Amazon? But as I understand it, reviews are gold for books. The kindness of each reviewer translates to a boost for my book.

But more than that, the kindness of each person who has helped in any capacity is a demonstration of God’s kindness. He is extending His kindness through each of them. How cool that God has used this team of people to show me His kindness through a “self-published” project! 😉

The Value Of Monsters


MonsterI’m not a horror person. I don’t go to horror movies, and I try not to read horror literature (once in a while I’ve acquiesced and read a novel by a friend or for a blog tour). I’m not big on supernatural stories either, which usually have some type of confrontation with demons. I’ve chalked this up to the fact that I don’t like to be scared.

I figured no one liked to be scared, so I couldn’t understand why a great many people “enjoyed” horror stories. Lo and behold, when I actually took time to ask around, I discovered that a lot of people actually DO like to be scared. They get a rush of adrenaline that jolts them, and they find the experience exhilarating.

Except . . . then I discovered some people who like monster stories but not demon stories. The monsters are pretend, the explanation goes, but the demons are real. The monster stories inevitably show victory over the monsters. They help process through make-believe what we must contend with in real life. And good wins out in the end.

In the long run, I think that’s precisely the function monsters serve. We are faced with humans who act like monsters because of the corruption of sin. Sometimes we see our own monstrous tendencies. And of course there are the rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness–spiritual monsters–Paul says are our true enemies (see Eph. 6:12).

Fictitious monsters put limits on evil. They become more manageable when they have a defined scope and a finite appearance. Oh the other hand, I suspect one reason vampires (until Twilight) were such feared monsters was their immortality. If you can’t kill a monster, it becomes infinitely more frightening.

Some of the most famous horror stories were, in fact, centered on efforts to kill what seemed to be indestructible.

Perhaps the best and most truthful horror story would be the one that shows a monster that cannot be overcome, at least not by ordinary humans. We are, after all, without means to defeat sin and Satan. God alone can put an end to those we war against.

But I suppose most monster stories aren’t about ultimate victory as much as they are temporal overcoming. After all, stab a stake into the heart of one vampire, and another one creeps around the corner into town.

So we battle one monster at a time, and perhaps the make-believe stories help some to go forward into the fight, equipped and prepared and less afraid.

Me? I’ll just confess it up front: I’m a coward. I would much rather hide from the prowling lion, the wolf in sheep’s clothes, the dragon breathing fire. I have a Rock, a Fortress, a Deliverer, and I prefer taking refuge in Him. 😉

Published in: on October 31, 2013 at 5:26 pm  Comments (6)  
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Genre Inquiry


I’ve been doing some thinking about the kinds of stories that are most popular with readers at large compared to the kinds of stories that some Christian publishing insiders claim Christian readers want. It’s true, of course, that we Christians do look at the world differently from others. But it’s also true that we live in this world and are wired with the same wants, needs, desires as are other people. So are we really all that different?

Tough question. We are sinners like everyone else. But the blood of Christ has cleansed us. We have become new. So does this newness mean we are separated from the rest of mankind in our likes and dislikes?

Not really. Because we all are made in God’s likeness, we all have the capacity to enjoy beauty. So Christian and non-Christian alike love chocolate, appreciate Pavarotti, glory in fall leaves, rejoice at the sight of a rainbow. Sure, those aren’t universal. A minority would choose caramel over chocolate or Justin Bieber over Pavarotti. But the point is, those likes and dislikes aren’t determined by our being Christians or not being Christians.

There are some things that are, however. Pornography is one such thing. Granted, an untold number of Christians engage in pornography, but as yet, I haven’t heard any professing Christian advocate for pornography or say that this is pleasing to God and something we should embrace. In other words, there are objects and activities that set Christians apart from non-Christians, or ought to.

Reading is not one of those things. So why would we have the culture at large interested in certain kinds of books and Christians interested in a different kind? I don’t think we do, apart from erotic books that are the equivalent of porn. But that’s my theory. What do you think? Do Christians want to read a different kind of fiction than non-Christians?

I’m not referring to stories with Christian conversions or ones with themes uniquely Christian. I’m asking about genres–romance, historical, mystery, fantasy, adventure, horror, suspense, science fiction, contemporary. Do Christians want different genres from non-Christians?

