Authors in the New Era

23 Oct

Things have changed in the world of writing.

Finding information is easier in the internet age.  You can source out agents, rank them, find out all about what they want to read, follow their blogs, research what makes them tick.

Learning resources are a click away.  Countless articles are posted about what to do, or what to stay away from.  Social connections can be made on twitter, on-line writing groups, and writers’ blogs.

How-to textbooks line the bookstore shelves.   There’s workshops, classes; you name it.

So much information, a non-stop stream, all of which should be improving the quality of what ends up on the bookshelf.  But who’s written the classic of the new era, something that will stand the test of time?

And the more I learn, the more questions I have.

Has blogging actually advanced anyone’s career as a writer?  Does anyone get discovered this way?  Does all this social networking work, or is it just another time-drain?  E-publishing is the new trend many frustrated writers take, a route available for those that don’t fit that main-stream mould.  But does e-pubbing make a wider selection of good books available to readers, or is this another form of vanity press?  And how about those agents?  Some declare that they’re swamped under an endless stream of e-mails from prospective writers, to the point they can barely breathe.  Is this true?  Are certain genres dead, and who gets to decide this fate?

Maybe it’s the economy right now, holding back the risk factor for agents to sign on new authors.  Maybe the market is inundated by a flood of new authors, writing that novel that blooms in their imagination, spurred on by other writers’ success stories.  Maybe the e-pub business is the new counter-trend, liberating us from mainstream cotton-candy.  But it seems to me that the factors that should make this journey easier are making it harder to publish an actual hold-in-your-hands book, the path to selling buried deep under an avalanche of the tools of this new era.

As a writer, R U redi 4 these obstacles?


10 Responses to “Authors in the New Era”

  1. Gareth October 24, 2011 at 1:23 AM #

    Part of the problem with the days of information overload is that you can spend all the time you want trying to find that white tiger but the search can lead you to missing the objective of getting the writing done.

    I think most writers want to know what works, what doens’t and of course what gives you the most publicity for your buck. Its something that can drive you mad and I think that if you can find a circle of friends that can help you work through it, thats the key.

    Funnily enough I spent some time last night talking things through with my sister, she’s a member of a writing group in her area and she was getting worried as they were coming out with stuff that she didn’t know. It was word count this or how to talk to a publishing house and when she was telling me about it, it was clear how little this group knew. Many were more concerned with thier word count than they were with telling the story, they all also thought that they could march up to a publisher and they’d be swept off thier feet.

    It came to some relief for her when I gave her some basic info (from a lot of research and listening to other writers/agents as well as my own experience with the publishing world) and it helped her figure things out. So she’s now more focused on getting the project done than anything else. Others of her group are looking more at thier own marketing already which when you don’t have the book done seems a little silly to me.

    Right, back on thread. Great post and as usual fun as always.

    • jdwaye October 24, 2011 at 6:02 AM #

      Too true, Gareth. No point to worring about word counts, marketing, and publishing houses until the whole job’s done. I hope your sister helps pull her group back into focus. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. T. James October 24, 2011 at 6:09 AM #

    There are a lot more options, lots more information, but I think more opportunity too. As Gareth says above, it’s about making wise and focused choices, so you learn the skills you need, get a project actually done and polished, and then work out how to get it out there.

    Fortunately I think social networks come to the rescue, as more experienced writers are often willing to help, and can sort through the dross and point you toward the resources and advice that is really useful…

    As for research, I can get access to the information I need, and get to writing far faster than legging it to my local library and pouring over old tomes with someone else’s chewing gum in them. Specialist books are easier to order over the net and if you need to go deeper than the websites take you… For me the web makes writing rewarding, and frees my creativity. I’m not sure I could write without it, or at least not on as wide range of topics…

    The information age has made things both easier and harder, but I love the idea that I can decide if my work is good enough to publish, just as a work, not as a ‘does it fit our slot’ filler that someone who wants to fill a portfolio gap may be looking for…

    One of my Twitter followers has quit his desk job, and gone full time writer, using only self-publishing and the internet. It can be done, but is probably no more likely to get you a best seller than traditional routes are…

    • jdwaye October 24, 2011 at 10:13 AM #

      I think the secret is to research the research source, find out if you’re getting the right information about what you need to know. And if all else fails, there’s always the sink or swim option of e-pubbing. Cheers! Thanks for taking the time to comment, TJ.

  3. Angela Addams October 24, 2011 at 8:42 AM #

    A lot of great questions to consider and I don’t think there’s any one answer that is the “right” answer. There are a lot of avenues available to new and established authors…exciting and daunting at the same time. The great thing is that there are a lot of writers out there with experience to draw from.

    Great post!

    • jdwaye October 24, 2011 at 10:09 AM #

      Lucky for me that I can connect to so many writers, like you Angie, who can show us the ropes, help us navigate the waters. Thanks for dropping by.

  4. Patricia Hollett October 24, 2011 at 12:46 PM #

    It’s hard to know whether the new trends are creating dinosaurs out of the old trends of hardcover books and simple letter writing. The new age of blogging, networking, socializing has replaced so many of our former ways. Connecting through the internet is a quick and immediate way to find out about people and things. In some ways its a good thing, and then there are always pitfalls to avoid. Managing what you do on the internet and maintaning a balance is always good. But, writing is the most important job to any of us who want to be published and therein lies our focus.
    Good blog Di! Well done 🙂

    • jdwaye October 25, 2011 at 11:19 AM #

      You’re right Pat – maintaining a balance is good, and so is managing time. And who knows what the future has in store LOL! Thanks for the comments.

  5. Marianne Su October 27, 2011 at 9:04 PM #

    I think about this a lot when I read a classic. I picture someone with a pen and paper, writing a story that maybe no one will read until a publisher sees it. Just someone with a story without the world of social networking to fall on when they hit a brick wall. Would those same classics make publication in today’s world? I like to believe they would, without all the “advantages” we have today. But our world does offer us a lot more than writers of the past and it’s human nature to embrace those changes and make them work for us. Thanks for a very interesting read.

    • jdwaye October 28, 2011 at 5:52 AM #

      Don’t forget that some of those classic writers had their own writers’ groups, like us, Tolkein and Lewis for example. It’s human nature to share, to bounce ideas off of your friends.

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