So, sadly, when I made my last post a few days ago about the iPhone, I had no idea about the untimely death of Steve Jobs. In fact, it was less than 24 hours after I posted that I learned of it.
It’s a strange one. Everyone knew he was ill, people had seen how he looked in his last public appearance and then a day after Apple make their ‘big’ non-announcement about the poor relation iPhone 4s, he was gone.
I guess it is tribute to the family that they kept his last few months away from the media and they were able to spend those last precious days with him and out of the spotlight, but I can’t help feeling that there are more powerful forces at work here – more powerful even than they guy who transformed the way we listen to music, communicate, watch tv, workout and basically live – function.
They reckon he has left years’ worth of technology behind. Wow! What a legacy.
I have always been a fan of ‘all things Mac‘ and having had the cash to buy some of their products recently, I am a complete convert.
They work the way you think. That’s what I love about them.
I just bought the new Apple TV to stream music, photos, videos etc around the house. No docking station, no stereo, no memory card, no dongle. Just stream your stuff to a HD TV and watch/listen to it through your tele and surround sound. Awesome.
I can’t believe how things have changed.
We moved into our house 7 years ago in May, just gone. We had a Technics stack system, a 32″ Panasonic HD Viera (which was the most amazing new invention), a pretty decent surround sound system, a laptop and a desktop PC. Oh and an MP3 player the size of a stone. No seriously, it was actually called ‘the stone’.
And we won’t even talk about the mobile phone!
How the f*ck did people talk on those things without getting whiplash (at this point, if a ‘no-win, no fee’ company call you. It wasn’t me!)?
Anyway, I digress. My point here is how things have changed and how quickly.
For me, Steve Jobs was at the forefront of the digital revolution and will leave a legacy that leads the way for years to come. And big up to him. What a guy. He certainly changed my life.
So, what does all of this have to do with me and mine?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Not only has the way I text, call people, watch my favourite programmes, shop, changed; so has the way the world reads.
This time last year I bought a Kindle and persuaded (beat to a pulp about) Mark into putting a book on it.
Hmmm. Let’s see what’s happened since…
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin:
Paramore (yes, my guilty pleasure. Well, one of them Roxette is another. but that’s another time for bums on carpets) sang about the world ‘not needing another band’.
In fact, they said:
“Now I’ve got a feeling if I sang this loud enough
You, would sing it back to me.”
“No one is as lucky as us,
We’re not at the end
But oh, we already won.”
“Tell me how you got so far, and never making a single sound.
I’m not used to it, but I can learn
There’s nothing to it.”
Ok, so the lyrics aren’t in that order, I had to mash them up a bit, but the message is pretty appropriate.
For thousands of years, people have been writing books (think Bible) and the gatekeepers have dictated what you, the public, get to read. Imagine if Steve Jobs had filtered what gadgets went to general market and which ones the ‘rich and famous’ could have access to? (alright, so we’re not all gonna have a solid gold Gucci iPhone!)
Imagine if there are a billion writers out there who’s work is AMAZING, but agents and publishers said you ‘weren’t allowed to read it.’? Your children couldn’t have access to it?
That’s what has happened. Up ’til now.
When you went to school, college, Uni, there was a set curriculum to follow. You were told what to read. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time, they were spot on, but just open your mind to the fact that for every one book you’ve ever read, that left you feeling empty, scared, empowered, sad, happy, alive, desperate – there were a thousand books that were better than that that you would never get to read? Huh? What’s that about? What if J.K. had listened to the publishers rejecting her work?
Sorry, but you get my point!
Well, no more!
The advent of the e-reader has changed the face of literature. Forever.
I am not going to get into the big J.A Konrath/sometimes Stephen Leather ‘most of self-pubbed stuff is a pile of shit’ debate & ‘it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon’ crap, (have you even run 5k?) readers can judge for themselves (hello, they have brain cells!) but what I am going to talk about, is how things will never be the same again. Never, I mean, never.
Forget publishing, reading will never be the same.
The way we read has changed.
How we read has changed.
Where we read has changed, but the biggest difference, is who we read has changed.
December last year, my bookshelf (yes, a real wooden shelf) looked like this:
J. K. Rowling
(and Mr. WillIAM Shakespeare and the odd Edgar Allen Poe might have been jostling for elbow room)
And it still looks like this.
