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View Full Version : Are you worried about Noveling in this Digital Age?



acockey
10-10-2014, 04:57 PM
I was listening to NPR this morning. They had a short piece on how Amazon, even for all the monopoly like stuff they try to pull, revitalized the Washington Post.

It got me thinking... In an age of digital and you tube videos... do you think that being a Novelists is still a viable path for let's say a fresh faced College graduate?

I think it is only getting tougher. All with the shorter attention spans and what not, but who knows I might just be a blubbering idiot too

shadowwalker
10-10-2014, 05:00 PM
Digital doesn't change anything for novelists: ebooks.

Chris P
10-10-2014, 05:06 PM
I agree with shadowwalker. Digital is just the medium. Writers might use different tools to do the writing, but the product is the same.

I suspect, however, that you might be referring to jobs someone might have in the publishing world. That has always been changing, even before digital, and will continue to change. What a recent college graduate will do in his first year out of college will be different than what he's doing when he retires, but that's always been true.

amergina
10-10-2014, 05:13 PM
I think it's one of the best times to be a writer. There are so many options available. And writers can diversify their sales channels much more than they could in the past.

You do have to be savvy and cautious, too. Because you can get screwed more ways as well.

But overall? I know folks who make a good living writing novels full time.

Buffysquirrel
10-10-2014, 05:15 PM
I remain to be convinced that attention spans are really dwindling. But I've heard so many times in my life that the novel is dead, that I don't listen to that nonsense any more. Even if it did die, it'd be replaced by something very similar. People will always want stories.

KMTolan
10-10-2014, 05:17 PM
If you're in it for the money, then the odds are way against you. Few writers can make a living these days off their writing - less than 10% based on the last figures I saw.

If you're in it because the voices won't shut the hell up, then I'd say you're in good company. Start writing, and worry about the details once you've a finished product.

If you're talking the industry in general, I'm thinking there's not a lot of money there either with everyone pinching pennies, but that's not really an area I can do more than guess on.

Kerry

Motley
10-10-2014, 05:21 PM
do you think that being a Novelists is still a viable path for let's say a fresh faced College graduate?

I never really thought this. I would imagine it might be easier with digital publishing and self-publishing to make money quicker with fiction these days if you are completely dedicated, skilled and a competent marketer. But I still think a plan to be a novelist as a career choice without doing anything else is a bit too starry eyed.

Filigree
10-10-2014, 05:40 PM
Have a day job.

acockey
10-10-2014, 05:55 PM
On a similar note... what do you think about writer's who set up booths at Comic Book Conventions and Street Markets... does that seem like a viable strategy to you?

quicklime
10-10-2014, 06:18 PM
I was listening to NPR this morning. They had a short piece on how Amazon, even for all the monopoly like stuff they try to pull, revitalized the Washington Post.

It got me thinking... In an age of digital and you tube videos... do you think that being a Novelists is still a viable path for let's say a fresh faced College graduate?

...

it was a viable option before?

The pool is shrinking, perhaps, but it was long before the internet. Television and even radio were going to kill books, except they didn't.

There will always be a market. And no reason not to chase your dreams.

But I wouldn't call "being a novelist" as in living well off it any more a viable career path than "being an NBA star." It happens, but only the foolish make no plan B.

As for novelists, the reality is that this has been the case for some time, as well. For every Grisham there are hundreds and thousands of John Nobodys who didn't make it, the field has always been competitive. Successful Novelist is a viable dream, and with work, dreams become more attainable than without. But it was never exactly a promising career choice.

quicklime
10-10-2014, 06:21 PM
On a similar note... what do you think about writer's who set up booths at Comic Book Conventions and Street Markets... does that seem like a viable strategy to you?



Viable to what? Sell a few extra copies? Sure, even as a nobody. Make serious money? Probably not unless you have a platform already. The booth thing can help one build a platform, perhaps, but in small increments. None of them sufficient to make up for a book folks don't want. It is just on more place you can hang a shingle, and how well it works will depend largely on if anyone recognizes the name on that shingle.

