Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Reflections on the International London Book Fair, 2010

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I attended the International London Book Fair last week (and due to the Icelandic ash cloud, it was slightly less international than usual). Here’s some of what I did, saw, and got in my brain.


As an author who has launched a currently small independent publishing concern but with ten plus in-house years of experience in international publishing (and a lifetime of writing), and in attending the fair (which I had done a number of times previously) my interest this time around was in the electronic side of things. I am a PoD publisher, with eBooks and audio not only part of the package, but I believe eventually the bulk of the package.


I attended a number of seminars. The first seminar I wanted to hit was titled “Children’s Bookfutures: Children’s Literature & Digital Imagination”. As this was one of the first seminars on the first day, I was given crap directions by someone at the info desk who pointed my in the wrong direction with far too many stairs. I was three minutes late, and met a guy blocking the door: “There is no more room”.


I was not late to the next seminar (see below, title and panel names).
Winner losers in dig jungle slide names
They spoke of the importance of METADATA (this came up a lot), and that one should put an ebook in every possible channel, and APPS (again, many mentions) were the ruling prize while perhaps the 300 pages book had been a 20th century concept as the perfect sized book for commercial publishing but was meeting its death. Novellas may very well be the new ebook rule.


My next seminar, the opening slide of the speakers for this ILBF seminar. Guess what?
Vook no show slide of names


Vook no show seats
No one showed up — not a one. All ash damaged. And the rather sparse audience was only informed at the moment the show was supposed to roll, rather than informing us as we arrived. We sat there stupidly we hope in our hearts.


I had actually arranged to have a meeting with Brad Inman, the CEO of Vook, who was still in California. Vooks, for you all, is: “You can read your book, watch videos that enhance the story and connect with authors and your friends through social media all on one screen, without switching between platforms.”


Because I use words, images and performance for many of my stories, initially I was hugely interested in the “enhanced” multimedia e-books. Wowie-zowie, I can combine all of what I do. However, the more I researched it, the more I thought, One, I don’t really see a reader demand and yearning for it, and Two, an enhanced ebook already exists, and even available through mobile devices; it’s called a Web Site. So I have a big Hold On with this perhaps wishful development.


The whole point of fiction is the individual voice of the author speaking directly to the single imagination of the reader. The reader imagines through the author’s words the world of the novel or story. Add images, videos and voices and it may be more of an invasion than an enhancement, distorting, and in a way, narrowing what the individual mind can conjure. (Novels into films are the obvious metaphor: how many times has a viewer who was a fan of a book said, after seeing the movie adaptation: “I didn’t see it like that at all.”


In short, the author’s best tool is the individual reader’s imagination, and the choosing of the right words to spark the imagination. The rest can be clutter. I remain intrigued, and see possibilities, but perhaps not for most fiction.


Anyway, I had a sudden empty part schedule so visited the floor. Not a lot of action, but I did locate my PoD publisher, Lighting Source, owned by Ingram’s. Eleven years ago, when I already researching this independent publishing idea, I had attended the fair (and to see my now ex-literary agent) and their booth at that time had been tiny, one Vice President manned minor place tucked away in a maze of tiny, ghetto booths.


Amazing what a decade and a revolution can do. Here’s the booth this year:
Ingram booth 1
Ingram booth 2
Ingram booth 3


And surrounding this booth were these guys:
Little brown booth
HarperCollins booth
Penguin booth


And these were circling Ingram’s. PoD was no longer tucked away, but, symbolically, interestingly, it was at the center, surrounded by the others, the traditional industry.


A repeated phrase, from authors to publishers themselves, when it came to the changes overtaking the industry was: “Publishers don’t know anything.” It was judged that traditional publishers have neither the skills nor staff to make the sudden changes necessary to turn around toward digitalization and the ebook.


I turned up at another, less pertinent seminar for me on graphic novels and the digital world (but since I’d been locked out of the children’s seminar, I’d try this one). Here’s the panel:
Graphic novels to digital - panel names slide 3
Graphic novels to digital - panel 1
Graphic novels to digital - panel 2


This was a lively one. I was most familiar with Ian Rankin from television culture shows (he was one of those who said, Publishers don’t no nothing, like Hollywood execs”) but not his books.


iPad and Kindle were the reoccurring companions in the e-babble, but they may very well be a short term book-focused e-readers. They have, what, 10 million sold to date? The real action, the future-perfect, are handheld mobile devices: your phone. There are 2.7 plus billion sold. Currently Nokia, Samsung, etc., are all developing combined phones-ebook readers-game/playing-waffle-makers (joke) etc. with launch dates in 6-12 months time. Literary agents may end up have auctions on rights not with Random House and HarperCollins but Nokia et al for, say, the exclusive 3-month launch of the next Stephen King kind of novel on their mobile device before distribution goes wide.


