Choose your words carefully

Standard

Ever since my kids used the word “epic” to describe superlative events in their lives, I’ve paid attention to how people show emphasis. Now those same kids undercut their statements of wonder and awe with words like “sick” and “ill” to show backhanded emphasis (particularly effective in surfer/boarder/stoner monotone).

It’s challenging to stay on top of the linguistic zeitgeist, even when you’re plugged in all day.

language is as vast and quickly-evolving as our understanding of the solar system. Embigbangenate yours today!

language is as vast and quickly-evolving as our understanding of the solar system. Embigbangenate yours today!

I’m no linguist, just a writer and language hobbyist. When marketing I occasionally worry that dated phraseology unhelpfully underscores a long-gone era of reference: “fresh” is no longer fresh, you know, and if you’re not on top of the word or phrase of the day, it will show. “Edgy” is now dull, but do we have to delve into street slang to show we’re hip–er, what’s the current translation? And exactly how old is that intern screening incoming pitches?

Since I saw the word “embigbangenate” on a Facebook post about the solar system, I’ve been fascinated by how quickly our vocabulary changes and humbled by those who are on the cutting edge. It makes me wonder about novelists and the choices they make about everything that goes into a story, not just what technology to reference in their books (telephones? Computers? When will “bluetooth” be forgotten?) but the language choices that may put a decent story on the “uninformed” list. It’s not enough to write a good plot and description anymore is it?

(I wouldn’t suggest anyone use the word that caught my attention today, pinsploded, unless they want to forever be nailed to this moment in 2014 when Ohio housewives used a rainy day to update Pinterest with epic fervor.)

It must be the apex of cool to birth a whole new word and witness its journey around the world. I launched one yesterday, the word “bibliovore” that my family used to describe my daughters’ incredible appetites for reading. Scholastic “favorited” my Tweet about it; I guess now I can just sit back and wait for the royalties to roll in?

Sometimes I wonder what our grandparents said before there was an Internet to virally share new vocabulary. From what I remember in college that generation borrowed from foreign languages spoken by immigrants and music lyrics to pepper their daily speech. Pity the poor shlub whose parents couldn’t afford a phonograph.

 

Goodreads: so many opportunities, so little time

Standard

This spring has been full of challenges as my primary client published 3 new books (and republished one), and another client anticipates publication of his first novel just days from now. Where will I get the most bang for my publicity buck?

A true story very similar to The Fault in Our Stars.

A true story very similar to The Fault in Our Stars.

an imaginative telling of society adrift as a result of climate change

an imaginative telling of society adrift as a result of climate change

I will admit looking into Goodreads as a publicity resource on several occasions, but usually my ADD kicks in and I go after easier hits like newspaper articles instead. But consider this — with 20 million users (last year’s number) the potential is staggering. For the same reason, it’s intimidating. You hear that being too promotional could get you in trouble… and the process for proper usage can’t really be achieved in one hit. We all need a map to find this goldmine of readers, and here are a few directions:

This article helps you get established as a Goodreads contributor if you aren’t already, and tells how to get involved in groups. It suggests introducing yourself as an author and joining this group at a minimum.

This is Goodread’s own road map to getting an author page.

This author suggests doing give-aways on Goodreads to get people interested (every eyeball is important in this business!).

This slideshow provides a ton of data about the possibilities in marketing to Goodreads users: imagine 5,500 people interested in your book before it’s published? Wow! But note some of the data relies on investing in ads, which few part-time authors can afford (I haven’t looked at the cost of ads or sponsoring the newsletter, which is noted on one slide).

the power of including Goodreads in your book marketing plan

the power of including Goodreads in your book marketing plan

Well, I guess I have convinced myself that it’s time to buckle down and really give Goodreads some time and TLC. After all, I enjoy contributing and I love a challenge.