It’s been a few weeks. So now I’m answering all the BTT questions I’ve missed. I’ve missed a lot, really; my life is crazy right now. I’ll be back…sometime, but for now, I’m sorry about the spotty posting and the not-answering of many emails and the not-reading of many blogs and all of that.
Anyway. Booking Through Thursday.
First. Go read this great article from Time Magazine: Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature. (Well worth reading.)
Second. Stop and think about it for moment. Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.
To be different, today, I’d love to see a discussion here, in the comments, rather than scattered amongst all our separate blogs. Because this is an issue that affects ALL of us, and I’d really like to see us hash out the merits and demerits of this evolution.
Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?
Sure, feel free to write about this on your blog, but honestly–I’d love to see an in-depth discussion, and you can’t do that by flitting about the internet reading 100 different, individual essays. You can only get that by having the back and forth of conversation.
Okay. I know. I was supposed to discuss in the comments there. However, seeing as this was weeks ago, that discussion is probably dead, so I’ll just post a few quick thoughts here.
Right now, I don’t read ebooks. I spend enough time as it is in front of the computer screen. I don’t hate the thought, though. I mean, it’s convenient, it saves trees, all of that. It’s fine with me. And I might reconsider not reading ebooks if I move overseas next year; it might be the best way to get English-language books. I might buy a Kindle or something. I really don’t have a lot to say about ebooks, though; I don’t read them, but as long as they don’t replace printed books (and I don’t think they will, since I know a lot of people who don’t want to read off a screen all the time!), it’s a good idea: environmentally sound (as long as people recycle their e-book-reading-devices properly), at least.
The article also mentions self-published books. It says that self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma attached to it that it used to, and that a lot of self-published authors now go on to be successful. I disagree. Those examples cited are wonderful, but they are the exception, not the rule, and I would still advise against self-publishing. Self-published novels will never get the attention that traditionally-published (even small press) books do; in fact a lot of reviewers won’t even look at them. I do accept self-published books, and, let me tell you, a lot of times there’s a reason no traditional publisher or agent would take them. If you’ve queried every agent possible, look again; there are probably still more who might be the right fit for your book. If you truly have queried every agent possible (and are doing your research and querying the right agents)…then I’d take another look at the manuscript and see what’s holding it back. Writing the right book is the hard part, and if you haven’t done that, of course you’re not going to find an agent. See Diana Peterfreund’s post about this.
Not to say there aren’t good self-published books; there are. It’s just that there are a lot more bad ones, and the good ones, I believe, could have gotten published traditionally, if they’d just queried that one last (or ten last or more) agent.
Suggested by Simon Thomas:
Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse – a biography has made you love an author more?
No. I’m in kind of a unique position among readers (as are all bloggers) in that I actually have contact with a lot of the authors whose books I read. Some of them are great people. And I don’t necessarily love their books. For example, I recently read a book of an author whose previous books I’ve loved. She’s really talented, and a great person, but I didn’t love this most recent book and didn’t feel it lived up to the high standards set by what she’s written previously. And that’s okay. On the flip side, I’ve read books by authors who are kind of obnoxious, and loved the books. That’s okay, too. I see the people (whether my impression comes from reading a biography or a blog or talking to them) as separate from the books; I have to, otherwise I’d feel like I had to write good reviews about the books of people I like and bad ones about the books of people I hate. And that would make me an awful reviewer.
Suggested by Barbara H.:
A comment on someone else’s BTT question this week inspired this question:
Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?
I read a lot of author blogs! Check out my sidebar for a sampling. I have a whole folder in my feed reader for author blogs. Why do I read them? Several reasons. Maybe because they’re better writers than the average blogger, and even when they’re not writing about their books, they have a lot of interesting things to talk about. For some, I love their books and it leads me to their blogs; for others, I love their blogs and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with their books. When it’s the books leading me to the blogs or the blogs leading me to the books, I do like information on their upcoming projects, but it’s not a must.
This week’s question is suggested by Kat:
I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”
Storage is a big problem for me. See, the “shelves” part of this question throws me off. Yes, a lot of my books are on shelves. But a lot are in piles. Or boxes. Or drawers. Because I have a very difficult time parting with my books. Some of the mess is semi-organized; for instance, I try to keep most of my foreign language books on shelves behind my door. And my Harry Potter books are on the shelves at the head of my bed. And my Animorphs books are in a box next to my closet. But most of it is just random, wherever there’s room. I used to have them organized (at one time by author, another time by spine color–that looked really cool), but there’s just too many now! I should try harder, though; this means it’s hard to find things sometimes.