Four countries down and two to go on this wild European tour, and every publisher I’ve worked with has been amazing. We have had a ton of great conversations over meals and in bookshops these past weeks, mostly about this changing publishing landscape. And one topic in particular keeps coming up. It’s as universal as the Starbucks on every corner. What does the future of books look like?
Here’s what I usually say: The future of books depends on happy readers. It’s that simple. Let’s start from there. Because there are a lot of ways people can spend their time, and our passion — as readers, writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, editors — depends on growing the enjoyment of reading.
I’ve pointed out in numerous interviews that authors are not in competition with one another. We are in this together, and we are in it with readers and everyone who loves a good tale, however they love it told. But beyond not being competitors, authors owe it to themselves to be cheerleaders. I have spent a good bit of time on this tour telling publishers about the upcoming new releases I’ve been asked to blurb and that I think they should be interested in (one of my publishers read one of these works and made an offer!) I also tell them about the rising indie stars whose works I enjoy and whom I see busting their butts to keep readers happy.
I do not stand to gain a single thing by doing this. Not directly. But I know this, as a reader: When I pick up a great book, it makes me want to pick up another. When I read a so-so book, I might take a break. I’ve always been an avid reader, but most of us read in waves. We also tend to fly through the books we love, which gets us back in the market in days instead of weeks or months. Great books are the key, and they don’t have to be our books.
I owe my career to the authors who wrote awesome books that sold tons of copies. Especially those who turned new readers onto reading. That’s why I tell everyone to check out Max Barry’s LEXICON, Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE, Ernie Cline’s READY PLAYER ONE, and the forthcoming book by Andy Weir, THE MARTIAN. It’s why I tell people about indies like Matthew Mather, Annie Bellet, Jason Gurley, Patrice Fitzgerald, and Michael Bunker (and yes, I’m an ass for stopping there. I could go on and on).
The best thing we can hope for is that someone else writes a great book and that it gets discovered. That’s how we grow the pool of readers. I aimed for this before I even became a writer, always trying to convince others to check out some book or another. I’ll never forget a first mate I worked on a yacht with who said he hated reading. He hadn’t read a book since high school. I knew he was into blackjack, so I bought and handed him a copy of BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE. He read the book in two days. He looked for more books like this. I was just a guy with a passion for reading who wanted to infect others.
So here’s how we save books: We create happy readers. The first thing we need to do is start young. No one should be handed a “classic” until they get into college, and even then it should only be lit majors. Sounds extreme? This sounds extreme to me:
1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
What we are currently doing does not work. Yes, we stuff a few classics down the throats of our kids. Success. Most of them quickly learn to hate reading, that it’s a complete chore (and bore), and remove themselves from the market. We should encourage them to read whatever they want, whether that’s a magazine about cars, or articles about their favorite soccer players, or Harry Potter, or Twilight. We should exercise some patience, turn people onto reading, and then trust that they will broaden their tastes as they get older.
I know a teacher who operated like this. She taught middle school in North Carolina, and her classroom was full of books like THE MAZE RUNNER and HUNGER GAMES and some weird MOLLY FYDE thingy. Her classroom was also full of kids who loved books. Without exception. All they talked about was books. They wanted to be writers. They infected others with their enthusiasm. They were helping to save books.
Smiles on readers. That’s the theme. For writers, that means writing the most enjoyable and engaging stories possible and making sure they are packaged professionally. For publishers, that means getting rid of DRM forever, lowering prices, not worrying about piracy, and bundling ebooks with hardbacks. For bookstores, that means more community events, more book clubs and contests, more writing groups, and it means shelving books based on quality and variety rather than money. It means reaching out to local authors and stocking their books, bringing those authors into the store, and fostering a community both of writing and reading.
What I see around me is a ship taking on water, and the reaction is to eye everyone else to see who is going to eat whom first. The threat is coming from without, not within. We are in this together. My hope is that a ton of readers pick up a great book today, one that I didn’t write, and it makes them want to pick up another. My hope is that we’ll look at our kids and realize they don’t have to be adult readers, that they will probably choose not to be. So stop worrying about what we can force on them before they give up on reading, and instead create a new generation that will seek out the great books because they are as passionate about this medium as we are.
Audiobooks, digital books, paperbacks, hardbacks, it doesn’t matter. Self-published, indie, traditionally published, it doesn’t matter. What matters is smiles on readers. There are hundreds of things we can be doing to make readers smile more. Let’s focus on that.
