Category Archives: Future of eWriting

Self Publishing and the 4th Era

This terrific article is well worth the read and a bit of contemplation. The times have never been better, in my opinion, for writers who want to get read, and paid. There is so much potential in the internet, eBooks and the business in general it is, for me, a very exciting time to be a writer.

I think the Salad Days of writing, the 1920s to 1950s, were great in that you had a market for short stories and there was more chance a novel could get published and make a few bucks. Radio was around and TV was in its infancy but people still read and read for pleasure. Magazines were full of short stories and some genre, like Sci-Fi and Crime, kept a lot of mouths fed over the years. The advent of TV, video and then cable and now the internet changed the publishing scene and cut off a few income streams for writers for a while.

Today there is a lot more competition with something like a million new publications, in English, worldwide every year but the growth in ebook sales proves people still love to read. While sales have flattened in the last year or so, I think there is still a place to make a living from writing for all online. If, as the article suggests, you can also take advantage of a traditional publishing deal if offered and then return to self publishing, all the better for writers the world over.

Is Video The New eBook?

The growth in video online is phenomenal to say the least. Here are some statistics from YouTube, the #1 web site for video online.

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localised in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network
  • Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3 times since last year, and the number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4 times since last year

YouTube Partner Programme

  • Created in 2007, we now have more than a million creators from over 30 countries around the world earning money from their YouTube videos
  • Thousands of channels are making six figures a year


  • Thousands of advertisers are using TrueView in-stream and 75% of our in-stream ads are now skippable
  • We have more than a million advertisers using Google ad platforms, the majority of which are small businesses

Mobile and Devices

  • Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time
  • YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices

Content ID

  • Content ID scans over 400 years of video every day
  • More than 5,000 partners use Content ID, including major US network broadcasters, movie studios and record labels
  • We have more than 25 million reference files in our Content ID database; it’s among the most comprehensive in the world
  • Content ID has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for partners

So, are you writing for video? Are you putting your writing out there on video? Did you know that YouTube includes transcripts of your narration? You can read these as the video plays by clicking on the square shaped icon to the right of ‘Add To’ on the text line below the screen. Sometimes the transcript is a bit of a laugh  but you can upload an accurate transcript if you prefer.  What is so valuable about the transcript is the assistance it gives to search engines to rank your clip. Keep in mind the second most popular search engine in the world, after Google, is YouTube. That is powerful stuff and I thank my friend and SEO mentor, Chris Bennetts for demonstrating how powerful this feature is.

It is also something that underlines the value of the eWriter in today’s online economy. everything needs to be written and as important as a good code writer is to get the thing cranking, the other half of the coin has an eWriter’s face on it. Rethink video, eWriters. It will be the wave of the very near, actually already here, future and you need to understand how it can help you make your living, doing what you love.

Keeping Up To Date

A lot of my time is spent keeping up to date with the changes in the marketplace in which I conduct my business, the Internet. One of the major changes I have monitored for some time is the rise of mobile devices for accessing the web. When you keep in mind the fact that Gen Y is now all over 21 and GenZ have all grown up with mobile phones and the web, YouTube and what have you, not keeping up with technology and web use is like shooting yourself in the foot and saying it helps you hop better.

Another consideration is video. Forget swathes of text unless there is a nice image to catch the reader’s attention. Even better if you can communicate your message through video. Moving pictures, talkies, call it what you like; a picture is worth a thousand words and a moving talking one a heck of a lot more. I just had a book trailer video made and it is helping the book get noticed and bought far more than a tweet of 140 characters alone. I tweeted the video link and got a lot more hits than when I tweeted the launch of the book with the cover photo and far more than the test tweet with no cover shot.

