Write a BookWell, I know the title of this post is a nasty take on a famous expression, but in essence it is true. With the changes in publishing and the advent of self-publishing, online books, e-books and all manner of electronic reading possibilities, anyone and everyone can become an author in less than thirty minutes. Simply clack out a few words and publish on Kindle, Scribd, Smashwords or any number of e-book publishing sites.

By waiting only a little longer and doing a little more work, it is possible to self-publish in a paperback or hard cover version as well and be issued with a real ISBN number and listed as a published author in less time than it takes to cook a good hot dinner. So, if everyone in the world is, or will be a published author, a few problems may arise.

For one, the ISBN number will need to lengthened to probably 100 digits or more to cope with the publishing avalanche. That might get a bit tricky trying to fit it quietly in the credits page. Then there will be the natural flow on effect to social networking sites and social media generally as everyone who is now an author must promote their new tome to everyone else who is promoting their own masterpiece as well. But as all the people who were readers are now authors, who is going to have the time to read while they are all busy writing and promoting their book?

It may well be a wonderful advancement in literacy as everyone will take a little extra care with their grammar and spelling because they are authors now, but this will hardly matter as no one will have the time to read anyway. Well, except maybe for a quick glance at a grammar reference book.

So what is the future for authors when the whole world is an author?

The World Is Your Author
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7 thoughts on “The World Is Your Author

  • 11/08/2011 at 7:16 pm

    Obvious statement, maybe: I think that not everyone will become an author; out of everyone who can read that is. The likely outcome will surely be as before, there will still be a thin topped pyramid with a small minority of true ‘earners’ and a great body of good writers underneath who’ll barely scrape a living. Same as show business.

    The only difference, hopefully, by virtue of exposure, will be that talented writers will have a better chance of getting somewhere near the top, because of their greater exposure across the net, given of course that they get their ‘marketing’ right.

    Reasonable stab at outcome?

  • 11/08/2011 at 11:05 pm

    The world isn’t polarized into “readers” and “writers”. They’re often both, and they do a lot of both…at least I do.

    The real problem with self-publishing that I see is finding your market under the glut of new material crying out for attention, but that which is good (or unusual or good viral material) will probably find word-of-mouth buzz and ultimately rise, similar to what happens now.

    Those who invest in editing and promotion will make more sales than those who simply write and sit back, expecting people to break down the door to read their book…again, similar to now.

    The tournament won’t go away. It’s just finding a new form. That’s my guess.

  • 15/08/2011 at 11:08 pm

    I’m delighted with the changes in publishing that allow talented and aspiring writers to get published without facing rejections based solely on business rather than literary decisions. The fact that effort, some marketing, know-how and money are required will still keep many from being published, even with that 30-minute possibility you mentioned. For now I don’t forsee the 100-digit ISBN, especially since authors can post on Kindle, Nook, etc. without ISBNs.

    Even though many more publications will be available than ever before, as always the cream will rise to the top. The most important difference that advances in publishing have made possible is easier and faster access to our readers. It’s up to them to decide who makes it to best-seller status or at least making-a-living-from-writing status.

    I’m not sure that there will be more attention to grammar and spelling. You wish! With all the errors on sales pages, webinars and websites, readers are more forgiving than they once were, not to mention that some don’t recognize the errors.

  • 16/08/2011 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for your comment Flora.

    It’s an interesting point you make about the relative acceptance of incorrect spelling and grammatical errors. I suppose I’m an old stickler. Perhaps though, I should just accept that it’s and its resister as the same word to many and not worry about it. But I do draw the line at the incorrect use of there, their and they’re :)

    The issue of spelling is interesting too, as there seems to be a merging of US and UK spelling now. Especially on the Internet where communication takes precedent over accuracy.

  • 30/10/2011 at 1:54 pm

    Many of the same thoughts have crossed my mind. The self-publishing revolution has to be an editor’s / publisher’s dream. The slushpile is being moved from the tops of their desks, to the marketplace. Some of these editors / publishers are probably seeing the physical top of their desk for the first time in their careers. If I were a publisher, I would let the market decide who is the best of the best, and then make literary decisions, based on the quality and content of the author’s best seller, before ever offering a contract for future books.

    I also think the 99 cent market is killing the good authors who value the time and effort put into their work. A cheap read doesn’t carry much expectation as far as quality is concerned. I wouldn’t make a predicition on how this is going to shake out, but something tells me the readers are going to tire of sub-par work and go back to their favorite authors. I’ve stopped downloading the freebies and buying the 99 cent variety because of the lack of attention to detail – to include grammar.

    I followed a readers’ thread, on Amazon, about authors manipulating the reviews. They are a bit angry about it and that’s putting it politely.

    I’m not against ‘indie’ publishing. I’ve published one book that way myself. There has to be some integrity in the marketing and promotion of books, otherwise it just appears to be greed driven writing; which devalues those who write because they love it.

    • 30/10/2011 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Butterfly Phoenix. I read your comments with interest. Particularly about 99c ebooks. I must say that after a number of price experiments, I have finally surrendered and now offer all my books at this price. Very reluctantly, and I might say, most unhappy about it.

      But the reality of the market at present leaves me little choice. Kindle in particular has created a ‘one click’ 99c market and many well known authors have also decided to stop fighting the model.

      However, authors are not fools, and their new titles will soon start to reflect this. I for one will not be publishing a new full length novel at 99c anytime soon. Instead, I will publish novellas for this market until it matures.

      While there is a lot of crap being published, and logically priced at 99c because it’s the lowest price Kindle will allow, there are still a many great books to read. John Locke for instance has all his books at 99c. Way too cheap, but he’s clearly reacting to reality.

      Unfortunately, the ebook market is in its infancy. So, naturally it will be teething for some time yet.

      • 30/10/2011 at 9:19 pm

        You’re probably right about the market not changing anytime soon. I am currently working on a seven book series, none of which will be published at 99 cents. The whole thing is mindful of the dime detective novels during the depression. When the Great Depression was over, these books went away and, well the rest is history.

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