Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Fricassee

If you're reading this blog, that means you have a dream.  It entails the bringing of your beloved story (or stories) to the masses, and it looks a little bit like the next person's, and a little bit not.

Because it's your dream.  You want to be published.  Right?

We all look at the "being published" differently. For some, it's traditional all the way.  For others, it's do-it-yourself indie.  Some do a mixture of both.

Then there's the actual product.  Some of us dream of gorgeous hardcover debuts.  Others would be pleased as pie to have a trade paperback hit the shelves.  And some dream of raking in the royalties on a digital release, without any paper fuss at all.

So today's question is:  What does your dream product look like?  How much does it matter to you HOW your book hits the world?  Does it even matter at all?

Yes, of course I'll get all vulnerable and share my dream first.

I love books.  Beautiful, hardcover, smells-so-good-I-want-to-lick-the-pages books, fresh from the store, are one of life's dearest treasures.  I love the weight of them in my hands, the satisfying way my bookmark creeps slowly through their depth.  I love the ink against the creamy pages.  I love--LOVE--books.

And I want my debut to be like that.  A real, honest-to-goodness hardcover with my name on it.  Something to display on my bookshelves along with all my other hardcover treasures, so that I can look at it and think, "That ones's mine!"  Something I can hand out to family members, their names lovingly scrawled on the cover pages.

When I think about it hard enough, my stomach does funny drop-things.  For me, this is visceral.


I look at my latest sub list and see things that DON'T EXACTLY MATCH MY DREAM.  This publisher does digital-only.  That publisher starts with digital and moves to paperback.  And this other publisher?  I'm not even sure.

Yes, there are Big Five names on there, too, and of course they do gorgeous, real-as-can-be hardcovers.  But they're moving with the times, too (or at least, they'd better be), so probably the real-as-can-be isn't a given there, either.

Where does this leave my dream?

Well, hmm.  It leaves me asking myself this question:  "How badly do you want people to READ YOUR STORIES?"  Because, whether they're reading my debut novel on a Kindle or in paperback or as a gorgeoushardcover, the point is that they're READING MY NOVEL.


I know this is true.  So why does it still bother me to think about letting go of my hardcover dream?

I don't have an answer.  I want to hear from you.  Because I know I'm not the only one who's in love with hardcovers (I buy them almost exclusively).

Share your dreams!  And if you're completely unfettered by real-book-love, share your wisdom and insight.

So glad we're such a diverse and passionate bunch!  I look forward to your comments.


  1. I am more of a paperback girl myself, probably because I grew up reading romance and mystery novels, which often went straight to paperback. These days they often start as hardbacks. I've gotten to like hardbacks more as YA/MG has taken over my reading list, but I find I still tend to wait to buy paperbacks because I grew up with them. So, as for how I want to be published? I'd still really like for it to be an actual book rather than a digital book, but both would be nice :). Of course, I'm pursuing the traditional route, so first I need to land an agent. Hopefully I'll hear back from one of those Baker's Dozen agents soon :).

  2. A few months ago my first book to be published was released in ebook form then several months later it was released in paperback. I went with a small publisher that rocks.

    I do however dream that a cozy mystery series I'm fiddling with will find a home with one of the big 5. Those usually come out in paperback and that would be fine with me. Just seeing my name on the cover of a book is exciting.

    As a reader I prefer holding a book in my hand, but I'll take it in any form I can get it. I'm a book addict with no interest in a 12 step program. :)

    Violet Ingram
    Death by High Heels

  3. I want my book in print, on store shelves, ready to be autographed, or honestly just in my hands, feeling real. It's illogical in some ways, but I still want it!

    However, when making the decision for my first novel, I tried to be more practical and ultimately accepted a digital-first offer, because digital is almost more important for romance, in terms of getting the book to readers. I still want my books printed, obviously (and still hope my first book will hit enough sales for that to happen), but sometimes you have to work your way up. Or that's what I tell myself.

  4. I used to believe that a book only "counted" if it was on the shelves of a store or library. I'm not exactly sure when that shifted for me. It's not that I "gave up" on my dream of seeing my book on a shelf (that would be a rush), it just became less important as I personally bought more and more books digitally. Books by authors I really love. Of course, if I read a digital book and I adore it, I almost always go out and buy the paperback (if available) to add to my permanent collection. There's nothing like leafing through a well-loved book to revisit favorite scenes - somehow, that's not the same experience on a device.

