A Novella Emerges Tweet by Tweet/NYT


We writers have heard for years that cinema has co-opted books. We’ve been taught to write in a manner that mimics cameras shots, i.e., to cinematize literature. Now a new twist appears (see link below) with Steven Soderbergh retiring from cinema and posting chapters from a novella on Twitter.

Hmmm. If this catches on, it might be a new angle for struggling writers. Now back to making an audio version of my latest, Sam’s Place – Stories.


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The Internet and IRL

image via brandbuildsell.com


Writers who have had the good fortune to have something published a few times a year invariably look to the Internet for its marketing possibilities. There are several avenues open on the Net for self-promotion, and my experience tells me this:

Facebook/Twitter – with almost a billion active users, you can easily get lost in that billion. Facebook ads? I've found that they draw "Likes" to your advertised writing projects but few readers/buyers.

Websites – same story, more or less. With some half a billion websites out there, you may get lost in the shuffle. The trick here is to link to other websites, blogs, etc. This increases your chances of being noticed in the ever-growing crowd.

Blogs – Ditto. Roughly the same number. Personal blogs will probably grow unnoticed, even with your well-written literary derring-do. Opt to blog in a ready-made community of readers/writers. Again this increases your chances of being noticed.

Whatever your mode, the thing to remember is that in order to attract readers/viewers, don't just talk about your product – let the "Net lurkers" get to know you – your interests, likes and dislikes.

Net surfers these days do so on mobile divices – while at stop lights, on the bus or train, sneaking peeks in class or at work, so get to the point quickly in your posts, and post often. The more posts, the better the odds of developing a noticed "brand."

To me, though, what this means is getting back to IRL (In Real Life). That is, make person-to person contacts: set up readings, talk to book groups, indie bookstores, libraries, shop owners who might carry your books, etc., on consignment. Always leave business cards. Get people's e-mail addresses. Once you have an IRL fan base, the Internet can help you stay connected and – possibly – grow your audience. 

Making Hay of Social Media

As a group, we writers seem resistant to go digital/electronic. I admit, there's nothing like thumbing through a just-published book with one's name on it. Still, the digital world is ever more a reality these days. bookhitch posted this on making use of social media. I'm just sayin'….

     Tweet Your Way to the Top

Of all the benefits technology provides, one strong advantage is the ease in marketing your own products. For authors, this means gaining higher notoriety at a lower price. Social networking, in particular, is proving to  revolutionize the business world, and is an effective path for promoting a book title and gaining a following. 


With the economy pinching our pockets, writers who seek to market their stories are finding it easier (and cost efficient) to network with other authors and publishers via social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook. The burden of calling publishers and hoping to engage in conversation with an editor is eliminated, as authors turn instead to "following" publishing companies on these websites, learning vital information about promoting their works. Doing so allows prospective authors to learn more about the company, and potentially shape their works around the demands of the public.


Not only are social media tools a simple way to connect, but also a way to engage in conversations with potential buyers. Such interactions allow the public to gain a better understanding about the author.  Interactions will help the readers further understand the authors intended message in their literary works.


Building a following on various social media websites may appear to be a daunting task; however, the steps are quite simple if diligent time management and patience are given. In his article, An Author's Plan for Social Media Efforts, author/blogger Chris Brogan shares the steps that are necessary to gain a following and have a presence in the social media world. 

Reprinted with Permission
  1. Set up a URL for the book, and/or maybe one for your name. Need help finding a URL? I use Ajaxwhois.com for simple effort in searching.
  2. Set up a blog. If you want it free and super fast,  WordPress or Tumblr.  
  3. On the blog, write about interesting things that pertain to the book, but don't just promote the book over and over again. In fact, blow people away by promoting their blogs and their books, if they're related a bit. 
  4. Start an email newsletter. It's amazing how much MORE responsive email lists are than any other online medium.
  5. Have a blog post that's a list of all the places one might buy your book.  
  6. Make any really important links trackable with a URL shortener. I know exactly how many people click my links.
  7. Start listening for your name, your book's name.  
  8. Consider recording a video trailer for your book. Here's one from Scott Sigler(YouTube).    
  9. Build a Facebook fan page for the book or for bonus points, build one around the topic the book covers, and only lightly promote the book via the page.
  10. Join Twitter under your name, not your book's name, and use Twitter Search to find people who talk about the subjects your book covers.
  11. When people talk about your book, good or bad, thank them with a reply. Connect to people frequently. It's amazing how many authors I rave about on Twitter and how few actually respond. Mind you, the BIGGEST authors always respond (paradox?)
  12. Use Google Blogsearch and Alltop to find the people who'd likely write about the subject matter your book covers. Get commenting on their blog posts but NOT mentioning your book. Get to know them. Leave USEFUL comments, with no blatant URL back to your book.
  13. Work with your publisher for a blogger outreach project. See if you can do a giveaway project with a few bloggers. 
  14. Offer to write guest posts on blogs that make sense as places where potential buyers might be. Do everything you can to make the post match the content of the person's site and not your goals. But do link to your book.
  15. Ask around for radio or TV contacts via the social web and LinkedIn. You never know.
  16. Come up with interesting reasons to get people to buy bulk orders. If you're a speaker, waive your fee (or part of it) in exchange for sales of hundreds of books. (And spread those purchases around to more than one bookselling company.) In those giveaways, do something to promote links back to your site and/or your post. Giveaways are one time: Google Juice is much longer lasting.
  17. Whenever someone writes a review on their blog, thank them with a comment, and maybe one tweet, but don't drown them in tweets pointing people to the review. It just never comes off as useful.
  18. Ask gently for Amazon and other distribution site reviews. They certainly do help the buying process. And don't ask often.
  19. Do everything you can to be gracious and thankful to your readers. Your audience is so much more important than you in this equation, as there are more of them than there are of you.
  20. Start showing up at face to face events, where it makes sense, including tweetups. If there's not a local tweetup, start one.
  21. And with all things, treat people like you'd want them to treat your parents (provided you had a great relationship with at least one of them).   

