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Explosion of Words


There has been an explosion in the world of words.

Writers who would otherwise have huge difficulty in getting traditionally published are self-publishing on the internet in their droves and, for a writer longing to see their work in print, this is a sure fire way to realise the dream.

Unfortunately not all of these emerging fiction writers are story-tellers but there are so many, which makes for a lot of fiction much of it even available for free clogging up the internet bookshelves. Really good writers are being forced to compete against the masses by advertising on social media sites, joining forums, writing blogs, giving their work away for free just to get their name and words out there to a reading public hungry for more and particularly delighted if it is free.

busypen at work

busypen at work

The problem is that all this extra marketing work takes the writer away from their main purpose which is, of course, writing new stories for people to read. Not every great story-teller is a multi-tasker which, to be successful in promoting themselves on the net, it seems one needs to be.

The Internet

As a publishing forum the internet is bringing to the world, writers who would otherwise probably never be published and some of them are exceptionally good. But sheer numbers coming online daily (even hourly) are creating an avalanche of words that, for any unknown author, is difficult to escape being buried beneath.

Pre-internet we had the same favourite authors churning out their annual tales at Christmas and spattered through the year during gift periods such as Easter, Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Valentine’s day. In the 70’s and 80’s there was always the latest Wilbur Smith for Dad’s birthday and when Mothers’ Day rolled around nothing could top the latest Judith Krantz (remember Princess Daisy? And Scruples?).

In those years we enjoyed the works of many hugely popular authors (some still keeping apace and even ahead of today’s newer trendier writers). Jeffrey Archer, author of the blockbusters, Cane and Abel, Sins of the Father, Judas; Jackie Collins’ The Stud, The Bitch, Lovers and Gamblers, Thrill and, of course, the eternal Danielle Steel’s early must-reads, Going Home, The Promise, Summer’s End, Changes.

Harold Robbins, who has been producing popular novels since 1948, with Never Love a Stranger, astoundingly, in 2011, released his 35th novel, The Curse. In so doing, he has managed to chalk up an amazing six decades plus of popular authoring.

These writers (and many more like them) have enthralled a book-loving public for decades and some, I am sure, will continue to do so, some of them at least into the next decade or two or three.

During the birthing, crawling, and toddling stages of the internet it was still years before anyone dared to suggest that it may soon make paper books a relic of the past. It was a tentative sounding-out at first and scoffed at by many myself included but it persisted and the internet is now fully entrenched in publishing with many (probably most) established authors following the trend and publishing online with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords etc.

E-book How to Write

E-book How to Write

Real books

Fortunately though, and I say this with a sense of great gratitude, their books are also still emerging on our bookstore shelves in the form of our beloved and (I pray) never-to-be-lost, actual books with paper pages to be turned deliciously and savouringly by those of us who find no greater pleasure than in conducting the particular and worthy activity of precious, unmatchable, leisurely (real) book-reading.

There is something, isn’t there, about holding an actual bound book in your hands; resting back on the sofa or cuddled up in the big armchair (yes, let’s be old-fashioned Im not sure lying back, curling up, relaxing and cuddling are quite how we would describe a Kindle or an Ipad reading experience); and I do say this from experience as I own one of each.

Gone are the days when an author needed the approval, support and commitment of an editor or agent; anyone involved in the selection and subsequent publishing of their precious manuscript. The to-ing and fro-ing between author and representative over quite a period of time; getting it just right rewriting, editing, spell-checking, formatting, cover-designing, fact-checking and the myriad of other jobs that come with preparing a manuscript for the expensive, time-consuming, hair-tearing, but ultimately exciting and thoroughly rewarding experience of having one’s book published.

Electronic reading devices have their place; that is fact. But please God, may we always have wonderful tales by great authors available to us in real book form; to be able to hold them and turn their pages; drink in their wisdom and be entertained by them; and finally to set them lovingly upon our private bookshelves.

That sequence is the true joy of a great reading experience may `progress’ and technology never take it from us.
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