Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Digital Way

On 8th November, I attended The Digital Way, a Spread the Word's Writers' Autumn Programme event in association with Foyles at Charing Cross Road, London.  This was a discussion on digital opportunities for writers. 

The Panel consisted of:

Charles Beckett
Relationship Manager - Digital and Creative Economy, Arts Council London.
Charles helps organisations and writers take advantage of digital technology.  He has worked with a number of publishers and writers on their digital projects and commissioned a report from the Institute for the Future of the Book on Digital Possibilities for Literature in 2008.

Dan Franklin
Digital Editor, Random House.
Dan is responsible for direct-to-digital commissioning, cross-group digital publishing initiatives and consultant to the publishing divisions on various digital projects.  He was previously digital editor at Canongate Books.

Danuta Kean
Publishing Analyst and Cultural Commentator.
Danuta's work appears in national media, including the Financial Times, Independent on Sunday and Daily Mail.  She is currently Books Editor for Mslexia magazine and Deputy Director of The Creative Enterprise Cenntre at Brunel University where she teaches the Creative Writing MA.

I soon learned that there have never been so many opportunities for writers to reach readers.  E-books, apps, social media, podcasts and self-publishing have enabled writers frustrated by traditional publishing to find a market for their work that is alive with creative opportunities.  Along with these opportunities are the challenges as many more writers are using innovative ways to create and produce their work making this just as competitive as the more traditional publishing methods.  It is therefore important that you judge the best route for yourself.

Content is important; a strong voice is essential and targeting communities is one way of getting your voice heard.  Using social media, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc, can ensure you engage with your audience in ways that can open up all kinds of opportunities.  Blogs can also help as you can post a sample of your work and request comments/feedback.  Readers then become much more valuable to you as you interact with them in your specialist field.

As for self publishing, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that publishers are interested in new writers particularly those who have a successful writing platform already, so it is worth getting in touch with them.

To find out more about Spread the Words' Autumn Programme visit: