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1. Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Holiday Extravaganza

Holiday Hop Button

Welcome to our holiday hop!

We are so excited about our latest book, The Christmas Owl, that we are giving away two prizes to one lucky winner.  Our prize is a 5-inch stuffed owl and a signed hardcover version of The Christmas Owl.  This story follows a Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word.  This colorful holiday tale is perfect for children aged eight and under.

Swoops Owl from Ty                  OwlCover_Kindle_optimized

This giveaway ends on December 13th at midnight so ENTER today.

Click to see the other blogs participating in our holiday hop hosted by Youth Literature Reviews and Mother Daughter Book Reviews.

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Click here to view this Linky Tools list…


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2. This one’s long enough to make up for two weeks of silence

geobug
So it seems I hit a little blog lull, quite unexpectedly. I write posts in my head every day, all through the day (it’s why I began blogging in the first place, you know: thinking in narrative is the way my brain has always, always worked)—but lately I seem prone to tossing a thought or a quip or a link onto Facebook instead of chronicling here. And yet I recoil, actually, from the idea of handing over one’s mental activity to the data-miners and the the rushing update stream. I have this looping conversation with myself over and over. If you blog and are also active on Facebook, I bet you know exactly what I mean.

On Facebook, people leave comments: that’s one point in its favor, part of its great appeal. And let me back up and say how much I love certain aspects of Facebook! I champion it often, when people are running it down for being shallow or negative. Facebook gave me what no other medium has: daily contact with my faraway cousins, my old school friends, my coworkers from jobs long past. Very precious contact, actually. Friendships rekindled and deepened. Road trips made merry (and potentially safer) by en route updates, with friends keeping tabs on us and inviting us to stop and stretch our legs as we made our way across the country and back. There are things Facebook can do that this blog cannot.

But: vice versa! Such riches I have tucked into the archives here—family treasures, I mean. Stories I’d certainly have forgotten, had I not recorded them here. A diary of sorts of our homeschooling journey. An annotated reading journal. A commonplace book, with pictures. Oh, I love this blog, what it’s given me. Including the friends: no small matter, that. Facebook reconnected me with old friends. Blogging gave me new ones, and I count those friendships as very real and rich indeed.

I don’t comment on your blogs nearly often enough. I’m still probably among your most faithful readers, though, did you know that? :) I find myself reaching for the like button to let you know I’ve appreciated a post, am nodding my head at your insight or smiling at your joke. On Facebook people snark about the superficiality of ‘likes.’ I understand why, it’s quick and glancing, it’s not saying anything meaningful, it sometimes suggests an unfortunate endorsement of the wrong half of a sentence. (“I got an offer on a YA novel today! But then I fell and broke my leg.” Er, like? No, wait!) But that silly like button serves a purpose. I means I’m here, I’m reading this, I took note of what you said, I’m glad you shared. If I could click a button on Feedly to let you know I’d appreciated a post, you can bet I would. Clicking through to actually comment, now…oh, I wish I were better about it. Sometimes it’s captcha that deters me, or login technicalities. (Blogger gets very grumpy with me when I don’t want to comment as Melissa Wiley’s Official Data-Providing Google Account, which I loathe doing on friends blogs because I’m just Lissa to you, right? And I can never remember my WordPress login on blogs that aren’t mine.) But other times, a friendly comment is an easy click away and I still don’t take the time, because I’m probably reading your post on my phone, and I really really hate typing with my thumbs.

A Facebook update is much more likely to generate discussion these days, at least for me. Of course, Facebook is such a combustible stew of people from all one’s different worlds and walks of life—sometimes I cringe, seeing all my people jumbled up together that way. I’ve tried separating my personal and professional worlds there but it’s flat impossible. Colleagues become friends, and then what do you do? Make them switch accounts? Who can keep up with multiple accounts anyway? Not I.

All of this is musing without agenda: I simply thought I’d try thinking aloud here the way I did in the olden days of blogging. You know, way back in 2006.

For my own amusement, a few of the topics I’ve posted about on social media recently:

• geocaching, which has become our favorite pastime, and I could talk about it ENDLESSLY for HOURS (see one diabolically clever hiding place in the photo above—oh how we shrieked!)

• how I’ve started writing serious poems again, and I really miss my old grad-school poetry workshop mates and the close readings we used to do of our own poems and others

• Coursera classes I’m taking (alone or with various kids), and many many thoughts about how we use Coursera—and actually I have a long post half-written on that subject. It began here (is still in drafts) and spilled over to Facebook, and judging from that conversation I actually have a lot of practical information to share on the topic.

• related: gossip as a vital tool for human survival—one of the many fascinating points of discussion in the Coursera “Brief History of Humankind” class I’m taking, about which I have LOADS OF THINGS to say

• also related: the Coursera “Modern and Contemporary Poetry” course is wonderful and is going a long way to satisfy my ache for close readings, since each week’s lesson consists of video discussions (grad students and professor) of several different poems—one poem per fifteen(ish)-minute video, perfect for diving into in small chunks of time, which is all I have

• a mocking gripe about my internet service provider, not worth recording

• links to various articles, all of which I’ve shared in the sidebar here anyway

• my delight over the first sketches for Inch and Roly #3

• a picture of The Greatest American Hero, which generated more comments than anything else I’ve posted this month

• the sudden realization after all these years that in the Magic School Bus theme song, the guy is not actually saying “Make a sacrifice on Mars.”

