Should Readers Be Invited into an Author’s Creative Process?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Woman writing

In our lead article today, Hannah Johnson discusses the Digital Life Design conference in Munich at which Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes, and Peter Hirschberg of The Conversation Group presented NBC’s multi-platform promotional strategy for the TV series, which includes creating a large cache of content spread across Web sites and games. The result, says Johnson, “is not just a popular TV show; it is a brand.” She quotes Hirschberg as saying that media companies “traditionally thought of narrative or content as a one-way street.”

However, as fans connect online and create a culture around the story, “we now have an obligation to create content that users can push back on.”

It’s a view that challenges the traditional dominion of the author and, instead, empowers the reader and the fan to participate in the process of creation.

The question is: To what extent is the role of the author or creator changing in the digital, interconnected world? Should readers be invited to participate in an author’s creative process and, if so, does this in any way compromise the author’s authority over their creation? Does it shift the balance of power more to the reader/consumer — or has it always been in their hands?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.