Social Media

Why Social Media Should Become Publishers’ New Testing Ground

28 November 2015

From BookBusiness:

Testing books isn’t a common practice in the publishing industry. It makes sense, considering that for the majority of the industry’s history acquiring a new title relied on an individual editor’s intuition and skill. In the past, the only way to find out if a book would be successful in a certain demographic was simply publishing it and seeing how the sales performed.

Although digital technology, social media, and a slew of new marketing tools enable more testing than ever before, publishers are by in large using the same guesswork system of the past. In part there is a hesitance to turn literature into a science — a machine that churns out the same type of bestseller over and over. But that fear is unfounded. Today tested literature is already a reality, and it’s resulting in some fantastic titles. But these titles are thriving in the self-publishing arena, leaving traditional publishers out of a significant revenue stream and an opportunity to develop a direct connection with their readers.

. . . .

Novels too are finding traction on social media. Photographer and author Rachel Hulin is currently publishing an entire novel in segments on Instagram, titled Hey Harry Hey Matilda. The project began in September and is slated to run for nine months. It shares the story of twins Harry and Matilda as they write letters to one another about their lives and hopes for the future. The Instagram account has over 7,500 followers to date, as well as a dedicated website with extra content and “secrets” about the two characters. Hulin’s website should be even more troubling for publishers. It raises a problematic question for the industry: if an author can create their own high-quality platform to reach readers, why work with a publisher at all and give up a share of their revenue?

That question is why publishers need to enter this field of social-media-tested stories now. Why let the initial publicity and audience of these tests go directly to the author and in turn lose the revenue from the first self-published title? And why run the risk of an author opting out of traditional publishing all together? Publishers could lose the primary value they provide authors — the scale they can bring to the marketing of a book.

. . . .

Test stories where the audience actually is, on social media. Not only will this grow the direct relationships many publishers are seeking with their readers, but it will become a critical part of the editing and acquisition stage.

Link to the rest at BookBusiness and thanks to Iola for the tip.

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Best WordPress Portfolio Themes for Authors & Creatives

13 November 2015
Comments Off on Best WordPress Portfolio Themes for Authors & Creatives

From Self-Publishing Review:

Earlier, we posted the complete list of free and premium WordPress themes for books. Another option, and perhaps less commercial-looking, is a portfolio template. Normally, portfolios are used for designers and photographers, but they can double just as easily for writers. These themes look very sleek and modern, and are generally easy to configure.

I’ve selected only portfolio templates that easily allow users to upload a tall rectangular (i.e. book cover-shaped) image for the homepage. There are a lot of portfolio sites with other image sizes . . . and these can potentially be hacked to change the image size, but for the purposes of out-of-the-box user-friendliness, these are the best templates available that work right away.

Portfolios are best for those with more than one book out, as you can display each book on the homepage, but that’s not a requirement. In addition to adding book covers to the portfolio, you could also add an image for the blog, author profile, buy page, and so on.

. . . .



Creek is a hyper minimal portfolio template with modern look-n-feel, totally fat free, and built for one purpose in mind. It can help you to showcase your work in such a sleek and elegant way that you will be amazed. Using creek is also very easy. Well documented codebase makes it very extendable at the same time. Creek comes with excellent admin panel and page templates that can be really handy for you to design a nice website in no time.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review

Everyone has their own tastes in website design, but PG thinks some of the themes featured in this article would help an author stand out from the crowd in a highly visual way.

Social Media Sharing

12 November 2015

PG has tested various plugins designed to make it easier for visitors to share posts on TPV on various social media platforms. Some, including some very popular plugins, don’t work at all with the current TPV theme (yes, he’s looking at potential upgrades).

As you’ll see by looking at the end of each post and (perhaps) the right sidebar, he’s trying out a sharing plugin.

If you have any responses, pro or con, please share them in the comments or via the Contact Page.

5 Ideas for Promoting Your Ebook Price Promo on Social Media

12 November 2015

From BookBub:

Running a price promotion for your book — temporarily dropping the price and promoting the discount via a service like BookBub — is a great way to drive a large volume of downloads or sales. And the more momentum you get from your campaign, the higher you’ll drive your book up retailers’ top lists and even the bestseller lists.

. . . .

1. Let fans promote the book for you

Your existing fans will be eager to learn about any opportunity to grab your ebook at a discount (or for free!), so post an announcement to your blog and send that post to your mailing list. But before sending, make the news of your discount easy for readers to share by adding social sharing buttons and click-to-tweet links to the post.

How much impact could these steps have? Every website is different, but when we added these to the BookBub Partners blog posts (we even updated all of our old blog posts), our social media traffic increased almost 3x in the three months after the change.

