Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Internet changes the way books are written

The Internet is changing the way books are read and the way they are written. People are reading more than ever before and they want more content, faster.

The traditional book writing process of 'one person, one idea, and one or more years.' is not going away. There will always be a place for a long, articulate exploration of one idea.

The Internet favors shorter, faster writing. This is changing the way books are written. New processes are emerging.

500 blog posts
Instead of one 55,000 word book, a writer might write  five hundred blog posts of 130 to 150 words.  The author still writes 55,000 words over 18 months, only now the words are spread over five hundred daily blog posts.  Seth Godin's daily blog posts focus exclusively on marketing. Cumulatively they are an education in marketing. Assembled and expanded, 500 blog posts turn into a book.

A group of smart people discuss an idea
Get a dozen smart people together, and discuss an idea. Record the discussion. Transcribe the talk and spend the next three months editing the material and adding transitions. Publish the book as a PDF. The result: a published book in three months. End Malaria is an example of what this kind of book might look like. (I've read it. It's a good book.)

Quickly written books
John Locke wrote several novels featuring one series character, then published all five books at once. The idea was that people could read the first book and quickly buy a second. He describes his marketing plan in How I sold 1 million ebooks in one year.

Short fiction and more novels
According to a piece in the New York Times, publishers are pressuring best selling authors to write at least two a year, and a few pieces of short fiction between books.

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