It’s a preoccupation with melancholy writers to want to be recognised for work in this lifetime. But failing that, the second best thing (although fairly useless when you think about it) is to want to be posthumously recognised, like Franz Kafka, Emily Dickinson or Edgar Allan Poe.
Of course, it’s a complete waste of time to be famous after you’re dead and the sad fact is that most of us will not be recognised either in this lifetime or afterwards (obviously I speak for myself). This is why it’s so important for writers to enjoy the writing – or there just isn’t any point. Neil Gaiman says ‘make good art whatever happens’ – and presumably this also means whether anyone notices you or not.
This is why a digital legacy is so interesting. What happens to anything you have created after you die? Obviously there is the Google Inactive Account manager for those who want to let others access their material after they have crossed the glowing human rainbow bridge (not sure why the rainbow bridge is glowing – just trying to keep things light).
There are digital legacy firms who will protect your writings, passwords and digital art. But I don’t think anyone has written about the Amazon pre-order system – which has the potential of being a peculiar form of life after death.
Because I’ve come to realise that should I kick the tin bucket (still trying to keep things light) before December 15th, my first novel will still be published. That’s because it has all been uploaded to the Kindle Direct Publishing site and everything is ready to roll whether I do anything or not. It will happen automatically from here on.
In theory it is possible to add a book 90 days in advance. So if you had a particularly scandalous (or libelous) autobiography (or wanted revenge) you could upload a manuscript if you knew you were about to pop your glow-in the dark clogs (light?) in advance.
I have no plans to give up the happy ghost just yet and all being well, we will all survive the winter and not have to worry about bridges, buckets, ghosts or clogs. After all it is for such losses that many people (understandably) grow to hate Christmas. All I’m saying is that with the changes in the publishing industry and the rise of the ebook there is now a new way of leaving a digital legacy.
Think happy thoughts.