44 replies to “How to Save Books”
Beautifully written and so encouraging. I’ve written a handful of short stories. I’ve started but never completed way too many novels. After reading this, I’m motivated not only to finish a novel but put forth the effort to make sure it’s a quality product. Like you, I want to bring smiles to readers’ faces.
Very nice article, Hugh. I couldn’t agree more. The competition we face as authors are not other authors but rather TV, video games, Netflix, etc. Helping people get excited about reading benefits all writers. And it really is all about the reader.
Fabulous and inspirational, as usual. And, um… thank you!
I read constantly, as most of us do, and I am continually blown away by discovering new authors and the new ways they manage to make a story sing. Stories are older than written language. There is nothing that makes me happier than finding someone who pulls me into a tale enough so that I can relax and enjoy the journey, because I know I’m in good hands.
We talk about how this is a great time to be a writer. It’s SUCH a great time to be a reader, as well. All the devices. All the new writers. All the amazing, uncategorizable, bold, self-propelled books.
All the stories. All the time.
All so true, and no one says it better. Hopefully there are people who are listening who have the power to implement a lot of this. Thanks, Hugh.
I like that you mentioned buying analog and getting digital as part of the package and I’d like it to become a standard. I think Scott Sigler is doing that with his books?
In a perfect world, I’d buy every book in hardcover and then read it on my Kindle. I love physical books, but I would almost always prefer to read from my paperwhite because it’s such a great reading experience.
Hugh, you’ve brought some real wisdom to the table, and I couldn’t agree with you more. It was telling at Worldcon this year, seeing the reactions of some publishers over what’s happening out there. What you said there stuck with me: put readers first. You’re a great author, but mostly, a great guy!
Nice run down on your thoughts, Mr. Howey! You are the poster child of Indie Inspiration! You have certainly added a smile to this reader, and I can only hope to do the same as you.
Not forcing the classics on kids until college is a brave stance, and one that I hope more people will consider. I didn’t used to think this way. I’ve worried about the dilution of history instruction in the schools and the general de-emphasis on the common concepts of Western Civilization. But I also have a teenage daughter who loves to read. She devours YA novels. And then she was given a summer reading project on one of the classics and she hated it. She put it off until the last minute and never really read anything else all summer because she had to work on “the project.” On balance, it is far more important that she maintains a love of reading that will last a lifetime than have classics forced upon her before she is ready. You’re right. We should trust that they’ll seek out the classics in their own due time. Lucky for me I had a base-coat of Marvel comics, Mad Magazine, C.S. Lewis and Tolkein before I had to trudge through Wuthering Heights in high school. Because if that book had been my introduction to reading, I’d probably have never turned off the TV.
Very well said , Hugh.
Wow, that is such an enlightened way of looking at things! I’ve always believed that we (as authors) aren’t in competition with each other, for exactly those reasons – if I can put someone on to a read they’ll really enjoy, perhaps they’ll carry on reading, and even inspire others. The trouble is, these are far-reaching and hard to measure results, when marketing departments look for figures and projections to base their strategies on. Profit is always going to be a prime motivator in business decisions, even when the publishers and book sellers love books themselves. I think a little experimentation with ways the indie movement can benefit Big Publishing could help out all players in the game. And once a new, stable paradigm is established, there will be more free love to spread around on community building. For now though, Indies are building those communities around their books, and turning readers on to each others books… and it’s working pretty well, I reckon!
Really well thought-out points there Hugh. I bet you’ve been over them A LOT… :0)
Love, love, love your insights! They’re absolutely inspiring.
When my twentysomething son was in elementary school, he hated reading until we sat down together one summer and read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis together. We’d found his thing. He devoured the rest of the series and became an avid reader. Today he’s still a voracious reader. Still loves fantasy. But he’s branched out to thrillers and sci fi. I turned him and my husband on to Wool. Now they’re big fans of yours.
I write, and read, mostly romance. So, as you say, recommending your books doesn’t benefit me directly. But what a joy to recommend a book to someone else and have them fall in love with it.
I loved so many of the things you offered here. I particularly enjoyed the part about replacing some of the “classics” with more modern and more appealing-to-kids novels. One of the best books I read while going through middle school and high school was “the Hobbit”. Now you could argue that this was a “classic”, given how old it was, but it was one of the few novels I truly enjoyed reading and it caused me to pick up other books like it. It was far more interesting at the age of 14-15 than “A Tale of Two Cities” ever was. I have to agree that we should save those classics for college, or at the very least upper high school lit classes. I think that by the junior and senior year of high school, if we’ve managed to instill a desire to read, then having opportunities for students to grab hold of some of those classics is a good thing (especially if we want to prepare them for the grueling lit classes they’ll experience in college).
