Someone that I follow on Twitter sent around this NYT Business article about Independent Filmmakers pushing their own product. I did not read the whole article because there was one paragraph that really clicked in my head.

The paragraph talks about how now people put up their own money and use things like twitter and the Internet to get buzz going about the piece of work. Once enough buzz gets going, then they can start going after the executives who can take the product to the next level and out to the masses at large.

The question was asked, should the book business follow suit?

I stand firm when I say absolutely not. It is not that I want others telling me what books are good and what I should be reading. I just don’t want the market to get so flooded with crap that nothing gets through.

Now I can understand that if enough Internet buzz surrounds a novel then agents in the literary world might come around to look. I know it has happened to authors. But, let’s say that one does reach the “promised land” and a book does get noticed from the web. The publishers pick it up and contracts are signed. Sure, now everyone can read the book and one might start to broaden one’s audience. However, the people who would have bought your book in the first place already read it on-line or purchased the P.O.D. version. Their friends have already read it, too. Your market has already been flooded. Those people are chomping at the bit for the next work. It’s like you went fishing and you got all the big fish first and now with the new edition of the book, you are just picking up chum and little fish that won’t make a dent.

Then the executives look at your book as a failure because it didn’t make as much money as they thought it would make. The book had all of that Internet buzz and where did that buzz go? Again, the market and the projected audience already read it. The smarter thing would have been to take the second piece and publish that and then using the Internet buzz will help sell even more copies. Then your first audience would be able to get the second book and your new audience would want to read your first piece because once a reader finds an author he or she likes, they will then buy everything the author ever wrote.

My mom said that people wouldn’t buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.

So, when we try to go into the market on our own, it is counter productive. Yes you can get people to read and buy your book. However, how much time and effort goes into that? Then, when you get into the pearly gates, you may have all those people behind you, who is in front of you waiting to buy?

Then, let’s talk about the crap.

Look at American Idol. How many people go out to audition that think they are awesome and when they sign they sound like nails on a chalkboard? The judges have to sift through all the crap just to get a few gems. Also, look at how tired and frustrated they get listening to off keynotes after another. They may even miss some raw talent due to fatigue.

If we flood the literary world with crappy P.O.D books, why would agents and publishers take us seriously? When we go to their up scale parties, hearing the words P.O.D. and Internet buzz will become like garlic breathe to Dracula.

Lastly, I need to know that someone else looks at my work and believes in it enough to make me an offer. It isn’t enough that I believe in it (I could be wearing rose colored glasses or I could just be missing important road blocks because of my love of my work) I need to have a second pair of unbiased eyes looking at my work and saying, “hey kid…you are okay.”

Should the book business look to self-promotion? Not unless it wants to implode.

Here’s a link to the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/business/media/13independent.html?_r=1&hp

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