A lot of authors debate whether it’s better to have a blog or a website. Men with Pens posts about the differences between the two (and points out that blogs today look pretty spiffy compared with blogs of yore).
For authors who want to delve into the world of social media, Mike Fruchter posts 35 step-by-step tips to establish a social media presence. Although you need a basic understanding of terms like “domain name” and “blogroll,” the instructions are pretty easy to follow for relative novices.
But why blog in the first place? To connect with readers, of course, but will that lead to increased sales? According to bub.blicio.us, yes — loyal blog readers are swayed by posts when it comes to purchasing decisions. (From personal experience, I can tell you I’ve bought many a product featured on Gizmodo, my favorite gadget blog, and the other day when Boing Boing featured one of my company’s backlist titles, the Amazon ranking shot up to about 500.)
I think I heard somewhere that three things makes a trend (although don’t quote me on that — I could just as easily be making that up) but to use my possibly-made-up definition of a trend, I’d like to bring to your attention a story that I have heard / seen four times in the past few days: cooking with food bought only from dollar stores. First, Alex Cohen interviewed Christiane Jory about her book The 99¢ Only Stores Cookbook on Day to Day last Friday. Today, the NYT ran a story How to Survive in New York on 99 Cents that was picked up by both Boing Boing and Kottke. Um, does this mean we’re in a recession? At any rate, if any of you work with authors who can comment about food / lifestyle this may be an angle to pitch.
In somewhat related matters, I often attend Publishers Publicity Association lunches and panelists are inevitably asked how they get their book news / what media they follow. It’s interesting to see that it was today’s Times story that was picked up by the bloggers, while last week’s NPR story on the same topic flew under the radar (in the blogosphere, at least). In case you’re wondering, several hours after her NPR interview, Jory’s book ranked #8,277 on Amazon. (As of mid-day Wednesday, it’s down to #13,263, so it looks like some people followed Day to Day’s story even if they weren’t bloggers.)
As I’m sure you have all heard by now, U.S. customs officials prohibited Sebastian Horsley from entering the country to promote his book Dandy in the Underworld on account of, get this, “moral turpitude.” Let’s not forget these are the same folks who’ve accidentally let terrorists through our borders. And what about the moral turpitudiness of our governor? I mean, ex-governor. I mean, new governor.
At any rate, this has to be the most publicity an author has ever gotten for not doing his book tour — I first read about this on GalleyCat Thursday afternoon and since then most of the litblogs as well as Boing Boing, Slate and USA TODAY have covered the story. All of us in publishing have been wracking our brains about alternate methods of promoting books, but I do believe this is one idea that has eluded us … until now.
Meanwhile, as of mid-day Friday, Dandy ranks #286 on Amazon — way to go Harper Perennial!