Several times I have been intrigued by someone approaching me who wanted to be writer, but who – as became apparent during the course of the conversation – read very little, even in the genre they wanted to be published in. This strikes me as curious in several ways:
- firstly, why wouldn’t you support the industry that you want to be a part of;
- secondly, how do you expect to learn about stories/books and how they are written (put together) without reading them – many of them;
- and thirdly, shouldn’t you know what’s out there (to study the market) before you write your contribution to the genre?
Maybe it is all part of a trend – the physical process of writing anything is now so easy, and publication/communication is so easy through the net, that everyone now wants to be a writer. I started by pounding out things on a typewriter back in the days when even correction fluid didn’t exist, so believe me, I know it has got easier.
At the same time, there are so many forms of other entertainment at our fingertips, in our homes, following us around through iPods and other portable devises, that our reading time is cut – unless we make a conscious decision not to let other forms of entertainment take over. It is not a coincidence that I have not had a working TV in the house for well over two years now.
Still, it does seem weird that everyone and their cat apparently wants to write – but not everyone wants to read…
This (written by Rachel Donadio) from the New York Times, Sunday Book Review of 27th April, via Bibliobibuli (a great site if you want to keep track of what is happening out there in the literary world).
“In 2007, a whopping 400,000 books were published or distributed in the United States, up from 300,000 in 2006, according to the industry tracker Bowker, which attributed the sharp rise to the number of print-on-demand books and reprints of out-of-print titles (…)the same N.E.A. study found that 7 percent of adults polled, or 15 million people, did creative writing, mostly ‘for personal fulfillment’.”
“And the numbers suggest the books will keep on coming. IUniverse, a self-publishing company founded in 1999, has grown 30 percent a year in recent years; it now produces 500 titles a month and has 36,000 titles in print…”
Do they get read? Not much, apparently. “Most writers using iUniverse sell fewer than 200 books.” Even though there is loads of help out there:
“…there are hundreds of creative writing programs offering M.F.A.’s and other credentialing. The Association of Writers and Writing Programs represented 13 programs when it was founded in 1967. Now it includes 465 full-fledged courses of study, and creative writing classes are offered at most of the 2,400 college English departments in
So…who is going to read all those books?