For the most of you the following advice will hardly be new, as you are reading this on a blog, but anyway.
After reading the controversial book "Print is dead" by Jeff Gomez, I must say he had some interesting findings.
It's getting harder and harder for an author to get a book deal solely by writing a book. It's not just the online promotion / exposure, but the continuos engagement in building an internet audience that is needed. Books aren't a one-way-street anymore. Readers want to participate and be able to discuss things with the author. This direct communication (and confrontation sometimes) is something every new author should not only be ready for, but turn it to his own advantage by actually using the comments for revision or the next publication.
I won't say there will be no major writers anymore who do nothing other than pure writing, but there will be far less than today. This is also true for the audience which is dramatically changing. Today most of the people are at least some kind of "internet aware".
To close this post let me quote a paragraph of the book which sums it all up:
"Writers who are unskilled in the ways of the Internet, or just don’t want to play any part in the online discussion and want to write books and be left alone, will be like movie actors at the end of the silent era who were forced to have elocution lessons when talking pictures were suddenly the brand new thing.
For some, the advent of sound allowed them to shine in a way silent films never did. Others, however — those who didn’t have good voices or couldn’t act in the way that talking pictures demanded — found themselves suddenly without a career.
Many modern day writers will find themselves in similar circumstances, unable to deal with the ramifications and changes that a new technology has brought to their art form." (pgs. 153-154)
Gomez, Jeff. Print is Dead: Books in our digital age. Palgrave Macmilla, 2007.