This first appeared on The Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose in September 2011.
Last column I noted how, in Silicon Valley, I saw more and more people with laptops and tablets — and speculated that because of technology there are and can be more writers. I’d like to turn my attention to the other side of the equation.
There are also readers everywhere.
I see Kindles all over the place. Many is the time I’ve seen someone reading a book on an iPad. Even though reading on a laptop or a PC isn’t exactly popular, it’s a useful option (one I’ve certainly used here and there for e-books). There are programs to read books and documents on smartphones.
There are potential readers everywhere, and they’re jacked into a variety of technology and book sources.
I recall when the Kindle was an unsure device, when the idea of an eBook was unappealing to me. Of course I own a Kindle now, and know many people who read books on phones, tablets, and other devices.
All over the world, readers are now used to being able to consume books anywhere, in many ways. Some of them are enjoying the newness, but I’m betting that enthusiasts for reading in general are reading even more because it’s faster, easier, and cheaper.
This is your potential audience as a writer, and it’s one I think we need to be aware of. A few thoughts:
1) If you publish eBooks, you’ll need to think ahead on things like formatting. Take it from someone who formatted for the Kindle — it’s not always simple.
2) If you enter the eBook market, you may find yourself appealing to different populations with different interests. Should your books be longer or shorter? Are certain topics more interesting to eBook readers in your audience than others? How do you position yourself in this market — which isn’t the same market as physical books. I’ve found that target audiences, and their ages, made more of a difference to the final product than I expected.
3) What does your publishing schedule need to be? Are your e-fans interested in getting things faster (meaning either you write faster, or maybe put out some short stories). Do you need intense marketing, or will speed “keep the buzz” going and change your plans?
4) How do you reach people in this ever-changing market anyway?
Readers are everywhere, but because technology has enabled it, you’re dealing with a population of “everywhere-readers”, who are not like the overall population of people who enjoy books. We’re going to need to think about this as writers.
More importantly, we also need to follow the trends. There’s so much happening, from HTML 5 Kindle pages to Amazon entering the tablet market, that it’s not done mutating yet.
Steven Savage in his own words:
I’m Steven Savage, and I am Geek 2.0.
OK … that sounds either pretentious or obscure, and I try not to be either too much. So what do I mean by Geek 2.0?
Geek 2.0 is a lifestyle. It’s about taking the geeky values of technology, knowledge, creativity, and media as far as possible. It’s a way of life – and a way of contributing to society.
I believe in taking Geekiness farther – into the next iteration, into 2.0.
Steven Savage is the author of the Fan to Pro blog and books (Unlocking Career Insights With Your Hobbies; Convention Career Connection; Focused Fandom: Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers; Focused Fandom: Fanart, Fanartists, and Careers; Inhuman Resources; and Progeek Rising), has his own web site, and incidentally is the mind behind the popular Seventh Sanctum site. He also writes for Nerd Caliber and Comics Bulletin.