I have been investigating this modern problem of decline in readership and my conclusion is that it has little to do with bad readership and a whole lot with a difference in information speed. Frankly, the modern brain is much faster than the classical brain was in how it absorbs information and novels do not reflect this development. They are simply not dense enough. Too slow, not the right tempo - bores the shit out of a modern brain! There's the real problem: our brains have developed into different speed levels that authors cant adjust to. It has nothing whatsoever to do with quality: it has rather a whole lot to do with people claiming to be authors who are incapable of concentrating their ideas in the right sort of space, and rather smear out a few already halfbaked ideas over 30 plus pages. Hello! Do you think its weird a facebooktrained mind, capable of digesting enormous amounts of information at quick speeds, is bored shitless with that? The problem is not bad readership but rather bad authorship: authors that cannot adjust to the times. And since there are a zillion books published every day of authors that just cant keep up with the speed of the times, and criticism hardly exists anymore in modern society, it becomes simply very unattractive to read books, unless one keeps to the classics, which are books that are much more dense at essence.
I'd like to emphasize that when a reader finishes a great novel, he will immediately begin looking for another. If someone loves your book, it increases the chance that he or she will look at mine. So there is no competition between writers. Another writer's success helps build a larger readership for all of us.
As someone who writes and teaches YA fiction, I spend a lot of time trying to define its character and readership, and I don't think I'm alone - genres are all about boundary drawing, and the YA genre is, in a lot of ways, about carving out boundaries around adolescence, a space for teenagers to do teenage things.
I think continuity is the devil. I think it's constricting and restrictive, I think it's alienating and off-putting, and it inflicts an artifact of linear time as we experience it on something that exists outside of linear time as well as keeps new readership away by keeping comics a matter of trivia and history rather than actual stories.
The thing that makes stories memorable is the experiences they impart onto the readership and the emotions that they make those readers feel. The audience will forgive an incredible amount if you deliver them a powerful emotional experience - and, conversely, if your story is emotionally false, no amount of pyrotechnics will save it.
More people have more access to more readers for less money than ever before in history. It means a lot of dross; but it means a lot of very talented people can find and nurture a readership in ways that were not possible twenty years ago. From a creative perspective, that is all that writing is about.
No other serial publications carry a number on them that is of any weight to their readership. The number is there to serve a function, but it has no intrinsic value in and of itself. It's comfort food and nostalgia at best. On this, we follow what you and your fellow readers do more than what you say. We hear complaints about renumbering every time we do it, but every time we do it it results in higher sales, which is the whole ballgame - so if it were your time and your effort, what would you do?
It's part of a writer's profession, as it's part of a spy's profession, to prey on the community to which he's attached, to take away information - often in secret - and to translate that into intelligence for his masters, whether it's his readership or his spy masters. And I think that both professions are perhaps rather lonely.
John le Carre
I think when you look at the diversity of the readership, all the different people who love comics, I want comics to reflect the real world, and I think Marvel does a good job of trying to do that, but I don't think there's ever an end point when it comes to creating diversity and creating stories that people can relate to.
This is a wonderful book, unique and engaging. Diaconis and Graham manage to convey the awe and marvels of mathematics, and of magic tricks, especially those that depend fundamentally on mathematical ideas. They range over many delicious topics, giving us an enchanting personal view of the history and practice of magic, of mathematics, and of the fascinating connection between the two cultures. Magical Mathematics will have an utterly devoted readership.
I realized early in my career that precisely what one reader doesn't like is what another reader loves. Collectively, any writer's audience presents a mishmash of expectations that can never all be met. What one-tenth of my readership may not be crazy about the other nine-tenths savors. The moment you start altering a book or a painting or any type of art as if it's a public collaborative, you crucify its soul. I'd rather irritate a few people and delight a lot than touch no one." ~ Karen Marie Moning
Karen Marie Moning
Theodor Geisel (otherwise known as Dr. Seuss) spent his workdays ensconced in his private studio, the walls lined with sketches and drawings, in a bell-tower outside his La Jolla, California, house. Geisel was a much more quiet man than his jocular rhymes suggest. He rarely ventured out in public to meet his young readership, fretting that kids would expect a merry, outspoken, Cat in the Hat""like figure, and would be disappointed with his reserved personality. "In mass, [children] terrify me," he admitted.
Tad Homer-Dixon is a rare kind of public intellectual, who combines real expertise with a commitment to communicate to the widest possible readership. In The Ingenuity Gap he wants us all to wake-up to the fearful possibility that our blithe trust in science and technology may be misplaced. Human ingenuity may not be capable of coping with two emerging crises of this century and the next: population growth and environmental despoliation. Read Homer Dixon's wake-up call and you will see the future very differently.