  5. Definitely all about that Hardcover Dream. I don't like ebooks, you miss out on the soothing smell and feel of the pages. Even though I prefer to read paperback, I still want to display both on my shelf.

  6. I'm with you, Authoress. My wish would be for a paper page-turner. Still dreaming; less hopeful.

  7. I have a "in print physical copies on a fabulous display rack in the middle of the store" kind of dream. I want to able to hug my book and do signings and display it on a pretty rack during my panel at conferences. I want it worldwide, multiple languages, stumbling upon a review in French kind of thing.

    I'm thinking, why not dream big? Why not put that kind of energy into the universe? Why not? :)

    I like all kinds of books for reading purposes, but for display purposes I want a hardback and I have actually bought a hardback AND an eBook because I wanted one to display and hug and one to start reading immediately because the bookstore was out and I couldn't wait for it to come in to start reading, but I still HAD to have that hardcover on my shelf.

    Yeah... ^_^

  8. My dream used to be hardcover too. As were most of my books. But over the past couple of years, I've found I rarely read hardcovers. In fact, I rarely buy one unless it was written by a friend (and I have a couple of dozen of those now!!! LOVE).

    Because I write contemporary romance, and an extremely high number of those sales are e-book, when I pub my stories, that's the way I'll go. And I'm okay with it! (now :))

  9. My dream was the same as yours and I want to say that I don't think you should give up on it yet! My book sold this time last year and by this time next year, I'll be holding that hardcover in my hands. It still happens and it can still happen to you.

  10. I'm in the same camp of dreaming about walking into the bookstore, and seeing my shiny hardcover on the shelf. I'll be honest that the industry moving to mostly digital makes me sad. I like to smell and feel the books I'm reading, and I want others to be able to smell and feel my book too. But when it comes down to it, reading is more important than smelling. So I suppose I'd be happy either way.

  11. I would love to go into a bookstore someday and see my books on the shelf. As for the details of book production, I'm in a toss-up as to whether having them trade published or self-published would be more satisfying. Either way, there are options for print (and even hardback books), and you could make a proof copy for yourself through a POD service (I know Lulu does hardbacks, and if you do NaNoWriMo, they've had a free hardback offer the last couple years) if you wanted a book to hold in your hands. :-)

  12. Every time I go into a library, I run my finger over the spines of the books and dream that one day my book will be there for someone to fondle. But really, any sort of published and read is closer than where I am now!

  13. I have the hardcover dream as well. I love holding books in my hands and the idea of going into a bookstore and picking up my own makes me smile. With my own collection of books, I tend to hold onto to the hardcovers.They feel like my little treasures.I know that the format of the book shouldn't matter, but it's a dream, so it's okay to be picky. Now if we're talking reality I'm more flexible. Until reality tells me otherwise, I'm keeping my perfect beautiful hardcover dream.

  14. My dream is two fold. In terms of a novel, I'd prefer a combination of digital and some sort of physical copy, even if it's a flimsy paperback. I want to see it shining on a bookshelf or catch a child perusing it's pages at a library. But the second half of my publishing dream is to see one of my picture books with a beautifully created hardcover, strong against the clumsy and messy advances of the youngest readers or listeners with pages to match. Oh my dreams... So sweet and full of hope.

  15. I love "real" books. The texture, the smell, the action of turning pages. Being able to physically bookmark parts I want to read again. But the core of my dream allows for flexibility, because I want my books to be available in libraries where lots of people have free access the story. So it's mostly a hardcover dream, but libraries also loan paperbacks and digital copies. I can love that.

  16. I cherish hardcover books. The creamy pages, the ink, the feel of turning each page, my favorites nestled in my bookcase like jewels in a treasure chest. I do buy e-books on my kindle, but if it's a story I love, I have to "bring it into the real world" by buying the hardcover version to have on my shelf. My dream is to have my novel published as a hardcover. Not ready to let go of that yet!

  17. The other day I was talking about my writing with a co-worker and she asked, "What do you think the likelihood is that your book will be on a shelf at B&N?" I was frankly startled by the question, because when I daydream about my short and long term writing goals, that particular fantasy is never among them - and I hadn't really even realized it.

