Horror Roundtable 7 – The Future of Writing

roundtable_01When: March 18, 2013
Time: 3pm Pacific Daylight Time (use the Time Zone Convertor to find your local time)

The Future of Writing

Technology has surged ahead over the past few years and technological advances show no sign of slowing. We’re living in the future. What does this mean for us writers? Does it open new pathways to success and unlimited options to explore our imaginations and present these worlds to our readers, or will it have an adverse effect? If there are always stories to tell, how will they be told in years to come? Will the written word alone be good enough?

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You can follow the Roundtable discussion in the comments section of this post.

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Special Guests:

William F Nolan writes mostly in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Though best known for co-authoring the classic dystopian science fiction novel Logan’s Run nolan281with George Clayton Johnson, Nolan is the author of more than 2000 pieces (fiction, non-fiction, articles and books), and has edited 26 anthologies in his 50+ year career.

An artist, Nolan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked at Hallmark Cards, Inc. and in comic books before becoming an author. In the 1950s, Nolan was an integral part of the writing ensemble known as “The Group,” which included many well-known genre writers, such as Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, John Tomerlin, Richard Matheson, Johnson and others, many of whom wrote for Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Nolan is considered a leading expert on Dashiell Hammett, pulps such as Black Mask and Western Stories, and is the world authority on the works of prolific scribe Max Brand.

Of his numerous awards, there are a few of which he is most proud: being voted a Living Legend in Dark Fantasy by the International Horror Guild in 2002; twice winning the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America; being awarded the honorary title of Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. in 2006, and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association in 2010.

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Taylor

Taylor Grant is an author, multi-hyphenate filmmaker, actor, Hollywood script consultant, and award-winning copywriter. His work has been seen on network television, the big screen, the web, newspapers, comic books, national magazines, anthologies, and heard on the radio. He is an Active Member of the HWA and is currently the Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Evil Jester Comics, a recently launched publishing company dedicated to quality horror comics. His horror stories have been published in the Bram Stoker nominated anthology Horror For Good, as well as A Feast of Frights from the Horror Zine, Box of Delights; the forthcoming anthologies Fear the Reaper, Blood Type, Nightscapes Vol. 1, and Cemetery Dance Magazine.

 

 

 

 

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Brad_Bio_PicBrad Hodson – Originally from Knoxville, TN, Brad C. Hodson lives in Los Angeles. He’s written several award winning short films and has a few feature options out there. He co-wrote (and co-funded) the low budget horror comedy George: A Zombie Intervention and his first novel, Darling, was recently released from Bad Moon Books.

When not writing, he sneaks into your house and watches you sleep. It’s a little creepy. You might want to think about getting a dog.

Check out his work and musings on various topics over at www.brad-hodson.com.

 

 

 

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GiglioPeter Giglio – A Pushcart Prize nominee and an active member of the Horror Writers Association, Peter Giglio is the author of four novels, three novellas, and he edits a successful line of books for Evil Jester Press. His works of short fiction can be found in a number of notable volumes, including two comprehensive genre anthologies edited by New York Times Bestselling author John Skipp. With Scott Bradley, Peter wrote the author-approved screen adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Night They Missed the Horror Show,” and an established screenwriting team in Los Angeles holds the film option on Giglio’s Sunfall Manor.

 

 

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ChristopherChristopher C. Payne was born in January 1967 and grew up in DeSoto, IL. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, graduating in 1990.  Currently, he lives in San Francisco, CA.  In his spare time, he enjoys biking and snowboarding with his two daughters and an amazing wife.

Chris dabbled with writing in his spare time before deciding he would be better served focusing on the publishing side of the literary industry.  He founded JournalStone in April of 2009.  JournalStone began as a blog before transitioning to a publishing company in the fall of 2010.