Of course, versions 1 and 2 of e-anything are only development and not definitive, so it’ll be a couple a versions on, in 2-3 years, before it shakes out…


I also spotted at this seminar a “Facebook friend” and “Twitter” follower, Nick Harkaway, who wrote this book:
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway - book cover


And here’s his signature:
Nick Harkaway signiture of "The Gone-Away World"
I almost went up to him to say, Hi, we’re fellow Twitter-followers and Facebook friends and I sent you a message two weeks ago wondering whether you were going to speak this year as you did last year on Social Media, but you aren’t, and you replied you were waiting for the invite and…” and my imagined confab went nowhere, except into stilted awkwardness, so I didn’t approach. Virtual nodding acquaintance is it.


The best seminar for me was this one:
Audio publishing for books read by authors
Ebook info slide - audible
Audible is still the best for getting your/my audio out there and into the ears of happy (willing) listeners. The seminar wasn’t greatly attended, but greatly appreciated by me.


After all this, I needed a massage. They have this row of young ladies ready to give a neck and shoulder rub for 7 minutes and you “give what you want”:
Massage 2
Massage 3
And here’s the one who relaxed me tensed muscles for a bit:
Massage 1


On the last day, I visited this seminar:
The Future of ebooks - ILBF 2010
The Future of ebooks - panel shot at London Book Fair 2010


Someone said 10,000 word stories will sell great in the future in ebooks. Another said the “Sunday Digital Conference had an average age attendance of 55: no one who knew what was going on was there.” Which is why I avoided it. Again, “Traditional Publishers know nothing,” the biggest cry.


Lastly, this one:
Want to be published? The rise of self-publishing.
Of little use to me, as I knew as much and more than the panel…which happened quite a bit throughout the fair, and its various seminars. I’m up to speed on a lot, following the correct industry blog, and seem to know my business fairly thoroughly. However, I would like to link Siobham Curham who has had four books conventionally published, but has turned down a two-book deal to go it on her own. She was proof of what some at this fair called “a movement for the future”, but it was happening already, and many are in major catch-up mode. That was the main rub. Many speakers were saying, “This could be happening in the near future,” while was already happening for a while, right at the show…


And here’s some general purpose shots:
ILBF - stands 1
ILBF - stands 2
ILBF - stands 3
ILBF - stands 4

Yep. A trade fair is a trade fair is a trade fair. They all look pretty much the same


And this is why, on this site, I like to just tell my stories. I don’t have a swell talent for journalism, travel writing, the exhibition visit. Where’s the story. Only facts and pointing out. I’m pointed out here.

Links to web pages & what I’ve been up to sort of round-up

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Here’s a round-up of links to things, me and the others, that I like. Videos (of matches, Max Dix, and me with why I never got published in the UK) to follow in the next weeks.


During March 2010, here’s my most popular Blog, “The movie I was in is out – “Tombé sur la Tete”.


Second popular, my –Story – RED BALL.


Third popular, my SPEED DATING Story.


Fourth popular, my first MAX DIX Video Clip.


Fifth: “The author as a live cartoon character.


Links I posted via my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER PAGE were:


The ecstasy of the filmmaker Herzog.


“I’m Not Going To Think About Her” .


Plastic Bag By Ramin Bahrani.


And, finally, of course, DAVID LYNCH’s INTERVIEW PROJECT.


Lastly, anyone want to join my HIDDEN PEOPLE FACEBOOK FAN PAGE is welcome….


MY FOOT, ongoing video and stills installation project


People like my on-going stills & video installation project, MY FOOT. Here was a recent favorite….

car

Gibberish

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

gibberish, random thoughts, blog mutterings, videos, stories


I’m busy being busy. And the following reflects it.


Or I’m busy trying to be busy. Circle stuff. Getting something halfway done when something hits my inbox and I need to turn my attention to that, and repeat such Pavlov dog behavior, and voilà by the end of the day, lots of half-done things that filled a whole day.


