Move over, Rodney: the emerging paradigm for authors

Rodney Dangerfield
Rodney Dangerfield




A reader who is also an author left a comment on one of my blogs earlier today about going to a bookstore to buy some shelf space for his book.  In the process, he lamented to the clerk about how his efforts promoting his book on various social media left little time for writing.

“Yes, even real writers have to do that now,” the clerk told him.

Move, over Rodney. It looks like authors can’t get no respect these days.

Or is it the other way around? Maybe they’re learning to gain respect the old-fashioned way, by earning it.

Those who follow the current transformation in publishing realize that the old paradigm of the author as one who sits holed up incommunicado writing timeless prose for consumption of the unwashed peasantry is a thing of the past.

The eBook revolution is democracy in action.

As Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government ever created by the mind of man, except for all the others.”

Can I have an “Amen”?

There is a new paradigm for authors emerging out of this vast grass roots movement.

It’s called accessibility. When you get right down to it, that’s what the hubbub about social media is all about.  Whether it is called Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Google Plus, Pinterist or anything else, the name of the game is connection.

Under the old regime, people who attempted to converse directly with authors were called “stalkers.”  Now readers can email, comment, direct message or like their way into the computer or phone or eReader the author holds in his hands.

And most authors I know don’t consider this an intrusion.  Rather they love to hear from their fans and readers and to respond to them.

The same is true with author to author communications. To be sure, there are notable examples from years past where a couple of authors developed a longstanding correspondence and shared their fears, joys and frustrations with a lone confidant.

Today, however, authors communicate daily with their peers. I feel as if I have come to know a number of authors quite well, although I haven’t met them in person.  We, in essence, have become on-line pen pals. I am constantly humbled by the graciousness of these authors and by their willingness to give of themselves, to share their views, to put in a good word for me for no reason other than the fact that they want their fellow authors to succeed.

OK, I know there are still cutthroats out there, but to hell with them.  The multitudes of others in the pay-it-forward group far outweigh them.

So, really we are seeing not only a change in the way authors spend their waking hours, but also in the way they interact with their readers and each other. To make his way today, an author must work at his craft as hard as his predecessors did, but he must also display and convey genuineness to his readers and colleagues.

There are many naysayers out there who believe that throwing the floodgates open to the masses, allowing them to self-publish or small publish their books without the establishment’s imprimatur is the end of civilization as we know it.

Balderdash.  The days of the old regime are numbered.

Rodney, you’re welcome at my place anytime.

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