Top ‘Live-Streamers’ Get $50,000 an Hour to Play New Videogames Online

20 May 2019

Not exactly to do with books, but a look into another kind of publishing.

From The Wall Street Journal:

The world’s biggest videogame publishers are paying popular gamers tens of thousands of dollars to play their latest releases live over the internet, hoping to break through to buyers in a crowded industry where dominant games like “Fortnite” cast a large shadow.

Electronic Arts Inc., Activision Blizzard Inc.,  UbisoftEntertainment SA and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. are among the publishers making hefty payouts for the real-time broadcasts, or live streams. The amounts vary depending on the popularity of the “streamer,” and could go as high as $50,000 an hour for top celebrity gamers, according to talent and marketing agents.

Take-Two plans to pay streamers to play “Borderlands 3” when the comedic shooter game launches Sept. 13. Ubisoft, an early adopter of the live-streaming strategy, plans to use it again for the Oct. 4 release of its special-ops shooter game “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint.”

“Having celebrity streamers play games is an important part of the business,” Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two’s chief executive, said in an interview. “It is relatively new, but it has to be organic. The streamers have to believe in it.”

. . . .

“If you don’t have live-streaming as part of your marketing spend, you’re doing it wrong,” Mr. Benyamine said.

People last year spent 8.9 billion hours watching videogame content on Inc.’svideo-streaming site Twitch, up from 6.3 billion hours in 2017, according to industry tracker Newzoo BV.

Big-budget videogame launches have become major affairs in the $130 billion industry, akin to the opening weekend of a star-studded Hollywood movie. First-week sales are closely watched, and game companies are looking for ways to stand out—especially as players sink ever more of their time and money into a handful of constantly updated games that don’t really ever end.

. . . .

The exploding popularity of live-streaming and professional gamers such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins gives game companies another marketing lever to pull. Live streams show the pros playing and commenting on games while reacting to text messages posted by viewers in real time. The paid streams are typically labeled as sponsored.

. . . .

Videogame player Karlissa Juri downloaded “Apex Legends” after seeing a streamer play it on Microsoft Corp.’s Mixer, a platform similar to Twitch. She said it doesn’t bother her that some live-streamers are paid to play games, as long as the broadcasts are clearly labeled, something that wasn’t always the case in the past.

“It really sold me watching him,” said the 34-year-old New Yorker, who has since been playing the game daily and spent about $20 for virtual currency for spending on virtual costumes.

Electronic Arts said earlier this month that sales of virtual goods in the game helped the company beat its quarterly profit forecast.

. . . .

Unlike the past, when big publishers reserved the right to edit paid game footage before it aired, a live-streaming audience injects uncertainty and gives publishers less control, Mr. Duchscher said.

Technical glitches could make a poor first impression or a live-streamer could speak off-color—both have happened. There is no guarantee a streamer will be converted into a regular player. And audience interest in watching a game stream can tail off. Last month, people spent 24.7 million hours watching other people play “Apex Legends” on Twitch, down from 122.1 million in February, according to Newzoo.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

Use Expert Sources to Generate Local Book Publicity

20 May 2019

From The Book Designer:

When Champion Products sponsored the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Player of the Year Awards for the NCAA’s five college divisions in the U.S., I was responsible for publicizing the award nominees in their hometown media.

To get the most publicity possible for the authentic athletic wear brand and the athletes, I used what marketers would now call a “hyper-local” approach.

Another publicist probably would have created one press release naming all 25 nominees and sent that announcement to a mass media list. But I knew that with publicity (as with many other things), personalization was the key to success.

I knew I had to make it instantly clear to every hometown media outlet that the press release I sent contained local news for a local audience. To do that, I created a fill-in-the-blanks press release template that I merged with a database containing relevant specifics about each athlete. All I had to do was press a few keys to produce each nominee’s hometown press release.

Because of this customized approach, each nominee (and the subsequent five winners) received the hometown newspaper and TV news attention they deserved.

. . . .

You can use this tactic to generate local market publicity for anyone you quoted or referenced in your nonfiction book, too.

Whether it’s an expert source or a short profile in a sidebar, you can create a press release showcasing that individual’s contribution and send it to their local media outlets.

To get you started, here’s a sample fill-in-the-blanks press release I created for you. Because it’s so generic, you’ll want to make sure your resulting press release for each source reads well and makes sense, but that won’t be hard.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Deconstructing ‘I Wrote a Thing’

18 May 2019

From Publishers Weekly:

For every essay and article I write, my process is the same. There is contemplation and research, writing and rewriting. Each piece is fact-checked for accuracy and read out loud for rhythm, sent to a first reader or two for critique, and rewritten and polished again before I finally hit “send.”

And when it is done, I paste the link into a tweet and wrestle with the impulse that never goes away—the instinct to announce my work to the world with the words, I wrote a thing.

