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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Publishing Model: The Latest News is Being Distributed on Social Networks and Consumed on Mobile Devices

Traditional, established media such as the Washington Post and the LA Times are being out covered and out valued by technology upstarts like BuzzFeed that 'uses technology to help come up with ideas for articles that will attract readers, and it has connected with advertisers because it creates sponsored stories for their brands—promoting Pepsi, for example, with animated images about staying cool in the summer.'

Seems to me, and some others, too, as reflected by my research, that there is a chance of mashing up advertising with legitimate news and other reporting. But, this may be the trend of the future and will bring in tons of revenue.

There are literally billions of dollars being created and attracted to the newer tech-laden publishing platforms that cater to the latest technological devices.

Tonight's post gives insight into some of the money valuations and exploding expansions coming into play --- especially Re BuzzFeed. 

Pertinent excerpt from tonight's research source: "BuzzFeed said Monday that the funding will let the company expand to Mumbai, Mexico City, Berlin and Tokyo and convert its video division into BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which will focus on everything from animated online images to feature- length films."

This from Bloomberg news as reported in Crain's New York Business:

BuzzFeed's $850M valuation tops Tribune's
The site's $50 million cash infusion is a bet that the site can be more valuable than top traditional news media.

BuzzFeed, Inc. raised $50 million on a bet its mix of everything from animal lists to serious news is more valuable than the coverage produced by established media like the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
The investment from venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz propelled BuzzFeed's valuation beyond those traditional big-name publications to about $850 million, according to the New York Times. While that's about half the market capitalization of the Times itself, it's in line with other Web startups at about seven times annual revenue, according to Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
Andreessen Horowitz joins BuzzFeed investors Hearst Corp., SoftBank Corp. and New Enterprise Associates in wagering that the site can rank among the titans of media. BuzzFeed uses technology to help come up with ideas for articles that will attract readers, and it has connected with advertisers because it creates sponsored stories for their brands—promoting Pepsi, for example, with animated images about staying cool in the summer.
"There's a lot of potential for BuzzFeed, and it's well positioned to move into a lot of key areas," said Peter Krasilovsky, vice president of BIA Kelsey, a media research company based in Chantilly, Virginia. "They've put a lot of their money into figuring out which stories are being read. I can understand why you would want to invest in BuzzFeed."
BuzzFeed said Monday that the funding will let the company expand to Mumbai, Mexico City, Berlin and Tokyo and convert its video division into BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which will focus on everything from animated online images to feature- length films.
'Effectively unbounded'
"We are very excited to work with everyone at BuzzFeed to help them realize their dreams of a profoundly important new media institution," Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, said on Twitter. The company's opportunity is "effectively unbounded," he said.
At the end of last year, the company had forecast revenue of as much as $120 million in 2014, people familiar with the matter said at the time. Ashley McCollum, a BuzzFeed spokeswoman, said she couldn't confirm the valuation.
The startup, which has more than 500 employees, is profitable, Chief Executive Officer Jonah Peretti said in September 2013. With the new investment, BuzzFeed has garnered almost $100 million in funding since the company debuted in 2006.
"The investment from Andreessen Horowitz really validates BuzzFeed, as a company and as an entity," said Mr. Sweeney of Bloomberg Intelligence. "BuzzFeed has really proven itself as a business."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Inside Intrigue at Conde Nast - Moving and Shaking Going On

Anna Wintour - One of the most
Powerful women in publishing
Conde Nast is a very influential publishing and mass media company with a lot of transformation going on. And tonight we are going to take a look at all the Conde Nast inside intrigue.

I believe this kind of analysis gives all aspiring writers, authors and indie publishers insight into the current day evolving industry that will empower them in their future endeavors. 

First, what is a mass media company (Conde Nast has grown into one over recent years)?