The only thing I disagree with you on, is the DRM. I know DRM isn’t real popular to most people, and understandably so, but my background working in Intellectual Property just can’t give it up. I do think that authors should make their work free more often (my novel Chariots of Heaven has been free on iBooks and Smashwords for 3 months now and I don’t regret one minute of it), because it is about spreading a story and sharing an adventure, but in the end that author (especially independent ones) should have their work protected in the ever growing pirating industry. I would counter that distributers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble should allow ALL of the authors that have ebooks on their sites, the opportunity to offer their books for free. I cannot expound enough the irritation I felt discovering that once I stopped exclusively offering my ebook on Amazon, I could no longer offer it for free. Even if they limited it to just 5 days in three months like they do for KDP Select titles, that would be leaps and bounds better than doing away with DRM (because let’s face it, some people will never pay for a book when they can get it for free).
> that would be leaps and bounds better than doing away with DRM (because let’s face it, some people will never pay for a book when they can get it for free).
The problem I see with that statement is the people who will never pay for a book won’t pay in any circumstance. DRM won’t get them to pay, it will only annoy readers who *are* paying customers and now have to put up with more hassle for no gain on the author’s part.
I’d be interested to hear about your history working in IP and how that compels you to support DRM.
DRM doesn’t really protect anything. It can be removed without much effort at all. Once the book’s DRM is stripped it goes out into pirate land for all the cheapskates to steal.
I see DRM as an annoyance to paying readers, so I never put it on my books. Once a reader buys one of my books, it’s theirs. If they switch from Kindle to Nook, or Kobo, or whatever, they can convert the book with Calibre and take it with them. To me this makes for a happy reader.
Just another point of view to consider.
I am a rather voracious reader that hates DRM.
I’ve already had books with DRM become unavailable to me, because the e-book publisher went out of business, along with their DRMed format.
Having books without DRM doesn’t mean giving them for free – it means keeping your best customers happy. (Although, if you already have a number of books out, esp. in series, I’ve seen that giving away the first book of a series [if it’s good!] can get you a lot more sales!
I can’t count the times that I’ve been tempted by a free book in the Baen library, and then ended up buying up all the other works by that author… one time I ended up buying about 18 more books, all around $7 a piece as e-books, because I’d read the first one for free)
“We are in this together.”
What a great post! I remember reading constantly as a kid, and nothing was off-limits to us. I would happily read Judith Krantz and Tolkien and Harry Harrison and Dickens, and I was never told to snobbishly distinguish between “literature” and “trash”, and the truth is, I learned the most important lesson–that what drives any book worth reading is great storytelling.
So when my kids rip through Pretty Little Liars and Captain Underpants and manga, I rejoice. I would never try to steer them towards “literature,” and as a result, we have a house full of readers, and a house full of books (even some important, serious books)!
I mostly lurk here, but I had to comment on this. It’s a brilliant post, Hugh. Every little nugget so true. Smiles on readers. There should be a campaign throughout schools, bookstores, and libraries titled exactly that.
I had a neat experience visiting a local school to talk about my books because my mother-in-law was a teacher there and recommended them to a few students. They were all smiles when I came in, and I got a rock star treatment I never expected. These kids were excited about reading and meeting an author. Their excitement was contagious. The high school’s librarian insisted on meeting me. And now, a copy of one of my novels sits on the shelf of their library.
That kind of shared love of books is impossible to ignore once it starts. I’m trying to instill the same love in my own kids. So far, so good. :)
Thanks for this, man. Great stuff.
I can’t love this enough.
I’ve spent the last fifteen years striving to raise three boys (what? boys? boys don’t READ!) to love books and reading. This was at least 10 years before I was a “writer”; years before I understood the stats about readers scoring better on SATs; years before I understood how story gave kids critical lessons in life. I just knew it in my bones – they had to read to become fully alive people, and I didn’t care if it was cereal boxes or Lego novels or Harry Potter doorstoppers. It wasn’t always easy, but the key was always, always, putting something they loved in front of them. Simple, but often hard work.
The result (one writer/reader, one regular reader, and one actor/reader/storyteller) was well worth the effort.