Let’s expand the genres–dystopian, romantic comedy, urban fantasy, supernatural, contemporary romance, thrillers, crime fiction, epic fantasy, cozy mystery, post-apocalyptic, space opera, cyperpunk, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, family saga, historical romance, political, coming of age, ancient history, dark fantasy. Do Christians spurn some of those genres because we are Christians? Do we choose others because of our Christianity?

Here’s a poll to measure what you all think. I’ll be eager to see the results. Please feel free to leave comments here as well.

Published in: on October 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm  Comments (4)  
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Enduring Bad Theology


Last week author friend Mike Duran posed this question in a blog post: Can good fiction contain bad theology?

In order to answer, the critical correlative questions would seem to be, what is theology and what is good fiction?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, theology is “the study of the nature of God and religious belief.” According to a reviewer Mike quoted in his post, a good story would fit into this statement about art: “Art exists to reveal beauty and truth.” The quote continued by saying that no piece of art could bear the whole weight of the task, meaning that neither all beauty nor all truth will be revealed in one sculpture, one painting, one story.

Does that, then, mean anti-truth is permissible since all truth can’t possibly fit into one story? As I see this issue, not telling the whole truth is not synonymous with “bad theology.”

For example, the truth about God is that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Oh, but that’s not the whole truth about God. He is much, much, much, much, ad infinitum more. So, is the line I wrote, bad theology?

No. Actually it is good theology. It is truthful.

What defines bad theology, then, is that which is not true about God, His Word, or His work (untruthful “religious belief,” according to the OED).

Must every story contain theology? Every story isn’t about God. Many are about Mankind with no mention of God. And yet, there is theology in those as well.

Since reading Mike’s post, I’ve thought about a number of stories that weren’t Christian–Brave New World, 1984, Animal Farm, Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, Lord of the Flies, Fathers and Sons, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, even Gone with the Wind.

Where was God in these stories? In most, He simply wasn’t a factor. Rather, the books revealed something about Mankind, something truthful–aligned with Scripture.

That’s the crux of the issue, I believe. The test for truth needs to be the Bible, the authoritative Word of God.

Oddly enough, Mike asked in his post if the life of David, Jonah, Rahab, Judas, Samson, Peter fully represent sound theology. It seems to me his idea was, No they don’t. On the contrary, I think they absolutely do represent sound theology because in God is kindness and severity, justice and mercy–in other words, not only His response to obedience but also His response to disobedience.

In addition, Man contains God’s image and the sin nature inherited from Adam, a spirit that is willing and flesh that is weak. In short, good theology shows what the Bible shows. It’s truth on the deepest level.

Bad theology, unfortunately, colors our society. Western culture says with increased frequency that Mankind is good, that truth is relative, that God is non-existent, that supernatural power is within each person–all things that contradict the Bible.

Would a story contain bad theology if it showed a character with such beliefs? On the contrary, the bad theology of characters shows what the Bible says is true about people.

In addition, the book needs to be considered as a whole, not broken down into it’s gnat-like elements. For example, someone might say, Good theology is to identify gossip as sin. If a character in a book gossips and doesn’t suffer consequences for that sin, then this book contains bad theology.

Really?

The Apostle Paul got so mad about John Mark leaving in the middle of the first missionary journey that he refused to take him along on the second. He and Barnabas got into an argument over the matter and in fact went their separate ways because of their disagreement. Yet the Bible is completely silent about consequences of Paul and Barnabas’s tiff.

Was God condoning their fight because He didn’t show us the consequences? Looking at Scripture as a whole it’s clear that God wasn’t giving silent permission for Christians to bicker.

Sometimes in fiction what a book is doing is unrelated to particular sins, yet those sins are true to the character and consistent with good theology–the part about the fall of Man. Just like Scripture’s silence about the consequences of Paul and Barnabas’s disagreement, leaving a matter unaddressed in fiction isn’t the same condoning the sin. Nor is it the same as inserting error.

Must readers endure bad theology?

I think the mindset of contemporary western Man is far from a Christian worldview, so bad theology fills most of the stories we see, hear, and read.

Should Christians, then, engage in writing stories with bad theology? Why would we do that? What is to set us apart from the rest of culture if we tell stories that lie about God?

The best thing for readers, of course, is to always test the theology of what’s thrown at us. Is this consistent with what Scripture tells us about the world, about Mankind, about God? Those are the critical questions.

Bad theology is not Jonah disobeying God. Bad theology would be Jonah disobeying God and achieving peace and happiness as a result.

Do we stay away from such books? Wave DO NOT READ warning signs over them? If we do so over books written by Christians, then we must do so over every other book or movie or TV show that clashes with Truth.