Journalstone shot out of the gate by immediately launching a short story contest, then a full blown novel writing contest and quickly began to sign authors.  Getting some help from a few HWA members Chris established some author friendly procedures and was well on his way to publishing books.  That Which Should Not Be, the winner of the inaugural writing contest in 2011, received a warm welcome on its publication date and was subsequently honored by being nominated for a HWA 2011 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel.  Ghosts of Coronado Bay, another 2011 JournalStone offering was also nominated for a HWA 2011 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult novel.

With two books nominated for awards in JournalStone’s first 12 months of operation, Chris is still not willing to slow down.  2012 has already seen JournalStone on the front cover of Publishers Weekly magazine in an April issue; with three of its authors highlighted on the inside cover.  Additionally, Joseph Nassise (international bestselling author), Jonathan Maberry (New York Times bestselling author), and Benjamin Kane Ethridge (2010 Bram Stoker Award winner), have been added as JournalStone signed authors, complimenting Brett J. Talley and Anne C. Petty on a shared world anthology titled Limbus, to be released in April of 2013.

Look for more announcements from JournalStone as they continue to flourish, establishing their place as one of the premier genre publishing companies in today’s rapidly fluctuating market.

 

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Rules and Etiquette

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Any spam or comments posted for the sole purpose of self-promotion will be deleted, and will see you banned from further Roundtable involvement.

111 Responses to “Horror Roundtable 7 – The Future of Writing”

  1. Peter Giglio says:

    I’m here. =)

  2. Taylor Grant says:

    Good afternoon,

    I want to thank everyone on this panel for taking time out of your busy schedules to be a part of this Roundtable today.

    I think it’s probably best for us to jump right in.

    From the quill, to manual typewriters, to the first printing press, to computers—new technology has had a great effect on writing throughout the ages. The exponential growth of technology, however, has forced writers to adapt faster and faster. As writers, how important do you think it is for us to embrace technology?

  3. Brad Hodson says:

    Reporting for duty.

  4. Brad Hodson says:

    It’s incredibly important to at least understand the technology from the reader’s standpoint. From our end of things, technology has merely simplified and made efficient what we’ve always done: string words together. But the delivery systems that get those words to the reader have changed drastically, even in just the last ten years. The tools used to market those words and get your name out there, even how reviews are conducted, has been moving at the speed of light. You can still write a book with just a pencil and paper, but getting it out there and developing an audience has moved beyond the average Luddite.

  5. Peter Giglio says:

    It’s very important, Taylor. But remember, digital technology, online distribution, and piracy impacted the music and film industry long before they hit publishing, which means that, at least in terms of the current revolution, we saw it coming. Or, better put, we should have. That might have given us a clear advantage, though I’m not so sure it did.
    I think the lesson we can learn from this is that we have to keep our eyes on the future, always aware of new movements. A perfect example is Medallion Press’s new TREEbook product, an application that seamlessly integrates time triggers into a book, promising stories that shift and grow. This should be particularly interesting to horror writers, because the new app is launching with a horror title by our very own Gregory Lamberson.

  6. Brad Hodson says:

    TREEbook sounds like it’s at the forefront of where things are headed. I was just speaking to a sound engineer who is working on an ebook manual for sound mixing for film. He’s integrating videos and hyperlinks into the book itself. The possibilities for total immersion are endless.

  7. Taylor Grant says:

    Great points, gentlemen. I have to say, alot of writers I’ve met in the past are technophobes. And this is a shame, because technology, in many ways, has leveled the playing field for many writers. While it definitely forces the writer to learn new skills, those skills can have a dramatic effect on their book sales and careers.

    For instance, self-published authors have been forced to embrace technology. They have learned to format their books (ensuring proper indents, special characters, interior images, and table of contents in various formats). Also, making them available for different devices, understanding things like DRM copy protection, text-to-speech enabling for Kindle, etc. And that’s just putting the book together…

    After that, there is distribution and embracing all of the technologies that the Web offers to market and build an audience. Understanding how to leverage the power of the Web has become an essential part of being a writer.

