Inkwell Guest: Reese Ryan on Digitally Yours: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly in the Digital Revolution
It’s an exciting time to be an author or a reader.
Yes, things are changing quicker than we can blink an eye. Digital-first and small publisher imprints pop up suddenly while others disappear just as unexpectedly. Even among the Big Five (formerly the Big Six) publishers, change and consolidation has been inevitable. Yet, the bigger story is the explosion of indie publishing. These changes are unsettling to publishers and agents. For readers and writers it’s been empowering.
Readers are treated to new voices. To stories that don’t fit neatly in a box or match the standard romance tropes. Stories they would never have discovered if it weren’t for the volatile climate in publishing.
As a writer and a reader, I find that incredibly exciting. And I’m grateful for it.
Does that mean I advocate quickly scribbling out a story and throwing it up on Amazon before the proverbial ink even dries?
Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of that. Stories full of holes, grammatical errors, and an awful lot of WTF moments. Stories that left the nest a little too early. Stories that should never have seen the light of day.
But hasn’t that always been the case?
I’ve read stories produced by big name authors and distributed by major publishing houses that left me scratching my head and wondering if the book was written, edited and acquired during one big drug and alcohol-induced haze. You probably have, too.
So while there are books–both self-published and produced by small imprints–that cause readers to cringe and fume about the lack of quality, there are many others that are well-written, have amazing, non-traditional stories and are produced with impeccable quality. A few works that come to mind are:
- The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski —the book that introduced me to the New Adult genre;
- Make Me Yours by Kendall Ryan; and
- The Alexanders series by M. Malone.
As the call for quality increases among self-published authors and as readers continue to demand it, I believe we’ll see the quality of self-published books improve. After all, the digital revolution has also caused an explosion of freelance editors and cover artists–making professional editing and cover art more accessible to indie authors.
You might think I’m anti-establishment, or diametrically opposed to the traditional publishing route. I’m not. I do embrace the path of the hybrid author. I’m grateful that Carina Press (a digital-first imprint of Harlequin) took a chance on this debut author. My debut, Making the First Move was published this past summer and the second book in my Bad Boys Gone Good series–Love Me Not—will be released December 30th. I’ve proposed a third book in the series to them and have a couple more brewing in my head. But the beautiful thing is, even if the story isn’t quite right for them, I know that this story will be published.
That is empowering to this author.
As an author and/or reader, what are your feelings about the digital book revolution and indie publishing? What would you like to see change? Has it changed the way you write and/or read?
About the Author
Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after.
Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina. She treads the line carefully between being a Northerner and a damned Yankee–despite her insistence on calling soda pop. Reese gauges her progress by the number of “bless your lil’ hearts” she gets each week. She is currently down to two.