Not related to the rest of today’s post: Lisa See, who I met back in September and is absolutely lovely, has a new book coming out in May. Click here to read an excerpt of Shanghai Girls, or to enter for the chance to win an advance copy.
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You know how some people live-blog their favorite shows, or concerts, or presidential inaugurations? Well today I decided to live-blog my reading of “Books Unbound,” a piece in Time Magazine which looks (briefly) at the evolution of the publishing industry and the novel.
Now, you have no way of knowing for sure that I live-blogged this, since I posted it like a normal blog entry, but take my word for it. Would I lie to you?
(Well, if there was enough chocolate involved…)
Okay, don’t answer that. Let’s just begin.
A lot of headlines and blogs to the contrary, publishing isn’t dying. But it is evolving, and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it’s done.
Awesome! And terrifying at the same time. Kind of like the contestants on American Idol.
Four of the five best-selling novels in Japan in 2007 belonged to an entirely new literary form called keitai shosetsu: novels written, and read, on cell phones.
WRITTEN ON? ARE THEY CRAZY?
Self-publishing has gone from being the last resort of the desperate and talentless to something more like out-of-town tryouts for theater or the farm system in baseball. It’s the last ripple of the Web 2.0 vibe finally washing up on publishing’s remote shores. After YouTube and Wikipedia, the idea of user-generated content just isn’t that freaky anymore.
Uh, have you SEEN YouTube lately? I’m pretty sure “freaky” still applies.
If Old Publishing is, say, a tidy, well-maintained orchard, New Publishing is a riotous jungle: vast and trackless and chaotic, full of exquisite orchids and undiscovered treasures and a hell of a lot of noxious weeds.
Aren’t there monkeys in the jungle too? Can I be a publishing monkey? … Wait a minute.
We’ll see more novels doled out episodically, on the model of TV series or, for that matter, the serial novels of the 19th century.
Like Twenty-Somewhere! Seriously, y’all, I am the new Dickens. (Hmm, who does that make MJ, Sophie, and Claudia? Pip, Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim??)
Anyway, I thought it was an interesting article, and like Erin said, sometimes you gotta be able to laugh at the industry, otherwise you’ll go cower in a corner and cry.