    Personally, I don’t see how any writer can thrive in the future without leveraging the power of technology and the many tools and resources that it provides.

  8. Taylor Grant says:

    This TREEbook product sounds fascinating, Pete. I’m eager to learn more about that.

  9. Peter Giglio says:

    One of the questions we were asked to ponder: “Will the written word ALONE be enough?”

    It never has. Covers, formatting/typesetting, dust jackets, illustrations, and multiple formats to meet various income demographics: these things have always been a big part of a book’s appeal and success. The publishing industry has always adorned the written word. Always! Some might even say that eBooks are a more basic representation of pure prose than print. And though that argument doesn’t trump the significant and valid concerns associated with digital publishing, it does provide something worth thinking about.

  10. Peter Giglio says:

    That said, I’ll never give up my print books. =)

  11. Christopher Payne says:

    What I find perplexing is how writers embrace technology and are constantly moving forward but publishers seem to be stuck in an antiquated model that does nothing but stifle all of the current methods for delivering books. While e-books are taking hold the old stock books in the warehouse method is still being used by all the large publishing houses which seems so out of date to me.

  12. Brad Hodson says:

    Good points, Pete. Especially with the massive influx of self-publishing and explosion of small press publishers, you really can judge a book by it’s cover to some extent. It’s the first marker of a professional project in a field that’s being flooded at the moment.

  13. Peter Giglio says:

    POD (Print on Demand) technology is an innovative method to keep the print book alive, and I truly believe that this method (once reviled, now gaining greater acceptance) will stick around and become more common.

  14. Sunni Brock says:

    William F. Nolan is on the way…

  15. Peter Giglio says:

    So I think we park our cars in the same garage, Christopher. There are current issues with distribution via the POD method, but the market is evolving.

  16. Christopher Payne says:

    I love POD. I have no idea why everyone does not migrate to this model. I was talking to a distributor in New York last week and even they were talking about hybrid programs that incorporate smaller print runs and filler POD abilities when the print runs out. Basically tying the two models together to keep costs down but still not forcing anyone to stock large quantities of books.

  17. Christopher Payne says:

    Then you have incredible writers like Bentley Little who refuse to go online and use a computer. I have to write him letters to contact him. I LOVE that in a way. Some of the old school methods can still stir creativity that gets lost in the technology boom of instant gratification I believe.

  18. Peter Giglio says:

    The POD method is terrific in many ways. Limitless copies. No remainders. The potential of a title never going out of print, regardless of demand.

  19. Brad Hodson says:

    Another field that’s growing exponentially is audio books. With the proliferation of smart phones and sites like Audible developing easy to use apps, I think the audio book is going to continue to grow as a method for readers (listerners?) to consume content. And with the ease of digital audio recording and editing software these days, the old blocks to even self-publishers creating audio versions of their work is vanishing.

    I just hope they hire VO artists and don’t do it themselves…

  20. Brad Hodson says:

    Quote: “The POD method is terrific in many ways. Limitless copies. No remainders. The potential of a title never going out of print, regardless of demand.”

    AMEN.

  21. Peter Giglio says:

    Yes. I love audio books, but I’ve purchased a few poorly performed titles lately. So Brad, I share your concern about the VO work.

  22. Brad Hodson says:

    It’s the same thing as cover art. Many folks don’t realize the need for a certain level of professionalism. You see the same thing in indie films. People skimp on the script or the actors and the project suffers.

  23. Sunni Brock says:

    writing as Nolan:

    I just sold audio rights to all three of my Logan novels, but I never received these audio versions. So I don’t know how well done they were. In general, I think audio books are a good idea.

  24. Brad Hodson says:

    There’s a reason certain careers exist, after all. They require some skill. Just like us blabbering all over the page…

  25. Peter Giglio says:

    Which is the same concern I have regarding the quality of editing in our democratized market. I’m thankful for Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. I think that helps separate quality work from some of the published first drafts out there today. I encourage everyone to use that feature.