Sing it, Hugh!
You are one rocking mom, Susan!
Susan Kaye Quinn said: “… and I didn’t care if it was cereal boxes or Lego novels or Harry Potter doorstoppers.”
When I found Playboy beneath my sons’ beds, I rejoiced! They were reading, yes READING, because it wasn’t all about buff pictures. They are now (1) a virtual reality programmer and neuroscientist and (2) an IT specialist who will probably go back to school and study archeology. Both read like demons … and are well-versed in the classics.
“Authors are not in competition with one another.” Love that you say this out loud! The more authors who write books, the more readers there will be. The more authors who write books like mine, the more people will flock to our niche. It’s not a zero sum game.
As one of the readers, thanks! I would add this thought which was implied within your comments but needs to be highlighted: the front line of this battle (a good battle fighting to maintain and build our literary world) is in schools and with parents of young children.
Publishers should strive to include an appropriate school visit in every community they send an author on tour. No sales – just trying to infect the group with the bug to read (and write) something for the fun of it.
And all tiers of the book world should be doing everything they can to inspire reading. Local Pizza Hut’s in my area participate in a program called “Book It!” Elementary kids set a reading goal each quarter and if they meet it, they get a coupon for a free pizza. Why don’t the publishers, Amazon, Apple, B&N, etc do something similar except instead of a pizza,they get a free book download. And not some limited, push-list selection of books…a coupon for ANY book the kid wants…classic, Harry Potter, or the upcoming Wool graphic novel. Smiles galore!
Love these ideas! Adding schools to book tours should be a prerequisite, but it’s rarely done.
Hugh, I hope I don’t over step here, but as a 5th grade teacher who has written three books for children and middle grade, I’ve had personal experience of kids getting excited about read AND WRITING. I’ve got students writing their own fan fiction based on my books. Best feeling EVER.
Anyway here is a post about that experience, and how it makes us better teacher.
But you’re exactly right. Kids like reading. We need to stop making it a chore.
[…] If you’re feeling competitive, see Howey this week in How To Save Books: […]
I was excited to see this post because I couldn’t agree more. Kids need to read for enjoyment. Period. I’m not a fan of reading that’s geared to improving tests scores or to AR points accumulation. Summer reading lists can be too limited, at best. This past summer my son had a choice of twelve books, and had to pick two to read before the first of the year. I diligently looked them all up on Amazon with him and found myself saying, along with him, “meh”, “boring”, “you’ve got to be kidding”. It made me sad that reading became a chore for him instead of something he looked forward to with enthusiasm.
If kids read for fun, the test scores will take care of themselves.
Indies have an opportunity to be a major part of a reading renaissance. We tend to offer books at lower prices, which doesn’t put a crunch on parents’ wallets. The breadth of offerings in genre and story has grown over the past two years and will continue to grow in the future. These two changes alone are enough to help every kid find the right book to spark their personal love of reading.
All authors should support kid’s books in some fashion. Today’s kids and teens become tomorrow’s readers of fiction geared to adults.
Thanks for posting this. I’ve been saying the same thing for a while, but you have a way bigger megaphone.
The stats from answer.com are very interesting. But it’s a poll about books, right ? Not ebooks ?
There was another study two or three years ago that stated one on two Americans read at least one book (or ebook) a year, so it was quite incoherent with that statement : “80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.”
I don’t care about the way people read, as long as they read. What I find great is that 24% of Amercians own a dedicated e-reader (source : Pew Research). That’s huge, and significant.
Sales are not a good way to gauge whether or not a book actually gets *read*. Plenty of people buy clothes and shoes that they never wear. They order takeout and throw away leftovers that never get eaten. They buy workout equipment and continue sitting on the couch. Just because money exchanged hands doesn’t mean the product is ever going to be used. How many gizmos from the Home Shopping Network end up sold at yard sales or donated to good will, *still in the packaging* 20 years later?
