Class Post #3- My feelings about Twitter

I love Twitter. The updates are short enough that my page is completely scannable. I do not have to waste time on every update from the companies/people I follow; I just find the news that interest me and move on. Because of the character limit, I know that I will be able to discern the point of an update in a matter of seconds.  In that way, I believe Twitter does function as a news broadcasting website. Its timely updates also help me keep up on the latest industry news. I love that I can log on and see the news I care about and read them immediately. I can read about a favorite author’s new book and then read about marketing tips and what’s going on at a conference. Once I brush up on a topic, I can move onto the next. Like Carr claimed, I feel like this system helps me have an understanding of pertinent news at all times.

I also like that I do not have to actually know people to follow them. As a young professional, I am trying to learn and adopt the habits of successful, mature professionals who have proved themselves in their fields. Twitter provides me with insight to the lives of the people I admire.

 I believe that I can learn how to use Twitter to build my own personal brand. For example, many companies will follow you if you follow them. That is an easy way to build an audience for a novice social media professional such as myself. The option of re-tweeting is wonderful as it gives me room to say why I like something and think it’s important, allowing me to make the news my own, in a way. By re-tweeting other content and commenting often on the stories of businesses I would like to be involved with, I believe I will be able to get my name out there a little more. I am hopeful that Twitter will allow me to network with people I otherwise would never meet.

Twitter seems to crash often, however, which is frustrating. Other than that inconvenience, I feel positively toward Twitter.

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Marketing with Social Media

Last week, I followed a lead on an interesting website for locating midlist books: Small Press Distributors. After exploring the site, I have to say that I was impressed. Small Press Distributors in a non-profit in Berkeley, California that serves the literary community by emphasizing book releases by smaller profits- a noble cause.

I had fun sleuthing around the website. The website categorizes smaller press books by company and literary genre (fiction, non-fiction, poetry). The site also has a healthy “self-published” section, which I have never before had come across and was excited to see. The site also posts that 3 of its promoted books are short listed for the National Book Award. Impressive indeed.

Pleased as I was with SPD’s website, it made me wonder how else can/do smaller presses get their name out there and its books on peoples’ shelves or in their e-readers? The mystery did not last long. I came across a Twitter article that gives a few ideas in regards to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pintrest, and YouTube as marketing channels for books. Another article lists 15 ways publishers can engage with the audience of readers more deeply and imparts the inspiring message: Not all books can be bestsellers, but all books can be good sellers.

Another interesting angle was that authors can have an online presence and relationship with their readers through social media and blog updates, and I believe this would be a highly effective method. The major negative I’ve heard with this route is that authors that put time into self-marketing lose out on time that they could actually spend writing.

 Though I agree that most people cannot be doing two things at once, it is possible that such self-marketing may culminate in feelings that lead to motivating the writer and the writing process, rather than only detract from it. An author that engages regularly with a fan base may discover the motivation necessary to continue on. While not every author may be a best-selling author, having the support of his/her readers will no doubt support and sustain them. With social media becoming more ingrained in typical communication, new authors may already be comfortable with social media and able to use this medium to his/her professional advantage as personal brands become more typical.  I think that social media is a huge asset to smaller publishers and mid-list authors alike.

On The Hunt

This past weekend, I followed my own advice and went on a mission to find a book published through a smaller press, and to buy it from an independent bookstore. So it was that last Saturday morning that I ventured away from my comfort zone of Barnes and Noble and found myself at Bookworks.

Bookworks is one of two independent bookstores (Shout out to Page1 Bookstore) in my hometown of Albuquerque, NM. Inside, the mid-sized store is full of books. While the basic tenets and sections of a bookstore were present (bestsellers, young adult, poetry, etc.) unique to this independent bookstore is a large section of Southwest writing, local authors and poets, and autographed books. It was exciting to rifle through the local authors section and see the creativity of our community. While I was browsing, I shamelessly eaves dropped on a conversation between a clerk and a local author about the shipment of his books. It was inspiring to hear that he was refilling an order and want to autograph the few remaining copies.

While I enjoyed flipping through pieces belonging to the local talent and landscape, I was attracted to a Samuel Satten’s “League of Somebodies”.  “League of Somebodies” is published by Dark Coast Press, located in Seattle Washington. Already, the attitude of this small press makes me believe they will not succumb to the pressures of the publishing industry nowadays, instead boldly claiming to “publish books they like”.

It’s easy to see why they would like “League of Somebodies” given the premise. This novel tells the story y of Nemo, son of a man who was raised on plutonium in the hopes of becoming a superhero. Nemo finds himself in a fight for justice as everything he loves it put in danger. I look forward to reading this exciting adventure!

When I was cashing out, the friendly clerk informed me of a book party they were having for the novel Night Circus. Because of her approachable demeanor, I asked her about small presses in New Mexico. She gave me information on a very valuable website: small press distributors. More on this lead to come!

Class Post #2

After reading Kerwin’s article, “Why Fans Un-Friend Your Brand on Facebook”, I found myself in agreement that too much information is a definite way to lose fans. I have unfriended myself from brands I thought were spamming my Facebook page with uninteresting content and pushing too much product too often. I’ve like brands in order to gain a discount, but immediately unfriended them once I no longer had a reason to keep being affiliated. The lack of more compelling interaction is a big factor. I feel like I am about to unfriend myself from a few TV series Facebook pages as they have been posting stills from past seasons with titles such as “remember when..?” To me, this is the equivalent of watching a re-run on tv. The update is not an update but old news and does not affect me.