  26. Christopher Payne says:

    I’m looking into a few companies to license some of our books for the audio rights. There are some fun companies out there. I won’t name names but I have been impressed with several and hopefully, knock on wood, we will be entering that market soon. I love cruising down to LA while listening to a good book. The only issue is my wife and I agreeing on what to listen to. LOL

  27. Brad Hodson says:

    QUOTE: “In general, I think audio books are a good idea.”

    I’m really into audio books right now. I listen in the car, or while going for a walk on my lunch break. I know a lot of people who say they don’t have time to read if it wasn’t for audiobooks.

    And I’ve got to check out those Logan audiobooks…

  28. Taylor Grant says:

    Leveraging the power of the Web, it is so much easier to get access to talented voice over artists and graphic designers who will work with you on price. There is no excuse for shoddy work in audio books or ebooks.

  29. Christopher Payne says:

    I do agree that with the influx of titles hitting the market we are seeing the quality of ‘edited’ books decline. What is the definition of editing it today’s market anyway? What defines ‘edited’.

  30. William Nolan says:

    For myself, I don’t listen to audio books. But they are definitely an active part of our culture. They can’t be ignored.

  31. Brad Hodson says:

    QUOTE: “Leveraging the power of the Web, it is so much easier to get access to talented voice over artists and graphic designers who will work with you on price. There is no excuse for shoddy work in audio books or ebooks.”

    Or even editors. There’s really no excuse for a shoddy self-published book. If the cover art is atrocious and it’s poorly edited, then obviously the writer didn’t care enough about the work to create the best product they could. And if they didn’t, why should I?

  32. Peter Giglio says:

    Good question, Chris. A book needs to be content edited and line edited. With so many emerging Mom & Pop editing services out there, it’s hard for the self-published author who has no experience to know who to trust. Which is why, I think, it’s more important than ever for new authors to sell their work to trusted presses. Do your homework. Look at the covers. Read the books. And have patience.

  33. William Nolan says:

    Jason V Brock and I agree on editing, we collaborated on two anthologies, The Bleeding Edge and The Devil’s Coattails. To us, there is a difference between ‘compiling’ a book and ‘editing’ a book. Many so-called editors are actually compilers, stacking one story upon another, whereas Jason and I truly edited our anthologies.

  34. Brad Hodson says:

    Patience is an interesting topic, Pete. Do you feel the new technologies have created a culture of impatience for many emerging writers? Is self-publishing sometimes used over other models simply for instant gratification?

  35. Peter Giglio says:

    I think that self-publishing is best utilized by established authors who have the right editors, or who are selling their back catalogue.

  36. William Nolan says:

    Proofreading is just as important as good editing. I have read books that are superbly edited yet contain many typos. There is no excuse for this.

  37. William Nolan says:

    Good editing is becoming a lost art form. Not every writer is a good editor and not every editor is a good writer. Editing has its own skillset.

  38. Peter Giglio says:

    William, yes! There is a huge difference. When I edit an anthology, it’s always a major project that requires a lot of work. Brad: The short answer is yes. I think there are a lot of drivers for anxiety in this day and age. When I was trying to sell my first novel, I was deeply tempted to self publish it. Thankfully, I didn’t. The contract came. I just had to keep pushing.

  39. Taylor Grant says:

    I agree, Brad. “Patience” is an interesting topic. A writer may spend a year or much longer writing a book. And then a few hours on the book cover? It’s astonishing to me.

  40. William Nolan says:

    There was a time when self-publishing was a death to any serious writer. Now all that has changed. I, myself, am publishing a collection of my own poetry.

  41. Taylor Grant says:

    Bill, how has the experience of self-publishing been for you so far?

  42. Peter Giglio says:

    That’s true, William. But self publishing can still hurt a first time writer who doesn’t know what they’re doing. It’s a wonderful tool for the professional, but the amateur should still earn their bones, in my estimation.

