Monday, February 6, 2012

Updated - Outdated

Awhile back I took a class from an editor who explained the ins and outs of digital publishing, compared digital to traditional, and explained the advantages and disadvantages of both. It was a great course--very informative and encouraging.  I learned a lot and I’m still mulling over things she told us.

This instructor/editor who is also an author said we should use every publishing option available to us. She said that the most "successful" author is the one who understands how to make his writing work to his advantage. She did not say to throw traditional publishing by the wayside and pursue digital; she advised us to use both.
She said, “I highly recommend that while you're writing stories for the Big 6 to consider, that you schedule a block of time to write something you can digitally publish. Shoot for a novella. Why? Because you aren't sitting and waiting, letting perfectly viable opportunities slip past you.”

When I asked her for a career plan for me, she said:
So Jess, my advice in a nutshell:  Get yourself in a small, respectable e-house, and continue to work the traditional end. Keep fresh titles out in the e-house, but don't shrug off traditional in favor of digital. You need them both. There may come a time when that's not true, but today, you need the marketing that traditional printing does for an author, simply by nature of the beast.

Do you purchase digital books? Do you read their reviews? I do and today I came across a reviewer who complained that a character in the book I was purchasing was packing lots of film and flashbulbs into a bag. The reviewer said, “I can remember them from way back but then I'm not that young ... This must be a VERY old story. Just hope she doesn't pull out a cell phone.”

Do you think old novels should be updated before digitally publishing? If a character ducks into a phone booth, are you yanked out of the story?  Should authors label with a specific year or can your imagination transport you to pre-cell phone/pre-digital camera days? I have to admit I’m a little hesitant about putting my 1996 Silhouette Romance out there when it was a little out-dated in 1996 since it’s about Elvis look-alikes and fanatics. The reader will absolutely have to let her imagination shake, rattle and roll with the story.

Teach me something about updated/outdated books.


Sylvia Ney said...


A friend recommended:

I believe she is changing publishers now, but she says this company is good for writers in their early stages. Ex. first few books.

Stargazer said...

This a provocative post. Changing our writing to sooth the psyches of today's "instant" culture seems like
a retreat on the battlefield of life. Good grief, does it have to be an out-and-out historical novel or piece to use the bygone equipment to suit the time-frame? I guess it really boils down to the question: "Who are you writing for?"

From your one-published-book-and-that-by-the-Chamber-of-Commerce-friend.

Stargazer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Gramlich said...

I agree with keeping both options in mind and I'm trying to do that. I actually prefer to read older books and I don't get thrown out by such things as phonebooths. as long as we understand what time a tale is set in roughly, I'm good.

James R Tate said...

It's funny, I was just thinking earlier about how many period books are doing well right now. I think as long as you are true to the time frame, people will read it. If they're like me it brings back a different time, and stirs up lost memories of our past. It has a theraputic value, I think. experiencing a different time can be fun.