Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Information Feed Tricks And Tips for Writers Part III - Publishing Business Model

Part I of this series was posted on November 16, 2010
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2010/11/information-feed-tricks-and-tips-for.html  and Part II on November 23, 2010,

Just reading this item which Jean Lorrah found:


and some of the links provided in that article, I realized this is hugely significant.

This article is from way back in June 2010 but it's still important. In the article is a link to a Pew Research annual study on Journalism that I have only barely begun to absorb.


I also found out via Wikipedia and other sources that Amazon.com and Craigslist were both founded in 1995, and according to this article on dailyfinance.com, the steep decline in newspaper capacity to gather and report news is 30% from 2000 to 2010.

Craigslist incorporated in 1999 (so did simegen.com). Classified ads and well heeled buyers from classified ads deserted newspapers for Craigslist. Then boom - the bottom fell out of the business model of print news  papers.

Lately, I've heard that staff reductions at TV News operations, even cable's CNN, are cutting into delivery.  I've  noticed they basically turn off coverage on weekends now, and run tape over and over.  That may not seem strange to younger people. 

Lots of other stuff happened through the years mentioned above, driving and luring folks online and on-cell, and now to e-books and e-book readers that download magazines and news feeds like Kindle and Nook.  All that is drawing readers away from print books, news, and magazines. 

Yes, I know, we love the feel of holding and smelling a book. Where did that come from? Early reading pleasure associated with it. So there will be a generation that has that same pleasure-response from holding a nice warm e-reader. They'll hate it when e-readers go cold from energy efficiency or project the screen into the air in 3-D.

When you are living in interesting times, apparently you don't really notice so much as you will later.

Hello! It's now later!

Here's where I discussed Emigrating To The Future


And there I noted 5 observations in my researches around the internet that taken together sets off a Red-Alert before my eyes.

We are crossing (or perhaps have crossed) into a totally new world, and quickly we have forgotten both what we really don't need to remember, and many things well worth remembering.

I listed off some of my previous posts outlining these developments dating back to 2008 and my infatuation with Web 2.0 (the first interactive basis for online social networking). I think we're probably into Web 4.0 by now.


Here's a very informative map (such as you might see in the front of a Fantasy novel) of the "world" of social networking. I found this link on twitter.


The basis for twitter and facebook -- and all the rest -- is the advertising business model. Some, like google and huffingtonpost.com, are succeeding where print-paper newspapers have failed.

Some online news sites like politico.com actually pay reporters to write stories and blogs (it's not as good a living as print journalists used to make, but it's better than novelists are doing today) -- they pay from advertising revenue, just like newspapers used to. Print papers made money from sales on the street, and for subscriptions, but their real money was from classified ads and grocery store ads.

When I told my Dad (who worked for Associated Press) that I wanted to become a writer, he was all excited. He was ready to pay my way through a Journalism degree even though very few women worked in Journalism. It was an absolutely guaranteed income for life -- a Journalism Degree! 

He knew more women would flock to Journalism soon. He was shocked but cooperative when I chose Chemistry even though he couldn't see a living in fiction writing, especially not science fiction, but Chemists made good money. He figured I'd eventually revert to Journalism. I guess he was right, because here I am blogging online and reviewing for a paper newspaper. Only the world has changed in ways he couldn't have imagined.

The article from dailyfinance.com says:


"With traditional media companies facing an advertising slump and rising competition on the Web, the AP has come under pressure from its members to cut rates," the Associated Press recently reported about itself. "It lowered its fees for U.S. newspapers by $30 million in 2009 and plans a $45 million cut for newspapers and broadcasters this year."

Meanwhile, CNN is experiencing troubles of its own. Ratings for its U.S. television programming are down, and the Project for Excellence in Journalism State of the Media report says advertising revenue for CNN and its sister network, HLN, were projected to drop 8% to $513 million in 2009, down from $556 million the previous year. A CNN spokesman said the terms of AP's licensing agreement "did not fit our business model."

