The literary landscape is changing and writers are changing with it. Now, more than ever, we have to brand and market ourselves to the readers out there, wherever they may be. Yes, it’s true that ebooks are gaining ground over traditional formats. While my preference remains the hardcover, I see value in ebooks replacing the mass market paperback. I have no fear that this foothold will in any way endanger the books we know and love. Paperbacks have always been disposable. Shifting these into the digital arena is a good thing. It’s good for the environment and it reduces clutter.
It wasn't that long ago that I began culling my enormous collection of paperbacks. The primary reason was space considerations, but also an aesthetic one. I, of course, cling to those that are special to me, especially those books with deep sentimental attachment and the ones that don’t have a hardcover equivalent.
But what does all this mean for the writer? Essentially nothing. We have to continue writing. We have to continue to grow and express ourselves. And we have to continue to submit our work, from top to bottom. But now, more than ever before, we must be true and honest with ourselves. We must be sure of our ambitions. We must know, without a doubt, what we wish to accomplish, who we are, and what legacy we wish to leave behind.
Will any of us be able to support ourselves solely on our written work? Very, very few. I've a feeling though that for most of us, that’s okay. For the ones that find that a deal breaker, well, I'm not sure you're really a writer anyway. It’s got to be more than what side of your bread gets buttered or you're already doomed to not following your dream, but following trends and chasing dollar signs.
There’s no future in that.
See, a writer writes not for money, but because he is compelled to. It’s in his bones. And yes, a writer is looking for an audience. And he is looking for a paycheck, believe me. But more than anything, it is about the act of creation itself.
So quit fretting about the future. Write your stories, send them out into the world, and let the chips fall where they may.
Just do this: KNOW THYSELF.
Nail that one and you’ll be fine, no matter what the future holds.
Please Come Back Tomorrow
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Host Note: Wow! Bob verbalized so succinctly what I feel about writing. I've often thought if I didn't write my head would explode! Sure I get a rush when I get royalty payments but the real rush comes when someone tells me that one of my books has helped them, moved them or amused them. It has been said that it is easy to recognize someone else's brilliance when they agree with you. In that case, I'm feeling pretty darn brilliant after reading Bob's post!