Monday, November 16, 2009

eBook Readers

I haven't bothered to look at eBook readers yet, because I love old-fashioned books on paper. However, the little I have read about them offers up some intriguing possibilities. I like that they came up with eInk to reduce strain on eyes, though I have yet to see it myself.

I hope that any good eReader will have easy access buttons to maps and/or art that the book may contain. When I am reading, say, The Sword of Shannara, then at any point in the book I should be able to push a button and see the map. And, when the appropriate scene comes up, I want to be able to see the corresponding artwork.

How long before a book has a soundtrack developed specifically for it? I can imagine reading along in The Lord of the Rings and hearing the soft strains of Enya's "Council of Elrond" floating up from the eReader at just the right time. Probably it would be annoying, but of course you could turn it off.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Publishers Should Rethink Advances

In my opinion, some publisher should innovate in this bad book economy and rethink the idea of advances. This could help authors like me get books published that wouldn't normally be given a chance. I don't need an advance. I have a good career and can take care of myself. I just want my book published.

The drawback of advances is that this is how agents make their money, so no agent is going to want to deal with a book that brings no advance. There have been some new publishers who do smaller or no advances, and I would bet few agents bother to direct books to them. Why should they if they will not get paid? I say try a new model, in which no advance is paid, but the agent can get a percentage of whatever the author makes on the book. That way agents will be happy to direct books to such publishers, and authors like me can have a better shot at getting our work published. By making it a percentage of the book's profits, this forces the agent to still work to make the book the best it can be. Sure, there would be a number of bad agents who would be willing to just toss any trash out there, hoping to make money from whatever the book happens to take in, but I think such agents would be identified pretty quickly by the marketplace, or at the very least the good agents would become identifiable.