Tonight may be a time for ghouls and ghosties, but tomorrow sees the dawn of yet another National Write a Novel Month. This superb and increasingly august institution provides a wide variety of ways for people to get started on their writing, to be inspired by others, and to be encouraged and supported in a whole variety of ways.
Paradoxically, given the parlous state of the publishing industry , there has never been a better time to be a fiction writer, not only because there is so much technology to help in the process – just compare Shakespeare’s tallow candles and quill pen to many an author’s beloved iPad – but also because there have never been so many ways of getting your creation out there and between the hands of those who’ll want to read it.
Although finding an agent or a publisher has probably never been more difficult, with profit margins down to single figures, actually getting published is now astonishingly easy, and increasingly affordable.
Perhaps the most radical change that has happened in publishing technology since Caxton and Gutenberg has occurred just within the last couple of years, with electronic platforms such the Kindle and Nook, not to mention, of course, the iPad, making it possible not just for readers to buy and store books amazingly easily, but also for writers to upload their works and make them available to readers for a fraction of the cost of conventional publishing.
Of course, you still need the help and support of editors, proofreaders, book designers and typographers, but there are hundreds of freelancers out there eager to help you. Within weeks of having your book written, you can be published and accessible to millions of readers worldwide.
So all you need to do now, of course, is write that book – and create a legion of happy readers.