Thursday, February 04, 2010

Fifteen Minutes

Anyone who is able to create a well-lit watering hole on-line these days can have a kinds of wannabes beg to give their content away for free. The gathering place can be resultant of the creator's celebrity, notoriety, quirkiness - just about any adjective can work as long as the amplitude is high enough. The content offerings will come pouring like like an algal swarm.

There are a few reasons for this phenomenon. Everyone believes they have a shot at fame and even deserve it. If they are not able to gain a direct entry into the hall of fame, the gathering places may be their second best shot - maybe they will get the recipe right and even go viral. This was simply not how people perceived themselves or their place in the world back in the day. Celebrity was a rare thing and the rest were happy to stand by and clap for the select few.

I am hardly the social network hub and despite that I know no less than ten published authors - they run the gamut from fiction, non-fiction, music appreciation, children's' literature, crafts and hobbies, cookbooks to technical books. If having some fan following on MySpace and a CD or two counts for success in the world of music, then I know about the same number of "published", concert giving musicians as well.

A generation or two ago, regular people like me did not count authors and musicians among their friends and acquaintances and that too in such copious numbers. They looked upon such people with some awe and assumed that their worlds were not meant to intersect. The transformation I believe this has a lot to do with the declining standards of what finds it way to the market. With the means of distribution having become so egalitarian and the channels so numerous a lot of sub par material is finding its way out there.

We have all experienced reading a "critically acclaimed" book and wondering how such drivel makes to the top anything list. Those who have the chops and determination may go as far as to think they could do a lot better than that and actually make it happen. So you have a rash of books by unknown authors who vanish without a trace after their debut offering. I don't keep up with current music but have to imagine it would not be a lot different.

One woman of my acquaintance was looking for book on  a niche subject to help her prepare for a certification exam. Frustrated with not finding one, she ended up translating her notes and research into a book that found a willing publisher. Suddenly, she is a published writer of a technical reference book and it may be the last one she writes.Having written a technical book or two is becoming common enough that having that on the resume is no longer guaranteed to make it stand out from the crowd.

In such a fluid enviornment, snatching the spotlight for fifteen minutes from the clamorous (and capable) contenders needs a watering hole and those who meet this huge pent up need stand to make a killing if they know who to snare and how.

No comments: