Oct 26, 2010

Every Snowball Starts with a Flake. And I guess that's me.

I was reading a really interesting article this morning which discussed the inertial blindness affecting the various publishing industries - specifically music and literature, but I believe this can be seen in many more industries as well. It's basically the realization that people tend to trust word-of-mouth more than blanket napalm advertizing and that more industries need to learn how to shift their marketing model from the one they currently employ and adopt one that more closely follows software development.

In software, anyone can invent anything. They can "mass produce" it (in other words, distribute electronically) and build up a target audience and use that to gain credit with the larger distributors or developers.

But with music and book publishing companies, they will only invest in the sure things - - creators who they know - KNOW - they can make a buck off. And these creators are usually desperate enough to sign away their rights to getting that brass ring contract. Most musicians, for example, don't start making any money off their albums until they're 2 or 3 albums in, and usually only after they're able to re-negotiate their contract to something more favorable.

I saw a recent statistic that addressed the number of iTunes downloads you would need each month in order to sustain it as a career. Literally, it was in the hundreds and thousands. But as an independent producer, it goes up dramatically. It's not unusual for first-time musicians to make literally pennies off each unit sold through a major publishing company, most all of which gets absorbed back into the production and marketing costs and their advance. The number of bands who declare bankruptcy after selling millions of albums isn't even unusual anymore - if anything, it's become the average experience. How sad is that? Meanwhile, RIAA is blaming illegal downloads as the cause of their financial ruin. Nice.

So this is where I come in. I've now written two novels, and am preparing to start my third - but as I don't follow the old school structure of marketing (as I don't have $150,000 to simply toss around), I turn to you for help.

My two novels - "The Morrow Stone" and "Reaper's Flight" are presently framed up on two sites: Amazon.com and Goodreads.com. They're actually sold on the first site (paperback and Kindle versions), while Goodreads is set up as a reader/author site - - - think Facebook but with an absolute focus on reading. Now, I know times are tough - - so if the 11 bucks (for the paperback; the kindle versions are around 6 dollars) is too much an investment, it's not a worry.

What I'd really like are reviews, feedback; that sort of thing. In fact, if you're interested in doing a review, but haven't read the book but would like to and don't have the extra cash to purchase a copy, let me know, and we can work something out - perhaps a pdf review copy, that sort of thing could be exchanged. Amazon is a great place to put those reviews, as well - - all good feedback helps get my books higher up and more visible.

Additionally, on Goodreads, there are opportunities for leaving reviews or simply adding the books to your "To Read" list. There are also genre lists that feature books of a like vibe, and voting for these is not only free, but it's easy and can make a supreme difference in other people's decisions to invest in the books. For example, The Morrow Stone is currently on these lists, and simply voting for it can give it a new level of visibility and recognition, either one of which can help it to be picked up by other readers.

Also, there's a book by a fellow independent author friend of mine, HL Reasby. Her Egyptian-themed contemporary fantasy novel "Akhet" can be likewise found in both places - feel free to give her book some props, too. She's in the middle of edits on her next book, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind a bit of positive attention for her first one. Edits suck; she could use a little applause right about now, I'd wager.

Lastly, if you're an author or musician or artist, etc, and would like some additional internet praise, please let me know - - I will happily share the good word with my peeps and take one more giant leap for independent content creators.

So there's my plea and my offer. Thank you for - if nothing else - reading this; thank you twice for anything you can do to help get the word out. And thank you thrice for being involved at all, whichever way the process unfolds.

Be well, peeps.

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