Ray Bradbury says I’m not a real author. And neither are you, if your works are e-published.
In this interview with the Paris Review, Mr. Bradbury, when asked his opinion on e-books and Amazon Kindle, states ‘Those aren’t books,’ and expounds upon why printed books are superior and implies anything read from an electronic device isn’t valid. While I won’t at all deny the man is a great author and has influenced literature in a major way, it is also plainly obvious from the interview he is a technophobe and chooses not to embrace emerging technologies available to authors. This is certainly his choice, but I take exception to being told my work is not valid because of the medium through which it is published. Rather ironic of him, as an author who has written extensively in the genre of science fiction.
I won’t deny a love for paper, solid books. I’m a writer, after all. The printed word is still powerful and physical books are wonderful and always will be. However, this doesn’t mean I shun anything which deviates from the standard. I respect the work of authors who do not have their words printed on pages. I still believe there is a great force of creativity, skill, and dedication involved in works which are only available electronically. To imply these works ought to be dismissed is foolish. Saying e-books are not valid is like saying any visual artist who creates their work on an electronic tablet is not a real artist because they didn’t use paint or pens.
Electronic publishing is beneficial to both authors and readers in many ways. Less production costs and wider, easier distribution means authors make more money off their work. Readers can more easily transport these works–imagine carrying every book on your Kindle or Nook onto a plane for a long flight–and the works are also cheaper for the reader to purchase. Nothing will ever wholly replace printed work but that doesn’t mean literature produced digitally is not, in fact, literature. E-book sales are steadily on the rise and a 193% increase in sales certainly means someone out there is enjoying this widely available, easier form of distribution and think it’s worth something.
I sign contracts, do edits, receive galleys, and earn royalties on my work–my e-published work. Just like a ‘real’ writer. People read my work, review it, and talk to me about it. I have readers. I have editors. Just like a ‘real’ writer. I spend countless hours writing, re-writing, and editing my work as well as honing my craft, learning anything and everything I can about it. Just like a ‘real’ writer. I refuse to be told my work isn’t valid because I am e-published. I refuse to believe my publishers aren’t ‘real’ even though they run a business, have a staff, pay taxes, and buy advertising.
If you don’t believe I’m real: Google me, Ray Bradbury.
Oh wait, you don’t know how.