Writing in the Digital Age: We Can All Be Neil Gaiman and “Make Good Art”

All a Writer’s Choices Lead to “Make Good Art”

My topic for today was going to be about how authors can make choices that were rarely possible before software opened the production and distribution methods to the interested layman. I was going to make the point that authors can now choose to do create a German translation of their work and sell it on Amazon and iTunes. No need for a third party to broker a deal to a German publisher. Substitute your country of choice for Germany (though experts indicate Germany is very open and the first foreign market to try to crack with a translation).

I was going to make the point that authors can blog their books, use readers to critique, edit and polish before the author then self-publish the resultant book.

Or an author can make an interactive ebook app.

These are all things I know other authors are doing, not just thinking about. Choices that would have been expensively prohibitive only a few years ago. The mind boggles.

I was going to make the further point that knowing what to do, out of all the open choices, is getting more difficult for writers used to having a publisher say, “We’ll buy it, and control all subsidiary rights. You go away and write the next book.”

And then I stumbled across a Twitter link to a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman (an author I adore for more reasons than I can enumerate here).

He says it all so much better. And he’s wittier, too.


I didn’t think to write a list when I was fifteen, so I’ve spent a lot of time doing what others think is wise. No more, thanks to Neil (and the digital revolution). I’m making a list of the things I want to do, and then doing them. Here’s my short list:

  1. Release a reading game app on iTunes (I’m close, but was thinking of bailing because of all the problems getting an artist who will stick with the project).
  2. Keep writing all the books in me, as long as I can.
  3. Write an interactive ebook that works well for older kids and adults with dyslexia.
  4. Finish a screenplay.
  5. Write, blog, and create a series of webinars that help parents of kids with reading difficulties.

I’m looking forward to the mistakes I’m about to make, and the lessons I’m about to learn. Wish me luck.

What does your short list look like?

So, writers, off with you to make good art and enjoy yourself along the way.

And readers, off with you to let those writers you love know they are making good art in your eyes.

And those in the U.S., enjoy the holiday weekend with your burgers, or hot dogs, or barbecue. And don’t forget to kick back and read a good book.

Kelly McClymer is an opinionated new member of Book View Cafe, and a cheerleader of writers reaching readers however they can. You can visit her on her desperately-in-need-of-update website; Follow her on Twitter, hang with her onGoogle+, Like her on FaceBook, and share Pinterests with her. Oh, and she’s on Goodreads, too (once a reader, always a reader)


Comments are closed.