When it comes to e-book publishing, there’s no denying that change is the name of the game. Digital formats allow authors to push boundaries and write between genres, creating truly unusual characters and scenarios. At yesterday's fifth annual E-Book, Indie Publisher And Graphic Novel Expo, we chatted with some of our favorite e-book authors to find out the trends they are noticing in e-books and what type of story elements they would love to see taken to the extreme in upcoming digital releases.
Joely Sue Burkhart, a 2011 RT Reviewers' Choice Award nominee for her story Lady Doctor Wyre, told us that she's thrilled by the recent blending of genres. As for a story that hasn't been told that she would like to read, Burkhart responded that an interesting mix would be romance and horor. Perhaps, even, some kind of serial killer romance. If she wrote one, the author revealed the title would probably be "Killer Of My Heart."
Joely Sue Burkhart
Contemporary romance author Meg Benjamin, who won an RT Reviewers’ Choice award for her 2010 small press-published e-book Long Time Gone and is nominated for this year’s Indie Press Romance Award, said that she is hoping to see contemporary romance authors who have several series going bring them together to create an amalgamated third series. The author she'd love to see take this on? Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Benjamin hoped the other author would "bring back those Chicago Stars and mix them with her Texans!"
Bianca D’Arc said that she would like to see an increase in mixed media technology as part of e-books. "We can do so much more, like putting music or video with the books. Years ago, authors like Mercedes Lackey used to publish poems or music to go along with their books and now you could be e-reading and just click over [to the extra content]."
Meanwhile, Shona Husk, whose digital first fantasy novel Dark Vow received a Top Pick! review from RT, let us pick her brain about what change she would like to see ushered in by digital books. The author said she is hoping there will soon be "more cross-genre action with fantasy or paranormal elements included. It's starting to happen and with e-publishing we can see readers mixing things that wouldn't mix in a traditional bookstore. Readers are getting more variety!"
Ruthie Knox, an author with Random House’s recently revived Loveswept Line (which is now publishing digital only), is excited that e-books allow for some different types of characters. "Right now in e-books we're seeing a wider range of heroes — the nerds, the system administrators and even the unredeemables." And the opening up of different types of characters isn't a boy's club, Knox says she's also been noticing that it has become more acceptable for a heroine to be less likable right off the bat or take longer to come around to the idea of being with their hero. The author said this is one trend that she would like to see make its way into print books.
Successful self-publishing author Sylvia Day revealed that when it comes to her corner of the e-publishing world, she wants "more multicultural romance" and she's not just talking about African Americans, she wants more "Asian fiction, more multinational fiction — set outside of the United States of America — and new time periods like WWII." And now with the booming e-book market, we may just be getting more of all these things because as the author astutely pointed out that now, "the reader gets to say what's hot."
And Gennita Low, the RT Booklovers Convention romantic suspense genre captain had an easy time picking out her boundary-buster. She said, "There's not enough hot, tough heroines. They are still getting saved at the last minute [by the guy]." Instead, she wants the romantic suspense female spies to get tougher, and actually be as dangerous as they say they are. Low thinks that the next frontier might be graphic "kick ass spy girl" books, and she thinks that that might just be the next project she takes on!
Want more from e-book authors? Be sure to check back soon for video interviews from several writers who publish digital first (and digital only) works in the coming weeks on the RT website. And you can always check out what’s going on in the digital world on RT’s Everything E-Books Page.