Friday, April 12, 2013
Front-line Fridays: social media news for writers
1. Et tu, Google Alerts? It looks as though Google Reader isn't the only tool about to bite the dust. Rumors have been circulating that Google won't be supporting Google Alerts for much longer, and if you use it (as I do) you've probably noticed that the service isn't what it used to be. If you're in the market for a new tool to replace it, one I've tried recently in Mention. It's too soon to tell if it will be a good substitute and the two systems aren't exactly alike: Google Alerts were better for indexed web pages (naturally) while Mention does better with social media, most notably Twitter.
There are many social media monitoring tools out there, most of them are by subscription. If there's enough interest, I'll post a list of them in the future. For most authors--if you're not JK Rowling or EL James, for instance--the volume of traffic generated about you is such that you're not going to need a service. You can do it yourself, and in the future I'll tell you how.
And if you're still stuck on the fact that Google Reader is going away this summer, here's a list of other RSS readers you might want to try.
2. New Site for Singles (Amazon Singles, That Is): Thin Reads is a new "consumer-facing" site for e-singles. It is the brainchild of Howard Polskin, media guy, most notably on the side of magazines. It carries reviews of e-singles, interviews with authors and a database of short stories and articles on Amazon, iBookstore and BN.com. Here's what Mashable had to say about the site. And here's an article on Joseph Bottum, the most profilic author of e-singles. If you've got stories on any of those three platforms, you might want to contact Thin Reads and get your content listed.
3. Amazon Kindle Tell-All? Jason Merkoski was part of the team that developed and birthed the first Kindle in the mid-2000s and you can imagine he has some interesting stories to tell about. Well, as much as the lawyers at Amazon will let him (I know all about non-disclosure agreements). If you're interested in learning more, you might be interested in his book, Burning the Page, which--fittingly--is only available as an e-book. As this article at Paid Content says, Merkoski can't tell too many stories of what went on at Amazon, whether Bezos was intent from the very start on disrupting the publishing industry, but he has some interesting thoughts on the future of the book and which mega corporation may win out in the end.
4. Has anyone found a way to make money using Google Hangouts? Glamour magazine gives it a try. Maybe your deep-pockets publisher could team up and host a gathering for you.
5. Vine is the top free app in the iTunes app store. New media types love it. Any mojo there for writers? Well, this is how bands and musicians are using it. Maybe you could do something similar--videotape a portion of your next reading, an interview, your book trailer.
6. The Guardian takes a smart look at how the book industry has changed thanks to self-publishing, and where we stand today. From "gone is our confidence that publishers and agents know exactly what everyone wants to (or should) read" to "self-publishing means taking personal responsibility for the management and production of your content", the article is at times a little optimistic but, overall, does a good job capturing how publishing looks at the self-published and how the self-published look at themselves.
You may know that in my other life, the one where I'm not a novelist, I'm an expert in emerging trends and technology for a major think tank. I spend a good deal of time scanning through technology news, particularly about emerging media. On a typical week, I probably see a handful of stories of interest to the novelist, stories about a new or interesting twist to what's going on in publishing and I'll publish them here every Friday as long as I get feedback that it's of interest.