Let’s see if I can sweat some concerns out here. I need to do a couple more videos on my Self-Portrait of Someone Else work. Ideas: reviewing the reviews the book has gotten, and reviewing all the wonderful temporary refusals it got by UK publishers.


Also “drive” you and anyone else who reads this to my Hidden People Facebook Fan Page – a labor of half-love that went from a slow build to neglectful half-love. Haven’t pushed this because I’m not clear of its purpose and general reason why, except for doing because it’s somebody’s idea of a marketing package of indie publishers. Maybe someday I’ll do a blog on pleasepleaseplease “Join my Facebook Fan Page”, once I see the forest for the trees, as well as some mushrooms and all the leaves that turn into compost.


There’s been a lot of social media I’ve joined and tossed my books and info onto/into. Like another log on the fire, to see what burns brightest. It’s a massive world out there and lots of sites jumping up and down to get my attention and then my participation. So I can get other people’s attention, then participation.


Hey, this blog ain’t going much of anyplace, but isn’t that what so many blogs are for? Blowing off steam, or whining or venting and then instant ether death?


I also want to blab about Twitter, and some musings on videos, and Amazon, and my publishing experiences, and more, oh so much more, but you know, eyeballs, who cares? I do stories, and want to release them. Get a small living going via ’em. You can get gab elsewhere. Anywhere. I’ll just ooze words, images, performance bits up and wonderful that are story related. That’s what I think is most interesting about what I do and am and being and Zen om. Keep doing what I am doing.


That’s about it. Videos for the next few Wednesdays, promise. Thanks for reading this and wasting your time. I love you. Who are you again? Buy something. Buy what? (That’s another blog post.) Or in the word of many these days: Whatever.

Here’s three things concerning what I’m doing and comes straight from my “Blog About This!!!” notes.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

future plans in storytelling + Vincent Eaton

ONE
I am currently completing the writing of a short novel (short, the only kind I like these days) called “DON’T”. About a 69 year old guy in Brussels dealing violence and urban threats, some sex, foreigners, digital photos, long-term marriage and short-term lust, a Polish cleaning lady, a comfortable sofa, robberies, hit and run accidents, haircuts and gel, police, hospitals, comas, online porn, writing workshops, possible manslaughter, navel piercing and its seems I’ve got my hands full when putting it all out there like that. Maybe it’ll be done in another couple of months? No promises. Then let it rest in a dark drawer. Thereafter, baste according to taste.


TWO
Next to be published under my hidden people company later this year is the first in my series of ARTISTS, this one called BRUSSEGEM (A Snug Hell), and after that a kid’s book called THE BOY IN THE SANDWICH. BRUSSEGEM is all proofed and copy-edited, laid out, and ready to go except for the cover. Still have to photograph the village sign of Brussegem for the cover so the graphic designer can move forward but I’ve been waiting first for the snow to melt and now waiting for the rain to stop. Everything is completed with the kid’s book, but interior layout needs fine tuning and I’m having a meeting with friend/illustrator to do an illustration for the cover as well as for each chapter…which will then turn into t-shirts and suchlike spin-offs.


THREE
I have gotten a few kind interested souls wondering on how sales actually going after “How to Find Yourself” video campaign. Ah, thanks for asking, you and whoever, but I’m not counting at this point. My POD printer and Amazon only gives a statement every quarter and pay after 60 or 90 days. I’ll see when I see, but I’ll get on the ball about this and be A Serious Business Entity. My focus right now is creation with “the rest will follow” simple-minded hopefulness attached. This indie publishing company is based on a two year build. Meanwhile, more YouTube, more blog, more stories and social media and so on and very much so forth.


P.S.
I have a pretty good story I’m posting this Friday (the less-than-600-words kind), and working on another matches video for next Wednesday and a “Self-Portrait of Someone Else” video on the reviews it received. And Don’t Don’t Don’t….

Random thoughts on social media, commercialization, being a writer/publisher, some things I know

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Hidden People Limited logo for indie publishing company on books, videos, t-shirts


I’m a good slave to what’s going on in the social media world.


I’m on Facebook.


I have my Twitter account.


I have my place on Good Reads.


I even decided to follow the social media flow and put up a
Hidden People Fan Facebook page for my Indie Pub company Hidden People Limited, which at this point in time, at this writing, is bursting with FIVE FULL FEVERED FANS (does this mean it is this on its way or simply dead in the water and of really no use?).


