Thursday, August 4, 2011

Game change

JRM and I started watching The Social Network last night. Being the parents of small children, we didn't get to finish (yet), but we made it a good three-fourths of the way through.

I'm not familiar with the real Mark Zukerberg, but I remember being on MySpace for about six months, and I remember when Facebook hit the scene in late 2006 (early 07?) in south Alabama.

At first I didn't care for it, but soon it replaced MySpace. It was simpler and much easier to use.

Then in early 2009-ish, it seemed everyone found FB. I went from about 150 friends to 500 in one month. (Not bragging--just noting the speed at which it progressed.)

I closed my MySpace account and focused solely on FB for sharing family pictures and ultimately reconnecting with people I hadn't seen in approaching 20 years (or more!).

Friend requests came out of the woodwork (ghosts everywhere!), and it was fun.

Back to the movie. Justin Timberlake plays the role of Sean Parker (Napster founder), who is described at one point as paranoid, and who it seems is following the Zukerberg character. Z is fascinated by Parker and repeatedly seeks his advice.

What stood out to me was (movie) Parker's claims of what he did to the music industry. In the movie, he insists that he changed music forever, at which the Eduardo Saverin character scoffs. Parker quickly replies, "Want to buy a Tower Records?"

Ouch.

This morning, that scripted exchange got me thinking about the publishing game. Napster did change the music industry--you could also throw in iTunes and the rise of the 99-cent single. But wasn't that a response to Napster?

More might happen in the movie, but right now I'm focusing on that small nugget--the conversation where Parker tells Zuckerberg, "We're changing the game. It's our game now." (var.)

My angsty post last week led to some interesting conversations with several very thoughtful bloggie buddies--BBs who are not inclined to be rash or impulsive.
And they're seriously considering taking the game into their own hands. One emailed me this weekend that she's doing it, and asked if I'd help with getting the word out. (To which I said, "Yes. Of course!")

These friends have agents--some are on their second. They've gone on submissions, been dissatisfied with the results, and now they've decided to take the power back.

We've read about big-name authors doing the same thing. Then yesterday on the Today show, Kathie Lee quoted Dolly Parton's line, "Don't sell your babies." (She was talking to Pitbull--I'm not kidding--about not selling the rights to your work.)

I'm still on the "wait and see" fence. I'm still committed to the traditional route, and I still think it's the cleanest, most quality-controlled way to go.

I still want an editor, a gorgeous cover, the works.

But I'm watching.

And to those of you who are trying it, I'm wishing you the best of luck. And I'm here to help.

Have a great weekend reader- and writer-friends. Til Monday~ <3

31 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I was really confused by JT's character, because the guy who really started Napster was Sean Fanning, the guy who wrote all the code and had the idea. I'd never heard of Sean Parker before, but once I looked him up, I found out he was involved.

At first I thought they'd just changed his name.

Loralie Hall said...

I LOVE that movie. One of my favorites. And it's a good point, Napster did change the industry. But napster didn't change the way music was recorded, just its distribution format. Big-name record labels still distrubute the majority of the music, it's just available digitally more easily now.

I guess that means I'm with you on sticking to the traditional route for now. As long as that includes electronic distribution.

Kelly said...

I still have to see The Social Network!
I'm torn between traditional and epubbing. But it's great there is a choice. I want to try traditional though first...

Dawn Ius said...

I teeter on that fence every damn day :-) (And now I really want to see the movie...)

Lady Gwen said...

I haven't seen the moving yet - I'm so behind on the times! But I've been "watching" too. I'm not quite there yet so I don't have to decide. I'm really tempted by Amanda Hocking's story........

LTM said...

@LG--no worries! We're still catching up, too. I really thought the movie was well done, and it just clicked w/me this a.m. how we're sort of in the middle of a similar revolution in publishing. It'll be so interesting to see how it plays out...

QUALITY. That's the main thing we can't lose. Otherwise, it'll be one big failure. :p

maybe...

until a solution arises. (See? ;o)

walk2write said...

The pace at which everything changes is astounding. I went from playing records to 8-track tapes to cassette tapes to CDs in less time than it took Reagan to serve two terms as President. Still haven't jumped on the e-book bandwagon as a reader, but there is that instant gratification factor for the writer.

Jessica Bell said...

I haven't seen that movie but now I really want to! Um, yeah, that questions floats around my mind all the time. But I just don't think I'm ready to take total control. For one, where would I find the time to commit to marketing myself 24 hours a day? The thought gives me the irks.

Old Kitty said...

I say good luck too!!! I think if you are super duper confident, have done your homework and research, have polished your novel to sparkling shiny diamond preciousness - then all the best to you!! Yay!!

Take care
x

erica and christy said...

I just got around to Paranormal Activity last night, so I'll get to The Social Network sometime around 2015. :)

I have a few friends who have self-published. They're all happy with it - but they're also really informed and willing to put in all the extra work. Good luck to you!
erica

Lydia K said...

I am watching. Employing a totally overused cliche, I'm watching like a hawk. I'm seriously contemplating it too.

Pk Hrezo said...

It's a really good film. Amazing how it all unfolded. The internet has changed life forever. I self-pubbed my story FLOAT under a pen name and it's been pretty uneventful so far, but at the same time, I haven't had time to put into promotions with our move. It's really about marketing any which way you look at it. I'm still seeking traditional and the works, but if it doesn't work out, I love there's an option for me to take matters into my own hands. It's so exciting! :)

Hart Johnson said...

I am so with you--still committed traditionally... for the moment... and I TOTALLY think in this little slice of time that RIGHT NOW the right answer depends on personality and genre. I think for me with mystery, traditional is still selling well and still relatively easy to get into. Same with romance. I think Young adult may be harder to publish but you still are going to do FAR BETTER selling traditionally because those are browsing books store purchases with all the merchandising opportunities and such.

