Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...ground control to Major Tom.....

I'm kind of a hybrid techie/writer, as many of you know. For me, and maybe for you too, I  accept and see  the changes in the publishing industry as a positive thing, for the most part. And, it really just isn't the industry itself that is changing but more like the industry reacting to the advance of technology and economic variables, then adapting. For writers too, in fact, as technology opens new and strikingly vast opportunities we must react and adapt. eBooks, social media, blog platforms, indie author and book trends, new industry business models and legalities, high tech promotional companies and even internet radio are new frontiers that must be understood, used and mastered. (More on internet radio in a later blog post)
It amazes me(not in a good way) when I see established writers just now coming online and even fewer who may already be online actually interacting with fans and readers. Yes, I understand the reluctance of many, it seems mind boggling and dizzying to try to gain perspective on the "big picture" of change, let alone break it down to the compositional elements, then learn and apply them. You probably don't want to hear this either - but guess what - it will require more of your precious time to do it too. A LOT more. Welcome to the future skippy... You may already be falling behind the curve. At least it's about control, and more of it. Others may even be unaware of the massive movement online of the average ordinary person or society's buying habits and how they are changing along with the delivery methods of information and product. Are you? 
The real shift in effort for the next 5 years, for writers, will be time management and mastery of multi tasking - technologically.  I don't think it'll be a "cookie cutter" road map for everyone, though the marketers would have you believe that. But it will be what it is, more and faster avenues of revenue. It'll get down to: How much can you stay on top of? How many different ways can you get your work, or book, into people's hands? How much time do you have, or are you willing to give to master as many avenues as possible? Are you aware of how many promotional platforms there are? What "they" are? (pssssst...scan the top writer, editor and publ. industry blogger sites.)  
It still, and always will be about the writing, (if you're a writer that is, and even if you're not). Let's not lose focus on that fact. What time and energy you have left you will be using for promotion. Period. That term includes networking. This is something I hope you can accept as a 21st century writer because it will be an every day part of you and your literary creations - from now on. Don't worry about the who, what, where, when and why's of it all, just think, and I've said this before, think about it all from the inside out not the outside in. What? Think about the reader, (you remember them, your fans?) Where and how will they, can they, find your work? More importantly: How many ways will you make it available to them and how many ways will you, can you, let them KNOW about you and your work? 
That's what it gets down to, doesn't it? 

eReaders, ok, cool, PC reader programs(most are free), all the readers mean is: you convert and promote the eBook version of  your book AND the audio and CD version, (I'm thinking too of future "flash drive" versions, kind of like a modern cd or dvd)  also there's online book blog and review sites, cyber blog book tour and book signing sites, ok cool, social media groups and individuals, book groups, reader groups(love these folks!), book stores of all types,(I LOVE LOVE LOVE small indie book stores - and - Barnes and Noble because I think they are visionaries in the promotion, distribution and sales of books in ALL formats, and they have their own reader), and Google Books(a brilliant idea, really) editors, (did I mention how much I LOVE editors?), publishers, online and off line literary mags, journals and groups, writer sites, writer group sites, public library sites and locations, (librarians will always have a special place deep in my heart, I'll tell you the story sometime). I'm sure many of you reading this could add to this list but I think you get the point. 
My advice? Please take this advice seriously, others do. Get a really good laptop or netbook or pad. Get a really good, or upgrade at least, (the) ram and video card on your old model pc at work or at home. If you can, upgrade your internet connection to the highest speed download AND UPLOAD you can afford, (psssst, or find a really good secure wifi connection at a McDonald's or Starbucks near you). Speed and flash capability are paramount for what you need to do. Ditch your Fred Flinstone pc and laptop and move into the future as soon as you can. Watch and micro-manage your budget for a coupla months, you can swing a 300 or 400 $ netbook or laptop with 4 or more gigs of ram! I use flash drives to save my work on too, they're cheap....so I can easily move it to any pc I want to. More on this stuff in another blog post too. Look - it's like this: You wouldn't enter the Daytona 500 on a skateboard would you? well.....you're fighting for attention AND dollars against people who have come to play with serious intentions and your equipment better be rockin'. Again, it's about speed, both in your web connection and in the pc.

