Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Whole New World

Here's comedian Julie Nolke doing a clever video about Da 'Rona:

She does a few other clever "future self" talking to her older self videos.  They're pretty great.

I'll pause here so you can look them up.

It's pretty wild how six months have changed the world.  Nothing seems the same.  Nothing seems quite right.

Some conversations with my family have ventured guesses about what the future may look like: the waning playgrounds, the bankruptcy of big-box movie theaters, the lesser number of small businesses.  I have no idea if any of this will be true in the future.

What I am going to venture to guess about is the world of books and writing.

In the last twenty years, the written word and the publishing business have evolved.

Getting into the traditional publishing business has become more cutthroat.  Print books and bookstores are slowly declining.  Online publishing is increasing.  Self-publishing has increased.  Authors need to learn marketing and business to promote themselves and their work.

In the last six months, the written word and publishing have changed more.  In the Corona isolation, people have been reading more.  The long-term effects of isolation and political upheaval may affect our world of writing in ways we cannot foresee.

I am not really sure what this means for us writers and the written word, but here are a few guesses:
  1. More entertainment and genre fiction.  People might be reading more, but they are reading to escape.  Easy reading, fun times.
  2. Less "speculative" and experimental fiction.  We have too much real-life drama going on.  Who wants to be challenged in fiction?  That stuff is scary.
  3. More ebooks.  E-reading means that people don't have to come in contact with anyone at the library or the bookstore.  No worries of social-distancing or even offending people if the cover of your romance has a scantily-clad white man with a white German shepherd on the cover.  And if a library burns down, will anyone miss it?
  4. Less libraries and printed books.  That stuff costs money.  Besides, environmentally conscious people might take offense to printed books in the future. 
I am a writer of primarily speculative and experimental fiction (I have tried my hand at romance, but this makes me a little chagrined to admit), and this concerns me.

Will readers in the future demand an easier, more electronic, more entertaining book?

Will that change what any of us write?  Do we want it to?

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