Online dating concept. Hand & Wine Glass Through Laptop Screen

By Alma Katsu

Hate the new tabs in Gmail? Me, too. This article from Mashable might give you an idea of how to make them more useful and less, well, sucky. And if it wasn’t bad enough that Gmail introduced tabs, turns out it’s affecting whether people open your newsletters and other promotional emails.

Facebook, advertising and you:  You may recall I posted recently that advertisers were seeing click-through rates 50 times better for ads in the news feed versus those in the right hand column. With CTR like that I wanted to try it out for myself. So I ran some in-the-newsfeed Facebook ads for the price drop on Kindle for one of my novels and I am happy to report a ten-fold increase in the CTR from previous ads for the same book. Of course, there’s no way for me to know how many of those clicks converted to sales, so it’s hard to say if it sold books, but it certainly generated attention.

Survey says: Author and vendor of ebook services Marie Force posted on her blog the results of a survey she conducted in June, with a dozen other authors, on reader’s habits and it makes for interesting reading. The survey asked 44 questions. She reports getting almost 3,000 replies. 

Force deserves a lot of thanks for doing the researching and making the results public and I encourage you to read the blog post and look through the full results of her survey, which she makes available in a 330 page pdf. Force, as you may know, writes romance and romance suspense, and while she doesn’t indicate which authors also participated in the survey, I suspect from some of the answers–see question #4, “what is your favorite genre of fiction?” to which 81 percent responded “romance”–that this survey is a good representation of how romance readers feel but perhaps is not representative of the readers of other genres. Biggest takeaways:

  • Readers expressed a preference (77 percent) for ebooks over (52 percent) paperbacks (respondents were allowed to choose all formats that applied). She interprets the results to mean that there’s a good number of readers buy multiple formats, perhaps buying paperbacks when that format is available.
  • Amazon was the vendor of choice for books (she didn’t distinguish between books and ebooks), getting nearly 80 percent of the vote.
  • When asked how readers find out about new books, answers were “all over the place” with Facebook scoring highest at 18 percent, retail sites (unspecified) at 17 percent, Goodreads at 13 percent and authors’ sites at 10 percent.
  • As for where readers get information about their favorite authors, 62 percent said from Facebook and 63 percent said from authors’ websites.
  • When asked which reviews were most important to them, readers said retail sites (50 percent), Goodreads (16 percent), bloggers (13 percent) and others such as RT Book Reviews, Kirkus, PW at 10 percent.

A day in the life of a social media marketer: Many of us probably dream of being able to hire someone to take care of our social media duties for us (and some lucky writers do just that. I’d love to get a couple of them to tell me how much it costs and what they get for their money.) In case you were wondering what a social media professional does, take a look at “A Day in the Life of a Social Media Marketer” from Social Media Today. It should give you an idea what you should be doing to promote yourself and how much time you should spend doing it. Btw, I quibble with her estimate that she spends two minutes promoting her post across various platforms. Two minutes doesn’t get you very far, no matter how fast you type.

What are your rights worth? Smart cookie and romance author Courtney Milan shows you how to think about whether you’re better off going with a traditional publisher or publishing yourself by running the numbers. *Your actual mileage may vary.

Tips for a more successful live event: PW’s Shelftalker columnist and bookstore owner Josie Leavitt tells us how she promotes live events in her store.

Want more social media news? There’s a link wrap-up every Friday and you can see it at our new location. You can sign up to get your news via email there, too. Or visit me at www.almakatsu.com to learn about my books. Thanks for reading.