Saturday, September 27, 2008

E-pub? Nah, give me something I can hold when I read.

I'm in to technology, no doubt about it. If I could, I'd probably change my middle name to 'digital'. With that being said, even I have to draw the line in a couple of places. As a would-be writer, I'd draw that first line at the E-publication.

I know this should be right up my alley. What's more 'tech' than internet E-pubs, right? Maybe its a product of my age. I'm almost 40 and grew up during the transition from what I'll call the 'analog age', to today. I know what an LP is, dammit. BetaMax missed the boat courtesy of Sony's greed. I've seen the rise of the internet and the access to the world that it brings to anyone with a connection. It's been quite a ride. So what's my problem with E-pubs? Partially, its that universal access I mentioned a second ago.

The net and the the technology that has spawned with it, has made it so frighteningly easy for the average joe to create media and showcase it on the biggest stage around. Just about anyone can start an E-publication nowadays...consequently, almost everyone has.

*** Let me preface this by saying that I don't know EVERYTHING about e-pubs and have only submitted to them a couple of times. If what I state as fact is incorrect, please let me know. Now, read on ***

In my search for markets to submit my work, I see more and more that are E-pub only. First, my practical objections...

A: With so many e-pubs bursting on the scene at once, how can any one of them earn any real credibility? At the top of the heap in SF E-pubs right now is Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show and this is a great market having earned SFWA credit for its contributors, but this is only a single exception. Keep in mind that I'm talking about strict E-pubs only. There are plenty of markets that do both at this point.

B: Imagine the size of the slush piles in the inboxes at the infinite number of e-pubs taking email submissions. I can't even fathom the slush at IGMS. Editors have to get through it quickly and may pass over some good work in the process. Some may argue that the story should have caught the editor's eye in the first couple of paragraphs, but I don't see it quite that way. A print submission represents (to me) an investment in time and energy and the love of the work. Mass email submissions are easy, for sure. Too easy. What does it take for a hack to throw something together and paste it in an email? A lot less effort, in my opinion.

C: How does a contributor get paid, really? A low end print pub will pay in copies. What does an equivalent e-pub give you? Copies? Not the same thing. Exposure? How many hits do most e-pubs get? Your story will likely stew in digital hell for at least a year (depending on the rights you give the e-pub upon acceptance) not to be seen by human eyes.

As for my PERSONAL objections....

I prefer to have something in my hand when reading. Yeah, I can sit and read from a monitor. But scrolling that mouse wheel IS NOT the same as flipping a page. Monitor light can be harsh to some and some e-pubs choose bad color contrasts between text and background which makes it harder to sit in front of that monitor reading a story. This is probably where I show my age. I love print. Seeing one of my stories in print jsut means more to me. Don't misunderstand, I'd LOVE to get accepted by IGMS, but this is an exception.

I know I'm gonna catch hell from anyone who reads this, but that's not likely to happen. Like E-pubs, anyone can blog nowadays and I've gotten lost in the shuffle too. :)

In my writing news... My writing got sidetracked by the august machinima contest. I gotta get back in the saddle.


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