Weirdness Rodeo: Trends! Opinions! An Open Letter!

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I'm not 100% sure what this is, but TUBE-LEVELING sounds like a very dangerous pastime.

Trend-spotting!

The Guardian picks out some 2016 trends for art and creativity. Some might be a little more controversial than others, such as Tony Churnside noting that:

A big theme this year will be the use of data to provide personalised content experiences, going beyond recommendation systems and adapting narrative in response to audiences.... For personal data to provide more engaging experiences, art and storytelling themselves must become more flexible. We need to stop seeing art as sacrosanct, as artists and storytellers develop new tools and processes that allow the generation of adaptable user experiences.

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The Doors of Stone: Howlers vs The World

Name-of-the-wind-586x900A month or so ago, this exchange happened during a reddit AMA:

Reddit user vlatheimpaler:

Have you been surprised that there's such a strong interest in watching you play Fallout 4 instead of extra writing spent towards Doors of Stone? I figured it would be 50/50, or maybe skewed a little bit towards writing, but I was surprised that Fallout 4 wins every single day.

Patrick Rothfuss:

I think it shows pretty clearly that people who howl for book three aren't as interested in donating money to make the world a better place.

The context, in a nutshell, is that as part of Patrick Rothfuss’ annual (and very generous) fundraising for Worldbuilders, he let people pay to choose whether or not he would play Fallout 4 or spend extra time writing his next book.

There was a mild (and probably justified) kerfuffle about Rothfuss’s tone in this response, but then, the dude’s also raised $1m+ for charity this year. Let’s allow him a brief moment of crankiness. 

In the past, I've looked into the hypothesis that 'readers are better people', and found it (to my surprise), demonstrably (and gratifyingly) true. So in the interest of testing another hypothesis, let's look into this one: "Are the people demanding Doors of Stone less likely to donate money to make the world a better place?"

QUICK, TO THE MATHMOBILE!

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Weirdness Rodeo: Heritage, Waterstones and Adaptations

Darwin and Plarchie, by Deadly KnitshadeWe often feel it is important to preserve what we have inherited, but unless we appreciate we would not even have such an inheritance unless others had been willing to tamper with what they in turn were bequeathed, we cannot understand what is really at stake and what matters. - Julian Baggini, "Razed to Life" (RSA Journal, 2015)

What I find particularly compelling about this statement is that it isn't necessarily espousing 'progress for the sake of progress'. Rather, this about - to be cold - the 'cost/benefit' analysis of change: 'understanding what is at stake and what matters'. 

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Weirdness Rodeo: Reboots, Adaptations and Neko Atsume

Gilmore Girls

"Why are there so many cult TV reboots?!", via the Washington Post:

But in TV, a land where every meager success is formulized, the reboots are seen as cheap bets, with often low-risk premises, washed-up stars and built-in cores of superfans.

For networks struggling to hold onto cord-cutters, and streaming upstarts pushing to prove themselves, the ‘90s reboots offer another prize: The viewers who grew up on these shows are now, a few decades later, making the decisions on cable budgets of their own.

The article notes that there are 400 original scripted series set to air this year. Any reboot - even a cult one - starts with an audience of greater than zero. Which is already a slim lead in the race for survival. (Although for many, that still isn't enough.)

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Weirdness Rodeo: Disney is rather impressive

Check out this little doohicky:

Disney mind map

I peeled this out of a Drum article about Disney and its rampant collection of data.

It is a lovely little diagram in and of itself, but what strikes me as important is how they've got a role for everything. Specifically, the article notes...

...Disney’s resolute focus on preserving its purpose in the eyes of consumers, which Hill said was down to an understanding that success “isn’t just about return on investment”. Being commercially successful is important, but she said it was a product of having strong brand equity.  

Emphasis mine. The fact that Disney has a stable of billion dollar brands isn't an accident - they take each and every property and see how it can be developed across every possible channel and content type. And not 'artificially' - the channels don't diffuse the property, they fortify it. And that's, well,... amazing.

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PK People Elsewhere: Books, Podcasts and More!

The pleasure merchantA round-up of what the Pornokitsch team are doing when they're not toiling away at the blog-mines:

New books!

Molly's The Pleasure Merchant is coming out soon:

Apprentice wig-maker Tom Dawne’s dream is to complete his training, marry his master’s daughter, and set up a shop of his own. Unfortunately for him, when one of his greatest creations is used to play a cruel prank on a powerful gentleman, Tom is dismissed—and forced by fear of poverty and the need to clear his name to serve the very man whom he suspects set him up.... 

The ebook is available for pre-order through Amazon!

And you can now get Vermilion as an audio book! (For more about The Pleasure Merchant, check out Molly's long-running Pygmalia series, and, of course, this post...)

Bex, Jared and Anne (plus our friend and guest, John Johnston) all contributed to 1001 TV Shows You Must Watch Before You Die (US / UK). We're now the official experts on a wide variety of shows, including Gossip Girl (Jared), Kojak (John), The Good Wife (Bex) and Once Upon a Time (Anne).

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Weirdness Rodeo: Harlequin, Netflix and Reboots

Harlequin

Is that your brand extending, or are you just happy to see me?

Harlequin - who have always been one of the more innovative publishers (probably because they have one of the strongest brands) - are extending into... wine. I mean, why not? Even as a stunt, this is good PR.

The publisher is partnering with Vintage Wine Estates to create Vintages by Harlequin, three wines now available for $14.95 a pop on Amazon. There’s a chardonnay (“Substitute for Love”), a cabernet sauvignon (“Pardon My Body”), and red wine blend (“Wild at Heart”). “Harlequin has a deep history of creating experiences for women, and we are thrilled to bring this new opportunity to market,” Harlequin CEO and publisher Craig Swinwood said in a statement. 

Ok, almost definitely a PR stunt. But I like that Harlequin sees their role - as a publisher - as 'creating experiences for women'. That's bold language, and one that opens them up, and credibly, to making more than books.

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Weirdness Rodeo: Libraries, Twitter & Succeeding on Social

Your occasional and opinion-laden round-up of interesting links, marketing & publishing news, fun stories and, you know, stuff

People are using libraries less/more

Pew Research on how Americans use libraries:

Americans remain steady in their beliefs that libraries are important to their community, their family and themselves. Two-thirds (65%) of all of those 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community... [but] traditional activities such as checking out a book or getting help from a librarian are somewhat on the decline.

The number of people borrowing a print book has declined over the past three years, as has 'asking a librarian for help'. But attending a class, program, lecture or meeting has held steady, checking out ebooks has increased (slightly - not as much as print books has decreased) and 'just sit and read, study, or watch/listen to media' has increased.

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