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The Writer as Digital Immigrant | 2012
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The Writer as Digital Immigrant | 2012


One of my favourite lectures each year is to the creative writing master class at the University of Cape Town. The title of the lecture is The Writer as Digital Immigrant and looks at the impact of …

One of my favourite lectures each year is to the creative writing master class at the University of Cape Town. The title of the lecture is The Writer as Digital Immigrant and looks at the impact of the digital evolution on creative writing as well as the business of book publishing. This year the subtitle of my presentation was Snapshots Along a Digital Journey and comprised 14 "snapshots" that looked issues such as thinking digital; the evolving digital landscape; storytelling in a digital, commercial arena; and from paper to pixel. Several of the slide need a talking head in front of them, but hopefully people will get the gist of the presentation.

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  • 1. the writer asdigital immigrantcreative writing master class patrick collings October 2012 photo by stephen poff
  • 2. photo by jessica wilsonsnapshots along adigital journey
  • 3. Thinking digitalAn evolvinglandscapeStorytelling ina digital,commercial arenaFrom paper topixel photo by jyewenyi
  • 4. Sn apshot #1Our digitalliv es as ariver ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 5. photo by Al_HikesAZ
  • 6. Sn apshot #2The digitallandscape ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 7. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of NorthKorea, Australia, Chile…Israel, Sweden, Greece,
  • 8. In the time I take todiscuss online video,100+ hours of videowill be uploaded to YouTube
  • 9. social video 50% social video 95%Today 2015
  • 10. there is an app for everything
  • 11. photo by mattsantomarco location is important I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here I’m here
  • 12. augmenting our reality
  • 13. the third screenis the first screen photo by Drinksmachine
  • 14. Snapshot #3...a nd now astory from oursponsor ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 15. Snapshot #4Bran d storiesprefer red overads ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 16. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20largest brands are links to user-generatedcontent
  • 17. Sn apshot #5Contentcurat ion overcreation ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 18. “If you write a book you are an expert” - Dr Charles Martin
  • 19. 764,448
  • 20. Sn apshot #6Colla borativest orytelling ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 21. Sna pshot #7Cons ciousnessof belonging ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 22. “all life is a performance”has been extended offstage photo by chris willis
  • 23. the self is increasinglybecoming externally manufactured rather than internally developed by dana ocker
  • 24. “On Twitter or Facebook you’re trying to express something real about who you are. But because you’re also creating something for others’ consumption, you find yourself imagining and playing to your audience more and more. So those moments in which you’re supposed to be showing your true self become a performance. Your psychology becomes a performance.” - Sherry Turkle
  • 25. Sn apshot #8Cha nging howwe read ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 26. “The Web is good at creating short and snappy bits of information, but not so muchwhen it comes to long-form, edited, fact-and- spell-checked work” - Nicholas Thompson
  • 27. Sn apshot #9All the newsthat’ s fit tosell ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 28. “Ms Lang talks about Time Inc. not as amagazine publisher, but as a branded news and entertainment company.” - New York Times
  • 29. “Many (magazines) are turning themselves from mere carriers of ads into marketing-service companies, giving their advertisers a range of new ways to reach readers.” - The Economist
  • 30. Snapshot #10Stev e Jobs isstill definingour lives ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 31. 30%
  • 32. Snapshot #11Pu blishersgettin g to likedigital ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 33. “Most of us publishers have seen big gainsfrom electronic books this year. We’ve seen some tailing off of the print sales, but formost companies, the growth of e-books has been so great that there’s a lot of revenue coming from the side that sort of gravy for us. So we’re all feeling pretty good” - Peter Ginna, Publisher and Editorial Director, Bloomsbury Press
  • 34. Agency Pricing Traditional Wholesale E-book price $12.99 Hardcover price $26Return to publisher $9.09 Return to publisher $13Less 25% of net sales $2.27 15% author royalty $3.90 to author $6.82 $9.10 Less digital rights Shipping, warehousing & $0.90 $3.25 management production $5.92 $5.85 Less returns and inventory <$5.85
  • 35. The Wall Street Journal wrote that publishersestimate that e-books could be as much as 40% of revenue by the end of 2012.
  • 36. Snap shot #12Claim ing a newterrito ry oftenaccomp anied byb loodshed ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 37. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and the reader.” - Russell Grandinetti, Amazon
  • 38. Laurel Savillelikes Amazon
  • 39. Penguin’sRiverhead Booksdidn’t likeAmazon likingKiana Davenport
  • 40. HarperCollins Publishers and a former seniorexecutive fight over who owns digital copyright
  • 41. “HarperCollins is trying to intimidate authors, overturn established law and grab rights thatwere not in existence when the contracts were signed many years ago” - Chris Davis, COO, Open Road
  • 42. ?
  • 43. “It’s a balancing act, because bookstores areneeded to generate excitement even though the final transaction may be digital” - Lorraine Shanley Market Partners International
  • 44. Snapshot #13Writer’ s crampto g et worse ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 45. “The e-book age has accelerated the metabolism of book publishing” - New York Times
  • 46. 1 Need to satisfy impatient readers who have become used to downloading books at the touch of a mouse button.2 Need to hold onto readers being lured by other entertainment which is available non-stop and instantaneously.3 Strategic use of short stories, timed six to eight weeks before a major release, can entice new readers.
  • 47. Best-selling author Lisa Scottoline has increased her output from one book a year to two books. British thriller writer Lee Child is supplementing hishardcover books with short stories published only as e- books. John Grisham has added an additional series, Theodore Boone novels, to his annual output
  • 48. Snapshot #14Soci al mediaa s a bookc ompanion ph oto by waki ngp ho tol ife
  • 49. “...the Internet has allowed readers to enjoy a more intimate relationship with theirfavourite authors, whom they now expect to be accessible online via blogs, Q. and A.’s on Twitter and updates on Facebook” - New York Times
  • 50. In a feat that even thebest-selling writers mightenvy, young-adult authorJohn Greens latest novelis No. 1 on Amazon.comand Barnes & even though hes still working on it from his comfy La-Z-Boy in Indianapolis. The Wall Street Journal July 2011
  • 51. In only a few short years, the ability to usesocial networking as a literary megaphonehas gone from an afterthought to the focusof most marketing and image shaping bypublishers. "Everyone is now focused on it,because when it works, it can be a runawaytrain," says Tim Duggan, executive editorof Harper
  • 52. “You can’t stop what’s coming.”