  43. William Nolan says:

    Taylor, I’m not finished with the book yet, so I have no way of knowing! I do enjoy having total control without a publisher dictating changes.

  44. Brad Hodson says:

    There’s something to be said for being vetted and learning how to get past the gatekeepers of traditional publishing. They’re generally looking for good writing, after all.

  45. William Nolan says:

    Peter: I agree!

  46. William Nolan says:

    Self-publishing is a two-edged sword, certainly.

  47. William Nolan says:

    I don’t a damned thing about ebooks, and I don’t care. My age qualifies for being a curmudgeon.

  48. Christopher Payne says:

    I totally agree Peter. There is a big difference in a seasoned author self-publishing some of their work and a new author who does the same. Not that there are not good titles out there that are done by first time authors who self-publish but it is not the norm.

  49. Taylor Grant says:

    A lot of what we’ve discussed so far speaks to the fact that writers are not just writers anymore. They are also publishers, marketers and entrepreneurs. This is something that not every writer is comfortable with.

  50. Brad Hodson says:

    William – You definitely have more experience in the business than the rest of us. What have you seen as the biggest game changer from a technological standpoint in the last few years? Social media? Ebooks? Or something else entirely?

  51. Peter Giglio says:

    Once again, I’m just thankful we have that “Look Inside” feature at Amazon and B&N Online. The first few pages of any work say a lot.

  52. William Nolan says:

    Print on demand and ebooks are already lowering the bar for publishers who want to get into the game but perhaps don’t know what they are doing, either.

  53. Taylor Grant says:

    Time is starting to get away with us. :)

    Let’s move this topic along to some other areas that we listed on the HWA page.

    For instance, any speculation on how technology will impact how stories are told in the future?

  54. Taylor Grant says:

    Meant “time is starting to get away FROM us.” ;)

  55. William Nolan says:

    Brad: It’s a combination of all those. Mainline publishing has become increasingly consolidated and there are far fewer markets for beginning writers.

  56. Brad Hodson says:

    I think we’re going to see a new type of short fiction, something larger than flash fiction but still very digestible. Something that will quickly and easily be read on cell phones.

    Novels, especially “airport thrillers,” may start to model themselves on this as well with short chapters. This may expand into subscription models for books, especially by bestsellers, where you subscribe to a new new novel and download chapters as they become available.

    The above mentioned multimedia books will become more pervasive, especially with non-fiction. If you’re reading a book on JFK, why not actually watch the video of Ruby shooting Oswald from your iPad or Kindle?

  57. Peter Giglio says:

    William: I agree. Taylor: Hard to say. Maybe we should pay more attention to the film and music industries. We seem to get affected after them.

  58. Christopher Payne says:

    As new publisher I totally admit to stubbing my toe a few times. I sure hope that we are doing more good than harm though. :) I can say this business is so much fun and I love the process of seeing a project go from an idea to words to a book and the role I get to play in that. I truly feel blessed to work with the HWA and so many amazingly talented people. No matter what the flaws in the system might be this is a fun ride.

  59. Peter Giglio says:

    For instance, 360 contracts are starting to creep into the publishing arena (they’ve been part of the music industry for a while), requiring authors to sign over all rights to the book, including any future rights. So someday, when the holographic book, or whatever comes next, is introduced into the market, the author loses all their rights to make a proper and profitable deal. Bad idea.

  60. Brad Hodson says:

    Additionally, I bet you’ll start to see “bonus material” like on a DVD. You can easily access deleted chapters, alternate endings, author interviews, etc, directly from your device.

    Of course, I do think the death of print books is greatly exaggerated. I don’t see them going anywhere.

  61. Taylor Grant says:

    FUN FACT: Did you know that FIVE of the TEN best selling novels in Japan in 2007 were CELL PHONE NOVELS? (That is, stories originally written on a cellular phone via text messaging).

    There is also blog fiction, fan fiction, and who knows how many other types of ways to create content in the future.