. . . .

Add social sharing buttons to your blog

Many blogs today have a floating social share bar along the side of the content. This is more effective than adding social share buttons to the top or bottom of your content — readers can share your content however far along your post they are.

. . . .

2. Update your social media cover photos

While you don’t want to barrage fans with constant promotions for the discount, you can brand your Facebook page/profile, Twitter profile, Google+ profile, etc. with a unique cover photo design to create awareness of the price promotion. Whenever someone likes your Facebook page, follows your Facebook profile, friends you, or joins your public Facebook group, you’ll increase the likelihood of your cover photo appearing in her friends’ News Feed. Your cover photo will also appear on your fans’ News Feeds whenever you update it.

Link to the rest at BookBub

Facebook Mulls Ad Changes for Instant Articles After Publisher Pushback

12 November 2015

From The Wall Street Journal:

Facebook is experimenting with new advertising approaches for its Instant Articles platform after publishers encountered challenges generating ad revenue because of restrictions imposed by the social network.

Instant Articles, which Facebook rolled out to all iPhone users last month, allows media companies to publish content directly to Facebook feeds instead of posting links to draw users back to their own websites. Twenty publishers are currently enrolled in the program.

The product is still in its infancy, but publishers including The Washington Post, New York Times and are finding it difficult to extract as much revenue per article from Instant Articles as they do from pages on their own websites, according to people familiar with the situation.

That’s because of the strict guidelines Facebook has laid down on the type and volume of ads publishers are allowed to sell. For example, the guidelines state that just one “large banner” ad sized 320 x 250 pixels may be included for every 500 words of content. On their own mobile properties, publishers such as The Washington Post would typically include three or perhaps four of those ads alongside a 500-word article.

Facebook is also restricting the type of ads publishers may place in Instant Articles. It will not allow so-called “rich media” ads, the animated or interactive ads that now commonly appear across publishers’ sites.

. . . .

Publishers are entitled to 100% of revenue generated from ads in Instant Articles, provided they sell and serve the ads themselves. If they’d rather have Facebook sell ads on their behalf, publishers get a 70% cut. The advertising format and volume restrictions apply regardless of who sells the ads.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire) and thanks to Rob for the tip.

15 Authors Running Fantastic Book Promotions on Instagram

3 November 2015

From Bookbub:

If you don’t already have a presence on Instagram, maybe you should — as of September 2015, Instagram hit 400 million monthly active users, more than Twitter’s 316 million monthly active users. Also, according to Socialbakers, the top brands on Instagram have a 50x higher average post engagement rate than on Twitter.

That being said, not every author will have a relevant audience using Instagram. 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35, so some genre authors might have a harder time building a fanbase on Instagram than a Young Adult or New Adult author. So just because a lot of people are using a particular social network doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth your time.

. . . .

1. Maggie Stiefvater – Young Adult


9. Rainbow Rowell – Young Adult


Link to the rest at Bookbub

Can Civil Comments Kill The Internet Troll?

1 November 2015

From TechCrunch:

To paraphrase an oft seen Internet trollism, ‘Internet comments are the worst thing since Hitler’. By which I mean: they suck. They suck bad. No, they really suck.

The problem we have right now with Internet comments is clear: negativity and nastiness is burying or discouraging everything else.

When, as an online writer, you’re relieved to find the comments clocked up by your post are only spammers touting ways to earn $$$ when you work from home and/or posting a link to a video about BOOSTING your sales leads by 250% in just 2 weeks! — rather than, say, random vitriol, abject stupidity or violent outpourings — you know something is wrong, very, very wrong with the standard reader feedback structure of the Internet.

. . . .

I don’t mean turning off comments entirely — although more websites are doing that, including some media companies (apparently) lacking the resources and/or willpower to effectively police the effluent that inexorably flows from the bottom half of the Internet.

But switching comments off entirely is to surrender to the trolls’ bile-colored flag.

And while it might be more pleasing to hear silence than even the most half-hearted troll dirge, it also means you’re silencing genuinely engaged readers — who probably had something interesting to say, if only they felt it worth their while to say it. So you’re giving up the chance to grow a community of your own.

. . . .

And so into this embattled comment arena, steps Civil: a startup co-founded by former online comment moderator, Aja Bogdanoff, who got tired of trying to firefight the endless stream of comments spewing out of an unregulated pipe. Her answer? A comment plug-in that requires users to engage with a framework of civility and quality as the specific entry criteria for being able to air their views.

She argues that the current model of digital services using human moderators to assess comment content for acceptability — typically after the fact — is “not a very efficient way to do it”. And the result? Well, the result is clear… Welcome to Trolltown: Population, the idiot who shouts loudest.

