Category Archives: Book Promotion

Some links about book marketing, subscription services, and email/social media etiquette

Book Marketing

This is the Future of Book Marketing

“The Twitter feed isn’t a direct continuation of the novel, necessarily. It’s just a collection of [Loud]’s thoughts as he completes different missions and assignments,” he says. “The first book is an origin story. But now, before the next book comes out, his tweets will let him — and his new role, as you’ll see from the book — stay fresh in readers’ minds.”

Subscription services

Scribd CEO Aims for $1 Billion in Revenue from EBook Subscriptions

Scribd, the digital distribution, document storage and book discovery platform, has announced the launch of its eBook subscription service, which will give users access to an unlimited amount of books for $8.99, including a free one month trial.

Kickstarter No-Go

The Failures of Crowdfunding; No, Kickstarter Cannot Support an Opera Company

Well, you don’t know unless you try, right? (And who knows, now that they’re getting this kind of media exposure, maybe more people will throw money their way at Kickstarter.)(Update: oops! If you go to the Kickstarter page now, a notice reads “Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator 1 day ago.”)

Social Media Etiquette

Basic Social Media Hygiene

Or, a Brand You primer.

57 Ways To Sign Off On An Email
(thanks @markhurst)

According to this article, my sign-offs are all wrong. (Using “Thanks” as a sign-off is a no-no and “Yours” is completely outdated. Back to school for me.)

(On another front, isn’t Forbes use of all initial caps in headlines annoying?)

Some links about media piracy, online learning, + marketing

Piracy

Content creators use Piracy to Gauge Consumer Interest

Earlier this year Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, said on an earnings call that pirated content can be “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing.” While talking about HBO’s Game of Thrones, Mr. Bewkes said the discovery that the show was the most pirated TV brand of 2012 could be “better than an Emmy.”

Online (and offline) learning

A Surge in Growth for a New Kind of Online Course

While there are some significant differences among the major MOOC Web sites, they share several main elements. Courses are available to anyone with access to the Internet. They are free, and students receive a certificate of completion at the end. With rare exceptions, you cannot earn college credit for taking one of these courses, at least for now.

In somewhat of a reaction to the proliferation of online learning sites, Seth Godin and his team have put together a project called Krypton Community College. This form of education requires people get together in person with someone leading a group. It seems that a tremendously low percentage of people actually finish any of these online courses. Seth thinks that by people getting together with other people, they’ll actually get through the course material. And the courses are only four weeks long. Interesting concept.

Boomers, Marketing to Them

Racking focus: Indies Have Found an Unsaturated New Niche

We are seeing an increasing demand in the movie-consumer market for intelligent films geared specifically toward middle-aged and older adults. This is for two reasons. One is the fact that Hollywood studios are increasingly skewing younger with their offerings, and comic book tentpoles don’t exactly provide for the kind of thoughtful stimulation your parents or grandparents particularly care for.

(This will come as no surprise to people like Tom Peters and Marti Barletta and many others who have been preaching “marketing to boomers” for years. This market has existed for a long time; it has just taken Hollywood too long to figure it out. Also, it’s not a niche. Not by a longshot. How many boomers in this country? And the latest survey about the arts? Cinema viewing up in all age groups and demographics.)

Marketing (podcasting)

3 Ways to Get Started with Business Podcasting

How I created my first podcast

Social media, for yourself

Majority of online Americans ‘Google themselves’
(from @DavePell, NextDraft.com)

The surprise here is that the percentage of people who do Google themselves has not changed much between 2009 (57%) and 2013 (56%). (Just be reassured that you’re not alone when searching your own name online.)

Links about books, publishing, self-publishing, marketing, video, & photography

High Brow

Excavated Site in Denmark May Be The Royal Hall From ‘Beowulf’
Reminds that it may be time to re-read Beowulf. Last time I did that I was a freshman in college. Also happen to have a copy of the verse translation by Seamus Heaney (R.I.P.) sitting here on my bookshelf. (Though one of the commenters at Amazon thinks that the translation by Frederick Rebsamen is superior to Heaney’s.)

Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing An E-Book? Here Are 4 Ways To Leave Amazon’s 30% Tax Behind

Self-Publishing A Legal Casebook: An Ebook Success Story

(As evidenced by the two different versions of e-book/ebook above, Forbes copy editors may want to look into standardizing the spelling of that pesky word.)

Still banning books?

North Carolina school board bans “Invisible Man”
(from @DavePell’s NextDraft newsletter 9/20/13)

Still reminding us that books are banned

Did you know it is banned books week?

