After reading this success story about ePublishing, it’s no surprise that eBooks are taking off in popularity – or that libraries now lend eReaders to those with an appetite for publishing’s newest medium.
Last year, Santa Claus delivered a Kindle to my home.
I stared that thing down with sheer disgust for the first few months. Why, I wondered, would anyone want to replace traditional books with a Kindle or a NOOK or an iPad? Anyone else notice that Kindle rhymes with swindle? That NOOK rhymes with crook? This is just a fad…isn’t it?
We all know books can get lost, torn, and accidentally dropped into [insert horrible, wet places like toilets and mud puddles]; while eReaders have their own foibles (note the damaged screen in the photo), they also offer...
1) writers an alternative to traditional publishing and
2) readers the immediate gratification our society has come to demand.
I’m so convinced eBooks are here to stay that I (gasp) now have a poem published in one (so forget everything bad I’ve ever said about eReaders).
I’ve also learned you don’t have to have an eReader to access eBooks, either. A source like Smashwords offers eBook formats for home computers, Blackberries and other devices.
Here’s my poem’s journey from its initial inspiration to its eBook debut in HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, FARNSWORTH?:
In 2009, Evanston authors Steve and Sharon Fiffer founded a local writers’ group (of which I am a member) called the Wesley Writers. Prior to the group’s 1st Annual Potluck Holiday Party, the Fiffers encouraged every member to write something using one of four suggested prompts (below) to get started:
“Farnsworth looked at the star.”
or “More eggnog, Farnsworth?”
The word “Snow” sparked a memory for me, so I wrote a poem about it.
Writers were asked to read their pieces aloud. One memoirist wrote a humorous limerick; a few fiction writers wrote memoir. Some pieces elicited laughter…others brought out tears and sighs of empathy… but each piece received a round of applause.
During the 2nd annual Holiday Party in 2010, the Fiffers thought about an eBook.
According to Steve Fiffer, “Having seen firsthand, thanks to FRED WHO, that it was relatively inexpensive to do an eBook and that Kate [Fiffer, his daughter] could do the formatting well, I asked Sharon if she thought this was the year to do it. She said yes and off we went. We divided responsibilities: Sharon wrote the intro. I communicated with the writers (and did most of the proofreading). Come to think of it, this is how we divided responsibility on our three collections, HOME, FAMILY, and BODY. As these were responses to prompts, we decided not to edit unless the absence of an edit might put the writer in an unfavorable light. Since all of our writers are already so good, we edited very little!”
Seventeen Wesley Writers submitted their pieces to the Fiffers for the eBook, and my “Snow” poem rounded the tally to an even eighteen.
Kate Fiffer (who studied under Evanston’s Byrne Piven and blogs about it here) formatted our 18 submissions into a manuscript for Amazon and Smashwords, a process she admits was detailed and even tedious (I checked out multiple, helpful sites like this one, and my advice to other writers is: stick to the writing and let someone qualified like Kate handle the formatting). Once Kate’s work was done, our prompt-inspired pieces were officially “on the market” as an eBook. It launched on Amazon on 11/28/11 for $3.99, then a few days later on Smashwords for the same price.
There you have it.
Eighteen writers from eight North Shore areas shared their work for HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, FARNSWORTH?
I’m honored to be part of the group:
Skevanston (Skokie/Evanston zip code 60203)
Roberta Bard Ruby