Thursday, November 12, 2009
Ongoing Correspondence with Jacqueline Lichtenberg
I find it very interesting that Jacqueline Lichtenberg has responded once more to a post of mine with respect to her Sime-Gen novels. I shouldn't be surprised, however. It actually is very much 'in character' for her to do so. She always has reached out to her readers and other potential writers alike, not so much in order to promote her own work but to inspire others to write and create, to JOIN her in her creative efforts.
I am copying her response below, but I will answer her question here. I believe in the power of the printed word and if anything, the internet and the technology of the personal computer (and related systems) has empowered writers in a way that hitherto was impossible to all but the rich or those with a source of funding.
Book publishing no longer is monopolised by a few firms who specialise in printing and distribution. ANY ONE can publish a printed book now. 'Printed book' in this context should not conjure forth visions of pages organised in an amateurish binder similar to that created for a thesis at University. I am speaking now of REAL books, with proper bindings, some of which are well-illustrated.
The 'Kindle' is an interesting toy, in my view. Like any other system of its nature, it will become outdated quickly. The owners either will be forced to update frequently or actually buy a new system within a year or two. I have considerable experience with gaming platforms and have seen how the GBA was replaced with the GBA SP, then the DS, the DS Lite and now, the DSI. Nintendo, who created ALL those systems, has had the grace and decency to make them 'backwards-compatible' until now. With the DSI, finally, they have broken with their own tradition, sad to say. Any one who buys the new system will not be able to play old games on it.
Individuals who are not involved with gaming may have had comparable experiences with their IPods or Zunes. Constant updates and 'improvements' force consumers to purchase new versions of these systems.
The Kindle is a transient platform. A book is as permanent a format as we have in our society, apart from carving words on stone or marble.
I worked in the field of book publishing in London and in the States, but writing game guides has taught me something else about contemporary publishing. We who use the internet constantly tend to exaggerate its sphere of influence. Having written over 100 game guides published by IGN (Fox) on the internet, I sometimes lose sight of the limited reach that these guides have. Yes, I have readers from every continent and received hundreds of emails daily from gamers, but these players only represent a percentage of the total number of gamers. That is why printed 'Official Strategy Guides' continue to sell. Furthermore, the printed guides will outlast all of the internet guides I have written unless some one converts my guides to print.
It is easy enough to tell some one to download and print a document from the internet, but that requires a printer, paper, ink AND time. Nonetheless, people tend to prefer printed words to the words displayed on a screen. Furthermore, at the end of the day, I believe that any one who wishes to have a permanent copy of a book would prefer to pay for that book to be bound properly.
That having been said, I know quite a few writers who have published their own books in professional format. Amazon and other outlets actually organise the printing and distribution. The writer simply sends the material in the format desired. I would urge Jacqueline Lichtenberg to consider something of this sort rather than relying upon the Kindle or any internet link that offers a download to prospective readers.
Yes, computers in the home are far more prevalent than they were a decade ago, but a large percentage of those who have computers at home use them only for email or for their accounting. They do not download books. Many of them wouldn't have a clue how to go about it.
As far as the 'next generation' of readers is concerned, computer literacy is taught in every school now, but all of the teenagers I know read printed books and use their computers for IMs or school research. They do not WANT to read books on a screen...
One need only recall the incredible success of the very lengthy Harry Potter novels with readers of ALL ages to realise that printed books STILL are a desirable commodity. Children, teens and adults queued up outside bookshops hours before a new Harry Potter novel was due for release in order to buy a copy on the very first day. They were hardcover, expensive novels and they SOLD. In similar fashion, the 'Twilight' series by Stephenie Meyer and Erin Hunter's 'Warriors' series have sold very well in hardcover form.
Use the internet by all means to promote the Sime-Gen series and network with other writers, but find a way to PRINT the books at a reasonable cost. If you do not wish to organise that aspect of it yourself, I would expect that there are countless writers' groups and small publishers who would be more than pleased to assist in this project if the behemoths of the book-publishing world are too short-sighted to involve themselves. The reputation of any small publishing venture would be enhanced greatly if it were to produce a new edition of these Classics as well as new novels in the series.
Finally, if you could sell a concept for a film based on the Sime-Gen series, the world would be your oyster in terms of re-publishing existing novels as well as publishing new novels. The time really is right for a Sime-Gen film but you should be in charge of the screenplay. Of existing novels, I would recommend 'First Channel' as the book most likely to capture the interest of a general audience. Of course, in writing for the screen, you could combine aspects of more than one novel or even create something entirely new.
In a film, the scientific aspects of the mutation could be explored (as you probably would like them to be!) without becoming tedious to non-scientific minds and at this point in history, technological advances in computer-generated images as well as the ability to create almost ANYTHING in a realistic fashion would allow the mutation to be presented very elegantly on the screen. The Sime tentacles would look REAL and the entire selyn exchange could be intensely erotic and romantic... as well as utterly terrifying when the Gen is unwilling. In fact, the film could begin with a scene of that... quite shocking, attention-grabbing... and then, as the story unwinds, selyn exchange would be shown in its most powerful positive manifestations.
As with the book publishing industry, film no longer is the monopoly of a few. Although I believe you could sell a good screenplay to any of the 'big name' producers, there are a host of talented independent film makers who could do justice to your work as well.
And then, of course, there is the potential for a game based on the series...
Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...
Oh, YES we have MUCH new Sime~Gen to present - but where and from whom and in which formats, that's the question.
Had Jacqueline Lichtenberg asked me the question I wished she had posed, I would have answered that I would welcome new novels about the period prior to Zeor's founding, the period when the mutation still had not been studied scientifically, when Simes viewed Gens unconditionally as a source of sustenance and Gens lived in terror of the 'unnatural' Simes. This dynamic, I believe, would appeal strongly to a new generation of teens, the same readership that follows Stephanie Meyer's saga of Edward and Bella with almost obsessive interest.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg: And that is exactly where 2 new novels and a screenplay are set - WAY before things get technically complex.
On the divided focus between Jean and me, Jean's degree is in English and mine is in Chemistry.
Sime~Gen is an example of the modern breed of "mixed genres" that is emerging, and it is a "universe." My ambition is to have a novel in the S~G Universe that can be identified as belonging to each genre. One unpublished by Jean is a Romance which would today be classed as a Futuristic Romance - maybe a bit on the Paranormal side.
I've completed the novel on the years before the founding of the House of Zeor (when they knew almost nothing and had no customs to speak of). It's got a lot of Paranormal in it at the insistence of the publisher who commissioned it (then went bankrupt owing us tons of money).
The unpublished material is sitting there. We have a number of options available, but would love to know what you and your readers would prefer - paper, ebook, downloadable, fictionwise, amazon Kindle, some other publisher. I hadn't considered CD delivery, so thanks for mentioning that.
Paper is possible, but expensive. What is your price-point for a paper copy?
Collectors drove the price of my Vampire Romance, THOSE OF MY BLOOD and it's companion volume DREAMSPY over $400 before a publisher picked it up for a new Trade paper edition. Collectors have had a copy of just one of the volumes the Mass Market trilogy DUSHAU over $70 - but now you can get it on Kindle. And read free chapters (see http://www.jacquelinelichtenberg.com
I've been watching the Amazon price of the Sime~Gen omnibus THE UNITY TRILOGY climb.
We ought to make a move on this soon, but in which direction? We need input.
And thanks for the flattering comparisons. I actually like TWILIGHT!!!