Jamesaritchie
10-10-2014, 06:21 PM
Go back to the Golden Age of fiction and see how few novelists actually earned anything approaching a living. There has never been a better time to be a writer.

KMTolan
10-10-2014, 06:34 PM
On a similar note... what do you think about writer's who set up booths at Comic Book Conventions and Street Markets... does that seem like a viable strategy to you?

I do this at Comic Cons. Regarding them, you generally won't break even on net sales after you subtract the table cost ($325 and up) and cost of books and peripheral expenses. That said, it's still a great way to promote and have fun,.

Kerry

Hapax Legomenon
10-10-2014, 07:22 PM
I remain to be convinced that attention spans are really dwindling. But I've heard so many times in my life that the novel is dead, that I don't listen to that nonsense any more. Even if it did die, it'd be replaced by something very similar. People will always want stories.

It does seem to be something that people keep repeating without thinking about it much, so it must be true.

The length of popular stories has for a long time been dictated by binding constraints. Books have gotten longer, for the most part, because book binding for long books has gotten easier and cheaper to do.

The cool thing about ebooks is that you do not have to worry about that at all. An enormous book is the same weight as a short story -- it only takes slightly more data to store, because, let's be honest, text takes pitifully little to store and most of the data for an ebook is going to be the cover art. I literally have a 3,000 page book on my ereader right now and it does not strain my back. Because of this, well, you'd think that if people's attention spans were truly shrinking, they'd be searching out short stories and novellas and such, right? But everything I've read says that they're not.

Becky Black
10-10-2014, 07:42 PM
If it's tougher it's only because there is more competition from more books being published, not because readers don't have the attention span for them. TV's been around for decades and it hasn't stopped people reading books in favour of more quickly told stories of TV shows. Long books are still popular. Plenty of recent success stories have been long books. And when people can read an ebook on multiple devices they might well read at least part of it in small chunks of time. If I'm really into a book I'll end up snatching a few minutes reading it on my phone on the metro or in a waiting room, as well as having longer sessions sitting down with my Kindle.

thethinker42
10-10-2014, 08:14 PM
I think it's one of the best times to be a writer. There are so many options available. And writers can diversify their sales channels much more than they could in the past.

You do have to be savvy and cautious, too. Because you can get screwed more ways as well.

But overall? I know folks who make a good living writing novels full time.


Go back to the Golden Age of fiction and see how few novelists actually earned anything approaching a living. There has never been a better time to be a writer.

What they said. Of course markets fluctuate, but this is an amazing time to be an author. I write ebooks for small presses, and I'm making a better living as an author than I ever did at a day job.

thethinker42
10-10-2014, 08:21 PM
Also want to add... ebooks are making it easier for the older crowd to read. My mom LOVES her iPad because she can prop it on a pillow (her hands shake, so holding a book open and steady is difficult), and she can increase the font size. I'm hearing from more and more senior citizens who say the same thing -- you don't have to wait for large print books anymore, they're easier to carry around, easier to hold, etc.

So that's an entire demographic who suddenly has significantly more books available to them than they had ten years ago. Which, of course, is good for authors.

aruna
10-10-2014, 08:46 PM
So that's an entire demographic who suddenly has significantly more books available to them than they had ten years ago. Which, of course, is good for authors.


This makes me very happy. My books are perfect for the Boomer generation. Plus, they usually have the time to read, many of them being retired.

williemeikle
10-10-2014, 09:03 PM
Are you worried about Noveling in this Digital Age?
acockey

I'm more worried about someone here using 'noveling' as a verb.

aruna
10-10-2014, 09:42 PM
I'm more worried about someone here using 'noveling' as a verb.

