Some people still aspire to publish their writing in printed and bound books.
Despite the fact that more and more writing is digitized, a print book is the gold standard of achievement and success for many aspiring (and even established) writers.
The problem with printed books is that they take a long time to write and a sometimes equally long time to produce.
First, the author needs to secure a contract with a publisher, which can be one of the most daunting and difficult tasks. Next, the manuscript must be edited, and the publishers must decide how they want to market the book. Then, the book goes into production (copy-editing, layout, binding, etc.). Finally, the book is released and finds its way to a bookstore near you!
With digitization, the writing process can take a long time too. However, production cost and time are slashed.
This new thing called the Internet allows anyone to publish anything instantly. Slam your head on your keyboard, examine (or don’t examine) the results, and publish online! Only on the Internet could something like this go viral – heck, people might even call your head-banging efforts art.
Kidding aside, a lot of writing on the Internet can actually be very good. Out-of-work journalists share writing on their blogs, fiction writers share chapters from their works-in-progress, and comedy writers test jokes on their Twitter followers. Many of these people could care less about the print publishing process and its obstacles. Instead, they value making their work visible and accessible to a hungry audience. The online audience, constantly devouring the next-new-thing, is always seeking fresh work.
I have this theory that, in an effort to compete with online publishers and writers who primarily promote their work online, writers who still aspire to be print rockstars have to rush through the process. Often times, printed work can become quickly irrelevant, especially when so much new content is being produced online.
Why wait to publish an entire book when you can release each chapter as it’s completed?
Why rely on a publisher to do your marketing when you have endless free marketing tools and tactics online?
Have all the good in-print novels been written already?
Shouldn’t critics turn their attention to work being produced online as well as in print?
Is the best new work stewing like primordial matter on the Internet?
(Photo by Hieropenen)