Thursday, December 8, 2011

The State Of E-Books

The Wall Street Journal recently reported Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, is launching an e-book. What’s interesting is he is part of many new trends.  For instance:

He’s selling the book for $2.99 (if a known entity like him can’t charge more, we’re in trouble).
His book is only 30,000 words (shorter books for shorter attention spans).
It will not be available as a printed book (bookstores are losing out).
His publisher, Diversion Books, is owned by his literary agent (look out traditional publishers!)

Is this the new face of book publishing or just one of many ways that books will be sold?  Only time will tell.

Can You Put A Price On Entertainment?

I never fully understood people who bought DVDs for movies or TV shows that end up airing on free TV, Netflix, pay per view and other easily accessible channels. How many times will you watch the same thing over and over to justify your purchase?  Law & Order, the 20-season crime-fighting show that had a record run on NBC from 1990-2010 is now available on DVD for $700!  Who is going to pay that much for the 104-disc set?  I love the show and understand wanting to watch a classic series but are you going to watching it more than once or twice?  You’d need 400 + hours just to watch it through once. If you watched an hour per day, and started today, you’d finish in early 2013. That sounds like a burden and not the best buy for your money. But if a bunch of these DVDs do get sold, that’s great.  It means America has money to burn and that it has an insatiable appetite for entertainment and information.

Interview With Novelist DL Bogdan

1.      You have a new book coming out this spring -- THE SUMERTON WOMEN, a novel of love and betrayal during the British Reformation. What is it about?  This is my first novel for Kensington in which the main cast of characters are of my own creation, and not based on historical figures, save for a few "cameo" appearances by members of Henry VIII's court here and there. The novel provides a very basic look at the birth of the British Reformation, centering on the conflict that arises within a family with both Catholic and Protestant sympathies. It is a study of the human condition, and of what motivates people to make choices that could alter the lives of those around them with both tragic and triumphant results.

2.      You have published a number of novels through Kensington. what has the publishing experience been like for you?  It has been quite an adjustment. I am eternally grateful for my break into this competitive business, especially in a time when publishers are taking less risks due to the current economic crisis. That said, it does have its drawbacks, like any profession. Your vision is changed and you give up control of an art form that until that point had been intensely personal, for instance in relinquishing control over the title and cover for your work along with certain edits that must be made. You thrust yourself in the public eye and your work is scrutinized by every kind of critic, from fair to quite brutal. Yet, despite it all, it is worth it when you learn someone with no emotional investment in you whatsoever was touched by or entertained by your work. Reaching people's hearts and challenging their minds is what it is all about.

3.      What do you like about being a writer?  I love delving into characters, whether it is trying to bring humanity to a misunderstood historical figure, or creating them from the ribs of a vague idea until they are living, breathing human beings with their own strong, singular personalities. I love seeing a blank screen in front of me and filling it with words and dreams and ideas that eventually become a book. For me, writing is a passion and a wonderful coping mechanism. Whether I continue to be fortunate enough to keep getting published or not, writing will always be a major part of my life.

4.      What advice do you have for struggling authors?  Keep writing, no matter what. People will belittle you and discourage you, and it isn't a pretty business. But if you have the dream and the drive, you are ultimately the only thing that stands in the way of getting published. I truly believe when people are coming from the right place in their hearts, good things will come to them, as long as they are willing to work hard. It may take time; cultivate patience along with your passion. But submit as many times as need be--even the greats have had their share of rejections--and grow a thick skin. Be proud of your work and of yourself! And, whatever you do, never write because you think it's a financially lucrative enterprise. If you do not love writing for writing itself, rethink your career choice.

5.      Where do you think the book industry is heading?  Though it is true in times of recession, people look to be entertained, I do fear for the industry. With the advent of e-readers, which drives down the cost of publication considerably, there may come a time when very few authors will be able to make a living solely by being an author. That said, e-readers are a wonderful thing that enables many talents an opportunity to get their works read and circulated. I, however, am a bit old school. There's nothing like the smell of a new book and the feel of it in your hands. I pray the art of making "old fashioned" books never gets tossed by the wayside, no matter how innovative technology becomes.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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