Oh. I thought I was just being out-of-touch/uncool/old. So I said nothing. ;)

Jamesaritchie
10-10-2014, 10:09 PM
I remain to be convinced that attention spans are really dwindling. But I've heard so many times in my life that the novel is dead, that I don't listen to that nonsense any more. Even if it did die, it'd be replaced by something very similar. People will always want stories.


Attention spans are as long now as they ever were. People confuse attention span with having more things to do with your time. Not so long ago, I didn't have the internet, or e-mail, or a smart phone, or video games to deal with.

My attention span is as long as ever, but I have more things to do, so each thing may get less time.

But anyone who thinks attention spans are shorter needs to hand a teen a video game he likes. He'll play it for hours and hours, concentrating completely every second.

Give people something they enjoy, and they will zone in on it, and keep at it for hours, whether it's a video game, or a novel.

People don't understand that multi-tasking requires a tremendous attention span, not a shorter one. If you have seven things on a must be done list, going from one to another does not mean a short attention span, it means a long attention span because all seven are really just one task, and you have to concentrate beginning to end to get them all done.

If people don't read our books, it has nothing at all to do with short attention spans, it has to do with not giving them a book they enjoy enough to block out everything else. A good book puts a reader in the same zone a good video game does.

thethinker42
10-10-2014, 10:12 PM
Attention spans are as long now as they ever were. People confuse attention span with having more things to do with your time. Not so long ago, I didn't have the internet, or e-mail, or a smart phone, or video games to deal with.

My attention span is as long as ever, but I have more things to do, so each thing may get less time.

But anyone who thinks attention spans are shorter needs to hand a teen a video game he likes. He'll play it for hours and hours, concentrating completely every second.

Give people something they enjoy, and they will zone in on it, and keep at it for hours, whether it's a video game, or a novel.

People don't understand that multi-tasking requires a tremendous attention span, not a shorter one. If you have seven things on a must be done list, going from one to another does not mean a short attention span, it means a long attention span because all seven are really just one task, and you have to concentrate beginning to end to get them all done.

If people don't read our books, it has nothing at all to do with short attention spans, it has to do with not giving them a book they enjoy enough to block out everything else. A good book puts a reader in the same zone a good video game does.

Shockingly, I am once again in 100% agreement with JAR.

DreamWeaver
10-10-2014, 11:08 PM
I'm more worried about someone here using 'noveling' as a verb.
:Hug2:
I used to get really wound up about people verbing nouns, until I noticed Shakespeare did it. I figure anything Shakespeare successfully used, I won't worry about other people using (even though few can pull it off as well). This decision has saved me a lot of self-inflicted hair-pulling, because most acrobatics one can pull with English, Shakespeare already did. The mystical improving dangling modifier is probably in his complete works somewhere. :D

ironmikezero
10-10-2014, 11:19 PM
I'm more worried about someone here using 'noveling' as a verb.

...er, gerund... and I suspect, somewhat creative, if not sufficiently awkward...

Roxxsmom
10-10-2014, 11:26 PM
The novel's been around for quite a while, and I'm not ready to write its obituary yet. I think there will always be people who want to immerse themselves in stories that rely on the written language instead of visual showing, and there are benefits associated with doing so.

However, the novel is evolving to reflect the widespread availability of highly visual, digital media. I think the increased interest in first person and closer limited third narratives are because these are something novels can do better than movies, TV, and video games.

I also worry about how hard it's gotten for new authors to be discovered (and how hard it's becoming to find new authors as a reader). The decline of brick and mortar stores dedicated solely to books is an issue. Such stores encourage a person to browse through piles of new releases and old backlist is making it harder for new writers to be discovered. Most online buying of books is a result of targeted searching, not browsing. Publishers are more likely to let backlists go out print now (since they are less likely to be found by readers), and new authors often fail to establish a readership in a time frame that's profitable for their publishers.



I used to get really wound up about people verbing nouns, until I noticed Shakespeare did it. I figure anything Shakespeare successfully used, I won't worry about other people using (even though few can pull it off as well).

