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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Media Predict: Thoughts

Regarding Media Predict, I think every single person has a responsibility to do their homework when it comes to an agent, publisher, contest. Many are quick to rush to judgments without all the facts. The initial criticisms I read were based more on speculation about the process, rather than anything substantive (and no, I haven't read all the criticisms). Even after my quickie interview earlier this week there were still a lot of unanswered questions, as the comment trail on my own blog, and Crimespace, proved.

My thanks to Brian for emailing me and mentioning the terms of use on Media Predict's site. After taking some time to look at them I have to say I have no desire to participate in this. The 'perpetual' right to sell your work will be a deterrent for agents and the ownership issues are of some concern. I'm no expert with contracts but I strongly recommend that anyone considering participation do their homework and consult a lawyer. I will be watching to see how this unfolds, but at this point in time I have to say that my long-term speculation is that it won't produce anything of note to the publishing world.

In short, experienced editors who have been working in the business for years cannot always predict what will catch on and what won't. The reality is anything posted to this site will be likely a minimum of 18 months from publication. By that point, any 'hype' from the process will have eroded. It will make no difference to bookstore staff and readers, who ultimately decide what succeeds and fails in this industry.

I applaud the idea of listening to readers to some degree, but that remains my single biggest issue about this: There is no guarantee that readers will participate. In fact, the proof is that the main crime fiction 'industry' blogs haven't even discussed this, but my interview was picked up by Midas Oracle, a site that focuses on market predictions.

It is my feeling that this approach will attract game players and not readers, or book-buyers. And one thing that anyone in this industry should know is that a lot of us readers don't like being told what books to buy by people who don't know anything about our genre or our industry.

No snap judgments. Two days of thinking about it. And I stand to be proven wrong, but that's my present personal position on the whole thing. Never take anything you read here as an automatic endorsement and act on it alone. Always - always always always - do your homework before signing any contract or entering a legal agreement.