Are Novelists a Dying Breed?

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Oh the times they are a-changing. Remember that song?

Well guess what? Times are always changing. They have always changed and they will always change in the future. The only question is, will you be at the forefront of the change, or left in the dust?

Pitiful Bad News

I know, I know. I can read and I can hear. All the pitiful bad news:

~~ Publishing companies are going broke
~~ Book stores are folding
~~ No one reads anymore
~~ Heck with reading – no one is even buying books anymore

If we believe all of that, no one will ever write another novel, ever. Just as well cash it all in and walk away. (For many aspiring novelists, this is why their novel-in-progress is tucked away gathering dust.)

Ups and Downs

I just have to chuckle a little at all of this bad news hoopla. Why? Because I’ve seen a number of ups and downs throughout my writing career of over three decades.

I remember in the 1970s when video was becoming popular. The alarm went out that the demise of books was near.

I remember sometime later when the alarm went out that there was going to be a severe paper shortage. There wouldn’t be enough paper to even write your novel, let alone get it published into book form.

These are just two brief examples to hopefully set things in perspective.

Those Who Have Gone Before

I was privileged to write a number of author bios for Chelsea House Publishing. I wrote about F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jane Austen (my hero), Samuel Clemens, the Bronte sisters, and several others. What fun I had peeking into the lives of my fellow authors.

One familiar thread ran through every bio – each novelist was intensely focused on writing what was in his or her heart to write. They cared nothing about bad news, downturns in the economy, who was in government, whether or not their work would ever grace anyone’s bookshelf. They wrote because they could not NOT write. It was like a fire burning in their bones.

So where does all the bad news go? That is your decision to make. I certainly have a few thoughts on the subject, but I cannot lead your life.

It all boils down to this: What matters most to you – what’s going on in the world; or what’s burning inside you to get out and written on paper? (OR computer?)

You must decide!


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