• and in the comments of the above, the revelation that “the guy” is none other than Little Richard!!!

• an adorable photo of my boys

• Overheard, 7yo to 4yo: “I’m going to teach you three things. The first one is Pounce, and it goes like this.”

Which is, it turns out, kind of a lot.

Greatest_American_Hero

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3. David Beckham To Host Virtual Reading on Facebook

beckham-1Retired soccer player David Beckham‘s new memoir is coming out next week and to help promote the new book, he’ll be doing a reading live on Facebook on October 30th, the day that the book comes out.

Beckham announced the news on his Facebook page.

In partnership with Facebook, I want to do a truly global signing to coincide with the launch of my new book. If you are in London, New York, Sao Paulo or Hyderabad you can enter to win a ticket to take part in these events and receive a personalised digital signature from me via ground breaking technology. If you’re not in those cities, you won’t be disappointed as you can take a seat in the Facebook Digital Stadium to watch a live Q&A session where I will answer questions from fans around the world.

AppNewser has more: “Beckham didn’t explain which technology he will be using to provide digital autographs with.Autography is one option. The platform lets authors digital books digitally and deliver them to the pages of eBooks.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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4. SOLSC + Social Media

WRITE your slice. SHARE your link. GIVE some comments to (at least three) other slicers. If you’re leaving your comment early in the day, please consider returning this evening or tomorrow to read… Read More

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5. Jackie Collins To Host Live Chat on Facebook

collinsRomance novelist Jackie Collins will answer questions from fans on Facebook this afternoon from 3:00pm until 4:00pm in EDT, hosting a live chat on her Facebook wall about The Power Trip.

It could be an interesting interaction tool for writers–so far more than 160 readers say they plan to attend the online event. Here’s more from the post:

Got questions for me? Join me on Thursday, October 3 for a live chat on the Facebook wall. Get ready … definitely a lot to dish about when it comes to The Power Trip!

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. YA INDIE Carnival : Social Media…what works for you?

Carnivaltickets_003

Social Media, what works for you?

Relationships. It’s all about relationships. Social media is just our virtual pub or café or bookstore or our neighborhood park. It’s about introducing yourself, & maybe your dog and making friends. That’s really all it is for me. I try and help people out and people help me out all the time. When I have questions about things I get great advice and when someone has some good news we all celebrate.

I hang out where I feel the most comfortable, like in real life. Social media really isn’t any different. The cool thing about it is that you can make friends and even keep up a friendship that starts at a conference or vacation…where ever. It’s pretty cool to have friends all over the world and really cool to discover and read stories I might never have had the chance to without social media.

As an author, I’m most comfortable using Twitter ( @Laurawriting ) and Facebook. Facebook is a little harder for me. I’ve got two pages…one for my personal life and one for my readers and I try to keep them separate, but it’s a little like trying to take the chocolate out of a banana split LOL. So that confuses me a little, to be honest. I do love Pinterest because it’s so visual. My favorite boards are book swag I love, food that I love and of course the YA Indie Carnival :)  I wish I knew how to converse with my Goodreads fans better. I have an automatic feed which posts my blog posts there, but I find it a little more challenging to have a dialog with my fans there. I love discussing books and so I look forward to people who post with questions/comments about my books or reviews.

Social media is just the modern word of mouth. And that’s the way books have been recommended to readers for hundreds of years. It’s just more exciting now. But it is super confusing sometimes, especially for authors who are just getting into it. At UtopYA, I can’t remember the author, but she was so sweet and walked up to me and said she just didn’t know where to begin. I hear that a lot. The advice I gave when she asked me is the advice I heard when I was getting started. Pick one place, it doesn’t matter where, if Facebook feels good to you pick that, if it’s easier for you to post in 140 characters then use Twitter, if you’re visual maybe Tumblr or Pinterest is for you. Just pick one and use it and start to meet people the old-fashioned way in a high tech pub/café/bookstore/park :D Twitter confused the heck out of me when I first used it…I was like what is this thing? But it’s been a great way to meet amazing friends, whether they’re dog lovers, book bloggers, readers, other writers, artists, screenwriters…you name it. (hint: it’s all about the # hashtags :) )

I sat in on one of the panels and the fabulous Kallie Ross, an awesome YA Fantasy writer/incredible panel mediator/one smart cookie, mentioned that youtube is the most searched place on the Internet. So it’s a great place to make friends. I have a channel there and post videos I use in my research and my book trailers and follow channels that make me laugh, have something to do with food and books too. I definitely could do more with my channel. Click here to swing by sometime if you want to see how I use it.

Wattpad is another site that Amanda Harvard, talented author/incredible musician/and all-around fun person, talked about on one of the UtopYA panels. Loads of authors and readers love that site. I might get my feet wet there next. But, enough about my take…what works for you?

See what the other amazing carnis have to say about it too :) And check out YA Author Club for upcoming carnival topics!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights
17. Author Cindy C Bennett

0 Comments on YA INDIE Carnival : Social Media…what works for you? as of 7/12/2013 1:22:00 PM
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7. Being Frank Book Giveaway!