Spend any amount of time on social media and you will see a lot of I wrote a thing. Men use it, but, according to my entirely nonscientific observations, women use it more, announcing our work in our native tongue, the universal female language of self-deprecation. I wrote a thing employs the funny, ironic, humblebrag shorthand that is common across social media, but it also evokes a familiar posture: that of a woman trying to make herself as small as possible—a woman standing with her head down and her chin tucked against her chest, hands clasped behind her back, and toe twirling in the dirt, saying, “Oh, this little heap of words here? It was nothing. No big deal. Just, you know, a thing! So maybe read it? Or don’t! Whatever!”

Maybe it’s a generational problem, and the kids today don’t struggle with reflexive self-effacement. I suspect that it’s gendered, and I wrote a thing is born of women being told, overtly and implicitly, that our stories do not matter—not the stories we write, which are still not reviewed as frequently or taken as seriously as men’s books, and not the stories we tell, which are still too often met with skepticism and shrugs.

. . . .

It feels strange to announce, plainly, Here is an essay, or, This is my novel, when we’ve been told all our lives not to brag and not to boast—until the six weeks prior to a book’s release, when our publicists beg us to do nothing but brag and boast. It feels unnatural, and if you could peek into any woman writer’s inbox, you’d probably see agonized queries from her peers: “I just got a starred review from PW. Should I tweet it?” or, “I just got a rave in the Times. Is it going to look weird if I put it on my Instagram more than once? How much is too much? Are you sure this is okay?”

Self-promotion feels weird, and risky.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG doesn’t believe that he has ever told any author, “overtly” or “implicitly” that the author’s story doesn’t matter.

Outside of the world of traditional publishing, PG doesn’t believe that he has ever heard or observed anyone else conveying that message to an author.

Various pursuits and occupation require different personal characteristics and aptitudes. Some people who have great natural talent in a field of endeavor don’t have the personal characteristics necessary to rise to the top of that field.

If someone is afraid of flying, regardless of whatever talents they possess, they are not a good candidate to become a pilot.

If someone can’t stand being involved in a contentious situation, they are not a good candidate to practice most types of law.

Ditto for fainting whenever being exposed to blood and the practice of medicine, fear of dogs and animal training, fear of fire and firefighting.

Of course, there are degrees of fear or other personal characteristics and many people are able to overcome their fears or reticence or anxiety and succeed in a field that once seemed impossible to enter.

Perhaps writing about fear or otherwise sharing it is a part of overcoming that fear. PG hopes the author of the OP falls into that category.

Nine-Year-Old Author Shares Her Story and Seeks to Publish

16 May 2019

Apparently a press release. PG has added paragraph breaks. The italics are part of the original.

From LifePulseHealth:

Mantua resident and Centre City elementary school student MaKayla Rose had a problem one night at bedtime. She couldn’t find a book that she wanted to read. She couldn’t find a story that represented her family and her point of view.

MaKayla is a problem solver, however, and knew that the best way to fix the problem was to write a story of her own! This was the beginning of “Why Bedtime Sucks: The Opposite of a Bedtime Story”, and a journey for her whole family.

Once MaKayla had written her story and hand drawn her illustrations, she shared it with her peers and teachers. Other students were inspired by her initiative and began writing stories of their own.

This is when her mother, Shalina, knew that Why Bedtime Sucks was a story that could reach and inspire so many other young people to relate and create for themselves, and she began the process of making MaKayla’s tale into a book.

One of the first steps was to connect with the right illustrator. All the illustrations in Why Bedtime Sucks are hand created in collaboration with artist Isabel Rivera of Cancun, Mexico.

To retain the creative independence and MaKayla’s true voice in the story, the Hubbs have decided to self-publish launching the project as a campaign on Kickstarter. Why Bedtime Sucks is an opportunity to provide diversity into illustrated children’s books that would benefit all children.

Link to the rest at LifePulseHealth

Book Trailers?

29 April 2019

While he was combing through non-work emails accumulated over the weekend, PG saw one about book trailers and how great they are.

He tried to remember when he had last viewed a book trailer and came up empty. He tried to remember the contents of any book trailer he had ever viewed and had a similar result.

PG is a visual kind of guy and remembers all sorts of other videos he’s seen over the last several months.

So, a question arose in his mind (it was a waking-up sort of mind, but should not be dismissed because of that fact alone) – Does anybody watch book trailers? Do they actually sell books? Has any reliable person or organization documented a measurable positive impact a book trailer had on the sales of a book?

Since book trailers are often used as part of a book launch, has anyone been able to ascertain what a book trailer added to the launch in the midst of all the other promotional noise?

PG did a very cursory search to locate book trailers that might have been noticed in a positive manner and found The Six Best Book Trailers of 2018.

Here’s the Number One Best Book Trailer of 2018:


Having no experiential basis for judging how this book trailer stacks up against other book trailers, PG is not in a position to say whether it belongs on any sort of Best Book Trailer list or not. It may well be better than all other book trailers released in 2018.

However, in the continuing contest to capture online eyeballs, for PG, this wasn’t captivating video. It was not nearly as interesting to watch as Mr. Enjoy, Gianluca Vacchi, social media influencer and DJ, in his orange Santa suit, which PG posted yesterday. (It occurred to PG that Mr. Enjoy might want to pitch his services to Random House.)

