Being different

My reading material this year has largely been from the same author, who shall remain nameless, after being presented with a box containing many of his best works. I’ve reached saturation point. Different titles. Characters with different names who behave the same. Same structure and formula. Boredom has crept in.

That’s because the books were not designed to be read in sequence, some were written twenty years apart. In isolation they stand out from others in their year. Together they’re too similar. Very few prolific writers, if any, can consistently create different material.

Earlier today I listened to Steve Guggenheimer talk about technological change in the last twenty years. For writers, change has opened up digital platforms, reenergised audio, allowed independent publishers to compete with established ones and facilitated repeat viewings on demand. It means that audiences can pick their favourite writer, binge on everything that he or she has done and then move on when they’re bored.

Our next challenge is in finding ways to diversify our output and attract a new audience, without alienating current supporters.

Paul Williams is an author of fiction and non-fiction including Jack the Ripper Suspects: The Definitive Guide and Encyclopedia. During July, he is donating royalties from copies sold in Australia to The Black Dog Institute.

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