Hi folks! I am giving away a copy of Being Frank on June 14th! Here are the rules for the giveaway: 1. In the comments section below, share a time when you were too honest for your own good OR when someone was too honest with you (keep it family friendly!) 2. Share this post …

10 Comments on Being Frank Book Giveaway!, last added: 6/6/2013
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8. Find a New Book Written by a GalleyCat Reader

Looking for a new book? Visit our new Coming Attractions page, a growing list of books written by GalleyCat readers.

We’ve sorted the list alphabetically, but you can search for your favorite genre inside the growing collection. Click here if you want to download a copy of the spreadsheet (CSV file) and sort the information yourself. We will update this spreadsheet frequently and highlight some of the books in our weekly Coming Attractions post.

Click here to submit your book to our permanent database of new books. Please fill in all the blanks and keep your descriptions brief. Authors, publicists, editors, and readers can all make use of this new section, but use the author’s name in the blanks. As always, you can also post literary events on our Facebook wall. (Image via Flickr user IaasB)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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9. Facebook Etiquette for Writers

Why do some Americans feel nostalgic for a culture “where everyone knows his place?” Cultural critic Mark Dery tackled that question for Thought Catalog, publishing an e-single on American Anglophilia called “England My England.”

We took the opportunity to republish Dery’s Morning Media Menu interview from last year, covering everything from Facebook etiquette to Christian comic creator Jack Chick.

Press play below to listen on SoundCloud. While talking about best Facebook practices, Dery also outlined a version of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game that could be played with New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani.

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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10. Facebook Pages vs. Profiles for Authors


Over at The Facebook there are now many different options for authors who wish to have a presence there.

Should you have a public Facebook profile? Should you create a dedicated author page? Should you create a dedicated page for your books too? Should you throw up your hands until Mark Zuckerberg gives you some personal guidance?

First, some definitions. A profile is a personal profile, e.g. what your friends became Facebook friends with, uh, on Facebook. It's the thing you had all along.

If you are going to use a profile to promote your book stuff, you should turn on subscriptions, which allow people to subscribe to your public posts. This way you don't have to accept friend requests from people you don't know -- they can just subscribe to your updates.

Your profile can be almost completely private or almost completely public depending on how you post. Just be sure and be careful about whether you're posting publicly, just to friends, or to a smaller group.



A page is a public page that people can Like. You can create a page as a public figure, and you can create pages for your individual books. When people like your page they receive updates from that page in their News Feed.

So. You're an author. What should you do? Profile with subscriptions or page? Well, it depends.

Here are the pros of having a profile with subscriptions turned on:

  • You only have to maintain one presence on Facebook rather than both a profile and a page
  • If you befriended thousands of people you didn't know before Facebook had pages, you can unfriend these people and they stay subscribed to your updates
  • Also, if someone sends you a friend request and you don't accept it, they also stay subscribed to your updates.
  • Thus, utilizing a public profile can help you take back a crowded Facebook profile and manage it a bit more carefully.
Here are the pros of having a public author page:
  • It allows you to maintain separate presences. If you want to avoid spamming your friends with all your book stuff or your blog, it can be helpful to have a place that's just book stuff and save your other personal posts for your personal profile.
  • Like buttons are easier to stick on your website than Subscribe buttons.
  • Pages have access to analytics that profiles don't.
  • If your Facebook presence is going to be maintained by more than one person, pages are way easier to manage that.
Whatever you decide, I highly recommend creating Facebook pages for your books. These will show up in people's profiles when they like them. Just make sure they're categorized properly.

I have a profile with subscriptions turned on, and if you'd like to subscribe to receive my blog updates and other posts in your news feeds, just click this button!


(Note: You probably can't see it via e-mail or an RSS reader. Click through!)

37 Comments on Facebook Pages vs. Profiles for Authors, last added: 11/20/2012
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11. HarperCollins Canada Creates Video Thank You for Facebook Fans

HarperCollins Canada created a special video to celebrate the 100,000 fans who have “liked” them on Facebook.

We’ve embedded the full video above–what do you think? Using the text from the jackets of their books, the publisher had this message for its readers:

Dear Facebook Fans, Thank you for helping create the greatest community of readers online. One hundred thousand strong and growing every day; made up of awesome, incredible book lovers just like you. We hope you’ll continue to share inspiration, share imagination and share reading.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. Having trouble seeing TWT Facebook posts?

A couple weeks ago it came to my attention that one of our readers wasn’t seeing Two Writing Teachers pop up in her Facebook News Feed.  That prompted me to check our stats,… Read More

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13. Dabbling in digital storytelling at drabbl.es

drabbl.esCanberra writer and entrepreneur Ellen Harvey has launched a new global platform for writers who can cope with word limits. The drabbl.es website, which is live but in alpha testing, invites visitors to create 100 word stories in one of dozens of subject areas, from journalism to crime and chick lit to biography. It’s an addictive format, and one that will appeal to writers of all genres and experience levels. Ellen took time out from her busy schedule to answer some questions about drabbling and literary start-up life for Boomerang Books. 

How and when did you come up with the idea for drabbl.es

The idea for drabbl.es came about as I was thinking of a way to write, collect, share and get others to do the same with 100 word stories. My writing group at the time loved the idea and I would give them ‘homework’ tasks to write 100 words around a certain theme. I wanted to read their drabbles, and they wanted to read other people’s drabbles too. Drabbles have been around for a while, the term originating from Monty Python, and are quite popular on online blogging platforms such as Livejournal. At the end of 2011, my husband, Lachlan Blackhall, and I were having a conversation about how to make this 100-word story-sharing website a reality. It was then that drabbl.es really started to take form, including many features and improvements that we can’t wait to implement on the website in future versions.

