Having just returned from a writers conference, learning and sharing and eating with 250 professionals in the writing and publishing industry, I am pretty well saturated with all that I learned and observed in those four days.
In a nutshell, the word in the writing business is that a whole new paradigm is emerging–has emerged. I took one class for which the course outline is called “The New Persistence.” The course begins with an explanation of Why the Old Days (in publishing) are Gone. How cheery.
Basically, writers and authors have more responsibility both to learn new ways and to agressively market their work. As I would have trouble selling a sandwich to a starving man, this aspect proves to be quite draining. However, the other side of the coin is we also have more autonomy–more avenues for our creativity using the tools that the new digital age offers.
This course and some others that I took at the conference offered information on the habits of modern readers. They want information and entertainment NOW. They want it free. They want to pay as little as possible for books. They do not want to leave their house to get information and entertainment.
The good news about today’s readers is that they are reading more than ever; it’s just that patterns of reading are changing. Instead of commiting to long chunks of content, readers want shorter chunks of information–booklets, articles, newsletters, shorter books, etc.
No one in the industry can say how and where this paradigm shift will lead, but it is certain to be exciting challenging, and sometimes grueling. As a “mature citizen” or senior citizen or whatever the polite term for old person is these days, this learning curve is proving to be especially steep. But challenge and change translate to growth and without growth there is no life. So I count myself in with those who are cresting the wave of the tsunami rather than getting washed up on land.
How is that for an analogy!!