It is well known that the rise of the Internet and social media has changed many aspects of our lives. Now, the evolution of the web is having a significant impact on the literary world. More and more authors are gaining the courage to put their work online for evaluation by the public, and for some, the experience has become a great way of life. Here we’ll explore the growing trend and how it’s changing the way novels are written and reviewed.
Why Publish A Novel Online?
While traditional literary journals such as The Believer and The Paris Review exist in digital form, the vast majority of literary fiction is still published in print. Why is this? There are many reasons – from the ease of editing to the flexibility of being able to write from anywhere. However, as more and more people are discovering the benefits of online publishing, the excuse of limited distribution no longer holds much weight. In many cases, an author can upload their work to Kindle and other online stores with ease and gain global distribution.
This ease of distribution is one of the things that make the experience of reading a novel online so exciting. Instead of having to rely on a few large bookstores to distribute their inventory, authors can now reach readers around the world. While this may not seem like an important point, a wider audience can mean more opportunities for the author. Traditional publishing houses may already be familiar with this concept, as increasing numbers of self-published books are becoming bestsellers, drawing attention and increasing profits to those who published them.
Despite the convenience of online publishing, there are still significant benefits to reading a novel or short story in print. If you’re blessed with good eyesight, you’ll appreciate the luxury of being able to hold a book in your hands and visually explore its contents. You may also find that you learn more from printed books, as studies have shown that readers who print out articles and turn the pages slowly and carefully are more likely to understand complex ideas and subjects. If you’re a professional writer looking for inspiration, you might consider submitting your work to a literary journal for publication. Many of these journals now exist entirely in digital form, but the great majority still print them out for readers to enjoy.
Reviews And Rave-Sments
In addition to broad distribution, another significant benefit of online publishing is the ease with which a reader can leave a review. Whether you love or hate a book, nothing stops a reader from leaving an honest review and helping others make an informed choice. This is particularly beneficial for authors, who can find out what their readers think about their work, instead of relying on an independent reading guide or editor’s opinion.
While many traditionalists still prefer to see only positive reviews for a book, the tide seems to be shifting towards welcoming both positive and negative feedback. Even authors who choose to only read positive reviews may benefit from exposure to a variety of opinions, as it can help them grow as writers and gain a fuller understanding of what makes their work unique and of value. It’s no secret that publishing is a competitive industry, and with the possibility of gaining both positive and negative feedback, authors may feel encouraged to publish more, whether or not they are confident in their abilities. Self-publishing is also a great way for established authors to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded market, as they can reach readers who may not have discovered them yet.
It’s important to note that just because a book is published online, it does not mean that it will automatically be reviewed or deemed valuable by the public. There are many articles and writers who believe that the trend of publishing online will result in a devaluation of literary talent, as it removes the gatekeepers who decide what is valuable and what is not. While this may be true in some cases, it is also a great opportunity for authors who want to see their work respected and valued for the creativity and effort that it represents.
The Great Escape
For those who choose to self-publish, the final step in the process is selling copies to readers. This is typically done through a hybrid model called online review shopping, or ‘click to review and buy’ as it is often abbreviated. When an author clicks on a link to a purchase page for a book, they are directed to a review that is typically attached to the article. From there, they can either choose to finish the review or move on to look at other products.
This review shopping model provides an opportunity for customers to read reviews and then make a purchase decision without needing to leave the site. If your goal is to attract and retain customers, this is an ideal strategy as it does not require them to leave the site and subsequently lose them as a customer. Instead, they can stay engaged and potentially become lifelong customers by allowing them to browse reviews and make purchase decisions without leaving the comfort of their home.
While most authors choose to see the review process as a good thing, it can also be a daunting task to try and gain as much constructive criticism as possible. This is where novel blogging comes in. In a nutshell, novel blogging is simply writing a novel – or parts of one – and then publishing it on the web in serial format, usually with some kind of commentary along the way. Some of the more established novel bloggers, like Chuck Wendig, have even turned their processes into fully fledged productivity tricks, as they discuss in their book, Self-Editing For Fiction Writers. This serial publication helps to develop and refine a writer’s skills as they go along, helping them to see each draft as a new beginning rather than an ending, and encouraging them to continually improve and refine their work.
Many successful novel bloggers, like James Frey, Dan Brown, and John Grisham, began their careers doing this very thing. It’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open for opportunities to blog about your work, as this can be an invaluable source of exposure and distribution, as well as a place for you to develop your skills as a writer. Once you’ve established yourself as a proven novelist, online review shopping may not seem so scary – or perhaps even beneficial – and you can then choose to exclusively work with traditional publishers.