Brave new world: Digital age an opportunity for emerging authors

The digital revolution is a “massive opportunity” for new authors, Deans says.

The digital revolution may be raising publisher and bookseller hackles, but it’s a boon for new authors, says Adrian Deans.

Deans, whose debut novel Mr Cleansheets came out in March, said the evolving publishing environment was frustrating at first.

“The first thing to say for a person like me, being confronted by the digital age, is that I’ve been trying for 18 years to get published and all of a sudden the whole business is changing,” Deans said.

“At the same time there’s a massive opportunity there.”

Deans took that opportunity; using multimedia to “invade the reality of the reader”. The physical book incorporates URLs where readers can find video and music produced especially for the book.

Listen to one of the songs, ‘Beautiful Skinhead‘ (the novel is about a footballer and set in England), here:

Deans said: “I’m not saying that in Mr Cleansheets I cynically thought ‘how can I manipulate this new medium?’.”

“But it occurred to me that nobody had been blending the standard [paper] novel with other media, as far as I knew.”

Deans also has a website, a Facebook page and a blog about football.

Literary agent Pippa Masson says authors must be “multimedia people” now.

Pippa Masson, a literary agent at Curtis Brown, said like it or not, social media savvy was critical for authors in the digital age. (And she’s not the only one.)

“[Y]ou have to be a multimedia person,” Masson said.

“I hate using this idea about people, but it’s the branding thing. And certainly people who are more active on that side are noticed more, and that’s how their audience connects with them.”

See below for Erik Qualman’s video on the explosion of social media as a marketing tool:

Publishers now give tips on digital self-promotion, and Masson said these days she would be more likely to represent an author who “got” social media.

However Deans said writing hadn’t fundamentally changed.

“You still want to tell a good story, and you still want to provide quality,” he said.

“And if you do that, then you’re always going to get published irrespective of the medium.”

DISCLOSURE: Adrian Deans is a relative of this blog’s creator.

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