How long have you yourself been writing drabbles?

I have been writing drabbles since I was 14 and sharing them with friends via email and online blogging.

What’s your day job? 

My day job is split into three segments really: I’m a writer working on my first manuscript. I also started a company with my sister this year called BnE Media (www.bnemedia.com) where we create animated storybook apps for children. And of course, I work on drabbl.es.

And your dream job?

This is pretty much the dream. I am able to travel while working, I am able to write full-time, and I am able to work on interesting projects.

How many of you are involved in the project and what are the key roles?

As mentioned earlier, my husband is a key member of this project. He works with many start-up companies and is the ideal partner to have for this website. Plus, it’s great fun to be working on something with Lachlan. David Elliot and his team at Agile Digital are amazing–they worked tirelessly to make sure we had demos for workshops and a working version to begin this first trial in October.

How long has it taken to get the site up and running?

The idea was developed into a working website early in the year, and we were able to secure our developers (Agile Digital) in April. In six months, we have been able to start our first trial.

Now that drabbl.es is live, how much work is involved in running and promoting the site?

It’s actually a lot more work than I thought. Running a website, especially one in the early stages, means that I read 95% of all the drabbles. Drabbles are then randomly picked to be ‘promoted’ on social media, as well as advertising our challenges on social media so users know there are new ones. Running a trial, in particular, means I sort through feedback results and am constantly updating the development strategy for the next version. It definitely keeps me busy – but I love it all the same. It’s a new experience that I wouldn’t get anywhere else.

When do you anticipate leaving alpha stage and launching proper?

We plan to have the alpha trial running until the end of January (although we may continue into February). The site will still be live after that, but behind the scenes we’ll start working on the beta version. We’ll then release the next version and collect feedback. I love the idea of an evolving website that is exactly what its users want. After the beta trial and redevelopment, I think we’ll launch the proper version.

Will there be iOS and Android apps for drabbl.es?

I certainly hope so! To me, drabbling is definitely something that can be done on the run. You can be at a concert and write about the song you just heard; you can be watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks and describe the atmosphere; you can take a picture and explain what it means to you right then and there while still being in the moment.

Why should people post to drabbl.es rather than Facebook or Twitter or their own Tumblr/blog?

Drabbl.es allows people to tell stories. That is our aim. We want to read about a moment in someone’s life and feel as if we experienced it with them. Drabbl.es is about connections. Facebook and Twitter statuses have developed to the point where they are often used to talk about a very specific moment, but once the moment is over, the update or tweet is often no longer relevant. We want drabbles to have longevity and to mean something a week, a month, a year, a decade after it’s published. Tumblrs and blogs allow users to write as much as they want–we want to encourage creativity by having the word restriction.

Might we see drabbl.es anthologies in ebook form in the future?

It is definitely something that we’ve thought about. Possibly as a way to deliver drabbles daily, weekly or monthly to users interested in particular genres or users. Almost like a newsletter, but hopefully delivered straight to your eReader. That being said, we’ve also thought about users able to export their drabbles straight to ePub/mobi and upload to the various stores themselves. It’s something we’ve thought about, but still a little while off from implementing.

How will you deal with copyright issues ie does the writer retain copyright and what if you were to publish a book, would you have to ask for permission?

Writers always retain copyright. As a writer myself, this is something I feel very strongly about. When they post on the website, the work is always theirs. If we were to publish a book, we would ask the users for permission.

What about moderating the drabbles to ensure nothing defamatory or racist etc is posted, is that a big job? 

Currently, our users are wonderful and don’t make it a very big job. I imagine it may turn into one, though. Our website is only as good as the users on it, so I hope that our users will alert us to anything they think we should check out, in addition to our own moderation.

What’s the end goal and how will you make money/pay for the site?

Ideally, and it’s a big dream, I’d love drabbl.es to be on the Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook stage–something people do for fun, but is totally addictive. Regarding making money, we believe the site can make money in two ways. Firstly, sponsored challenges are a logical step. The challenges are already part of drabbl.es functionality and with our view that drabbl.es can be written about events and experiences, then having drabbl.es host challenges for other companies seems reasonable and something the drabbl.es community would do because they are already using the challenges section of the website. The second way is by creating levels of paid users. There will always be a user type that is free and without advertising, but if they want more functionality, such as linking drabbles together or adding more than one picture to a drabble for example, they would need to pay for their account.

How did you come up with the extensive list of drabbl.es subjects? Can contributors suggest more?

I searched for writing genres on Google and came up with a multitude of sites that declared they had the best list of writing genres. I ended up just picking the one I like the best and started with that. The list is a work in progress and I would love for users to suggest more.

What other online forums exist for posting drabbles ie what’s your competition?

A wave of citizen journalism sites have cropped up in the last year and I feel that this is probably our major competition. They all allow their users to add pictures, follow other users, get email updates, comment and socialise on the websites. What’s more, they all promote that their site is about storytelling. Despite this, I know that our concept and website is strong because our 100 word restriction on the stories is a challenge (and an addictive one at that) which only enhances and promotes creativity.