How banned books week is being observed in my neck of the woods:

Read-Out for Banned Books Week

Video

Video provides payday for publishers
(thanks to @jwikert for the link)

Proof of what Joe describes is happening at the New York Times, where one of the video features is called Op-Docs. One of the recent videos there is:

56 Ways of Saying I Don’t Remember

Louie C.K. on Conan about cell phones
There’s actually a great line in here about letting yourself getting completely sad, embracing it, crying, in order to produce the “happiness antibodies” that will make you completely happy. But screwing around with the phone rather than just sitting there “being human” gets in the way of complete sadness, therefore getting in the way of complete happiness. Brilliant in a way.
(thanks to @DavePell’s NextDraft)

Photography

This Guy Turns OCD Hoarding into Amazing Photos
(thanks @Dooce)

Marketing

New Album “Sparks” Announced
Another musician doing some interesting stuff on the marketing front.
@imogenheap

Miscellaneous

Spam comment at this blog:
Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.

Links about books, publishing, marketing, photography, and Brookline, MA

First Jonathan Franzen published an article about Karl Kraus, “an Austrian satirist and a central figure in fin-de-siecle Vienna’s famously rich life of the mind” that veered into an attack on our current lives, technology, Twitter users, and Amazon.com, among other things. Jonathan Franzen: what’s wrong with the modern world

Then Jennifer Weiner, called out as one of those “yakkers and braggers,” responded with: What Jonathan Franzen Misunderstands About Me

And then Porter Anderson weighed in with this summation and compilation of many of the different voices that joined the discussion. Writing on the Ether: What’s Wrong With Franzen

While on the subject of books, this from Publishing Perspectives. Leah Price, professor of English at Harvard University, answers the question, “what is  a book?” What Exactly is a Book, Anyway?
Quote: “This is one reason that UNESCO defined ‘book’ in 1964 as ‘a non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages, …made available to the public’… [I guess meaning that a 48-page document cannot be a book.]

But maybe books are just too long:

The big short—why Amazon’s Kindle Singles are the future

But then again, Tom Junod writes an article for Esquire titled: “The Dominance of Looooooong In the Age of Short.” (While theoretically about long-form written pieces, this article seems to be speaking more to our TV- and movie-watching habits.) [Thanks to Dave Pell’s NextDraft newsletter]

And speaking of new ways to tell a story, the New York Times publishes an illustrated article: Tomato Can Blues

Making it easier than ever to grab Tweet-able text from articles. Quote me: How digital publishing is getting straight to the source

Two words to guide you in your Tweeting:
A Super Simple 2-Word Social Media Strategy: Be Useful  [from Inc.com]
[thanks @jimstorer]

And if you should find yourself speechless, head over here: Fill the Silence

Ah, Brookline:
The turkey tenace temporarily at bay, Brookline mobilizes to fight creeping Allstonization

Though my photo here is at odds with the headline above:

Wild turkeys, Brookline, MA

Ah, Brookline (II):
Man Arrested for Using Leaf Blower in Brookline

(Since it’s after September 15, I’m guessing these guys were leaf blowing before 9 a.m. on Yom Kippur. That’s a no-no.)

Lastly, a link to the New York Times photo blog, a series of hometown photos taken by teenagers.

Links about books and marketing and publishing

Some random links about books and business of books and marketing of books. (And don’t forget it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day.)

Hugh Howey comes to Boston. Hugh Howey is a sci-fi writer who is massively popular. I’m not quite sure why. Clearly people like his stories. And he’s one of those self-publishing success stories. His writing style leaves something to be desired. Too many words. Even one of the commenters at Amazon says that Howey’s descriptions of things often go on too long and that reader has gotten in the habit of skipping over those parts. Hmmm. Whatever happened to editors?

Win a Literary Tour trip to NYC, courtesy of Kirkus Reviews. Just for fun. And who knows, you might win a trip to NYC. Even if you win, they don’t have the rights to your image or name to infinity and beyond, which seems to be the case with many of these prize giveaways.

Five Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform
From Jane Friedman’s excellent writing/publishing website/blog, a guest post by Lisa Hall-Wilson.

On a slightly related front: The Very First Step to Building a Business Around a Lifestyle Hobby (This guy says Facebook first, then a blog.)

My 11 Questions about Publishing E-books on Amazon’s Kindle

How to Host a Virtual Book Tour

Is bad book publicity better than no publicity at all? [Though the article really is about plagiarism…] I include this because the writer mentions Eugene Tobin, president of Hamilton College, who resigned over a convocation speech that contained some plagiarized sections. I graduated from Hamilton College.

