Thursday, 17 January 2013

Social Networking and You (Me) Goodreads, Blogger, and Paperback Books



Greetings!

So, as I assume you’ve all guessed from the title, my finalized copy of Dreamstate: Dark Eyes has made it onto Amazon.com. It’s also scattered about the EuroAmazons, which are all found (links) in the ‘My Writing’ section. Oddly enough it’s not on Amazon.ca, so you Canadian folk are going to have to use the American Amazon—I’d fix it if I could, but they don’t seem to distribute it there. The book looks good though, and if all the other copies are like the proof I have sitting on my desk, then I’m happy with the results.

You can pick it up here for $12.95:

http://www.amazon.com/Dreamstate-Dark-Eyes-Volume-1/dp/1481273434/

It should cost somewhere along the same lines on the European sites. I tried to set them at a normal x.95/x.99 price, but Amazon tends to have a mind of its own on the overseas markets and matches the exact conversion rate regardless of what I say.

Anywho, enough about the new (and totally awesome) book of mine, let’s get on to social networking. The first site that I want to talk about today is Goodreads.com. It is the only site of the bunch that is completely dedicated to books, authors, and all things book related. Your profile is built around not just your basic info and possibly a profile picture, but reviews and ratings of any and all books you’ve read. Most sites require that you actually purchase the book in question before you’re allowed to rate it, which can be a pain if you finished it ten years ago and still want to tell the world what you think. Goodreads encourages you to review, and it shares those thoughts of yours with friends (that you can add) or anyone who takes a look at your profile. The site also lets you add books you want to read, and the ones that you are currently reading (with a progress bar/ your thoughts so far). There also appears to be a mechanism to let you purchase the book through a link in Goodreads (it auto-finds it on other sites) but I’ve never actually managed to make the system work (very well might be me just being dumb). The rating system is the standard 5 star + review setup, but one of the most key features (in my opinion) is that it links with a number of sites that carry your book. It lets you get a bit of a head start before people decide to take the plunge and pick up an unreviewed book.

For an author (you can create a special page and claim your own books), Goodreads is absolutely priceless as every time someone gives your book a read, all of their friends see the review. It’s social networking combined with online site store reviews—a lot of people get told how good your book is all at once. I’ve seen little hops in my sales when a good review pops up, and it’s awesome. I’ll give the link to my Goodreads account at the end of the post, but if you can’t wait, there should be a little Goodreads icon over there, to your right, that’ll take you there too.

Onto Blogger, which is the blogging platform that my website is based around. I believe it is run by Google, and because of this, it is attached to your Gmail account and bound to the top of your Google dashboard. While it can be nice to have your site attached to everything you do, I use a separate Email address for my site/work than I do for my personal email for this very reason; just in case someone manages to stumble across it and spam ensues. The platform is very, very user friendly, and you can have everything figured out after just a day or so of messing with settings, templates, colors, and fonts. There are always small changes you might make later, but once again, it’s very easy to do.

The standard url that you get with Blogger is the www.yourblogname.blogspot.com but, if you like, there is an option to book a domain name. It costs $10 a year, you can do it through the Blogger dashboard, and Google acts as your host. This is why you’re reading this blog on www.trevorzawalich.com instead of… whatever I had it set as originally. It makes having a site easy to maintain, professional looking, cheap, and just generally pleasant. As an up and coming author, you have more than enough things to worry about without throwing complicated site design into the process. And just as a final note, I’ve seen more than a few well to do authors who use the blogger platform, either with the blogspot url intact or as a separate domain (like mine).

I realize that I didn’t say too much about my personal experiences with Blogger, and that’s because they’ve been more or less all positive and simple. There’s been no struggles, no fights, no nothing. Everything has just gone smoothly and worked the first time. I think once I had a picture link that broke, but it took about five seconds to fix—and that was that.

And as promised, my Goodreads page:



-Trevor

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