Sunday, August 29, 2010

Author David Robinson Essay on Virtues of Indie Ebook Publishing

Several weeks ago, Greg McQueen released a 100 Stories for Haiti Podcast focused on ebooks, offering an insightful and well-balanced look at the state of ebooks. He interviewed multiple authors and even yours truly to explore what ebooks mean to authors, readers and the future of publishing.

For me, the highlight of Greg's excellent podcast was Smashwords author David Robinson, a 60-year Yorkshireman who presented an audio essay on indie ebook publishing. This is a must-listen.

Mr. Robinson is a gifted orator, and he has created one of the best-articulated manifestos on e-publishing I've heard. One comment that struck me as particularly insightful is when he explains how it's not so much rejection that bruises the soul of a writer, it's the chronic condition of being ignored.

As you'll hear below, his wry wit and precision delivery add a richness and meaning his written words alone could never convey. I think after you give him a listen, you'll be a fan too!

Click the play button above to listen to David Robinson's essay.

To listen to Greg McQueen's entire podcast episode about ebooks, here's the full audio (see episode 3):


CS McClellan/Catana said...

I really wish people who created podcasts would also make them available in print. I hate to listen to podcasts because I can read much more quickly than people can speak, and because the sound quality of many podcasts is less than optimum. And I often wonder how many hard-of-hearing people are shut out by this increasingly popular media.

David Robinson said...

Hi Mark and many thanks for the heads up on this.

In defence of my efforts, may I say that this was one of my earliest forays into podcasting and I did it largely on Greg McQueen’s prompting. The only equipment I had available was a budget, freestanding microphone, which is fine when you’re chatting to your grandkids, but leaves a lot to be desired when you’re podcasting.

Being hard of hearing, I take Catana/Sylvie Mac’s point. I have shocking problems listening to podcast, even with headphones on. However, there are contractual problems with putting out a transcript because the original article is slated to appear in an e-zine very soon (I hope). With your permission, when that’s out, I’ll post up the url.

Dovetail Public Relations said...

Catana/Sylvie: thanks for the comment. Part of my point of this his voice enriched his words. It's an example where mixed media enriches the media. Though I do see he addressed you transcript suggestion above.

Hi David, thanks for stopping by! Teleread also picked up on this post -

Oswald Bastable said...

"It's not so much rejection that bruises the soul of a writer, it's the chronic condition of being ignored."

How true!

Thanks to Smashwords, the condition is cured!

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I enjoyed listening to Mr. Robinson both for his delivery and his insight. Well Done!

I think along with the e-book, an author who is serious about getting their novel and name out there, would be remiss not to take advantage of the similair avenues available to self-publish in print format. I was able to do this for about $80.00 and my hard work.

I was watching MAD MEN last night and both the Kindle and iPad had commercials. It was almost a surreal feeling knowing that my novel has been downloaded by people I don't even know to these devices as well as the NOOK. Without SW, and to some extent my efforts, this would NEVER have happened, and I didn't invest one penny of my cash.

While I'm not seeing the most sales from SW directly, SW got it into B&N, Apple,and because SW already coverted to .mobi, I uploaded to Amazon in under 1/2 hour. Lower royalties, but a sale is a sale, and I'm not in this for the money.

In June I had nothing. By a freak coincidence, I found out about SW. Three months later I have novel available in print & ebook formats at major retailers, earned a few bucks, and am scheduling signings and author nights. My head is still spinning to some extent, but it is an awesome feeling.

SW was the catalyst that got all this started, and I will be forever grateful for that.

Good luck to everyone!

Alex Greenwood said...

Great stuff, Mark. Encouraging and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyable essay. Very nicely done.
Thanks, Mark & DW.

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate Mr. Robinson's direct approach but I can't agree "the writing must be top drawer." A lot of the commercial fiction that's traditionally published today is not very good. And that's for the very reasons to which he alluded.

Publishers aren't interested in publishing "books" today, with a few exceptions. Publishers are in it to make money, and they're only interested in publishing "brand names" because that's what sells.

"James Patterson" has become a brand name; "Twilight" is a brand name; "Harry Potter" is a brand name. This is the reality of traditional publishing and the business model is flawed. If it weren't, so many publishers wouldn't be going under right now. Would they?

What makes e-book publishing and places like Smashwords so exciting isn't that unpublished authors can now be published. It's that readers can now be exposed to fresh, creative voices in fiction and non-fiction. Authors can also maintain creative control of their works and are being compensated what they deserve. We're giving (and getting) many great choices, and I'm thrilled to be part of the generation seeing it happen!