The future of books... but first:
This week Australian Women Online feature an article on Emerging Australian Women Writers, by journalist Belladonna Took. I am very humbled and excited to be included in this article with talented emerging authors, Kymberley Gaal, Emma Gibson and Karen Tyrrell. If you'd like to read the article, click here.
I signed up for 'Book Camp unconference' a little uncertain of what to expect. I mean, what's an UNconference? The theme of the day was to question and discuss the future of books and emerging authors and technologies. I like to question and discuss, so I was up for it.
The day was hosted by author Simon Groth from if:book and we were asked to volunteer to lead sessions. I love this upside down module.
Looking at the model of the traditional book, what it has now emerged into and where it could go was something most participants were curious about. The traditional pathway of author to publisher to reader or even author to reader may change. The reader is not necessarily the best client for your product. One scenario raised was with choose-your-own-adventures that are locality-based. This method was trialled at an Adelaide festival with posters and QR codes. This storytelling involved the 'reader' to walk the streets of the story while finding the codes for the next part. In this example only about ten people finished the story. If your goal is to do something different, experimental then there's no problem, but if you're wishing to earn an income from your skills... well, you can see the problem with only ten potential customers, but it's important to acknowledge many authors require an income from their skills. This requires rethinking the author to reader model. You could consider a commercial or government client, such as the Department of Tourism. They would have the capacity to market this type of activity to readers/visitors. Or, you could make location-based stories containing QR codes that provide information on the localities, you wouldn't have to be present in the location (I see this being a good alternative for famous locations like the Eiffel Tower, The Great Barrier Reef, etc).
Craig Mod led a discussion about the affect of digital on our sense of living. The point was raised that if we do not post our experiences on social media in many ways they don't count as real, they become disconnected with our understanding of experience. We live in the instagram era, as soon as we see, do or taste it, we upload a pic.
The issue of quality from self-published authors and service providers was enthusiastically discussed. The days of appreciating free crap is over. Readers want product that lives up to the promises.
And the thing that stuck with me most was on the necessity of social media for authors to reach readers. There are many examples of great authors that sell millions of books with no online presence. It was generally agreed that if you are an amazingly talented author, you don't need to interact with the public. Lucky for me I actually like social media!