Today on the blog we have author Paul Levinson. I read his novel The Silk Code which was very good. But that isn't all he has written. His other works include The Plot to Save Socrates and New New Media. He's done many TV appearnces and I'm delighted he decided to stop by this blog. Take it away, Paul.
I love talking. I love writing. Likely because to me, the two are pretty much the same, pretty much just as easy. Ok, writing takes a tiny bit more thought, and that’s as it should be, since the act of writing is intrinsically a public act, a move to get your thoughts out into the larger world, in contrast to speaking which is usually more private.
Part of the joy of writing, then, is in seeing your words out there in the world. In fact, for me, not seeing my words - my stories and my novels and my books - out there in world would ruin a lot of the fun. I mean, I suppose if someone threw a ton of money at me to write something that no one else would ever see, I might do it - nah, I really don’t think I would. Life’s too short. The writerly life is too short.
Traditional publishers used to be the only way you could get your words and works out there. It had its benefits - actually, just a few benefits: getting a decent advance and getting your books into bookstores. On the other hand, you as an author were lucky if you got more than 10% of the sales, and the publisher was ever ready to drop your book like a hot potato if sales took an even slight decline.
I shouldn’t complain. Traditional publishers got my books reviewed in The New York Times, on Locus science fiction best seller lists, and publisher clout was no doubt helpful or responsible in my getting on NPR, C-Span, the BBC, and other national and international media. But these highpoints of promotion were exceptions rather than the rule, which had my wife and me working like demons on publicity, and the publisher deigning to get my books in a bookstore after I had arranged for a signing, or to a radio station after I had arranged for an interview.
I likely would have continued exclusively in a such a traditionally published arrangement had the Kindle not come along. My nonfiction book, New New Media, now in its second edition, is indeed published by one of the biggest publishers in the world, and they do a good job of getting the book into college bookstores, where it is used as a textbook. But the best decision I’ve made in recent years about my science fiction was getting two of my novels, The Silk Code and The Plot to Save Socrates, up on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and Kobo, with the help of JoSara MeDia, a small, savvy operation in Texas. Both books had been selling little more than a handful of copies a year, and some of that handful were used copies - which earn authors no money and sap potential sales of new copies. It took me a while to get my rights back from the traditional publisher, and then a while longer before I got the Kindles in motion, but now the novels are selling as many copies a week, sometimes in a day, as they used to sell - just a year or two ago - in a year. I do lots of promotion, and I get to reap the benefits. When PBS recently aired a NOVA documentary, “Decoding Neanderthals,” I didn’t have to wait for any publicity department or plead for any publisher’s permission to launch what was now easily accomplished via a campaign of tweets, etc., that pointed out that many of the speculations in that science show were explored in my 1999 science fiction novel, The Silk Code, now available as a Kindle. Indeed, an old fan and friend, Gerry Elman, first wrote to me about the connection, so the impetus as well as the execution were all in social media, which cost me nothing except my enjoyably spent time.
I’m now just about finished with the sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates - Unburning Alexandria - which had been languishing on my hard drive for years. Further novels and movies are in the works. I’m going to get every one of my other novels, and all of my short stories, out there in ebook land as well. The Kindle revolution has rekindled my love of science fiction writing - and, though who needs the competition, I recommend that route to one and all.
Check out his books by Clicking Here.