I like to write stories. I like to read them too. But, you see, sometimes, words fail me. Not fail in the actual sense. Words always do their job. It’s why I became friends with them. It’s just that, sometimes, there’s more. More than can be expressed in the spelling of letters into a word. More than paragraphs can convey because paragraphs, no matter how long or how many there are, aren’t the same as experiencing it. For example, the squeak in my voice when I’m talking about getting ice cream.
Because I just told you, you now know there’s a squeak. You know the statement “Let’s go get ice cream” comes out very high-pitched if I say it. I love ice cream. Now, when you read that in a story about me, you know what that statement should sound like, but it doesn’t mean you really hear it.
Perhaps that’s just me projecting, so I’ll chip in the fact that I recently realised I’ve been missing out on one of the best things in life. A bad ass imagination. If you asked the 5-year-old me if I had imagination, the answer would be ‘Of course!’. With Barney as one of my good friends, I’d be disappointing him by saying I didn’t. But older me just found out a while ago that I’ve been doing it wrong. That I probably wasn’t even doing it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I do have the power of imagination. At the very least, I can think up scenarios and answer some ‘what would you do?’ questions, but the problem starts when you ask me for details. Apparently, words come to life for people. Not for me, though.
I’m trying to explain this as simply as I can. Hold on for me.
If someone mentions the word ‘blue’, you can see the colour, right? You can close your eyes and visualise the colour blue. I’m guessing the same thing would apply to the squeal I mentioned earlier. Bonus points if you’ve heard my voice before. You can imagine what my speaking sounds like. It’s, unfortunately, not the same for me. When I hear the word ‘blue’, I instantly understand it. As a word. I know it’s a colour and I can give you examples of the colour the sky, the sea, even my towel. I remember it and the things I’ve associated with it. But only sometimes, if I try hard enough, focusing on just that word, can I actually close my eyes and see blue. Same with a squeal. I know what the word means. I’ve heard it quite a lot too, so I have things to reference. But I don’t hear a squeal because I read the word. I just…interpret and occasionally remember. I don’t experience it in real-time.
That’s what I meant when I said words fail me. Because as much as I like telling and being told stories, there’s only so much I can read and write. A whole chunk of the experience is missing. Realising that my imagination is shit helped me understand how it was possible for me to love fantasy movies and hate fantasy books. They’re hard to read because they contain a whole lot of words that mean a whole lot of stuff I have no real-life examples or references for. I read words as things that have meaning, not as things I should sense like hearing or feeling. So, when I can’t make those words out as having meaning I can easily look up or that I’ve experienced before, there’s only so much I can enjoy in those books. But this isn’t entirely bad because it makes me like romance stories and non-fiction. Meaning matters more. I like meaning.
Point is, I don’t share the physical book > ebook > audiobook sentiment. Mine’s in reverse. I’ll pick an audiobook first because at least I can hear important things like tones or an actual squeal. Audiobooks work my sense of hearing as much as it works my power of interpretation. Then, I pick ebooks over hardcopy because I’m careless. If I don’t downright lose the book, I will ruin it. And I don’t like to see works of art ruined. Dog ears and yellowing pages are an aesthetic for people. For me, it’s a reminder of my fuck ups. So, I like a book I can preserve, and not just in terms of how it looks, but also in terms of how long I have it. If I don’t put it up in iCloud, it’s in Google drive or any of my favourite reader apps. I keep them forever. Also, cartoons/comics are wonderful. They’re made for my eyes as audiobooks are made for my ears.
Basically, I’m challenging authors to take a look at my pretty face and have pity on me. Unleash your creativity and check out the different ways you can publish that one story. One story, different formats for the different readers with different preferences. With audiobooks, you can use literal tone to put more emotion in. Comics and cartoons use images for their extra appeal. Oh, and chatbooks! You know how much people spend on social media? It’s the reason some never get around to reading at all. So, presenting stories to them in this format? Whoever thought of that is a genius!
Yes, dear authors, this might take a bit of extra time and effort, but it is getting you some extra readers. I’m certain I’m not the only unimaginative person out there. All you have to do is tell that same story you already have differently.
I know you’re thinking about it now.
Now, if you’ve decided to do it, but can’t seem to figure out where you’re going to have this different format published, how about a recommendation?
On Tell! Books, you can publish your work in any format you like – yes. Including audiobooks and chatbooks. And the perks don’t stop there. If you decide to make something for people like me, you also get to enjoy:
- 90% royalty (instead of the usual 70%)
- No limit on withdrawal (amount-wise and time-wise)
- Sales analytics and report
Get started by visiting the Tell! Books web app now!
All it takes is one sign up to get an account, and soon, you’re telling your story to everyone that matters.