As much as I've written about how the book industry is changing, there are changes about to happen that you may not be prepared for. First, think how much technology has shaped our lives in the last ten years. People have home movie theatres now with large flat screens and surround sound systems, watching movies streaming from Netflix. Better yet, my doctor emails me test results from my yearly checkup.
On the negative side, people seem to talk less to each other in person because everyone is on their cell phones, oblivious to their surroundings. The Grand Canyon has hikers talking about their herpes to their best friends who are not watching nearby Niagara Falls. Now you can also crash your GPS-monitored car into a phone pole because you're playing with your iPod.
Physicist Michio Kaku gives a good sense of huge changes headed your way in a new book I'm reading called Physics of the Future. He says with computer technology advancing every 18 months, it won't be long until a computer chip is cheaper than a bubblegum wrapper. Instead of bar codes on all merchandise, there will be embedded chips.
As he says in an article in today's Los Angeles Times, "The Internet will be everywhere, including in your contact lenses - when you blink, you'll go online. When you see somebody, it will display their image and biography. And if they speak to you in another language, it will translate to English in subtitles. In the future, you'll know exactly who to suck up to in any cocktail party."
In high school, I didn't need contact lenses to tell me who to suck up to. I stayed away from everyone. My classmates who went to parties were either jocks or smart-n-cool people. I did not feel part of either group--and girls were simply too intimidating. It was best to hang on the sidelines and nod with a smile when looked at. Having recently chaperoned a high school party with my wife, I can say not much has changed. The jocks and the cool people danced, and a lot of shy people stood on the sides trying to act as if they belonged there.
Speaking of high school, today's paper also had an article about a Chinese teenager who so much wanted an iPad2, he sold one of his kidneys for it. When his parents found him with the new device and a deep red scar on his body, they called the police. Click here to read the article.
Still, it's important to stay abreast of science. I've been fascinated with it, which is why I began college as a chemistry major. I then discovered that storytelling and psychology fascinated me even more. I managed to merge all my interests in my novel Love At Absolute Zero, which is a story of a young physicist named Gunnar who thinks he can apply the Scientific Method to love, and falls down the rabbit hole of relationship problems. Each chapter starts off with a law of physics, and the reader then gets to figure out how physics connects to Gunnar's rising and worse situation. It's funny.
The book will be in print in September, but people with Kindles and Nooks can get it now. I'm experimenting with a new kind of book rollout. I'll also be teaching a Saturday seminar at UCLA in October about independent publishing--how to do it right. I can't say if what I'm doing is right, but I'll know by then. In today's technological world, to find readers, one has to try new things.
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