PG suggests that book trailers don’t just compete with other book trailers for online video attention.

Book trailers compete with Mr. Enjoy and Selena Gomez (149 millon followers) Kylie Jenner (133 million followers) and Christiano Ronaldo (133 million followers) on Instagram plus PewDiePie , video makeup maven Jeffree Star and a 7-year-old boy named Ryan who Forbes says made $22 million last year on YouTube (Warning: the YouTube channels start playing video w/audio right away).

But PG could be wrong.

Are book trailers worth the hassle and expense for authors?

Is Noah Hypnotik the cream of the 2018 crop of book trailers? (When PG pulled up the Noah Hypnotic book trailer, YouTube showed it had been posted in July, 2018, and had collected 249 views. Ryan’s featured toy video was posted three weeks ago and has 3,366,659 views.)

The Key to Capitalizing on Online Video Trends

22 April 2019

From Forbes:

Software is eating the world and video is taking over the internet. According to Cisco, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic in 2019. Any savvy marketer or business executive should be incorporating video into their business strategy. Companies in a wide range of industries are using premium video as a means of winning a market, and they’re driving consumer engagement and revenues in the process.

To see the seismic shifts in video, look no further than the cable and television industry: Streaming video is the new TV. More and more people are cutting the cable cord and watching instead through online platforms. Direct-to-consumer models have taken over and made it easier than ever for viewers to get the content they want anywhere and on any device.

Video is also dominating when it comes to brand engagement and marketing content. One report found that 79% of consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product.

Link to the rest at Forbes

PG would be interested in hearing about successful video marketing by indie authors. Feel free to comment/provide links, etc., in the comments.

Indie Authors Promoting Through Book Clubs

15 April 2019

Whereas, Mrs. PG scheduled a business meeting to discuss her various and sundry books today; and

Whereas, after a refresh of PG’s book-related to do list, we talked about book clubs and how indie authors might gain access to significant numbers of book clubs; and

Whereas, in the part of PG’s brain where spiderwebs are thickest is a memory from a few years ago about someone who was gathering contact information for book clubs for the purpose of helping authors launch books.

Now, Therefore, here are some questions for denizens of TPVWorld:

  1. Have any indie authors tried book launches/promos through book clubs (of which their friends or relatives aren’t members)? If yes, what were the results? Lessons learned? Best practices?
  2. Are there any reliable pipelines to more than a handful of book clubs that are indie friendly? If so, what are the costs?
  3. Is PG correct in his speculation that book clubs still like to deal in trade paperbacks instead of ebooks?

For Good and Valuable Consideration, Receipt of Which is Hereby Acknowledged, feel free to hold forth in the comments.

3 Factors for Choosing an On-Brand Pen Name

4 April 2019

From BookWorks:

If you’re thinking about using an author pen name, you’re in superb company.

After all, countless top authors have chosen to make use of a pseudonym when releasing their work. Like George Orwell, the pseudonym chosen by Eric Blair so he could write about poverty without the fear of shame, or Mark Twain, the pen name favored by Samuel Clemens so he could compartmentalize his different writing styles/personas.

. . . .

In today’s exploration of author branding, I’m going to share my five top pieces of advice for ensuring your author pen name serves your brand in the best way possible.

. . . .

Remaining Ageless

As much as we might like to think we are not ageist, we probably are, at least subconsciously!

Whether we know it or not, we tend to look for one of two things when it comes to author age:

  • Sometimes, we like to seek out authors we feel to be in the same age bracket as ourselves. This is because we find such people to be relatable.
  • Whether we know it or not, we probably have subconscious expectations for how old an author should be. For example, would you rather read a history book by a fifty-something author or a teenager?

. . . .

In order to ensure your author pen name has the right feel in terms of age, consider the following possibilities:

  • Think of people in your life. Say, for example, you want your pen name to sound like a fifty-year-old man. Think about the fifty-year-old men in your real life. What are their names? Are they different from the names of your own generation?
  • Look at data. Data exists showing the popularity of different names by ages. Use this to ensure your name is a suitable fit for the age it purports to represent.
  • Look at reviewers. Check out the Amazon reviews for a particular genre. What kind of names do the people have? You can use this as inspiration for your pen name.

Ensuring your pen name ‘feels right’ in terms of age is an essential step in achieving similarity or suitability.

. . . .

Fitting Your Niche/Genre

Certain names have certain feels to them.

It’s kind of an intangible thing.  A vibe, almost.

Although there are no hard and fast rules for fitting your pen name to a particular genre, it’s worth considering whether it feels like a good fit.

. . . .

Authors publishing under their real name are obviously unable to express creativity. Their name is their name!

However, if you’re choosing your own pen name, you have a little more creative license to work with.

So how can you explore whether a potential pen name is a good fit for your genre or not?

Link to the rest at BookWorks

PG considered going by Esmeralda but changed his mind.

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