The number one rule of thumb for writers is to believe in your work. It is nearly impossible to sell a book to publishers if the writer is humble about their story. Remember, writing is an art and is something that authors should have pride in. Author and business woman Joanne Tombrakos stated (via Jane Friedman) that she has encountered an abundance of authors who "belittle the value of their book," a common mistake that lands their book in the reject bin. Writer should take action in their business selling techniques, and remain passionate about fulfilling their end goal.  




Talking The New Business Model

No Bullshit Social Media – The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing,

By Jason Falls and Erik Deckers


image via socialmediaexplorer.com

Everyone grappling for a toehold in the puzzling, evolving business world of today has at some point to have wondered at the stampede to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. What the authors of this book put forth in no uncertain terms is that social media is now a necessary tool for all businesses.

What does social media change in the accepted business model? The role of consumers. Social media – whether or not businesses embrace it – will affect any business’ products, services, and the well-being on the corporate entity itself. The authors cite case after case in which social media has affected organizations as diverse as Greenpeace, Papa John’s Pizza, and Verizon. The new business model driven by social media, the authors contend, is bottom-up, not top-down. Since customers are already talking about your product and service, you may as well listen – and respond constructively.

The authors caution that using social media isn’t something to immediately enhance your return on investment (ROI); instead, it’s all about an opportunity to get to know your public, to build trust through community. This may sound New Agey, but my own limited experience screams that this is the way commerce – and social media – work in the 21st century.

This doesn’t mean, however, that business should work on feelings and vibes. There are ways of measuring your impact on the marketplace through social media, and the authors offer a few new, more exact tricks for business metrics.


image via mattters.com 

This rather crusty-toned book does have a drawback or two: one is that social media – and the world of commerce it affects – are still evolving. Hence a lot of what the authors put forth will no doubt change as some approaches work and others don’t. My other reservation is that the book tends to swoon into social media’s effects on major organizations, rather than on smaller, entrepreneurial businesses, such as that of writers like me. I suppose, though, that the larger organizations are where the resistance is. But all in all, the authors do a damned good job of presenting social media in pragmatic, useable ways.


My rating: 17 of 20 stars


A Word About The Blue Bike

In the new media world, it's hardly enough to advertise your written works in print. Social media is other there for fun, but it's increasingly being used for business – and for those of us dabbling in the arts, it can be used to let you know about those works, and even some tidbits you won't glean from the works themselves.


Thank goodness for Apple and its OS! It's allowed me to make a video about some of these peripheral aspects of my novella, The Blue Bicycle, and to serve it up on the various social media out there. 

It's currently on Facebook if you're curious; I posted a link on Twitter as well, and both will refer you to YouTube. Marketing is a repetitive affair, so more showings and more videos may follow. Be forewarned!


Election 2010: How social media swung the vote | Media | The Guardian

The social media we all seem glued to in the U.S. is now a talked-about factor in GB, particularly regarding elections. Is this a positive thing? Or an empty vessel?

This article from GB following its recent election contains some thoughts on the subject.


On Friday, will we be declaring that it was Facebook wot won it? Or Twitter that tipped it? Though the idea seems outlandish – such sentences would have been meaningless during the 2005 election, as Facebook was still restricted then to US university students, and Twitter didn't start until March 2006 – this will very probably be looked back on as the first "social media election".

via www.guardian.co.uk