Friday, June 29, 2018

Foundation and Empire: Are Indies Being Dragged Into Cloud Computing?

. . . where you and I take on "Value Val,"or in Slayer-speak, "Amazon," with its massively scary value vampire business model poised in the cloud and ready to slay us all.

But if you want to play cloud ball, heads up, authors.  If your Amazon sales haven't kicked butt, congratulations.  You've lost your indie-author virginity, and it's time to suck it up and get busy learning Amazon's value vampire business model, including its Web Services (AWS) cloud computing model; that is, if you want to increase your Share of Voice (SoV) on the Web.

I can hear you saying, "Whoa, Buff, what do you want from me?  Blood?  I mean, holy Van Helsing, I write 24/7, I host Goodreads giveaways.  I'm EVEN on Facebook.  And now you want me to spend my non-existent spare time learning how to be a marketeer?"

I get it.  You're an author.  You hate marketing.  But Buffy warns, if you've no drive to become a Slayer, go back to your cold coffins and sleep.  Don't blame Amazon, though, when you wake up with monkey hair on your palms--and no sales.

Wake up, wipe off the monkey hair.  Use Nair, whatever.  It doesn't matter how, but you gotta get inside Val's head.  You gotta learn Val's value vampire business model, and where and how Val hangs in the cloud.  Then you gotta copy his behavior and use it to sell.  No sweat, though, I'm here to help, so stop that groaning.
Jeff Bezos as "Value Val"
Yes, the learning curve is steep, so there's no silver bullet.  You have to get on Amazon and learn--OH FREAK NO!!--SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytic, and Cloud) marketing from Val himself.  You don't have to become a cloud-weenie, but you must gain some savvy about cloud-computing and what its future holds for you as author.  So what's step one?

It's telling yourself: I'm ready to whoop some value vampire butt.  It's realizing that your marketing journey--as well as the sales journey--begins and ends on Amazon.  Sure, there's a gazillion places you could go to learn Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud (SMAC-based marketing), but for now why waste time when all you need to get started is right in front of your eyes on Amazon?  How's that? you ask.  Remember: Val's not only a perfect learning machine, but also a perfect teaching machine with tons of support for Slayers.  For years, you've moaned that Val's bloated himself on your blood, but honestly, if you'd just walk up to him and say, "Hi, Val . . . "

The portal to Val's cloud lair is Amazon Web Services.  AWS is a "subsidiary of," and it "provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments, on a paid subscription basis."

A mouthful, yes?  And, of course, you're wondering what in heck it means?  Easy answer: Amazon isn't just gobbling up publishers and bookstores and authors anymore: it's devouring the world's data storage and computing capacity.  Hullo, if I owned every gallon of water on Earth, and could make you pay to get a drink, wouldn't you be paying attention to me right now?  Wouldn't you want to study me and learn my habits so you could ensure a future water supply?

It hurts to wrap our brains around AWS, but that's okay for now.  It's gonna hurt.  Bad.  But you need to walk right into Val's lair and see him as he is, so he'll be less scary when you have to really start getting scrappy with him.  Re-imagine Val behind the big Amazon user interface that you see every day, and then know this: he's not the user-centric screens your readers use to order books, and he's not the screens you use to upload files to CreateSpace and KDP (those are merely his mouth, with which he is devouring you at this very moment).

Val's an artificially intelligent entity selling to and learning from billions, but the closest you'll get to seeing him is looking at Amazon Web Service's user interface.  Now, with his AWS cloud computing platform (better Google that because cloud computing is going to rock your world), he's poised to dominate the universe from his ever-learning, ever-growing cloud platform.  So it's time for you to decide: do I want to sleep--and wake up with monkey hair on my body--or do I want to work in Val's cloud and make money as an indie author?

Smashword's founder, Mark Coker, wrote an article for Huff Post.  In "2018 Book Publishing Predictions - Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence," Coker said, in summary, that it's Val's insatiable hunger for . . . well, money . . . that's leading indie authors to a dark dystopian future in which, "Authors who now derive 100% of their sales from Amazon are no longer indie authors.  They're dependent authors.  I suppose we have indie authors and de-authors now."

Coker cites the beginning of the end of indie authors' independence as December 8, 2011, "[ . . . ] the day Amazon launched KDP Select and began stripping indies of their independence." Further, says Coker, "[ . . . ] [I]ndies were coaxed, prodded, browbeaten, extorted and tricked to gradually surrender to it."

Go, Coker!  You a SLAYER!

Coker's main point is that, "[T]here's no collective organization . . . [n]o representative body [that] looks out for our interests . . . . [w]e're all free agents . . . [w]ere divided and conquered."

We are divided, yes, but not conquered.  Let's take back control through individual actions as value vampire slayers, by getting to know what Val requires of us to make money.  That means we have to develop our own value business model for Amazon readers, and then use our model in collaboration with Amazon's to sell books.  You know: If you can't beat 'em . . .

Taking on Val is terrifying, but if you want to be a Slayer, you've got to step up and learn how Val's brain works, sort of like doing a Vulcan mind meld.  Thus, your first stop will be on Amazon's Web Service platform (link provided below).  Stay strong because he's gonna hit you with all he's got.  You're gonna see him touting "Cloud Solutions."  He's gonna sock you with "Big Data" and "Data Lakes" and "Analytics."  But you gotta keep rollin' 'til you nail who, and what, Val truly is.  Meantime, jump on AWS and live with Val, breath him in, TEAR IT UP!

Here's the link to AWS:  Next stop, Amazon's blog, a sniffle-drizzler, but hey, Val's gotta put on a sweet face for the world, so c'mon and take a quick look:  And wouldn't you love to be Amazon's featured author?  Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't point you toward Amazon's link on cloud computing:

What will be your take-away, the "value" you gain from this painful visit to the digital door of Val's lair?  Just knowing, brave Slayer, that you looked Val straight in his algorithmic eye, that's what.  Go on, don't be afraid.  As Buffy says, "Seize the moment 'cause tomorrow you might be dead."  But then . . . it's okay to be dead if sales are great.

Keep visiting Slayerverse for more on Val.

Later, Slayers.  Spread the word and share!