Is the like button forcing bloggers to write content they dislike?

Wednesday, 5 April, 2017

Online publishers talk about engagement. They want to know how many people are reacting to the content they post. The option for readers to “interact” with content, be it an article, photo, or video, through simply clicking a like button, offers publishers such an insight.

But is clicking a button really engaging with the content, or the publisher? In the days before the like button, readers might have to make a comment, or start a discussion about something they’d seen in a forum, or even write a response on their own website, which was almost the only option in the late 1990s.

Has the ability to simply say you like something, before you hurry along to like something else, in fact reduced engagement? Is conversation no longer the preferred method of engagement? Further, is the desire to gain likes, influencing the sort of content people are producing?

Once other people start telling you what they like via Like buttons, you inevitably start hewing to their idea of what’s good. And since “people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests,” the stuff you publish will start looking a lot like the stuff that everybody else publishes, because everybody sort of likes the same thing and everybody is fishing for Likes.

Related: , ,

Self publishing a book in 2017, a guide by US author Zack Hubert

Friday, 3 March, 2017

Zack Hubert, a Seattle based developer, and science fiction aficionado, is self publishing his first novel, Singular, on 31 March.

Writers who have thought about self-publishing, as I have, but been deterred by the apparent enormity of the process, as I have, ought to familiarise themselves with Hubert’s methods, which he has set out in detail.

Advice on writing software, publishing in paper and ebook formats, and listing on Amazon, are among points he covers. This is great stuff. Now to get back to writing my novel, which has been a work in progress for the merest two and a bit years.

Related: , , ,

Not for publication, the book title of your choosing

Friday, 27 May, 2016

Are you writing a novel, and have an idea for the title? It may not make it to publication however, if it’s not deemed marketable enough. A shame, as I think an author would be the best person to title their book, in that they probably have the best understanding of the subject matter.

When I was readying my first novel for publication, it struck me that writers have far more control over what’s in their books than what’s on them – the cover art, blurbs, jacket copy, but especially the title, where the author’s concerns overlap with marketing ones. Deciding on a name for your life’s work is hard enough; the prospect of changing it at the eleventh hour is like naming your newborn, then hearing the obstetrician say, But wouldn’t Sandra look amazing on the certificate?

Related: , ,

Will our grand children ever believe books were made this way?

Thursday, 27 October, 2011

A highly detailed illustrated depiction of the book production process (525 kB approx)… from the point it is submitted for publication to the time it reaches a shop or library.

Related: , ,

Last night a best selling book changed my life

Tuesday, 10 May, 2011

Elif Batuman, whose book The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, elevated her to the status of best-seller author, discusses what that success has meant for her.

On the way back to the Chinatown hotel, swaying beside A in a subway car, I found myself contemplating the life of the writer. “First, he must endure poverty and the world’s indifference; then, having achieved a measure of success, he must submit with a good grace to its hazards,” as Somerset Maugham put it in Cakes and Ale. “He is at the mercy of journalists who want to interview him and photographers who want to take his picture, of editors who harry him for copy … of agents, publishers, managers, bores, admirers, critics and his own conscience.”

Related: , , , , ,

The future of the book, but you’ve probably seen it already

Monday, 18 April, 2011

US author James Warner plots the future of books over the next 70 years… somehow the near future though seems all too familiar:

Future “books” will be bundled with soundtracks, musical leitmotifs, 3-D graphics, and streaming video. They’ll be enhanced with social bookmarking, online dating, and alerts from geo-networking apps whenever someone in your locality purchases the same book as you – anything so you don’t have to actually read the thing. Authors will do their own marketing, the reader will be responsible for distribution, the wisdom of crowds will take care of the editing, and the invisible hand of the market will perform the actual writing (if any). Writers will respond either by going viral or by going feral.

Related: , , ,

The internet and new technology, the three schools of thought

Friday, 25 February, 2011

Opinion of the internet – and most other technological developments no doubt – falls into three schools of thought, Never-Betters, Better-Nevers, and Ever-Wasers, writes Adam Gopnik.

The Never-Betters believe that we’re on the brink of a new utopia, where information will be free and democratic, news will be made from the bottom up, love will reign, and cookies will bake themselves. The Better-Nevers think that we would have been better off if the whole thing had never happened, that the world that is coming to an end is superior to the one that is taking its place, and that, at a minimum, books and magazines create private space for minds in ways that twenty-second bursts of information don’t. The Ever-Wasers insist that at any moment in modernity something like this is going on, and that a new way of organizing data and connecting users is always thrilling to some and chilling to others – that something like this is going on is exactly what makes it a modern moment.

Related: , , ,

Ebooks will spell the end of bestsellers… and time to read books

Thursday, 10 February, 2011

US writer Joe Konrath on the demise of the bestseller at the hands of the ebook:

In the past, a reader would have to physically visit a store, then decide to buy Patterson’s new hardcover for $15.99 or my new hardcover for $24.99 (if mine was even available there). To make this decision, the reader had to come to grips with the fact that they were buying an expensive, permanent object, that once purchased will take up space in the home. Making decisions is tough. Especially when it comes to your entertainment dollar. Why take a chance on an unknown author for $25 when NY publishers make it easy to get a sure thing for $16?

Related: , , , ,

Writing your own book is like writing blog posts, many blog posts

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

Eric Karjaluoto on the pitfalls, perils, and of course, joys of publishing your own book, a thought that has probably crossed the minds of many of us at one time or another.

I reasoned that a book was really a number of blog articles printed on paper. Given that I had already written many, many blog articles – not to mention my experience in designing printed documents, I couldn’t really see what would impede me from connecting the dots. Meanwhile, self-publishing resonated with my “control freak” tendencies. I could select the topic, timeline, format, marketing, cover design, and so on. I also was excited to gain first-hand experience in publishing a book from start to finish.

Related: , , ,

Digital publishing hasn’t yet rendered publishing houses obsolete

Monday, 30 August, 2010

Ursula Mackenzie, of the UK’s Trade Publishers Council, argues that publishing houses are still relevant in the age of self and digital publishing:

“It isn’t difficult. Anyone who is computer savvy can become a publisher these days,” Connolly surmises, missing perhaps the most important point of all, that many readers like knowing the book they are going to be spending their valuable time reading has been filtered through a selection process by people whose job is to guide the reader to what they want and ensure that they spend their time – and money – wisely.

Related: , , ,