I've often wondered why folks get upset about this for the same reason. Anyway, many of the gerunds that are standard use verbs today started with someone (and not necessarily Shakespeare) "verbing" a noun decades or centuries in the past.

Sometimes verbs get nouned too. The language is ever evolving, but words are actually falling out of use faster than new ones are being added these days. The loss of words bothers me more than people taking a noun and creating an impromptu gerund that may or may not catch on.

Hapax Legomenon
10-10-2014, 11:45 PM
I'm more worried about someone here using 'noveling' as a verb.

When I first read the thread I thought it meant the entire process of creating a novel rather than simply writing a novel. If self-publishers want to call the entire process of writing, editing, creating a cover, formatting, publishing, and uploading "noveling," well that's a novel (har har) way to put it that makes some sense. However this opens up the construction "short storying" which makes me gag so I am not sure.

Jamesaritchie
10-11-2014, 12:13 AM
I'm not sure I mind "Noveling". Instead of saying I'm going to write tomorrow, I'll tell friends I can't go with them because I'll be noveling.
My guess is they'll be afraid to ask what that means, and they'll leave me alone for the day.

kuwisdelu
10-11-2014, 03:16 AM
I fully support noveling.

Kylabelle
10-11-2014, 04:00 AM
:Hug2:
I used to get really wound up about people verbing nouns, until I noticed Shakespeare did it. I figure anything Shakespeare successfully used, I won't worry about other people using (even though few can pull it off as well). This decision has saved me a lot of self-inflicted hair-pulling, because most acrobatics one can pull with English, Shakespeare already did. The mystical improving dangling modifier is probably in his complete works somewhere. :D

I still await an example, but thank you for remembering this unproductive quest. :D


...er, gerund... and I suspect, somewhat creative, if not sufficiently awkward...

Bingo.

noranne
10-11-2014, 04:09 AM
Noveling may not be technically correct in our current dictionary, but I don't think it's a far stretch from "novelist" (ie, one who novels).

DreamWeaver
10-11-2014, 05:40 AM
The language is ever evolving, but words are actually falling out of use faster than new ones are being added these days. The loss of words bothers me more than people taking a noun and creating an impromptu gerund that may or may not catch on.
If it makes you feel any better (it made me feel marvelous, because I've never heard anyone do it before), one of the Formula 1 auto racing commentators actually used "multitudinous" in a normal sentence during Russian Grand Prix practice this morning. It made my day! (Multitudinous has been one of my favorite words ever since I first read it in The Scottish Play :D).

Helix
10-11-2014, 05:55 AM
Noveling may not be technically correct in our current dictionary, but I don't think it's a far stretch from "novelist" (ie, one who novels).


Odds against you?
Need a book?
Call The Noveliser.

...cue typewriters
...and Edward Woodward with a pen

(I might need more coffee)

noranne
10-11-2014, 07:52 AM
Ooh, Americanized that becomes: The Novelizer. Sounds FANCY!

Brightdreamer
10-11-2014, 08:24 AM
Odds against you?
Need a book?
Call The Noveliser.

...cue typewriters
...and Edward Woodward with a pen

(I might need more coffee)

I'd watch that.

WeaselFire
10-11-2014, 08:38 AM
It got me thinking... In an age of digital and you tube videos... do you think that being a Novelists is still a viable path for let's say a fresh faced College graduate?
Being a novelist has never been a viable path for anyone. It's a passion more than a career and, if you don't have the passion, the career cannot be viable. Your odds of supporting yourself, especially with a family, are extremely low as a novelist. No matter how good you are.

That said, the world needs storytellers. Always has. Always will. The medium changes, the story goes on.

