From author Ewan Morrison via The Guardian
“Authors – become a success through building an ‘internet platform’!”. For almost five years we’ve been subjected to the same message. At the London College of Communication’s iGeneration conference this year, I heard thatsocial media was now the only way to sell books, and witnessed glowing examples of the successful use of SM from epub authors such as Joanna Penn (who has her own consultancy and sells $99 multimedia courses on How to Write A Novel). At the Hay festival last month, I heard Scott Pack – self-described “blogger, publisher and author of moderately successful toilet books” – declare that mainstream media, papers and TV “no longer function in selling books”; that the net is now the only way for authors to – you’ve heard it before – “build a platform”.
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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.
First, though, I conducted my own experiment. I decided to take these “platformers” at their word and seriously consider the possibility of self-promoting my books online (I even bought an iPhone so that I could get with the revolution).
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It also turns out that the ebook market now looks a lot like the old mainstream model. A small number of writers make a lot and everyone else wallows in the doldrums of minuscule sales. The only difference is that those at the top are selling 100,000 copies at 99p, not at £4.99, or £8.99 – which in real terms represents a massive shrinkage of the market. Furthermore, it signifies the passage of the publishing industry into the hands of the internet companies that can capitalise on a million small sales by a million small authors.
Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Catherine for the tip.
It’s always nice to read an analysis of the efficacy of social media marketing from someone who just bought an iPhone. And who doesn’t realize that saying so makes him appear totally clueless to people who actually use social media seriously.