Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gavin Newsom Interview; Snapshot Self-destructing Photos; Catfishing: Konrath on KDP Select



In this week's Time Magazine, former San Francisco mayor and supporter of gay marriage, Gavin Newsom, is the focus in the "10 Questions" section. He's also the present California Lt. Governor and the author of a new book titled, Citizenville.

The questions are interesting, especially this one about the Catholic Church, which I found interesting because I was raised Catholic and went through twelve years of strict Catholic education. I basically feel the same way he does, and I understand his difficulty.

How do you Square your politics with your Catholicism?

It's difficult. It's hard for all of us, especially for those with progressive leanings, to square (the gay marriage issue). Then there's stem cells, choice, birth control. That said, it's very important to me, my faith.

I also have issues with the way the Church looks at divorce, too. I recently had to fill out a long questionnaire for someone who has been divorced and is seeking what's called a Papal Annulment. Without this grant from the Church, divorced people are basically excommunicated.

In any event, here's a link to a video of the full interview.

"Snapshot," or, Self-destructing Internet Photos

This link is amazing. Check it out and watch what happens.

But that's not why I'm posting about this topic. Images seem to be running rampant on the Internet these days. Just this week an older friend who is getting a new computer asked if I could show him how to take photos from his digital camera and put them on facebook. This is someone who never dreamed he would have been on facebook five years ago, let alone posting personal pics there.

 "If I texted you a photo of myself, you could keep it forever and then I have no control over what you do with it," said Travis Mayfield, director of social media for Fisher Communications.

But Snapchat can make images vanish into thin air. The app allows users to put a self-destruct timer on photos, giving the recipient only seconds to see the image.


You can read more here. Supposedly parents are worried about sexting, and from what I gather screen grabs can be taken before the photos self-destruct. But I don't think most people take screen grabs unless they are on some kind of mission. I know I've only taken them twice, and just because I wanted to back up something I'd posted about.


Catfishing

I'm sure a lot of people already know what this is, but I didn't know until recently and I figured I'd share for those who still might not know.

From Urban Dictionary:

The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).
Sounds like something that takes sockpuppetry to a whole new level. Tony actually plays a lot of online poker, with people from all over the world. And some of the stories he tells me about how these people...mostly straight...flirt and play around with each other online is very entertaining. The most recent was about some guy in the Netherlands who's been flirting romantically with a woman from Texas. She's been flirting right back. Both are married. Turns out the woman's IP can be traced to Canada, and now this guy is freaking and they've never even met. Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Konrath on Kindle Select Program

Joe Konrath, of the A Newbie's Guide to Publishing fame, recently wrote a blog post titled, "Hungry Dogs." It's a good post for the most part. But I found a few things that wouldn't work for me as a writer who has self-published four books in the past year, all of which have hit bestseller lists (I'm not bragging about that. I'm just pointing out that I must have done something right while self-publishing, and unlike Konrath, I do ALL the "nuts and bolts" work alone and pay no one for their services to format or layout. There's nothing wrong with using someone to e-publish, but I wanted to have that control, too. And, learning formatting and HTML has made me much stronger than I thought it would.)

This was one things I found in Konrath's post that wouldn't work for me:

What's changed has been making titles free using the Kindle Select program.

To wit: there are millions of people with Kindles, and the majority of them haven't heard of me, haven't come across my titles, haven't read me before. So by getting three ebooks on the Top 100 Free list, I am making myself known to them.

I'm a huge fan of the Kindle Select Program in a general sense, and I have been part of it with several books and I have no huge complaints. However, Konrath is talking "Hungry Dogs," and I agree with him completely. But that means that when I'm self-publishing I need to think distribution in as many places as I can get my books, which includes places like Allromanceebooks.com and Kobo.com. I need to think like a hungry businessperson, not an author.

And with Kindle Select I found myself locked into an exclusive that kept me from distributing the books anywhere for a long period of time, and that just didn't work for me. And I don't think Amazon allows you to just put a book up for free for a week unless you're part of Kindle Select (I would do these promos often if they did). At least that's how it's been explained to me. So I've opted out of Kindle Select for this reason with all my books, and in turn I've had a lot of success offering free book promotions on Allromanceebooks.com for my readers, and other web sites were e-books are sold. But more than that, I can offer these free promotions and no one's locking me into an exclusive. And I can tell you that after twenty years of publishing experience, I don't do exclusives with anyone unless the deal is so sweet I can't pass it by. It's why I'm not asking for an exclusive with the upcoming anthology I'm indie publishing this summer (more to come on that soon.)

In a general sense, if you don't know how to aggressively distribute your e-book, I do have to agree with Konrath. Taking advantage of Kindle Select might work for you if you don't want your book anywhere else, or if you don't know how to put it anywhere else. However, my advice would be to take the next step and learn more about e-book distribution if you're serious about self-publishing. Because your goal is to get that book into as many places as you can. There are a lot of venues like allromanceebooks that sell a lot of e-books to people who prefer this boutique e-book shopping experience instead of going to Amazon.

My point is this: get that book out there to as many retail web sites as you can, including Amazon. And that's something I've learned from digital first book publishers, not something I figured out by accident.

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