All writing is writing on the Web (x99)

"All publishing is digital publishing. All writing is writing on the Web."

Andrew Savikas, VP of Digital Initiatives at O'Reilly Media says this in his speech on The Future of Publishing. That's not just a glib soundbite: these are his closing words in a 31-minute video full of facts and figures and graphs. It's his summary of the future of publishing.

CONTENTED courses train people to write content for web sites and intranets. But these same courses teach precisely the skills we all need for pretty much everything we write — including books.

I still encounter editors and writers who assume that "good writing is good writing", and that Strunk and White's old mini style-book tells them all they need to know. Wake up and smell the electronic paper! It's more urgent than ever to get some vital skills that were not taught in journalism classes 15 years ago. Or even 10 years ago.

Since then, everyone's familiar with these basic technology developments:

  • desktop PCs, laptops, netbooks and mobile phones
  • the internet, hyperlinks and browsers
  • search engines and EDRMs.

So how come those writers cannot see that those elements have irrevocably changed the way we ought to write?

Andrew Savikas says we need to make books look more like web pages. Add links! That'd be a start. I'm very curious about other changes that might make novels, for instance, more tech-astute.

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