The brands I continue to be friends with are those that do not post too many updates. For example, I find that bands only post updates regarding CD releases or tour news. Because these updates are relatively few but are highly newsworthy, I do not feel spammed with uninteresting continent. I am also a fan of the Balloon Fiesta, which will post an interesting picture of a new balloon for next year’s festival, but does not spam my page with information.

I believe it is okay for brands to have a rhythm to their updates. As an intern for the National Institute of Flamenco, I monitored the Facebook page. I would update the Facebook site about visiting Flamenco artists, class schedules, Tableau performances, sales, and Festival news. These updates were diverse and together created a steady pace. Around festival time, however, the updating schedule became more frequent as artists from around the world signed up to perform. Special merchandise also became available at this time. While the volume of the updating was higher around this time, the updates were also very note-worthy as the festival only comes once a year and features artists who live in more remote areas of the world and are a real treat to witness.

As a Facebook user, I favor a more steady rhythm, with allowances for an increased pace if the content is relevant.

Local Bookstores- Treasure Chests

Hopefully, the idea of reading a lesser known book by a lesser known author piques your fancy. After all, who doesn’t want to find a diamond in the rough? Perhaps even a book written by a local author? Or, perhaps the idea of shopping local will allow you to give back to your community and give your business to a mom and pop store rather than a giant conglomerate.

Whatever your inspiration, the first step if your treasure hunt is to find the X on the map- what and where are your local book stores? In my hometown there is two, and there is always something happening at each venue. Many local bookstores now have webpages and lists of calendar of events, such as the promotion of local authors and perhaps even some reading sessions. This could be a wonderful opportunity to find a great but little-known book, and even meet the author.

If you don’t know where your local bookstores are, do not feel embarrassed. This is an exciting start to a new adventure. Simple information searches or the utilization of websites like IndieBound.com will help you find your way!

Whether you are searching for a bestseller or older title, you will be surprised by the number and range of books your local bookstore can carry. Even bestselling authors will offer a discount to book purchases made through local bookstores, so it is important to not believe that local bookstores will be necessarily more expensive.

In addition, if the book you are looking for is not available, your local bookstore can order it for you. Though this may seem like a slight hassle, it is still great to be patient in an effort to sustain your local economy and give your business to a smaller bookstore. It is likely these smaller bookstores will have a large role in the future of the publishing industry. As the bigger publishers will continue to produce titles by bestselling authors or genre books with large fan basis, smaller bookstores should feature books published by smaller houses. By giving business to the smaller stores, market share will be taken from the larger companies.

Shopping at local bookstores support the national and local economy, as well as local authors. Have an adventure, go to your local bookstore for new finds!

Extra Credit Post # 1

After reading and watching this week’s assigned blog posts and videos, you’ve seen Gary Vaynerchuk’s view of social media and the professionals he’s looking for and you’ve read Peter Shankman’s opinion about why he’ll not hire a “social media expert” and how social media has become as ubiquitous as answering the phone and it’s communicators and marketers who a company should look at. Both sides have been debated at length over a few years – which side do you agree with, and why?

 

As more companies expand their online presence and social media users and platforms increase, the field of social media seems to become more extensive day by day. As a result, professionals are becoming more familiar with this burgeoning style of communication in order to compete for the customer’s attention and further their brand identity. Inside the job market, however, there seems to be a debate about these professionals labeling themselves as “social media experts” or simply accepting that social media skills are already presumed of any of today’s communicators and marketers. I believe the answer to this debate is rooted in context. In less urban settings and in smaller companies, digital media may still be considered “new”. In such areas, a “social media expert” may be desired to launch a company’s online presence.

For example, The University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management posted a job opening for a social media student to handle the programs webpage and edit video. The Anderson School of Management is an accredited school of business for a digital savvy generation, and the facility saw it necessary to emphasize digital media dexterity, bolstering Vaynerchuck’s emphasis on social media.

However, social media, if not yet a standard of communication, is rapidly approaching this mark. As Vaynerchuck says, “the world is changing”. Large companies and urban areas are more established in digital media and may expect such skills of its communications and marketing teams. Because the University of New Mexico is located in a more rural area, social media skills may seem to be rarer than in these urban centers. However, such large companies may find it necessary to specialize with in these fields, which are also extensive in themselves. Also, while social media may become more standard in terms of business to customer communication, I believe brand identity takes this many steps further. Just because someone can post onto Twitter and Facebook, it does not mean that everyone can assume the identity and voice of the brand. I believe brand development may also fall into its own specification for larger companies.  I believe social media experts are necessary in areas with a smaller digital presence, but it is ultimately a skill that will be demanded of most professionals in the years to come, actualizing Shankman’s POV.

 

The Underdogs (And Why We Should Root for Them)

It doesn’t make sense to not read a bestseller, the book that everyone is reading. After all, aren’t the bestsellers the most deserving of our time and money? Of the advertising and talk-show promotions and hoopla?  Shouldn’t we read the bestsellers because they are the best?

Indeed, bestsellers make large profit for a reason. They are high-list books, ranging from solid genres, debut and established authors. While these bestsellers may deserve the spotlight of being featured at the front of Barnes and Noble or on Amazon’s website, they are not necessarily the only books worth reading.

“Midlist” is the term supplied to authors published by smaller presses that cannot afford such heavy marketing, but are not necessarily less deserving of the attention. While major publishing houses, facing new economic concerns in the era of speed printing and e-books, are fixated on profit and swoon over the prospect of “a sure thing”, midlist books are often overlooked.

Albeit a small light, this blog seeks to shine on the works of midlist authors, as well as the unique issues they encounter in the changing world of publishing. And after all, who doesn’t love an underdog?

Root for them. Read them.