Saturday, July 30, 2011

Author Angst

Authors today have to wear many hats. In fact, not only wear them but have a degree in each function represented by those hats.

It was once only being a reclusive typist with a way with words, but now the author has to know how to build a website, create a brand, issue press releases, develop a marketing strategy, develop a target audience, besides writing a Pulitzer Prize winning query letter. Now, technology has slammed another brick on our foot.

All the XHTML, XML, CSS alphabet soup that sent your head spinning is now obsolete. These small handheld devices don’t like the old stuff; they only digest digital meals written in HTML5. So, just as you worked your way up to the plateau of your learning curve, another curve is thrown in front of you.

Well, get cracking. You have to redo all your Internet presence so it will show up on an iPhone or iPad. Current digital wizardry is like Harry Potter getting stuck with a punk wand while in the brazen stare of Lord Voldemort. Trusty old Microsoft Word has turned into a jigsaw puzzle and outputs file types that e-book distributors gag on. Your next book has to be carefully stylized to pass the vetting process of upload conversions to ePub. Major players like Adobe’s InDesign is fast becoming the go-to layout program. Have fun with its learning curve.

Authors need to incorporate so they can hire a staff and function, not like a small business, but a small-cap business. You need lawyers, nerds, editing and marketing experts, media promoters, and publicists that have holdings in Dubai. You need backers, brokers, and world class poker players. But most of all, you need a walk-in closet to hold all your hats.

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