  62. Peter Giglio says:

    I did not know that, Taylor. Very interesting.

  63. Taylor Grant says:

    As writers, there will always be a need for great storytellers. And it will be up to us to adapt to new technologies to keep ourselves relevant.

  64. William Nolan says:

    Peter: That sucks! I would never give all my rights away and it’s morally wrong for them to ask. Afterall, what does a writer have beyond their rights?

  65. Peter Giglio says:

    William: AMEN!

  66. William Nolan says:

    I think all this is very unfortunate. There’s nothing to replace a good solid hardbound book.

  67. Christopher Payne says:

    I personally hate reading anything on my cell phone. It is hard enough for me to read on an e-reader. I am getting old though.

  68. Taylor Grant says:

    BRAD: I think you’re absolutely right. Multi-media books will continue to grow. Books with audio, special effects, extra features, etc.

  69. William Nolan says:

    Imagine a cell phone version of War and Peace.

  70. Brad Hodson says:

    I agree completely, William. Even with my iPhone and Kindle and all that jazz, when I want to read a novel I have to have the physical, printed book. I listen to audiobooks but, aside from that, I typically only read non-fiction and the occasional short story on a device. For various reasons I don’t think printed books are disappearing anytime soon the way that CDs or DVDs are doing.

  71. Peter Giglio says:

    William: I agree. But as Brad said, I don’t think print books are going away. It’s likely not to be the breadwinner any longer, but I, for one, will never give up my shelves and shelves of beautiful books, and I’m sure that’s true for many of us.

  72. Taylor Grant says:

    It looks like our hour is just about up, gentlemen. We’ll be opening up to questions in just a moment….

  73. William Nolan says:

    What happened to using your imagination to build the scene and characters in YOUR HEAD? This dilutes the whole point of what a book really is.

  74. Christopher Payne says:

    William: I agree totally. I love a book and using my imagination. It is so much more fun and enjoyable when a great writer like yourself paints a picture that I can envision, without electronics.

  75. Taylor Grant says:

    I totally agree that the form of storytelling that requires the most imagination is straight prose, and I never want to give that up. But as a writer who has written animation for television, live action television, films, short films, short stories, plays, web animation, etc.–I’ve been forced to adapt and change and learn new ways to tell stories. I look forward to what other formats and venues will become available to me as a storyteller.

  76. Peter Giglio says:

    Yeah, you won’t catch me writing a book on my cell phone.

  77. Brad Hodson says:

    Ditto, Pete.

  78. Christopher Payne says:

    Taylor: That makes sense. I love a good movie and I of course watch TV. Game of Thrones on HBO is flat out awesome, as well as The Walking Dead which is another show I love. My only real issue with print is I have to now use reading glasses. :)

  79. William Nolan says:

    Taylor, having written in most of the forms that you have named, it’s a matter of altering your method of storytelling from one medium to another. Not everyone can do it.

  80. myoung says:

    A huge thank you Bill, Taylor, Peter, Christopher, and Brad, for taking the time to provide us with a very stimulating discussion.

    Our guests will be online for another half an hour to answer your questions or comments, so please feel free to get involved.

  81. Brad Hodson says:

    I know a screenwriter who does their first pass with speech recognition software. I don’t care much for that, but it is interesting.

  82. Peter Giglio says:

    I assume the floor is now open to questions…

  83. William Nolan says:

    Rod Serling and Earl Stanley Gardner dictated everything. So it could be done.

  84. myoung says:

    Do you think books like those Choose Your Own Adventure ones from the 1970s or 1980s will made a big return (or are they already)?

  85. Taylor Grant says:

    Speaking of technology and writing–I recently discovered a new tool that has increased my productivity immeasurably: I started dictating stories into my cell phone while I’m on the road. The voice recognition software transcribes my voice into text. That tech enabled me to write two stories that I never would have had time to write. But I was able to take advantage of the time on the road to stay creative and keep writing.

