In today’s digital age, one of the biggest fears of any author or writer is that the world’s coming to an end of books and classic literature. However, though people have come a long way from the invention of the printing press, writing is still in demand. The only thing is that printing is becoming less prominent as more people turn to online magazines, e-books, and online articles for their daily fix of content.
That said, here are crucial skills you need to have to thrive as an author in the digital age.
When it comes to being an author, especially if you’re a self-publishing one, remember that people buy you and not the writing itself. That’s why, in the digital age, the most valuable thing you can do as an aspiring author is creating a brand for yourself. After all, even if you’re the best writer out there unless you have an existing audience, nobody will likely read your work.
Moreover, even if you go the traditional publishing route, publishers will often see your work as a gamble, reducing the chances of your work getting published. If you don’t have a following online or an email list of people eager to get your next piece of work, that could be a problem, especially for an upcoming author in the digital age. So, to attract and keep people’s attention, give them something to feel loyal to, and in most cases, that’s you.
Generally, there are two kinds of writing—the one you share and the ones you sell. Of course, if you intend to be an author, you’re likely hoping someone will pay you for your work. Keep in mind that when it comes to consumers, they probably only buy two things, including things that they like and need. Everything else, people would ignore no matter how ‘good’ the content is. That’s why, as an author, you need to adopt a similar mentality and be patient.
Practice in Public
There’s no better way to improve your writing skills as an author than receiving feedback, and what better way to do this in the digital age than regularly sharing snippets of your work on the internet? When publishing something out in the open, it helps you get another person’s opinion about your work, giving you the confidence to admit that what you wrote may still need some polishing.
Although it can be intimidating to do it, and you feel like you’re ‘not there yet,’ and wish to make your debut when you’re ready, the reality is you’ll never be “ready.” That’s because writing is a volatile practice, you never know what you’re going to get this day and the next, and one way you can ensure you’re making progress is by sharing your work online and getting valuable feedback from it.
That’s why having the confidence to share your work online is a crucial skill that you should hone.
Cut What Wastes the Reader’s Time
Some writers prefer description, meaning they want their readers to see every detail possible, while others love dialogues, where they wish their readers to hear their characters talk. Meanwhile, some like living by facts while others float on their stream of consciousness, letting their words guide the way without intervening. Regardless of what type of writer you are, remember that readers in the digital age only have so much patience. That’s why it’s best if you be concise and get straight to the point.
Master Multiple ‘Voices’
As an author, the ability to write with a broad range of ‘voices’ will be your most valuable and profitable skill. There are several different voices that a writer needs to learn and hon throughout their career, including all those that need to be deployed, helping them market themselves efficiently. There’s an art to writing sales copy and email sequences that subtly promote your products, social media posts that can leave a lasting impact in three to four sentences, and e-books that readers will want to download.
Remember, being a successful author in the digital age means being more than just a writer. You’ll need to be a creative director and marketer too.
Traditional writing skills will be crucial for a long time, even in the face of rapidly improving technology. It proves it’s as resilient as it was in its relevance since its invention, meaning being an ‘author’ in the digital age is still possible. It only means you need to grow with the times and expand your perspectives—and learning the skills mentioned can help you achieve success in no time.