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14. Suzanne Collins Rules Most Read Books List on Facebook

Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games dominated Facebook this year, her trilogy taking the first, second and third spots on Facebook’s Most Read Books of 2012 list.

Above, you can see Facebook’s infographic about the top books of 2012. Below, we’ve listed the top five books on that list…

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay by  Suzanne Collins
4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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15. Book in for the 2013 Women Writers Challenge!

Australian Women Writers ChallengeWhich of the many books on your to-read list will you pick up (or click on) next? If you’re as indecisive as me, it’s a struggle each time.

In 2013, I will have a mission to guide me. I’m signing up for the second annual Australian Women Writers Challenge, with a plan to read 27 books by Australian women writers, many of which have been gathering dust on my real and virtual bookshelves for years (the full list to come in a future post).

I found out about the event too late in 2012, but tracked the progress of other bloggers who joined in via Twitter and GoodReads with interest. So what exactly is this giant digital book club, how did it come to be, and how can you get involved? Founder ELIZABETH LHUEDE explains all …

1. What is the Australian Women Writers Challenge all about, and what inspired you to launch the campaign?



The Australian Women Writers Challenge is a reading and reviewing challenge organised by book bloggers. It asks people to sign up and read, or read and review, a number of books by Australian women throughout the year, and to discuss them on book blogs and social media. Through the challenge, we hope to draw attention to and overcome the problem of gender bias in the reviewing of books in Australia’s literary journals, and to support and promote books by Australian women.

Indirectly, the challenge was inspired by the VIDA count, an analysis of major book reviewing publications in North America and Europe. This count revealed that male authors were far more likely to have their books reviewed in influential international newspapers, magazines and literary journals than female authors.

An analysis of Australian literary pages by Bookseller + Publisher showed a similar bias (reprinted in Crikey in March 2012). 

From my own experience I know the problem isn’t just with male readers not reading books by women; it’s more entrenched than that: women, too, are guilty of gender bias in their reading. This is part of a much larger problem of devaluing work labelled as being by a woman. A 2012 study quoted recently by Tara Moss demonstrates that this bias exists independent of the actual quality and content of the work (see excerpt here).

To help solve this problem, the Australian Women Writers Challenge calls on readers to examine their reading habits and, if a bias against female authors exists, work to change it by reading – and reviewing – more books by Australian women. The quality of the work is there: it’s up to us to discover and celebrate it.


2. Is it just a coincidence that the challenge arrived on the scene around the same time as the Stella Prize for Australian women’s writing?



The challenge owes a lot to the people who created the Stella Prize. Kirsten Tranter, one of the Stella panelists, wrote about the VIDA statistics in early 2011, as did many others in the early part of that year (see a list here). Without the Stella Prize, the challenge wouldn’t have been the success it is.

3. How highly would you rate the influence of Miles Franklin on all of this, and why do you think she has become such a symbol for women writers in this country?

The Stella panelists chose Miles Franklin as a symbol, I believe, because no women were shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2009 and 2011, despite the prize having been established at the bequest of a woman – one who, incidentally, chose to publish under a male pseudonym.

I can see the strategic reasons for adopting Franklin as a symbol, but I also think it’s a symptom of the problem. There are far more talented Australian female authors. There are also other literary prizes that have been going for years that don’t get anywhere near the publicity of the Miles Franklin Award, such as the Barbara Jefferis Award and The Kibble and Dobbie prizes. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of these awards before I started researching books to read for the challenge. Why is that, unless it has something to do with the fact that they, in varied ways, celebrate women?

4. A year on, do you feel the campaign has been a success?

The challenge has been a huge success. The Huffington Post Books blog published a wrap-up of recent releases of books by Australian women, Overland blog announced 2012 as The Year of Australian Women Writers, it has been mentioned on Radio National, and the Sydney Morning Herald’s Daily Life blog counted it among the 20 Greatest Moments for Women in 2012. I couldn’t have hoped for more.



5. How important has social media been to its reach?

Twitter especially has a major force in getting word out about the challenge, and has helped publicise the many reviews now linked to the blog (well over 1300). Recommendations via book bloggers and, to a lesser extent, Facebook have also been important. The real spikes in terms of hits on the blog, however, have come after mentions in traditional media.



6. You’ve done some survey research into AWW’s impact. Have you seen the results of that research yet?

A brief look at the results has revealed that the majority of respondents didn’t sign up for the challenge, but had heard about it; a majority of these also happened to read more books by Australian women this year. There are many other factors beside the challenge which have raised the profile of books by Australian women in 2012, so the challenge can’t take credit for this result, but it is a very encouraging trend.

Of the people who did sign up for the challenge, a majority read more books by Australian women than in previous years, and most reviewed more and read more broadly. A majority of respondents credited the challenge for their having a greater awareness of authors’ names, book titles and a sense of the breadth and diversity of genres being written by Australian women.

7. Do you have anything different planned for AWW in 2013?

In 2013, the challenge will remain basically the same, with the aim to read and review more books by Australian women. One change is that there will now be a ‘read only’ option for people who are reluctant (or too time poor) to review. This is a gamble – as it could easily diffuse the challenge’s goal. But it is my hope that people who sign up for this option will actively participate in the challenge.

How can they do that? By discussing books they’re reading on social media, using #aww2013 on Twitter, posting comments on the AWW Facebook page, discussing the books in the AWW GoodReads group, and – especially – by commenting on book bloggers’ reviews. Book bloggers have made a huge effort to read and review these books and I’m sure they appreciate people commenting.