Most writers who are beginners, if they are honest with themselves, will admit that they are praying for a readership as they begin to write. But it should be the quality of the craft not the audience, that should be the greatest motivating factor. For me, at least, I can declare that when I wrote THINGS FALL APART I couldn't have told anyone the day before it was accepted for publication that anybody was going to read it. There was no guarantee; nobody ever said to me, Go and write this, we will publish it and we will read it; it was just there. But my brother-in-law who was not a particularly voracious reader, told me that he read the novel through the night and it gave him a terrible headache the next morning. And I took that as an encouraging endorsement! The triumph of the written word is often attained when the writer achieves union and trust with the reader, who then becomes ready to be drawn deep into unfamiliar territory, walking in borrowed literary shoes so to speak, toward a deeper understanding of self or society, or of foreign peoples, cultures and situations.
An editor doesn't just read, he reads well, and reading well is a creative, powerful act. The ancients knew this and it frightened them. Mesopotamian society, for instance, did not want great reading from its scribes, only great writing. Scribes had to submit to a curious ruse: they had to downplay their reading skills lest they antagonize their employer. The Attic poet Menander wrote: "those who can read see twice as well." Ancient autocrats did not want their subjects to see that well. Order relied on obedience, not knowledge and reflection. So even though he was paid to read as much as write messages, the scribe's title cautiously referred to writing alone (scribere = "to write"); and the symbol for Nisaba, the Mesopotamian goddess of scribes, was not a tablet but a stylus. In his excellent book A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel writes, "It was safer for a scribe to be seen not as one who interpreted information, but who merely recorded it for the public good." In their fear of readers, ancients understood something we have forgotten about the magnitude of readership. Reading breeds the power of an independent mind. When we read well, we are thinking hard for ourselves-this is the essence of freedom. It is also the essence of editing. Editors are scribes liberated to not simply record and disseminate information, but think hard about it, interpret, and ultimately, influence it.
Two literary figures bridge the gap between the mediaeval age and the Renaissance. They are Sir Thomas Malory, the author of Le Morte D'Arthur, and the first 'poet-laureate', John Skelton. In their entirely separate ways, they made distinctive contributions to the history of literature and to the growth of English as a literary language... . Le Morte D'Arthur is, in a way, the climax of a tradition of writing, bringing together myth and history, with an emphasis on chivalry as a kind of moral code of honour. The supernatural and fantastic aspects of the story, as in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are played down, and the more political aspects, of firm government and virtue, emphasised. It was a book for the times. The Wars of the Roses ended in the same year as Le Morte D'Arthur was published. Its values were to influence a wide readership for many years to come. There is sadness, rather than heroism, in Arthur's final battle... John Skelton is one of the unjustly neglected figures of literature. His reputation suffered at the hands of one of the earliest critics of poetry, George Puttenham, and he is not easily categorised in terms of historical period, since he falls between clearly identified periods like 'mediaeval' and 'Renaissance'. He does not fit in easily either because of the kinds of poetry he wrote. But he is one of the great experimenters, and one of the funniest poets in English.
Attempts to locate oneself within history are as natural, and as absurd, as attempts to locate oneself within astronomy. On the day that I was born, 13 April 1949, nineteen senior Nazi officials were convicted at Nuremberg, including Hitler's former envoy to the Vatican, Baron Ernst von Weizsacker, who was found guilty of planning aggression against Czechoslovakia and committing atrocities against the Jewish people. On the same day, the State of Israel celebrated its first Passover seder and the United Nations, still meeting in those days at Flushing Meadow in Queens, voted to consider the Jewish state's application for membership. In Damascus, eleven newspapers were closed by the regime of General Hosni Zayim. In America, the National Committee on Alcoholism announced an upcoming 'A-Day' under the non-uplifting slogan: 'You can drink-help the alcoholic who can't.' ('Can't'?) The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled in favor of Britain in the Corfu Channel dispute with Albania. At the UN, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko denounced the newly formed NATO alliance as a tool for aggression against the USSR. The rising Chinese Communists, under a man then known to Western readership as Mao Tze-Tung, announced a limited willingness to bargain with the still-existing Chinese government in a city then known to the outside world as 'Peiping.' All this was unknown to me as I nuzzled my mother's breast for the first time, and would certainly have happened in just the same way if I had not been born at all, or even conceived. One of the newspaper astrologists for that day addressed those whose birthday it was: There are powerful rays from the planet Mars, the war god, in your horoscope for your coming year, and this always means a chance to battle if you want to take it up. Try to avoid such disturbances where women relatives or friends are concerned, because the outlook for victory upon your part in such circumstances is rather dark. If you must fight, pick a man! Sage counsel no doubt, which I wish I had imbibed with that same maternal lactation, but impartially offered also to the many people born on that day who were also destined to die on it.