See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/9sIy4F
-------END QUOTE------

Yet CNN.COM is one of the biggest, most visited cites on the internet.

The successful print papers are now online, breaking stories the hour they happen, not the next day or the day after as necessary with print. In our new world, speed, "real time" interactivity is essential. Note how most news sites are "blog" (Web 2.0) enabled with long, often heated and nutty, comments posted by readers -- who often post without actually reading the article.

I saw a rumor (unsubstantiated) that some of those who drop comments on news items on this popular news sites are paid to espouse specific political views and hammer sites with comments.  That's an interesting business model for a non-fiction writer but what about the advertising revenues for the hammered websites?  They pay the website by hit, but the hits stats are distorted if hitters are just passing through doing a paid job.

 Another fiction writer acquaintance who just found me on facebook.com/jacqueline.lichtenberg said he's been making a living now doing short researched articles for the government.  He loves it because he's doing what he loves - research!  And another friend is trying the syndicated online articles market for her non-fiction.  

Here's an article you might have missed from Publisher's Weekly where the new publisher for Simon&Schuster (publishing companies have been collapsing and being bought up just like newspapers) outlined his new VISION for how to organize a book publishing operation in this new world.


Does that seem like a totally new business model designed for the internet age?

That S&S model is what writers of novels have to work with today.

But the book-buyers live in this blog-style interactive news (even from professional news services), with "facts" gathered not by people with Journalism degrees necessarily but by folks with a cell-camera and a lot of initiative and local contacts.

Have you ever found yourself yelling at the TV screen during a news commentary broadcast?

People want to interact. I think even in fiction.

My insurance company, Geico, offers an interactive online Defensive Driving course that  costs $20 to take (4 hours of interacting) instead of the I think it was $80 3 years ago to take the course in person at the library or in a hotel function room. 

People live online these days, and do most of their reading online.  When reading books, they want, just like the online experience, to marginal notes on their e-reader that the writer will actually see -- as if they were comments dropped on facebook. Readers want to make comments other readers will see (as on Amazon). And hear/see what others respond.  That's not just "what others say" but what others "respond."  That is to have a conversation, such as the twitter chats I've been quoting from.  People talk to each other, and eventually those raised on conversing with strangers will want to converse with their fiction writers as they read. 

Already, writers have been posting as-I-write-it segments of stories. That's been going on since Listserv was first invented (have to look up when that was - hasn't it been there all my life?).

I was a member of the Forever Knight Lists, one of which carried comments on fanfic posted on the other List. Stories were posted in chapters or installments, and writers got feedback as or before writing the next chapter.  Some great writers came out of that training. 

That now goes on with blogs and among a writer's beta-readers on fanfiction.net and other fan fiction posting websites. I'm on a mailing discussion List for a Star Trek fanfiction posting site:

Compare the way fiction for such sites is created -- the way a writer thinks about "information feed" as described in the previous posts in this series -- with the way Simon & Schuster is reorganizing to publish novels.

Now think about the 7 part series I did here on Editing starting with these 2:



Does the new S&S concept change the "editor's job" in any way?

Does the shift in news-gathering business model really mean anything to fiction writers?

Think about the convenience of CNN.COM, Foxnews.com, CNBC.COM etc. (don't forget snopes.com and wikipedia's not so reliable "facts") And then I'm always quoting Wired Magazine's website - and Time and Newsweek.  If it's not online, it doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned.  How can I point you to it if there's no URL?  Why would I frustrate you talking about something you can't find at a click? 

Fiction writers have to consider "information feed" techniques of fiction in terms of what NEWS is (and is not) for the modern reader. At what point will that shifting perception of reality among readers and viewers of "news" change how fiction writers do their job?

Oh, are we living in interesting times or what?

I still love Web 2.0 even if it is obsolete already.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

No comments:

Post a Comment