8. Are the goals for the campaign the same, or have they grown with the movement?



The goal for the challenge remains to help overcome gender bias in reviewing, and also more generally to support and promote books by Australian women.

9. How can readers, authors, publishers, booksellers, the media and bloggers get involved?



The best way to get involved is to sign up to the challenge, to pledge to read and review books by Australian women in 2013, and to encourage others – friends, co-workers, family members, book group members, local librarians, school teachers and bookshop owners – to join as well. You can sign up here.

10. Can men participate (of course I know they can, but you never know, some might be too shy unless you extend them a really warm invitation!)?

Men are very welcome to participate – as they were in 2012. One male participant in the 2012 challenge was David Golding who recently wrote a wrap-up post on his participation which included a call for more men to sign up.

Another participant from 2012 is Sean Wright from Adventures of a Bookonaut blog. Sean has joined the AWW team and will be looking for ways to help get more male readers engaged in the challenge. (If you have any ideas, let him know!)



11. Who is/are your favourite Australian woman writer/s?


This is a tough question. I can honestly say my knowledge of books by Australian women is still too limited for me to have a favourite or favourites. This year I have discovered a wealth of genuine talent  – world-class authors I didn’t know existed this time last year – and I’m convinced there are many more to discover. My favourite genre is crime, particularly psychological suspense, and in those genres I’ve enjoyed the work of Wendy James, Rebecca James, Sylvia Johnson, Sara Foster, Caroline Overington, Angela Savage, Sulari Gentill, Nicole Watson, PM Newton and my friend Jaye Ford. But one of my goals this year was to read widely, which means I’ve read a lot of single books (46 so far) by different authors. The only authors I’ve repeated have been Gail Jones, Charlotte Wood and Margo Lanagan (two each). It’s not enough to go on to develop a favourite.

12. What were your top three reads by Australian women writers this year?



Only three? Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy, Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts tie for first, and a shared tie second includes Emily Maguire’s Fishing for Tigers and PM Newton’s The Old School, while Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper comes in third. These are all very different books but, in my view, compelling reading. (Sorry, that’s five, isn’t it?)

13. What are you planning to read next?

I’ve just finished Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, an emotionally devastating and imaginative speculative fiction novel, and before that was Annabel Smith’s Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, a very readable literary book about sibling rivalry. I have a huge stack books by Australian women to read, both recent releases and older titles, but I’m also keen to get back to my own writing which I’ve neglected this year while working on the challenge. Creating the new websites has required fulltime work for the past few months, and I need to get back to my own writing.

13. Could you tell us a little about your own writing? Has your work on the challenge pushed your own literary career along?

I started writing novels after I finished my PhD (in 1995) and I’ve had success in competitions with several romantic suspense novels and a fantasy title, but so far no acceptances from publishers. My latest story is a page-turning psychological suspense novel which draws on some hair-raising encounters I had working as an intern counsellor at a private hospital, as well my experience growing up with a schizophrenic father.

Earlier this year I attracted the attention of literary agent, author and former editor, Virginia Lloyd, who loved the story and agreed to represent me. With a great team now supporting the AWW challenge, I hope to get on with writing my second psychological suspense novel in 2013.

Have I been inspired by what I’ve read? Without a doubt. It has also been intimidating to see the depth, breadth and quality of the work that is out there – work that clearly doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s scary, in a way, to go back to my own writing now with this new ‘anxiety of influence’. I would love to write with the richly textured imaginative flair of Margo Lanagan, or the terrible emotion of Eva Hornung, or the compassionate humanity of Charlotte Wood. I would love to write crime with the sense of history and stylistic precision of PM Newton, or have the exquisite appreciation of nature and human heartbreak of Favel Parrett, or the contemporary feel and nuanced characters of Emily Maguire. I’d love to write suspense, mystery and history with the scope and readability of Kate Morton – and to have my books be half as popular with readers. I doubt I can do any of those things and I feel grief about that. I know the next step in such thinking would be “Why even try?” But what I can do is what I’ve always – sometimes hesitantly – tried to do: to write as skilfully and honestly as I’m able, informed by who I am and my unique experience of the world. If one day I get published and find readers who enjoy reading the stories I’ve created, great: that will be a dream come true. If not, at least I can be an active and appreciative reader of those writers who have a great deal more talent than me.

 

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16. Bet You Didn't Know: Facebook Pages

When Facebook rolled out its new promote button a few months back, it also quietly changed a part of the Pages features. In the past, every Page you "liked" was guaranteed to show up in your Newsfeed.

Not any more.

According to Facebook, if you'd like to receive all new posts in your Newsfeed, you'll need to alter your settings in each Page you like.

Here's what you need to do:
  1. Open a Page (May B.'s Facebook page is a great place to start!).
  2. Hover over the like button until the pull-down menu appears.
  3. Click Get Notifications.
  4. Voila! You'll never miss another post from your favorite Pages.


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17. Dogs in Books

Rascal, when she's
being good!
Dogs in books are quite popular, especially to me, since I've owned one dog or another for many years. Some of you may already know about my current dog, Rascal, a pit bull, who may yet show up in one of  my books.