  86. Brad Hodson says:

    Taylor – What’s the app called?

  87. Taylor Grant says:

    And Bill–it was reading about Rod Serling dictating his scripts that actually inspired me to try it last year!

  88. Brad Hodson says:

    Marty – I would love to see that. Kind of a fusion between those and some of the early text-based computer games would be cool.

  89. Christopher Payne says:

    Wow, Taylor. Now that is awesome new technology. I have not heard of that.

  90. Taylor Grant says:

    There is a free app for Dragon Speaking, which I was only partially happy with. I actually use “Pages” on my iPhone.

  91. Taylor Grant says:

    It’s not perfect, by any means. It requires patience because it takes up to 30 seconds for it to transcribe whatever you’ve spoken. And the transcriptions aren’t perfect. But it DOES enable you to get a first draft down quickly.

  92. Peter Giglio says:

    Marty – I think the new TREEbook app from Medallion is something of a modern day take on that. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

  93. Taylor Grant says:

    A surprising benefit I’ve found is that SPEAKING the story aloud actually stopped me from self-editing so much. I just told the damn story. Later, I went back and focused on the language.

  94. Brad Hodson says:

    That’s a great benefit, Taylor. You and I have spoken about that before, how self-editing keeps new writers from finishing a first draft.

  95. Peter Giglio says:

    That sounds like a great tool, Taylor.

  96. Taylor Grant says:

    Absolutely. Perfectionism can be a first draft’s worst enemy.

  97. Taylor Grant says:

    As we wrap this up, are you optimistic about the future for writers and new ways of telling stories? Or do you think it will be even harder for us?

  98. Peter Giglio says:

    I’m optimistic, but I’m also careful. It’s important that we embrace new opportunities, but we should never allow ourselves to become enslaved.

  99. Brad Hodson says:

    It’s hard to say. The market as it currently stands makes it more difficult for new writers to develop an audience and for any writer to make a living from writing. However, it does seem that ebooks and audiobooks are getting more people interested in literature. It might be a short term fad as people play with their new tech toys, or it could (hopefully) bring more people back to the love of reading. If the latter happens, then we all benefit.

    That should be our goal as writers and publishers: creating more readers.

  100. Peter Giglio says:

    Well said, Brad.

  101. Peter Giglio says:

    Thanks for a great discussion, everyone. I look forward to seeing you all at WHC in June. =)

  102. Taylor Grant says:

    My final thought is diversification. I’m a storyteller. Regardless of whether I’m writing a comic book, a short story, a film or some future holographic technology that’s embedded in my eye socket.

    I look forward to exploring new technologies as they are created and leveraging my experience as a storyteller whenever I can. ;)

    Thanks to everyone on the panel for this engaging Roundtable!

  103. rocky Wood says:

    Excellent discussion, all. Let em ask this – it seems formatting for ebooks is actually quite difficult and an area of expertise. How are publishers going about getting this right? It is surprising to me that there aren’t more specialist ebook publishers. It seems to be a niche in the small press horror industry that is open?

  104. rocky Wood says:

    I have discussed this concept of multiple paths in a tale, mentioned above, which is opened again by new technology, with many readers. Most have told me something like that’s for geeks, or that’s for role game players. Most readers seem to prefer being told one tale. I can see Director’s Cut and maybe alternate endings (for instance, King could easily do that with ‘Cell’) and ancillary material, like research. I can see multimedia embedded in the material even (although again how much that would break the fourth wall or suspension of disbelief particularly in horror is a moot question). But I do wonder how much distraction a reader is willing to embrace.

    On the other hand of course, Gen Y and subsequent generations may demand this. The rise of the graphic novel seems to be evidence that the visual is required in addition to prose by at least a proportion of our (currently) younger generations.

  105. Joe McKinney says:

    You guys are doing a fantastic job with this panel so far. The overall tone here is enthusiastic and optimistic, and I like that a lot. I share that enthusiasm for the future of publishing.