The problem isn’t reading or viewing something with bad theology. It’s doing so and not recognizing it. When we read a book that espouses something contrary to Scripture and don’t recognize it as a lie, then we are susceptible to that lie.

Published in: on July 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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Book Awareness


The hardest thing about being a writer these days is getting noticed. I’m convinced of this.

I judged several contests this year and it’s apparent to me that there are some really good writers out there. I’m also a critique partner and an editor and a blog tour coordinator. I see lots of books, some that I’d like to see hit the NY Times best seller lists. But reality is, they probably won’t.

Promotion of books is hard.

It’s harder now than ever, I think, because we have had an explosion of indy publishers and an ever-growing number of self-published authors. How does anyone set themselves apart from that crowd?

I just left a Facebook Launch Party chat for one of the best books I’ve read this year. I got there late and already there were nearly 300 comments. Wow, I thought. Three hundred!

But guess what. If each of those comments was from a person who has bought or will buy the book, that’s small potatoes. And this book deserves BIG potatoes! 😉

Speculative middle grade and young adult writer Sally Apokedak is working to build her tribe, and as a result has come up with a great idea. She’s creating a semi-annual newsletter about the best picture, MG, and YA books–a great tool for parents looking for Christmas presents in the fall and for summer reads for their kiddos in the spring.

On top of this, Sally is giving away prizes. Just for signing up for this wonderful newsletter (and trust me, one look at her web site and you know she does things up right), you’ll be entered to win a Kindle Fire, or one of the other prizes available. What a deal.

But with all the goodness, you’d expect hundreds and hundreds of people to sign up, wouldn’t you? Let’s just say, she hasn’t reached those numbers yet! 😮

What’s it take, I wonder. Giving things away doesn’t seem to get you noticed any more these days.

Everyone blogs and Tweets. Writers are speakers and do interviews and book signings. Yet that’s the deal–everyone does it. How does a writer separate from the pack?

Is it brilliant marketing? A great public relations campaign?

Or do we say that God works all things for His purposes? Great marketing campaigns have been known to lay an egg and small, unheralded projects have been known to hit pay dirt.

So here’s what I think. If I ever publish my fantasy novels and they find a readership, everyone will know that it’s God at work (one of those “wonders and signs” I wrote about recently 😉 ) because I’ll tell you flat out: I haven’t got a clue how a person or a book can separate from all the others out there to actually be noticed. As I see it, it has to be something God brings about.

Published in: on June 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm  Comments (6)  
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Fantasy Friday – Spec Faith Makeover


Speculative Faith, the team blog started in 2006 by a group of Christian speculative writers headed up by Stuart Stockton, almost died out a few years ago. One thing and another happened, causing regular writers to drop off.

I was the last to keep the home fires burning, and then my computer crashed–or, more accurately, performed a slow meltdown. For a month I struggled to log on to our old site. When at last my computer came through surgery, new and improved, I didn’t want to face all the spam that had accumulated on our old site.

Enter Stephen Burnett. He’d earlier taken on the role of regular contributor but went on a hiatus–some excuse about getting married, or something … 😀 When Stephen returned and saw the spam situation at the old site, we did a confab and agreed to start over, importing as much content as was feasible.

Hence, Spec Faith 2.0 launched at our present WordPress site in the summer of 2010. Since then we’ve had steady growth, in large part due to Stephen’s watchful eye and innovative work.

He created a Spec Faith Facebook page, for example, and added the Spec Faith library which now has over 400 books. (If only we could actually lend them out!)

Today he introduced the latest upgrade, Spec Faith 3.0. Besides tweaking the already classy look of the site, he has enhanced our library by bringing the creation of and access to reviews to the forefront.

Now anyone interested in seeing what’s available in Christian speculative fiction can go to the library and find, not just a book cover and blurb, but reader reviews and comments.

Of course, to make this feature viable, we need readers to actually post reviews and comments. For comments–a quick recommendation, perhaps, a response to a previous review, or maybe a report on how many stars you’d give the book–visitors only need to locate the book of their choice and click on the comment link.

For reviews, there’s a basic form where a visitor leaves their review, and an administrator will add it in the appropriate place.

I don’t know about you, but I have begun to pay more attention to reviews. How great, then, to have all these Christian speculative titles all in one place, along with reviews to help potential readers sort out which are the best books.

