Guerilla Marketing

This morning, when I signed onto my laptop, an incorrect password error message flashed — and I realized I’d typed in my main character’s name from the New Novel, instead of my password.

I’m taking this as a positive sign. Or at least, a sign of the right kind of writerly craziness.

It feels good, actually, once you reach that level of immersion in the novel. That’s the point where it starts to feel more like it’s writing itself instead of you eking out each word, begging it to move forward. Forcing things to happen. Once the momentum kicks in, it seems things begin to happen on their own and you’re just there explaining it to the reader.

Which is fun.

Not so fun is this phenomenon I’m witnessing about the iPad, which is supposed to be the new tech toy. I’ve being seeing lots of stuff like this. Note that the headline is “iPad Killed Kindelnomics.” Then remember that, oh wait, iPad hasn’t been released yet. And then note that this a guy’s blog. This “article” is no different than me proclaiming that no one is buying chocolate ice cream anymore because everyone likes this new flavor of pistachio better. Never mind that very few people have even tasted the new flavor.

A lot of these sorts of these have been circulating through Twitter and various publishing venues. Some even have these graphs that supposedly show how Kindle users are giving up their Kindles and buying iPads. The statistics behind them are indecipherable. I’m starting to wonder if they’re not completely fictional.

Maybe everyone knows this but me, but I think Apple has been encouraging an army of tech bloggers to push public opinion in favor of the iPad. It keeps hitting me wrong because I have a Kindle 2, which I love. I have absolutely no desire to acquire an iPad. Actually I have no interest in it at all. I have a laptop (two, actually, one for work and one for personal), a Blackberry, a Kindle and an iPod. Their overlapping functionality more than fulfill all of my tech needs.

What I love most about my Kindle is it feels more like reading a book instead of being forever on the computer. I love that the screen is not backlit, so I can read for hours without eye-strain. I love that using my Kindle is only about reading, not multitasking.

Wasn’t that the point?

I mean, a few years back, I remember answering surveys about an ebook reader and what would it take me to convert from paper to electronic. Those were the major points that it seemed all readers offered. And Amazon developed the Kindle exactly along those lines. Everyone I know with a Kindle loves it. One person, a prominent blogger, doesn’t like the lack of organization of the books on it – which is an issue I don’t get because I can always find what I want.

So, the always-evolving, always-competing tech world wants to convince me that what I wanted most in an ereader isn’t what I wanted at all, that I’m not satisfied. Despite their creative representation of the world, I don’t think the techies will convince most readers either. The editors and agents may want greater ability to annotate, but the mass of people out there who just READ, who love BOOKS and not computers, don’t think this way.

Of course, none of them read techie blogs, either.

It seems to me to be the one thing forever being left out of the equation: the reader. Which is ironic, since we all started out that way. Writers may love to use the saw “I wrote my first book when I was seven in purple crayon,” but they should really mention when they read their first book. Or when it was read to them.

My mom used to read to me, every night. She stopped when I started reading over her shoulder and correcting her when she missed words. She finally handed me the book – I remember it being Charlotte’s Web, but that seems awfully pat – and said I was ready to fly the reading nest.

That opened the world of books to me. Any book would fall before me. I could consume it at will, yanked away only for meals and school.

Isn’t that where we all started? Nose buried in a book.

Don’t offer me a better way to multitask. I just want to read.

6 Replies to “Guerilla Marketing”

  1. I agree!

    I received some Kindles over the holidays (apparently everyone thought I was missing out on something) and while I do not use one, I like that it serves one purpose. To read books.

    I already have a computer (4 to be exact). And if I am not in front of my computer I have my blackberry. Do I really need something else to log on to in online? Are we not allowed to focus on one thing anymore.

    Whether is be a paper book or an e-book, just sit and read and enjoy the experience.

    As parents we are always complaining that we have to shuttle our kids from one thing to another. If we can't even pick up a book and really read it, how do we expect our kids to?

  2. I'm glad it's not just me, Melissa!

    I really wonder if more and more of us won't be moving in that direction, making deliberate choices to find ways to concentrate on a single thing, to balance the ferocity of the multi-tasking in our lives.

  3. Reading may be the only waking activity I do all by itself. I don't even listen to music when I read. This makes it precious beyond measure.

    On a side note, I'm also kinda sick of Apple. The Apple tax, Apple snobs, proprietary Appledom… meh. When my iPod finally dies, I'll replace it with something less fruity.

  4. I love my Kindle – and I'm a rather new convert. But I actually like the fact that it doesn't really have anything else internet-y about it. I'm *reading*. I *want* to read. I don't want bells and whistles, just words.

  5. The thing that skeeves me about the digital readers is that the company that puts the book on your device can also take it away. That, and there isn't a common file format yet, which means the hardware & software mfg's are still in the Betamax vs VHS battle stage.

    I applaud Apple for forcing innovation. Its cult community kept it afloat during the dodgy pre-iPod years and that community is hungry for the next 'neener-neener' device. Early Adopters have already bought out the current inventory of iPad. It has to be an all-in-one device if it wants market share; otherwise, it's a Me-Too product that disappoints its core/cult audience.

    I'm not one of those folks. Moi will stick to reading books in hardcopy because there's something special about the heft of the printed word, the swish of a turning page, and the smeared ink on my fingers. Completely disconnecting from modern technology to escape into another reality is relaxing for me.

  6. It's interesting hearing people's comments here. I do think that dedicated readers have a ritual to reading that has nothing to do with being online.

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