Maybe it’s because of TV, Internet, busy lives (and a cultural disdain for leisure), or even our (aspirational?) snobbishness, but there’s something to the old saw about Americans not reading. When I say aspirational snobbishness, I mean the obsessive drive to drill the “Great Books” into school children because of a fear they’ll fall into the “trap” of preferring “low culture” over the classics. Which is inherently paradoxical once one considers how many of those “classics” (including “contemporary classics”) have themselves been deemed unsuitable for reading. Parents, clergy, teachers (pick your authority figure) say, “OK, you can read science fiction, whatever you like… as long as it isn’t Fahrenheit 451, or 2001, or Hitchhiker’s Guide… no, wait — you can read memoir, biography, stories about real people rather than made-up ones… as long as it isn’t Anne Frank, or Sherman Alexie, or Elizabeth Wertzel, or Hunter S. Thompson, or Jack Kerouac…”
I think the point to be made is that Americans in particular have a weird relationship with just about everything. Food, sex, drugs, “freedom,” and, yeah, books. Think of how many kids were actually suspended from school for bringing in Harry Potter, just because some wacky, poufy-haired televangelists condemned it as “Satanic propaganda.” Then they were told to read Shakespeare instead, but not before the same pitchforks-and-torches mob specifically prohibited them from reading Shakespeare because it, too, was “Satanic propaganda.” Might as well just stick to reading cereal box labels, I guess…
I love this post. Well done, Hugh. I didn’t study English lit at school because of the classics that were being studied. I found them wearisome and difficult to access. I was reading John Buchan and Alistair MacLean, who wrote exciting books. That’s what I used to read, and that’s what I want to write.
Both of my children learned to read with children’s comics – that’s the Beano and the Dandy in the UK. They have both grown up to be avid readers.
“What we are currently doing does not work. Yes, we stuff a few classics down the throats of our kids. Success. Most of them quickly learn to hate reading, that it’s a complete chore (and bore), and remove themselves from the market.”
I’m going to be unpopular for disagreeing with you on your point, but I’m okay with that. I’m a former high school English teacher, and I think this kind of statement lays a bit too much of the blame on the much maligned English teacher. I would counter that the “classics” (and that truly does change depending on who you talk to) might need to be saved for high school, and possibly just the upper two classes. But to say to cut them out entirely is cutting out a huge tool for learning. Books considered classics tend to reflect the culture surrounding them, whether in setting or in influencing the writer. A book taught out of context might not be as effective, but teach To Kill A Mockingbird while having the kids research the Great Depression as well as the Civil Rights movement, and you get students who understand the significance of that book and connect to it both historically as well as to their own lives.
I get the fear that they may never pick up another book, but your argument assumes that this type of reading is a punishment, and lays that accusation squarely at the feet of English teachers.The right teacher can get them to enjoy the book enough to learn. Some may even start to love them. And yes, English teachers should encourage students to read outside the curriculum as well as include some newer books in the curriculum as well, although that’s harder to do with the new Common Core standards. But an English teacher does more than assign a book to learn. They also hope to convey a love for reading. However, the rest of society doesn’t necessarily back that up.
A teacher who teaches reading is only one component in creating happy readers. It’s great when parents encourage their kids to read lots of books in lots of different genres so they figure out what they do like. I think that where you may be on track is that the “classics” tend to be only literary fiction. Finding works in different genres and trying other things helps build taste and preferences. And yes, this takes more work by the teachers. And with standardized testing as well as Common Core, it really isn’t as likely anymore (hence why I don’t teach anymore). But as one who connected my students from classics to their modern preferences*, I think it’s harmful to just cut them out all together.
*(Examples: Romeo & Juliet & New Moon; R&J and Warm Bodies; Wuthering Heights & Twilight; Macbeth & Harry Potter; The Odyssey & practically any quest book; Night & Maus)
I’m a writer now, and I do think about who might read my stuff. When I get around to writing my YA ideas, I have dreams of the books gracing the school libraries or making it into an English teacher’s bookshelf. But I hope those bookshelves also house the “classics” as well because my writing is definitely influenced by them as it is by the wealth of reading I’ve done. While it’s a small portion of your overall goal of creating happy readers, I wanted to counter that the blame should not rest on English teachers solely. And I’m sorry for those who don’t have happy memories of your English classes! :)
>> But an English teacher does more than assign a book
>> to learn. They also hope to convey a love for reading.
I wish you’d taught at my high school! I was so bored with the assigned reading. “The Red Badge of Courage”? Ugh. But luckily I’d already discovered Poe in 9th grade and read “1984” and “Lord of the Flies” outside of class, so I found the stuff I liked.
A mix of the “classics” and more modern literature is a great approach. Reading shouldn’t be a tedious chore. In the end, I think fostering a love for reading is what’s important. It’s why my eight year old has his own Kindle and reads nearly every night before bed.
