Since I started theBookDesigner.com I’ve been delivering daily blog updates by RSS (real simple syndication) to subscribers. You can get this subscription either through a feed reader like Google’s Reader application, or as an email sent to your inbox each day.
Hundreds of subscribers wake up in the morning to a new edition of the blog, and a number of people have told me it’s become a morning ritual to see what’s on the blog and check in.
Like the post office or Fedex, we assume that delivery services understand their quality is based on reliability, first and foremost. “Through rain and wind . . .”
Unfortunately, Feedburner, the free service from Google that accomplishes this task, has problems. They cause intermittent disruptions. Everything will run fine for months then, suddenly, the feed simply stops.
People write in, wondering what happened to the blog. Blog technicians start crawling around looking for loose wires or leaky pipes, usually find nothing. A day, a few days later, the feed mysteriously starts up again.
Complicating this situation is the fact that Google provides no support for the service. It’s apparently intended to run on full automatic. There are some user groups were people can post questions or problems but they seem to be mostly questions and not many answers.
I’ve read several opinions about why Google runs this massive and widely-used service in such an odd and user-unfriendly way, but I have no idea whether they are true. It doesn’t matter, really.
A few days ago the feed broke once more. Rather than waste more time and energy trying to find the leaky pipe, I’ve decided to throw in the towel. Like some other blogs, I’m going off Feedburner and signing up with a different company where they actually have customer service—Feedblitz.
I expect this change will take place over the next week, and I’m hoping that it won’t be a disruption for readers and subscribers. Although the Feedblitz service isn’t free, I feel strongly that the essence of a subscription is that you can depend on it showing up. Hopefully, this will now be the case and we can all go back to creating and enjoying the content from this blog.
Book Marketing Column
I’m planning on starting a column one day a week to focus on book marketing, with the articles contributed by book marketing professionals. Self-publishing is much more rewarding when you can sell books. No matter how enjoyable it is to write and produce beautiful books, if we can’t market them to the right people, it’s an exercise in futility.
Although I write marketing articles myself, I think the insights of full-time book marketers are invaluable, and I hope to recruit several with different perspectives to write once a month for this reader-friendly feature. I have a tentative commitment from one of these people I respect highly, and I’m looking for three more.
I’d love to know if you like this idea, and would be interested in regular articles on book marketing. In addition, if you’d like to contribute, or suggest someone to be a regular contributor, I’d like to know that as well. Please leave a note in the comments or send me an email, thanks.
Blogging vs Self-Publishing
I often get questions about blogging, and I’m happy to answer them when I can from my own perspective. Usually I try not to write about blogging here because the subject matter is focused on publishing. Lately I’ve been wondering just how different blogging is from self-publishing.
What is self-publishing, really? If the book itself is changing, morphing into a fluid, reflowable, re-purposeable, chunkable text, who or what will a self-publisher be?
After all, bloggers create and publish content. Most individual bloggers are pretty “Indie” and don’t report to a corporate hierarchy. You can post parts of your book on your blog, then publish them as an ebook. It all seems to be blurring together, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
On top of that, authors are constantly being told to start blogs, use them to connect to their readers, build their traffic, and use the blog as an essential part of their author platform when it comes time to launch new works.
What I’m getting at is that I’d like to be more open to writing about blogging and how the whole blogging enterprise works to help with your writing, with your marketing, with establishing a presence within a discrete group and, eventually, with selling more books. I’m constantly studying this field and learning new things about content creation, content marketing, and the nuts and bolts of running an online enterprise.
Do you think blogging, as a subject, has a place on a publishing blog?
E-learning for Self-Publishers
Lastly, I received some interesting feedback to the 2 articles I published about e-learning. Several people could tell that there was an “agenda” to these articles, and I confess they are right. The articles were written as a series leading up to some new information products I’m getting ready to release. I’m planning on concentrating 2011 on learning how to develop products that will fill real needs for self-publishers. It’s pretty exciting for me, and I plan to blog about the process because there seems to be new things to learn every day.
Blogs, although they excel as publishing platforms for daily updates, and have categories and tags to help organize content, are not that good at presenting focused information drawn from a sea of articles, each piled on top of each other. I’ve been extracting useful information from my blog posts and assembling them, polishing them, and adding new content to create a series of guides I hope will be helpful on the road to publication.
Watch for a notice about this in the near future.
As always, I want to thank every one of you for reading. You are the reason I write this blog.
Have a great weekend.
Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, original work copyright by Jay Bergesen, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaybergesen/3030844473/