Here are the points that Jason Stoddard raised and that I tried to elaborate on yesterday:
the new paradigm (for success) requires that authors engage directly with their audience through a wide variety of web-based outlets, many of them of the social-networking variety
many authors are naturally inclined against such engagement and/or feel that they lack the time or skills to present themselves in a desireable manner
publishing companies already posess internet departments, marketing departments, sales departments, art departments.
Like authors, publishers need to engage the social networking aspects of the internet
The sticking point is the enabling aspect. The solution is for publishing houses to invest a relatively small amount in beefing up the appropriate in-house resources and creating an implementation plan for (seamlessly) providng all of the internet-networking capabilities for their authors.
The benefits are many, the downsides few. Publishers will find themselves sitting on top of a vast, interconnected and cross-promotional platform of hundreds of web sites, blogs, youtube video channels, flickr photo galleries and friend networks. This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on advertising budgets, brand recognition and sales (not to mention the potential for loosening the hold of distributors), and perhaps even raise the bar on author earnings.
Any author who is currently being published by a large house and who is not fully engaged with the kinds of outlets and networks that Jason described should be agitating with their marketing departments right now. The author’s job will consist of doing a little bit more of things they already do – write, answer emails and make themselves accessible to the fans that they already have.