I’m late in responding, but I did want to say that it took lots of time and effort to find modern connections to “classics” and modern selections. And many teachers don’t have that kind of time with the requirements of standardized testing or now Common Core. It’s sad. In my experience, there has to be some challenge through hard books to understand why the great books are so great. And Hugh’s books are just rife with things to teach. But I also see, and he may hate this comment, elements from classics through theme and writing that have helped build the foundation on which his works like Wool stand very firmly. And, by the way, I also had some awesome English teachers who came before me and taught me to see beyond just the “boring” pages. Probably why my senior English teacher gave me a box of books and said, “One day, you’ll need these because you’ll be an English teacher.” Man, now I’m missing having a classroom!
And Hugh, maybe the schools could also encourage writing along the same lines. What if a kid was told to read The Hunger Games, or any other story of their choice, and then instead of writing a report about what they read, they were allowed to create their own fictional tales based on the story? Like fan-fiction for schools. I know I would have embraced writing much sooner if that option had been afforded me. Great stuff Hugh. I applaud your ideas and attitude. We need more of your types around.
The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins, who’s at Columbia University’s Teacher College, lays out a curriculum for young kids like the one you’re talking about, with time set aside in the classroom each day for free reading and with kids recommending books to each other. I think myself it’s a wonderful way to foster lifelong readers and I’m pretty sure quite a lot of teachers all over the US are using Calkins’s ideas, maybe even the NC teacher you mention. She’s got an amazing book on teaching creative writing, too.
[…] “How to Save Books” […]
[…] How to Save Books | Hugh Howey […]
Interesting post. I would argue that a significant element in “saving” books would be to make them easier to share.
The number one thing holding back the eBook market right now is the inability for readers to share books with others. For example, I have the entire WOOL series on my Kindle. My wife wants to read them now that I have finished them. But the only way she can do that is to read them on my Kindle, since I can’t transfer them to hers, which of course would mean that I wouldn’t be able to use my Kindle for a month or two while she is using it. Therefore, I would suggest that the purchase of every eBook should come with the right to lend/transfer it once, free of charge, with additional transfers/loans priced at 99 cents each.
And on an additional note, publishers need to be smart enough to price eBooks lower that used print books. I’m amazed by how many times I see an eBook priced at $9.99 when there are used copies available for $2-3.
[…] Howey wrote some compelling stuff on this , which I’d recommend reading, as it’s Howey and you should read everything he writes […]
[…] Howey’s thoughts on saving the book are solid reading for […]
[…] which I expect will be later this week. In the meantime, I’ve been reading some of Howey’s posts about writing and self-publishing and realized I had enough interest in the subject and enough to […]
[…] Some of us have been beating this drum for a while now. Books don’t compete with books; they compete with everything else. And while traditional publishers worry about what self-publishers are doing, or while they worry about what e-books are doing to print books, or what Amazon is doing to bookstores, they are missing the real battle. […]
This is a very late comment and realistically not count for much. I am an English female novelist who is still finding my feet(They are there somewhere). I have several comments regarding books but also other media.
I have never liked television except for a few well scripted drama series too much of the programming is infantile, unfortunately mass media always sinks to the lowest common denominator, that has also occurred with the way the internet is constructed!
Luckily for me I don’t receive television very well and the internet when used is at best 2MB so it limits a lot of stuff due to buffering. There is very little worth material to which I would subscribe if I could. Book information is the main thing I accept into my email box.
With my own novels I frequently spend up to 16 hours a day writing, reading back, and 1st stage editing. I recently completed my 14th novel. Some of my titles belong to my Luke Adams series.
This brings me to “classics” I hated analysing the majority, they were badly structured, full of holes, bad narrative, terrible dialogue and incredibly boring, my partner did languages and concurs ! They have their place as historical artefacts but do not and can not reflect modern times. Writing omniscient and changing viewpoints, so abruptly would prevent most people from engaging or understanding the story/content.
There is a book that on that subject alone!
I support other writers I have even edited for them. Why! Some of us can not afford $10 let alone $200, so we have to do things the hard way. But in this world of sharing, it is those that get away with shouting that appear to succeed, not those that have genuine merit. So metaphorically we have a double edged sword balanced so finely it is impossible to predict which which way it will fall.
If I sound disgruntled or harsh, I am not, life is a gift not to be squandered on petty/trivial matters, there many bitter pills to swallow in it’s passage, most of those are caused by those we hope or believed to be our friends. No wonder we are such a paranoid species! :))