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Publishing Changes Over the Last Decade

Welcome to 2020 – a new year and a new decade.

I thought it would be good to the start the year by reviewing how the publishing landscape has changed over the past ten years.

It is hard to believe the disruptive changes to publishing that have happened since 2010. Mike Shatzkin’s recent blog, A Lot Has Changed in Book Publishing in the Past 10 Years https://www.idealog.com/ is a dramatic reminder how much has changed.

The introduction and popularisation of IOS and Android phones and tablets have increased our access to information and connectivity that was almost unthinkable in 2010. By 2020 we have our personal library at our finger tips with the ability to pull up a book whenever or wherever we are in the world. It is difficult to remember life without our smart devices.

The first truly successful eBook reader became readily available in 2009 and dramatically changed the way in which we consumed books. Amazon’s kindle reader was the most nimble and soon overtook rivals Nook and Kobo. While I enjoy reading books on my dedicated reading device, I tend to do most of my eBook reading on the smart phone. This is a world-wide trend supported by an article from 2015 in The Wall Street Journal (Link). The dedicated reading devices such as Kindle, Nook and Kobo are now only a small part of the eBook market.

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adult-application

 

What is that ‘indefinable quality called heart’ in a piece of writing? It is text which communicates directly to a reader, an editor or a publisher. It stands out from all the other unsolicited manuscripts in the pile calling to the editor to read me, read me!

 

 How does a new writer achieve this? Everyone one has a unique way of seeing the world and it is this that a new writer must harness as their voice. Heart-felt writing touches the soul and transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. The core of any tale should shine with prose where every word moves the story along. Language which sings with the rhythm and the cadences of perfect sentences.

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Tagged in: Publishing Writing

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The Gentle Art of Reading

New writers are always being told to read. Sometimes widely is added to that admonition. At other times the instruction includes the phrase ‘out of your comfort zone’. Occasionally it’s repeated for emphasis; ‘Read, read, read and write, write, write.’ But what is often left out is how to read.

 

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How does anyone keep up with everything that is going on in the digital age? What would Charles Dickens do in this age when more books are published than ever before across three different forms – digital, audio and hard copy – and when authors are expected to post regular updates about their life and work across the many platforms afforded them by social media? Would he be tramping across London still? I like to think of him, armed with a smart phone, updating his Insta with selfies with Wilkie Collins or a beef pie and pint taken after a good tramp. Would he have tweeted ‘Carrying Wilkie in Cumberland #sillysprain#BFF’?

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Self-portrait in Despair, Courbet, 1844-45

 

Jeanette Winterson spoke for many authors at the recent Australian Book Industry Awards when she said:

What we’re really protecting is the life of the mind; the creative core of what we are. If you attack creativity what you’re saying is that it doesn’t matter that we’re human beings, because very human being ever born across this planet, across time, is part of the creative continuum. We’re protecting something which is so valuable. This is more than an industry. This is the heart of humanity ... We need to protect this ecosystem.  

Jeanette Winterson,  Australian Book Industry Awards,  2016

At the Australian Book Industry Awards last Thursday (19 May), Jeanette Winterston made an impassioned plea on the behalf of Australian writers and readers and everyone involved in the Australian book industry.  She urged us to fight the Productivity Commissions Draft Report on Intellectual Property ‘with every breath.’

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