Public notebook

My book is officially on sale tomorrow – but part of me wishes it was free…

There was a moderately strong correlation (r=.65) between downloads and Internet print sales (the more books that were downloaded, the more books were purchased online). Thus if more books had been available and downloaded the number of additional books sold would likely have increased.

Fascinating findings from a dissertation about how giving away free ebooks increases sales.

Makes me think…

Tomorrow’s the official publication date for Me & My Web Shadow in the UK (though many people already have their copies from Amazon already).

The first e-book I wrote was given away free on the iCrossing website. It was downloaded tens of thousands of times, re-printed as part of textbooks and as a standalone book in business schools in India and on marketing courses at UK universities. It was translated into Chinese where it has also been downloaded thousands of times and earned us lots of love link love.

So glad we didn’t ask for any money.

Now I have a proper, old-school, dead-tree book out there, I can’t get rid of the impulse to give it away. I’m so impatient for people to read it and just *know* it would sell a lot more if I was allowed to give it away.

Don’t think that will happen just yet (although it is available for the giveaway price of just £6.99 on Amazon now ;-)).

Anyway, just to satisfy my urge a little more to give it away first comment here and maybe the first Tweet on this post gets a free copy. I’ll even sign it if you like… :-)

Posted via web from Antony’s posterous

Public notebook

A social media horror story: Mob (a near-future science fiction story) by Tom Scott

This five minute presentation is brilliant: accomplished, original, thought-provoking and grounded in all sorts of present day potential nightmares.

Thanks to @mediaczar for the point…

Posted via web from #webshadows

Public notebook

Netiquette: Everyone wants to tell you how to do it (but some are worth listening to)…

There are only so many “Five ways to use Twitter to blah blah” that you can read before your sub-conscious kindly steps in and starts filtering them out when they pop up in your Twitter feed/Google Reader/frequently read blog.

Everyone is certain that the most useful thing they can do is tell you how to behave online.

Myself included: I’ve written a whole book of advice in fact (and yes, my catchphrase is now “have I mentioned my book yet?”) and am now promoting it by writing lots articles commissioned as “five bits of advice on…” and “the top ten tips for…”.

We like that format, don’t we. It works as a way getting a concise set of thoughts of ideas over. Unfortunately it also works as a format for lazy link-bait and for windbags to sound like they have totally cracked the formula for online media alchemy.

However I was cautious in writing Me and My Web Shadow (and still am) to stress the need for a healthy scepticism about any rules. Two reaons:

  1. These tools are too new for there to be a definitive set of rules about anything.
  2. Things like Twitter and blogs aren’t social spaces where norms, rules appear. Your networks (using those tools) are where the rules begin to take shape (and you get to shape and negotiate what they are with the people you are connected to).

Rules are useful for trying out and then breaking and then deciding what works for you.

That said, sometimes a set of recommendations and rules come along which are different and elegantly put together enough to catch my attention. This article about “netiquette” on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website by arch-commenter Winthorpe site is a prime example.

It’s interesting first as I don’t participate in that community, and norms have definitely emerged for the regular commenters there by the look of things. If I did have a go, after taking a look at Winthorpe’s article I would probably be instantly expelled for being too enthusiastic (a fault of mine), a lack of brevity (yep) and using childish emoticons ;-)

Look at it also as someone’s personal code for using the web. There are some very cool rules Winthorpe has for himself and that are necessary for others hoping to get some respect.

For instance, he’s right about brevity – it is “the mistress of style”. I also find his fondness for trolling interesting… My favourite section is this though:

In contrast to this serious fare, when tomfoolery is necessary, aim to keep it as daft as possible. Any sort of?idiot-jazz will do. In the event of conversation getting heated, Winthorpe likes to finish his posts with a passionate appeal to a virtual cricket umpire ? How’s that! Plum LBW! Stumped! If the victim of your online flipper refuses to walk, you may be facing the terrifying prospect of dealing with an Australian. Should this be your fate, you’re on your own. God’s speed.

That’s one thing I didn’t say in the book – find your voice, and make it as stylish as you can…

: : Bonus link: the Toby Young / Jay Rayner mini-spat / flame-fest in the comments section of the former’s article about Jamie Oliver allegedly having a hard time in America is well worth a look.