Muse and Marketplace 2012–The Author Needs Love

This past weekend I attended the Muse and Marketplace 2012 Writer’s Conference and what a revelation.  It was my first time attending the Muse Conference, but hopefully not the last.  Every panel was extremely informative and well-presented (I attended two panels on the craft of writing a memoir, by Nahid Rachlin and Trisha Ryan, respectively, and the non-fiction panel which featured editors and agents that acquire non-fiction titles).

The highlight however was Saturday’s keynote address given by Richard Nash, visionary publisher and upstart, if you can call him that.  He gave a broad but optimistic speech about the future of publishing.  He stated that the 20th century was about sorting out supply and the 21st century will be about sorting out demand.   The key point he made however is that authors don’t just want to be published (that’s not the ultimate goal per se), but they want to be loved.  It does no good to the author to merely see his or her words in print and not have any books sell.  How do authors get love?  By engaging in a continual cultural process of reading and writing.  Nash stated succintly “the reader completes the text.”  That is, the process of reading is really part of the entire cultural context of being readers and writers.  The writer needs a reader to ‘complete’ and add to the text, their own understanding.

Where does technology come into the process of acquiring love through the written word?  Technology can provide a context from which to understand the text and help authors obtain more love by being more closely engaged in the conversations between writers and readers.  One audience member characterized technology as cold and un-thinking but if you think about it, technology is only a tool that one can choose to use or not use.  It doesn’t have any characteristics, in and of itself, but rather how technology is used imbues it with its moral characteristics.

So the take-away is this: don’t be afraid of technology, embrace it, because it may help writers obtain more love.  If you don’t feel comfortable with technology, learn it or find someone that can help you set up an online platform.  Something as simple as a blog has great impact.

Looks like publishing is playing catch-up compared to some other industries.  For fear of being too literal, I will just say that there is no harm in using online dating to find your mate.   Literally using technology to find love.  It’s been done before and there’s nothing wrong with it so dive headfirst into the internet space, you’ll likely find some love waiting for you!

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