Friday, March 26, 2010

On Selling One's Soul

I was recently looking at a book I wanted to buy on Amazon (yes that book) and saw next to the hard copy price "Also available on e-book" with another, lower, price next to it. I shuddered. I don't think its any secret that I don't like e-books or those little things with buttons that hold them --Oh how I hate buttons --but I'm not against them. If you want to paint your house pink with olive green pansies on it go ahead. I don't understand it or like to look at it but so long as you don't paint MY house pink with olive green pansies I'm not going to complain. At least not that much. But when I was staring at those words "Also available on e-book" I wondered something. Will my books be "also available on e-book"? MINE? I didn't like the idea but I doubted I would have any luck explaining to an agent that I was not going to sell my electronic rights because I don't LIKE e-books. And then another word struck out at me.

Sell. The book won't be 'mine' anymore.

Wait. What?! This thing I have poured myself into for the last four years. The thing that I have stressed and obsessed over to find the right words. The compilation of all my hopes and loves and fears when I can not find direct words to express them won't be MINE anymore?

There is of course an obvious compensation for this. Money. But I am afraid I am one of those idealists/purists/snobs who doesn't write for money. Not that I don't like money and if one day I can make some for my work and spend less time looking for a day job I will be very pleased indeed but I write because . . . I write. I always have. I always will. It is a way to express myself and partake in something outside of myself and more about the experience of the process than the end result. Money is not enough to compel me to give up ownership of something so close to being a part of my soul.

What is worth it then? I am giving up the say in what happens to something precious to me. What am I gaining? The answer to that is simple and throws all my worries out the window in heartbeat. The chance to share. People will read my story. They might even enjoy it. That is worth it being contaminated by e-book form.

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