Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lightning Tree by Sarah Dunster: Guest Post - The Evolution of Electronic Media and the Book Market

Welcome to my stop along the Lightning Tree Book Tour.  I am delighted to have a guest post from the author, Sarah Dunster.  

Lightning Tree by Sarah Dunster
Publisher: Bonneville
Publication Date: April 10th 2012
ISBN: 1599559595
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Author Website

Here is a brief description of the book:
After surviving the tragic deaths of her parents and baby sister and a harrowing trek across the plains to Utah, it’s no surprise that Maggie’s nights are plagued by nightmares.
But after years of harsh treatment by her foster mother and sisters, and memories that seem to hint at an unthinkable crime, Maggie is forced to strike out on her own. To separate the truth from the dreams, Maggie faces a painful ordeal and learns that she’ll need to put her trust in those around her to survive.

Guest Post with Sarah Dunster:  The Evolution of Electronic Media and the Book Market

This is such a topic.  I feel completely intimidated approaching it because so many people know so much more about it than me. I can only claim knowledge on the basis that I am an avid reader… an addict, in fact, and consume books at a higher rate than most in my situation (mother of seven, homeschooler, part-time writer.)

I’m one of those who swoon when I go into a bookstore. I get hungry, and not because of the smell of exotic coffees and gourmet brownies that some franchises use to tempt readers into their store. It’s the smell of paper and ink.  I do not own a nook, kindle or any other device for electronic reading… frankly I’m suspicious of them. They probably cause eye-cancer or something.

To be serious, though, I do think there will always be a market for paper copies of books. There are some things you simply cannot do with an electronic book that you can with a paper book. For instance… take it in the bathtub with you (which really isn’t good for paper books either, but if a book accidentally falls into the water it’s a much more inexpensive disaster than a $200 kindle.) I say I think there will always be a market for books in paper form, but I also worry as I say it, that they might become a rare (and therefore, more expensive) commodity.

There’s also the issue of e-books and self-publishing. A lot of people lately have been touting the virtues of self-publishing. And my husband has been urging me to look into self-publishing for a while, too. My argument to him has always been, “but then I’ll have to market all by myself.” How do you get your name out there when there’s a sea of self-published material?  The answer is lots and lots of hard work.  There was a guest speaker at one of my writing league meetings—a relatively successful self-published author—who basically told us that, after ten years of writing and marketing her own stuff, she is finally starting to make some income off of her books. This is a woman who is on book ten or eleven of the series that she has been writing. I heard that and thought… it’s like starting a small business. If you want to market your own work, you have to think of it exactly like that, and expect the same things—lots and lots of work, lots of sacrifice, and lots of money from your own pocket until you can get the flywheel going. I think it’s definitely possible, but I think it’s a little naïve to think that the best part of self-publishing is that you get to keep a bigger percentage of your sales because in the end, being published by someone who is capable of marketing for you would likely bring you more income anyway (at least for a while.) 

So in the end, I have to say that I am a purist. Kindles just don’t do it for me, and so I don’t want to see books die. But on the other hand, I realize that kindles and nooks have gotten more people—especially younger people—reading. And that is definitely an important thing too.

Review:  Lightning Tree is a beautifully written and heart-warming story of a young girl who is orphaned after with her sister, after traveling across the plains.  She is struggles through nightmares and feeling as if she does not belong.  When she finds her mother's name hidden away, she starts questioning her very existence.  

I felt so wrapped up in Maggie's story.  I could not put the book down.  Sarah' Dunster's writing style was so easy to read, and drew me in.  She had so much to tell within the pages of this novel, and did a fantastic job, with such heart behind it.  

Maggie was such a believable and real character.  Her reactions were almost predictable to me, as they were actions I could see myself doing.  She is so passionate, and takes everything to heart.  I truly enjoyed learning more about her, as her history was revealed.  

My true passion in reading is historical fiction, and this novel was amazing.  So much background built into the story.  I have learned so much about the religious turmoil that went on during this time.  It was a nice mix of story and history, and did not feel like the religious side of it was pushed in your face.  

Then there was the romance building as the story progressed.  If I had one complaint about the book at all - and not really - I wanted to find out what happened with the romantic end of it.  Was there a future for the lovebirds?

High praises for a wonderful novel!!!

Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have been published in Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah Magazine, and Victorian Violet Press. Her short fiction piece, Back North, is featured in Segullah’s Fall 2011 issue. Her novel Lightning Tree will be released in spring of 2012 by Cedar Fort. Sarah has six children and one on the way and loves writing almost as much as she loves being a mom.

Click on the Lightning Tree banner at the top of the post to visit the other stops along this book tour - find out all you can about this awesome book!!!

Other websites to be sure to visit:

Book Poster page   
Publisher Twitter!/cedarfortbooks

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