Friday, 13 August 2010

Brass Tacks

I've been getting down to them this week. Doing the final graft and craft on a contract that's clear, fair, and comprehensive enough for now (who knows what the digital realm will yet spring on us?). Combing back through the business plan. Checking out the benefits of 'sole trader' versus 'limited liability company' status. Visiting the Intellectual Property Office in my slippers (ah, business online). Remembering to breathe. At the end of such a rigorous and efficient week I can't wait to drop to my knees in the garden, or simply get back to some editing.

I've looked again at the new ereaders (about which Grace makes excellent comment after my last posting) — so smart and swift, so plastic and metal — and I've pondered the digital publishing guru's exhortation to get with it, 'enhance', embed media in every ebook text — for example photo albums, songs and newspaper clippings into the novel. Okay, I'm open to some of this: in a biography, excellent. In a travelogue, great.

But. When I read fiction, I don't want a photo of the protagonist. I don't want to see their bedroom furnishings. I seek escape, and quiet: my own imagination entering, inhabiting and making vivid the writer's world. It's to share this experience that I choose to find terrific work and publish it. And this is why I'll go on looking for a quiet, comfortable ereader, devoted to its owner's beloved books.

According to voters on the Digital Publishing Forum, 37% each believe that A) most people will read ebooks on a multi-purpose gadget and B) most will own two or more devices. I'm for the second device. When the little soft book-like reader appears, I'll sell it on the Rosa Mira website.

In this odyssey called 'starting a business', the days are long and the information relentless that begs to be assimilated and acted upon. The future-facing pragmatist in me grows muscles and discrimination and learns to out-manoeuvre despair, but the wishful thinker, the dreamer, the one who'd rather read or write in a quiet corner, is no less demanding. The two have to link arms, dreaming and acting, wishing and accepting what is. They need one another in order to stay on the road, deliver the goods, and to remember what fuels the journey.

Brass tacks? Probably the ones that hold the upholstery onto the chair. Old fashioned things for old fashioned chairs. Growing rare, but kind of lovely, gleaming, strong, and quiet.


Grace Dalley said...

One day you might well get your wish for a soft, dedicated reader. But meanwhile, it's going to be Kindles, iPads, and phones. Not everyone wants them, but for at least the next few years, that's all we have.

So I think the pressing questions are: who are the people buying the readers, and what do they want to read? How much are they prepared to pay? And how will they find out about you?

Pam Morrison said...

Those brass tacks (final para) remind me something that's at the heart of Rosa Mira.

Claire Beynon said...

I tip my hat to you, your pragmatist, dreamer, warrior, re-upholsterer (and the rest of your 'in it, boots-and-all' multitude).

Tapestry and technology might yet make a very fine marriage?

L, C

Penelope said...

Thanks, Pam and Claire for encouragements, and Grace for bracing questions.
I'm under no illusion about the kind of readers that are actually being used and that will be marketed here over the next while. I'll respond to the Qs in due course in a larger box.