I included a Chinese Crested dog in my romantic comedy, Her Handyman, since that strange type of breed seemed a perfect match for my quirky artist character, Zoe.

I also included a neighbor's dog in my romantic suspense, Killer Career, but not in such happy circumstances.



I almost forgot to mention, my upcoming release, Blessing or Curse, also has a police dog in it!

To give proper due to man's and woman's best friend, I started a new Facebook Group, called Dogs in Books.

If you also like to read or write about dogs in books, come on over and join us at:



Morgan Mandel

Find all of Morgan Mandel's books at

and at her Amazon Author Page:

Follow on Twitter @MorganMandel


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18. Thanks!





Thank you so much for all the support yesterday at the market! I had so many visitors come and say "Hi". Here are some pictures of my booth for those who couldn't make it out. It was a great day.


Follow me on Facebook and recieve this print for free! Can't beat that!! 




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19. Chuck Sambuchino's CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM


Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books and finding Success as an Author -- Chuck Sambuchino

www.chucksambuchino.com

I’ve read several books on author platform but have to confess never fully grasping the term until reading Chuck Sambuchino’s CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. At its simplest level, a platform is an author’s visibility and reach -- the framework an author has and continues to build that let’s others know of his or her work.

Sambuchino describes his book as “a guide for all the hardworking writers out there who want a say in their own destinies.” Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing a platform, Sambuchino says the need for platform cannot be ignored, even for those of us who write fiction. The book is divided into three sections: The Principles of Platform, The Mechanics of Platform, and Author Case Studies. At the end of each chapter, literary agents weigh in on the chapter’s topic, giving readers perspectives outside of the author’s. One of the most helpful aspects of the book is the Case Study section, where twelve different authors from a variety of genres (memoir to self help, fiction to reference) reflect on the choices they made in building their platforms -- what worked, what they wish they’d done differently, what they believe makes them stand out from others in their field.

Sambuchino is also quick to say “this is a resource for those who realize that selling a book is not about blatant self-promotion.” It is more about relationships, the sharing of expertise, and supporting others along the way. Though written for the aspiring author, a lot of things resonated with me, a newly published author, such as the wisdom behind an author newsletter, establishing an “events” page on my blog, and always, that kindness and generosity go a long way.

2 Comments on Chuck Sambuchino's CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM, last added: 2/11/2013
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20. in the aftermath of Work In Progress day, and remembering Gerald Cope

Yesterday, in response to a query from Ilie Ruby, I posted a few lines from a novel in progress and then invited all my Facebook writer friends to do the same. I wanted to shatter, for that one day at least, the loneliness that can stem from writing. I wanted to celebrate those who had published and those who will soon publish—to make it clear that we are all of the same yearning community, no barriers between us.

The response was enormous. Friends told friends told friends, and Facebook became a map of beginnings, a crest of awe, a wild fire net of encouragement and surprise.

Late in the day, my husband and I headed down to the city to take place in another act of essential community—the memorial service for Gerald M. Cope, the theatrical and compassionate leader of the architecture firm (Cope Linder Associates) where I worked as a new graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and where I met my husband before he left (within a handful of weeks) for graduate work at Yale. We had made enduring friendships at this place. Gerry, and his son Ian (who now leads the firm) would come to our wedding. My husband would return to work at the firm for many, many years more. Yesterday, at the Union League, we saw these old friends again for the first time in a decade, more.

Those who spoke at the memorial service—Gerry's children, his brother, his friend, his wife—brought Gerry back to tangible life, reanimating this glorious man who was committed to engendering joy. Gerry understood, one person said, that it wasn't what you said that would be remembered, or what you did. It was how you would make others feel. Gerry Cope had a way of making us all feel charming and charmingly important. He united us, and yesterday we were again all friends once more.

2 Comments on in the aftermath of Work In Progress day, and remembering Gerald Cope, last added: 2/20/2013
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21. Ideal Image Sizes for Facebook & Twitter

Does your Twitter or Facebook profile look unbalanced?

The strategic communication company Cerebra has created an infographic outlining the ideal image sizes for photos on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Social Times has more information:

In February 2012, Facebook updated the look of its Timeline for Pages to include cover photos and featured posts, among other changes. Twitter’s December 2011 redesign, “Let’s Fly,” included new backgrounds for profiles. YouTube has changed quite a bit in the last year. The latest channel redesign, which will bring branded banners to all users, was announced a couple weeks ago. But it’s only available to select partners right now and is not reflected in this chart. Check YouTube’s channel art guidelines for updates.

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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22. Social media and the culture of connectivity

By José van Dijck


In 2006, there appeared to be a remarkable consensus among Internet gurus, activists, bloggers, and academics about the promise of Web 2.0 that users would attain more power than they ever had in the era of mass media. Rapidly growing platforms like Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), and Twitter (2006) facilitated users’ desire to make connections and exchange self-generated content. The belief in social media as technologies of a new “participatory” culture was echoed by habitual tools-turned-into-verbs: buttons for liking, trending, following, sharing, trending, et cetera. They articulated a feeling of connectedness and collectivity, strongly resonating the belief that social media enhanced the democratic input of individuals and communities. According to some, Web 2.0 and its ensuing range of platforms formed a unique chance to return the “public sphere” — a sphere that had come to be polluted by commercial media conglomerates — back in the hands of ordinary citizens.

