Choose your words carefully

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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.

 

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Market your work visually with Pintrest and Tumblr

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Medium is a new website for sharing thoughts, akin to a TED talk without the video. This week they’re trumpeting the fact that author Walter Isaacson solicited feedback for an unfinished book on the site. It goes without saying that he has garnered a wider audience for that book already. Brilliant.

Oy vey, what’s a part-time writer to do? Keeping up with all of the newest portals to publicity is so time-consuming!

Yet if you carve out a little time each week to read up on Galleycat and your Twitter feed, you may be able to pick out one or two to pursue (yes, this is on top of blogging, feeding the cats, paying the bills, etc., etc.).

In fact, I was checking out Medium and found a great post about a two-month-old Tumblr blog, GoBookYourself.co that has exploded into the stratosphere. Like many new online vehicles, it’s image-based, yet is about books. Check it out: the concept is so simple. I’m still working on getting my client’s books in there.

the tumblr blog GoBookYourself.co is a visual way to make book recommendations

the tumblr blog GoBookYourself.co is a visual way to make book recommendations

Speaking of visual marketing methods, we know Pintrest is very popular — but were you aware that it’s second only to Facebook for driving click-throughs? And more than that, just hours ago data was released that shows 1/3 of women are on Pintrest. Of course you  know that women lead in book purchases. That’s simple math.

Of course big companies like Lowe’s have Pintrest boards. When they want to sell grills they post recipes and photos of shish-kabobs. Take a peek at ways they use the site and try to think of how you can expand your repertoire:

If you create a character who enjoys a good wine, why not pin images of wine, beautiful artistic labels and grapes on the vine with references to your character (“Sukey Jones would never drink before dinner, unless it was a light Reisling.”) and a link back to the site where your book is sold.This article has already expanded my knowledge of Pintrest exponentially. I’ve pinned images of my client’s Coast Guard rescue books and labeled them as Gifts for Men/Gifts for Sailors and Boaters and Inspirational People but I really haven’t spent a lot of time on the site. That’s going to change with this new knowledge.