Not only that, but the reviews will also post to Facebook, so the influence of each one is magnified. For reviewers who are re-posting from their own blog, there is also a link (I’m pretty sure) to the original site, so it’s also a way to attract visitors to the reviewer’s blog.

OK, enough of my chit-chat. It’s much more effective if you click on over and take a look at the site yourself. Enjoy.

Published in: on June 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm  Comments Off on Fantasy Friday – Spec Faith Makeover  
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Change And The Books You Read


I got to thinking about our reading habits and decided to put up a poll on Spec Faith to learn where readers are getting their books these days. The thing is, I really want to know more. I want to know how much readers think their book-buying habits have changed and what has affected them most.

Hence, I decided a poll here is in order too. It’s not a scientific study or anything, but it’s representative — especially so if a good number of people participate. Please feel free to share this post liberally. I’ll keep the poll open for a month, as I’m doing at Spec Faith. You can also select up to three options if they apply.

Published in: on April 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm  Comments (5)  
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The State Of Publishing


When I was in school, I read about the Industrial Revolution, and all the changes it brought, some good but some pretty harsh. I realized the other day that we’re in another one of those revolutions. I don’t know what they’ll end up naming it — the Communications Revolution, maybe, or the Technology Revolution, perhaps. Whatever, books are right there in the middle of the fray, it would seem.

Interestingly, five years ago, on this blog, an acquisitions editor for a reputable Christian publisher said, “As for Amazon sales, those are NOT indicative of true sales.” I doubt if anyone is saying that today. There’s been a revolution. In fact, I just read in The Writer magazine that projections say Amazon will have 50% of book sales by the end of this year. Fifty percent!

Of course this revolution isn’t happening without those who want to fight back. Amazon’s being accused of turning into a monopoly with plans, not just to become THE book seller but THE publisher, what with their print-publishing venture.

How you feel about this revolution probably depends on how you’re connected to the book industry. One thing most people in the know seem to agree upon: Amazon is ignoring the way things have been and has created a new model based on what’s best for the consumer ( i. e, the reader).

In an industry where publishers, distributors, agents, and occasionally authors bicker with one another about issues great and small, Amazon has simply turned its back and addressed the issues from the perspective of the customer. (“Consider The Elephant” by David Malki, The Writer, Nov/Dec 2011.)

Hence, readers can buy books at a lower price, with greater ease, and perhaps with more knowledge about the product, than ever before.

Authors have mixed feelings about the encroachment of Amazon on the publishing scene. They are changing the landscape, without a doubt. As traditional publishers hunker down, they have fewer and fewer slots available, so only The Big Name authors seem likely to be happy with traditional publishing. Those being squeezed out, not so much. Are they happy with Amazon? Not necessarily because they are competing with an ever-growing field of writers who have discovered the ease with which they can get their work in print or on e-reader screens. Make that, Kindle screens.

Publishers, acquisition editors, even possibly agents are in the opposition to this revolutionary take-over threat. After all, they’re losing their gate-keeper role. If they don’t come down on the side of opposing the greater Communication Revolution — that is, if they approach the changes in the business with vision, embracing the technology and the opportunities afforded by social media — they have a chance to maintain a small piece of the pie they so recently hoarded.

For an unpublished writer like me, this is an interesting time for certain. There are many more options available than ever before, but will they be paying ones? In other words, can a writer ever again make a living as a writer? Not that many did before the start of the revolution. But an accompanying question is this: will writing suffer if it becomes littered with hobbyists rather than professionals?

I suppose newspaper people thought the same thing when blogs first came out with all kinds of divergent opinion, but in the case of news and politics, I think consumers care more about facts and opinions than they do the prose with which those are expressed. Blogging suddenly made it possible for the guy who used to chaffed because his letter to the editor had once again been ignored, to suddenly have his own column and his own loyal readers and the chance to write those letters to the editor in the form of comments on other blogs. Suddenly his opinion was getting out there and getting read.

Fiction is a different animal. There’s a bit of art to entertainment, and passionate people who haven’t learned the craft may be disappointed that their books won’t find a way out of the growing morass of similar stories.

The new question — but really, it’s old — is, how does a writer separate from the pack and become noticed? Writers who find an answer will most likely be the ones who navigate the newest crossover — from digital/self-publishing, to traditional. Or will that be, from traditional publishing to digital/self-pubbed?

One closing thought. Thank God He knows what’s going on! 😀

Published in: on February 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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