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gothicangel
08-15-2012, 09:50 PM
Interesting read:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jul/30/tweet-about-cats-just-write (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jul/30/tweet-about-cats-just-write)


I'm convinced that epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months. The reason is this: epublishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn't, and we're just starting to get the true stats on that. When social media marketing collapses it will destroy the platform that the dream of a self-epublishing industry was based upon.


As Joanna Penn says: "In a world with lots of talent, success requires more than simply being great." She advocates, "more effective networking, of course!" Self-styled eSpecialists such as Penn often invoke the 80/20 rule which advises that, as a sales person (in this case an author), you should spend 20% of your time writing and 80% of your time networking through social media. In tune with this, self-epublishing author Louise Voss (http://vossandedwards.com/) recently informed me that the success of her ebooks (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/ebooks) came about as a result of spending about 80% of her time marketing (her writing partner also had a marketing background).

amrose
08-15-2012, 10:48 PM
Or we could use social media to, you know, connect to people instead of market at them incessantly.

I don't think epublishing is a tech bubble. I do think some authors treat it as a get rich quick scheme and those authors will abandon any system that doesn't give them immediate results.

PulpDogg
08-15-2012, 10:55 PM
That article is rubbish. So someone who "even bought an iPhone so that I could get with the revolution" wants to tell the world about how social media works?


I'm convinced that epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months.

Really? E-Publishing is another tech bubble? In the next 18 months all those millions of Kindles, Nooks, Smartphones and Tablets will just disappear and nobody will read ebooks anymore?

Ewan Morrison doesn't seem to be knowing what he is talking about and probably just wants to attract page views by posting a contrarian article.

Katie Elle
08-15-2012, 11:07 PM
Second time I've seen that article. It's complete twaddle.

It's impossible for it to be a bubble because there's nothing to pop. Our total investment is $117. $34 dollars in royalty free stock for covers, $32 for a copy of Scrivener for Windows, and $51 for a used Alphasmart Neo. I do most everything myself, but most of the people who are buying covers and paying to have books formatted or edited are paying very moderate amounts to other independent vendors.

The rest lays out the very dreary reality of how likely it is that any of us uploading to Amazon are going to become the next Amanda Hocking or EL James. Yes, he's right, but he's right about publishing, not e-publishing. The reality is that all forms of publishing exist off pipe dreams. Only 50% of books on Amazon will make $500? I'm shocked it's that high. Now go to the slush pile at one of the big 6. How many of those manuscripts will make $500. I'll bet the number is lower than 50%.

On social networking, he really creates a straw man out of Facebook. Creating your own Facebook and spamming your friends isn't useful for getting initial traction in the market. However, there are blogs and facebook groups dedicated to certain types of fiction. Getting a review there or even a mention can be very helpful and they're not going anywhere just because Facebook's IPO was overvalued.

MarkEsq
08-15-2012, 11:17 PM
Really? E-Publishing is another tech bubble? In the next 18 months all those millions of Kindles, Nooks, Smartphones and Tablets will just disappear and nobody will read ebooks anymore?


I think the emphasis is not on e-publishing, but on e-self-publishing. A lot of people conflate the two, but there's a big difference.

PulpDogg
08-15-2012, 11:22 PM
I think the emphasis is not on e-publishing, but on e-self-publishing. A lot of people conflate the two, but there's a big difference.

Tell that to the writer of the article - those were his words.

LindaJeanne
08-15-2012, 11:22 PM
I think the emphasis is not on e-publishing, but on e-self-publishing. A lot of people conflate the two, but there's a big difference.

Whereas I think the author of the article is confusing e-self-published authors with people who take "How I sold a bazillion e-books in five and a half minutes" as some kind of gospel.

Focusing on the subset of self-publishers with the most-outrageous-expectations-pursued-via-the-most-ineffective-behaviors counts as a straw-man, I think.

Max Vaehling
08-16-2012, 03:13 PM
That's what you get when you go into social media with a marketing mindset. You judge everything from the "return of investment" perspective, dismissing allt the non-quantifiable side effects of connecting with communities that may or may not lead to success down the road in ways you may or may not anticipate. Or, more likely, rather than dismiss them, you miss out on them completely if all you do in the social networks is spam them.

Then you pull out, find that you haven't gone viral after all, and take that as proof that the whole thing doesn't work. Well, duh.

That said, it's quite possible that epublishing, in the current form, is a bubble, and that it will indeed shrink to a managable size before long. One can hope, right? 'Cause what this means is: Those who go in now thinking "gold rush" will indeed pull back eventually, leaving the field to those who can maintain a meaningful and durable social presence.

victoriastrauss
08-16-2012, 07:36 PM
'Cause what this means is: Those who go in now thinking "gold rush" will indeed pull back eventually, leaving the field to those who can maintain a meaningful and durable social presence.

I agree. I think the bubble isn't epublishing or self-epublishing per se, but the hype and ideology currently surrounding them.

The author of the article does make some reasonable points about the limitations (and frequent obnoxiousness) of social media marketing.

- Victoria

gothicangel
08-16-2012, 07:57 PM
Agreeing with Max and Victoria. :)

James D. Macdonald
08-16-2012, 09:07 PM
That said, it's quite possible that epublishing, in the current form, is a bubble, and that it will indeed shrink to a managable size before long.