Eight years after the apex of techno-utopian celebration, a number of large platforms have come to dominate a social media ecosystem vastly different from when the platforms just started to evolve. It’s time for a reality check. What did social media do for the public — users like you — and for the ideal of a more democratic public space? Do they indeed promote connectedness and participation in community-driven activities or are they rather engines of connectivity, driven by automated algorithms and invisible business models?  Online socializing, as it now seems, is inimically mediated by a techno-economic logic anchored in the principles of popularity and winner-takes-all principles that enhance the pervasive logic of mass media instead of offering alternatives.

Most contemporary social media giants once started out as informal platforms for networking or “friending” (Facebook), for exchanging user-generated content (YouTube), or for participating in opinionated discussions (Twitter). It was generally assumed that in the new social media space, all users were equal. However, platforms’ algorithms measured relevance and importance in terms of popularity rankings, which subsequently formed the quantifiable basis of data-driven interactivity wrapped in “social” rhetoric such as following, trending, or sharing. In this platform-mediated ecosystem, sponsored and professionally generated content soon received a lot more attention than user-generated content. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook gradually changed their interfaces to yield business models that were staked in two basic variables: attention and user data. By 2012, once informal social traffic between users had become fully formalized, automated, and commoditized by platforms owned and exploited by fast growing corporate giants. Although each of these platforms nurses its own proprietary mechanisms, they are staked in the same values or principles: popularity, hierarchical ranking, quick growth, large traffic volumes, fast turnovers, and personalized recommendations. A like is not a retweet, but most algorithms are underpinned by the norms of popularity and fast-trending topics.

The cultivation of online sociality is increasingly dominated by four major chains of platforms: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. These chains share some operational principles even if they differ on some ideological premises (open versus closed systems). Some consider social media platforms as alternatives to the old mass media, praising their potential to empower individual users who can contribute their own opinions or content to a media universe that was before pretty much closed to amateurs. Although we should not underestimate this newly acquired power of the web as a publishing medium for all, it is hard to keep up the tenet that social media are alternatives to mass media. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly obvious that the logics of mass media and social media are intimately intertwined. Not just on the level of platforms mechanics and content (tweets have become the equivalent of soundbites) but also on the level of user dynamics and business models; YouTube-Google now collaborates with many former foes from Hollywood to turn their platform into the gateway to the entertainment universe. Newspapers and television stations are inevitably integrated in the ecosystem of connective media where the mechanisms of data-driven user traffic determines who and what gets most attention, hence drawing customers and eyeballs.

This new connective media system has reshaped the power relationships between platform owners and users, not only in terms of who may steer information but also who controls the vast amount of user data that rushes through the combined platforms every day. What are the larger political and social concerns behind deceptively simple interfaces and celebrated user-convenient tools? Where in 2006 the notion of user power still seemed unproblematic, the relationship between users and owners of social media platforms is now contentious and embattled. In the wake of the growing monopolization of niches (Facebook for social networking, Google for search, Twitter for microblogging) it is important to redefine and reappraise the meaning of “social,” “public,” “community,” and “nonprofit.” The ecosystem of connective media has no separate spaces for the “public”; it is a nirvana of interoperability which major players argue for deregulation and which imposes American neoliberal conditions on a global space where boundaries are considered disruptions of user convenience. Common public values, such as independence, trust, or equal opportunities, are ready for reassessment if they need to survive in an environment that is defined by social media logic.

José van Dijck is a professor of Comparative Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam; her latest book, The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media has just been published by Oxford University Press (2013).

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Image credit: 3D little human character X9 in a Network, holding Tablet Computer. People series. Image by jojje9999, iStockphoto.

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23. Is it true? Is this the future of blogging?

In the December 4, 2012 issue of Shelf Awareness, in an article on YA authors and their social media platforms, Andrea Cremer (author of Nightshade and its sequels) admits she started out with a blog, but "now finds that medium too slow and relies primarily on Facebook and Twitter." 

She also says her "social media activity takes up three to four hours of her day." And that's without blogging!

Further evidence that blogging is losing its appeal: several of the authors I follow have essentially stopped blogging. The last time Maureen Johnson (Name of the Star) posted to her blog was five months ago. Yet you can find the Queen of Teen on Twitter nearly every waking hour of the day.  Laurie Halse Anderson also hasn't blogged for five months. Mike Jung (Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities) is another author with a Twitter empire. His last blog post was Feb 23, certainly recent enough. Yet the one before that was Oct 7, 2012!

What does this mean?

I think it means the future of blogging is Twitter and Facebook! The internet is changing our brains and the way we process information. People simply don't have the patience to read long blog posts anymore (Go on, admit it, you've skimmed more than one of my longer posts -- and yes, I've probably skimmed one or more of some other blogger's posts. Not yours! No!).  And it's possible that LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr and especially Pinterest also vie for a portion of your allotted social media time. When does anyone have time to write or read books?

Wait until Facebook buys out Twitter and they'll be the same thing.  Then it will be one looming tower of babble.

What do you think?


34 Comments on Is it true? Is this the future of blogging?, last added: 3/4/2013
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24. Facebook Follow Free Print



Free print for March! Follow me on Facebook and get this print for free!!



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25. Odd Links: Resources for Comedy



Do you ever stop learning? I don’t. I may be able to teach a number of things and bring out the best in my students, but for myself, I keep learning.

Here are some things I’ve learned lately.

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