Did you know that a goldfish has a longer attention span than the average human? Yes. It’s true. As authors what are we to do? If we don’t grab the attention of our readers within eight seconds – that’s the average attention span of mankind in 2012, down from a whopping 12 seconds over a decade ago – then how do we expect to galvanize them through the lengths of War and Peace. Or something similar?
The answer is quite simple, really. Enter digital shorts. A relatively new format for publishers have embraced, these pieces are digital and have a shorter lead time to market.
Writing for the “Guardian,” Alison Flood reports, Venetia Butterfield, publishing director of Penguin imprint Viking, believes Penguin will be able to publish titles as Shorts in as little as four weeks from the point of commissioning. “You can’t be quite as quick as we’d like. We can’t do it in a week, but we can do it in four to five weeks which is pretty quick. We hope we will be able to respond really quite quickly to events,” she says.
So what does this mean for your audience? Again, the benefits are obvious. With digital shorts publishers are bringing new content to market faster, and your audience will appreciate that. You’re also creating content that is easy to digest – that addresses the attention span problem most of us experience.
Finally, and this is important too – at least from a marketing perspective – everyone loves getting something new.
Digital shorts will grow your readership because the new format allows publishers to take works to market quicker. Because the format is concise, readers can easily digest it, and you continuously feed them something new. When they’re happy, they’ll likely spread the word – ergo more readers. Fire up their enthusiasm. Keep them coming back for more.