Urban fiction author K. Elliott knows that when the economy takes a hit, his fans feel it, making low-cost forms of entertainment like books and movies even more popular as escapes from reality. Today the tremendous growth in readily accessible e-books has fueled inexpensive, online publishing. Even Oprah Winfrey is promoting an e-reader to her audience. Publishing houses expect the market to double for e-books this year.
Making sure the fans of gritty Urban Fiction have access to e-books is the goal of Urban Lifestyle Press. Urban Fiction is an increasingly popular genre of literature with a growing audience of young, mostly black readers. Essense Magazine Best Selling author K. Elliott is offering his newest book, " Dear Summer," free online to encourage more people to escape with a good book. (Visit http://www.street-fiction.com/freebook/dear-summer/index.html)
To make it easy and more enjoyable to read, Elliott also has developed an easy-to-use online reading tool called the Digital Reader. The only cost for both the book and the reader is the willingness of the consumer to provide an email address so that the publisher can provide future book information and offers.
"I believe the important thing for a writer to do is to stay on the minds of his readers regardless of how he has to do it. The economy is tough and digital technology offers me the ability to produce a product and deliver it in a format that is easy to use and far more engaging than a large PDF file," says Elliott.
Urban fiction has also been labeled street fiction or ghetto fiction, and it attracts readers to tales of sex, crime, easy money, gangsta life, and yes - tragedy. Authors of this type of fiction range from real life gangsters writing from their jail cells or former con men, thieves or gang bangers who did their time and are attempting to reach young readers with some lessons from the dark side to authors from the fringes of street life.
"Dear Summer" is the fifth novel by Charlotte author K. Elliott. Main characters include a sympathetic car thief, his "caramel-colored" and sexually stimulating "woman" Summer, and a cast of unsavory characters who spew the bullets and profanity of the streets with realistic portrayals of greed and corruption.
"By offering a free book and a free e-book reader, we are doing our part to put both literature and technology into our fans hands at a time when entertainment budgets are being cut and people are having to make hard choices about where to spend their limited funds," Elliott says.
K. Elliott, himself an ex-con with plenty of lessons to share, invested his own money into developing his Digital Reader. The Digital Reader will be the cornerstone for a soon-to-launch publishing site called 21 BlackStreet, which will offer authors the technology to not only self-publish their work but convert their manuscripts to e-books quickly and affordably.
"With the Digital Reader you can read a book anywhere. You can download content to a Black Berry or read it directly off your monitor. Unlike hard to read e-books that are simply pdf documents, the pages in The Digital Reader 'turn,' making the experience not unlike reading a normal, printed book. It makes it possible to read anywhere and makes it easier to bookmark your place or start where you left off. Our goal is to make this book and all our titles accessible to the broadest audience possible," Elliott says.
Urban Fiction has been criticized by some as glorifying thug life, but proponents and artists say the moral undertones that permeate the tales of life on the street do just the opposite. In fact, authors hope their readers learn from the bad decisions depicted in the genre and the true-to-life consequences that come from choosing the perils of street life.
Rappers 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg have published their own books within the Urban Fiction category in recent months. Elliott wrote "The Ski Mask Way" for 50 Cent's publishing company, G-Unit Books, and the rapper has purchased the movie rights to the book. Publishing divisions for Urban Fiction are springing up within some of the major New York Publishing Houses, including Simon & Schuster and Kensington Books.
With all the major publishing houses, including Random House and Harper Collins, jumping on the e-book bandwagon, PricewaterhouseCoopers has estimated that the sale of e-books will be $9.6 billion by 2012 and that they could surpass paper books in sales as soon as 2018.
For more information, or for a free copy of "Dear Summer," visit http://www.street-fiction.com/freebook/dear-summer/index.html
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