Blogging Today: What do you need to know and what’s next #BEABloggers

bea bloggersQ&A discussion session

Relationship between publishers and bloggers:

  • feels that publishers know what blogs are and what book bloggers do
  • what kinds of arrangements can publishers help with for book bloggers

Ethics of the relationship

  • expectation – getting a book for free

Does book blogging actually influence book sales?

  • they write about things they love – so their review or share is seen as authentic
  • a way to show the book is gathering interest before it’s publishers (advanced copies)
  • Goodreads guy – thinks yes, they do
  • it’s the beginnings of a grassroots campaign
  • bloggers tend to drive word-of-mouth, which drives traditional media to mention it, which then drives book sales

Do you use social media?

  • Facebook. One person thinks it reaches more people but is less effective
  • Twitter is the key for another person – it drives a lot of traffic, as does Stumbleupon

How to engage community?

  • write for a reader who doesn’t always read book blogs
  • i.e., if there’s a blog with a ton of polls and contests and etc and then an occasional post on-topic, the blog looks like it’s for someone involved in the community

Facebook – very image-focused. Don’t just do a post – add an image to it (more people will click)

How to engage a community that you already have?

  • only post when you feel inspired
  • another person has a rhythm to her blog (certain types of posts on certain days)

How did you develop your own voice on a blog?

  • one panelist was an earlier blogger
  • Just be yourself – you WILL have your own voice

How are ebooks changing what you do?

  • people don’t really care – a book’s a book. It depends…
  • harder for one blog blogger to review an ebook – harder to flip back and forth, etc.
  • much more convenient for travel
  • not the same experience

Anonymity and ebook reading:

  • you can download something and read it, and no one knows what you’re reading

Blogging code of conduct?

  • has more problems on Facebook Page rather than her blog
  • has problems with plagiarism … some bloggers really don’t understand plagiarism, citations, and fair use (me talking)

Making a living from blogging?

  • the blog goes along with the career – one helps the other
  • gets a lot of contacts from the blog

Do blogs have a lifespan?

  • depends.

Lots of Blog Posts Headed Your Way!

BookExpo AmericaJust a head’s up about next week for y’all. On Monday-Thursday, I will be frantically attending three concurrent conferences in New York City:

BEA Bloggers ConferenceAnd if you can believe it, I’ll attempt to blog the whole thing! Well, my view of the whole thing, anyway. So – look for a bunch of session notes type blog posts next week about anything from ebooks and publishers to how to improve a podcast. Maybe even a video or two.

My posts will be heavy on the Blogworld side of things, but there are some really interesting-sounding ebooks/publishers/libraries talks going on too, and I think both you and I will find those interesting!

Yessirree, I will be in geek heaven. Just sayin :-)

Blogworld Expo

Our Communicating Customers

Big ad on our website for the new library catalogMy library’s in the process of switching ILS systems – we just moved from SirsiDynix Horizon to a Polaris system (to all you non library types out there, I’m talking about our Library Catalog).

We just went live with the new system on May 23, and as you can imagine, it’s taking a couple of days to bring everything up, and get all the parts and pieces working like they should. It’s a huge, complex software/hardware switch, and it’s been a very smooth move, all things considered (mainly because we have awesome, great staff – they rock!).

We have two primary ways that customers can talk to us about the new catalog (well, discounting actually visiting the library and talking to us, and using the phone): an email form and through social media.

We set up an email feedback form that you can see in the catalog, and our customers are using it. So far, we’ve had maybe 20 or so customers communicate their love of the new catalog, their dislike of the “new thing,” or a specific problem with their account. Useful stuff.

Social media has been quite interesting!

First, I wrote a blog post about the catalog, complete with a short video. This post has received about 35 comments so far. Customers asking questions, and me responding to them.

Via Twitter, we have received some nice praise and good comments, including:

  • “Awesome! I’ve been hoping for this a very long time!”
  • “Can’t wait!”
  • “Good luck with the migration1 Bet the new catalog will be awesome!”
  • “We’re excited about the new catalogue! Not surprised that there are some hiccups.”

Facebook has been interesting, because some conversations were started by our customers.

This morning, one of our customers posted this: “Has anyone gotten into the new catalog?” And two people had a conversation about the catalog, about some of the third party things connected to the catalog (like our DVD Dispenser), and what was working/not working.

Since I’m one of the admins of our Facebook Page, I saw those conversations, and was able to answer their questions.

We also instigated some conversations. Yesterday, we posted this: “Today’s upgrade day & most upgrades to the catalog have been made. A few kinks are still being worked out, but you can now explore catalog.tscpl.org – and tell a friend! (Same goes for Facebook. We know you can use your influence to get us a few “likes,” right?;)”

… and that got us 25 Likes :-). And a couple more questions, too – which I answered via Facebook.

Why mention this? I find it fascinating to see conversations about library catalogs taking place via social media. 10-12 years ago – last time I helped with an ILS switch – I don’t remember seeing much customer feedback (though I’m sure someone got an earful). We didn’t se up email feedback forms, and social media pretty much didn’t exist yet. This time around, customers are helping each other, asking questions and tagging us … and I’m able to see them. And help. And hear.

Amazing.

We’re Writing a Novel!

book and ebookMy library is heading up a really cool project that I thought I’d tell you guys about.

In short, we thought we’d write a novel.

A community-driven novel, that is. Here’s a blurb about the project: “A community novel is one that is written collaboratively by members of your community. The library invites writers to each contribute a chapter to advance the group’s story. The story is set in Topeka and will use landmarks and a setting that all will recognize. Writing and publication began in April and continues through August with a chapter added each week (just like any other serial novel you’ve experienced). Each chapter will appear here so you may read them in order, with a new chapter published each week.”

Here’s a link to the main page for the project, and here’s chapter one. Please read it!

When we’re done writing the novel, we plan to throw an author book signing party! We also plan to publish the book in both ebook and print formats, and sell it online. And we’ll put the book in our collection, so people can check it out.

We have two goals:

  1. We want to showcase content creation in our local community, and this type of focused writing project provides us with a fun way to start doing that.
  2. We also want to get our feet wet in content creation. Libraries traditionally house books, help customers find books, and create programs around books and authors, etc. Why can’t a library and a community … create a novel?

Anyway – check it out – chapter two comes out this week!

book pic by Remi Mathis

LibraryLab is up – check it out!

boing boing logoHave you heard about LibraryLab? The first LibraryLab post is up at Boing Boing.

What’s LibraryLab? From Boing Boing – “This is the first post from the fine folks of the American Library Association, which recently launched a member interest group called Library Boing Boing. They will be posting now and again as LibraryLab.”

The goal with LibraryLab is simple:

“[LibraryLab is] a collaboration between ALA and the fabulously amazing Boing Boing folks to highlight all of the great new things libraries are doing. The most visible result will be regular posts about those great new things on the Boing Boing site itself.

On the other hand, Library Boing Boing: The Group has its own goals to help happy mutants in local communities connect with their happy mutant librarians to do good, work together on our shared interests, and make the world more better.” (from the ALA Marginalia blog).

Make sure to read more about the interesting ALA interest group here and make sure to subscribe to LibraryLab and Boing Boing too!