Thursday, December 1, 2011

Useful for Authors... and readers too

Just before I get into the real matter of this post, recently I discovered fantasy/fairy tale magazines. I perhaps shouldn't say 'discovered'. I knew they were around. I hadn't really engaged with them, though. That's changed now that I have an iPad. For some reason - possibly the ability to flick through many magazines without burying myself under them - reading the magazines on the iPad is much more satisfying and I've become a great fan. My current favourite is Fantasy Magazine. The stories are excellent, with contributors like Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, and the cover artwork is rich. See, for instance, the cover of the July 2011 issue.

I've also been delighted to see that Dark Horse is releasing Buffy and Hellboy comics for reading on iPads. Hardcopy magazines and comics have been expensive in Australia. Storage rapidly becomes an issue. Digital subscriptions and copies overcome these problems and make the material readily available. Albeit, these are advantages only if you have a digital device to read the material. I'm not advocating the iPad, incidentally, but it's the device I went with and it's been handy.

The matter of this post, ostensibly, is useful advice for authors (or hopeful authors) and their readers. Neil Gaiman, a great supporter of audio books, has just blogged a post that will hopefully spread far and wide. In "Audiobooks: A Cautionary Tale," he provides advice on making the most of your audio rights. With audiobooks becoming ever more viable and popular thanks to downloadable formats, this is rapidly becoming an significant aspect of a writer's work. Gaiman writes:

I think what I want to say mostly is, if you are an author, Get Involved in Your Audiobooks Early. Get your agent involved and interested. Talk about them at contract stage. Find out if you're selling the rights, and if you are selling them then find out what control you have or whether you are going to be consulted or not about who the narrator is and how the audiobook is done.

I think the most fun I had with an audio book was sitting with a group of friends one night listening to a Doctor Who story.
We were traveling and decided to have an early night 'in'. Since we were on the road, this was a B&B. We had a supply of edible goodies from M&S and sprawled happily about the room while I logged into iTunes. A few of us fell asleep before the end, but thankfully, no one who snored over the narration. There is a communal aspect to the audio book that is doubly appealing to me. Joining in as you all gasp and giggle is entertaining in itself.

There is also an excellent post on Amazon reviews from Anne R. Allen's blog. With the bookstore in increasing trouble, we're more reliant on reader reviews and recommendations through online bookstores like, of course, Amazon. I usually flick through the reviews before buying. They don't always persuade or dissuade me, but they do matter. I appreciate the reviews, in particular, that outline the content in more detail than the publisher's blurb (I wish publishers would catch up with the realities of today's book buying practices and provide good, concrete information on the contents). Allen's post gives pause for thought, though, on how much power the buying public now holds over the author. I encourage everyone to read the post and think about reviewing books on Amazon. We have more power now to substantially support writers. It's time to use this power wisely.

1 comment:

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks so much for the shout-out. Some people took issue with the post, because they thought I was telling reviewers what to write. Far from it. I just want readers to know they have power.

I'm like you. I read reviews, but with a skeptic's eye. Sometimes a bad review from a nincompoop will push me to buy a book more than a rave from a fan.