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The One Thing That Never Changes

just keep writing. and eating cupcakes.
Did you watch the WriteOnCon keynote address featuring New Leaf Literary? If not, here's a link.* In the address, Joanna Volpe, Suzie Townsend and Kathleen Ortiz address the changing landscape of publishing. And definitely, things are changing. That's a good thing, as well as a challenge. One thing that isn't changing? It's still difficult to write a great book; it still takes time, patience, skill, talent and a whole lot of practice. The defining message of the keynote is that no matter which direction publishing takes, the act of writing remains the same and you can stress about the parts you can't control so much, or you can focus on your craft and become the best writer you can.

Beyond that advice, what do changes in the industry mean for writers? With more devices, outlets, advice, guides and visibility, publishing will evolve to create more diversity and more opportunity for writers who want to stay on the traditional route, who want to go it alone, or even (and especially!) for those who want some sort of combination of those two. For all the traditional vs. self-pub "it's all black and white" nonsense, the truth is there are lots of options in between. Did you think traditional pubs were stuck in only printing on paper? Of course not. Some houses' digital lines are up and running, while others' are on their way, big time. Are stories outside the traditions of full length novel or literary magazine short story ever going to see the light of pop culture day? Of course they will. From serialized novellas gearing up to hit the mainstream** to "added content" in the form of alternate POVs, prequels and complimentary bonus materials, new forms of delivering content will support and enhance the traditional novel.

Will there be room for you in the new publishing landscape? Sure. Quality reading materials will find a home, and now there are more homes than ever to hang your hat. I don't buy the Doomsday predictions, but I do get excited contemplating what is to come. Reading isn't dead, nor is writing. So get back to work and stop stressing about it.

*while you over there, check out the Lucky 13s getting back to basics with writing and marketing tips.
** start-ups like Coliloquy are only the beginning. Look for the traditional houses to launch their own types of digital serials, too.
Kristin Halbrook

Kristin Halbrook is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novels Nobody But Us (HarperTeen, 2013) and Every Last Promise (HarperTeen, 2015). She likes many things.

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  1. The two most important things that Joanna, Suzie, and Kathleen said in that address, IMHO, were:

    * No one knows what the future of publishing is going to look like


    * Just focus on your writing (or, to quote them, "Just freakin' write")

    By day I'm the IT Guy at a scholarly publishing house. I don't think I'm giving away any trade secrets when I say we have no idea what the future of publishing is going to be. I suspect it is only going to continue evolving and becoming more and more different than it is today. As newer technologies emerge, publishing is going to have to try to adapt to whatever the public decides they want in terms of access to content.

    But, yeah, the content is always going to come first. And since it is the ONE area we as writers have control over, let the publishers worry about the changes that no one can see or predict. After all, that's their job. Our job is to Just. Freakin. Write.

    -- Tom


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Item Reviewed: The One Thing That Never Changes Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Halbrook