Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Post: New Options for Readers by Tahlia Newland

New options for readers

Today we have a guest post by Tahlia Newland. She writes young adult/adult urban fantasy with a touch or more of romance in it and a focus on challenging readers’ perception of reality.  A Matter of Perception, her anthology of urban fantasy & magical realism stories, is available on ebook. ‘Realm Hunter,’ a Diamond Peak novella, will be released in December.

The event of ereaders is revolutionizing the publishing industry, but not only is it giving authors new opportunities, it is doing the same for readers.

Once you have your ereader you can:
  • Buy books for as little as 99c and get many for free
  • Have access to thousands of books that your local bookstore (if you still have one) could never carry.
  • Buy a book instantly without leaving your home
  • Carry thousands of books in a device that weighs less than an average sized book
  • Have a book collection larger than the size of your shelf space
  • Via independent publishing, have access to books that are too different or otherwise too hard to promote ( eg cross genre or written by someone unknown) to be published by a publishing company. Often these are the most interesting books.
  • Have access to books of all different lengths (e.g. short stories and novellas)

Short Stories
The beauty of short stories is that they are straight to the point, snappy and without frills. A good short story is highly engaging and has a powerful ending, often with a twist or a moral point.

They are perfect for today’s world, especially for young people with little money and many demands on their time, because they are low price and time commitment.
A good anthology of short stories has a linking theme that provides a sense of continuity with each story adding to an overall flavour that makes the book a satisfying whole.
One reader said of my short story collection, ‘A Matter of Perception’, “These were five-for-five keeping me engaged from start to finish. A very pleasurable read, and what makes it such an interesting collection is that it provides such a variety in tone and supernatural elements yet is held together, yes, by that common supernatural denominator but also such thought-provoking philosophies of life.”

NovellasNovellas are usually around 20,000 to 30,000 words and can be read in 2 or three hours. They were unprofitable to publish in print but work well in ebook form, hence we are seeing a large number of novellas, especially from indie authors. Since they take less time to write, an author can charge less for them making them attractive to readers, and their length makes them a very real option to watching a movie
The serialized novel.Serialized fiction was big in Charles Dickens and Authur Conan Doyle’s time when books were expensive, so the stories were published in a more affordable magazine format in easily digestible chunks that suited the newly literate working class with little time for such indulgences. It created fiction that didn’t take the readers commitment to the story for granted, hence there was plenty of dramatic tension to keep you reading. One segment always ended with a hook to lead you into the next one, something to keep you wondering. Why is this form returning?
At the moment it’s only happening in the indie publishing world where a lot of authors are pricing books at 99c. This is not enough money for an author to have any chance of making a profit, but if the competition is setting their prices so low, you have to deal with it. So, you charge 99c for 3 or 4 installments of one novel. It makes economic sense for the author and makes it easier for the reader to decide if they want to purchase the whole thing.

Most indie authors will have something priced at 99c for you to try to see if you like the author enough to buy longer works. This is the sort of thing that economics makes us do, but the reader wins with cheap prices and more options.

Would you buy a book in serial form or would you rather pay more and get the whole thing at once?

Do you see what I see? Take a bunch of supernatural beings, a battle of magical light, a mysterious hole in the pavement, a dream of a future past and a pair of rose-coloured glasses, mix them with a little romance and a smidgen of philosophy and you might be left wondering if it isn’t all just a matter of perception. This thought-provoking collection of urban fantasy and magical realism stories includes ‘The Drorgon Slayer’s Choice’ and ‘The Boneyard’, a semi finalist in the Aussiecon 4 Make Ready fantasy/scfi competition of 2010.

Are you willing to stake your future on a butterfly’s shampoo preferences? Julia’s not sure. She knows that relationships made in heaven can end up in hell, but if she can avoid having her memory wiped, she just might end up with a god of her own.

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