Friday, April 26, 2013

Front-line Fridays: social media news writers can use

Welcome to another Friday link wrap up. First of all, thanks to everyone who's written to let me know that they find the posts useful. It helps me gauge what kind of news items to focus on. Also, please feel free to forward to your friends, or link to it, or whatever. Just please give this blog a little shout-out if you do.

I thought you might be interested to know that in the few weeks since I started this, it's been picked up to be a monthly feature both for Horror Writers Association's newsletter and the Washington Romance Writer's website. International Thriller Writers is letting me post links on their Facebook page, too. Thanks to CJ Lyons and Bob Mayer for getting the word out to their audiences, too. It's nice to know that the posts are filling a niche for people.

Now let's get on to the news . . .

1. Facebook still making an unholy mess of things: Ever since it went public, Facebook--under tremendous stress to turn a profit--has been rejiggering their algorithms so that business pages are pretty much forced to buy advertising in order for any of their followers to see their posts. Not a good move, especially at a time when major segments of your users are leaving your platform in droves. This New York Times article says that Facebook is going to start using outside data sources to improve its ability to target the right people to show your ads to, though the author seems doubtful that this latest move is going to make much difference. And Mike Allton at Social Media Today talks about Facebook's recent changes to the admin panel of your business page, why FB did it, and why they shouldn't have bothered.

2. First it was fake reviews, now fake Twitter followers: Tempted to beef up your Twitter numbers by buying fake followers? Read this interesting article written by a Slate reporter who bought 27,000 followers for $202.

3. New UK site for articles and short stories: Tim Waterstone, found of the UK's Waterstones bookstore chain, is involved in ReadPetite, a new subscription site for short fiction and journalism. The site was announced at the London Book Fair and will go public in the fall. Founder literary agent Peter Cox told The Bookseller, "We are genuinely trying to expand the reading market, and bring publishers together under our aegis to do something new." PaidContent likens ReadPetite to US e-singles sites Byliner and the Atavist, not to mention ThinReads, which we noted in the blog two weeks ago.

Speaking of short form prose, the New York Times ran this article on David Blum, the power (and we do mean power) behind Kindle Singles.

4. They don't call it shameless self-promotion for nothing: Social Media Today tells you how a normal mortal can market like a Kardashian.

5. Does your book have a graphic angle to it--a picture book, cookbook, anything that lends itself to imagery? Then you might be interested in TintUp, a new tool that helps you turn your website in a "social hub", corralling your tweets, pins, Tumblr posts and the like in one place in a visually interesting way.

6. Handsome is as handsome does: I love clean, simple design but unfortunately, I'm saddled with an email service (I inherited it from my website designer) with templates stuck in the 1990s. If you love clean modern design, don't make my mistake: go check out Sendicate, a new email service. I didn't kick the tires since--see above--I'm handcuffed to my current service provider, but I did check out their rates and they seem comparable to most other email services.

7. More potential Amazon hijinks: You may have seen that Amazon recently screened "pilots" of potential online shows they'd make available exclusively to Amazon Prime users. It's an interesting concept, and it made me wonder if something like this might be in the offing for Amazon's books publishing arm. Throw out the first chapters of various books you're thinking of publishing and see which ones have a potential audience. Except that there's probably no need to, as books are so cheap to produce (as opposed to television serials). 

8. Having trouble coming up with names for your characters? Maybe these 10 baby-naming apps can help.

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.


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