Hello from ThrillerFest 2013 in New York City! As I put this post together, the conference is in full swing. As a matter of fact, I've been here all week and so I haven't been able to stay up on the news as closely as usual--but there's still news you won't want to miss, such as Facebook making their powerful Graph Search available to all and what it means to you; a great survey on what makes readers put down a book; and, just as the universe has unexplainable dark matter, 'dark social' and 'dark Google' are coming to the world wide web.
What makes a reader put down a book? Goodreads recently ran a poll and you can see the full infographic here. Below are a few excerpts to whet your appetite.
Facebook's Graph Search to be available to all users: Facebook announced this week that it's rolling out its Graph Search, which has been available to beta testers up till now, in tranches. Graph Search is designed to make it easier to find precise segments among your friends, the people who are within your social network. For example, you'll be able to ask Facebook to show you all of your friends who live in Des Moines should your book tour be taking you through that city, or everyone who's identified themselves as a doctor or nurse should your next book be a medical thriller. Says Techcrunch, the endgoal for Facebook is monetization: "Graph Search is an important tool for Facebook as it prepares to sell demand-fulfillment ads, but the company has taken a conservative approach to monetization and is yet to announce Graph Search’s mobile rollout (it is currently available only on the Web site)." Which means that eventually, for paid advertising, this powerful function should extent beyond your friends' network to the entire Facebook site.
Trying to understand your website traffic but things aren't adding up? Everyone should read this article from Digital Trends on why it's getting harder to make sense of your website analytics. To explain: if your have a website, you should definitely run analytics on the site to understand where your traffic comes from, how much time visitors spend there and the like. You can use this information to guide what you do in the future. However, as the social web becomes ever more layered and complex and voluminous, it's getting harder and harder to track down all those sources of traffic. For most of us, 'dark Google' and 'dark social' won't be that much of a problem: the volume of traffic we see isn't big enough, there are going to be options for activity that won't run afoul of the percentage of 'unknown' traffic. However, even if you're not running Vanity Fair's website, you still want to be aware of this growing trend in internet traffic.
STILL looking for a new RSS reader? Maybe Feed.ly isn't working for you. Maybe you're still in denial over the death of Google Reader (you aren't be alone). This article from All Things D gives you two new products to try: Newsle, and Nuzzel (in beta).
First there was Spotify: Readers can create soundtracks to provide background ambiance while they're reading your book with Booktrack Bookshelf. Like Spotify, perhaps you can build a recommended soundtrack as a way to engage your audience? I understand this is still popular with the YA crowd. Make no mistake, these apps are designed to sell music, not books, but can be another way to enhance the reading experience if you know you've got music lovers in your audience or if it's particularly appropriate to your book (set in blue grass country or the Jazz Age, for instance).