In The Shorts

some shortsFull Title: Takin’ It in the Shorts: Maybe it’s NOT Attention Span!
What if all we need to do is find a way to fit into the snippets of free time in people’s lives?

Geared toward: Any writer who is interested in ePublishing and possible trends in readership
Session Format: One hour seeded discussion This workshop has a companion blog at (
Venue Requirements: Minimum – whiteboard and/or flip chart, etc

Session Overview:A consistent hue and cry in today’s publishing world is “nobody reads anymore, and there are no new readers coming along!” A common justification for this observation is that kids, and adults, today just don’t have the attention span necessary to read books.

Yet YA novels are selling at record rates. Some modern “masters” like Patterson and Brown are posting massive sales numbers.


The topic of this open discussion, I use the term “seeded” above because I plan to plant some talking points as we go along, is to consider that maybe it is NOT attention span, but the available time in the lives of readers, and prospective readers. Maybe writers need to write based on the snippets of time people can carve out of their lives.

Some beginning seeds:

  • Over the past several years, the volume of paper (e.g. word count) in a book carried an implicit “value” to both publishers and readers.
    • Yet short romance imprints have been and continue to be very successful.
    • Yet YA novels, averaging a couple hundred pages, are doing very well — in an audience often chided for “attention span” issues.
    • eBooks have taken the implied value of a stack of paper out of the equation
  • Hardcover releases from people like James Patterson and Dan Brown consistently have extremely high sales numbers
    • Patterson’s chapters average 3-5 pages, and Brown’s average 4.2
    • Is it attention span or have they found the magic length related to the snippets of time in people’s lives?

Come on in, the water’s fine. But moving quickly.

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