Morning Cuppa – 06/07/13 – Wiretapping that ass! Big pub will fail! Don’t do this on Twitter!


  • Hey, so remember that police state that the Patriot Act created back in 2001? e94dd54b13360d13340f6a7067000493Yep, it’s still humming along! If you squint hard you can just make out the NSA workers waving through the blacked-out glass of the Utah Data Centere. Some people are, like U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, are sad (look at that frown!) that Americans would be angry that their calls to phone sex lines and aunt Eunice are being collected. Who really enforces the Bill of Rights anymore, anyways?
  • Will big publishers make it in the ebook world? Probably not, and this article lists of reasons why (warning: heavy on the ‘death of publishing’). The points about trad pub being a lumbering behemoth that doesn’t understand the first thing about publishing in a digital age are particularly relevant.

    Remember when Penguin started up Book Country? And we were kinda enthusiastic for a while, because it was something new at least, but it was not very user friendly? And then it started offering mediocre and largely overpriced publishing packages? And then Penguin bought Author Solutions, the company that makes a living by ripping off authors, and integrated their overpriced crap into Book Country?
    Yeah. That’s what I mean, right there.

  • Now for your horror and amusement, I present to you how NOT to use Twitter if you’re an author:badtweetI really hope that this is the fault of his publisher and not something that this guy thought would get him more sales. I’ll give it to him, it got him some coverage… and if you believe that any coverage is good coverage well, mission accomplished.
  • Finally: Oh my god you fucking geeks, will you get your shit together? Why is it that in 2013 people still think it’s okay to sexually harass or belittle people who are in costume at cons?

Morning Cuppa – 04/26/13 – Mood music! #womentoread! Konrath on Patterson!

This has been a great birthday week for Juliette and I (yes, by odd coincidence, we were born three days apart). We’ve been spoiled too much by friends and family and are very grateful for all the birthday wishes. Have a great weekend.

  • One of my passions is gaming. Board games, card games and yes, especially role playing games. One of the guys that I used to game with played the soundtrack to Conan to set the mood all the time. It was cool, but changes between songs seemed disjointed and only sometimes fit the mood of the game. So when I came upon this kickstarter by Plate Mail Games this morning of MP3 background loops it grabbed my attention. Some of the samples that they have up now are the medieval inn, dungeon sounds, pirate ship and more. Do you have a favorite gaming soundtrack?
  • Kari Sperring started the hashtag #womentoread on Twitter a few days ago to raise the profile of women writers because, “It is a fact that books by women are reviewed less frequently than books by men, and that prestigious review locales pay less attention to women than men.” Since then it’s taken off. One of my favorite #womentoread is Robin McKinley who taught me at a very young age that you don’t have to be a man, nor have a man as your protagonist, to write an awesome epic fantasy.
  • It only took a couple of days and there’s already been a rebuttal to James Patterson’s ads that have been running very high profile in publishing magazines and talked about extensively online. The Passive Voice gives a signal boost to Joe Konrath’s response to Patterson. Among his responses:

    “what will happen to our literature?”
    Perhaps writers will write it? Aren’t they the ones who wrote all of those books on that list?
    One of those books mentioned above was Different Seasons by Stephen King. Does anyone think King will quit writing because the publishing world keeps changing and evolving? Is there anything that could get him to stop writing?
    There are thousands of authors self-publishing. I’m sure some of them are writing great, important literature.

Social Networks are crapz! Except not! (sometimes)

The Passive Voice links to a blog post by the Militant Writer that explains why Twitter and Facebook are a total waste of time for book promotion. With very few exceptions I would agree. I can’t stand it when authors auto-post the same promotional tweets over and over. Can you? She says:

The Rowlings, Gaimans, Atwoods and Rushdies may attract attention for what they have to say (which is, please note, not normally related to their books), but nobody gives a damn what the rest of us think, about anything.

As I’ve argued in a previous post, if you’re using social networks for blunt force marketing, you’re doing it wrong. You should engage people through them as a human who writes, not as an author with the overt agenda to make sales. You do that covertly by being an interesting person and staying in people’s minds. That’s my take at least.

I’ll buy your book – a failed Twitter experiment

On Saturday I tried an experiment to see what sort of impact Twitter has in terms of audience reach. I was browsing the shelves at my local Barnes & Noble and feeling indecisive so I tweeted out:

[Okay, I’m standing at the bookstore right now. Next author who messages me (and I can find your book here), I will buy. 1:50 PM – 2 Feb 13]

I immediately got a response and excitedly checked to see who it was. Damn, spambot. After 20 minutes of milling around, sampling a few different books I tweeted:

[Ok, authors, even if they don’t have your book here I’ll have them order it. Message me the title and I’ll buy it now. 2:10 PM – 2 Feb 13]

[Okay, </author-experiment> with no takers. Guess Saturday afternoon is a bad time for twitter use. 2:34 PM – 2 Feb 13]

What did I learn (other than that I say “okay” too much)? I think I was right, Saturday afternoon is a bad time to try to tap into the collective of people who follow you on any social network. But it also made me reassess how many people read tweets in general versus using it as a promotional tool.

And I’ve still received zero responses to those tweets. I think this is more of an issue of sheer volume of tweets drowning out the signal, frankly. It’s one of the challenges of Twitter… if people aren’t looking for your message, they won’t see it. And they’ll very rarely swim upstream against the flow of progressively older tweets to see what they’ve missed.

By the way, from now until the end of this month, if any author comments below with their book title I’ll still buy it.