era of the eBook

After months of self-abuse, Muse: a Still Life companion is officially available in print, in Kindle, and in eBook. It has been an interesting experience and although it was my third go-around the self-publishing ride, this time was unique. I’ll spare the gory details, but I will say I’m quite proud of the way I self-taught myself certain things I had been leery of before. Perhaps even better, because of my new found knowledge the next book (if there is such a thing) will be easier due to a more stream-lined personal process. However, more surprising than anything else is the emerging fascination I’ve garnered with eBooks.
I’ve been fighting the trend for various reasons but the primary one can be chalked up to good ‘ole nostalgia. I truly love a book in my hands. I like to feel it, smell it, and see the physical manifestation. I also like to scan pages I’ve read to compare notes when I uncover major plot lines or character development. “How did I miss that?” I’ll wonder, and then go back, hunting for clues left by the author but somehow overlooked by me. I love to re-read favorite lines and well-written prose over and over (and over) and re-visit powerful – sometimes life-altering – scenes. I also like to go to the library – not so much during the school year when things are crazy at home but definitely during the lazy days of summer. You can’t do any of those things (at least not easily) with an eBook.
But, I must admit that ever since I broke down and bought an E-reader, I’ve been tipping my big toe deeper into the digital reader pool. And quite honestly, as a self-publisher, there really isn’t a way to avoid marketing my work online in eBook format. It offers an invaluable method for reaching potential readers I never would have found if I only stuck with print. So, here I am caught up in the whole Print vs. eBook debate many bloggers love to address. Every day something comes into my feed either touting the rise in eBooks and gradual decline of traditional print or suggesting the hoopla is merely an exaggerated response to technology and more akin to a tiny chicken shouting “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!”
In reality, I believe they can co-exist…and not just because I want them to but because trends show it to be possible. Look at the history of technology: Network TV wasn’t eternally doomed nor did it disintegrate when cable came along. Land lines and cell phones have learned to live in peace and harmony. Oh, and I don’t see microwaves as the sole source of food preparation. In fact, the last time I looked every house still comes with a stove. And please don’t get me started on ATM machines and bank branches or VCR vs movie theaters. Also, who was it that envisioned a paperless society? Apparently they didn’t see the grocery bags full of papers brought home by my son on the last day of school.
My point is (and I do have one in here somewhere) is that we have always been evolving and while some things go the way of the dinosaur (8-track tapes and 45 LPs come to mind), most things learn to live and thrive on their own by serving a distinct purpose to those who might seek it. I see eBooks in precisely that way – they are a novelty that also fills a special need. They can be purchased/downloaded super fast; they allow multiple titles to be carried around in compact form; they open a portal to indie authors who would otherwise be unknown in libraries and big-box retailers. These benefits (and more) draw me to them.
Yet, they cannot fill every need for me. For instance, when I want to dig in, relax, and treat myself, there is no match for a printed book (hardcover is preferred). Digital print may ease eye-strain, but it does not soothe in the same manner as paper. Borrowing a physical book from friends or family offers me solace and understanding and joy. Reviewing a paperback for a fellow author gives me pleasure and purpose and connection. And because of this…I will still patronize the library and touch my finger over every spine in a section, not knowing what I’m looking for until I’ve taken out dozens to read dust jackets and back covers and finally leaving with five or more for fear I might run out before it’s time for me to go back.
Yes, I will read both versions and enjoy them for what each gives me – one convenience, the other luxury…one the promise of the future, the other a reminder of the past. I didn’t want to be an author so I could see my name digitized. I did it so I could touch my own book, feel its burn in my hot little hands, sign my name to its creamy front page. However, for as much as I am a romantic, I am also a realist. Ebooks cannot – and should not – be ignored. But that also doesn’t mean we can’t have our cake and eat it too…
and my other titles in print (just as I like them) at Amazon.
All titles can also be found in eBook format at: 
  • Amazon Kindle — You don’t need an actual Kindle e-reader to enjoy free and ‘for purchase’ eBooks. To read any book offered in Kindle format on your PC go to Kindle for PC and download the program for FREE. NOTE: You can also download the free program for your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, or Android.
  • Smashwords — To download free and ‘for purchase’ eBooks by great authors (including yours truly), go to Smashwords and sign up to become a member (it’s FREE). NOTE: You can choose from many formats, including online reading, PDF, Kindle, Sony reader, ePub (need Adobe Digital Editions – download is free), and Palm Doc.
– Test-drive books –
these sites let you preview free samples
(sometimes up to 1/2 of the book)
before you commit to a download or purchase!

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