Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad E-book

a glass of beer
a glass of beer

Last week I had the privilege of attending a Mediabistro function in downtown Boston. The get-together was held at a popular watering hole. right in the center of Boston’s financial district. It was the first time I’ve ever attended such an event, but I have taken several classes through the organization, and so for a good hour or so, I got to hob nob with some of the professional writers, who make their living around the great city of Boston. No great superstars here, just some entertaining and hardworking people , who seemed to know what they were doing and were fun to talk to.

New York City Skyline, credit; NOAA.gov
New York City Skyline, credit; NOAA.gov

Now Mediabistro is a national organization, for they are also active in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and a handful of other major American cities. In fact, other places around the country had a seasonal party that occurred about the same time that the Boston party happened. Their website is fun and informative, especially their award winning  blog called GalleyCat.  Also check out their other blog, eBook Newser, which is entirely devoted to the up and coming e-book.

And just this week in New York, Mediabistro sponsored an e-book summit, an event which drew speakers and participants from all over the country and beyond. Anybody who wants to know how the conference went can find a very nice twitter transcript here, but this is really not necessary because the subject of e-books is all over the internet, especially if you follow the blogs of some of the more popular literary agents.

For example, Nathan Bransford recently undertook a survey among his readers to see how the e-book was faring. And guess what! The new format is gaining popularity. You can see the poll results for the last three years here . Also from Nathan is this post on November 23 of this year entitled, “The Top Ten Myths About E-books”.

Here’s another agent blogger, Agent Sydney, discussing e-book deals on the very informative agent blog, “Call My Agent”. Basically, this agent is saying that if you have already published an e-book, it might be more difficult to find a literary agent, because you have taken away the possibility of allowing the agency to handle e-book rights. And finally here is some advice from Jessica Faust at Bookends on the subject of something called e-publishing.

But the question of the day remains; is the e-book going anywhere with its limited commercial success and increased popularity? I am of the opinion that it is not, but I will be the first to admit that this assumption is anywhere from an educated hunch to a wild guess. Best of luck and good searching.

Truly, Everett Autumn.

Boston Public Library
Thinking of Escher, photo of Boston Public Library by E. Autumn

Travel Writing Course

Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library

This week I had the privilege of traveling to Boston and taking part of in a Travel Writing class that was sponsored by the Mediabistro people. The class took place at night in a nice, new modern classroom located in the Calderwood building on Tremont Street and the instructor was David Abel, a veteran traveler and writer, now employed by the Boston Globe. His own stories, which were fascinating, were presented first and then he quickly delved into the main body of the course, How To Break Into Travel Writing. This is not an easy venture considering the shrinking nature of established travel writing venues.

A good portion of the class consisted of each participant, maybe a dozen,writing and then reading a five sentence blurb about a travel experience. It was at this point that I learned that my classmates for the night were very well traveled and had some surprisingly good adventures under their belts ( the class was more women than men). And like yours truly the class in general were still struggling to find their writing voices. Still, the evening turned to be well worth the effort and money spent, and I returned home with some semblance of how the travel market works for the newspapers. Unfortunately the travel editor in my hometown in Maine no longer has a job, but other papers in other places seem to be doing a little better.

The night ride back to Portland on the Downeaster was as enjoyable as ever, especially since I slept most of the way.

Boston high-rise near Copley Square
Boston high-rise near Copley Square