Books: the new frontier
I am constantly amazed at the number of people I meet each week who are interested in writing a book. There are lawyers, baristas, waiters, carpenters, stay at home mom’s, students and everything in-between. Yet while many dream of writing a book, most will do nothing about it. Then, there are the select few who will sit down and write out a few pages or even chapters. And finally there are the 2-3% who will actually finish their story.
If you are attending the re:write 2012 Conference then you are more than likely one of the 2-3%, or are very serious about becoming one of them. To write a book is an amazing accomplishment. The amount of time and work it takes to bring your story to page or screen, borders on the insane. Yet once you have created your masterpiece, how do you get noticed by agents and publishers? Many years ago all you needed was a brilliant story, eloquence with words and a little luck. And while these things are still important, they are unfortunately no longer enough.
Over the past few years the only way an unknown author was going to get published was if they had a built-in audience. A publisher or agent wants you to have tens of thousands of followers on facebook or twitter. And though I think this has been unfortunate for the industry, it is the reality none-the-less. Your following BEFORE you publish has become as important as the actual book.
Yet even more recently, the industry is changing once again. While a great story, eloquent writing and a built in audience are all seen as important, they are no longer the only things that will get your book sold. I was recently picked up by Zonderan, a very large and highly respected publisher and I didn’t have a blog and only had 88 followers on twitter. Not only did Zondervan publish my book Awake: discover the power of your story, but they offered a none-to-shabby advance as well.
Although the fine people of Zondervan loved the writing and story of Awake, as I mentioned above, this wasn’t enough to get their attention. What I brought to the table was an understanding of this new frontier of literature. Every publisher in existence is trying to stay ahead of the game in terms of technology. They want to be on the cutting edge of both story and format. With the invention of the e-reader, the book world changed forever. And with every new e-reader and ipad released there are hundreds of new formats waiting to be created.
I am not talking about bastardizing your story or using a gimmick, but finding a format that will take your story to the next level and place you on the top of any publishers stack. My book, Awake utilized multiple forms of art to enhance my story. The story was still good without this new format, but with it, Awake has become the first book of its kind. What publisher wouldn’t want that?
But you don’t have to be a filmmaker or an artist to create a brilliant new format. You simply need creativity (which you already have if you have written a book) and an understanding of this new frontier. At re:write 2012 I will paint a picture of what your book could look like. If you have already finished it, its not too late to go back and tweak it slightly to incorporate a new format. If you have yet to write it, you can dream even bigger, and start with the new format in mind from the very beginning.
Fiction or nonfiction, it matters not. What matters most is your willingness to think outside the box. If you can gain an understanding of where the industry is at, and then look down the road to where it is going, you will be able to create a book that will have publishers salivating. I look forward to meeting you at re:write. While there I will be speaking on the hundreds of new ideas to be found in this bold new frontier of literature.
Joel N. Clark Author of Awake:discover the power of your story