It’s not often I get to sit overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and write but this morning that’s just what I’m doing. I’m at the Novelist Inc. conference in St. Pete soaking up the wisdom and experience of publishing industry insiders, media folks, and bunches of wonderful fellow writers. It’s a really exciting (and sometimes scary) time in the book industry as everything is changing, to quote my own mother’s book, “at the speed of imagination.”
It really does seem that if you can imagine it, you can write it/publish it/market it now. It hasn’t always been that way. Once, agents, editors and the publishers’ marketing departments were the only folks who got to decide what ended up in bookstores and even, to some degree, what became best sellers. Today those industry people still have some say in how books get into physical bookstores but, with the exploding world of ebooks, writers can publish what we want (and yes sometimes it’s sublime and sometimes it’s dreck, but really, that was true in the past, too!) and you, the readers, get to decide what is worth recommending and what isn’t. It’s a new way of “gatekeeping” as the lingo goes.
You, the reader, have become the person who says what’s worth reading and what’s not.
Have you ever posted a review at Amazon or Barnes and Noble? Have you ever “liked” a book at either place (or the book retailer of your choice)? Do you tell your friends about the great book you’re reading or the wonderful new author you found? Have you ever visited a review site or a blog and commented on a book you love? If you have, you have established yourself as one of the legion of gatekeepers in this new era of publishing.
So I’m off to another session at the conference, in spite of the beautiful beach beckoning me to come play, but I’m all fired up to learn some new stuff about this crazy world of books so I’m going to the session. I will play on the beach before I leave, just not today. I hope that what I’m learning here will help me bring new stories to my readers faster and more often and that I’ll learn how to help new readers find my stories.
So while it’s a confusing, sometimes scary, often exhilarating time to be a writer, it’s an awesome time to be a reader. All the increased opportunities for writers means increased story diversity, in both format and type, for readers. And you get to decide what’s worth recommending!
If you haven’t “Liked” my books, please drop by my Barnes & Noble or Amazon book pages (links to each in the right column under the book covers!) and take a moment to click the Like buttons. If you have other favorite authors or books, do the same for them. If you’ve never left a review, don’t be intimidated. A simple star rating and a couple of words is really all it takes.
So help other readers find your favorite books and authors. Go forth and be a gatekeeper!
Psst… check back in a couple of days for some book news!