I have a great example of how things have changed in a noticeable way for me over the last twenty years. My example is car sound systems, and I’ve watched it progress in the nature of the side of the road.
I don’t exactly know much about the first stage of mobile audio entertainment, but I imagine it was a crackly and unpredictable AM radio.
Cassette tapes are an item I remember very well. We recorded our own to take in the car, songs cutting straight from one to the other not quite at the end or the start, and often as the radio presenters spoke. The gentle swaying of the surprisingly long brown shimmering innards of cassettes on the side of the road, discarded for various reasons out of car windows.
The sound of a CD when they were released was much clearer and they were more user friendly, turning over and rewinding of a cassette no longer required. But the disks were fickle items, a single good scratch – which was easy to attain – rendering the disk useless, these too were piffed out windows, all the colours of the rainbow throwing prisms brightly at you from roadside grasses as you drove along.
Now though, we have the age of the ‘I’ stuff. iPod, iPhone etc, as well as all the other brands of smartphones and devices. (Can anyone tell I am an Apple girl?) No longer is there a need to keep a biro on hand to wind the chewed tape, no worries about gouges in the CD, and always a great sound. I haven’t noticed any iPods on the roadside yet. Thankfully so, I’d be worried for mankind if that was the kind of thing we started chucking out car widows at the first sign of decent wear.
I have to say, that I am a supporter of this age-of-the-computers thing. It’s a bit scary sometimes yes, and I totally understand the appeal and nostalgia of the good old days. But the reason I love the advancement of technology is what I can get out of it, apart from entertainment. And that, is self-promotion, and control.
As most of you probably are aware, I’m a writer. I write a lot of stuff, this blog, book and movie review, prose, short stories, kids stories, articles and so on. My main area though, is Teen/Young Adult – or as in a newly identified field New Adult, which I plan to research and chat about on here later – and I excel particularly in the area of speculative fiction.
Up until recently I have assumed I NEEDED a publisher to pick me up, a good one, someone to tell me what to do and how to do it, and take care of all my promotion. I’m not saying this wouldn’t be wonderful, in fact it is still something I will continue to try and get. But the good news is, it isn’t my only option.
I can self-publish, on-line. If I’m not picked up by a certain time by any publishers for either ‘Superior’ or ‘Rule of Sevens’, two novels I am working on at the moment, then this is the road I will take. The hard part is, anyone can get published this way, and so many are, also your books are sold for a lower price. The good part is, the product is globally and readily available and marketable, and you get sooooo much more percentage of sales, with minimal to no cash outlay. Time on the other hand is needed in spades, huge bloody shovels even.
A big and well-deserved thanks here goes to Euan Mitchell. Euan is a successful Australian author and teacher, who in university lectures and tutorials at Victoria University never made us feel it was going to be ‘too hard’ to be successful writers. Or successful anything at all in fact. On top of that, Euan has provided valuable information on self-publishing and electronic books, check out his titles such as ‘How to Make Ebooks for Free: With No Obligations to Online Retailers and Their Conditions on Your Copyright’
Another issue with self-publishing is advertising, but again I want to use recent technology advances to my advantage, particularly in the field of social media. I know I’m going to cry when the trolls diss me and my stories cruelly, but a very wise person – okay very qualified counselor – once told me that no matter what, I would never please everybody in the world, and why on earth would I want to? Great advice that I never forgot.
I’ve been on Facebook for a long time now, and thanks to some very supportive people on my friends list, have created my own page on there called ‘Melissa Black, Writer’. I’ve recently completed my first self-set writing activity with a huge thanks to them, and will be using that page to let my readers know when I have new entries on here and other things like that. #fromhashtaghatertohashtagqueen.
Again, I’m choosing to look on the bright side of using my iPad for up to 2 and a half hours at night waiting for Jack to fall asleep. I’ll probably overload when I link them all to something I do, but I want to be accessible to many audiences.
Fan fiction is another thing I am going to try my hand at, again to get my name and style out there. Also because I have a great idea for some re-makes of a handful of classic fairy tales and no matter how good they are, I don’t expect anyone to pay for them, or consider them original work. Fan Fiction has a bit of a name as ‘rubbish’ and as conceited as I know I sound, some of it really is. But, some is really good (Hello, Cassandra Clare’s and EL James’s fame began in such a ‘rubbish bin’). As long as no-one pretends it’s something it’s not, I don’t see the worry.
Don’t get me wrong, I will always love physical books, and still buy and borrow them, there’s nothing like the sound of the turning of a page, or the smell of new paper. I just believe there is room for both hard copy and electronic versions in my world. I heard a publisher say something the other day long the lines of, ‘People are always going to read, it’s just how they read that may change.’ I couldn’t agree more.
So, if you are reading this, I thank-you for coming on this journey with me, I will keep you annoyingly updated on my progress!