I’m pleased today to publish a guest post by Cassie, a blogger from Culture Coverage. She’s also published articles at sites like Lifehack.org and Digitalmusicnews.com. Today, at Her Ladyship’s Quest, she examines the technological impact of computers and the internet on authors.
I remember hearing the internet was going to make books obsolete in the mid-2000s. Now that E.L. James has thrown that idea to the wind, all the would-be authors of tomorrow can breathe a sigh of relief because books are here to stay, even if they’re getting a technological upgrade.
From the chance to go viral to the ability to edit with ease, the impact of the internet on today’s authors is profound.
1. More people get published.
With the rise of free e-books, especially with commerce sites like Amazon, writers have the opportunity not only to reach audiences they couldn’t before, but they can also self-publish with much less money on the front end. This means more people can be writers, and more books get written. By going paperless with e-books and advancing technologies like Virtual Private Networks that get around any geo-blocking restrictions, writers have a global audience, and they don’t have to worry about press, just about delivering a great story.
2. Authors connect with readers.
If you’re a voracious online reader, you already know the internet has opened up great opportunities for authors and readers to connect where once they wouldn’t have been able to. Now, authors can get feedback instantly, and readers can shape the future narratives. Take J.K. Rowling’s online Harry Potter world, for instance. Pottermore was created for Harry Potter readers who weren’t satisfied with the end of the series (which they expressed in online forums like Twitter and Tumblr), and Rowling did what any great author would: she supplied more material. Before the internet, fans wrote letters and attended book tours, but the connection between author and reader as it is in the modern world is something completely fresh.
3. Editing is more flexible.
With word processors as the main tool of writers, from Microsoft Word to Google Docs, writing and editing have shifted dramatically. Now writers can move around paragraphs with ease and change storylines and flow with just a few clicks. While some writers would say this doesn’t affect their writing very much, in my mind’s eye, it makes our writing cleverer, more concise and produces ideas that are complete and well formed. What it doesn’t necessarily do is make them shorter (I’m talking to you, George R.R. Martin), but then again, no one ever wanted a great story to end.
4. The chance to go viral is huge.
I’m going to bring up E.L. James again and also Stephenie Meyer and Hugh Howey. These writers all have a piece of their author pie out on the internet and, in many cases, wouldn’t be the authors they are today without them. Meyer and James reached the masses with their work when their daydreams made it onto the web and then exploded in popularity. Howey did something a little different and had his readers help transform the pages as they were being written, but all of them are resolutely authors of the digital age.
While it’s true that writing has changed dramatically and some of it not for the better, the absolute truth is that the internet has been a boon for today’s author. Now more than ever, it’s easier to write, easier to read and easier to spread your story to the world.
About the author
Cassie is a pop culture junkie and avid reader who loves to write about technology and books.
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