January 30, 2012

Curiosity Quills Blog Tour

It gives me great pleasure to have been included as one of the tour stops for the Curiosity Quills blog tour. Curiosity Quills is a wonderful gathering of creative minds and entrepreneurial individuals that culminates in a site filled with interesting articles and relevant information. I'd definitely recommend a visit to their site for interesting stories and posts.

Today, the guest post I will be featuring on my blog is by Matthew Munson, who is the author of Fall From Grace, released last October 2011. He also writes for the Hearing Times and the European Council for Deaf Youth, and contributes to the Word Count podcast. You can find out more information by checking out his author site, his blog or his Twitter.

Without further ado, I'll allow Matthew to take over from here, to tell us a little about his experience with eReaders and vlogging.

     I've become quite technical of late, you know. Well, when I say technical, it’s stuff that’s technical for me. In fact, to prove how far I’ve advanced, this time last year I was rubbing two sticks together for warmth and now I'm operating gas central heating and navigating the interweb. Well, not the ENTIRE interweb, but I quite enjoy blogging, Facebook and I've recently got into the slightly terrifying world of video blogging, or vlogging.

    Vlogging is quite an intriguing medium. I'd not really considered it before; a friend of mine, who is an awesome author, regularly vlogs, and is very accomplished at it. If it wasn't for the fact that he is a successful writer, I'd say that a television career could definitely beckon!

     Another friend works at a well-known local bookshop and planted the idea of vlogging in my head. I don't mind admitting, I was reticent about this to start with, as I'm not a natural public speaker and hate the sound of my own voice - hence blogging being a far more comfortable medium for me. However, the idea wouldn't completely leave me, and a few days later, I decided to at least give it a go.

    Four vlogs later, I'm a hesitant convert. I don't think it will ever be my main way of communicating my thoughts, but it's still quite good fun in its own way. My very first vlog was shot in the kitchen of my flat at about half past one in the morning using the camera and microphone of my laptop. I was intelligible, which is as much as anyone can say when the camera quality wasn’t excellent.

     Thankfully, the techno-pixies at HQ intervened and my good friend Phil gave me a new webcam and mic - and the difference has been marked. I'm still not entirely comfortable in front of the camera - proved by the fact that it took about 20 takes to get my latest vlog to a semi-decent state - but it's slowly getting easier. You can see my efforts over on Youtube if you type in mnwjm1981 into the search field.

     Now, it's not just about my vlogging that I wanted to talk to you about today. I've just finished watching a vlog from the techno-pixie in chief over at Inspired Quill, Sara-Jayne Slack. Inspired Quill, for those of you that don’t know, is a new publishing house that recently published my debut novel, Fall From Grace.

   Sara-Jayne’s blog was about her newly-acquired Kindle, a Christmas present from someone who clearly knew their subject well. Now, I’m not a complete Luddite – I’ve managed to start recording myself on camera, which is a minor miracle in itself – but things like Kindles, Kobo Touch's (which I am reliably informed are excellent) and Sony e-readers haven't yet reached the House of Munson. A few friends of mine have had to listen to the occasional rant where I consider Kindles to be Satan’s work, but I recognise that there are people who might disagree (the fools!). I admit to mellowing over Kindles slightly in recent months, but this has nothing to do with the fact that my book is now available for a Kindle download – honest.

     Sara-Jayne’s vlog talked about the pros and cons of the device – and she falls more so into the “pro” column. My initial Luddite reaction was to run screaming into the forests and hide up a tree until the fad passes me by, except for two salient points; the first being that I can’t climb trees for love nor money, and the second being that I rather suspect that Kindles, Sony e-readers and the like are here to stay.

     I’ve spoken to people about e-readers and got a diverse reaction. Some people are like me – they don’t want one and are more than happy with a real-life paper book in their hands. Other people have embraced the technology whole-heartedly and use that as their main reading source now.

     Please don’t me wrong, I can see the appeal of a Kindle; carrying thousands of books on a device smaller and far lighter than the average paperback book is a real selling point. But – and there’s always a but – I know that I would really miss the feel of a real-life book in my hands. It’s difficult to imagine not being able to hold a book in my hands and just dip in and out when I want, not have to worry about any batteries, and knowing that if I dropped it in the bath, it won’t electrocute me.

     I’m not sold on the concept of e-readers yet, although I know that they’re the next big thing – I strongly suspect the publishing industry in the 21st century is going to rapidly become defined by electronic devices, and books in their current format will become almost a relic of a bygone era. For me, the tipping point will be when my favourite authors start releasing their books entirely on e-readers – it’ll be then that I have to buy one ... and learn how to use it.

     That thought terrifies me more.

     Anyway, I welcome your thoughts on this – I know it can often polarise opinion, so be nice, but let me know what you think about the e-reader revolution.
This was posted as part of the Curiosity Quills blog tour.
Thank you so much for your wonderful guest post Matthew!
For more information about the tour and to check out the other blog stops, click HERE


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