Ya know why? Cos I haven’t bought a hardback/paperback book in 12 months.
Guess what titles are on my Kindle/iPhone/Nook/Sony other android, reading device?
Lee Childs (never read him before, even though he is an awesome author and I am now deeply embedded into his fifth book)
(ok, so, I know what you’re thinking, but this is thanks to exposure)
And here come the “not-so-well-known-but-equally-as-great-writers”
Barry Eisler, Jack Kilbourne (no, not the same person. But you can be forgiven for thinking that J.A Konrath and Blake Crouch are snuggling up in the same sleeping bag and smelling man farts! But wh0 are we to diss co-writing? Oops. I am sure in the UK you will NEVER HAD HEARD OF THEM JUDGING BY BC’s very short-lived stay in the top 100, despite signing a deal with Thomas & Mercer? Some things, cannot ‘cross the pond’? ), John Locke (ok, I haven’t read them, but you can’t discount them)
Amanda Hocking (ditto above, but still…)
I bet you were expecting a massive ‘who’s who’ from our new digi-imprint MWiDP right? Nope, that comes later.
The best book I have read this year (and for a long time) ON MY E-READER was ‘Into the darkest corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes.
Right, so it was a top ten best-seller (so was our debut novel for five weeks!) and it was publicised, but I would NEVER have read it if it wasn’t for my e-reader. I would never have SEEN it. I spent the whole time reading it, thinking “I should be writing” and why am I reading another one of those, “I’ve been done wrong, let’s make a book out of it.” (slight nod to Amanda Knox) diatribes, but I loved it! Her writing style was so fresh and misleading. Kept me sane when my life had just tilted 90 degrees to the South.
I once got told that your first book in a print run is expected to sell less than a thousand copies. Then what? Er, thanks, but we can’t afford anymore rainforest destruction to chance another.
Well get this!
Sugar & Spice has now sold over 100,000 copies in less than 12 months! Ok, we pubbed it in late Nov’ 10, but I don’t count that, we were Kindle virgins at that point.
It is currently #3 on Waterstone’s chart (above John le Carre, Steig Larsson and the literary genius that is James Corden) and our new release ‘Snow White‘ is #12!
You know what? We might get two top ten hits on Waterstones? We might sell another 100,000 copies of a book without a publisher that no-one has ever heard of. We might not.
Let me tell you what we are doing.
We are celebrating the fact that the reading public have the chance to decide what they read and when.
We are talking to readers and writers and the other uncategorised. We couldn’t do that with a print book.
We are reaching audiences we never knew existed and making them listen.Hell, they didn’t even know they were audiences, but by far the biggest thing that has ever happened… is down t0 you.
Forget the digital revolution.
This is a revolution – digital. And it’s in your hands.
Don’t stop loving books, just see books in a different form and see how many more books you can reach now.
Mr. Apple lives on, as do his inventions. he changed our lives, it’s time to change yours.
P.S: Steve Jobs was a businessman. He would kill me for not doing this:
If you’re not being talked about, they’re talking about somebody else.
Here’s a list of the most fabulous writers in the world, who we are thrilled to have join the MWiDP imprint. Check them out if you want a good read at a decent price! It doesn’t tear up trees, it shreds minds. Paperless. ;-)
Anne. R. Allen
Danielle Blanchard Benson
Elizabeth Ann West
G. S. Johnston
Georgina Ellis Young
The future is here, the future is digital (unless you get a six-figure paper deal over four books between two which means you can actually get 12k per book. divided by two?) again, huh? Nah.
The future is a bag-load of fab writers helping each other (aka http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/) and apparently, Apple (aka Steve Jobs) have announced the iCloud? Whether it rivals Kindle or Google ‘clouds’ remains to be seen.
Did Steve not see Mark’s post a while back, or did Mark See Steve’s?
I used to want to write books. Now I realise, that if Jayne was still here, she’d have said this:
- “It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”
– Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Nah, Jayne, you’re wrong.
What we will do is self-publish! (what a dirty word! I can see the ‘so-called’ agent with 700,000 blog followers – if you had that many readers, you would be a writer, instead of a agent,cringing over their copy of ‘Publishers’ Weekly’)
Or, as I like to call it: Give the readers’ the choice.
Let them decide.