Saturday, July 11, 2009

But what about the children...?

There was a conference in Auckland recently on digital publishing. As well as Graham Beattie attending and blogging on the experience, someone I know personally who is involved in the publishing industry was going and I wondered (yet again) how I should feel about this topic and how it might affect me and my writing. Should I be worried? afraid? resigned? fatalistic? ecstatic? blase? all of the above? - you get the picture.

There has been intermittant press on this topic for as long as I have been blogging and no one seems to be entirely sure how it will go, when or whether technology will be the main format and when or whether the traditionally printed word will disappear completely. But yesterday it occured to me that as a children's writer, it is entirely likely that the impact of e-books, kindles, and all that is digital publishing will take a very different pathway when it comes to children's books. Can children learn to read via a kindle? Will teachers read aloud to a classroom of children via some electronic medium? How will new entrants (and older students) learn in the future and how, if at all, will books feature? It only occured to me yesterday that most of the conversations about this topic that I've been eavesdropping on so far have been about books for a mature audience. All my questions have changed and I wonder who out there might have any answers. What do you think?

On a related topic I have sometimes considered whether I should have a facebook page and be a twitterer (already being a twit, its only one small step further). After all, I have already been completely seduced by blogging. I don't know if there are any benefits to my writing career in doing this but I have come to realise that this would be a happy accidental by-product of something that for me is all about joining a community of like-minded people who enjoy discussing writing, publishing and all associated issues. I love knowing things and learning more about them (tick), I love making friends with people who care about the same things I do (tick), I love writing (tick), I love sharing information (tick) and I love figuring stuff out by talking it through (tick). I have resisted facebook etc... because they function in different ways that don't tick all those boxes for me and it seemed to me they suck up a large amount of time disproportionate to any potential advantages. If i needed further convincing that my instincts were right on this I need look no further than the lovely clip (those green glasses are quite distracting) recently posted on Wellington writer Maureen Crisp's blog (although I am disturbed by all that housework Maureen - thats not healthy).

By the way I was interviewed by Gordon Harcourt on National Radio yesterday. I am still feeling a little PTSS over this but may post a link at some point if I can manage to get over myself.


fleance (aka TK Roxborogh) said...

Couldn't hear you on Sat cos we were travelling but have just listened to you on a pod cast. Hmmm. He could have been a bit more prepared, yeah? And, not sure why he went on to ask you about child psychology. The questions he asked and things he said did not necessarily offer you places to go easily. Still, I think you acquitted yourself very very well.
BTW - you're very very clever! Zoology! English! further study! Wow. How do you fit it all in?

Fifi Colston said...

Just listened to you on podcast this minute- I agree with TK, so be pleased with the way it went!

maureen said...

HI Melinda,
Stopped cleaning.. pushed all kids out of the room to listen to your to the last five minutes and had to answer the door
arrrrrrgh. Then tried to catch the rest on podcast and couldn't get it...arrrrgh
However I was really surprised at Gordon's questions...I thought he could have done better...I yelled it out to the radio...does that count....
Mind you a radio interview...that must be up there with Dancing with the Stars...Do you think New Idea will come knocking with a cheque book? The real story behind the Were Nana and subversive attempts to make it a bedtime story....

Melinda Szymanik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melinda Szymanik said...

Tania - Clever? Ha, ha - just played a lot of 500 in the Grad Bar. Do love learning stuff tho' -keep going back for more and now I'm hoping it'll rub off on the kids.

Fifi - I wonder if one can just answer the questions one was hoping to get, rather than the ones that end up being asked?

Maureen - I laughed out loud. Subversive attempts to make Were-nana a bedtime story? - now there's a whole new marketing angle!!!