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06.20.2011, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

 

Build your “platform.”

Build your “brand.”

How does one go about doing this? How much time do you have to devote to it? I know some people who have done a great job building their on-line footprint. But they work at it — spend 40 hours a week building. It is hard work. It doesn’t come easy.

I try. I don’t have the time to do it all the time. But I have found success in a focused group. I do get leads and consulting gigs from my network all the time. I enjoy it. I like to post my opinions. Do I think anyone reads? Maybe not — but that’s ok. I am building.

Some of the tools I use:

Twitter – a must for anyone on-line. I have heard many people claim it is a waste of time. I guess anything can be a waste if you don’t know how to use it. Twitter is very effective. But it takes nurturing and building.  You must be on Twitter.

Facebook – everyone is on Facebook. I use it more for staying in touch with friends. I do not have a business fan page. But many do. Businesses are finding Facebook more effective than their home page. There are 400-million Facebook accounts. You must be there.

WordPress Blog – if you are reading this, then you are on my website. I don’t think everyone needs a website, but a blog is important. It can be substituted by a Facebook Fan page or Tumblr.

Tumblr – They just passed WordPress as hosting the most blogs. It is easy, clean and gaining popularity. I have three Tumblr accounts – one is personal, the other for my art and a third that I am still debating what to do.

LinkedIn – The place to put your resume and so much more. Everyone should have a page. I find it to be the best business network tool period. I drive my Tweets and Blog posts to LinkedIn. I do research. I use it as my calling card. It is very important.

Pandora – The best ‘radio’ on the web. I don’t use it a lot for posting comments, but I find it great to hear various types of music.

Flixster – I prefer this movie site over the others. It is connected with Rotten Tomatoes and one can get both critics reviews and consumer. I use the % to determine which movie I want to see. I post my reviews.

Amazon – I shop on all the various eBook sites (B&N, Kobo, Apple) but Amazon is the one with the reviews and major feedback. I try to hold back on most reviews but Amazon will give me a sense of movement re: books.

bit.ly – A tool I use to shorten URLs. Besides it being a necessity for the 140 character limit on Twitter, it is a great tool for tracking. You need to register with bit.ly and then they will track usage on your posts.

Zite – for iPad only. This is a great tool to sort and curate all the various news on subjects that are of interest to you. I use it and find info to Tweet quite a bit. It is a different way to look at the subjects that interest me.

Klout – a measure of on-line influence. Sure it has it’s bugs, but it is the best way to find out influence.  Check it out.

Others that I have but don’t use often (should):

YouTube; Digg; MySpace…  and many others, I am sure.

These are just a few tools that I use. There is only so much time to do everything!

The key — you must get on-line and discover this for yourself.

 

 

Twitter

06.11.2011, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

I have been on Twitter for about 18 months. I like it. I just passed the 400 followers mark. Not a huge number but I am happy with it. It is a good way to keep score. But what is more important is when I run into people in the industry and they mention my tweets.

I know many of them follow me through my LinkedIn page. I drive all my tweets there.

I also am happy when someone deems a tweet of mine worth of a re-tweet (RT) and sends my comments to their followers.

There are some people I connect with through Twitter instead of email or the phone. We talk via Twitter. It gets to the point where we have dozens of ways to reach one another — some prefer DMing on Twitter.

I use Twitter for my first shot on breaking news. If something big happens, it hits Twitter immediately. It doesn’t replace news, but it directs it for me. I will then click through to CNN, MSNBC or FOX etc. But I do like the way Twitter is in real time.

Twitter is fun. It connects many of us.

I find that celebrities are boring on Twitter. A started out following dozens of them. Now I only follow a handful. Most have nothing to say.

I use Twitter a lot for my profession — Book Publishing. I find individuals tweeting about publishing vastly more interesting than the publishers themselves. It always feels like publishers want to sell me a book (which is true) but publishing professionals just want to talk about the industry. They give me book recommendations that I take 100% more serious than any book publishing tweet.

I like Twitter. I have kept those that I follow to 500 or less. It makes for some tough choices but I want to maintain some level of control.

If you are on Twitter — check me out at @38enso.

If you are not on Twitter — get on it. You need to know how it all works.

Twitter is one of the most important tools of today — you are missing out if not involved.