Secondly, a little history of Conde Nast: Condé Nast, a division of Advance Publications, is a mass media company headquartered in the Condé Nast Building in New York City. The company attracts more than 164 million consumers across its 20 print and digital media brands: Allure, Architectural Digest, Ars Technica, Bon Appétit, Brides, Condé Nast Traveler, Details, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, Golf World, GQ, Lucky, The New Yorker, Self, Teen Vogue,Vanity Fair, Vogue, W and Wired.
The company launched Condé Nast Entertainment in 2011 to develop film, television and digital video programming. The company also owns Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM) and its portfolio of comprehensive fashion journalism brands: Beauty Inc.Footwear NewsMStyle.com and WWD.
The company was founded in 1909 by Condé Montrose Nast and has been owned by the Newhouse family since 1959. Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr. is the chairman and CEO of Advance Publications, Charles H. Townsend is its chief executive officer and Robert A. Sauerberg is its president.

And now this from Crain's New York Business by  :

Anna Wintour consolidates her power at Condé Nast

An executive transition also gave President Bob Sauerberg new responsibilities.

  A long-expected executive transition took a step forward at Condé Nast on Wednesday with the announcement that President Bob Sauerberg would assume new responsibilities and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour  will have no rival in her role as creative director.
Editorial Director Tom Wallace will leave the company. Though he is not being replaced, his job was considered redundant after Ms. Wintour was named creative director last year. John Bellando, a 15-year veteran who was both chief financial officer and chief operating officer, is also leaving the company, to be replaced by an executive from Time Inc.
Mr. Sauerberg, appointed president four years ago Wednesday, will "assume a leading role in all revenue generation activities," CEO Chuck Townsend wrote in a memo to staffers. That leading role will include overseeing Condé Nast Media Group, the division that handles the large corporate advertising sales that have traditionally produced 80% of the company's ad revenue.
Brought in following a brutal advertising recession, Mr. Sauerberg was charged with finding new sources of revenue, and already oversees consumer marketing, digital operations, business development, corporate administration and the new television arm Condé Nast Entertainment. He is also the heir apparent to Mr. Townsend, who is 69.
Mr. Townsend acknowledged the power shift in his memo, noting that "Bob and I have worked side by side as CEO and president to ensure we prepare the company to reach new heights." The changes announced Wednesday begin "this seamless transition."
As part of the transition, Mr. Sauerberg added to his corporate team, bringing in David Geithner from Time Inc. to replace the well-liked Mr. Bellando, who was considered "Chuck's right arm," according to a former Condé Nast executive. Mr. Geithner will report to Mr. Sauerberg, as will Lou Cona, president of Conde Nast Media Group.
Ms. Wintour's ascension was no surprise. 
"Anna really has more power than Bob and Chuck combined," said the former executive. "She's the person everyone sees as a visionary and as having a huge amount of influence inside and outside of the building."
Condé Nast—part of the privately held, Newhouse family-owned Advance Publications—still has its own way of doing things, with roles that are not always clearly defined. For instance, some publishers report to Mr. Townsend, while others report to Mr. Sauerberg. With Wednesday's announcement, they will all report to Mr. Sauerberg, according to a person familiar with the matter, although one publisher was unaware of any change.
"At a company like this it doesn't matter," he said. "You have very little oversight either way."
Correction: All Condé Nast publishers will report to President Bob Sauerberg. This fact was misstated in a previous version of this article, published online July 23, 2014.

Resource article:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Marketing Test for Your Book? --- You KNOW You Need One, Right?

A lot of talk about book marketing has been going around lately --- Actually, talk about marketing books has been going around since the beginning of ‘book time’ --- It has just taken a 
more center stage in this new era
where more writers are acting as their own publishers.

We all come to realize sooner or later that writing the book is just phase one of the book project. Getting the damn book in front of readers, phase two, is also of paramount importance to its success and, by extension, the writers sense of achievement (not to mention financial reward).

‘If you’re writing for a major publishing house, you will probably pass the marketing test before your book gets accepted. Books are chosen based on marketing appeal as well as the author’s writing skill and timeliness of topic.’ --- Cathy Goodwin, Phd.

