Getting Ready for the 140 Characters Conference

140 character conferenceI’ve been invited to speak on a panel at next week’s conference, which is shaping up to be pretty impressive. Scrolling through the schedule of events, I’m glad to see colleagues Debbie Stier and Ron Hogan on another panel, and a number of others in the media I’ve been following for a while.

Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to talk about. I might just point to Richard Nash after his talk and say, “Ditto.”

Preliminary thoughts:

  • A number of fiction writers have tried to wrangle with Twitter, with mixed results. Instead of coming off as square peg/round hole, what are the new avenues of narrativity opened up here? Is it another spoke in the wheel of new storytelling, as in this recent example?
  • With the Picador Book Club, Follow the Reader, and Twitter Book Club, authors are interacting with readers. Booksellers are interacting with customers. Reviewers are interacting with critics. What are some other possibilities? Is this at all different from existing platforms like Goodreads Author Discussions or writers crowd-sourcing their research? While I’m encouraged by the low barrier to entry for author/reader interactions on Twitter , I wonder if the format kneecaps the dialogue, rendering it superficial. (Then again, it’s not like the audience Q&A at author events is a hotbed of dialectics either.)

What do you think? What are some of the ways you think Twitter will or could work in publishing/bookselling/reading?

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1 Comment

Filed under industry, socialmedia

One response to “Getting Ready for the 140 Characters Conference

  1. This is just something that I have been pondering over the last few weeks. Many publishers and authors already do a great job of interacting on Twitter with readers about titles post-pub. However, what I would like to see more from authors and editors/publishers is more interaction during pre-pub. And by pre-pub, I mean prior to the release of the galleys. For authors, it would be interesting to see a discourse on Twitter regarding novels in progress (i.e what is inspiring them at that moment, what inspired them to write the book in the first place, how they think the book is coming, etc…). I have seen some authors do this via Twitter, but not many. For editors/publishers, similar to authors, they could discuss the buzz in the office over a manuscript, interact with readers more by releasing new covers via twitter, or they could release Twitter galleys (twalleys) or twitter ARCs (twarcs—lame attempt at Twitter vernacular). These twitter galleys, or ARCs, could just be the first chapter of a title broken down into 140 character segments, released once a day. This is not a new idea; however, I have not seen it done at the pre-pub stage. Additionally, this could give non-publishing personnel (the readers), most of whom don’t know what a galley is, a chance to get a first look at a title. Granted there are issues with this, it could not be done with lead titles that are highly classified, but usually those titles are series and have built-in audiences already. It would need to be done with mostly midlist titles and then it becomes a question of whether the author has enough influence, in the marketplace and on Twitter for this to be effective. But engaging the reader at an earlier stage than the release date might add more to the reading experience and promote the authors backlist titles during the pre-pub as well.

    Just a thought.

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