I’m very pleased to have Judy Gill on the blog today. Judy is the bestselling author of more than three dozen contemporary romance novels, including twenty-three titles for Bantam’s popular Loveswept imprint. She’s also a pioneer in digital media, as you’re about to find out.
Books are my drug of choice. For years, I never went anywhere without a book plus a backup, because what if the car broke down and I had to wait for a tow-truck? Then, in 1998, along came a heavy (22 oz.!), cumbersome (hard to hold) but absolutely irresistible Rocket e-Reader from NuvoMedia. I’d written a book my NY editor wanted me to change so drastically it wouldn’t have been the same story. I refused and, having heard about e-publishing, then in its infancy, submitted Seekers of the Dawn to HardShell Word Factory, one of the first e-publishers. They loved it, gave me a contract and a Rocket e-Reader. Oh! The sense of security! That started my love affair with e-books. I’d always have up to forty books waiting to be read. I kept its little memory bank full and then the main worry became hunting down the nearest electrical outlet.
The entire concept excited me. It was my firm and undoubtedly annoyingly, tediously repeated opinion that everyone should have an e-reader, that all books should be produced digitally as well as in paper and glue format. I envisioned every high school and college student throwing away those heavy, shoulder-stressing backpacks full of wildly expensive 20-lb. textbooks and carrying one small device with all the information they needed in one hand and their laptop in the other. Then I learned ‘everyone’ didn’t want to read “on a computer screen.” ‘Everyone’ (well, nearly everyone I knew) refused to be convinced. I couldn’t have been more disappointed if I’d had stock in NuvoMedia. Sales of Seekers of the Dawn were downright dismal. Not enough readership. Or maybe my editor was right and the book stunk. I don’t know, but I’m not one to give up.
While I continued selling to print publishers and my books still appeared regularly in stores, I was a believer in the future and the future was now. When I reclaimed the rights to a few dozen of my novels as publishing houses changed focus and/or succumbed to economics and went out of business, I licensed those books to digital publishers. As it became easier to get one’s work produced electronically, a lot of not-so great books hit the Internet and e-books quickly got a bad name. (“Oh”—sniff—“you can’t sell to a real publishing house? Tsk! Well… good luck with your little hobby.”)
Happily, that attitude is fading fast as more as more good writers begin self publishing, cutting out the NY houses, and offering books to readers at a good prices, sometimes even free, to the detriment of the print houses who have finally begun selling their books in electronic formats, though, in the opinion of most readers, at much too high a price. With a lot of my backlist handled by Open Road Media who’ve made it available now in most formats, including audio, I’m delighted I never gave up my belief in digital publishing. I’m about to take a firm jump in a direction The Dawning and Whispers on the Wind led me—into SF, not “Science” Fiction, but “Speculative” Fiction, because little real science is involved—think telepathy, a future Earth or humans on a far planet, but not fantasy. The Stories of Storn, Book One, Refuge! will be up on Kindle Select a month or two after you read this, soon to be followed by the second in the four-book series, The Dirtsiders. The last two, as yet unnamed, are in still planning stage.
Sadly, none of my backlist or new books is formatted for the Rocket e-Reader. Oh well, mine got broken anyway. Kindle’s Paperwhite is a more than adequate substitute.
Vanessa, here. Thanks so much for blogging with us today, Judy. I have to say, I can’t wait to read your books! Readers, Judy is giving away a copy of A Father for Philip, a sweet contemporary romance. For a chance to win this lovely book, just tell us whether you’re a digital pioneer or whether you prefer to read in print–no judging from us, one way or the other! One person who comments will win Judy’s book.