Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fun with trailers, and social media follies.

We're heading into the home stretch, prior to the release of Fissured.  I created a trailer for the new book yesterday -- the link is over to the left, if you want to take a look at it -- and taught myself how to use Power Director 10 in the process.  It's not the most intuitive program in the world (more than once, I wished I were back in the analog world, with a razor blade and a roll of splicing tape), but it's got a lot more bells and whistles than Windows Live Movie Maker.  And all in all, it was fun.

Earlier in the week, the Indies Unlimited staff took a crack at producing book trailers on animoto.com.  I tried it out by throwing together a trailer for SwanSong, which is just below the Fissured trailer on the left.  Making a 30-second video is free, and the process is quite user friendly.  Of course, you can make any sort of movie, not just a book trailer.  So if you've ever had a desire to play around with making videos, you might want to check it out.

One other housekeeping thing:  Further down on the left is a blue bunny icon.  If you click on it, it will take you to a page where you can enter the "Books for Bunnies" contest.  A number of indie authors have contributed their books as prizes, and all proceeds go to The House Rabbit Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to finding homes for pet rabbits that are no longer wanted.  Book blogger Suzie Welker at The Bunny's Review is sponsoring it.

So okay, on to the main subject this week.  On Monday, a blogger at the Guardian's website posted an article about how indie authors are being led astray by advice about social media.  He says:
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.
In a nutshell, he says social media advertising doesn't work, and it requires authors to spend too much time online, talking about meaningless stuff, instead of writing.  He goes on to talk about the 80/20 rule, which, he claims, says we should be spending 20 percent of our time writing and 80 percent marketing through social media.  Furthermore, 80 percent of our "marketing" time should be spent talking about anything but our books -- because the point of social media is to make connections with people, not just hammer them with ads.

There's been a bit of a backlash, as you might expect.  One blogger posted a cogent deconstruction of the Guardian post on Tuesday.  For starters, this post says the Guardian blogger misquoted the 80/20 rule, which simply says 80 percent of your profits come from 20 percent of your customers.  In terms of social media marketing, applying the 80/20 rule would mean that 80 percent of your posts should go toward establishing you as a credible expert in your field.

(This, by the way, and not incidentally, is a good way to beef up your online credentials in any field, not just in writing e-books.  I've heard stories of people receiving job offers after establishing themselves as a helpful and knowledgeable voice on sites like LinkedIn.)

It's true enough that nobody really knows how effective Facebook ads are.  That's part of the reason for Facebook's dismal stock performance since going public a few months ago.  But Facebook isn't the only social media platform -- Twitter and G+ immediately come to mind, and there are numerous others.

But the biggest thing the Guardian blogger misunderstood is that not every indie author is in it to make a fast buck.  Some folks are impatient for their work to show a profit, it's true, and some writers publish before their work is ready (either through ignorance or arrogance).  But most of the indie authors I've met are more level-headed than that.  They know they need a deep catalog, which will likely take them years to build -- and even then, they realize, they may never make much money from their writing.  But they figure that if they're going to be writing anyway, why not e-publish the finished product and make a few bucks from their work?

Indie publishing has been a learning experience for me.  It seems like I'm always acquiring a new skill set, digital video production being the most recent. But I'm having a ball -- and really, isn't that the point?
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