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.