As November draws to a close so does the annual National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of 30 days – not a challenge we would all readily accept! Its popularity begs some reflection on what this says about traditional publishing in the technologically advanced 21st century.
We can all write a blog post. We can all write a 140 280 character tweet. Can we all write a compelling and challenging novel which responds to various literary genres? ‘No’ is the simple answer, but it certainly doesn’t stop the empowerment of the internet from encouraging us to try. What a great example of digital and traditional publishing tools working hand in hand!
There’s no denying that traditional periodical print publishing is massively in decline. Magazines print issues have been ruthlessly axed across the spectrum over the past few months alone. Glamour, for example, announced in October it is focusing on digital publishing at the expense of its monthly glossy magazine, now printing special issues just twice a year. Teen Vogue swiftly followed with the demise of Vogue’s young oriented magazine and the cutting of 80 jobs. All of this signals a sharp shift in young people and their reading alliances.
Meanwhile outside of magazines the novel is seeing something of a resurgence into popular culture. It wasn’t too long ago that the trend for e-readers and e-books seemed to cast the 200+ page bound tome into the trash. Yet the novel seems to be holding steadfast to its print publishing roots. With the re-invention of Waterstones and a growth in book bloggers, #instareads, and monthly book subscription services it seems that, even though publishing seems averse to the onset of digital dominance, there will always be a place for the printed word.
A campaign to renew the relevance of the novel on such a multicultural digital platform such as Twitter instils us editorial folk with new confidence. Weekly magazines and their conveyor belts of predictable and temporarily relevant content don’t hold our attention for too long. We are increasingly turning towards more traditional print like the classic novel as well as digital versions of newspapers, magazines and brochures whose presence both physical and digital seems fixed.
Take a look at our work with The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society. To celebrate its milestone of 150 years we produced a commemorative book detailing the Society’s roots, objectives and achievements across its long history of caring for former seafarers. This project appealed to the Society’s older audience who are invested in their charitable status and its objective of providing top quality care facilities. The hardback book worked for this client whose existence is steeped in history and tradition. We complemented this publication with content that could be utilised in a digital version and on the website. The timeline which ran across the top of each page in the printed book is now a feature on the Society’s brand new website. Tying these two forms together has extended the charity’s appeal and relevance to a great variety of audiences who utilise different media. It has even won a CIPR award for Best Publication
The lesson here is there’s a suitable online or offline print publication for everyone; whether that’s a commemorative book, a graphic novel or brochure. NaNoWriMo’s repeated success is testament to the power of the word and for recent graduates like me and fellow bookworms everywhere, it is proof the book isn’t going anywhere.
Let’s place the printed word back where it belongs. Why not give Acceleris’ Writers Inc department a call to find out how we can help you achieve this? Find us here