Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: author

Are Readers Going To Be The New Gatekeepers?


I’ve written about gatekeepers a number of times here

In the post Are Readers The Winners In The New Publishing Game? I said:

“Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?”

“Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?”

“I’ve also written about how I’m a maverick author in the way I find my readers

“I do believe that, eventually, readers will have an exceedingly easy time in finding exactly what they desire; and, that they will become the primary ‘gatekeepers’ in the Book-World.”

In the post Where’s The Gate? ~ More Thoughts On Publishing I quoted Joel Friedlander saying:

“The myth of the noble gatekeepers is exactly that, of course. There never were bastions of cultural authority in this country, empowered to pass judgment on their fellow authors. But if you face year after year of rejection, it can be seductive to think there are.

“The problem is that this worldview completely dismisses the fact that publishing is a business, and publishers businesspeople. Books that find a home with profit-oriented publishers can be defined this way: books that might sell enough to make the publisher a profit.

“That’s the reality of gatekeeping, no matter how romantic it may sound. Publishers who make no profit are no longer in business. The business of business is profit, pure and simple.”

And, in the post Does Anyone Absolutely HAVE To Be Between The Author And Their Readers? I challenged writers with this:

“Steal the idea of a lone writer successfully providing books (or, short stories) to a large audience of readers; show what they have to struggle through to achieve the necessary skills beyond producing a manuscript; show them up against those who would judge them harshly; go ahead, write a story that has two protagonists: The Writer and The Reader :-)

Well, I’ll now lead you to yet another perspective from Libby Fischer Hellmann.

She’s written an article entitled Do we still need Gatekeepers? Are the lunatics finally in control and running the asylum?

Here are a few excerpts to entice you to take that link and read the full article:

“I’m not going to belabor how the plummeting price of ebooks has devalued books in general – we know it has. I’m also not going to estimate how many self-published books are never read. We know the number is high. Bottom line: we have millions of books available at bargain basement prices that are never read. Being discovered is more a dream than a reality.”

“Some say readers are already providing the gate-keeping function, democratizing the process and putting it in the hands of the ‘people’. But the sheer numbers of books being released make it impossible for anyone to thoroughly vet what’s out there.”

She also includes other people and methods that are attempting to fulfill the gatekeeping function, then says:

“…there are millions of readers who don’t recognize a well-structured, beautifully written book. They may have a feeling that something isn’t quite right, or that the book isn’t moving along as nicely as others, but if you’re not a prolific reader or writer yourself, how do you know if a book sucks?”

Then, she says something I wish I’d said:

“Of course, I’m just one reader. And one writer. And I’m aware that my taste may be very different than others.’ In fact, when you get right down to it, who am I to judge if a book is worthwhile? And if I’m loath to make myself a gate-keeper, who else should sift through the crap?”

So

What do you think?

How do you feel about all this?

How do you keep your reading gate swinging?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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* Google Author Page

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So, How Do Writers Find Readers?


The typical traditional way of finding readers has writers finding agents who find publishers who find book outlets who attract readers

Self-published writers are playing in a different league.

Back in 2011, I published a post called, How Can Authors Find Readers?

In that post, I said:

“Some of the wildest relationships in the world are between authors and readers.

“Lately, writers have had a new horde of ‘experts’ yelling at them about how to hook-up with readers.

“Personally, I don’t think any two books (except the pulps in various genres) have the same history of attracting readers.

“It seems that, just as Mary wants Jim but Jim needs a wake up call and Mary doesn’t want to seem forward and Jim, well you get the idea; seems that authors need Relationship advice, not Marketing advice.

“Readers have relationships with authors, always have, and today’s publishing scene is begging authors to build relationships with their readers, like never before.”

I say more and direct folks to some valuable resources

But, today, I’ll introduce you to Omar Luqmaan-Harris and his site AuthorDiscovery.com because he seems to have found many methods for finding readers, a.k.a. being discovered :-)

There’s a particular article on his site called 12 Author Profile Sites to Boost Your Discoverability.

I recommend you go read what he says about each of these sites but I also recommend you check them out and use two or three for a few months to see if they’re a fit for you and, if not, try a few more for awhile till you find what works with your life style—trying to keep up with all 12 could drive a writer crazy :-)

So, for those in a hurry, here are the twelve sites that might boost your discoverability (I utilize the first four):

Goodreads

Amazon Author Central

Smashwords

LibraryThing

Shelfari

AuthorsDen

Red Room

Dailylit

Book Country

weRead

Published.com

AuthorLink

Are there any Discoverability Sites you can recommend in the Comments?

Any experience with finding readers you’d like to share?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Select as many as you like:

Is Guy Kawasaki An “Expert” On Digital Publishing?


A couple weeks ago, I wrote a short Review of APE ~ Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki & Shawn Welch.

In that review, I said:

“…about 90% of what’s in the book is available with a bit of intelligent searching on Google.

“I’d estimate about 70% is available through this blog—either what I’ve said or sources I link to.

“Please realize I’m not saying you shouldn’t read this book—just be sure you don’t accept it as the “full package” it’s being marketed as…”

My dictionary defines “expert” as: “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area”.

Does what I said in the review make me an “expert” on digital publishing?

My answer would be no

I wonder why so many folks are calling Kawasaki an “expert”

Let me share some things he said on Digital Book World in the article The Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Publishing a Book and let you judge whether he really knows what he’s talking about {by the way, I’m not saying what he says is “wrong”, just that, in many cases, it’s not the whole “truth”—i.e., it only applies to certain kinds of digital publishing…}:

Kawasaki’s Top Ten Mistakes when writers self-publish:

1. Writing for the wrong reason.

2. Not hiring a professional copyeditor.

3. Designing your own cover.

4. Not building your marketing platform in advance.

5. Using a word processor other than Microsoft Word.

6. Inadequately testing your ebook.

7. Selling only an ebook version.

8. Depending solely on social media and word of mouth.

9. Not tapping the crowd.

10. Having only one plan.

Naturally, if you follow the link to that article, you can see what he says about those 10 points.

Mr. Kawasaki is very popular

Mr. Kawasaki has a tremendous following

Mr. Kawasaki will make a lot of money from his book (and, because of his article on Digital Book World, he will sell even more)

Still

Consider

Is he an “expert” because he “repackages” what others have been saying for a number of years?

Certainly, his book and that article could very well be what he learned from his own experience

Yet

Most of it had already been learned and was freely available on the ‘Net

Just to be absolutely clear, I’m not at all saying he did anything “wrong”; but, is what he did all that “right”?

Care to share your ideas in the Comments?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Are Readers The Winners In The New Publishing Game?


It’s been said that the transformation going on in publishing is making clear that the only “necessary” participants in the Book-World are the author and the reader.

What do you think?

Will we one day have molded technology to our needs so perfectly that the writer can easily transfer their creations to readers who can easily find exactly what they want?

In a previous post, What Do Readers Really Want . . . ?, there was a survey about readers’ desires.

In the post, Getting Published Is Easy ~ Getting Readers Is Hard Work, some of the issues of writers finding readers was explored.

In the post, Genre Reconsidered ~ Reader-Driven Fiction, among other stimulating questions, these two were asked:

“Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?”

“Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?”

I’ve also written about how I’m a maverick author in the way I find my readers

I do believe that, eventually, readers will have an exceedingly easy time in finding exactly what they desire; and, that they will become the primary “gatekeepers” in the Book-World.

There are already a number of initiatives to help the reader gain more control.

One of the most important is GoodReads.

I want to close this post out with some reassurance for readers that they are a critical and Necessary partner in the fast-changing arena of the Book-World by quoting from an article on Information Today, Inc.:

“Goodreads mission is ‘to help people find and share books they love. Along the way, we plan to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world’. An interesting, collaborative model, Goodreads supports core needs and interests of both readers and their authors—as well as the supportive system that supports them (bookstores, libraries, schools, publishers). “Reading may be a solitary activity,” [Goodread's founder and CEO, Otis] Chandler notes. “But what you’re reading and what you think of what you’re reading are ideas. And ideas are much better if they’re shared.”

“Author and blogger John Corwin notes that ‘while Twitter, Facebook, G+ and the other social networks offer you a way to reach the masses (some of whom have questionable literary interests), Goodreads has already filtered out the weeds and offers you some of the most voracious readers on the planet.’”
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Can An Author Learn About Writing from an Economist?


In a previous post we asked the question, Can An Author Learn About Writing From A Singer?

One might think it easy to learn useful things about writing from other artists but is it feasible with other life-callings?

Tyler Cowen occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University.

He has a blog called Marginal Revolution.

In another previous post there was a video that explored The Danger of A Single Story.

In the video below, Cowen explores the danger of the Simple Story


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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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