by Jordan Dane
Please give a big Murderati welcome to author Jordan Dane whose newest novel EVIL WITHOUT A FACE (Feb. 2009! That's this month, kiddos!) begins what promises to be another extraordinary series from this fine writer.
See you next week,
If poured a tall glass of arsenic and a similar serving of lemonade, I would choose the lemonade. Even if the arsenic was in a really cool glass with a mint leaf and an umbrella, I would still choose the refreshing glass of lemonade — all bright yellow and cheery. With or without a straw. Call me an optimist, but that's the way I choose to look at the doom and gloom everyone has been posting about the fate of the book and of the publishing industry. I choose optimism, a positive attitude, and my writing because they're the only things I can control.
Now it's a very real thing that our economy is struggling in an unprecedented way and businesses are having a rough time in this recession/depression. Ultimately corporate decisions will be made and "you know what" will trickle down hill. (No, I'm not talking about Reagan's "trickle-down economics.") People are complaining about the death of the book for a number of reasons. There's less disposable income to buy books and no time to read when people are working two jobs. The new electronic formats will make the printed book obsolete. And one of my all time favorites, that our society prefers the mindless entertainment of reality TV and video games over reading. But every generation of authors has faced its share of naysayers for a different set of calamitous reasons — and the union of author and reader still carries on.
If the doom and gloom this time are so much more compelling and weightier, then why is it that people are still buying books?
Even when there are countless other forms of entertainment, the publishing industry still sees $1.375 billion dollars in estimated revenue for romance, $819 million for religion/inspirational. $700 million for science fiction/fantasy, $650 million for mystery, and $466 million for classic literary fiction. (Romance Writers of America provided statistics from third parties.)
And why is it that people are so willing to endure the abuses of countless rejections and lower pay to write, giving up more lucrative jobs to do it? And when aspiring writers find it hard to get published, why is it that they resort to self-publishing and are willing to pay for that privilege? How many times have you heard people tell you, "I want to write a book"?
For me, the answer is that story telling has been around for as long as man has been in existence and has retold stories on cave walls. The written word breaks down barriers of countries and cultures and allows human beings to share emotions and their life's experiences in a unique way. There is an undeniable bond between author and reader that is consummated when the book is read. (Picture reading under a single lamp and snuggled in bed with nothing but you and that author whispering words in your head — making a connection — and not in a creepy way.) The author's job means little if the reader doesn't become a part of the process. And no matter what form the written word takes — audio, electronic download, or some other future means — there will always be that magic when the reader and the author link their experience as one and the circle is complete, like a Vulcan "mind meld" between the two of them.
In the end, we can only control our writing. And making the best book possible is our best defense against a reading public that is evolving. We can choose to post and circulate links to negative articles about the future of the publishing industry and perpetuate the doomsday outlook or we can choose to visualize a better day and keep writing through this slump.
So what's your poison — arsenic or lemonade? I'd love to hear positive thoughts today. If politicians can spin positive tales, I say we fiction authors should be able to top them. What are some subtle indicators that the publishing industry might be on an upswing?
How about these gems?
* A 9-year old got a six-figure movie deal off his book HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS.
* Remember the memoir that wasn't? James Frey's book A MILLION LITTLE PIECES is being adapted into a movie. From goat to Hollywood cool, and I think I smell another book deal.
* If Britney Spear's mom can ALMOST sell a book on parenting, doesn't that mean there's hope for ANY ONE?
* Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. and Big Fish Games have teamed to create a series of Mystery Case Files books. In the summer of 2009, Big Fish Games will begin publishing interactive games inspired by Harlequin Presents, the popular romance novel series. The games will be sold online exclusively through Big Fish Games. (An interesting statistic I found — Harlequin sold a book every 4.1 seconds in 2008 and has sold 7.576 billion books since its inception.)
"This intense thriller establishes Dane as a diva of the flawed, baggage-laden but likable heroine. Jessica Beckett is a hard-boiled bounty hunter surrounded with a dazzingly imaginative supporting cast of characters. And Dane pulls out all the stops en route to the dramatic finale."
— Publishers Weekly