Since I’ve written a novel in the time of the great publishing wars, I’ve been thinking a lot about as to how I am going to get it out there. And what my baby will look like upon its arrival.
I remain hopeful that a small house will see its potential (and some wise Canadian celeb will pick it up and make it their cause to defend on “Canada Reads.”) Or there’s always the secret prayer….”Dear God, please let me win the Giller or any award really at all and I will die happy.”
However it is becoming a lot more likely that I’m going to be cozying up to Amazon (more on that when and if) or even going it alone via a social media strategy which will accompany a series of podcasts, mega blogging, then selling my eBook and perhaps offering hard copies to readers who still like the idea of owning a book as an artifact.
Isn’t it sickening to think of a book as an artifact? An artifact is something from an older time, something archaeologists dig up.
Doilies are artifacts, arrowheads, 45s, bowler hats, flapper dresses, a horse and buggy or a steamer trunk. Those are artifacts. Not a book. Artifacts are hermetically sealed in glass boxes, housed in museums and when in public hands, are frequently fetishized objects.
Or…they belong solely to the wealthy….Or to certain individuals who will use books (likely hard copies) to visually telegraph what their interests are, and the fact that they can afford to buy real books and you can’t.
Which takes me back to eBooks and the warning shots, hell not shots, more like the energy beams emitted from The Death Star currently being fired at literature.
Is it true that it’s dead and I’ve spent the last nearly 5 years of my life creating a well written artifact?
I don’t believe it. The idea of story is as old as some of our very first artifacts – cave paintings that tell what? They tell stories. And what does a story require? A story teller, an audience, and a conduit of exchange.
There’s the tradition of oration, then we had traveling theater like the passion plays and Commedia dell’arte and so on and so on until the printing press and then books as we know them (where the authors became sequestered away from their reading public) but now the model has changed yet again.
As I write this post it has become extremely clear to me that what I will have to do in order to tell my story, is to harness the power of digital media to be in as direct contact as possible with my audience. I must be like Virgil and move from town to town, site to site and byte to byte to share my yarn.
Do I like this idea? Well, it is significantly different than the notion of being sequestered in my study, with my loyal dog at my feet. But that lifestyle is what’s really the artifact. Writers who embrace digital storytelling and learn to engage with their audiences on the Internet might just succeed. And those who don’t?…
Where’s that Death Star? I think I hear it humming.