When do you start your book marketing strategy? When you first start laying out and diagramming your new book storyline; even before you write the first word!

You do this by designing a marketing checklist that you apply as you build your new storyline. An example is defining or fine tuning your story so it fits into a particular genre; this lends your book to easier marketing trends/strategies and placement in bookstores. This singular built-in marketing concept will also invite more professional reviews and reviewers.

Nonfictional books already have a built-in marketing checklist, of sorts, in the form of their ‘Book Proposals’, which must be submitted before approval by major houses. Book proposals address such things as: Market for your story and demographics of proposed readership, why your book is different from others of similar subject matter, table of contents of your proposed book, proposed summary of the chapters of your nonfiction work, etc.

Now, this by Cathy Goodwin, PhD, published author, copywriter, writing coach, top reviewer and speaker.

Does Your Book Pass the Marketing Test? A Reviewer’s 7 Point Checklist

Authors frequently think of “book marketing” when the book is printed and ready to hit the shelves. In fact, nonfiction book marketing begins before you write the first line. After your book has been written and published, you and your marketing team will have to look for marketing copy, reviewers and more.
If you’re writing for a major publishing house, you will probably pass the marketing test before your book gets accepted. Books are chosen based on marketing appeal as well as the author’s writing skill and timeliness of topic. When you write for yourself or for a smaller house, of if you don’t have a promotion budget, you are on your own.
Before you come to the final moment when you say, “This book is finished!” here are 7 points to check off.
1. Your book belongs to ONE genre and you know ONE place where it belongs on a bookstore shelf. Mixed genres (such as self-help plus memoir) rarely succeed in the marketplace.
If you’re not sure what genre is, or what genre best characterizes your book, you’ll need to visit a bookstore, talk to some people and get some professional advice. Without understanding “genre,” you can’t market you book or get reviewers.
2. Your book has a simple theme that you can state in a sentence or two. When someone asks, “What’s your book about?” you can’t go on for ten minutes. You need a concept statement that lets the reader know exactly what the book is about. You’ll need this statement when you look for book reviews.
For instance, my relocation book’s theme was “the psychological aspects of moving.” Sometimes I would add, “Lots of books tell you how to pack a box; this one tells you how to pack your life.”
3. Your book fits together with a simple unifying premise that can be explained easily. For instance, my relocation book was premised on, “Relocation changes your identity in three ways.”

4. Your chapter titles expand the theme and also read like copywriting headlines. Readers will pick up your book and skim the table of contents. You’re selling them on the importance of digging in.

5. Each chapter has hooks that grab the reader’s attention. When you hook the reader in the first paragraph, you’ve probably got a reader who will finish the chapter and continue to the next one, until the book is done.

6. You know what the book adds to the existing possibilities. If asked, “How is your book different?” you have a clear, accurate response.

7. Your book is written concisely. Recently I was asked to review a memoir with a fascinating premise. But when I saw the book was 500 pages of tiny type, I gave up. A few books can get away with monumental size, usually if the author is famous to the point of notoriety. Most will end up as doorstops.

When your book passes this checklist, you’re likely to get awesome reviews, and you won’t have to struggle to get them.

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on your Kindle here :)))

Article resource: http://wordpreneur.com/16532/does-your-book-pass-the-marketing-test-a-reviewers-7-point-checklist/

Friday, June 20, 2014

What 'Realistically' Makes a Successful Writer?

What makes a successful
Writer? I'll tell you.
An interesting question. One thing for sure is that you first must be alive in order to enjoy new experiences to interpret and write about.

And this leads me into a short explanation of my longer than usual absence. I wrote about my latest experience very briefly on Facebook a few days ago only as a means to notify my family and others of my impromptu hospital adventure --- after the fact.

My 6/12/14 Facebook entry:

"Got proactive about my health; suspected something was not quite right from my interest and research of related things on the Net and insisted on getting a stress test. Test showed a little irregularity on left side so Doc set up an Angiogram on 5/29/14. He went in with camera, saw, withdrew, piled me in ambulance and transported me to Colorado Springs for double bypass heart surgery 

All went well :)) 

AND, because I was proactive I had no heart attack or stroke. I was in and out in a few days.

