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“It Has to Be about What You Stand For, and Who You Are”

Posted by Erin Brown in authors books marketing publishing social media on 23 December 2010

Jane Friedman (of the blog There Are No Rules) had a much-tweeted-about post last week titled “When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books.” Ironically, I clicked the link in the same spirit as the naysayers Friedman so often contends with—those who are hungry for some confirmation that this Facebook/Twitter stuff is just an unfortunate fad (like the infernal skinny jeans: surely this will pass in another season or two). But, of course, Friedman is not heralding the coming end of social media. Rather, she is pointing out the flawed logic in expecting social media to justify itself with direct sales figures or in rejecting social media after you tweet out a few links to reviews of your book . . . and the big sales bump doesn’t come.

Friedman’s not the first person to remind us that self-promotion—or “building a platform”—in the digital age is a nuanced and long-term project, a leap-of-faith investment, whose dividends are hard to quantify. But she hits the nail on the head nonetheless. Be creative, she is is saying. Participate. Bring something of immediate value to the table, and (this is critical) be willing to give it away.

Most importantly, it has to be about more than selling books—or whatever your goal might be. It has to be about what you stand for, and who you are.

Self-promotion, with integrity. Is that it? Coincidentally, this is the title of a great piece in Publishing Perspectives about Stephen Elliot and the interesting and innovative ways he has generated a following, both as founding editor of the online magazine The Rumpus and as author of The Adderall Diaries. With his house-to-house reading tour, his weekly personal e-mail to 5,000 subscribers, a self-designed iPad app for his book, and other outside-the-box initiatives, Elliot seems to exemplify much of what Friedman is talking about.

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French Pop Song of the Week: Sean Lennon’s French Duo

Posted by Thomas Riggs in music translation world literature on 23 November 2010

Last month the world wished John Lennon a happy seventieth birthday. Yoko Ono invited fans to upload video tributes to John, and as if they knew him personally, many did, though some were not even born when he was shot in 1980 in New York City. And people also watched old videos of John singing and musing on topics of the day.

Those who really knew him were his friends and family, including Sean Lennon, his son with Yoko. This week’s French pop song of the week, “L’éclipse,” is a French remix of Sean Lennon’s song “Parachute.” Sean, who speaks French, collaborated on the remix with French singer M (Matthieu Chadid), and the video below has a kind of offbeat humor Sean’s father was known for. Sean is wearing glasses and a hat.

Also below is a translation of the French lyrics (which differ from the English version). “Sauter du coq à l’âne” (”to jump from rooster to donkey”) is a French expression meaning “to jump from one subject to another.”

Sean Lennon & -M- l’éclipse
envoyé par LodanDruid. – Clip, interview et concert.

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Who’s Got Bieber Fever?

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in Bookselling book design books digital media publishing trends on 12 November 2010

I was going to write about Portland State University’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Lulu to create print-on-demand books, but then I came across this video. It may not be more newsworthy than the new print-on-demand machine, but it is much funnier, and sometimes that’s what you need.

I suppose the video clip IS somewhat newsworthy, though, since I was not even aware that pop star Justin Bieber had published a memoir. Well, until just recently I was not even aware of Justin Bieber at all! He’s not just another pretty face, dear readers! He sings and dances, and he is a published author. Lest you think I am being too sarcastic, here’s a confession: I saw Justin Bieber on the season finale of Shaq Vs., and I actually found him to be quite charming.

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On Being Asked for a –

Posted by Erin Brown in poetry on 10 November 2010

yeats

 

In anticipation of returning to Ireland after seventeen years, I’ve been reading Yeats again, wondering if I will find the country much changed, as some say it is; wondering, too, what words there are to describe where we are now, in November 2010.

Here is a poem on the virtue of speechlessness.

On Being Asked for a War Poem

I think it better that in times like these
A poet’s mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter’s night.

From The Wild Swans at Coole (1919)

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Epic Coffee Battle

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in digital media marketing on 13 October 2010

So what does this video have to do with publishing or virtual offices? Well, nothing, really, unless you consider what a staple coffee is in the publishing industry as well as offices (I know, it’s a stretch, but I am taking it). In addition, it’s hard to think about the pleasures of reading or writing without also considering coffee.

I think you can also draw a parallel between the coffee industry and the book publishing/book selling industry. There are the giants, and then there are the small, fiercely independent outfits. To say that coffee is important here in Portland, Oregon, would be a gross understatement. There are dozens of microroasters and nanoroasters with their single-origin, medium-roast coffees. Sometimes, as with small publishing houses and booksellers, it can start to feel a bit . . . precious. That is why I appreciated this Coffee Wars video. I love coffee, and I love books, but I also think it’s important to maintain a sense of humor and not take things so seriously.

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