Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Power of the People

I'd like to take a moment right now to explain myself. I can understand it if some people think I'm a little stir-crazy -- one of those reclusive, half-mad writers, or, worse yet, one who thinks money is the true root of all evil and has no use for it. After all, what writer (or publisher) in their right minds would be willing to practically give away their first novel for only 99¢? After Amazon takes their (gargantuan) cut, we're down to fractions of pennies, people.

Believe me, please, when I say that I have as much interest in money as the next true American girl. The reason I'm willing to do this is that I believe in the power of the people to make a change.

You proved you could do it with the digital music revolution. Napster was a wake-up call to the staid, stale old music industry. It was a shout of independence, an insistent cry rising from the dorm rooms and teen bedrooms that business could no longer be done as it always had. A new business model rose from the piracy, one that included terms like DRM and iTunes, one that changed the landscape of music promotion forever.

Now, we stand at the precipice of a new revolution. Ahead of us lies a future full of digital books -- words streaking through the ether like a precipitous fall of stars. There are those in the large literary agencies and austere publishing giants that want to hush you, lull you back to sleep, and reassure you that print books will never go away. Frankly, I hope they're right. I really do. Print books are the tangible, huggable, lovable story of our minds and hearts across the millennia; they are the icon of learning and speculation; they are the portals to other worlds.

What they also want you to believe, however, is that while print books aren't going anywhere, digital books are a fad that WILL eventually disappear. They want you to believe that you cannot change an industry, you can only wait for the dust to settle and let them make the decisions for you.

Why would you want to carry over a thousand books in the space that traditionally houses one thin paperback? Why would you want to have the freedom to download any title you want on a whim while you wait for the bus?

I'm not here to try to make digital book fans out of you, I promise. My dream as a writer was never dependent on being the writer of e-books. Like all of the other writers I've met, my dream from early childhood was to see my name on the spine of a print book that rested on the shelf of a bookstore.

The thing is this: by the time a book sees the bookstore shelf, the publishers and distributors and bookstore owners have given that book their blessing. It has been decided that this is one of the books that will make it, one of the books you WILL buy. Thousands of other books never see that opportunity.

What I'm trying to prove here with the 99¢ sale of a first novel is that the PEOPLE should decide for themselves what books will make it. I am not dependent on digital books or booksellers for everything, only for my chance. I rely on YOU, my friends, family, and fond new strangers, to give me that chance -- to spend less than $1, read my book, and decide for yourselves if it was worth your time.

My publisher, Canonbridge, LLC, has given me the seed to plant. I am grateful that they bought into my vision, but now I turn to you.

A fantasy world can only be real if you believe. A dream can only come true in the same way.

The world of Jaenrye, peopled by fairies, monsters, heroes, and everyday people from our own world, waits for your decision.

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