Friday, April 19, 2013

Front-line Fridays: social media news for writers

Lots of news this week. I'm trying to keep it down to a manageable number of articles--if there are too many articles, it becomes overwhelming, don't you think? The alternative is that I could go to posting twice a week . . . Don't worry about missing anything, though, I'll let you know if that happens. You CAN always subscribe to the blog by email using the form to the right . . . Just a friendly suggestion, if you don't want to miss any new posts.

1. Don't focus just on the day your book publishes, says Clay Shirky in this post. It takes more than one day for a book to find its audience but traditional book publishing still focuses on the day a book goes on sale, he says. Read his post to learn why you shouldn't.

2. A picture tells a thousand words: Instagram is another mega-hot app, especially with the young crowd. Here's an article on how the most-followed brands on Instagram use the site to market themselves. If your book lends itself to visuals or your target demographic is young, you might want to think about upping your presence on Instagram.

Of course, these days when you think pictures you also think of Pinterest, the social pinboard for people who like to collect images. Here are some articles to get you thinking of how a presence on Pinterest might help your book sales: This article from Fast Company talks about what Pinterest's recent redesign means for companies and provides some visual stimulation, too (see how entities as diverse as the US Army, Sony, and Penguin Books use Pinterest.) This article from Read Write Web compares Facebook's engagement stats to Pinterest's and finds Facebook's lacking (no surprise). 

3. If the founders of Twitter founded this, it can't be all bad, can it? I still haven't quite figured out what Medium's niche is, but it doesn't matter: people didn't get Twitter either when it first came out but only an idiot would second-guess Ev Williams and Biz Stone. At first glance it looks like a Tumblr for text (as opposed to visuals) but it purports to be a new kind of publishing platform that especially lends itself to working collaboratively. That wasn't exactly what I saw when I poked around but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.

4. Building Your Mailing List: A few months back I wrote a post or two on why it's important to have and build a mailing list--yep, why good ole email was still king in a world of social platforms. This article will give you some ideas of how to use Facebook to build your mailing list.

5. Novel-Game Nexus: Random House UK tries a new kind of online game experience, The Black Crown Project, for a new novel, where you play to unlock clues, excerpts and other things. Yes, it's been done before, but if you're into gamifying your next book, you might pick up an idea or two here.

6. Market or Die: Okay, strictly speaking this isn't social media but I think you'll benefit from the mention. I met Jennifer Fusco in 2012 at a RWA event. She's a writer who is also a marketing professional, different from many marketing folks I've met in that she's a no-nonsense kind of gal. She gave one of the best, direct talks about this crucial aspect of the business that I'd seen. She recently launched a marketing business specifically for writers, Market or Die, that you should check out. She will help you do the hard stuff up front that will make your promotional efforts coherent and her prices are, frankly, crazy low.

7. Mini-videos for promotion: Remember the link last week on how bands are using Amazon Vine to promote themselves? Looks like some authors are already using Vine in the same way. (Via Galley Cat)

8. Make your own magazine: Galley Cat talks about using Flipboard to make your own magazine in much the same ways some people use to scrape content off the web to come up with your own newspaper--daily, weekly, whatever. This gives you a product you can push out to your followers. Does it work? I find most people don't edit their products so they end up being a gibberish dump of links, many of which aren't particularly compelling for the target audience. Prioritizing the stories is very important--if you let them go up willy-nilly, it looks like you don't know enough about your subject to be a good curator. And that should be why followers want to read your newspaper or magazine, because they trust your judgment as the gatekeeper; they're letting you do the hunting and gathering for them. If you mess this up, they stop reading.

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.


  1. Great leads to check out -- thank you!

  2. I'm posting the link to your blog on Facebook. Any writer with a recent or upcoming publication should be reading you.

  3. Great resource! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for this information Alma :)