All the ebooks won't go away. They'll remain in Amazon's databases forever, like all the abandoned blogs out there on the web, unmaintained, their comment threads filling endlessly with spam.

The new author will have to rise above every book that's already "out there." When a new author was one of at thousand, it was good. When they were one of 100,000 it wasn't bad. Now that new author is one of a million -- two million -- three million -- heaven only knows how many. The mud flats stretch out forever in all directions.

Unless Amazon manages to break publishing like it's trying (good for Amazon, sucks for authors), eventually the commercial publishers will win. They're the ones who can say, "Yeah, no kidding, this book is worth reading" and have someone believe them.

CrystalCierlak
08-16-2012, 09:40 PM
Based on that first quote I feel safe saying the author doesn't know what s/he is talking about. Social media isn't going anywhere unless you manually opt-out. And that's harder than opting-in.

LindaJeanne
08-17-2012, 01:51 AM
Yup. Social media isn't a marketing medium, despite the marketers salivating at it. It's about as effective a "marketing" tool as going to a party and constantly hawking your business.

Facebook might go away. It's dependent on advertising revenue, and from what I hear, no one (whether big established companies, small operations, or individual ad-happy people), gets an ROI on Facebook advertising. Meanwhile, Facebook keep alienating their user-base.

But "social media" as a concept? Not going away, any more than the telephone is going away. You can't judge the telephone system based entirely on the actions and attitudes of telemarketers.

gothicangel
08-17-2012, 10:58 PM
Based on that first quote I feel safe saying the author doesn't know what s/he is talking about. Social media isn't going anywhere unless you manually opt-out. And that's harder than opting-in.

That is not what the article actually says.

What it does say, is that the current bubble in self-Epublishing is going to burst, because the idea that social media is a good way to create a platform/market our books is based on false logic.

Social media is a great way for authors to stay intouch with fans, but as a tool to drive buyers to your Amazon page? No.

Medievalist
08-17-2012, 11:31 PM
Social media is a great way for authors to stay intouch with fans, but as a tool to drive buyers to your Amazon page? No.

But readers talking to other readers do in fact sell books to other readers.

shaldna
08-18-2012, 05:31 PM
That article is rubbish. So someone who "even bought an iPhone so that I could get with the revolution" wants to tell the world about how social media works?

Bless their little cotton socks.

Social media has been about for a LONG time. Now we have facebook and twitter, before that we had Bebo and myspace - and that's taking us back at least 8 years. Before any of that we had small, independant groups and sites for folks with shared interests.

What social media DOESN'T need is endless marketing. I love my friends, but when I get more than one 'my new book is out, buy it now' I block those notifications from my timeline. I don't use social media to be sold shit, I use it to connect with people.


Really? E-Publishing is another tech bubble? In the next 18 months all those millions of Kindles, Nooks, Smartphones and Tablets will just disappear and nobody will read ebooks anymore?

Yes. Obviously. Don't you know that in 18 months we are all going to be getting books beamed directly into our brain a la The Matrix.

I can see it now:

'I know Kung Fu. And also the complete works of Shakespeare.'

shaldna
08-18-2012, 05:33 PM
But readers talking to other readers do in fact sell books to other readers.

This is true.

I know that I have bought books based on recommendations from people I know.

But they are people I know and trust and who know me and my reading habits and tastes. I don't tend to find that I pick up many books based on random recommendations or public popularity.

Max Vaehling
08-23-2012, 07:35 PM
All the ebooks won't go away. They'll remain in Amazon's databases forever, like all the abandoned blogs out there on the web, unmaintained, their comment threads filling endlessly with spam.

The new author will have to rise above every book that's already "out there." When a new author was one of at thousand, it was good. When they were one of 100,000 it wasn't bad. Now that new author is one of a million -- two million -- three million -- heaven only knows how many. The mud flats stretch out forever in all directions.

Yeah, but the internet has a tendency to kind of fold around old information that nobody uses anymore. As long as you're not actually looking at information, they're practically not there. So it doesn't matter if there are 100,000 books out there or billions. What matters is how many of those show up in a search.

The search engines are already getting better and better at filtering stuff that hasn't been talked about for a while, and telling spam comments from real comments, all that. In the long run, good clutter management will be a selling point between platforms. They won't do that to please authors, they'll do it because potential customers don't want to wade through irrelevant link dumps to find the stuff they're looking for. That's why I don't think competing against clutter will be much of a problem.

Another thing search sites and social media are getting better at is filtering information based on the recipients' previous interactions with what was offered. (See the Facebook page thread for one examploe.) That'll make it harder for not-yet-established authors to get thourgh to potential readers. And, at ther same time, even more important to interact.

Christyp
08-24-2012, 04:53 PM
That article is rubbish. So someone who "even bought an iPhone so that I could get with the revolution" wants to tell the world about how social media works?



Really? E-Publishing is another tech bubble? In the next 18 months all those millions of Kindles, Nooks, Smartphones and Tablets will just disappear and nobody will read ebooks anymore?

Ewan Morrison doesn't seem to be knowing what he is talking about and probably just wants to attract page views by posting a contrarian article.

This!