Read the News
All too often we live within our own little isolated world that
consists of those people who are immediately around us, whether they
be friends, family, fans, or business associates. We tend to get
wrapped up in our own little cliche.
The problem is that often they won't tell us anything new about
the world. That's part of the charm of having really close friends.
They are likely to have the same interests as we do, read the same
magazines, and go to many of the same web sites. So we can become
trapped in our own little stagnant, but comfortable, world view.
But there is a great big Universe out there with new
things happening every day. You should know about it. If you content
yourself with your own little island of consciousness, then
eventually you will be over run with 'alien' invaders. New ideas
that you were completely unaware of, and have no means of defending
against, will eventually hit you in the head like a brick.
The impact of reading the news will be felt in your day to day
operations. It could be the difference between learning what's
going to happen in three months (and being able to plan for it)
or finding out what just happened.
What are the benefits of reading the news?
The news can fall into three major categories- Things that don't
effect you, things that will damage your business, and things that
your business will profit by...
- Things that damage your business:
There are very few
things that you read about in the news that will actually damage
your business. It's a glass half empty kind of thing. Look at what
happened to TSR and the Role-playing industry in 1979. They
received extensive, unfounded, bad press about the disappearance
and possible murder of James Dallas Egbert III - and yet
their business and the industry took off in spite of it. In fact
the 'bad press' may have even helped make the role-playing games
as popular as they are today.
- Things that don't effect your business:
amazed how the price of tea in China can effect you and your
everyday life. For example, a few years ago I had gone to a friend
who builds computers to get a price on a new one. He quoted me a
sum that was well above his usual rock bottom prices. Why? I
asked. His answer was 'because of the earthquakes in
The Earthquakes in Taiwan that I vaguely
remembered hearing about a few weeks before?
Taiwan - the same Taiwan that makes many of the computer
components that are used in the United States.
Then it all
made sense to me and I'd like to call it a great epiphany,
but it really wasn't. It's really just a handy anecdote to
illustrate the fact that very few things don't have an
effect on you, your life, or your business.
- Things that your business can profit by:
with a sharp wit and keen mind can profit by almost anything. You
can profit by some one else's misfortune or their boon. You may
even be able to 'predict' the future with a fair amount of
For instance, by reading the news for the past
year or so, I feel free to predict that both publishing and
fantasy are poised to go through a major rebirth in much the same
way that science fiction on television did in the early 1990's
after the premiere of StarTrek: The Next Generation.
the 'Dungeons and Dragons' movie wasn't the success that
I'd hope it would be, but The Lord of the Rings movie looks
phenomenal (if you haven't heard about this then you really
do need the read the news).
And then there's
Harry Potter, who is cultivating the reading skills of
children. However you feel about Harry Potter, you have to admit
that he's getting children to read - which is what a lot of
speculative fiction publishers really need right now. Not only
that, but these children are going to be prime consumers of
reading materials as well as other speculative fiction toys,
games, and entertainment as they hit their teens.
If we can
agree that the current popularity of both reading and fantasy will
continue, then we can see that the return of a Golden Age of
'pulp' magazines is just a matter of time. I personally know
of several companies and magazines who are on the verge of being
some very hot properties, although they don't even know it yet.
They scoff at the 'childish' world of Harry Potter and don't
really understand that it's going to mean business to them in the
very near future.
Other things that your business can
profit by are individual news items and announcements. You can be
guaranteed that if your competitors have released the next great
product, or are having massive layoffs, then that information will
be in the news somewhere. Did Hasbro make a profit in the last
quarter? Are Pokemon sales falling off? What does that mean to
you? This is news that you can use.
The bottom line here is that any bit of information can be taken
advantage of, but you can't take advantage of information that
you are completely unaware of. If you find out that something is
happening in your particular neck of the speculative fiction
industry, then you can be sure that there is some way for you to
There are various high quality news sources online that you can
take advantage of, but as long as you're here, why not take a look
at the GreenTentacles news log?
We've already scoped out articles that may be of interest to
speculative fiction businesses. We figured that as long as we're
reading the news anyway, then we may as well forward along articles
of interest for your use.
GreenTentacles 'News Log'