Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Regional Fiction in an Electronic World

Saturday's Eat & Exchange was a lively and informative discussion of regional fiction in an electronic world. Here are the questions and a summary of the group's answers.

  1. 1. When researching locales, is the Internet more of an advantage or a disadvantage? The consensus was that it's a net advantage, not only for the research information you can find online but also for networking with people who know the answers to your research questions. It also has some disadvantages, which include student plagiarism for research papers and giving readers the opportunity to discover and chat about minor errors in a book, sometimes honing in on the details while missing the story.
  2. As electronic media expand a writer's potential audience beyond geographical boundaries, does that expansion require greater cultural sensitivity? The group felt that writers have always needed to consider their audience, and broadening the potential readership does not change this. One member noted that his humorous novel set during various periods in American history has found fans in Germany, so maybe the cultural issues are not as significant as we think.
  3. Books can carry readers away to new places, but so can online travelogues. Is this a competition that writers should worry about? The group was unanimous in its view that online travelogues complement regional fiction rather than competing with it. If someone reads a travelogue about China and is fascinated with the locale, that person may decide to look for a novel set there--and the Internet allows him or her to find and purchase it immediately. Regional fiction can also be bundled with travelogues for marketing purposes.
Join us for the next Eat & Exchange at 6:00 p.m. on April 11 at Season's Restaurant, 7219 Taft Street, Merrillville. We will discuss how to use new media to promote ourselves and our books.

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