Fun links I just discovered –

March 27th, 2012

I clicked on this link because it said something about perfect sentences. Finding Calvin and Hobbes was a surprise! My personal favorite was Playing Frankenstein With Words. Click through and see which one you like best!

THE INTERN has a post up about social media and whether doing stuff online actually translates to book sales. Now, she refers to a person who did TONS of social media stuff for a while and then quit cold and her book sales didn’t change. Obviously what we really need is a time machine so that this exact same author could launch her book the other way around: no online presence for six months and then TONS of social media stuff. Alas, that’s unlikely. Maybe THE INTERN will find a counter example which is at least roughly comparable to the other-way-round example.

THE INTERN also asked: how many book have you bought lately as a result of online social media? And this is hard to answer because what counts as social? Because if book review blogs do, then for me the answer would be LOTS. Or if book review blogs don’t count, then VERY FEW. But my online social thing is limited to a few twitter posts a day and a little cruising through the book-related blogosphere.

I thought this post was a nice reminder of what NOT to focus on, speaking of online stuff and writing. “Unhitch Your Wagon From the Stars” — meaning, review stars! I need to remind myself of that. I’m good at dwelling on good reviews and not bad ones, but not so good at truly IGNORING bad ones. Yet, you know, you’re never going to have EVERYBODY love your book, so probably not the best thing to pay attention to.

On a totally different note! Have you ever seen a cooler infographic than this? It has nothing to do with writing or fiction — it’s a graphic showing about a billion “alternative medicine” treatments — vitamins, herbs, whatever — according to evidence that the thing helps the condition and also according to popularity. Naturally it won’t surprise you to find out that popularity has little to do with evidence. Hover over a bubble to see what the herb is supposed to treat — click on a bubble to get the link to the evidence that it is beneficial (and if there’s no evidence, there’s no link).

The only thing I take is vitamin D, btw. Well, and dark chocolate. Naturally I only eat chocolate for medicinal reasons.

Posted in: Blog by Rachel on March 27th, 2012

2 Comments already, do join in...

  1. Elaine T Says:

    March 30th, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I guess the last book I picked up from social media was THE CITY IN THE LAKE. Someone elsewhere on the net remarked on it, said it was very much like reading Patricia McKillip and had a lousy cover. The cover, I agree, was lousy and the library system had to get it from some place rather distant, but he was right, it was really really good, so I looked for more, and the first gryphon book was just out….And now I’ve added hanging out here to my netlife. It’s only for the recipes, of course.

    Before that, I picked up a couple books because their writers had come across as decent and interesting people in places that I hang out on the net. Some I liked better than others. And it wasn’t the writers marketing as such, it was them hanging out and just chatting with people about books. Actual marketing would put me off.

    It’s really hard to tell if social media or any net presence helps, as far as I’ve ever been able to tell. As a reader, I think it can help – looking for background, backlist titles, plans for a series, etc. I appreciate having that available. I don’t watch book trailers, and avoid places like facebook, even though all the world seems to be on it. So that sort of promotion strikes me as a waste – but it may work for others. I hope so, or someone’s money is being wasted, and it’s not like there’s a lot floating around the publishing biz. Still the big hits seem to be a surprise – Harry Potter, being the shining example. Back when I worked at a bookstore and read the bookstore’s copy of Publishers’ Weekly, I remember an article that ran (IIRC) annually to the effect of “how did the books we thought would be big sellers do?” And most of the time they were disappointments.

    Writers can also put their foot in it in social media – I’ve seen that, too. Wasn’t it Ann Rice who started arguing with bad reviews on Amazon?

    I like that infographic, it could be very useful. I take a lot of stuff, having a chronic condition or two. I must say I’m surprised glucosamine such as in MoveFree was in the not worth it category. It makes a huge difference to our guinea pigs, and they wouldn’t be subject to the placebo effect. Vets have commented on how well they move ‘like there is not arthritis’ when they see advanced arthritis in x-rays.

  2. Rachel Says:

    April 2nd, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Well, obviously CITY was an excellent choice to pick up!

    What gets me is usually the ONLY edition Amazon shows is the hardcover — and most people dislike that cover. It sort of grew on me, but I think there’s no question but that the paperback cover is more appealing. Sales of CITY were pretty disappointing, especially compared to ISLANDS, and I can’t help but suspect the cover was the problem. Certainly it got plenty of very nice reviews.

    I’ve never done facebook because, hey, life is short. Twitter is okay so far. I just started using it this past January. I think it’s a nice way to chat and keep up with distant writer-friends, not necessarily particularly helpful for coaxing potential readers to pick up a copy of your book. Frankly I would think that not only is too intense a marketing effort a turn-off, so is too much of an emphasis on politics or anything of that kind.

    Did Ann Rice get flustered by negative reviews? You’d think she’d be too experienced. The fine art of emphasizing good reviews and ignoring bad ones is definitely one anybody who writes ought to practice. I expect to see lots of reviews for HOUSE OF SHADOWS because I’m setting up a blog tour — crossing my fingers I won’t have too many to ignore.

    Really the only ways to tell if a treatment is having an effect are either a) have a big sample size and a randomly-selected control group; or b) put your animal on the treatment for two or four months, take it off, put it on, take it off — and decide ahead of time how you’re going to record data on effectiveness and stick to your protocol. THEN you may have a clue whether the treatment rather than random variation is having an effect. Otherwise it’s so very easy to talk yourself into seeing an effect when really there isn’t one. Especially when everybody else swears it works for them, so you really expect it to work for you.

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