The Doc had found I had a 92% blockage at a crucial point (called a widow-maker) and a couple other lesser blockages!!

Somebody up there loves me :))))"

I have been navigating some rather thick forestry of late!

My first major surgery of ANY kind; and after the surgery, I felt like I had been run over by a Mack truck  :(

So, I haven't felt like writing, but, I feel much better now with a lot more energy pouring into my body (new oxygenated blood, I guess). 

Perhaps this is the next step in my personal journey to being a successful writer --- By the way, the journey never ends.

Pertinent excerpt from tonights research source: "You have to learn to understand before ever attempting to cause others to understand. When do you reach your goals? It isn't over until it’s over. Never stop reaching for higher goals."

Now for more unique insights into what makes a successful writer:

Jerry Slauter writes this for Wordpreneur - A different angular insight:

"What Makes a Successful Writer"

Writing, like life, is a self-determining status. You are successful when you reach your goals.
I have known many people in various professions who have dreamed about writing their personal memoirs, professional insights, a self-help book, an adventure novel or a love story. I have not known of any writers who have dreamed of being anything other than a better writer.
What are your goals? Do you want to entertain others through your writing? In this age of Internet marketing for fun and profit, do you want to sell products or optimize search engines? Do you want to convey news, challenge perspectives, write the American novel, or win the Pulitzer Prize for literature?
These goals might or might not be realistic, but you will never know until you put the pen to paper and perfect your abilities to observe, feel, imagine and communicate. You have to learn to understand before ever attempting to cause others to understand. When do you reach your goals? It isn’t over until it’s over. Never stop reaching for higher goals.
Although not exhaustive or all-inclusive, some writing goals to consider are: Finding your voice; Establishing your genre; Publishing your work; Reaching your audience; and, Considering the type of life style you hope to achieve.
Finding your voice. What interests you? What do you spend your spare time reading, observing or following? Although writers, in the short term, must often write about topics that are of little to no interest to them personally, they find ways to make the topic interesting to the reader. For the long term, begin keeping files of your interests. Take an inventory of the books you read. What is your passion?
Establishing your genre. Ideally, you will begin to find the topics that are interesting to you. You will have already been collecting research notes, articles, books and other information about these topics. Write articles, papers, essays or books about these topics.
Publishing your work. The pessimists would say, “There is already a flood of information out there. There is no way to have your voice heard.”
Realistically, there are more opportunities to publish your work than there ever has been. On the Internet, you can write an article this morning and see it in print this afternoon. It is easy to find a plethora of article submission directories in every genre and interest. There are still trade journals, newspapers, letters to the editor, publications for local, state, national and international organizations. If people were not reading this information, there would not be so much effort for the publishers to get it out there.
Get The Writers Welcome Blog on your Kindle :)


Resource article: http://wordpreneur.com/16425/what-is-a-successful-writer/

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Content, Even When its Meaning is Twisted Out of Context, is Still King!

Content Marketing must be
mastered to sell your

I read Greg Satell, a contributor to Forbes magazine, often enough - due mainly to his often less-than-mainstream approach to his subject matter. He is an interesting writer I enjoy. 

I agree with his outlook sometimes and disagree sometimes.

Tonight's post deals with the subject of 'content' and why I believe it's the main ingredient in successful writing and publishing no matter what the genre, niche, format or mission of the particular written word (print or digital) actually is. 

Whether the purpose of your writing is to advertise (to sell), to entertain, to teach, to research, to inform or to inspire --- the creative writing you use to accomplish your desired mission (the creative content) is the only determining factor in its success or failure.

Is content king? You bet it is. Always has been. Always will be.

