where the writers are
Social Media for Writers

You may know that in my other life, the one where I'm not a novelist, I'm an expert in emerging trends and technology for a major think tank. I spend a good deal of time scanning through technology news, particularly about emerging media. On a typical week, I probably see a handful of stories of interest to the novelist, stories about a new or interesting twist to what's going on in publishing. It finally occurred to me that I should probably start putting them up on the blog, because a good portion of those of you who follow me do so because you're writers, too.

So here's the deal: I'll do a link wrap-up of these stories every Friday (I'll try to get it up by Friday morning starting next week, okay?). If you find them helpful, drop a comment, tell your friends, spread the word, because to be blisteringly truthful, that's the reason for doing something like this, to grow my audience. Okay?

1. Is this a publishing model worth replicating? Best-selling author Tim Ferriss didn't get where he is today by doing anything in a conventional manner. I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a private conference where he discussed the very unconventional things he did to get his first book, "The Four Hour Work Week", to the best-seller's list. In this blog post at ReadWriteWeb, John Paul Titlow dissects Ferriss' most recent controversial move, to not only partner with Amazon as his publisher, but to market aggressively on BitTorrent, the file-sharing site best known for illegal downloads of media including, uh, books.  Will more people buy, rather than steal, Ferriss' book? Ferriss' reasoning: "If someone is willing to spend time finding a legit bootleg source and reading a DRM-broken hard-to-read copy of my book on a computer screen not intended for reading, just to avoid spending $12 or so, they weren't ever my core audience to begin with," Ferriss says. "If I get them, it's nothing but bonus points."

 
2. Can Facebook's Social Graph Search Help You Find Readers? Ostensibly, Facebook's new search function is supposed to help businesses get discovered on Facebook but the jury is out as to whether it's working or not. If you are of a DIY-mind, you mind be inclined to roll up your sleeves and poke around after reading this article from Mashable's Todd Wasserman. Wasserman figures that if you're a small business that's doing well enough to have super fans who are willing to post about you, you might be able to get the new search tool to work in your favor and help direct new potential followers to you. All without spending ad bucks.

3. Looking for good book blogs? Not just to follow and read, but as potential sites to pitch to feature your book, let you write a guest post or plain ole get-the-word-out-about-you? I'm always on the lookout for good lists of blogs in the hopes of finding new popular ones that I don't already know about. When I got a link for this list of "100 Essential Book Blogs for Voracious Readers" I was skeptical, especially considering that it came from one of those pop-up content sites (in this case, Mastersinenglish.com, which--if you're going to content-farm for advertising dollars, better for a Master's degree in English than for, I don't know, time-share rentals.) The list is pretty good, it turns out: it has all the stand-bys like The Millions and Bookslut, but some I'd never heard and some that were good for certain niches, including some book clubs for various genres. Worth casting your eye over.