GUEST AUTHOR - Sara Sheridan
Today she tells us about all her Kindle adventures...
This summer, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I read from my kindle during an event rather than using a copy of my book. All month “The Secret Mandarin”, my novel about early Empire explorer and tea botanist, Robert Fortune, had been running up and down the top 100 in the Kindle store, getting into the top 20 several times. “The Secret of the Sands” the book’s follow up (set in the desert) was not too far behind it. I figured most of my readers that month were using kindles, and why shouldn’t I? I was taking part in several events and wanted to read from lots of different sources – so the kindle was the obvious choice – I could bookmark what I wanted and have 1000 books in my pocket (to quote from at will). The event’s chairman was frosty, to say the least, but lots of the audience came up afterwards and asked questions – mostly about whether I liked the kindle or not (yes, I do!) and if I still bought ‘real’ books (yes, indeed! I have 36 metres of bookshelves in my study – I’ll always buy books).
You can’t attend a book festival, a trade conference or even the event programme in your local bookshop right now without having to sit through any number of people discussing their views on the digital revolution. There are celebrants and evangelists, those who are deeply suspicious and some who are outright up in arms. I am already bored of this debate. In essence it doesn’t really matter what we all think. Kindle is out there, being used and enjoyed by millions of readers. What I’m interested in focussing on is content, not delivery and personally I am completely unflustered by whichever medium people choose to read my words. I’m just delighted they’re reading them at all! To my mind, it’s way too early to decide how these technical advances are going to effect the industry as a whole – it’s easy to see where the issues are but no one can really know what will transpire. My attitude has been to keep myself informed, to campaign for net neutrality, and that aside, to dive in and see how I like it. So far, I like it fine. I’m thoroughly enjoying the level of control that this new media is giving authors (alongside social media tools) and I’m delighted that my out of print contemporary fiction has found a new audience online.