Thursday, July 25, 2013

Are podcasts dead, make gorgeous quotes, make any self-pubbed book a bestseller, and more

Podcasts! Immortalize your best lines in spiffy graphics! How to make any self-published book into a bestseller (yeah, right)! And more in this week's social media news for writers.

Nice quote graphics: You know what's popular on Pinterest? Quotes. Only who has the time to sit down with some graphics program to pull quotes from your book, or your favorite book, and make nice shiny graphics? Now you don't have to: there are a few tools out there that do it for you, nice and easy and, for the most part, free. And it's not only good for Pinterest: it gives you a graphic, which you can post anywhere. This article has a list of several you may want to try out, but since I like quotes I went ahead and tried most of them, and am happy to give you my feedback:

  • Livluvcreate is a site for fan fiction AND generates these cute quotes. They have an okay assortment of templates, but I couldn't figure out how to download them from the site after I'd made them. If you're a YA or children's author, you might find the site a good way to reach a new audience.
  • Pinstamatic does more than make quotes for you; it offers a range of tools to spice up your Pinterest activity. But the quote tool is perfectly adequate.
  • Recite ended up being my favorite. Dead easy to use and a nice assortment of templates. Type in your words and voila, a masterpiece.

And speaking of Pinterest, if you're wondering if people really want to be sold to on the site, this article from Read Write Web weighs in by talking about when, it thinks, it works and when it doesn't.

Are podcasts dead? Read Write Web says the answer is no, as Apple announced its one billionth podcast subscriber through the iTunes store.  Okay, so what are the best book related podcasts you should listen to? I used to listen to podcasts while on the treadmill, but since I'm in the gym less frequently now, my podcast listening has been drastically reduced. These are the ones I know of, but readers I want to hear from you! Which podcasts do you think writers should listen to? Let us know in the comments section.

  • Books on the Nightstand:  I met Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness several years ago and have been listening ever since. 
  • Bookrageous: Josh, Rebecca and Jenn, two booksellers and a literary gadfly, talk about an interesting mix of books across genres. 
  • Jeff Rutherford's Reading and Writing Podcast: Jeff talks to many well-known commercial fiction writers (and some not so well known, like me). (Check out Jeff's Pinterest board of 50 things podcast!!)
  • Literary New England: Cindy Wolfe Boynton always has the most interesting shows, all with a New England angle.
  • Midtown Review: Dana Barrett is an Atlanta-based broadcaster who talks to authors on the side in her popular podcast. One of the nicest people you'll ever meet, too.

How to make your self-published book a bestseller: We see articles like this one from Brian Hall on Read Write Web and James Altucher in Techcrunch all the time, don't we? It's so easy to have a bestseller, puny mortals; here's how I did it and you can do it too... if you've already had a bestseller and have a huge following, don't mind spending a lot of money on professional marketing (probably more than you'll make selling the actual book), and oh yes, it's non-fiction (and you're doing it to enhance your image as an "expert" in whatever field you're in.) As teeth-grinding as these articles are, however, I always cast an eye over them in case there's one small tidbit that might come in handy, something that this author did that I might be able to use. 

Premature rumors of death and all that: When Amazon purchased Goodreads, some in the book community grumbled that the new parent company would probably kill off GRs, as it already had a reading social network site in Shelfari. Well, don't go measuring for a casket yet as Amazon announced yesterday that GRs has doubled membership to 20 million members, says Venture Beat.

Two tiny Facebook tips: David Pogue, tech guru of the New York Times, made two tiny discoveries on Facebook that he'd like to tell you about.

And if you've decided that Facebook isn't for you, Fast Company lists a few "niche" social networks that might be more to your liking.

Hate the new tabs in Gmail? Me, too. This article from Mashable might give you an idea of how to make them more useful and less, well, sucky.

Graphic novels making a resurgence? Maybe it was just because of Comic-Con San Diego, but this article on how tablets may be the savoir of graphic novels has been making the rounds.

Hey, my novel The Taker is on sale on Kindle for one more week. $2.99. About the same price as a fancy cupcake (here in DC anyway) and much less fattening. And it will last a lot longer.


  1. Thanks for the mention Alma.

    Because I'm kind of a geek, I made a Pinterest board with links to 50+ books related podcasts -

  2. Alma, thanks for this post, practical and filled with information we can all use. Jumping on your site for the first time and definitely planning to join because of this very succinct and practical offering.

  3. For what it's worth, at RWA this year, Jon Fine of Amazon said they had no plans to change anything about GR. They did not want to mess with their success. Such words from others have gone to infamy, of course. My expectation is that GR is too data-rich for AMZ to kill.

    1. Carolyn, thank you for the report from RWA. You're right: there's tons of data there. As an author, I wish they would come up with more ways for authors to connect with readers.

  4. Fabulous summary, Alma -- I love the quote generators! I'm going to have to try that ...