Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Various Amazon stuff

Several of you have mailed me regarding the cover of The Strangeling that’s up on Amazon and various other sites. Yes, my name is wrong on the cover, and the publisher is onto the error. Things over at the publishing house have been hectic, what with the launch of the Juno line this month and the fact the publisher has been busy winning awards at World Fantasy Con :) The whole Strangeling cover is going to be very different and should be going up soon. I’ll post it here too, as soon as I can.

Now, onto something else. I don't tend to rant much here (or indeed in real life) but I am feeling a bit ranty or maybe... “WTF?” would be a better way to describe what I’m feeling. ;) I want to say something about Amazon blog/plogs. I know a few people who call by here use the system so I’m hoping someone will tell me I'm not alone in being wary of the thing, or that it really does help and is worth doing. You see, I just don’t feel.... well, all warm and cuddly about it, or something…

I’m coming up to my one-year anniversary running this blog, and I’ll post some thoughts about the whole blogging thing then. Amazon blogging feels very different to me though. I started it because I was encouraged to use it as a promo source by Penguin. The info they sent was an Amazon mailshot stating that author blogging on book pages increases sales. How do they know, I ask myself? Proving what increases book sales is a notoriously difficult thing to do. Anyway, that’s by-the-by to my concerns here. I decided to give it a shot. First up, it feels odd to me because I’m posting on a big public site. (I sometimes feel like that commenting on other people's blogs, a me-quirk perhaps. It's just the whole thing about posting something that instantly appears on someone else's website.) I’m also not entirely sure about where the posts appear, should it be before reviews, after? But anyway, I ignored the doubts. So far, I’ve only got a couple of posts up there, what with not getting warm and fuzzy and all that. Then I noticed the commenting and scoring thing. Did you like this post? Hilarious! It’s never going to be useful to everyone, especially if we just blog/plog about what we’re up to in life. But then I noticed that someone had not only said they didn't like my post, they had added a reason why. Didn't like it because “don’t know the author.”

The irony really hit me, since they were on a page with a helluva of a lot of info about me, reviews, links to bio, excerpt, favourites, you name it, but they took the time out to say it wasn’t useful because they don’t know me. I’m not saying they should know me, or that my post was useful and they are wrong, but it seemed to highlight the fact that the whole system is somehow kind of odd to me; it just doesn’t make too much sense. I never seek out Amazon blog/plogs the way I do with regular blogs or journals, I just happen on them, and maybe that’s why they often seem out of place. Does anyone else feel this way? Or do you think I’ll eventually get used to the whole thing? :) Maybe even feel warm and fuzzy…one day…?

14 comments:

Nikki said...

You know, what with myspace and a blogger blog and an amazon plog and good lord. I don't have time to write any actual books, you know.

...which is why I've virtually abandoned amazon and myspace. I don't think I was doing it right anyway!

Wendy Wootton said...

Me too! I did a couple of posts on my Amazon blog, but when I saw these votes against me, it soured the whole thing for me. I mean, if you don't like a post, move on. I think it takes a special kind of person to decide they're going to spoil someone's day by making a point of voting to say they *don't* like the post!

MySpace is more 'cheap and cheerful', but as a rule, I find it a far more positive space than Amazon.

Saskia Walker said...

Mark was wondering if they had just used the same software as for book reviews, but they actually state on the site:

"Each post also gives you the opportunity to provide feedback to the sender as to whether you liked the post or not. This feedback loop means your Plog becomes even more relevant and interesting over time."

...which seems to suggest we should write our posts to fit the like/dislike of the person/s commenting. