Self-publishing means many people can create books online. Even teenagers. Young teens, in fact.
An article in The New York Times about how teenagers have taken to self-publishing shows how important books remain for people as a means of expression and accomplishment, and how easily one can become published, without a publisher, an agent or an editor.
This doesn’t mean that the books are great. The article quotes Tom Robbins, who dismisses the worth of these books produced by adolescents:
â€œWhatâ€™s next?â€ asked the novelist Tom Robbins. â€œKiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11-year-old rocket scientists? Any parent who thinks that the crafting of engrossing, meaningful, publishable fiction requires less talent and experience than designing a house, extracting a wisdom tooth, or supervising a lunar probe is, frankly, delusional. There are no prodigies in literature,â€ Mr. Robbins said. â€œLiterature requires experience, in a way that mathematics and music do not.â€
He’s got a point. Good literature requires experience (though exceptions to that include geniuses like Jane Austen who started quite young and first wrote Pride and Prejudice when she was barely 21).
At the same time, literary quality aside, this trend points to the power of books: they’re not only a symbol of accomplishment, they’re a mark of individuality.
For anyone who’s building a platform to create and expand an audience, and to attract readers to one’s content, one’s message and one’s book, this is a welcome trend. It means that the idea of creating books online is one that is generally accepted.
Mainstream media and traditional publishers might scoff at the number of people who now self-publish. But the power is increasingly moving away from so-called gatekeepers and into the hands of the creators themselves.
It’s all about building a following. And with a platform you can do that. Kids understand this, perhaps, better than those who might still resist the idea of platform creation. As the owner of one self-publishing imprint, Kevin Weiss, says in the article:
“Today a 14-year-old author has as good a chance of creating a following as a 50-year-old authorâ€¦ And maybe a better chance because they understand the nuances of social media.”
That means you should work to understand the power of social networking in spreading your message and building your platform. It’s never too late to make a difference.
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