Weekend Coffee Share – It’s Only Been 11 Months…

It's that kind of postIf we were having coffee, I might apologize for the fact that it’s been almost a year since I posted on this site. I’ve had every intention of redesigning the site to be more of a showcase and personal website than a blog – that’s still probably going to happen.

And it has actually been more than a year since I have done a Weekend Coffee Share here – we moved those for a time onto ComparativeGeeks.WordPress.com. Which, oh by the way, is no longer a site that’s being updated! Nope, we have successfully migrated from a WordPress dot com site to a WordPress dot org site, which included finding a theme and learning it, designing new logos, creating a navigation scheme and category hierarchy, writing pages for various policies and information, and getting buy-in from contributors. Check out that final product on ComparativeGeeks.com!

One thing we did not do was move over the archives from the old site. Those live on on the old site, but we wanted a bit of a fresh start. Some of that is for considering advertising – it seemed easier to plan for that moving forward than to bring over the full archives from a site that was free. That does mean however that we are needing to build up an archives and readership so that advertisers will take the site seriously!

As to readership, we found out that WordPress can migrate your followers from a dot com site to a dot org site! You have to use JetPack I think to do it, but then it can be done. We hadn’t looked at any sort of migration because we weren’t moving the archives over, so we heard about it once the site was live, thanks to Gene’o! The new site instantly became a better place once our existing followers started seeing us in their WordPress feed again.

So what’s new on the new site? Why’d we do it? Well, one thing is we wanted to do more with original content, and first up with that is the Podcast. My wife and I have started up the Comparative Opinions podcast, and you can subscribe to that feed here, or find it on iTunes, or listen on the website. We try to limit it to 30-45 minutes, and hopefully you enjoy it! We go into detail about what it is and why we did it in the first episode.

I also have successfully (finally) started up a webcomic! I had discussed that idea here on DBCII as well as on Comparative Geeks, and had done some initial sketching and technology testing (with my tablet) on the Comparative Geeks Instagram. Well now it’s real! I wrote an introductory post here, and then at the bottom of each page I’ve been manually adding Previous and Next buttons to navigate through the story. I’m trying to think of better ways to do this – there’s probably a plugin for this, I’m realizing. Anyway, I’m really excited with how it’s been going so far, but I would love feedback from all of you!

The other big goal was just to get more people involved, writing, and talking. So far, that’s been going well – quite a few contributors, with more in the wings on the way. We’ve created a way to organize ourselves and communicate that has been a huge help. We’re also experimenting with a Forum section, with the hope that we can create conversations there that live on in a different way than a blog post’s comments section lives on (or disappears over time). The Forums are the most new sort of thing, so they’ve been somewhat quiet – but please stop on by if you’d like to chat! There’s a whole section for writers and another for self-promotion, and those are both open for business so go right ahead 🙂

As to the rest of the conversation, I suppose that takes readers! If you haven’t already, hey, it would be great if you followed Comparative Geeks, come check us out! And depending on your social media of choice, check out our Facebook Page (which has been growing nicely) or our unified Twitter account to get all the post updates. The Twitter, in particular, is quite new and could use some love! And if you’re already following us, hey, stop on by and say hi. Thanks!

Linkup

Wordless Wednesday 44

Kindle PSA

T – Twitter

TOf all the various Social Media options out there, one stands above the rest for writers, from what I have seen. And that option is Twitter. It doesn’t necessarily make sense – after all, Twitter does not allow you to write particularly much. However, it’s not about the writing, or writing there.

With Twitter, it’s the avenue for connecting and marketing.

I say connecting, and use my Twitter account (@dbc_ii) as an example. From the get-go, my description read that I was a writer, and listed it first. That’s some of my self-perception, and though I’m not sure I can call myself an Author, I can go with writer. And from there, it’s been interesting to watch. I have been followed by a whole bunch of writers or authors and publishing groups or companies. Twitter has done an amazing job of connecting writers this way, all on its own. And as I have been followed, and have followed back, writers, the writer quotient is just increasing.

I say marketing, then, because of what I see the authors doing with Twitter. Their description will be a link to their book, through an e-publishing site, or on Amazon. Often mentioning that the first book is reduced price or free – to of course get you hooked on the series! The other thing I see many of them doing is having a follower-reply message, that thanks you for the follow, and either suggests their book or their other Social Media presences. For people who are self-publishing, doing things like this is even more important – they may not have anyone else promoting their works like this!

Obviously writers are not the only folks able to take advantage of Twitter for the reasons I list above. However, of the different types of Social Media, I see Twitter doing this by far the best. Facebook doesn’t do a whole lot of recommending to you – especially of pages – that hasn’t been paid for. And a lot of the others don’t have the public presence and connection.

So if you are a writer, make sure you have a Twitter! And this goes for bloggers too – it’s really easy to connect Twitter with your site, and use things like Publicize to push your posts as well. And I follow back writers 🙂 Include your Twitter in the comments below to connect with folks!

P – Publisher

PAfter a fun diversion yesterday, I guess I am back at it with a more serious topic! Today I wanted to consider publishers, an industry we have had around probably since the printing press, and which is full of big publishers and independent. I am even helping finalize and edit a book right now which will probably at first just be locally published, at the printer’s, and distributed from there. Hmmm… should make sure we end up with a copy at the library…

As someone who is not published, and not yet at the point to try or be turned down, I am still new and bright-eyed and optimistic about the world of publishing and publishers. Well, other than all of the stories around being turned down by publishers. Those leave one feeling a bit nervous.

