I‘ll be traveling today back to California from St. Petersburg, Florida, where I attended the NINC conference. One of the topics that snagged my interest was the future of interactive media and the role of audio books, but not the audio books we know of today. We’re talking audio books with multimedia platforms. Imagine yourself being able to “read” a story, and then with the press of a button, being able to get background information about the world you were reading or listening to, or the characters, past plots or characters or worlds. Much like an “online magazine” this could be done as a subscription service. Suppose you were able to learn about love, romance, learn about writing romance, or the love story behind the love story in film, song and the written word.
What we have to look forward to is innovation. The changes that occurred in the music business are now happening in the digital print business, where thousands of new Indie books are made available every day. Authors are re-releasing and freshening up old works that sat on a shelf somewhere. Books that were once thought of as not commercially viable by “gatekeepers” are now allowed to find their own audience. In this new age and time, being the biggest isn’t necessarily the best. Being traditional doesn’t have the security blanket it once had. Making a good living is just as important a goal as being the next best E.L. James or Stephanie Meyer. In this interesting time, creativity and innovation are more important than size. That’s what the Indie revolution has been all about.
I have begun a quest for innovation and am looking to get involved in this new multimedia platform. There are innovators out there right now who are going to bring you new things you haven’t even imagined yet. An author may not just be a person sitting in their writing cave putting words on the page, but also someone who collaborates with actors, storytellers in voice and film, people who can enhance the story experience. Reading will be combined with listening and research. Think of what we do today with our favorite online magazines. We see audio clips, pictures, hear narrations and can search archives of past related topics, some of them preselected based on our interests.
Nothing will replace a good, physical book. Just like there isn’t anything that could completely duplicate the sheer joy I had in listening to my little record player as a child. My friend, J.D. Hart, sent me an antique machine that could very well have been the one I used to listen to. It reminds me that joy is derived through many mediums. The goal of the artist is to connect the “consumer” with the vision in the artist’s head.
And who will be these innovators? As was said in the conference, it won’t be from the people up on stage or teaching a class or on a panel discussion. It will be from the imagination of people in the audience who will watch and listen, and come up with something new and exciting. Who will say to themselves and their collaborators, “Why Not?”
There is no formula for success. But one thing I do know for certain is that we don’t chase it.
WE INVENT IT
NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance.
A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.