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Weekly Tech Links: FTC to Issue Guidelines for Blogger Revenue...

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it would issue guidelines for bloggers who accept renumeration in the form of product or payment in exchange for writing about such a product.   The FTC plans to enforce these guidelines by pursuing bloggers who do not divulge these financial arrangements by either ordering bloggers to pay restitution to customers or referring cases to the Justice Department for prosecution.   I’m a fan of openness and transparency but I can’t help but wonder if FTC regulations will result in shutting down casual bloggers who are unaware of the changing laws.

Follow the Reader takes a look at the influence of blogs and twitter on the sale of books.   Conclusion: probably helps but it isn’t “making” any one book.

mikecane linked to all the free ebooks on Amazon, sorted by Date.   There appear to be over 7,000 free ebooks.

Publishing Trends gives some tips on author websites.   It is widely known that websites can translate into sales, the corollary of which is that good websites sell more books.   The key isn’t flashiness (I can’t stand Julie Garwood’s site for example) but a information. Stephenie Meyer’s site links to more fan sites than any other in the survey.   Take a look at the whole article for more suggested guidelines for author websites.

The New York Times believes that the future of reading is the smartphone.   We’ve blogged about this back in 2008 and have a little guide for different smartphones and multifunction devices on the market.   We’ll have to update this since the Palm Pre and Android are increasing in popularity.

Business Week takes a look at Scribd.   Scribd, a two year old file sharing site, inked a deal with Simon & Schuster a couple of weeks ago to provide over 5,000 titles via Scribd.   There is also an iPhone App in the works.   This market fragmentation is designed to take market share away from Amazon.   Whether it will work is anyone’s guess at this point.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

11 Comments

  1. DS
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 07:37:47

    Re: Scribid. I was wondering why more authors did not take advantage of torrents to upload their promotional freebies or even a sample of a book with a pointer to their web site or publisher. While it might just inspire some people to download illegal copies, I think it might generate interest in legitimate copies as well.

    Have you heard of anyone doing this and what the result was?

  2. BevBB
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 07:42:17

    In book reviewing terms, are they talking about ARCs? Because that should be fun, watching them tracking down all of those floating around to reader sites. Not.

    Oh, and can I just say I love the first line of the PT article.

    To be on the Web or not to be on the Web-‘sorry, technophobic authors, that's no longer the question.

    Yeah, one digital issue doesn’t connect to any other mindset. Right. Sigh.

    Of course, the only problem I have with that article is that booklists aren’t mentioned directly once, so either they’re considered information too obvious to mention or even they’ve overlooked them. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing either way. Ultimately it doesn’t help if I know lots and lots of stuff about an author, which I do enjoy at times, but I still don’t know what books they’ve written. Or how to find them.

  3. Jane
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 07:45:16

    I know of a couple of science fiction authors that uploaded their content on the torrents but I don’t know what the outcome was.

  4. Kristen
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 11:36:39

    Lynn Viehl offers free ebooks on Scribd and she did a post on her blog (http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/) about how it was working for her. Of course, I couldn’t find the post.

  5. SonomaLass
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 12:32:57

    I agree with BevBB about booklists. Maybe that’s so basic that the PT article didn’t bother with it, but for me that’s a key feature. When I find a new-to-me author, I want to be able to see her or his backlist, and I want to be able to tell easily the order in which the books were written, which ones are connected (and in what order) and which are stand-alone titles, and which ones are out of print. After that I want the explanatory info.

    I also agree big-time about the TMI problem. Authors are people, and they have the right to post whatever they want on their blogs. But I can say in all honesty that I have never bought a fiction book because of an author’s stand on a social or political issue, but I have been deterred from purchases that way. I’ve also been turned off by authors who write about themselves as if they are superior beings, or who are condescending to their fans. When I form a negative impression of an author whose work I’ve never read, I probably won’t give their work a try — too many other options.

  6. BevBB
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 13:08:32

    I do think that there’s an interesting phenomenon going on when authors listen to marketing advice that steers them towards developing a “fanbase” as opposed to a “readership”. Don’t get me wrong, both are valid things to do and to some extent appropriate even for most fiction authors, but there’s a subtle, distinctly different product being sold with each one.

    So, the question is, what are they really wanting to sell?

  7. ‘Do Twitter and blogs really drive book sales?’ | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 13:49:38

    […] DearAuthor.) Digg us! Slashdot us! Share the […]

  8. DS
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 15:05:20

    @Bevbb, interesting comment. Makes me think of Nora Roberts. I don’t buy her books for myself (I do occasionally as gifts for friends) but I’m a bit of a fan of her behavior online. Better I guess than authors whose books and online activities I studiously avoid. And some of them I avoid because of their online activities.

  9. Noticias Edición Digital » Blog Archive » 'Do Twitter and blogs really drive book sales?’
    Jun 28, 2009 @ 15:17:11

    […] (Via DearAuthor.) […]

  10. BevBB
    Jun 29, 2009 @ 09:16:07

    @DS: The dead give-away on that article is in the comments when an editor of the site makes the statement:

    One reason for Stephenie Meyer's site's success is the large number of fan sites she links to.

    Notice how the individual uses “fan sites” and not reader sites? Now, understand, I’ve always been for fans having a place in the romance community just as much as readers. There are times when we’re each more a fan of a particular author than we are simply a reader. There are also times when some of us are more inclined to be more academics than readers. It’s all part of the mix. None of that changes the fact that this is a community that’s about books and books are read, first and foremost.

    So, again, it comes back to, what exactly are they telling/asking/encouraging authors to sell?

  11. Janet W
    Jun 29, 2009 @ 17:27:11

    http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2009/29/c2892.html … just a step to the Left :) … I saw this on frankejames’s tweet about Holt Renfrew, a famous Canadian fashion house, devoting a window to six fashion bloggers who have a real influence on what we throw on our bones/bodies. I’m more likely to be influenced by book bloggers but still!

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