The other day I found a book on writing and publishing that I had bought well over 14 years ago (based on the date of publication and the box I found it in). I had marked three specific chapters in the book with a dog ear flap, which obviously at the time meant I thought they were important.
The first ear flap was about dialogue. How important dialogue is, some typical dialogue structures, and the warning that dialogue should not overtake action. All of it still relatively applicable and still relatively sounding advice.
The second ear flap was about the writing process of outlining. How outlining can be done easily, some outlining sample structures, and underscoring that you need to outline in order to make the most out of your writing time. All of that is still not only relative, but it must have stuck with me because that’s a cornerstone of my writing process.
The third ear flap was about going the route of self-publishing. How self-publishing can be costly, some self-publishing “vanity” presses, and impressing upon the reader that if you won’t be taken seriously through the self-publishing route. After some thought, I realized that all of that is archaic outdated thinking considering today’s self-publishing atmosphere.
Times have most certainly changed as technology has evolved. It was only 15 some odd years ago that the World Wide Web was full of static web pages hosted on server farms such as Geocities. Now we see users self-deploying dynamically changing content management systems and delivering high quality content via blogs. The exact same can be said for self-publishing, which at one time was comparatively expensive to the individual compared to the options available today.
I look at self-publishing as a natural evolved extension to the blogging I’ve been doing since 2005. While I continue to strive to create compelling internet content, I remain a fan of long form work. I learned relatively early on that long form posts, while an immense pleasure to craft, is often not received well by blog readers. Shorter attention spans, the practice of scanning as opposed to reading, and the constant distraction of “notifications” have contributed to this type of behavior… a behavior I myself am absolutely guilty of.
Ebook readers on the other hand crave the long form. They prefer having over the 10,000 word mark to consume. The vast majority of ereaders out there limit the typical types of distraction experienced while reading blogs. It allows for both a different experience in the consumption of the content, and therefore demands content that is designed specifically for it.
That’s one of the things that I don’t see much in the ebooks I myself have read, and something I plan on moving more towards as I continue self-publishing my own work. Utilizing the unique abilities of the ereader to bring the experience to the next level… but I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, and the first step that I’ve taken with what I’ve published so far is to get the basics down.
The important thing to remember about self-publishing is the exact same as blogging.
Content was, is, and will remain king.
Craft high quality memorable content, tell compelling stories, and they will indeed read.