I love bloggers who aggregate links. It’s so helpful and engaging and overwhelming. A hot bundle of links can inspire me to read, explore and think – or glaze over, feel inadequate and move my finger toward the delete button. I’m feeling you all. Not going to do that to any one during this season of butter and sugar. You have enough on your plates.
I will tell you that few things have inspired me more this year than Jane Friedman’s blog There Are No Rules on the Writers Digest website. I appreciate the outreach to the field that springs directly from her love of books and publishing and her fascination with the changes happening at warp speed to the business end of books. She is observant and no-nonsense and not without a sense of humor. Also she likes cats. Here are her ten best posts from 2010, and they are all meaty. Jane also posts a weekly list of best tweets for writers, links to other writing blogs. Here is a list of her ten best Twitter links from this year. Check out Booksquare as well – another keen observer of publishing, books, readers et al.
I thank the fates that brought me to Digital Book World. Oh, right – that was Twitter trolling. Thanks, Twitter. Why am I so interested in publishing? Not just because I write and love books, but because the technology that is allowing e-readers and e-books to be a reading choice shares in its delivery the capacity for storytelling that is both literary and visual in stunning new ways. As new media and technology become accepted tools for consuming familiar forms of creative and intellectual currency (books, magazines, the news), assumptions for how one takes in any creative content will continue to change. The content itself will change. How we think about it and experience it will change. Writers and readers will be impacted, but artists and the art world will too.
Change is a giant pain in the ass. It causes one to adjust, to try new things and form new habits. Change makes us leave behaviors and relationships and attitudes behind, and that is not always a good thing. But change will happen, no matter what we think of it, and if I want to be in the mix when the next generation starts looking for stories and experiences and philosophy, I figure I ought to be paying attention. We humans pretty much always want the same things. All the rest is presentation, and presentation is currently in flux.
So, Digital Book World. I love the framing as a collaborative conversation where all are welcome: publishers, writers, editors, agents, media folk, designers, book sellers and readers. DBW’s weekly half-hour Round Table discussions have a timely theme on which to hang the exchange of ideas. Their online webinars are sometimes free; those I have paid for have been thoughtfully produced and extremely useful. This is an organization you should support through subscription as you would an arts organization or other purveyor of culture: because DBW raises the questions that writers and illustrators and booksellers and readers want to ask themselves. What in the hell is happening? What happens next? What about me? If you are a writer you should be joining the Round Table every week (10:00 a.m. PST – the west coast rules).
Guy LeCharles is the benevolent chair of the proceedings. Thanks, Guy for all you’ve done this year. I am looking forward to the one day I can attend the Digital Book World Conference in January. I intend to buy several people a frosty beer. Book people seem to break out into beer, martini or whiskey folk, and beer is mentioned often during the Round Table. More research needed as to what this is all about. And now, for that leftover turkey. Before your eyes glaze over.