Start with Twitter and Facebook. Take a few months to get into the rhythm of interacting every day with people, getting on lists, finding and following new people, clicking on links in bio's and in Tweets and FB posts. Look at other peoples sites, leave comments after you've actually READ something they wrote....
it's called: MAKING FRIENDS
......you've been doing it since you were a kid, use the same instincts. 
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads, all the links are in the right sidebar of this blog. 
And don't forget: BUY A BOOK!
That's it for now.
You know where to find me.



Romance Girl said...

I love this post Daniel. You know I am not an author. We have been friends on FB, twitter etc.long enough to know that; but I do love to read. I love communicating with authors and writers on these sites. You get to know them and realize they are human just like the rest of us. You find out who really cares about their fans. Those who will speak to them. There is nothing more frustrating then an author who ignores your comments or questions. I know they are busy. We are all busy; but I will say if you don't have time for your fans, your fans are not going to buy your books. I have met and personally conversed with people I would have never met if not for the social sites and reading sites. My book blog is growing because of it and in my small section of this cyber world, I feel tremendously blessed because of it. Time. Yes, it does take time; but for me it is time well spent. Thank you for sharing this Daniel and for being my friend in this cyper world we enjoy together.LOL. Your friend, Eva

Daniel Audet said...

Hi Eva! THANKS for taking the time to read my post here and make a comment! This may surprise you but I happen to believe that the book reader and book club groups are one of the major driving forces in the success of ANY book, even those by established authors. These folks, like YOU, are looked to by the publishing industry, authors and most near and dear to me - the book buying public, many of whom are serious fans of some authors. It's a world within a world as old as man's(and woman's) desire to communicate and express. I also believe we will soon see a revolution in the publishing industry on several fronts, not the least of which will be the power the book reading and buying public will exhibit online and in the physical marketplace THANKS to the credible and competent diligence and good old fashioned love of a good read people like YOU have.I'm on the threshhold of cracking the "big time" myself, as an author, and I look forward to writing novels that will thrill and entertain, not to mention give people their hard earned money's worth. And, I'm grateful for the friendship! Furthermore, even I realize the valuable place and influence folks like you have.
So, Thanks!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

I have to agree with getting out there in the world of your readers. It really helps get you known where you may not have been heard of before. I can't say how many books I've found by way of all the amazing people I now have contact with in parts of the world, and even in the US where I'm at, that I would not have ever heard of before. Thanks to this wonderful world of technology. And socializing with the authors is amazing. And no, we don't always talk about their books. But that is the best part. They aren't out for the hard sell. They are human just like you and me.

Great post. And so true.

Daniel Audet said...

Hi Melissa, thank you for the comment, I appreciate it very much! Did you know that Kindle has a free ereader you can load into your laptop or pc,(?), many of the other ereader brands also do, most authors recommend Kindle.

Hope Welsh said...

You're so right. Today, we have to be our own advocates. Especially if we are indie authors or small press authors.

A lot of my favorite authors don't have author websites. Linda Howard, Sharon Sala to name two of my favorite authors.

When I'm on Twitter, actively chatting with people--I literally can see my sales go up on Amazon and sometimes, though not was much, on B&N.

I might have missed it--but it's also important to get your books early to the online review sites.

Even an independent author can sell today. Look at Amanda Hocking--three of her self-published books will be on the USA Today Best Seller List. HP Mallory, another indie author I love, just got a 3 book Random House deal.

Me--a virtual no one in the industry--sell more books than the "average" book sales according to Publisher Weekly. I blog. I tweet. I Facebook. I'm on Goodreads. I follow everyone that I see. I post contests.

Do what it takes--you can write the best book in the world--but someone has to KNOW it's there.

Excellent blog! MSG me--you can do a guest blog on my blog anytime.


Daniel Audet said...

Hi Hope! yes, it's true, the review sites are a huge tool in the promo of any book. To stand out is the key, as you say. You have a great grasp on the "what-to-do's as a modern writer and, no doubt most writers will follow down the techno-road with the rest of us.