By KJ Howe
I've had the pleasure of attending two conferences back to back the last month—Thrillerfest in NYC and RWA in Washington D.C. with the fabulous Banditas! Being surrounded by writers for two weeks was incredible. It also made me consider another aspect of life as an author and I'd love to hear your opinion:
Most writers enjoy studying people (we're all looking for character traits for our heroes/heroines/villains!) and watching everyone at the conferences, I started realizing how the public life of a writer has changed dramatically with the advent of new technologies.
Back in the day, authors rarely had their photos included on their book jackets—now the entire back cover often features the writer in a scholarly pose (deep in thought, perhaps dreaming of the next method to kill off a character!).
Before the internet shrunk the world, authors didn't have much opportunity to meet fans from different countries. Now writers and fans can mingle no matter where they live. Just look at the Banditas…we're from a variety of countries that circle the globe.
Also, given the advent of Book television, Book radio, and the fact that writers are regular guests on talk shows and news programs, publishers are looking for authors who are comfortable promoting their novels in a public forum.
What happened to being able to write in seclusion? Are the days of the solitary author toiling away in front of the typewriter in obscurity over? Do authors need to accept that the world wants to know who is behind their book? Publishers are actively looking for authors who can both promote and be promotable. The new media encourages writers to do more to reach out to readers. Now fans are given unprecedented access to their favorite authors.
This has caused a near tectonic shift in the personality required to be a successful author. If you're more of an introverted personality type, do you feel overwhelmed by this change?
Have you ever read a novel, then met the author and had your opinion change or vice versa?
Do you think this change in the level of author/reader contact has been good for the industry?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! KJ