Friday, July 31, 2009
Posted by Liane Gentry Skye
Not too long ago, I was sitting in an airport waiting for a flight. The flight was delayed, and we hadn't been told by how much yet. I enjoy people watching, and it didn't take long for me to notice that the group waiting for news of our flight was largely populated by a group of teens travelling together. Most of them shared one thing in common. They were all either reading, texting or playing games on their cell phones.
I think it was at this moment when I realized how "wired in" today's teens are. This is a generation that might well have started pointing with a computer mouse before they could string together a two words. I know my children are more at ease with a keyboard than they are with handwriting. And I swear, they can text with their eyes closed.
This was the first time I can truly say I felt old, out of touch. I felt that way because I was out of touch. Folks, the world, it's a changin'. And writers who want their work to remain relevant to readers would be wise to keep a finger on the pulse of digital publishing platforms.
I was truly given pause when I realized how many people were actually reading books on their cell phones. I love print books, I truly do. And in spite of the fact I'm a supporter of the digital publishing model that the Romance Writers of America refuses to embrace, I kicked and screamed all the way to the checkout cart when my husband all but forced me to purchase a Kindle.
Certainly, that flight gave me a lot to think about. When I got home, I asked my teenage daughter, a true Japanophile if there ever was one, if she had any reservations about reading an entire novel on a cell phone. What I got was the vacant look, the one that suggests I've been living in a cave all my life. "You mean...text novels?"
"Uh...yeah, what you said."
"Mom, everyone reads them."
Everyone, except me. Until that moment, I'd always thought I was a "with it" kinda gal simple because my Kindle stays pretty much hardwired to my hand. Uh...maybe not so much. To tell the truth, I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of reading novels on a freakin' telephone. Uh, make that cell phone. "So, you're talking about real books, novels, that people text message to you?"
My daughter didn't need to say "duh" out loud. Her expression of measured patience did it for her. "Mom, most of the novels sold in Japan are text novels. People subscribe to them."
"Like with magazines?"
"Sorry, wrong decade." As I said, cave dweller. And color me clueless, because in spite of the fact my daughter had answered my questions, I still didn't quite "get it." But if there was a whole new genre, an entirely new method of distributing digital books--well,yeah, duh. I'm an author. Granted, a very gently published one, but an author nonetheless. Like all authors, I'd like to be more widely published. And the kiss of death in the writing world is, in my mind, obsolescence.
I have to admit, the idea of reading a wall of text on a cell phone didn't excite me. But since I was already looking for a platform for some "free reads" to help me distribute and showcase my work to potential readers, I decided to take a closer look at text novels.
My search led me to a site by the same name
I learned that text novels are literally serialized books, formatted in 500 word or less "cliffhangers". The author has the option of inserting illustrations, graphics, sounds, videos, and links to enhance the reader's experience. Textnovel boasted an easy to use publishing platform that allowed authors to post their work. Readers may choose to register at textnovel to subscribe to those chapters, and recieve notification of new chapters.
Talk about win/win. Authors get exposure and feedback, and readers get free reads they can access from anywhere via their cellphone.
It didn't take me long to begin my own text novels.
While learning to write in 500 word cliffhangers has been a challenge, it certainly has forced me to write tight and get rid of excess baggage in my prose. Trust me when I say my editor will agree, this a good thing. :)
And, oh. My. God. When text novels are done well, they're like literary crack. I hope you'll take a moment to check out my text novel, a paranormal romantic comedy, Muse Struck. If you like the story well enough to follow it to the end, you can register at textnovel anbd subscribe to future updates.
As a reader, I'm truly addicted to some of the serials I've found at TextNovel, and I urge you to try them out. You might just be among the first to catch a glimpse of next year's blockbuster best seller:
Death's Angel If this author isn't on the NYT best seller list someday, something is very wrong. Just my opinion, but if you love emotional paranormal romances with a literary bent, don't miss this one. . :)
Secondhand Memories The spare prose enhanced by a multi-sensory presentation is the one that got me hooked on this publishing platform.
Like leading edge, literary fiction, bordering on experimental? Try this one: Camoflauge
Do you have a text novel you'd like to share with readers? Would you be willing to follow a book through as a serial you read on your cellphone? Share your thoughts and comments below. One commenter will win a ten dollar amazon gift certficate, so don't be shy!