I recently published a post on writing for money. This was inspired by having just begun setting up a freelance writing business. However, I ran into an unexpected obstacle while trying to break back into freelancing. Trade is set to decline for freelance writing businesses. This will probably not interest you if you aren’t a freelancer, but don’t go anywhere just yet, this is relevant to you.

Why is freelance writing set to decline?

Here is where it gets interesting. I accidentally discovered while browsing the web that SEO is dying out. For those who don’t know, SEO is search engine optimization. It’s a vital tool in a freelance writer’s toolkit and something that determines where a page appears in search results. Except it doesn’t anymore. According to some sources, search results are becoming increasingly irrelevant. What does this mean for writers in general?

Out with the old, in with the new

The impending doom of SEO hints at far wider trends. Websites are beginning to be seen as clunky, static and inconvenient. That’s because massive numbers of people aren’t logging on with a desktop PC. They’re using smartphones, tablets, notebooks, etc. These devices do not lend themselves to traditional online browsing.

Enter the new kid on the block: apps.

The future is app

Alright, apps aren’t really new, but they are taking over large swathes of online real estate. Logging into Facebook? Use the app. Checking your gmail? Use the app. Ordering dinner? There’s an app for that. There’s no longer any reason to search, visit a website, navigate the pages, type in your details, blah blah blah. You open the app and it’s all there.

Apps are only going to steal more attention from websites as smartphone usage expands.

Where does this leave you?

You’re an author / poet / journalist, why do you care? Well, the fate of traditional authorship is linked to the fate of traditional web-publishing. Why is Kindle cutting a bloody path through publishers’ profit margins? It has an app (you saw that coming). Here’s a harder question. Why don’t you have an app?

“I’m not a software engineer.”

You don’t need to be. There are websites offering easy-to-use app development for no cost, with no need to download bulky programs. Google “app development platform”.

“I don’t know how to design an app.”

You’re a writer, aren’t you? That means you have creative skills and you can generate engaging content. Look at what other apps do for design ideas.

“What would my app do?”

That’s the hardest question to answer. What would your ideal app be? Is there something you wish you could do just by tapping a button on your phone? You could have an app with pieces written by you, incorporating some sort of interactive content. It could be linked to your blog. Maybe it’s something that will help others with their writing.

There was a time when books were the hottest, newest thing. The same has been true of magazines, websites and blogs at one time or another. But trends move forward, become obsolete and are replaced. I’m not saying that books are the next dinosaurs, but authorship should be breaking into new trends such as apps. Don’t leave it to the bookshops, they’re just using it for marketing. Use apps to get your message across, reach a wider audience and generate interest in how books get written, not how much they sell for.

Let me know in the comments if any of this was useful. Do you have any writing tips to share?


My books:

17 thoughts on “Tip #19: Keep Up With The Times

  1. I agree. Things are progressing quickly into the App world. The technology generation aren’t reading what isn’t in their face, quick and easy. I hate to agree but it’s a truth. I’m in the process of publishing a second poetry book and am thinking of everything I can do to be successful. Thanks for the post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is rather heavy, JS! I guess I’ll have to take some time to get my head around it.. As someone who uses only a laptop (does this already make me an antique?) I’ve not yet had any interaction with aps. But…I have a blog and stories to get out there, so I’ll have to investigate. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still think pen and paper is the best way to write, but sacrifices have to be made to reach readers! I’ve considered posting handwritten manuscripts to random addresses but the restraining orders might interrupt my flow!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello, Mr. Malpas! Hope you are having a lovely Tuesday. As you may or may not know, I’ve been writing a “diary of a new writer” series on my blog. I just wanted to give you a heads up that I linked to your writing tips page in tomorrow’s post and I also linked to Word Exact to give you a little shout out! If either one of those things is not ok with you, let me know! I won’t be posting until Wednesday AM Eastern time USA. I think you’re 5 hours ahead of us?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I seriously never even considered the idea of having an app. What a cool idea! I think there could be definite positives, such as allowing a subscriber to purchase your books via an in app purchase or receiving your latest blog posts without having to go “online” or clog up email.

    But I wonder how likely it is for those writers who are less-than-famous. Me personally, I wouldn’t have too many different writers’ apps clogging up my devices. Instead, I’d get only the app from my favorite writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the same roadblock I’m running into. Touch-screen real estate and storage is a deciding factor when people choose whether to download an app.
      I know it’d be a great medium for new authors to break into, but I’ve yet to figure out how their app can have a wide-ranging enough function to justify the download…


  5. Thanks for this – it’s food for thought. I always wanted to create an app (a game) for my first book and this has given me the motivation to look into this more seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

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