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April 2, 2009

Trend for 2010: Blogging to sell your book

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While some published (and not yet published) authors have been using blogs for some time to promote their work, and even create books based upon their blogs’ content, the UK-based Writing Magazine has decided that one of next year’s top five trends will be the use of blogging to promote a best-selling book.

For example, Kate Hardy is the author of over 25 Mills & Boon novels, and she updates her blog several time a week.

“Blogging means that readers get a glimpse into the ideas behind my work — whether it’s an awards do, a research trip or random musing. It also updates my website frequently to bring readers back; I use it to interact with my readers and my publishers can use it on their website as a publicity tool.”

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March 27, 2009

Journo students: work for two years for nothing, keep a blog

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There’s no doubt that the publishing industry is in very interesting times at present. It’s getting particularly tough for journalist students to land their first job, with a prominent magazine editor suggesting that they should expect to work for two years on an internship before getting a paid position.

The editor of Psychologies magazine, Maureen Rice, said that she preferred internships over work experience because they were “worth the investment” and were “very much the right way to get a first job”. read more

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March 18, 2009

Behind The Tweetbook: An Interview With James Bridle

I wrote about the tweetbook a couple of days ago, James Bridle’s publishing experiment involving two years worth of tweets in a book printed by print-on-demand service Lulu. Since I find both Twitter in particular and publishing in general interesting, I got in touch with James to find out more about the project.

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. You’re in publishing, right?

Yes. I used to be an editor, and I’m now a consultant advising clients such as HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette and Granta on web and new media projects. I also run Bookkake, a small publisher using new technologies to create a new model for publishing, and write about literature and technology at booktwo.org.

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January 7, 2009

Internet Finally Slams the Newspaper in the US

For the first time, the internet is a stronger source of national and international news in the US than the newspaper. This according to a study from the Pew Research Center, with a summary published online containing a lot more information for the number crunching media enthusiast. According to the study, 40% say that they get most of their news from the internet, while just 35% cite the newspapers as their source. Now, that doesn’t mean that they are bypassing the New York Times, they might just be reading it online. Television is down from 74% in 2007 to a mere 70% (!), and by far the strongest source of news in the US.

For young people, however, the internet now rivals television as a main source of national and international news. Nearly six-in-ten Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cites television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied mostly on television for news than mentioned the internet (68% vs. 34%).

If I was in the television industry, I’d be worried about now.

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July 1, 2008

How Long Does It Take You to Write a Blog Post?

I’m often asked how long it takes me to write a blog post or web article. My answer is: until it’s done.

Some blog posts take only a few minutes from idea to finished product. A few minutes to edit and clean it up, making sure I’ve got all the bits and pieces in the right places before hitting the publish button.

Other blog posts were started in 1994 and I haven’t finished them yet. The ideas are good, the research is fine, but it’s just not ready for publishing. Something isn’t right. When it’s ready, I’ll publish it. Until then, if the idea isn’t out-of-date, it sits and ferments, waiting to ripen into a fine wine in the future.

Those are two dramatic extremes, but why are people asking the question?

They want to know how much time and effort goes into the work of blogging.

Do you have an answer for them?
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June 24, 2008

The Secret to Writing a Successful and Outstanding Blog Ebook

Liz Strauss released her new ebook, , this weekend to rave reviews.

Based upon the lessons she learned on her own blogs, and , as a long time writer for the Blog Herald, and the work she continues in the popular annual , Liz reveals the keys she used to turn her blog into one of the most successful and social blogs on the web.

Divided into two sections, the 68-page ebook asks two important questionss: “Can You Hear the Internet?” and “Can the Internet Hear You?” If you aren’t listening to your customers and readers, you are missing the blogging boat. Accordingly, if you aren’t writing to be heard, who is listening to you?
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June 17, 2008

Garcia Media Launches Blog

Chances are, you’ve been reading products designed or redesigned by Garcia Media more often than you’d believe. The firm, lead by dr. Mario R. Garcia, has worked with publications like The Wall Street Journal, Die Zeit, La Tribune, and more. Add print and mobile areas to that, not seldom connected to products within the big media houses, and you’ll understand their weight.

Now they’ve got a blog, just two posts for now, but it could actually be a good read for designers. I like the thoughts on subheads, for instance. Check it out if you’re into media, design, or just curious.

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May 30, 2008

Can You Run an Online Publication?

Answer honestly. Do you have what it takes to run background research, fact check, spell check, grammar check, objectivity check. Wait a moment, wasn’t blogging supposed to be about opinion and voice? Yes it was, and so was journalism. You are allowed to feel, witness (experience), and document what you see through your human filter.

Christiane Amanpour thinks that “there are some situations that one simply cannot be neutral about. Objectivity does not mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.” Herein lies the first lesson in running a publication for bloggers – it is about being balanced in recognizing differing points of view.

Another journalist I have tremendous respect for, John Timpane of the Editorial Board at The Philadelphia Inquirer – former Shakespearian English teacher and poet – calls it skepticism. This means requiring the official reality to explain itself. Not to be confused with another sentiment, which is often overused: cynicism. A cynic is not open to discovery, he is set in his ways. A skeptic, on the other hand, is open to receiving. In other words, they are listening while exercising critical thinking.

Now that you are listening, you can pass the biggest test.

The Biggest Test

The biggest test you can take after you honor the proper grammar and form is that of the attribution. Being objective means being honest with yourself, and with the other – both sides. Can you do that?

Then you are well on your way. All the other things – finding news, analyzing it, doing background and fact checks, even finding a sponsor or an ad network for your publication is easier.

The hardest part is always that of objectivity. Asking, even requiring reality to explain itself is harder than it seems. Yet the rewards are oh so much greater. With the recent news of Ars Technica being bought by Conde’ Nast we learned a very important piece of information: the community that forms around an online publication can be a powerful story.

Compelling at the tune of millions of dollars. The content is key to forming that, of course, as is the integrity and passion of the reporting – with objectivity. What side of the conversation are you not giving a hearing to?

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April 8, 2008

Twingly: “The future of media is conversation”

Last weekend at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam I spoke with Anton Johansson and CEO Martin Källström from the new blog search engine Twingly. They present themselves as a new spam-free blog search engine with a strong focus on the conversational nature of the blogosphere.

TwinglyLorelle VanFossen recently addressed the issue of spam in blog search engines and keeping their index spam free is one of the main objectives of Twingly. On top of that they focus on conversational search in the blogosphere by partnering with traditional media. They have closed several deals with major newspapers in Europe which provide links to the blogs that reference them. This is another step in showing the two-way links between blogs and online newspapers. Their main competitor in this area is of course Sphere but Twingly focuses on different markets. Read all about their ideas to start another blog search engine in the following interview and grab a special Blog Herald beta invite code while you can!

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April 6, 2008

Publishing Article Series Tips and Techniques

Excerpt reprinted with permission from the book, “Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging”, by Lorelle VanFossen

Writing a series of articles is a great way to connect related content together. It is also a great attention-getter, encouraging readers to return for the next installment.

On a blog, an article series must be planned in order to maximize its effectiveness. There must be enough advance time to spread the word of the upcoming series.
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