 

 

Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE has the unique distinction in that the eBook rights are owned by two publishers. Because of a deal struck before Kindle created the current eBook market, RosettaBooks secured the rights to do an eBook version. But Random House (the parent of Dell) also has an eBook version in the marketplace.

I checked the prices of this eBook on the major eBook platforms:

RosettaBooks edition: Amazon Kindle – $2.99:  B&N nook-$4.79;  Google-$5.24;  Apple-$5.99;  Kobo-$6.29.  The price is different on each competitor.

Random House edition: $7.99 on all platforms.

What’s the reason? RosettaBooks is on a ‘wholesale’ plan where the retailer sets the price. Random House is on the ‘agency’ plan and the publisher sets the price.  Retailers must follow and are not allowed to lower (or raise) the price. What is interesting is even the HIGHEST price based on the RosettaBooks eBook is still $1.5o less expensive than the Random House price.

This is just one example and I am not making the leap that Agency pricing has raised the price of all eBooks. But the price fixing that takes out competition in retail pricing does create artificially higher prices.

It is early in the eBook world and pricing is a hotly debated issue. This is just one stop on the long journey.

 

 

B&N nook announced they have 25% of the eBook market.

Kobo announced that they have 10% of the eBook market.

Apple announced that they have 10% of the eBook market.

Between the three, that adds up to 45%.

Amazon didn’t announce anything regarding their eBook marketshare (they are too busy becoming a publisher). But most estimates have them between 60%-70%. Split the difference and it is 65%.

25% + 10% + 10% + 65% = 110%. Yes, we are always told to give “110% percent”, even though that is impossible.

But what about Google? Sony? All of the other eBook vendors? Publishers selling direct to consumer like Harlequin and Ellora’s Cave?

I realize this is a highly competitive emerging market. These accounts are fighting for adopters, customers, faith and signs that they are making headway. I wish they were all right — the more the merrier. But the math doesn’t add up.

I would love to see an independent organization report the market share. Individual publishers know exactly which retailers are selling their books. Can’t something be done to aggregate these numbers and give the industry real numbers and not press release exaggerations?

 

enso

05.15.2011, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

The ENSO is a Zen symbol.

It represents the “circle of enlightenment.”

Symbols are powerful.

In my mind, ENSO represents a life, each with a unique perspective.

ENSO represents a new chance.

ENSO represents everything coming full circle.

What was before, will be again,

ENSO – The Zen Circle of Enlightenment.

 

Instant books on bin Laden

05.05.2011, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

 

The entire world found out earlier this week that US special forces killed one of the most wanted men in the world. It was everywhere. Information is still sketchy and there are thousands of web-sites feeding information to the general population.

The book industry has also responded with announcing a few “instant books.” These are titles that are put together in a few weeks and rushed into stores. In the past, the physical book was a means of telling how the story unfolded. It was more than a magazine piece although done by a journalist. Today, I am not sure of the value of these “instant books.”  At least not on the physcial side. By the time these books hits stores, it will be 2-3 weeks old. New information will have appeared and it will not be in the books.

Hell, the morning newspaper is out of date by the afternoon. News travels instant on-line. Books are out-of-date before they hit the stores.

eBooks definitely are much better than paperbacks in this case. But even those can be out of date quickly.

The world has changed. The instant book -so much an opportunity for publishers in the past – is now that important at all.

Adapt or die.

Klout

04.21.2011, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

Everyone says that ‘you must go on-line and develop a social network.’ So people do so and create a Twitter following, a Facebook page, start blogging and join LinkedIn. But then what happens? You get a few followers on Twitter, your friends multiply on Facebook. People you forgot in high school are now contacting you to be connected.  You spend a lot of time crafting your words and send them into cyberspace.

Hopefully someone reads something.

“If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?”

“If you tweet and no one reads it, did you really tweet at all?”

There are some analytics to gauge your web-site especially Google. But how do you gauge your Twitter influence. Ok, the sheer number of followers is the easiest and most direct. But how much spam is included. Does anyone retweet you? Does anyone reply? Is it better to have 10 retweets than to have an additional 100 followers? How many lists are you on? The questions go on and on.

I stumbled across one of the solutions. KLOUT.

KLOUT assigns an influence number from 1-100 to each Twitter account. The higher, the more influential. I am at 50. I know I am not that influential on-line — not yet. I was 44 a few weeks ago. I found that many individuals are higher than corporate accounts. This makes sense to me given people generally seem to have more to say than many publishers. It is fun, it is something that I feel everyone should check out.

