Bringing to Light the Fruits of Our Labours

I had a ball in Ogden, Utah, this past weekend, laying out the possibilities of e-book publishing for members of the Professional Outdoor Media Association. The photo above shows one half of the room where I presented two sessions.  In the first I showed how easy it is to get an author’s work self-published using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing tools. In the second I introduced the group to three authors who are actually making money selling their work in e-book form, and I talked about social media tools that can help make it happen.

There were a couple of Eureka! moments in the sessions, as individual writers realized how big the e-book market is becoming and how accessible it can be.  ”I’ve been a dinosaur,” one guy in the back of the room said at one point. I really hope that some of my audience will take the plunge and publish their work at the Kindle Store so I can read it on my device and remember the excitement of the sessions.

This morning in McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy I came across a quotation from Pierre Boaistuau’s Theatrum Mundi, in which the wonders of print technology, then only a century old, are described in these words:

I can find nothing that may be equall or compare to the wonderful invention, utility and dignitie of printing, the which surmounteth all that the antiquitie may conceive or imagine of excellencie, knowing that it conserveth and keepeth all the conceptions of our soules, it is the treasure that doth immortalize the monument of  our spirits, and eternizeth world without end and also bringeth to light the fruits of our labours.

One writer I met, Tom Claycomb, works tirelessly to publish his columns about the outdoors in newspapers all over the country. Editor by editor, he introduces himself and his writing, pitching strong material like a piece he wrote listing great Christmas present ideas for outdoorsmen.  It’s a tough way to make a living, and if he can find an audience through e-books, it could be a big deal. Tom was on fire by the time I visited with him at the concluding taco buffet supper, and I am hopeful he is going to begin tapping into the potential of e-books.

I mixed my enthusiasm with caution, because there are no magic bullets or sure paths to financial success in e-publishing. But, just like the new world that printing opened up 500 years ago, this one has the potential to be “the treasure that doth immortalize the monument of our spirits.”


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