But genre wafflers? Genres that SHARE 'general fiction' in the book store? I think there is a real argument that either a small independent publisher or self publishing (while hiring all the pros to help) are good options. I am still waiting for some system of endorsement or approval to help weed out the crap on the self-published shelves. Some of the fora I visit regularly are RIFE with 'I finished my book so I'm publishing now' folks who don't have the first clue about rewriting, let alone polishing.

I ALSO believe self-publishing is best suited to a SHELF not a book. I've heard 6 is the sweet spot... if I do it, I am going to start with my trilogy--a few months between books--but intend to have that be where my adult suspense goes (keeping the YA and mystery on those traditional shelves as long as viable)

GigglesandGuns said...

I think some writers just feel safer with a publisher behind them. Like the kid who thinks his dad is running along side holding the bike up when dad is really reading the paper on the front porch.
Promoting a book is hard either way but we would do well to remember that while the industry has always "guided" it is and always will be the writer who does the work.

Laura Pauling said...

I have a feeling a lot of authors and writers are thinking about this.I don't know if the argument about having time to market holds much water. Trad. pubbed authors need to do a lot if they want to sell through their advance. How is it any different? Blog tours, tweeting, promotions... we'll all have to do it.

Granted trad. pubbed books have pro reviewers but that's a different audience.

DEZMOND said...

I've been talking with my friends from USA as well, about whether you need to have an agent to get into a big publishing house, since here in my country we don't have agents at all :)

Michelle Merrill said...

Oh man, I hope hard books with beautiful covers never end! For now, that's the approach I want to stick with too...I guess things change though. Either way, it's hard. And I'm just in the beginning stages.

It's good to hear from you! Yay for BB's!

M Pax said...

Haven't seen that movie.

I started publishing on my own as a marketing tool. Published my free reads and am working on a 'sale' offering soon.

Yeah, taking control of my own career and business.

I'm still schlocking the novels the old-fashioned way, but only because I can't afford to hire a pro editor for those. So, I'm starting smaller -- novelettes and novellas.

I know writers who recently turned contracts down to keep doing their own thing ... about at the point where they can quit their day jobs.

Is it easy? No. But, nothing about publishing is easy. I'll be writing about my own adventures soon.

Janet Johnson said...

How funny! I'm about 3/4 of the way through the movie, too. Though my flight was ending, which is why I never finished.

It is pretty fascinating to watch. I'm on the traditional side still, but I'm definitely watching. Best of luck to those taking the leap!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL My hubby and I watched the movie last weekend. I actually stayed awake for the entire thing. :D

I've noticed a lot of writers are stampeding toward being self-pub. I'm still nervous about it, especially from the buyer's perspective. How will we know what was properly edited? Even authors who had great crit partners still often end up doing edits with an editor to get their book ready for publication. How do we know someone had a freelance editor work with them verses their mom and little sister?

Jemi Fraser said...

Good post Leigh. The game really is changing. It's going to be very interesting to see what the publishing landscape looks like in 5 years. I'm still hoping for the traditional route myself :)

Clarissa Draper said...

It really makes you think, doesn't it? I am letting my first baby go but I'm seriously debating going my own route on some of my stand alones. I like the control. I'm good at my own covers, and I'm getting better at editing (I don't mind paying for that part of the stages either) so that I can have the control at the end.

Lynda R Young said...

I'm like you. I'm waiting and watching. I'm still wanting to go traditional because that was my old dream. I'll admit I'm beginning to weaken at the edges, even though traditional is, as you say, the most quality controlled.

Christine Danek said...

I haven't seen that movie yet. I have kids too. :)
I'm still aiming for the traditional route, but we will see.
Thanks.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I might be going that route with my first book. I actually wrote , designed, and illustrated it. So if it didn't get through the publishers I was ready.

I'll give it a few more months of querying and go from there.

Hot topic, Leigh ....

Carol Riggs said...

I'm holding out for the traditional route too. Although that route is gradually changing! I did print one book myself, mostly to have a book my mom could read since she's getting older and has health problems. That served a different purpose, and the experience in general was great! So fun to have a book with my name on it, even if I did do it myself. :)

LTM said...

@PK--hey! I didn't know you had a book out there! (Or did I? ... somehow this sounds vaguely familiar. Scooting over to check this out now~)

It is exciting times, and I'll also be watching how it all plays out.

@Laura--you're right. There's already a system built up around the traditional route that doesn't exist for the self-pubber. I'm curious to how these will develop for ebooks... we live in interesting times~ :o)

Talli Roland said...

I haven't seen that film yet, although it's on my list. I remember when FB first took off, too!

The times they are a'changin'!

Amish Stories said...

Greetings from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa. Richard from Amish Stories.

Anita Grace Howard said...

I'm surprised how much my attitude has changed just over the past three or four months on this subject. It's hard to hand your career over to someone else, especially when you've been used to being in control your whole life. But there's also that niggle deep inside me that wants to go the "traditional" route.

I TOTALLY support Indie writers, and respect them for taking their careers into their own hands. In fact, I have a few stories that I think will go the self-pubbed route one day under a pseudonym.

I'm thrilled that writers have the opportunity now, more than ever, to be the shakers and movers for our books and careers. That we can find our own readerships and embrace our dreams. Time's are a changing. It's an interesting time in publishing today. Who knows what tomorrow's "traditional" publishing will be?

LTM said...

@Anita--you're right about how hard it is to let go of that control. It's scary. At the same time, I also value the input of publishing professionals. And don't self-pub under a fake name! How will we ever find you? I agree. It'll be interesting to watch~ :o) <3