Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gimmicks are a bad sign.

A friend pointed me in the direction of a new book venture which sounds interesting.

Basically, each accepted author writes a book, and then squares off with another author, with the winner moving on to the next round.

I can see how that might generate sales.

But...well, it's a flat out gimmick, and my experience with gimmicks in my business is that they are sign of failure.

Any product that depends on gimmicks to succeed is in trouble.  Gimmicks might work at first, but they quickly loose effectiveness, and then the ante needs to be increased, and so on and so forth until no one responds anymore.

That is, if the base product won't sell without gimmicks, it is probably doomed.  In fact, the gimmicks, while appearing to revive the product at first, eventually cause its downfall even faster.

I wonder if the book industry is in a race to the bottom.  Following the example of the music industry.

The music industry continues to decline.  None of the things that was supposed to save them has apparently worked.

Don't give me the exceptions.  Exceptions don't prove the rule.  There are always exceptions.

A healthy industry doesn't work if only the exceptions work.  A healthy industry is one in which the mid-level works effectively, and where even the lower levels provides enough incentive to keep trying.

Our hyper capitalistic environment has given success only to size -- the mega corporations. Or the exceptional -- smaller entrepreneurs who work harder and are smarter than the average bear.

So we've set up another industry to follow that example.  Not that book publishing was ever easy, but there was a time when mid-list books were a viable alternative.

I have no solutions.  I'm wondering if there is one.  

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