8th August 2012
This seems a pertinent question given news that sales of e-books for the Kindle have overtaken those of printed books at online retailer Amazon for the first time – thanks in large part to the runaway success of Fifty Shades of Grey.
But what is behind this sudden success? Erotica author E.L. James began by posting her X-rated take on Twilight's tame paranormal romance online three years ago. And already James is known as the bestselling author of all time on Amazon – eclipsing even J.K. Rowling's total Harry Potter sales.
Meanwhile, Justin Bieber also credits online outlets with making him a superstar.
He said, according to this report: "Social media helped launch my career. Without the Internet and without YouTube, I wouldn't have gotten the chance to put my music out there and have people hear it." Justin was discovered online by posting some YouTube videos that got into the hands of his mentor Usher.
Big names and companies that began as unknown minnows understand the importance of brands, and these days, one of the best methods of building these is online, through blogs, social media and the likes of YouTube. Today, you have to innovate; to formulate and market your own reputation.
Thanks to the wonders of social media, nowadays music talent scouts are more likely to find the next big thing on YouTube.
And similar, too, is the world of blogging and self-publishing.
On the success of ebooks, Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Kindle EU, says: "As a result of the success of Kindle, we're selling more books than ever before on behalf of authors and publishers… And thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing, thousands of self-published authors have also been given an outlet to share their work with the millions of Kindle readers worldwide," reports This is Money.
If you've enough talent these days, or an idea you think might catch on, you can take success into your own hands. It's no longer necessarily the desperate scramble to find a publisher, or a record label – give yourself an online presence, build a following, and perhaps, just perhaps, you'll be catalpaulted to fame…
Thousands of Britons are turning to self-publishing in the hope of being discovered. Industry bible The Bookseller estimates that a quarter of the fiction e-books sold in the UK are by such individuals, reports the Daily Mail.
Figures for the second half of 2011 show that 26% of adult fiction sold was self-published, or own editions, where retailers such as Amazon bypass traditional routes and publish work directly.
The practice, which is known as vanity publishing in print, is not a new one. However, before the advent of digital reading it could be an expensive undertaking. But now people are able to sell their work online through retailers such as Amazon and iTunes for far lower costs.
For example, in America, entrepreneur John Locke, 60, has enjoyed impressive sales figures. He was one of the first writers to sell more than one million e-books without a publishing deal or even an agent. Locke has written nine novels including Vegas Moon, Wish List, A Girl Like You and Don't Poke the Bear, and is in talks to turn his work into films.
Again, the key is an innovative approach to success; this is a theme that Mindful Money keeps returning to. The trouble is, the large companies on which the UK economy is based have proved relatively poor at innovation – so it's the start-ups, and those with a savvy online presence, that are the ones to watch.
As we've reported before, we're in a different brand world these days where the equity value placed on a name has largely been replaced by "brand advocacy". This theory of Brand Advocacy focuses on a person who talks favourably about a brand or product, and then passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages about the brand to other people. How better to do this than on popular sites such as YouTube and Twitter?
Future successes will come from a fresh perspective. So watch online for the next big author or artist – and investment opportunity – to take shape.
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