Listing myself as a “writer” on Twitter has led to an additionally interesting connection, though, as I see so many authors there, who are talking about their publishing, or else I am seeing the independent (and big) publishers there. Probably a good starting place for figuring out how/where to try to get published, and trying to make a direct connection.

So what advantages do there seem to be with the big publishers? Well, there’s the marketing they have behind them, and their ability to let people know about your book. Whether that’s in publishing catalogs or through all sorts of advertising channels, they can help make these sorts of things happen. I wonder how this relates to getting books at libraries, since there is the added layer of the vendors generally, and of the librarians making decisions.

But increasingly, you have people turning to e-publishing options, which seems to be increasingly dominated by Amazon. Amazon will help promote these books, or at least the ones that get popular, and then they are readily available on the Kindle. And if your goal is “to be published,” this seems like a fantastic route.

By this point in the challenge, however, I have writers and bloggers aplenty reading this site (say thankya), and I would welcome any and all of your thoughts on publishers or the publishing decision process. Self-Publish? Big publishing houses? Independent? Weigh in with your thoughts!

N – Newspapers

NI think it’s safe to say it’s been a tough few decades for newspapers. I talked about how Journalism jobs seem to be becoming more specialized and in some ways this makes sense, as the news in general gets smaller and tighter as an industry. But what has led to the steady decline in newspaper business? The obvious answer is our old friend the Internet. But I see a few specific elements that are causing more trouble for newspapers because of the Internet than other industries are seeing – say, books versus e-books.

The obvious one is that the Internet provided a new means of accessing the news, forcing them to react and start to try and provide the news in multiple channels. And, to provide it at an Internet-appropriate speed: so, basically instantly. Not the easiest thing, and for getting your facts straight, for doing good editing, a deadline and publication schedule and time is kind of a useful thing. That changes significantly with the Internet.

And then there’s the fact that search engines arose – increasingly giving people the feeling that they can find things on their own, and don’t need anyone else to do that sort of work for them. All of a sudden, is there as much value in the person doing that work, digging up the stories, reporting on them? When all of a sudden, everyone feels like they can do this.

And then you get people creating the content, too! Bloggers and the like, doing the work for free, on their own time. Saying whatever they want, with no editorial standard. Eroding our expectation of there BEING an editorial standard.

But no, the number one problem facing newspapers, in my opinion, is the fact that people expect things online to be free. Oh, and we don’t really like ads. Why buy a newspaper when the same paper gives the news online for free? So then some of them add pay-walls, and we’re up in arms. Paying for something that costs money to create, and which we used to pay for anyway… I will also say that regularly, the most ad-filled, cluttered websites I have seen are news sites. This has gotten better with time, or else I stopped going to their sites: I’m not sure which it is.

I’ve given a few of my thoughts, and I think these things are hitting newspapers harder than a lot of other types of writing. There’s free fiction online, after all, but I still see the value in paying for a good book. However, the news? If I can’t get it one place for free, I’ll just look elsewhere until I can get it for free. Right? That’s what they’re up against. At least in my opinion – what do you think is their greatest challenge?

Options for adding Advertising to a Blog

Recently I was saying I want to do some redesign and cleanup on Comparative Geeks. A major reason why is that we are considering doing this sort of work is because we are thinking about taking our now year-old blog and making it more our own. Registering a real, paid domain. Adding advertising to make a little money from the blog – maybe enough to cover the domain cost? Or how about all the various media that we consume to talk about on the blog?

So I am going to consider some of the things we are going through in our consideration process, for moving towards making a little money with the blog. There are other, major considerations – such as, blogging consistently, and having content, and readers, and commenters. Building a community, and delivering consistently. I’d like to think we at least have the solid start to this. I talked about a lot of what we’ve done with community building recently as well.

So I have done some research, and it’s told me that I likely don’t have good answers for you. So instead, I have links and my thoughts, on adding advertising to a blog.

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Publicize – Results from my First Test

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I was testing out Publicize on multiple channels. I think the test was pretty successful. The Twitter feed here on the site does not show the post to Twitter, as advertised – which is good, because otherwise you would see the post, with a Tweet next to it telling you the post was there. As I’ve mentioned before, Twitter is less of a reader and more of… something else. One of its better uses being perhaps its ability to feed into other things, like the WordPress sidebar, or Facebook. More on that below.

I ran into one snag: When shared on Tumblr, the blog post then kicked in the automatic share there – effectively, Tumblr’s version of Publicize. This resulted in two Tweets. The one from Tumblr also ended up in the sidebar here on the blog. It looks like my Facebook had been logged out on Tumblr, otherwise I imagine it would have ended up there twice as well. This was easily solved – I have turned off these automatic shares on Tumblr, but am still linked in where I should be able to share when I want to from within Tumblr.

From here, I have some further thoughts on Publicize… check out what I’m thinking, and then maybe let me know your experiences with it! (Also, I have just learned how to embed a tweet: http://en.support.wordpress.com/twitter/twitter-embeds/…)

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