The online writing communities are abuzz today with news of a new application for Kindles called the Kindlegraph.
Seems this fellow named Evan Jacobs has created a way for Kindlers to obtain a personalized message and signature on their Kindle from their favourite authors. I’ve signed up for it, not because I have any illusions that I am going to be inundated with messages from adoring fans asking for my kindlegraph, but because it is apparent that this is just one of those things that 21st century writers must do in order to play the publishing game according to constantly-changing rules. I’ve added it to my list, along with establishing and maintaining a web presence, soliciting reviews, employing all sorts of strategies and tricks to get noticed on Amazon and pestering friends, family, acquaintances and total strangers on a regular basis to buy my book. Evan Jacobs must have a clear awareness of the pressures of the environment, because he’s made it incredibly quick, easy and clear for both readers and authors to use the service.
Here are my predictions for the future of the Kindlegraph:
1. It appears that each request for a kindlegraph must be responded to individually; A-listers, if they bother to use the service at all, will either employ someone to process all their kindlegraphing for them, or will be allowed to automate the service so that a generic message will go out each time someone requests their kindlegraph. I’m going for the “won’t bother” option, because they don’t need to, but over time, as writers move up the list, it will be a sign of whether you have ‘made it’ if you have a dedicated kindlegrapher on your staff.
2. Mid-listers will be in a quandary – the volume of requests for kindlegraphs will be high enough to take a significant chunk out of their time, but they won’t be able to afford to to pay someone to do it for them. Those are starting out in their writing careers now and find themselves on the mid-list some years down the track will be in a particular pickle. They would have signed up for the service as authors at the beginning of their career and will drop out of it at their peril; No author, at any stage of their career, wants to appear snobbish and aloof from their fans.
3. Just-starting-out indie authors and relative unknowns (that would be me) will be signing up for this in their droves. It will become another thing for them to obsess over and to distract them from the business of writing. Along with checking their Amazon stats and sales several times a day, they’ll be checking their emails several times a day to see if anyone has requested their kindlegraph. There will be endless bemoaning on online forums about how nobody has asked for their kindlegraph yet, and endless celebration on the same forums when somebody actually does request their kindlegraph.
4. As I understand it (and I could have this wrong – I am, after all, a techno-tard), Barnes & Noble are approaching the issue of author autographs a little differently; their Autography software allows authors to sign actual Nooks in person using touchscreen technology. Expect vociferous flame wars between Nookers and Kindlers over which system is better – the ease, speed and convenience of the kindlegraph, or the blend of the traditional and the high-tech of autography that makes Nook autographs harder to get, therefore more meaningful and valuable.