Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Around the Word

To blog or not to blog? The conventional wisdom among many book marketing advice-givers is that blogging and social media are the key to your publishing success. But with an online market so saturated with author and writer blogs, is it really worth the effort? Editor and blogger Meghan Ward tackled this topic after a literary agent told her that a blogger would need to get 100,000 unique views a month and have 10,000 Twitter followers before a publisher would take notice. Does that mean everyone without astronomical numbers should step away from the keyboard and give up on blogging? Ward says no, as long as you don't let blogging get in the way of what's really important -- your book. How do you find the book-blog balance?

Speechwriter, check thyself: When you're a professional speaker or speechwriter, objective feedback can be hard to come by. Once the speech is over, there's often no way to evaluate how successful it was -- until now. Vital Speeches guru David Murray pointed us to a new software, Speakcheck, that runs diagnostics of speeches using "quantitative and qualitative data to measure the impact of a speech." With an algorithm based on research and years of communications experience, Speakcheck's diagnostic power might just change the way that we craft speeches.

Ahead of the digital curve: We were impressed to learn this week that novelist Paulo Coelho, who is known for his throwback fables, was publishing his work online before you even bought your first Kindle. The 64-year-old author of The Alchemist has made a habit of pirating his own work and making it available on the Web for people in countries who wouldn't otherwise have access to his books. In an interview with the New York Times, Coelho, who has been named the second-most-influential Twitter celebrity (after Justin Bieber), explained his desire to connect with his fans. "The ivory tower does not exist anymore," he said. "If the reader doesn't like something they'll tell you. He's not or she's not someone that is isolated." Coelho's web presence -- he has more Facebook fans than Madonna -- is inspiring to any writer looking to connect with their readers online.

News from the Great Write North: Two Canadian publishing stories caught our eye this week. BookNet Canada, an agency focused on the publishing supply chain, will begin tracking e-book sales as well as print. E-book sales data tracking is relatively new in North America, and BookNet will be the first agency to attempt this in Canada. Also up north, the the Writer's Union of Canada has come out with a "Writer's Bill of Rights for the Digital Age," meant to address the writer's role in these e-volving times. The document is focused mostly on copyright and contract issues to protect authors as the publishing business model changes. What do you think? Do writers in the U.S. need a digital bill of rights?

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