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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jane Lindskold's Free E-Book--and What That Means for All of Us

My sister Jane Campbell is a HUGE Jane Lindskold fan...and so today my sis directed me to Tor's new blog where they are offering Lindskold's free e-book. Go here to download the book

This is a grand experiment by Tor (the publisher), and I'm sure many eyes will be on the site to see whether the idea works, but if you've read Predictably Irrational, you have an idea of how powerful a marketing tool the word "free" really is!

Kudos to Tor and to Jane. I believe the SINGLE most important thing we authors can do is introduce new people to our work. I'm sure I'm not the only person who borrows a book from the library FIRST to see if I like an author's style. Once upon a time, I would cringe if you told me you were going to pass one of my books around among your friends. Not any more. I'll cheer you on! In fact, I'll suggest it. (Okay, if any of my author friends are reading this, they're probably rolling around on the floor with their tongues hanging out and their eyes showing white. To them I say, "Wipe that foam off your lips. You look barmy.")

My new attitude is I want you (and your friends and your family and your homies) to read Paper, Scissors, Death. I'm hoping you'll get hooked on my characters, and then my chances will be GREATLY improved that you'll buy a copy or two or THREE of Cut, Crop & Die when it comes out in June.

So, I'm all for Tor sharing books online. In fact, I think that's a great use of new technology. Somedays I find myself thinking that the Age of Paper is truly past, although I must admit I love paper in all its forms: newspapers, magazines, books, and scrapbooking stash. I enjoy drinking coffee and reading the New York Times. I prop open my books and read as I eat lunch. I'm definitely a paper-stroker (that's scrapbook speak for someone who enjoys the feel of paper). But more and more I love being online. I've been writing online for years. In fact, I was taking notes on a Radio Shack personal computer when Madeline L'Engle was teaching a class at a writers' conference I was attending, and the great woman went on a rant about how "soulless" computers are. (I managed to get most of the rant down, although I'd be hard-pressed to find it these days. I just kept banging away and since I can type nearly as fast as most people can talk, I had no trouble keeping up with Madeline.)

But I can't write without a computer. I can scribble on paper, but I always find it a dry-run for putting the words on a screen. Worse yet, I'm addicted to the ease of looking up some stray fact as I write. Which is a really stupid habit, I admit...but I'm enough of a perfectionist that sometimes I get completely flummoxed by a missing tidbit and I simply can't go on.

So is the age of e-books here? Confession: I wrote an e-book years ago called The Scrapbooker's Journaling Companion (it's available through and that little book continues to pay very nice royalties indeed. The purchasers have told me they download the book and ask my 640 questions, using it as a sort of electronic journaling prompt! That was never my intent, but there you go...the technology and all its applications outstripped my imagination.

So here's to Jane Lindskold and the folks at Tor. May their grand experiment open new doors for all of us, both as readers and authors.

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