Sunday, January 23, 2011

Digital Downloads

By Monet M. Jones

One of my favorite artists performed one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Many years ago, Carly Simon sang: “That’s the way I’ve always heard it should be.”

The tune seems to depict one whose strength and will is continually held down by a covering of hopelessness, until a volley of drums lifts the person and her melancholy to great heights; briefly. But the tune is only part of the message; the lyrics tell of her parents’ loveless marriage and her doubts that her marriage will be any better. In the end, she decides that she will marry because that’s the way she’s always heard it should be.

That pretty much describes how I feel about traditional publishing. I don’t want to send off query letters. I don’t want people interested in only the moneymaking aspects deciding whether to publish my book. I don’t want to be obligated to attend book signings or promotional tours.

I don’t want my story bound in hard cover, sold for three times what it is worth to people who will likely never read it, and buy it only because of heavy advertising. That’s not why I write. I write to share my ideas and dreams with a reader. I write to enrich another’s concept of life.

In our current marketing environment, I feel the only reasons for traditional publishing are vanity and “that’s the way it’s always been done.” I believe we are moving to a time when it will be unnecessary to put 'books' in hard copy. The exchange of ideas by words and graphics will occur in digital downloads to e-readers and other computing devices.

Whether or not one applauds this change is immaterial. As we have seen with music sales, the wave has begun; current authors can only ride it or be drenched.


Michelle said...

It seems so odd that you would consider the only reason to go with traditional publishing is vanity. Vanity publishing has always been available for those writers who could not or would not find a publisher willing to print their work, they paid for it themselves and tried to sell it themselves. Good or bad, the current marketing environment of self publishing and promotion is vanity publishing to the extreme.

Laura Puccia Valtorta said...

I agree with Michelle