So how do you determine civility and quality? You ask readers to be the judge of that. Ergo you crowdsource comment moderation. In Civil’s case this means review three other comments, get to post your one.

Link to the rest at TechCrunch and thanks to JR for the tip.

PG appreciates visitors to TPV who contact him when the occasional uncivil comment pops up here.

Quotle Is Instagram And OneShot For Book Quotes

26 October 2015

From TechCrunch:

Quotle is an interesting beast. The best way to describe it could be that Quotle is a hybrid between OneShot and Instagram, but for book quotes. Available on iOS, it turns the good old habit of marking down quotes in a notebook into a social experience.

There are three key components in Quotle. You can create quotes, you can share them, and you can follow people. While you might not be using all three parts, having these three features are essential to creating a compelling app.

First, the quote capturing part. You have two ways to capture quotes — you can either type the quote on your phone or scan some text from a paper book or an ereader. The app then processes your quote using OCR. Once you have the text of the quote, you can search for a book or manually fill the source.

. . . .

Then comes the sharing part. This screen is very reminiscent of Instagram’s sharing screen, which was one of the key features behind Instagram’s early success. You can add a description and share your quote on Quotle, Facebook, Twitter and Evernote.

Your quote is turned into a nice poster-style image on your social networks. I’ve come across many Quotle posts on Facebook and Twitter over the past few weeks, and they are an effective way to share a quote.

Link to the rest at TechCrunch and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Authors Are the New Gatekeepers to Large Audiences

15 October 2015

From Digital Book World:

For decades, the gatekeepers to reach large audiences of book consumers have been retailers, publishers, libraries and national media outlets. These organizations hold the keys to reaching millions of readers. But access to their audiences is limited unless one purchases paid advertising, hires a publicity firm or undertakes an expensive, time-consuming tour of the country. For the most part, authors who want to reach the masses have been at the mercy of these options. Until now.

Today, many authors are building audiences so large that they have actually become the new gatekeepers. For example, consider the audience size of these three New York Times bestselling authors:

Author/Organization:                                           Email Subscribers:
Lisa Lillien / Hungry Girl                                         1,200,000
Lysa TerKeurst / Proverbs 31                                  500,000
Ruth Soukup / Living Well, Spending Less               130,000

. . . .

As these authors built huge audiences over time, they made it much easier to sell thousands of their books. But more importantly, they began to attract attention from other entities seeking access to their audience. That interest has created exciting new revenue opportunities for the authors through paid advertising, joint partnerships, corporate spokesperson roles, etc.

In an ironic reversal of roles, authors who had to pay companies for advertising now charge companies to advertise products to their audience. The authors listed above routinely receive thousands of dollars for individual ad space.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

A Brief History of the End of the Comments

9 October 2015

From Wired:

EARLIER THIS WEEK, Vice’s technology and science news siteMotherboard dropped its comments section, opting to replace it with an old school “letters to the editor” feature. Then Reddit launched a news site called Upvoted that didn’t include a comments section. (You can still comment on the stories on Reddit itself.)

What’s going on here? For years, comment boxes have been a staple of the online experience. You’ll find them everywhere, from The New York Times to Fox News to The Economist. But as online audiences have grown, the pain of moderating conversations on the web has grown, too. And in many cases, the most vibrant coversations about a particular article or topic are happening on sites like Facebook and Twitter. So many media companies are giving up on comments, at least for now. So far this year, Bloomberg, The Verge, The Daily Beast and nowMotherboard have all dropped their comments feature.

While it’s too soon to say that comment sections are outright dying— there are plenty of major sites that still have comments, including WIRED—it’s safe to say there’s a trend towards replacing them with something else. Here’s a brief history of major publications pulling the plug on comments. Feel free to suggest additions to the timeline in, well, the comments.

September 24, 2012: The Atlantic launches the business news site Quartz without a comments section, but adds comments in the form of “annotations” nearly a year later.

September 24, 2013: Popular Science becomes one of the first major publications to ditch its comments feature, citing studies that found that blog comments can have a profound effect on readers’ perceptions of science. “If you carry out those results to their logical end—commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded—you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch,” former digital editor Suzanne LaBarre wrote in the site’s announcement.

April 12, 2014: The Chicago Sun-Times suspends its comment feature, citing concerns over the “tone and quality” of the comments while its team developed a new discussion system. Most articles on the site still don’t allow comments.

. . . .

January 27, 2015 Bloomberg’s website relaunches with no comments.

Link to the rest at Wired

For the record, PG still thinks the comments are the best part of TPV.

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