eBooks: very futuristic

YOUNG AT HEART: My birthday present from my gorgeous de facto was Neil Young's autobiography loaded on to a spanking new Kindle. I'm officially a futurist.

YOUNG AT HEART: My birthday present from my gorgeous de facto was Neil Young’s autobiography loaded on to a spanking new Kindle. I’m officially a futurist.

Today I entered the world of eBooks, having received a Kindle yesterday for my 29th birthday. We’re already taking these objects for granted. But they’re futuristic, man. We’re in an age where we have digital books. Digital books? That don’t include paper? Good for trees, but what about aesthetic? Humans have never chosen the environment over aesthetics, so why are eBooks catching on?

My Kindle is loaded with Neil Young’s autobiography Waging Heavy Peace. I’m only three chapters in but, needless to say, it’s brilliant. A rambling masterpiece. An insight into the mind of one of the greatest songwriters that has ever lived. It’s essential reading. For some reason I was constantly getting choked up. I’m a N-Young tragic.

But the main reason I’m keen to own a Kindle is the chance to suss it out. To see how it all works. Because we live in a world where self-publishing is darn easy. It’s very inspiring to know that the financial barriers of publishing are gone. If you want to chuck some fiction out there via Amazon, it’s a piece of cake. All your mates can be absorbing your crazy tales with ease. With a bit of marketing know-how you can even spread the word via the interweb.

It’s very tempting to put my debut novel, Enormity, up online tomorrow. However, I’m going to look for a publisher anyway. But no matter what happens, it’s nice to know that nothing will stop me from making my writing available to people. It certainly takes a load off. Those doubts about why you’re bothering to write fiction – or extended fiction – no longer matter.

Some authors are drip-feeding whole novels by releasing a few chapters at a time – like John Birmingham (He Died With a Falafel In His Hand) – and while that’s a great idea, I’m drawn to the concept of a “fiction EP”. Just like the EP of the music industry, a “fiction EP” is five or six short stories. Little collections of tales to give people a constant stream of work to check out. I hope to have one of these EPs out in the next few months.

I was really surprised by how easy the Kindle was to read. I was sceptical. I felt, like a lot people, that a small slab of plastic could never hold a candle to the texture and sensation of holding a book. But within one minute I totally forgot that I wasn’t reading a book and became immersed in the story. I can understand their appeal. The future of the good ol’ fashioned book is indeed murky. Before you know it we’ll be sending letters digitally and carrying small portable phones.

Watch this space for updates on my debut EP. Rock ‘n’ roll.

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