November 15, 2014

[Exploring mixed genres & the bottomless book]

[back to school]
One of the first things a publisher wants to know about a potential book is its genre -- romance, detective, sci-fi, etc. Why do they need to know? It's all about marketing. Retail outlets fill their shelves with easily defined genres. That's the corporate way.

What about the books that don't fit into pre-existing genre slots? As I hear it, publishers seldom participate in those projects. It's too risky. It's hard to turn a profit on such works.

Okay. What about art? Are books an art form? Isn't good literature about new ideas outside current convention? What will provide the forum for innovation today?

Fortunately, the brave new world of ideas is supported by the brave new world of technology. With the accessibility the internet provides, its really not difficult to get one's expressions before the public.

This is especially helpful to my projects as I like to scramble genres. (See Still Life with Flying Saucers #2 and The Isle of Fruit.) My recent project , The Gift of the Quoxxel, is an illustrated story that takes genre mixing even further.

Let's start with a basic, fairy tale theme -- the unfulfilled king. To that we'll add discontent pirates on the verge of mutiny. The threat of an unknown denizen of the deep couldn't hurt and just to add incongruity to this hash we'll garnish with a hint of science fiction.

Sheet music for one original song is included presently with link to hear an instrumental rendition. Another song will soon be added which is a nice segué to the mention of another priceless feature -- the possibility of a "bottomless book."

The traditional book, after publishing, becomes a static event. Tom will always con his friends to whitewash the fence and Ahab will always (spoiler alert) lose the battle with Moby. Kindle books, on the other hand, can be embellished as much and as often as the author pleases. Although I don't intend to change the story I wrote, I do intend to augment it further with more illustration and music links. What have you then? A book that continues to expand and evolve even after it has been published.

Technology is allowing the art to reinvent itself. Limitations are dwindling and it makes me wonder what we'll see next. Maybe I'll even live long enough to see the first Kindle pop-up book. Now THAT would be innovative.

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