Self-Published Title from Jim Carrey Very Telling about the State of Publishing
Jim Carrey has written a children’s book and the author of this article thinks it’s interesting that the self-published aspect is not the story. I think it’s odd that the book has a web page where pages are still under construction.

National Book Awards Long List for Non-Fiction

Collaborate with a Loved One Without Ruining Your Relationship Because I know Tom and David Kelley, who are mentioned, and because I know someone who might be writing a book about staying married while running a business together.

Two books about cities, New York and San Francisco, authored by men who did a lot of discovery by walking. I like the idea of long walks in cities. It is the best way to find things you don’t know about. I haven’t read either one of these books, but they both sound good.

A Walker in the City (An article in the New Yorker)

The New York Nobody Knows

The New York Nobody Knows (book cover)

San Francisco Treats (A book review from the New York Times)

Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco

CoolGrayCityofLove-cover

Some more thoughts on the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference

A continuation of people and things discovered at the O’Reilly TOC conference in NYC, February 13-15, 2012.

Valla Vakili, CEO of Small Demons  @smalldemons

The title of Valla’s talk was “Exaggerations and Perversions,” a phrase he borrowed from William James‘ book, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. James writes, “…it always leads to a better understanding of a thing’s significance to consider its exaggerations and perversions its equivalents and substitutes and nearest relatives elsewhere.”

Valla and his team have created what they call the “Storyverse,” where they bring all the details of fictional worlds to the real world. People, places, things. As they say at their site:

A place where details touch, overlap and lead you further. To new music to listen to. New movies to watch. Places to visit. People to know. And of course, new books to read. Getting started is simple. Just choose a book. See where it takes you.

This all seems very interesting. What does that character eat, drink. Where does she go? What other characters in other books end up in those same places? This can lead to an endless number of connections between an endless number of fictional characters. Readers have a passion, an obsession, for characters. I think of my own experience of reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises in college and always wanting to open a bottle of wine and drink along with the characters. The worry is that collecting all this information about these characters and connecting them to shopping opportunities will lead to a world where writers write with product placement in mind. Of course that’s already occurred a couple of times. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime go obsess in that fictional world.

Good blog, too.

Eric Ries: entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup. @ericries

His mantra: Build. Measure. Learn. His blog: StartupLessonsLearned

His provocative statement: if he were running a big publishing house he’d put together a group of 5-10 people whose sole job was to find manuscripts in the slush pile and turn them into bestsellers. Methodically. He doesn’t believe bestsellers happen by accident. Build. Measure. Learn. Test content with friends and their friends. Test different covers online. (He photoshopped different colored book covers into bookstore display shelves and asked people to tell him which one “popped” for them. [the blue one]) Test, test, test.

He took “pre-orders” for his book even before he had written the book. Charged people $30 even though he didn’t know what the publisher would charge. But put together 10,000 pre-orders before book was published. Kind of thing that gives everyone in the process a warm fuzzy feeling.

Len Vlahos (Book Industry Study Group) and Kelly Gallagher (RR Bowker) spoke on “Consumer Attitudes Toward Ebook Reading.” (And I was glad they used “toward” and not “towards.”)

Lots of stats:

E-book take-up flattened in 2011. Fiction is where the action is with e-books. When will other genres catch up? What does role of technology play in adoption.

And then this: heard from presenters more than once at this conference: “We tend to forget the reader.” (And people wonder why publishers are so terrified? Don’t forget your customers! Any first-day business-school student will tell you that.)

E-book buyer was originally male oriented but it is women with higher educations, higher income, homes. Perhaps women were waiting for the technology to shake out and settle down. Or is it just that women really are the readers and maybe it looked like men were readers because they were first to adopt the e-readers, but perhaps they were more interested in the technology than what you could read with it?

Fourteen percent of folks with an e-reader still haven’t purchased an e-book. What prevents people from buying e-books?

  1. More comfortable with print.
  2. Difficult to share with others.
  3. Inability to resell books.

Power buyers are social people. Power buyers need ability to share what they’re reading. While they buy 25 percent of physical books, they drive 50 percent of sales and value in the marketplace.

It seems that after two years of owning an e-reader, people to tend buy fewer books. In fact, there’s a slight increase in the number of physical books bought at the time. Technology backlash?

Erin McKean, CEO of Wordnik.com   @emckean

Everything is context. Wordnik is a large large dictionary. It connects words to other words. Words don’t have meaning without context.