Now, in my research source article tonight, written by Greg Satell in Forbes, I disagree with his disparaging and definition of the term 'content'. In my opinion, he is simply splitting semantic hairs and blurring words that are more commonly used by some present day publishers from different business fields/backgrounds than he is used to in the traditional publishing industry  --- Terms/phrases such as 'content strategy'.

Key excerpts:

His title "Why Content Marketing Fails" is inaccurate. If done right, the opposite is true.

"The reason is that content isn’t really king.  Content is crap.  Nobody walks out of a great movie and says, “Wow!  What great content.” 
  - Here he is confusing a niche type word that could mean the same thing as 'story' or 'storyline' in common speak. 

"In a famous essay written in 1996, Bill Gates declared that content is king.  He presciently foresaw that faster connection speeds would make content the “killer app” of the Internet, creating a “marketplace of experiences, ideas and products.” - Yet unfortunately, Gates mistook the transaction for the product.  While his vision of the future was correct and he moved quickly to create and acquire valuable content assets, he largely failed.  Today, almost 20 years later, Microsoft MSFT -1.54% has no significant content business."   - Bill Gates was not in the content business, per se, but in the content delivery and discovery business through software and other technologies. 
Now, here is Greg Satell from Forbes magazine:

Why Content Marketing Fails

In a famous essay written in 1996, Bill Gates declared that content is king.  He presciently foresaw that faster connection speeds would make content the “killer app” of the Internet, creating a “marketplace of experiences, ideas and products.”
Yet unfortunately, Gates mistook the transaction for the product.  While his vision of the future was correct and he moved quickly to create and acquire valuable content assets, he largely failed.  Today, almost 20 years later, Microsoft MSFT -1.54% has no significant content business.
The reason is that content isn’t really king.  Content is crap.  Nobody walks out of a great movie and says, “Wow!  What great content.”  Nobody who produces meaningful artistic expression thinks of themselves as content producers either.  So the first step to becoming a successful publisher is to start treating creative work with the respect it deserves.
A Mission Is Not A Transaction
Henry Luce was not a fan of mainstream media.  He saw it as made up of dry and dull daily newspapers on the one hand and sensational tabloids on the other.  He wanted to create a new breed of product—informal and concise—which would prepare people to discuss the issues of the day.  Time magazine succeeded beyond his dreams.
Later, much like Gates, he presciently saw that photography would change publishing forever.  In his prospectus for Life magazine he wrote:
To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things—machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon; to see man’s work—his paintings, towers and discoveries; to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; the women that men love and many children; to see and take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed;
Thus to see, and to be shown, is now the will and new expectancy of half mankind
To see, and to show, is the mission now undertaken by a new kind of publication, THE SHOW-BOOK OF THE WORLD
Luce is arguably the most successful publisher the world has ever seen.  TimeLife andFortune became not just magazines, but icons.  Later, People and Sports Illustratedcreated—and dominated—new categories as well.  Even today, Time Inc. is the largest publisher on the planet.
The contrast between Gates and Luce is stark.  Gates, while he insightfully described the forces that would shape the new “marketplace of ideas,” expressed no special opinion about it, except that he thought people should pay for content.  Luce, on the other hand, saw not just an opportunity or a task, but a mission.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Publishing Today is Multidimensional --- AND The Rise of the Shadow Publishing Industry

John R. Austin
Today, successful publishers are no longer one-dimensional, anchored in print and where the main challenge was finding (or creating for books) the information - they must curate that information and present it to the reader/s in the most desired and useful format/s; AND publishers are expected to know about print, digital, mobile, tablet and social media.

Multidimensional? Indeed. And the new publishers' backgrounds are not necessarily in the traditional journalism and publishing areas, but, rather, in the fine arts and drama fields - Can you believe that? Actually, I can - many in the visual and performing arts have great writing skills; coming from articulation talents in one form or the other.

Tonight I am addressing two different but related subjects because they do crossover in areas.

