AWMonline has run live forums with both Australian and international agents, and they have been unanimous in advising writers to read, read, and read some more. There’s no better way to know your craft, know your genre, and know your market.
The development of e-books means readers are faced with expanding choices of not only what to read, but how.
For those who still like their books on paper, here are some cool things to make reading comfy, easy, and fun – especially for those of us who have RSI from all our writing. (Excuse the product plugs – rest assured, I’m not getting any kickbacks!)
I swear by the book seat - it’s like a bean bag for your book with a strap to keep it open. It’s perfect for hands-free reading, but not very portable. For one-handed, take-anywhere reading, I want to try the thumb thing. And there are a squillion readling lights available, including these two: the flex neck for a clip-on reading light with style, and this kids reading light with digital timer – it’s designed to encourage recalacitrant readers to read for a minimum time, but I can definitely see it come in handy setting limits on my own night-time reading.
But then, I need to read more than I need to sleep.
Many readers have gone digital, notably Nathan Bransford, literary agent, and Kate Eltham, QWC CEO and writer. I guess I could live without books-on-paper (cut to scene of desperate woman standing atop a windswept cliff, 1984 edition of The Mists of Avalon clutched to her heaving breast). But what about bookshelves? Bookshelves maketh the home, and they’re not there to house dusty bric-a-brac, people. They’re meant for books.
And what about our favourite independent booksellers in Australia (gleebooks, Readings, Brisbane’s Better Bookshops…)? We are fortunate to have so many surviving and thriving when treasured ones overseas are going, going, gone. There’s still a place for independent booksellers in the world of digital publishing, but it’s a different place.
Sigh. Kindle and Sony Reader do look good. I could read whenever, wherever, no seats and things and lights required. Even, now, on my iphone.
So, writers – there’s lots of options, gadgets aplenty, and definitely no excuses. Want to be the best writer you can be? Then read, read, and read some more!