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Whither blogging?

Information Architects » Blog Archive » The Age of Digital Baroque

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Twitter, Flickr, Facebook make blogs look so 2004

It ain’t over, but blogs have grown up, and writing for multi-site mashup is a newish trend.  Pull together Twitter with Flickr and Britekite, linked to Facebook, and the blog.

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Carrying This On…

I was thinking about it just now, and I think I’m going to continue this blog project of mine after this class has ended.  I will continue working on it in its current form while class is still in session, but when the semester’s over, I will add some other people I know as authors on my blog, and hopefully form a simple, yet effective, independent music review publication.  This is good, as it gives me something to look forward to and to strive for, and hopefully it’ll help out my current situation, too.

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blogging, the net, and vanity publishing

Back in January, before this class started, here and here, I blogged about SmartBooks, Lulu, and blogging as self-publishing. Now, writes if:book, self-publishing has moved into Borders:

Borders, in partnership with Lulu.com, has launched a comprehensive personal publishing platform, enabling anyone to design and publish their own (print) book and have it distributed throughout the Borders physical and online retail chain.

Self-publishing, vanity press, or lowering the publishing bar? If:book writes

It’s curious how “vanity publishing” as a cultural category seems to have a very clear relationship with the print book but a far more ambiguous one with the digital.

[…]

[G]enerally speaking, it is something we’ve looked down on. Blogs, MySpace, personal web pages and the like arise out of a different set of socio-economic conditions. The barriers to publication are incredibly low (digital divide notwithstanding), and so authorship online is perceived differently than in print, even if it still arises out of the same basic need to communicate. It feels more like simply taking part in a conversation, participating in a commons. One is not immediately suspicious of the author’s credibility in quite the same way as when the self-financed publication is in print.

The print market that makes a vanity of self-publishing is changing, which could open up new niches for freelancers, artists, academics and pros. If:book concludes with

All the world’s a vanity press and we have to learn to make sense of what it produces.

Where are you, as digital pros in training, as students, as professionals on the rise, with digital publishing?

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Self-publishing is the new vanity? or the new practice?

Today is a day for freeness. Over at Zeldman, we have Self-publishing is the new blogging. An ~750 word history of digital publishing and distribution, leading (not inevitably) back to print –

Enter Lulu, all slinky hips and clodhoppers. Self-publishing is the new blogging. No more compromises. No more external deadlines. No more heavy-handed editors and ham-fisted copyeditors. No more teachers, lots more books.

I made a similar argument for self-publishing a few weeks ago, and at least one local author has already taken up the trend.

Is self-publishing vanity or professional practice? Mike Peter Reed comments

When Walt Disney was self-promoting and self distributing his short cartoons … that was vanity? Of course it was. Professionals are just amateurs who don’t give up.

Or perhaps necessarily vain professional practice?

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Is being read reward enough?

Chris Anderson at The Long Tail is talking about the move towards self-publishing and free distribution of books..

Why give away your book?:
Charles Sheehan-Miles, who wrote “Republic: A Novel of America’s Future”, explains why he’s giving away his ebook in any way, shape or form you want it:

No more sample chapters, partial books that end in the middle, none of that. You can download and read the complete book. Share it with your friends, email it, do anything you want with it except sell it.

Here’s why: the biggest challenge most authors face isn’t online piracy. It’s not people out there diabolically copying their works and distributing them for free. In fact most authors (including yours truly) suffer from a different problem entirely — no one has ever heard of them. After all, literally hundreds of thousands of new titles come out every year, and only a few hundred writers in the entire United States (if that many) actually live off their books full time. So, by giving away the book, I hope more people actually read it.

Tim O’Reilly was the first to say that the enemy of authors isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. For the vast majority of authors, being read is actually reward enough. How to turn that recognition into a living is a whole other process, and not necessarily one that depends on the traditional book industry to deliver. Good thing, too, since it so rarely does.

Is obscurity really the bane? Does anyone really read free books? Or is consumption driven by perceived value measured in dollars and cents?

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