The shadow publishing industry that is popping up is simply the tech, mobile and device companies that are now publishing their own content to entertain and better brand utilizing technology that is better understood, at this point, by 'techies' and others outside the normal writing and publishing channels. Some are hiring experienced writers and editors to produce their content, but these writers/editors must be retrained to a degree --- and some writers/editors do not accept that degree --- depending on how much independence is lost.

It is a very interesting and intriguing (but more demanding) time to be in the publishing industry - as the following two resources will attest.

This by Cassidy Liz in The Daily Pennsylvanian:

In an increasingly digital publishing industry, alums innovate and compete

In 2012, some 600,000 digital subscriptions raised the New York Times' circulation by 40 percent

Key excerpts:

“The challenge before was finding the information. The value [in publishing] now is in curating that information and presenting it in a format that is useful and usable,” Luh said.

"Rachel Gogel, a 2009 College graduate who recently participated in a Penn Traditions’ panel on careers for liberal arts graduates, now serves as the creative director at The New York Times. Gogel, who has previously worked with Travel + Leisure and GQ, believes that the print industry is benefiting from the digital age, rather than dying."

"It is also harder than ever to find work in the publishing industry, she added. “I am where I am today as a result of freelancing, working hard and being open-minded about taking on all sorts of projects in order to build my portfolio,” she said. “Being in the publishing industry doesn’t mean what it used to — you’re expected to know about print, digital, mobile, tablet, social media. It’s no longer one-dimensional. Having a diverse range of experiences will set you apart.”" - Rachel Gogel

“I think people going into publishing hopefully have a very different idea than I did 10 years ago or someone else did 20 years ago,” Palmer said. “If you’re going to work at a traditional magazine now, you have to think about writing for a different media — how are you writing for the web, how are you thinking about the brand and social media?”

“You really do need to kind of brand yourself ... which is really one of the things that drove me away from publishing.” - Lindsey Palmer

Note from John: Yes, today all (successful) authors must 'brand' themselves on the Net and social media to become known and acquire fans who are loyal and want to buy and promote their works to others.

Continue reading here 

And this by D. B. Hebbard in Talking New Media: 

The intersection of publishing and consumer electronics

Key excerpts:

"The first earnings reports of the new year from the big tech companies came out this week (Google was last week) and despite some concern that sales growth would slow they showed that the sector is still strong. Apple, Amazon and Google all came in with solid revenue growth, while Microsoft came in soft, but promised better performance going forward --- In contrast, the publishing world continues, for the most part, to see falling sales. The NYT report was a bright spot, though even the Gray Lady provided guidance that seemed to caution investors – though hopefully they are pulling an Apple and setting themselves up for a “beat” next quarter".

"It is, of course, silly to compare tech with publishing, gadget makers with news makers. But today there is an intersection between the two thanks to mobile, tablets and digital advertising. The devices makers need to continue to broaden the market for their devices to provide publishers with a bigger market for eBooks and digital publications. At the same time, the two sectors compete for digital advertising. It is an odd dance that occurs."

"Unfortunately, while publishing is reliant on the device makers, the same is not as true for the device makers**. Sure, they sell subscriptions and merchandise that are produced by publishers; but more and more they are publishers themselves. Additionally, they are creating a whole new shadow publishing industry, one that I have watched grow up here at TNM these past three years." - D. B. Hebbard

"This new, shadow publishing industry produces digital magazines and eBooks, yet doesn’t see themselves as part of the traditional publishing industry – they don’t belong to the MPA and don’t even know it exists. Many of these digital publishers see the print guys and their new digital products as their competitors. Many digital magazine producers using MagCast or PressPad or even Adobe DPS do not have backgrounds in the publishing world – one reason why many of those inside the industry look at these products and are aghast at their design work --- Art Woo Magazine is probably a good example of this trend. The new magazine launched this week and is available exclusively for iOS and Android devices (the iOS version is live in the Apple Newsstand, the Google Play version will be soon). It is created using PressPad which limits the risk to only a few hundred dollars a month, though forces the magazine to appear under the vendor’s name and allows them to plaster their logo on the app’s icon."