Monday, April 22, 2013

New Trends: The Incredible Shrinking Book

Those of you working on your Great American Novel, you might want to consider editing for length. According to best-selling author Michael Levin,the short book--the VERY short book--is moving toward the norm because readers' habits are changing. Here's a press release from Levin's publicist hawking his view:

“The first time I saw a 73-page ‘book’ offered on Amazon, I was outraged,” says New York Times best selling author Michael Levin.  “But I thought about how shredded the American attention span is.  And I felt like Cortez staring at the Pacific.”

The trend in books today, Harry Potter notwithstanding, is toward books so short that in the past no self-respecting publisher—or author—would even have called them books.  But today, shortened attention spans call for shorter books.

Levin blames smartphones and social media for what he calls “a worldwide adult epidemic of ADH."

“Brain scientists tell us our brain chemistry has been transformed by short-burst communication such as texting, Tweeting, and Facebook posts,” Levin adds. “Long magazine articles have given way to 600-word blog posts.  And doorstop-size books have been replaced by minibooks.”

This sudden change in attention spans changed the way Levin approaches ghostwriting.  “Even five years ago, we aimed for 250-page books.  Today we advise our business clients to do 50-page minibooks to meet impatient readers’ expectations for speedy delivery of information.”

Levin runs the ghostwriting firm [our first RRWC Writers Series class Wednesday at Community High in downtown Roanoke is about ghostwriting for the Internet]. “Today,” he says, “people don’t want you to prove your assertions. They just want to know that you have legitimate answers to their questions and that they can trust you. If you can’t get buy-in with 50 pages today, you won’t get it in 250.”

The trend toward shorter books caused Levin to offer what he calls the “Book-Of-The-Quarter Club,” which creates four 50-page hardcover minibooks a year for BusinessGhost’s clients. “This allows them to address four different major issues, or four different sets of prospects, and provides quarterly opportunities for marketing events,” Levin says.

How short will books eventually run?  “Can you say ‘haiku’?” Levin asks. "It could happen.”


No comments:

Post a Comment