Reading – Staggered by Content

So a few weeks ago there was a debate on a elist that I am on about the prospects of being able to make a career as a writer of fiction nowadays as opposed to 30-40 years ago.

Some people felt that today because there were so many more venues for publishing work that it was a real opportunity for writers to find more exposure and more markets while others felt that with so many options for readers to choose from it diluted the ‘reader pool’ and each individual writer was at risk to earn less than they might have in a less opportunistic environment.

Not having a lot of experience in this venue I simply observed the interesting discussion and thought about it for a bit. In the end I figure that (as with all such discussions) both groups are probably right. There is more exposure for writers now with a greater chance of catching new readers but there is also the risk that people are so busy devouring content here, there and everywhere (and much of it being free) that they maybe don’t latch onto particular magazines, sites, or authors with the same tenacity they might have in past periods.

And moving towards personal experience I certainly feel overwhelmed by content. Simply looking at the stack of unread books on my ‘next to read’ pile and then over at Bookshelf of the Unread and then at the desk where my pda and ipod sit (both full of ebooks) I could spend the next year reading non stop and probably not clear my backlog. Take in all the interesting blogs, twitter feeds and online magazines out there… there’s not enough time to read it all. Very rarely do I get hooked on a particular author and go buy more of their work… I know I won’t get around to reading it. I do maintain a list of things to pick up whenever I clear my current content but that list is already huge.

What about you — enjoying the proliferation of content out there or being drowned by it?

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  • http://swordsedge.ca Fraser

    I’m in the same boat as you, so much so that I’ve had to stop buying books–and let me tell you, that hurts. Add to this the backlog of podcasts and audiobooks, and it’s crazy.

    On the new opportunities for authors, Mike Stackpole over at http://www.stormwolf.com is very enthusiastic about the future. He believes opportunities are there for both established and new authors. Every time I listen to him, I get caught up in his fervour. I do wonder if there are actually any more opportunities vs. the pre-internet days as opposed to just different opportunities.

  • http://www.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Thanks for the comment. I think you are right, it really comes down to ‘different opportunities’ now — figuring out how to make the most of of the tools and publishing options we have nowadays.

  • http://www.brentknowles.com Brent Knowles

    Found a couple related posts, thought I’d drop them here:

    Choosing What Not To Read
    and
    Once Upon a Time, A Paucity of Paper

    This seems to be a popular topic!