January 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
A Digital Book World (DBW) post showed up on my wife’s FaceBook stream with a Photoshopped picture of a book cover for “50 Shades of Hunger Games” — and my face. “Since when do you like “50 Shades,” she chortled. The best I can figure out, because I had clicked “Like” on DBW’s Facebook page in get this — 2010 — Facebook had allowed DBW to send their post out to all my friends — as if I had done it. Just because I liked DBW in 2010 on Facebook doesn’t mean I want all my acquaintances with my mug talking about 50 Shades of Grey or The Hunger Games — I’m not the mindless, mass produced book mania kind of guy.
Now if DBW had asked and wanted to use me in their advertising campaign on FaceBook, I would have opted in if they were going to talk about why so much of traditional publishing’s backlist is unavailable in digital format along with a picture of Milan Kundera’s mug. Otherwise, leave me the hell out of your advertising campaign. It impugns my credibility and independence by co-opting my name and face for your ad.
I’m not sure who to be most angry at — DBW for an ill-advised ad campaign or FaceBook for making it possible to flood the streams of friends of unknowing FaceBook-ites. I admit I’m somewhat of a FaceBook neophyte judging by the vast unanswered quantities in my various FaceBook icons on the top of my FaceBook page. I did a quick Google search for “facebook ads based on likes”. (Yes, I used Google to find the FaceBook stuff). In case you are wondering, it appears I was a victim of some form of “Connection Targeting.”
When you choose to target friends of connections your ad will be targeted to people whose friends are connected to your Page, app, or event. This is a great way to get more likes and potential customers because people are more inclined to interact with a Page, app, or event knowing that their friends are connected. Friends of connections are also more likely to be interested in what you’re advertising because they may share the same interests as their friends.
Uhh, more like a great way to piss off your connections who liked you once upon a time if you are going to put their Face up along with 50 Fucking Shades of Grey. So there DBW, be warned about your ill-conceived advertising bullshit. I apologize to any of my friends who seem to think I started smoking anything that is still illegal in Utah. I remain a literary snob.
As for you FaceBook, I get it — you went public and now you have to figure out some way to make money, but please leave my face out of it.
July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
Statistics can be such a misleading thing — take the latest: 12% of the United States has eReaders. Not very many is it — only 12%. Yet, something nags at my mathematical brain — a stat I remembered hearing. I found a lot of reference to it, but could never verify it, yet it has that ring of truth — namely, 80% of American households didn’t buy a book in the last year (could never find the original source, so it may be apocryphal, but it smacks of relevance when 30% don’t know who the US declared independence from in 1776) . Now, that 80% chunk of the population is not going to buy an eReader and even assuming the other 20% buy an equal number of books, eReaders have tipped and most books are now bought in digital format. Amazon’s public announcements also mirror this.
Bottom line — the relevant stat is not what percentage own an eReader, but what percentage of book buyers buy digital books — and I know that is much higher than 12% . If you want to sell a book these days, you better get it in digital format.
July 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
What are the new digital genres? New lingo is springing up — “cross-platform” or in the phrase that shows up no where in Google, so that must mean I coined it (not saying I did, just that Google can’t find it — “re-sourcing digital content”, by resourcing digital content, I mean that when an artist or author creates digital content, how do you use that resource. Each digital publisher needs a Digital Resource Department that operates like a Human Resource Department — assigning the digital content out to its numerous potential incarnations. Digital genres aren’t so much new genres as new genres that have the potential to be monetized.
Some Potential Digital Generes:
Interactive fiction: A merging of the gaming genre with the literary world. Many forms of game have long contained a form of interactive story telling — for my generation, Dungeons and Dragons.
Non-linear fiction: Using hyperlinks to create a non-linear narrative. This genre could easily split into multiple genres — romance, mystery, erotic, literary. Traditional publishing has gone down the non-linear rabbit hole. A memorable non-linear text for me was The House of Leaves. James Joyce at least feels non-linear to me and almost anything by David Foster Wallace proves that footnotes are the print version of hyperlinks. Poetry is replete with non-linear type images and narratives (thus the success of T.S. Eliot “The Wasteland” App on iTunes) .
Multi-media Fiction: This seems to be the genre that gets the most attention, but also the one that I think in a way is a little overblown. Is the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, multi-media fiction because it contains a chapter that is a PowerPoint presentation? What about DVD extras that include text? Audio books? The written or spoken word changed into digital form moves seamlessly across media, that isn’t genre, that is flexibility.
The difference between the artist and the publisher is the publisher’s concern over how to monetize a new digital genre. The digital world only seems to exacerbate the century old conflict of cash and artistic purity. Yet, the potential for profitably monetizing artistic efforts in the digital realm that expands your potential market into the millions and billions, you only need a micro-percentage, a relatively small tribe of followers to patronize the artist to artistic freedom.
The palate of digital expression is larger than any artists or writers have had at their disposal in the history of the earth. The critical question is how do you sell what you do digitally. Where is your audience going to read it — a phone app, on their iPad, Kindle, Nook or computer screen? How are you going to get them to pay for it? I want exciting digital genres, but like any artist, you need to pay attention to your canvas and the gallery where you can sell your wares.