Simon & Schuster, through their Touchstone imprint has announced that they will participate in a new online venture Media Predict. On the new site, people become virtual “investors” and buy make-believe shares in burgeoning unsigned authors, bands, films, etc. The thinking is…
if enough fake capital is thrown in someone’s bucket, then the powers-that-be will see “built in customers” and then sign/publish the person/group.
S&S says they will hold a contest called Project Publish, to help select their picks for a book.
I agree that The Wisdom of Crowds was a good read, but I just can’t imagine that a list of books all written with the intention of appealing to “as many as possible” could be of much merit. I think the math folks call this “finding the lowest common denominator”. That just seems rather fitting here.
Now, I’m all for “social media” and experimenting with new ideas. My fear is this idea will catch on and the big houses will start using these techniques more and more, just to make the next buck. It seems to me that there’s a trend in publishing to eliminate any professional and personal aspect of the process. Which is scary.
My dollars are important to me and when I’m considering spending them on something, I’d like to know that some talented smart creative people helped put it together. I guess I just want to be assured that quality books will continue to be published. But my fear is that most of the big houses have been “wowed” by Hollywood and TV and are ready to start making huge bucks for as little effort (and as little product) as possible.
I guess I just see all this as adding up to another reason that small publishers will be the savior of quality books in the future.
Here’s the press release from S&S so you can get all of the facts yourself. It also outlines all of the deadlines and announcement schedules for winners.