A while ago, I read the excellent book by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McCafee, Race Against the Machine. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about automation, whether I’m looking at Google’s driverless cars or checking out at CVS through a self-service kiosk.
It’s a weird time to be alive and, if the common wisdom about robots these days is even half-accurate, this is the beginning. The next areas that most people think will be automated include legal work and healthcare. Shipping and manufacturing will continue to get Robotized, too.
That leaves us with an economy that increasingly relies on Creativity as a commodity. But, with new algorithms in place, even the writers and artists and musicians among us may start getting replaced.
Sometimes, I feel guilty about blogging. It’s a little pinching sensation, probably a sensation most writers are familiar with – the feeling that you’re wasting time you should be using to work on your novel.
That’s why I was reassured when I read a recent interview with a professor about “the Lost Generation” and found out that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were also both dawdling bloggers, in their own right.
Book sales are hard to figure out.
On the one hand, we’ve seen a slow dip in sales for the past few years. On the other hand, independent bookstores reported a 10% spike in sales for the last holiday season. Then again, one study found that 85% of children readers aged 2-13 are using tablets and other e-readers to read their books.
Personally, I think bookstores are going to stick around for a long time.
But let’s try out a thought experiment, given that everyone is so worried about their health.
If there were no bookstores and only e-readers, what, exactly, would publishers do for authors?
Sometimes, I like to do market research about eBooks by acting like someone looking for deals.
I did that the other day and the first challenge, as usual, was finding out where I could actually find eBooks on Amazon. They don’t make it as easy as it should be… but I don’t think Amazon is that concerned with driving traffic to the Kindle store.
After about five minutes of listless clicking, I stumbled upon the Kindle Daily Deal pages. And, in front of me, I saw the future of eBooks: a boxed set. Werewolf Love Stories. Three for a dollar.
A lot of writers view self-publishing eBooks as a slog to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not that we necessarily want to market all of our stuff and pump out eight books a year to make a living.
It’s just what has to happen if publishers keep setting their sights on blockbusters.
Well, it looks like publishers have found a middle ground: some are thinking of using eBooks as a way to throw unknown writers into the Pit of Public Scrutiny and see who survives. Then, just then, the winners may be crowned with Print Publication.
When it comes to promoting creative stuff online, I think bands might have a bigger problem than anyone, even authors.
Now that bands can upload music to a Bandcamp page in about five minutes, they can give their stuff away. You know, the music they made. For free. To no one.
They can also charge money for it, which no one will spend because everyone is an entitled content thief.
So what’s the secret formula for bands trying to break through the noise with their own noise? How can they get discovered in a way that actually helps them… make money?
Here are the first six steps in that journey:
Who’s going to save literary fiction?
Prominent agents have said that big publishers these days are just focused on pushing out blockbuster titles. You know, things that will sell millions.
That leaves self-proclaimed “literary authors” that write “literary fiction” biting their nails.
But never fear, literary authors… Amazon is here.
That’s right – the online retailer has just launched a literary fiction imprint known as “Little A.”