10% Inspiration, 90% Marketing – Books & Modern Media

October 29, 2009

People hate technology. They really do.

Of course, this is a vast generalization, and really what I mean is that businesspeople hate technology. But even that’s not true, because plenty of businesspeople out there embrace it and use it for exactly its intended purpose – to provide a new way of providing something consumers want, and in exchange, receiving monetary profit.

Which means that it’s not that businesspeople hate technology, it’s that business-dinosaurs hate technology, because they’re too blind to realize that change is inevitable, so they should embrace it and figure out a way to incorporate it into their business model.

And for some reason, well-established artists seem to be least creative when it comes to inventing ways to take advantage of technology, because they’re so incredibly stuck in the old paradigm of Intellectual Property. I wrote about this several months ago, and as a self-published author of a fantastic book who’s completely loused up the marketing process, it’s something I think about quite often.

In response to how much easier it is to copy and distribute art today than it was even 10 years ago, an organization called Creative Commons has created a “some rights reserved” license, a.k.a. the Creative Commons license, which lets the copyright-owner choose the conditions upon which copying and redistribution are permitted.

By now, most people are aware, at least vaguely, of the existence of the Creative Commons license. Many, I suspect, still haven’t seriously considered using it. Why? Because using this license requires throwing out all the books you’ve read that tell you how to break into the business. It requires a D.I.Y. approach to publishing, and it requires trusting that if you give someone something for free, the money will flow in your direction. Stephen King tried this approach nine years ago, and it was ultimately unsuccessful. Fair enough – he’s already got a model that works for him.

But Cory Doctorow recently published a column in Publisher’s Weekly about how he’s done exactly that. Here’s someone who clearly has no problem coming up with ingenuitive ways of marketing his work, and has reaped the rewards as a result.

I think we can all learn a lesson from Cory Doctorow, Diablo Cody, Stephen Elliott, and the other mad artists working in the world of modern technology. Come up with something new, and dedicate your time to it.

Because the more time I spend in this business, the more I realize that there are few things harder than finishing a book – but marketing that book happens to be one of them.


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