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This is a guest post from Jamie Guiney, a literary fiction writer from Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. If you would like to write a guest post, please check the guidelines here.
All writers eventually reach the stage where they must release their writing on the world. They must send their stories, their novels, off to war and hope that some survive long enough to make it into print. As if the book industry wasn’t already a difficult enough gauntlet to run, global recession swanned in and squeezed it almost to pulp.
Now, the industry is showing signs of recovery, but there have been casualties. Libraries have closed, bookshops have disappeared and publishers have folded. Fewer writers are getting into print. To make matters worse, the very foundation of books themselves is under threat. A new age has arrived that shall be known as digital.
With some stories in my pocket, I set off on a journey to find them a home. I had success with literary journals, good-old, traditional print, but then something else caught my eye. A new kind of publisher, one who embraced the digital age.
After seeing the publicity that mobile publisher Ether Books Ltd (www.etherbooks.co.uk) got following their launch at the London Book Fair in April 2010, I thought their idea to match up short stories with mobile phones was very innovative. Perhaps an idea so bold could even start a revolution…..
The beauty of publishing short stories onto the Apple iPhone, was that so many people already owned one. The more I looked into it, I realised that this new mobile publisher had already attracted literary heavyweights to their list of authors, such as booker prize winner Hilary Mantel, Lionel Shriver, Alexander McCall Smith, Louis De Bernieres and even Sir Paul McCartney. They offered a fine variety of literature that was balanced with classic stories and the best of contemporary fiction and non-fiction writers. As a writer I was pleased enough just to be published, but even more excited to be part of something new. Now, two of my short stories ‘Changes’ and ‘Christmas’ are being downloaded and read on iPhones all over the world.
This digital age has also brought other developments. E-Readers such as the Sony, Kindle and Nook have become popular (even recently dropping prices to attract buyers), but I think the real backbone of the digital/e-book market is going to be mobile phones, because everyone already owns one.
When you look at the technology advancements in recent years, mobile phones have been morphing into smartphones. Everything has become touchscreen, screen sizes have gotten bigger and quality has improved to impressive standards – perfect for reading e-books.
And do you know what the most exciting thing is? E-Books now give people a flexibility that doesn’t restrict them to a physical bookstore on a high street. Most people already have a smartphone in their pocket and are already exploring what they can be used for.
As for the publishing industry, it is still in a state of flux. After very little change in a hundred years of making books, the industry is experiencing its first mid-life crisis……it has taken up weightlifting, started tracking down old school friends and scraped its hair back up into that ten-inch Mohawk. It has even tried on those old jeans with the turn-ups and tatty badges, but they don’t quite fit anymore
But do not fear. The industry is learning how to cope with the digital age and has begun to recover from global recession. E-book sales are rocketing and publishers have posted profits from traditional print for the first in a long time. And don’t worry that digital publishing will ever replace print, because it won’t. They will complement each other. People now have variety and choice. Television did not kill the radio – words are still words, it doesn’t matter whether they are printed or digital.
We live in an exciting age.
Get your phone out, download a story, read an e-book.
Oh, and welcome to the revolution.
Jamie Guiney is a literary fiction writer from Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland who is rapidly making a name for himself in the short story genre. His debut novel ‘A Man in Grey Shoes’ is with several international publishers for consideration. Sophia Bartleet, MD of Ether Books had this to say about his writing:
“We are delighted to publish Jamie Guiney’s stories. They have a very strong sense of place so that when you are reading them you can almost smell and taste a different world. Ether Books is always on the lookout for the best new authors to publish on to people’s iPhones alongside their list of prize winning contemporary writers”
Jamie is currently writing his second novel and working on a short story collection.
To read Jamie’s short stories on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch – download the free Ether Books app from the Apple Store: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id362070951?mt=8
Contact Jamie –