She says your content is your core. Getting people to the core of who you are is the new holy grail. How to discover books without browsing. How do you get books into venues where people aren’t necessarily looking for books? People are reading blogs. Sweet spot for context/content delivery. But reaching out to bloggers is labor intensive. What if you could make an API for your content? And then people could connect your content to communities you might not even know about.

Bob Young, CEO of Lulu.com, @caretakerbob

Spoke about starting a business and how hard it has become since all the colleges now have entrepreneurial programs. Asking for a show of hands, turns out about half the people in the audience are either currently working for a startup or want to start a new business.

But it turns out that most of the people in the audience also say they were A students in college, and Bob says the chances of them succeeding in an innovative business are slim. It’s the C students who start and succeed in business. If you’re an A student, you’ve by definition bought into the system, the current education system, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Tom Peters once had a slide about this very topic. So Bob says, “please don’t start a business.” Well, he doesn’t want any more competition. More on that…

But then he goes on to say that if you are going to start a business, 1) have fun, and 2) follow your customers. Advice clearly not followed by many since they say “we’ve forgotten about the reader.”

What Bob set out to do at Lulu was to build a platform where authors could sell books directly to their customers. Books that generally have small specialty markets, e.g., cookbooks. Lulu really is fulfilling what Chris Anderson called “the long tail.”

But in an echo of what Erin McKean was talking about, sharing APIs, Lulu at first saw all the other people coming in to the self-publishing realm as competitors, but then realized that since they had been one of the first ones in, they could in fact share their knowledge with all the newcomers. Which is what they do at developer.lulu.com.

Seems the whole world these days is about opening up your API. Sharing, transparency, all that.

Good place to end the conference. Funny guy, Bob Young. No slides, which was nice.

Lulu blog

Complete list of speakers

Some thoughts on the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference

I attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York City, February 13-15. (Is it odd that these folks put together a conference that falls on Valentine’s Day? Or am I just an old sentimentalist?) Someone asked for a show of hands at one point and determined that half the people there are in publishing and scared to death of what this “digital revolution” means; the other half were entrepreneurs or at least entrepreneurially minded and hoping to start some kind of digital publishing or related venture.

Some of the folks and ventures and ideas I ran into there:

Opening keynote by LeVar Burton, he of Kunta Kinte fame from the “Roots” TV miniseries. Lifelong scifi reader. His mother was an English teacher. His main point: the importance of these two words: “What if.” @levarburton

Tim Carmody: editor at Wired and Wired.com. Link to his about page at Google+@tcarmody

Some articles he’s written:

“Ten Reading Revolutions before E-books”

“A Bookfuturist Manifesto”

“E-Books Are Still Waiting for Their Avant-Garde”

One of his points: yes, the publishing industry is in the midst of chaos, but guess what, it has happened before and will happen again. Don’t worry. Tells us that when paper moved from being cloth-based to wood pulp-based, the abundance created was co-equal to the digital abundance now available.

Vocabulary lesson: skeuomorph: old technology reformatted to new technology.

Barbara Genco: manager of special projects at Library Journal. @BarbaraAGenco

Says library “power users” (use library more than 4X/month) buy a lot of books as well. 9,000 libraries in the U.S. (I actually thought this number seemed low. Doesn’t every small town have its own library? How many small towns in the U.S.?) 169 million Americans use a public library.

Convergence! See this article from Boston Globe about libraries hosting their own bookstores.

Matt MacInnis: CEO of Inkling  @stanine

Reinventing books and publishing. To copy content from books to ebooks is folly, he says. The future of publishing is high fidelity content—media rich, interactive content. Check out their website. I think this guy is on to something. Also, under each chair in the auditorium was an envelope with a card inside that included a code for a free copy of one of two Inkling iPad app books: Speakeasy Cocktails or Master Your DSLR Camera.

I got the camera book. It is beautiful and instructive and useful and fun. Can’t wait to learn more about my camera. Thanks, Inkling.

Mark Johnson: CEO of Zite (personalized magazine for iPhone and iPad)   @philosophygeek

He spoke about recommendations, online recommendations. Search is not useful for everything: it doesn’t help us find the interesting stuff. Clay Shirkey said: “Curation comes up when search stops working.” Amazon, Netflix, and Pandora are the three canonical recommendation-engine-driven sites. (Canonical? Really?)

I downloaded Zite on to my iPhone and iPad. It learns what is interesting for you (for me!) from content, from social web, and from your own interactions. So far it seems a good fit and I’ve only loaded links to Delicious and Twitter. I’d recommend Zite as your own personal interest magazine.

To be continued…

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