KLOUT also breaks your score out to ‘True Reach’, ‘Network’ and ‘Amplification.’

Check it out. There must be ways to analyze all the data to figure out what truly is going on… online.

Zite – Personalized Magazine

04.11.2011, No Comments, Uncategorized, by .

I stumbled across ZITE about a month ago. It is now the first place I look for news that interests me. ZITE is a Canadian start-up that went live about the same time as the iPad2.  It is a company to watch.

ZITE is a personalized iPad magazine. You go through various categories and click on the subjects that interest you. Although there are many categories to choose from, I do wish they would start doing ‘micro-subjects.’ Possibly this will come soon in Zite 2.0.

ZITE also works like PANDORA in that you can give each article a thumbs up or down.  ZITE will use your preferences to choose stories and articles to pump into your magazine. I have not used it enough to see how effective this is, but look forward to figuring this out.

ZITE has a very easy interface and looks similar to FLIPBOARD. But I prefer it because of the multitudes of categories and the crafting of my reading personality. I read that some publications like the WSJ and NYT are upset that their articles were linked to and asked that the be taken down. That is a shame. But I still feel ZITE will continue to deliver news in a way that is time-saving and customized to me.

The era a micro-customization is upon us.

Enjoy!

Yesterday was Opening Day for Major League Baseball. All the teams start at 0-0. There are 162 games left. Every team feels they have a chance to win it all. Well, not every team.

Kansas City Royals – Over the past 10 years, they have had one winning season and lost on average 95 games a year.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Last winning season was 19 years ago. They have finished last or next to last for the past seven consecutive seasons.

Washington Nationals – Since moving from Montreal six years ago, the Nats have been horrible. Never had a winning season ever.

Baltimore Orioles – Have had 13 consecutive losing seasons. They have no chance being in the same division as Boston and the Yankees.

For most of the past decade, these four teams have been out of the running by July. It almost seems like they don’t try.

If they can’t afford to be in the league, then sell the team.

If they refuse to pay for top talent, then get out of the league.

I like the English Premier League system of dealing with the losers. The bottom three teams are relegated to the next lower league. If you continue losing and being bad, you keep on dropping. I doubt MLB will ever do this, but why do we still have to watch the Royals every year? They once were a proud franchise that competed, but now it is pathetic. Their payroll is $36-million. One player, Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) gets paid $32-million. Something is wrong.

Compete or leave. This losing attitude is bad for the sport.

Publisher’s Weekly (PW) recently announced the best selling books of 2010. One of the list is a combination of eBooks and hardcover sales. This generally contains the biggest and highest profile titles of the year.

 

In the top 10, the following non-fiction; George Bush; Keith Richards; SHIT MY DAD SAYS and Bill O’Reilly’s crazy rants. A very bizarre group of titles.  The eBook conversion rate compared to physical was 10.4%; 4.1%; 24.1% and 3.8%. SHIT had a high rate. Given the book was hatched from a Twitter account, it does make sense. Bush at 10.4% is in line with this type of big non-fiction seller. The other two had unbelievably poor conversion ratios.  My feeling is people wanted to own Richards plus it may have grabbed a higher cut of the casual reader who probably doesn’t own a Kindle.  Bill O? I think it’s his Right-Wing Wal-Mart shopping fans also are not early movers to digital.

 

The Fiction list has 6 titles.  The authors are Steig Larssen; John Grisham; Nicholas Sparks; James Patterson; Jonathan Franzen; and Stephen King.  Larsson and Grisham both has over 29% eBook ratio! Franzen had 23%. So these author’s reflect the ‘accepted knowledge’ that 30% of best-selling fiction is digital. But it drops off considerably after these three, with Evans at 10.5%; Patterson at 6.2% (he had 5 of the top 30 combined); and most surprising of all Stephen King at 5.9%. I have always thought King’s audience would go for eBooks? Could it be the publisher’s play on digital that kept his eBook sales so low?

 

All titles in the combined top 10 were from the “Corporate 6.”

 

Looking to the eBook only list… there are 30 titles on it., 17 sold over 100,000 units. 26 of the top 30 are Fiction.

 

ALL 30 TITLES ARE FROM THE “BIG 6.”

 

So as much as people want to predict the demise of the big dinosaur, corporate publishers, they are still roaring.