Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is this?

I wanted to take this post and bring any new visitors up to speed on what Mis Tribus is, why I think it is important, and what I'm doing to turn my vision into reality. So, it's kind of obvious from just looking that I've just started pulling this site together, that's mostly because I'm busy conducting research on my theories as well as conducting testing. I really would have liked this site to be more complete before attending TOC, but I got caught up doing investigation.This reflects the reality that most authors face, we're too busy and find it difficult knowing what to spend our time on. At it's heart, that's what Mis Tribus will solve.

So what is Mis Tribus?

Mis Tribus is a direct to fan community for cross media authors. By providing tools, utilities, process, and coaching I believe that I can help authors solve three of the most critical challenges we face: reach, shipping product, and monetization.

By reach I refer to the process of disseminating your information as densely as possible within the social media cloud. In my opinion, this is really the most important challenge of them all. If people can't find your, your work, or your products, then it really doesn't matter how many products you've "shipped" nor your plan to monetize them. I'm not trying to be over simplistic, nor restate what everyone hears from the social media experts. One of favorite quotes from Guy Kawasaki: "Ideas are easy, it's execution that's hard." Throughout my entrepreneurial career, except for emphasizing the need for extensive market research, this is by far the most important idiom. It's one thing to say you have to exploit social media to it's fullest advantage, but it is quite another thing to actually do it. I intend on creating a process that makes this easier to do and in less time, hence the active research.

Shipping product is pretty clear, but once again it's all about execution. Again, an author's ability to ship product will be directly related to how effective of a process they use to guide them through the cycle of   identifying, creating, and finishing products. Finally, monetization, for me is the objective of all of my research. In his "Building a Successful Direct Channel" tutorial yesterday at TOC, Allen Noran from O'Reilly talked about creating as big a funnel as possible. At the bottom of that funnel is monetization. Everything an author does to spread his message across the Internet, and all of the products she ships should all lead back to one location which asks the engaged fan to spend some money.

So where's the beef?

As I mentioned above, I'm currently researching all of the tools and processes that I think will help an author "get louder." I'm actively sharing that research on another website, Guagua Pública. Let's call it GP for now. GP is the code name for the research I'm conducting. Once I've worked my way through the research phase, it's my intention to publish my findings in a book that will lay out the theories and processes that an author will be using on this site. I've decided to do it that way because of Steve Blank. In his work Steve emphasizes the need to discover your customer long before you build or design software. So that's what I'm doing. I'm busy talking with authors, publishers, and especially freelancers to understand what they need. Only until I believe I have what Steve calls a minimal viable product, will I begin to flesh out Mis Tribus. Again, it doesn't make any sense investing time and resources in building software until I'm much more certain that what I'm building is something that authors will use. The days of the "Field of Dreams" are long over.

Why is this important?

With all of the turmoil in the publishing industry I want to make sure that there will always be a place for freelance authors to go where they can understand what needs to be done, how to do it, in order that they can buy some "cheese sandwiches." By founding a community instead of a pure startup I hope to foster the notion that united as a community we can all help each other become and remain successful. By the way, if you're interested in learning more about me, my personal blog has a wealth of information.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Margaret Atwood and Cheese Sandwiches

Margaret standing on a chair for the Book2Camp conclusion
So yesterday I participated in the pre-TOC Book2Camp event hosted by O'Reilly and OpenSky. It was a great experience and I'm really thankful to our hosts for their support. The highlight of the event for me, and many others in attendance was the participation of Margaret Atwood.

This became very real for me, when halfway through my session she walked into the room. It was a real honor to have her attend my session, and she really made her presence felt almost immediately. Even though she missed my introduction she quickly came up to speed and begin peppering me with very piercing questions.

Her questions were very good and I think serve as a wonderful reminder for everyone involved in the publishing industry. She reminded me that the struggle to get paid for your artistic endeavours was not a new one. She recounted that through out history there were some very well known strategies:
  • Find a benefactor
  • Obtain a grant
  • Marry money
  • Inherit money.
She added, beyond that, it was really the creative's responsibility to find a way to pay for your "cheese sandwiches." She went on to explain that what was most important was being a good writer. By that, she emphasized as an author, you needed to create a world that would capture a readers imagination and provide an engaging experience. She put it this way: "You have to make the reader get past page five." She felt that if an author could do that, then they would be on their way towards getting themself some cheese sandwiches.

I have to confess, it was invaluable advice and I appreciate her spirited participation. With a long and successful writing career, anyone would be ill-advised to ignore her perspective. We all build the future on the backs of those who've went before us. It's interesting to me that even though she had never heard of transmedia, she succinctly summarized the challenge for a transmedia franchise, successfully creating a world which is compelling enough to attract attention.