Monday, 14 March 2011

21st century writers

Any serious writer needs to be reading Robert McCrum On Books.  Via the Observer website. Things are changing fast and gone are the days of the faceless author, tucked away in their garret, scribbling their stories for the world while walking anonymously amongst its populace.
It’s a tough call. Some of us really didn’t want fame or recognition. Not in the actual face to face sense. Yes, recognise my name on a book – buy it because you know I’m good, but pass me by in the street and I can enjoy my secret satisfaction.
No more.
Welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to the modes of communication of, in the first instance for many, your children.
I hadn’t even got over the immediacy of the mobile phone…”No, you don’t need to answer your mate during Sunday lunch.”
“Yes, I do, he knows I know he’s called. It’s rude not to.”
Spare me from understanding that logic.
But here’s the thing.
This is the new logic. We are all available, in all ways, to all people.
If we are not – they’ll just move on to someone who is. It’s time to take a deep breath, enlist the help of the ‘kids’ and get on Facebook, Twitter, create a website and become visible! These are the days of talking to your audience – and not just through your stories.


  1. Aw, Sinead. Can't we just say, I LOVE YOU, BUT...I don't want to speak to you! It's true though, you have to have a profile and be “out there” making yourself higher profile. It’s terribly hard work, authors often having families and necessary other means of earning income (um, does that sound bad?). You know what I mean, part time/any time jobs that might fit in with your crazy unrelenting, exhausting schedule. How do they expect me to do this, you might cry. But the “they” that expect are looking and reading, and commenting…hopefully, liking the profile, i.e. who you are and your battle to write and be published (and finding time to continue to write), and then they will buy! Hoorah! The thing to bear in mind, also, is that agents and publishers who might expect you to be high profile have had to learn how to do this all too. And actually, we’re all getting pretty good at it!

  2. Leanne, your comment about agents etc is right - everyone is on a massive learning curve.I've got to admit, my main craving at the moment is time to work on my new story. I shall be scribbling on the train on the way to London today.

  3. This thread set me thinking about how children enjoy meeting authors and having them reading their stories to them at schools, libraries and reading clubs. The curiosity factor is there early on and continues, almost inevitably. I'm reading (yet another) book about AA Milne and his wonderful creations and the insight is invaluable. Newsletters on websites and forums, social networking etc. have changed the face of publishing, for good or bad, and it's as well to keep up with the trends, or possibly flounder.

  4. Eiry, very true. Children do love meeting authors to hear them read - so do I. Maybe it's a case of seeing technological developments as simply new ways to read to the 'children'.

  5. I love reading to my children ;0)
    However, the voices tend to keep them awake!
    The publishing world is certainly changing and like you’ve already said the authors face can no longer hide. I believe many readers need to be intrigued by the author as much as the blurb before they will buy and read the actual story.

  6. Claire, love it...Oli wouldn't let me stop reading when he was little - paid off, he totally loves books now.
    Yes, we authors have to be very interesting these days! Lucky we are!:)