What has your e-book done for you lately?
There are all kinds of debates out there over the merit of E-books vs. Dead Tree books. This isn't going to be one of them. Never let it be said that I don't appreciate Dead Trees. I have quite a collection, and I will never tire of holding a book in my hands, turning the pages, lining them up on my shelves and enjoying the look of them.
They've opened up my world.
Let's talk about the reading first. I practically grew up in a the library. I read everything that even remotely interested me, and some stuff that really didn't. My first love affair was with fantasy novels, especially the ones with those strong male friendships. If you know that I write m/m romance, you know where I'm heading with this... I didn't at the time. I just knew that the books I was reading were missing something.
Enter the internet, and eventually, live journal, and the concept that no, I'm not the only one wondering if Aragorn and Boromir were more than just traveling companions. Here were people who not only understood where I was coming from, but who came from something like the same place, and craved the same sorts of stories I did: stories local, small town libraries just don't carry.
It was hard to define what I was looking for, exactly. I wasn't really sure until I found it. There was a light-bulb moment when I suddenly realized I'd arrived, simultaneously at the end of a journey I didn't know I was on and at the head of a trail I didn't know I was looking for, but just knew I had to follow. This was the discovery of my first m/m romance. It wasn't in the libraries where I grew up. It wasn't in the bookstore where I used to hang out for hours on end until they threw me out for not spending money. It was an e-book.
By the time I had this revolution, I was already taking my own writing more seriously, and evolving from stilted and trope-y fantasy to something else, and it was a surprise to know there was actually a market out in the world for what I wanted to write. Other people might actually want to read it, and I might not be quite as much of a freak as I thought. These are always nice thoughts for a writer. :)
I did, eventually, take the plunge and submit my work to some online magazines, and even had a small bit of success. When I finally got up the nerve to submit something to a publisher, I realized, once I'd hit send, that I didn't really care what the answer was. I felt like I'd come home. The community and the like-mindedness that I didn't find in the places I grew up was right there, on line, in the world of e-books. The readers who wanted to read what I was writing, and the writers who wrote what I wanted to read were--are--here, on line. The books I want to read are electronic, but that doesn't make them less. It makes them accessible, available, and every bit as life affirming as the ones I found in the stacks of the libraries.
I do have a couple of books, anthologies, sitting on my shelves that have stories that I wrote in them, but most of my work is electronic, and I'm happy with that. I've never aspired to be in print. E-books opened up a world I needed to find, both as a reader and a writer, and I am content to nurture that world.