Then I began wondering: at which point do I stop establishing multiple social media connects before I die and just get on with the life I have?


Like how about right about now? Enough already.


Meanwhile, here are three random quotes (living up to the title of this blog) from sources I forgot to source, on what I think or have found to be true, in the indie publishing, solo writing, general hodgepodge of what I’m doing…


— Indie-publishing must be a considered business decision, not a response to several hundred rejections or from general impatience to publish


— Most commercially published authors maintain day jobs to support their writing, which means the bulk of book authorship is performed on a volunteer basis.


— The traditional way of doing business (author-to-agent-to-publisher-to-printer-to-warehouse-to-wholesaler-to-retailer-to-reader) is mostly dead, dying, or only for the mostly connected.


And lastly, I’m not following many marketing “experts” on any of this social media march toward when-is-too-much-too-much, simply because there aren’t that many things to say about online marketing (reflecting perfectly off-line marketing experts). But boy do they like to say the same thing many times in different ways in order to make a living, bless them. But my own marcom experience has taught me there’s a handful of stuff to know on this subject, which I’ve known for decades. Many, many online experts are saying nothing new…Big Surprise…and I don’t want the modern disease of marketing to get in the way of the personal (semi)-purity of my creativity and sharing it.


There, we can all sleep better tonight, and this bumping blog falls asleep in the ether waves…


Note: If you post a blog and no one reads it, has it really been posted? (see: tree, forest, fall, no one around to hear, did it really, etc., so forth).

Anti-social social media, commercial need, and the storyteller

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Shine that light


What’s a guy who hates networking going to do in an online world that demands of an indie publisher/writer/maker of things to be a relentless promoter? I have been a secretive writer published by Viking-Penguin N.Y. I’ve been an international promotional copywriter. I know both worlds; does the online world demand the same impossible blending of two separate skills and/or desires?


I have a native distaste I have for personal exposure in a public place. Even if it is the online world. Yet if you don’t jump up and down and yell, I Exist! – how will anyone know I exist… what to do, how to handle?


Background sentences. I am a writer, video maker, performer, and I since this year run an online indie publishing company. Yet there’s a bigger part of me that is a writer who does not want anyone to pay attention to me; to my work, yes, if time and interest interconnect. Mostly my life is paying attention. Selecting carefully what I pay attention to. Attempting to transform that attention into something that may interest other people in the form of some sort of story.


Much online social media exposes. Being interviewed used to be the modern expression of riding down the street naked. Now it can be one’s blog, or Facebook or Twitter account. Look At Me. Blogs & Twitters: I read this, thought this, ate this, and here’s what I’m doing while waiting in an airport. I’m mainlined into the social networks just mentioned: experiencing, deciding, finding my way and my own approach. So, is turning a constant social media spotlight on oneself and shouting and semi-nagging that I am worth paying attention the way to build a “platform” when the writer, the artist, should be collecting insights and stories and producing works and not calling attention to oneself? This sort of street performing can develop into a superficial narcissism that can take over the imagination producing a dangerously enhanced ego.


I have always been bad at what is called networking, that business-based leveler of using people in social situations with a commercial purpose in mind. “I want to know you because I want something from you and I want you to want something from me.”


Nobody has to know what I think about what I do. In fact it’s probably rather important for a writer to keep their mouth shut on many levels.


At what point is “keeping in touch with your audience” online like an over-friendly neighbor knocking on your kitchen window saying, “Hi. Just wanted to see how you are. I finished mowing the lawn. You?” This can easily become anti-social social media.


That is why, after months of watching and evaluating my participation in the online world, I will focus the majority of my attention on what I pay attention to. My stories, my videos, my bits and fragments of tales and story smudges. My publications. The noises in my house.


I will happily continue online but not as a sales person oozing monetary desires. If anyone wants to know what I ate yesterday, I just flushed it down the toilet and that’s where it is going to stay.


Again, I spent over ten years in publishing as an international marketing communications manager; I know all about this promotion razzmatazz. The thing I have always liked about this online set-up is, it isn’t about selling, it’s about offering.


The idea of success on the Internet is encapsulated byDerek Powasek , and it is simple :


Make something great.
Tell people about it.
Do it again.


If you want some stories, in words, images and performance, I have some. I offer.