October 2018 by V. R. Duin

PUBLISHING CHANGE
OPPORTUNITIES OR PITFALLS?

Whether you are writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children, you are part of a changing industry. Publishing change is transforming every aspect of writing. The exciting culture of change broadens and narrows our range. We have gone from sticks and stones to “selfie” sticks and drones. Automatic processes are enhancing or replacing many manual operations of the past. Toys have changed, as have novels, nonfiction and books for children. Most reading has gone online or is combined with audio and visual games. Books are unpalatable to many readers of the digital age. Unless texts are paired with dynamic visual or audio stimulus, they largely go unread. This is true for virtually any lengthy, written form of communication.


Unless writers grow with publishing change, we quickly are left behind. Technology opens a great, new world for writers, as long as we know how to use it. For those who are writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children, technology can be an ally in the sale of those books. It is important to understand How Technology Changed the Relationship between Writers and Readers. Search engines direct traffic to online videos, pod casts, websites, blogs, e-books, articles and social media posts for specific information. Today's tech-savvy readers learn about books and other creative works online. Brick and mortar bookstore companies and libraries are becoming relics of the past. Readers can buy or borrow reading materials online from the comfort of their mobile devices.


V. R. Duin has a 20-year history of writing novels, writing nonfiction and writing books for children. Her experience with publishing change are reflected in articles throughout this website. The goal of this website is to help colleagues, who are writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children. Technology can help writers promote, market and sell their books. Some readers prefer e-books, because the quality is less likely to deteriorate with each reading. Some readers prefer the peaceful experience of print books. A benefit for these readers may be relief from the eye strain of too much screen time. Tech-savvy authors can avoid making mistakes that lead to the let-down of agent or publisher rejection. V. R. Duin's first publishing experience was in 1996, before the POD revolution in publishing. In the digital world, writers must make themselves known online to sell print or e-books.


V. R. Duin entered the publishing world by publishing a children's story through an offset printing company, with an ISBN and registered copyright. The first printing quickly sold out, with 1,500 of the copies going to a single charitable event. It was set aside for improvement: text revisions, professional illustrations and a standard book layout. It remains on the sidelines. While in the lineup of pending titles, publishing changed and so did book buying. Developing a platform now has priority. Information made available electronically seems to reach readers with speed and efficiency than material presented in other formats. Until a writer has the prestige of a strong social media or blog following, a book is just another book among the many.


Pre-POD, new writers were a novelty. Readers would take a chance on independent titles. Now, whether they are writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children, new writers largely give their books away. This may not get them read. Publishers no longer will take a chance on any writer with an unknown name and a lack of public rank and recognition. The days of sending articles or manuscripts “over the transom” are gone. Publishers rarely accept unsolicited work. Literary agents are equally unlikely to review a query letter introducing written work. Meaningful credits and credentials also may weigh in a writer's favor. However, all is lost when the query is submitted to a literary agent who does not represent works of that genre or scope. Writers have a lot of work to do to find a niche and build a working platform.


Change is something that all of us face on an accelerated basis with advances in technology and with advances in years. The “same old, same old” is boring. People are accustomed to constant upgrades of devices and applications. Things, places and activities that are not evolving seem stale and obsolete. Technology seems to have set the pace for much of this expectation for rapid change. Those who are writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children must be aware of publishing changes, and adapt to them. Many of the people who worked in the marketing departments of big publishing houses have been laid off. Writers must prove they successfully can do this work. The ability to write a book means nothing at a time when everyone seems to be writing one. It is important to experiment with different concepts for presenting a book. Would the plot fit onto a greeting card or work well in installments?


Dynamic change attracts attention and use. People are alert to changing trends, and want to remain a part of them. The ability to change keeps those who are writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children connected with forward thinkers. Every writer can meet present and future publishing change by learning and evolving. Change is required to retain relevance and vitality in a rapidly changing world that is increasingly technology driven. Technology is all the rage. Information and knowledge that are aligned with the interest in technology are of greater interest than information about books. Writers must be tech-savvy to be seen. However, something extra must be done by a writer to generate book club style discussion about written productions. Online interaction seems to work best when it actively connects people and keeps them involved.


Publishing change has touched every aspect of writing novels, writing nonfiction or writing books for children. A lifelong dedication to change takes a homespun direction in this writer's first video production. V. R. Duin studied animation, website design and image-editing software to further her writing career. “Change” is a silent tribute, which will be left as is. Unlike most of her videos, sound will not be added to this video. The video serves as a silent tribute to the mascots who traveled through many of the changes V. R. Duin made in writing. One of her dogs is no longer among us. Publishing may no longer have physical time and space constraints. Many old titles are being brought back in vibrant new form. Anything is possible in this industry fueled by changing opinions, feelings, emotions and tastes.

V. R. Duin is the pen name of Terry Verduin. Her videos may be found on her YouTube channel under the latter name.

The words of the video are: “Gitty-Up! Horses get retired. Change does not leave us. Let's climb on and ride. Change is Super-Wired”! (35 seconds)

MOVING ON WITH CHANGE

Change Affects all Genres of Writing

  • writing novels V. R. Duin asks:

    A few friends know that V. R. Duin was writing novels in the late 80s and early 90s, and that one of them spent one year under review at a large traditional publishing house.

  • writing books for children V. R. Duin asks:

    After the publisher rejected the novel, but kept the title for use on another book by another author, V. R. Duin began writing books for children.

    • writing nonfictionV. R. Duin asks:

      From fiction, V. R. Duin transferred her writing skills and her marketing, publish and tech experience into writing nonfiction articles and online guidance for colleagues.