Watch the video from Social Visibility Online and give it some serious consideration. It really is timely advice you should pay attention to if you want to do anything online and hope to have any success at. The number of people competing for your potential customer’s dollar grows every minute as the World wide Web is forever expanding and what the ‘guru’s’ are selling as the latest, sure fire way to make a million online stopped working for them a year ago, right about the time they figured they could make money from you selling the ‘secrets’ of what worked (past tense) for them. SVO’s CEO Chris Bennetts is telling you what is working now and what will be the way forward.

The Return Of The Short Story

Screenshot 2014-01-30 11.09.45Short stories and novellas (say 20-40,000 words) are on the way back, which is great news on so many levels. I love writing short stories as you can write it and have it read in a lot less time and effort than it takes for a novel (say 50,000 words and up). Novels have not always been in existence and a lot of the ‘formula’ for novels was set by the commercial realities publishers have to face to make a profit.

There are valid reasons why books are the way they are and more has to do with what sells than the story that needs telling. The ‘airport blockbuster’ of 500 to 800 or so pages is not really ideal for reading on a plane, but a short story or collection of them is. You can dip in and out as you like whereas a novel is a commitment that too often the rigors of a journey don’t allow you to enjoy. The reality is there is a certain investment per book, regardless of length that must be met. An extra two or three hundred pages is the least of the costs to be considered. When buying a book, people are more likely to think they are getting value from one that would stop a bullet compared to what used to be the norm for novels 30 or 40 years ago.

Electronic publishing, eBooks, has changed all of that and much more as well. You can now download a short story or collection of short stories to your eReader or other device and the overhead, while remaining pretty much the same for a traditional publisher, is virtually nothing for indie publishers and self publishing authors. Even with professional editing and other out sourced help, the investment is in the hundreds of dollars rather than the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

Short stories can also be good loss leaders, introducing a reader to an author so that they go on to buy their novels and other writing. Stephen Leather, a favourite author of mine, does this very well, offering short stories for free or just a buck and including links to his latest releases. I recall over a decade ago reading, for free, his superb look at the seamy side of Bangkok life in ‘Private Dancer’, a book his publisher claimed would never sell, Stephen offered it for free as a download (this was way before Kindle et al) and after however many thousands of downloads, his publisher saw the error of his ways and now the book is available in print as well as online, but no longer for free. We exchanged emails about this and of course, Stephen was very genuine and approachable as I have found all the ‘big name’ authors to be. We are, after all, just ordinary people with a brilliant talent… (shameless inclusion of self, there)

The great thing about short stories is that you can offer them for free to promote other work and you are not giving away the ‘farm’ or devaluing your work. You can sell them for 99 cents or compile them into an anthology and add a couple of bucks to the rrp. The really big news is that short stories are selling once again and that has to be a good thing for readers and writers. None of which, of course, takes away from the necessity to write a good story and to present it as error free as possible in a professional manner. After all, if you are charging money then you are a professional and everything you put your name to should reflect that.



Writing Machines Are Here!

Writing Machines Are here!They have been with us for some time as this 2008 video clip attests. I found it interesting how he stated fiction is the least profitable form of writing there is, and he is correct. When compared to business reports and self-help books, text books and creative non-fiction, autobiographies and the like, fiction is pretty low pay. There is so much competition, basically.

This article looks at what the ‘book’ scene might be like in 2043. I think there is a lot of truth in the article and if we are not careful, the worst of the predictions will come true. We do expect so much content to be free, yet it cost someone time and effort to create and quite possibly a lot of money to develop their skillset to the point where they can create such quality work.

Watch the video clip, read the article then invest some of your precious time in thinking, just thinking about what you have read and watched. Then ask yourself which medium you preferred. I think many will prefer the audio visual moving video to the static visual article and I see video being the way to go in the future. Consider how popular animated video presentations are, you know the ones where someone is drawing cartoon like images to illustrate the points spoken by the narrator. More and more people are also using infoDNxvjgraphic posts that present the information visually with drawings, charts, visual fonts and such.

Makes sense given the greater percentage of information taken in visually compared to the other senses.