Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Promoting Books In An Era Of Ignorance

The world of merit, knowledge, and experience has given way to a world of ego, opinion, and baseless claims.  It’s everywhere – ignorance, flash, and bluster rule our society.

Let’s look at each of these more closely, first to see the role they play in creating our Era of Ignorance, and how it impacts one’s ability to promote a book today.

1.      Fake News
This is a very real harm to society, threatening us in ways we don’t fully understand.  Fake news, at its core, is news that’s not true, completely made up.  There are things like The Onion that are blatant satire, putting out ridiculous stories as a joke.  That’s just comedy, brilliantly done.  But then you have entities or countries or people putting out false stories with the hope of swaying public opinion, inspiring an action, or persuading people to buy something.  You also have established media, such as MSNBC or FOX slanting the news, allowing an obvious political bias to color what gets reported and how it is reported.  This is problematic.

2.      Opinion As Fact
Consumers are mixing up editorials with news reporting.  The lines are blurring between the two.

3.      President Trump
Love or loathe him, you must admit he’s a liar and a spin artist.  All presidents are not fully truthful, but he’s taken the art of bullshit to new levels, blatantly saying things that aren’t true, never happened, or were never said by those he quotes.  Further, he calls legitimate news sources “fake news,” undermining the ability of what needs to be a foundation for news reporting.

4.      Traditional Media On A Shoestring Budget
Traditional media is hurting.  Fewer ad dollars and fewer readers/viewers/listeners means less editorial coverage and less influence on America.  If a newspaper is half the size it used to be, and there are fewer papers than a decade ago, and a greater percentage of the pages have ads, and they lack the resources to fully fund a credentialed staff like they used to, fewer stories get covered, fewer pieces are deeply edited and fact-checked, and the paper takes on a less significant role in community affairs.

5.      Social Media
The power of social media can be amazing, but it is unchecked.  It lacks standards.  Anyone at any time can post something and potentially shape it with large numbers of people.  It could be a complete lie.  It can be an opinion presented as fact.  It can be a misinterpretation of facts.  It could be something that threatens others.  Many people don’t want a filter or editor for the Internet – and they certainly don’t trust Facebook, Twitter, or Google to dictate standards of conduct and communication.  For now, social media feeds our ignorance as much as it informs and educates.

6.      A Lack Of Gatekeepers
Society is focused on individual expression.  You want to blog your views, podcast your experiences, tweet your theories, or Instagram your fantasies, go right ahead.  People make their own movies, produce their own music, and do things that a generation ago was left to a handful of powerful firms that set standards that sometimes left certain groups or viewpoints out in the cold.  But we need a parent, a librarian, or a leading authority to give us a standard of some kind. 

7.      Conspiracy Theories On Everything
It’s good to question authority and the world we live in.  Inquiry is healthy.  Be curious.  But what happens when everything is questioned, even with video, eye witnesses, and documented proof, such as some of the mass school shootings?  Conspiracy nuts throw everything into question, seeding doubt when none should exist.

8.      Not Questioning Enough
We need to look more closely at the motives behind the information shared with us. Is it influenced by advertisers and sponsors?  Is the writer-poster-reporter biased?  What’s not being said or shown that would add depth to a story?

9.      Technology Challenging Old Standards
Information technology, from smart phones and social media to self-publishing, are game-changers for disseminating information and ideas, but technology is upending other industries and tearing away at standards that had helped establish the way things were.  Not all change is bad – and a lot may prove to be wonderful – but as we process this change of new winners and losers it momentarily causes us to lose our footing, to get a clear picture of what’s what.  We struggle for identity relevance when so much change goes on simultaneously.  This thinking filters into our acceptance or dismissal of the waves of new content coming at us incessantly.

10. User Reviews
It would seem that user reviews – like the ones you see for hotels, restaurants, movies, and books – would be a great idea.  Let the people decide if something is good.  But these reviews have been co-opted by publicists, competitors and purchased reviews.  How many authors do you know who get friends, family, colleagues, and others to pen a positive review on Amazon?  And how many publishers or authors write negative reviews of competing titles?  And how many simply pay others to post a good review? The information is compromised and adds to an Era of Ignorance.

So how does all this impact book marketing?

Well, first, one must pierce the clutter in order to get a message about a book out.  You are competing with literally thousands of new books daily, millions of video uploads daily, billions of tweets and Facebook posts every 24 hours. And some are just full of crap.

Second, authors need to find a way to get positive media coverage while other information flowing around is not accurate or is a direct lie.  How will authors navigate through media outlets that value expert truth from an author vs. simply finding someone with an opinion who will speak in agreement with that media outlet’s editorial slant?

Third, authors will struggle to be seen as more credible than other newsmakers when the nation becomes numb to – or unaware of – the unethical and unprofessional practices of those who don’t meet the standards of real journalism.

It’s a competitive, nosy, and crazy landscape for authors to dance in, but hopefully truth, experience, and training or education actually count for something.  

The world is running towards an Era of Ignorance and it may be too confused, misinformed, and unaware of anything else.

What will move an author to actively promote his book?

Valuable Info On Book Marketing Landscape For First-Time Authors

How Do We Make America A Book Nation?

Which messages should authors convey to the news media?

Do authors really promote the benefits of their books?

Scores of Best-Selling Book PR Tips from Book Expo PR Panel

What is the payoff for authors to getting a million clicks?

How should authors sell themselves?

The keys to great book marketing

Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.