Children’s Book Circle: Authors And The Digital Age

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Tonight I dashed from work to go to the Penguin office on the Strand – bliss – just being in the building fills me with a sense of wholesome publishing history and worthiness.

The gist of the evening was that we should embrace the opportunities of the web, and seeing as I’ve worked in social media and online advertising for the past five years, I really have no excuse. At all. It covered the benefits of blogging and Tweeting and how to go about it – all in a very positive, happy way.

We heard from Sarah McIntyre (her blog is at Jabberworks) – I love the fact she’s on Livejournal, this is where I started my first blog, aged seventeen, as advised by my American boyfriend at the time. I had thousands of followers and was obsessed with writing a huge amount every day, but alas had to delete the account because back in those days we didn’t know much about privacy, and first I was plagued with trolls and then my grandad found the blog and questions were asked about some of my antics at the time (sorry you had to read that, gramps.) She was very witty and looked generally fabulous in wacky attire and had lots of good advice on blogging.

If you would like to read a proper write-up of the event and all the insights, please see Caroline Hooton’s post here.

I met Liz de Jager’s from My Favourite Books – she was lovely. Having worked for companies that sometimes work with publishers in seeding book trailers on blogs, I talked to her for a bit about that – she said she didn’t feel it was right for her blog, as she wants all her followers to feel secure that her reviews are unbiased. I’m amazed by how selfless some people are, it’s a lot of work and on top of working full time, it’s incredible.

Must pack – Harrogate Crime Writing Festival tomorrow!

The Foam Gnome Diet

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This weekend we invented a revolutionary new diet that REALLY WORKS. It’s based on only eating the foam gnomes you get in packets of Randoms. Here’s how it works:

Breakfast

Buy a packet of Nestle Randoms
Open it
Is there a foam gnome? If so, eat it
If there is no foam gnome, discard packet (or donate to friends/colleagues)

Lunch – repeat as per breakfast

Dinner – repeat as per lunch

Snack – you have a snack allowance of ONE additional potential foam gnome per day

Due to the randomness of the foam gnome appearance, I wouldn’t advise following this diet plan for more than 3 days at a time.

If you find yourself hungry, simply watch this video which will confuse you into feeling full:

Telecommunications miscommunication

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Got this message from my boyfriend today, he’s in technical support for a phone manufacturer:

I had my headset on while talking to a customer
I walked out to make coffee
I said “we need to clear and sync the device and then we should be OK”
The lady who cleans our cups
was standing by the sink
she said “oh yes we should get a new dishwasher on Tuesday and the sink will be clear.”

That is all.

>Samsung 3D Pros Highlights video – my latest campaign

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>I’m really happy to be seeding videos like this for Unruly Media. It’s not just an advert, it’s interesting content in it’s own right, this video shows snippets from interviews with the manager of the IMAX, a game developer and a stereographer to talk about the impact of new 3DTV technology.

You can watch the fuller videos here: http://www.youtube.com/samsunguk

>New Amazon ‘Like’ Button!

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>I last heard about Amazon testing a ‘Like’ button for some users back in November on Techcrunch. I think it’s a great idea, 90% of the reason I’ll buy a book is through a recommendation from friends or Amazon ratings, and this is a very easy way to give feedback on a book when you’re feeling too lazy to do a review. When books have no reviews on Amazon, it’s an immediate turn-off, so this will help get more recommendations.

YouTube realised back in 2009 that a 5-star rating system is useless for reasons outlined here, so I’m relieved Amazon has caught up. It’s a lot easier to click ‘like,’ and people enjoy sharing their opinions.

Even more excitingly, once you’ve ‘liked’ a book, you can share this news on Facebook or Twitter. I’ve taken note of people showing off on LinkedIn about what Amazon books they’ve read, I think once this catches on then reading will feature more prominently in people’s more popular social media profiles.

Here’s where I saw the Like button for the first time, on my own dear mother’s book ‘Twilight, True Love and You’ which is out in April.

I can’t wait to see what effect this will have on book sales!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twilight-True-Love-You-Finding/dp/1849531404/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296811055&sr=1-1

>Sainsbury’s Comic Relief silliness

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>This makes me think about those workers beeping away at the checkout, and the HR lady comes up and says ‘errrr would you be in our panel of silliness please?’

Reminds me of the time we had to stand with cushions on our faces outside our old office last year:

I like the fact companies are doing more for charity though, Walkers are doing it too:

>Get Writing 2011 and ebook fever

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>Last month I attended the one-day writing conference event organised by the Verulam Writer’s Circle.

The main thing that struck me this year was the focus on ereaders.

Will they change the way people read?
Will they affect what is being published?
Will they change the way people write?

Here are the panels answers: ebooks will change everything. Short stories will sell better, as will episodically written books that are little more than strings of anecdotes. Paragraphs will get shorter. Writers have much more freedom of pursuing other routes to publication other than relying on the major publishing companies. Ebooks can be knocked up much more quickly than print (or p-books as they could end up being called), and the effects of this can already be seen, some established authors are publishing their novels in stages as they write – so we could end up with more books like the serialised novels of Dickens. Children’s picture books are going down the pan at the moment but new formats with ebooks could help.

I’d like to add to this and say that especially in the case of the Kindle, reviews will become even more important. I always check the Amazon reviews of a book I’m thinking of buying if I have a computer handy, if I had a Kindle that would be the case for every new book I buy.

The consensus amongst the panel was that we’ve had a blip of ebook sales recently because of all the Christmas gadgets, (I got a Sony!) but we’ll probably have a lull now. People may also end up reading more classics, as they fill up their ereader with Gutenberg freebies. This is so true, I’m reading War and Peace right now!

Ebooks account for 2% of book sales in the UK, and 10% in the US. I asked if publishers had any plans to really push ebook sales in the UK with a bit of advertising, surprise surprise they said ‘nah, not really.’ We know for a fact that ebook sales are on the rise – why not cash in on this? Publishers make more profit from ebooks, after all so you would think it makes sense.

I was shocked to hear that the definition of a heavy book buyer is someone who buys seven books a year. I’d say I buy around seventy books in a year, probably around twenty-five of them new.