Wednesday, 24 March 2010

SF/F and Social Media and – Join Us Live at EasterCon

At EasterCon this year, on Saturday 3rd April at 3:00pm (BST), UStreaming live from Odyssey 2010, we will be merging industry and Social Media to debate – and real-time demonstrate – this question: -

Just how far has the SF/F industry really embraced Social Media?

We know that writers are all over Twitter; they’re everywhere. Promoted by publishers, orbited by bloggers and followed by fans, they meet one another through the #amwriting hashtag or join David Rozansky’s #scifichat. Competitions and give-aways abound freely (please RT), circling like little bluebirds over the head of a dazed man.

But, in the grand scheme of things, how much impact does this have? In a world where only the top 15% of books published sell more than 5,000 copies… can we do more with Social Media to ensure that the industry accepts change and allows itself to grow?

The Twitter support community is great – on one level, we’ve embraced the ideal of completely. People help each other – no, I mean it. But socially, the industry is insular – despite the ‘New Age of Geek Chic’ and all of that gubbins, are people reluctant to reach beyond their safety zone?

Are we going round in circles, preaching our love of SF to the already converted?

And it goes beyond Twitter. Twitter is the foyer; there are many other rooms to peek into. The David Gemmell Legend Awards can be found on Ning; video promotions for book titles are becoming quite the thing, dahling – and more and more authors follow the free-download example set by Accelerando.

Is good Social Media an effective long-term investment – or is its short-focus immediacy just a smart way to give out a quick dozen books? Will it, as Jim C Hines mused, eventually prove to be the end of the book signing?

And, of course, the very nature of those books is changing under our hands – not only their format, but how they’re sold – that was one trip up the Amazon we all remember. How far can Social Media promote the awareness and acceptance of those changes – professional, legal and personal – and help ensure that they’re beneficial in the right places?

To find out - and to chip in - come to #LiveCon.

Track the #EasterCon and #LiveCon hashtags at UStream TV, or on the BSFA website – or join us on Twitter – use the #LiveCon hashtag to ask my panel a real-time question.

Join author Paul Cornell and Angry Robot Books' editor Lee Harris as they match their industry wits with Social Media experts Nik Butler and Del Lakin-Smith – and follow all of us live on Twitter for commentary, not only from #LiveCon, but from the whole weekend.

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