    To me, the thrill of being a writer is how people respond to my writing. I love hearing laughter as they read or the look on their face when they raise their eyes from the page. None of this has anything to do with the book format.

    I want to reach and touch the lives of thousands of readers with my writing. I want them to sit at their desks and sneak a few pages in when no one is looking, or sit and daydream about the world and the characters I've created - the same way I do with books that I love.

    Nearly everything I read is digital, and I read almost exclusively on my phone, probably 20 - 25 books a year. In fact, I haven't yet read my good friend's book, released last July, because I bought it in hardcover at her release party. The future is digital, certainly. It does throw a wrench in release parties and book signings, but to me, those are the only downsides, and they're just blips in a writer's life, anyway - not the meat and potatoes of what being a writer is all about.

    So, to make a long answer short, digital is all right by me.

  18. Paperback vs hardback isn't a facet of my dream. My dream entails me being able to walk into a Barnes and Noble and seeing my book on the shelf. One of the center tables when you first enter would be nice, or on the staff picks, or best seller shelf at the front of the store. And if my book doesn't get that prime real estate. Then in the YA section will be great, but with the cover facing forward :-)

  19. I love that you posed this question, Authoress. My dream has always been to be on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. Paperback would be just fine with me :) (I prefer them when reading myself) but of course a hardcover would be another level of lovely as far as an accomplishment goes. My book went on submission last year and didn't sell. Then just in the last couple of weeks I found two books with the same idea/premise/hook right there staring at me from the new teen shelf. Gut wrenching and so hard to take. I'm trying my best to let go of expectations and timing. Maybe it won't all happen in the order I want or the timing I want but I'm just going to keep moving forward..writing the next book and remembering to enjoy the journey. Sounds cliche, I know, but just trying my best to remember what really matters when my heart longs to reach that tangible ego-driven goal. Not that there's anything wrong with that though- we will get there!! Thanks for all you do here and for what you give to the writing community. I wish the best best best for you!

  20. I love this discussion. Since I'm writing YA, I would love my book to be in print with a larger publisher, mainly for the key distribution to schools and libraries and to get on those library trade lists. YA readers--as many adults that read them or not--is still largely driven by print for the readers it intends to target: teens.

    I'm open to smaller publishers and ebook first/only, I'm going to be thoughtful with my choices. It's not enough for me to take any deal offered. I've done some homework and I'm going to make the most informed choice for my career as I can.

    Having said that, I'm also interested in not limiting myself to only YA. I would definitely consider writing in romance or some other capacity that does better in ebook. I love that there are so many options.

    As for someone saying that epub puts a dent in book signings, something awesome I've come across at conferences are postcards with a QR code for a free download of the book, or a chapter to entice a buyer. I love that, and several of those freebies for me turned into a purchase for subsequent books.

  21. I'm like you and have always wanted a beautiful hardcover edition of my book to look proudly at when I go to the library and peruse the shelves (although it's going to be so popular it will never actually BE on the shelves…), but when I actually got an offer on one of my books, the publisher was e-book only and I had to make the tough decision about whether to cling to that dream and possibly never get my book in front of readers, or if I should give up on my ideal publication.

    I chose readers in the end. But that doesn't mean I'm not still dreaming of that hardcover for my next book!

  22. Dreams and writing seem to go together so there's no problem in dreaming big. Reality is what shakes us out of our dreams. Reality tells us that not everyone gets that big" knock-knock hardcover book" release (but we can dream), and reality tells us that some of us will never, short of self-publishing, see our stories in "fan the edge of the pages and smell the new-book smell printed book, (but we can smell it anyway). While e-publishing gets our story out there and we get excited that we are published and people are reading our stories, its kind of like getting a birthday cake without the icing- it's wonderful, just not quite as sweet. So I'm with you Authoress, I'm still biding my time and working hard to find the right fit for my stories and holding onto the "knock-knock hardcover book" release dream. Ssshhh! I'm not ready to wake up yet.

  23. My dream is of a colorful paperback! And if I don't find it at my library, I'm donating a dozen.

  24. My dream is of a colorful paperback! And if I don't find it at my library, I'm donating a dozen.

  25. I wonder if this is a generational phenomena-- if in the future the desire or expectation of publishing print books will be more of an extra bonus or not even important to writers. I wonder if we're the final or transitional generation.