Hen&inkblots: A Literary Blog

A Time of Change for Authors and Readers (guest blog)

February 9, 2012 by Erzsi Deak

Today henandinkblots welcomes guest blogger Mercy Pilkington, a young adult author and a staff writer for GoodEReader covering ebooks and publishing. In real life, she’s an English and science teacher at a juvenile correctional facility.

There hasn’t been a better time to be an author since Gutenberg figured out how to make duplicate copies of a single page without requiring clerks and scribes to hunch over desks with feather quills clenched in their arthritic fists. But just like in Gutenberg’s day, the one thing that is making the work of being an author more rewarding than ever before is technology.

When e-reading devices first became the literary It Girl back in 2006, critics called them a flash in the pan while supporters argued that it was finally going to be the end of paper. Everywhere, people either hailed or despaired of the death of the publishing industry as we know it.

As the dust has settled a little on digital reading, we are finally able to clearly see that digital and print are probably going to survive hand-in-hand. There are great reasons for both, as well as established reading audiences for both. But now, there are also writers for both formats, authors who have the know-how and desire to self-publish their works electronically, as well as authors who support the digital editions that come along as a way to reach out to a broader audience through their traditional publishers.

Something we can always count on wherever technology is involved is change: bigger and better equipment, flashier formats, new concepts to enhance our lives. And reading is no different. Enhanced ebooks incorporate unlimited full-color graphics and videos into a book, audio embedding means an author can weave a soundtrack into the book as it is read, even juvenile content now offers interactive features that teach reading and vocabulary while narrating a story.

And the technology hasn’t just taken over the books, but the work of being an author as well. Social media gives writers a share some of the work of building a fan base and promoting titles. Blog tours translate into greater access for developing an online presence. Even now, book signings don’t have to mean setting up a card table in a bookshop and waiting for fans to buy print editions of your works; now, a four-way recorded video chat allows fans to “meet” their favorite authors and ask questions while buying highly personalized digital copies and having them streamed instantly to their e-readers.

These changes have given authors so much more to do in terms of choice and control throughout their careers. The real benefit to the wealth of change taking place in the industry as a whole means the technology of books has made this era in publishing the best time to be a reader as well.

Check-out Mercy’s blog at LorcaDamon.com.

If you are interested in being a guest blogger on Henandinkblots, please contact info [a t] henandink.com