Thursday, 20 June 2013

Can you spare any change?

Sadly, #BuyMyBook! is an ever-more-frequent and insistent message to be seen in the social media, and the screen shot from Twitter, shown below, really is a classic example of how not to hawk one's wares:

a tweet

Old school marketing

This kind of approach, which you could call legalized spam, is based on old school marketing, the erroneous belief that one is in competition with tens of thousands of other authors, and that the only way to have your message heard is to shout more loudly and more frequently than all the others.

Things are not made any easier by a minority of authors who shamelessly abuse the new linebreak feature at Twitter (which is great when used in moderation) to post multiline "display adverts" so that they stand out in the crowd. Nor are things made easier by authors invading or hijacking hashtags used by genuine readers, such as #amreading, to advertize their books when they have so many hashtags of their own that they could use, like #kindlebook and #99cents.

It goes without saying that adopting this approach, the "tweet-readers' experience" can only go from bad to worse, and that for the tweet-authors, there will be a rapidly diminishing rate of return. And there is sure to be an angry or frustrated backlash, especially from the old guard of traditional publishing, who just love to crow about the failings of the unwashed masses, the hoi polloi and the dire threat posed to civilization by latter day "vanity publishing".

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Is there a niche for reviews of ebooks by readers?

The Guardian newspaper has a weekly reader reviews roundup. To post a review, you first search their database to select a book, and you find that, alas, ebooks are not listed.

There are lots of groups at Facebook and Google+ where authors self-advertize, and book review bloggers who have a waiting list measured in months or years, or who are all-too-often "currently not accepting submissions".

Is there a niche for moderated groups or blogs catering for hopefully genuine reviews of ebooks by readers?

Obviously, a group or blog would need to have clear rules and guidelines and enforce them. Groups would be faced with quality control and style issues and would most likely require several moderators working in different time zones. Blogs would be more labour-intensive, as it's difficult to establish the real identity of the poster, and the owner rather than the reader would have to collect, edit and post the reviews on the readers' behalf.

Anyhow, if there is a niche for this kind of thing, then please go straight ahead. The best of luck to you!

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Friday, 14 June 2013

Writers and their inspiration

the muse
Inspiration can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be quite fickle ... If you want to be able to call on inspiration reliably then you need to work on it with regularity.

Someone once said that if you only go out with a bucket to collect water when it's raining, sometimes you'll get water. But if you go out with your bucket every day, even when it's not raining, sometimes you'll catch unexpected rain. And also, a strange thing may happen: that the very act of going out with your bucket may actually provoke such rain.”

So write something -- write anything -- come rain, shine, hell or high water.

~ Etienne de L'Amour, Time and Time Again.

Image: The Muse of Poesie (1886) by Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky (1839–1915). Source: Wikimedia Commons.
• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The peasants are revolting!

a clenched fist
Radicalization and the activist

There has been increasing talk about radicalization in the UK press in recent months and years. For the most part, post-9/11, this has been about a minority of Muslims who have become radicalized by Salafist and Wahhabist fundamentalists and extremists, something which the vast majority of decent and moderate Muslims abhor.

Of course, there has been a backlash and physical reprisals, led by far right and racist factions, which are increasingly radicalizing people and swelling the ranks of their own followers, and again the vast majority of decent and moderate people find this equally abhorrent.

The mainstream media have placed far more emphasis on the radicalization of Muslims than on radicalization by the far right, but even that is only the tip of the iceberg awaiting our old steam ship.

a beggar and his dog
Radicalization and Jo Public

What the mainstream media have not really addressed, but which is increasingly being covered by alternative, online media -- the real, if at times biased story -- is the perfectly understandable and growing radicalization of ordinary, everyday, liberal-minded and otherwise peaceful people, just like you and me, by the actions and inactions of their own governments; by what some have termed the military-industrial complex; and by the rich, powerful and sometimes secretive elite.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Demand for foodbanks rises as austerity kicks in

As recession, austerity and Government cutbacks in the UK begin to bite, it has been reported that foodbanks now feed an unprecedented 500,000 people a year.

What is even more disturbing is the news that one provider has implemented its own list of criteria for eligibility, stating that families with sick members, victims of crime and those faced with an emergency (such as an appliance breakdown at home) are eligible to receive charity. However, those with "chaotic lifestyles" or "money management issues" will be turned away.

“Please, sir, I want some more.” ~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist.
#austerity #cutbacks #WelfareReforms.

The question asked in an article about these important issues in The Word is: If foodbanks reject the "undeserving", where can they go?

Image source:
By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+