In the past few weeks I’ve had interview requests from people who want to ask me questions specifically geared towards the difference between my traditional book writing and my blogging. I know exactly what they expect me to say because of the difference between the type of printed books that I write (handmade, years of research, traditionally published as hardbacks and then paperbacks as opposed to my online writing which could easily be stitched together as an ebook and sold online). The most recent interviewer opened her questions with “So what’s the secret to your success?” (An alien idea, that, but impossible to squash politely so I just went quiet with sheer embarrassment and pointed at a crow stealing a sandwich out the window). Then I bumbled on about not really doing anything unusual except trying to write well. I think it’s just in my DNA to want to be a better writer. Or as my granny puts it, “You were born a scribbler”.
With that bit of the interview whackery thankfully out of the way the interviewer moved onto the question of ebooks and writing on digital platforms (the question she really wanted to ask in the first place). She was looking to investigate the difference between “real” books and was hoping that I would say that “blogging and one click download ebooks from Amazon.com onto my Kindle App on my Mac or iPhone were the future of publishing.” My optician would freak (I’ve started to squint quite a lot recently from screen glare) but let me be honest, realistic and frank, I don’t see publishing that way at all so I mumbled something along the lines of “Charlotte Bronte said: “Better to try all things and to find all empty, than to try nothing and leave your life a blank.” I said this because if you agree to an interview you have to say something, and it usually sounds better if it’s something at least half-decent. Also I didn’t want to be pressured into saying that ebooks are going to take over the world because I really don’t see it like this.
A while ago I tapped out this post about my ten favorite books. It’s a baseline, the list that I would pack for a desert island trip. And if you’re wondering whether I’d pay extra and lug a suitcase full of printed titles to an island like in Castaway Tom Hanks style then the answer most definitely would be YES! The truth is, I love nothing more than the pleasure of a physical book. My house is lined with them. Actually as I look, there are even rows precariously leaning against by dressing table begging to be read. I spend a lot of money on hardbacks for keepsies and if I find a great book through my kindle App AND love it, I’ll buy the hardback or paperback just to have. See I support both book forms and like to own a book if it’s really great. I suppose without getting all deep about this, quite simply the pleasure of flicking through a physical book, savoring the words, studying the colours of the images and the beautiful cover art can’t be equalled YET by ebooks. That said, if you’re just talking about the simple practicality of reading plain text and fiction then after a bit of practice, I’ve found a certain way to prop up my Macbook Air or iPad like a physical book on a neat cushion so that it kind of feels like I’m reading a physical book while I sip a cup of tea. No Kindle yet then? No, not yet, I use the Kindle App.
Fact.. whether it’s physical book or ebook good writing is good writing and beautiful sentence structure regardless of the medium can sometimes leave me with feelings of great despair and good old-fashioned must-try-harder thoughts. Such feelings I think serve as a constant reminder as to how much I still have to learn and keeps my feet firmly planted on terra firma. When I feel that a writer has swept me gently into his/her world then I know I am in the presence of greatness and frankly I don’t care which type of package this experience comes in (digital or traditional). But if pressed hard I will admit that the book publishing landscape is changing rapidly as will in no time be a twin of the music industry but I also feel that there are enough of us who will always want the smell of libraries, the sound of real pages and a shelf of unforgettable book covers. Question is.. are there enough of us? Hope so!
Happy Word Book Day! XXX