Electronic

By Mark Antony Rossi

I don’t write this to defend something. Because I strongly believe it doesn’t need a defense. I’ve been an adherent of electronic publishing (eBooks) since 1999. Once I saw there was a valid avenue to contain my writing and deliver it to people —I was convinced it was a way forward to the future of publishing.

I literally had my eBook on compact disc and mailed them to radio shows. I became one of the first authors on eBook that was allowed to give interviews on radio. It lead me to a greater audience, greater confidence and ironically to a print book deal with a respectable company who believed in electronic formats just as much as print.

“The Intruder Bulletins: The Dark Side of Technology” was launched as a nonfiction bioethics science book examining the dark sides of technology. No doubt many might see an odd disconnect with embracing technology and criticizing it at the same time using technology. There is no association since I am writing primarily about the lack of scientific oversight that permits artificial wombs, stem cell therapies, human cloning and genetic discrimination.

The eBook has been set in the media to be a threat to print books. It’s one of those false flag “either or” fights that amount to little but blown air by beach blonds who can only get so much mileage from the weather report. Underneath this so-called battle royal is a historic relationship with print books that isn’t going to die any time soon. And I’m ok with that because I’m not one to announce an early funeral.

We are years after Amazon established an eBook reader and a genuine marketplace for eBooks and writers still look down on electronic publishing like a stray dog hungry for a meal. Society has changed dramatically just in my short lifetime and now rockets enter orbit on a daily basis, we listen to music through digital encodings, watch movies beamed from space into satellite dishes attached to our homes.

But we have not overcome the preference or the prejudice of print books in our lives. For many writers print is basically a vanity to announce they have arrived on the stage. Regardless of the big publishing houses shunning most literature—writers in the 21st century cling to the print book contract like the Holy Grail. Unfortunately the odds of winning a Powerball Lottery are less high than even a great poet or fiction writer getting a contract.

Like smoking, which I quit 14 years ago, I don’t preach to people even if they decide to walk a path of little return. Yet I hurt when I think of the multitudes of writers giving up because their romantic notions of print publishing are not reality. Dreams don’t come true from dreaming they come true from doing and writers should be doing everything they can to get their work out on any and every format available. I will remind you of this because too many have forgot: writing is about writing. Not about how it’s delivered or how many friends and relatives you can impress. (Sadly, the ones you are trying to impress never supported your efforts in the first place, consider that.)

I ask all writers to remember writing is about writing. It’s not about rapping, or wrestling or spoken word jamborees. It’s about assembling interesting words in creative patterns that may move, inspire or provoke others to use their brains more than their balls. I understand this is a great deal to ask in the age of celebrity. But if you want to be writers turn off the television — and write for God’s sake.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York.

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