    One question (for now): Do you think all the recent technological advances in publishing are sounding the death knell for the literary agent? Agents used to be the gatekeepers in the classical publishing model, deciding who gets through and who remains in obscurity, but that barrier seems full of holes now. If literary agents are to remain part of the publishing process (as I hope they will be) how will they need to adapt?

  106. Peter Giglio says:

    Rocky: That’s a great question. I personally see many opportunities in this arena. As you may know, EJP recently partnered with Bad Moon Books to do their digital publishing. I’m in the process (working alongside Shannon Michaels) to convert more than 30 BMB titles. We’ve finished a dozen. Will this be a big part of our business in the future? I hope so.

    Joe: I’ll let someone who knows more about agents take your question. =)

  107. Hi, I appreciate all the interesting comments here, particularly those about revolutionizing “content” through technology–the enhanced or multimedia novel. I think it’s exciting, but concerning if technology takes the place of content: the story, character, and voice. I’ve begun experimenting on a novella that includes multimedia elements embedded in the text of the ebook: embedded video as backstory; the use of sound to give voice to characters and create atmosphere; etc. Anyway, thanks to all.

  108. Kate Jonez says:

    I’ve been hearing about the growing popularity of serialized fiction. Kindle serials are building a loyal following and Wattpad.com looks like it may become an important new site for authors. Maybe this is because readers have gotten used to the episodic nature of television or perhaps readers like their stories in individually satisfying but connected parts that work well on phones and tablets. Have any of you explored writing or publishing serialized fiction? How does it differ from novels?

  109. Taylor Grant says:

    @ Joe McKinney – I think Literary Agents have to adapt to technology like everyone else or they will become obsolete. They never used to have to deal with the author’s website, blog, tumblr, GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook, etc. in years past. But with each new book launch, these components and the author’s public image are intertwined. They have to interpret data like Amazon rankings, Bookscan numbers, and explain all of this to their client.

    Just as authors are now expected to do their own PR and social media marketing and traditional marketing—literary agents will also be expected to add value by doing things they didn’t have to do in the past—that is if they want to stay relevant to their clients. And a lot of the tools that an agent will need to support their client will be technology based.

    That’s my take.

  110. Taylor Grant says:

    @ Rocky/Leland/Kate –

    As I mentioned earlier in the conversation, “Cell Phone Novels,” (that is, stories originally written on a cellular phone via text messaging) are popular in parts of Asia. And I think that speaks volumes about ONE possible future track for fiction. Serialized fiction.

    Of course, serialized fiction goes back hundreds of years. But the difference now is that there is almost instant gratification. We don’t have to wait for printers.

    Write. Press Send. People Read.

    Like everyone on this thread, I grew up reading prose and was quite happy with nothing more than the pages in my hand…and my imagination.

    But I have an 8 year-old boy and he is simply wired differently. His perception of the world is through the prism of the information/digital age. Sadly, his generation doesn’t have to use their imaginations as much, because they are bombarded with TV, films, Xbox, Wii, DS, Netflix, Youtube, and Internet rich media.

    But does that these younger generations can’t enjoy a simple short story?

    Maybe…maybe not. I’m suddenly imagining how cool it would be when my son is a little older and reads one of my short stories—and it has a CREEPY SOUNDTRACK placed strategically in certain places. Occasional sound effects to enhance the story—like the sounds of crashing waves—or a woman’s piercing scream as he turns the page…

    What if it was an audible book, but it had occasional holographic images to enhance the audio?

    Or what if I was reading an adventure novel, and I clicked the name of the adventurer and a new window popped open that offered me another story from that character’s past? I could learn more about that character in a previous adventure, and them come back to the present story with a better understanding of the protagonist.

    I’m just riffing here, but you can see that there could be some exciting ways to present stories for audiences in the future—for younger generations who are wired differently than those of us who grew up reading prose only.

  111. myoung says:

    This Roundtable is now closed.