Jeff

aliceshortcake
10-11-2014, 01:22 PM
If it makes you feel any better (it made me feel marvelous, because I've never heard anyone do it before), one of the Formula 1 auto racing commentators actually used "multitudinous" in a normal sentence during Russian Grand Prix practice this morning. It made my day! (Multitudinous has been one of my favorite words ever since I first read it in The Scottish Play :D).

*Stands up and cheers*

All we need now is for someone to use the word "honorificabilitudinitatibus" at an awards ceremony.

gingerwoman
10-11-2014, 04:41 PM
Have a day job.
Or don't. Add me to those who know plenty of people making a living as writers.

thethinker42
10-11-2014, 04:46 PM
Being a novelist has never been a viable path for anyone. It's a passion more than a career and, if you don't have the passion, the career cannot be viable. Your odds of supporting yourself, especially with a family, are extremely low as a novelist. No matter how good you are.

That said, the world needs storytellers. Always has. Always will. The medium changes, the story goes on.

Jeff

Except it IS a viable career path. It's always been a tough business, but especially now, it's absolutely possible to make a living. It doesn't happen overnight, and it's a ton of work, but a viable career path? I'd go so far as to say it's more viable now than it's ever been.

brainstorm77
10-11-2014, 04:55 PM
I'm not worried at all. I still work a day job because the pay and benefits are pretty darned good, but my writing brings in a nice second income :)

williemeikle
10-11-2014, 05:16 PM
Being a novelist has never been a viable path for anyone.
Jeff

Well, it's been a viable path for me.

Ken
10-11-2014, 09:44 PM
I think it is only getting tougher.

Hope so, if it'll reduce the number of books making it onto the shelves. Lots don't belong there to begin with. Sheer drivel, fit for the scrap heap. A real labor to unearth the good stuff.

thepicpic
10-12-2014, 10:48 AM
Hope so, if it'll reduce the number of books making it onto the shelves. Lots don't belong there to begin with. Sheer drivel, fit for the scrap heap. A real labor to unearth the good stuff.

Speaking as someone querying his first manuscript around, you'll understand if I don't fully support this sentiment.

Ken
10-12-2014, 03:04 PM
Speaking as someone querying his first manuscript around, you'll understand if I don't fully support this sentiment.

Some first manuscripts are brilliant. Take Frankenstein which was Shelley's first. Sure yours up to par. G'luck.

Kylabelle
10-12-2014, 03:14 PM
Hope so, if it'll reduce the number of books making it onto the shelves. Lots don't belong there to begin with. Sheer drivel, fit for the scrap heap. A real labor to unearth the good stuff.

Ken, if thepicpic here had not already quoted this I'd remove it. RYFW.


Speaking as someone querying his first manuscript around, you'll understand if I don't fully support this sentiment.

Quite.

RedWombat
10-13-2014, 01:15 AM
It has always been hard to get noticed. I actually think it's much easier now in many ways--I can google up books like ones I like and read chapters. That's awesome! People can find me in a heartbeat now! I can find them just as fast! I can get the entire back catalog delivered to my tablet in five minutes--no more digging through the "Also by..." page at the back of the book and matching it to things in used bookstores and hoping I hadn't missed one.

I don't think the novel is in any danger at all--I just think that many of the old way of getting noticed are changing. Windows are closing and other opening. If you only know one way to success and that way starts to shut down, it doesn't mean that no one will ever be successful again, it means that you have to find another way in.

Sometimes there's a window of opportunity that opens briefly, then closes--I got in as a blogger when Livejournal was big, and most of my adult fan base derived from there, but it'd be a terrible way to try and get noticed now.

There will be other windows, some open for only a very short time, some lasting for many years. Meanwhile, the novel will continue to plug away just fine.

Beachgirl
10-13-2014, 01:26 AM
I'm not worried at all. I still work a day job because the pay and benefits are pretty darned good, but my writing brings in a nice second income :)

I'll second this. I'm not giving up my steady paycheck and benefits anytime soon (hopefully!), but royalties certainly pay for some fun extras.