As a young editor in the publishing industry, I witnessed the shift from electric typewriters to personal computers. (Yes, I’m THAT old.) I remember that many older employees complained bitterly when they had to use computers. They fought using them and viewed personal computers as complicated and a passing trend. Of course, they were wrong. Personal computers along with the Internet and electronic hardware and software have steadily revolutionized the publishing industry. I challenge you to find any writer who dares to submit a manuscript in longhand or typed on a typewriter. Today, editorial work, art and design, and book production are all rooted in competent computer skills. Publishing has clearly gone digital.
Leaders in the industry are offering an increasing number of e-books. For example, six months ago Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze® program—free books for bloggers— offered an equal number of e-books and print books. Today, the e-book offerings far outnumber the hard copies. If you set up an account with Metric Junkie and compare Amazon.com sales of an e-book and a hardcover book of the same title, you might find that the e-book sells better. The selection of e-books continues to grow with the increasing sales of e-readers.
E-books cost significantly less to produce. Does this mean that publishers will buy more manuscripts from unpublished authors? It might, but whether you sell your manuscript could depend strongly on the power of your social media platform. Publishers look to a writer’s platform to see, in part, how well that writer is able to promote his or her book.
See what Dr. Dennis Hensley, director of the professional writing program at Taylor University has to say:
Some writers argue that a social media platform takes too much time, energy, and commitment. However, I think that writers in my generation, those who remember typewriters, need to look at the ways in which younger readers and writers are using electronic media. Digital publishing is not going away and neither is digital communication.
Do you agree? What, if anything, are you doing to keep pace with writing in the Digital Age?
If you are interested in learning more about current publishing trends,