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Indie 2.0: Inspiring a Generation of Artist August 2, 2011

Posted by billyburnettgbc in blogs, conversational PR, Facebook, Journalism, kindle, new media, print media.
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As you may recall, in a previous post I talked about how filmmaker Kevin Smith announced he planned to market his next movie, Red State, using just social media and entirely without studio support. He has since not only made back the cost of the movie, something several recent summer blockbusters have failed to do, but also launched an internet radio station, filmed a pilot for a new TV talk show and started work on his final film, Hit Somebody.

The story of Kevin Smith is enthralling, but what’s more exciting is that it is far from unique. As far back as 2004, the British director Franny Armstrong made the eco-documentary The Age of Stupid, pioneering “crowd-funding”, a method whereby the financing (£450,000) was raised by selling shares to individuals and organisations, who all received a pro-rata share of the profits.

Now with the decline of the printed book and the rise of the eBook, supported by recent announcements by both Borders and Penguin books publisher Pearson, many authors are self-publishing and promoting their latest page turners.

For example, Toronto writer Blake Northcott decided to launch a Kindle version of Vs. Reality, a “comic book-inspired urban fantasy novel” on Amazon.com. During the nine months she spent writing the comic and movie blog, she amassed a 16,000 strong Twitter following, more than 1,700 personal Facebook friends and 4,500 page views providing real-time feedback on her work. To put that into perspective it’s more than Image Comics, the world’s largest independent comic book artist publisher.

Even those authors that still have the financial and marketing support of their publishers are realising the opportunity around social media in promoting their work.

John Green’s latest book, The Fault in our Stars, recently landed the number-one spots on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. This isn’t particularly strange – expect the book won’t be published until 2012. Using a variety of social media tools, including Twitter, Tumblr, community forums and YouTube, he has created a community around his work and unprecedented pre-orders have followed.

This presents a conundrum for any artist. Consider the extra blood, sweat and tears that self-distribution requires; engaging with followers via social media instead of getting that final chapter done, which is surely self-defeating, but also becoming an intrinsic part of the marketing mix which was traditionally handled by the publisher.

Thanks to social media however, artists across the globe are writing their own rules about branding and fan engagement.


Amazon Eats up Abe August 4, 2008

Posted by kewroad in amazon, Google, kindle.
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The biggest forces on the Web get very different press.
Google is no longer the media darling. It’s under attack for its privacy policy hypocrisy and the Google Street project. And much of last week’s excitement about Cuil comes from a primal urge for a Google beater.

Contrast this with Amazon which just keeps on getting bigger and bigger. Revenues are growing, its ebook Kindle is actually selling well and now it’s bought up Abebooks, the online used bookseller network. But, the media reaction is benign with little to no venom. You get the sense that the media like Amazon.


It could be the profile of Bezos is much softer than the Google boys who’ve been very flash with their money (Think Bezos and my first association is his desk made from a $10 door; think the Google founders and it’s their party plane).

Another reason is the privacy issue. With Amazon we’re happier to share data about what we spend and browse. Google is much more closely woven into how we live our lives digitally that every miss-step they make on privacy issues has a rising resonance with us. It’s not turning people away from Google (in fact where can we go?) but its souring their profile bit by bit because they themselves set such high expectations.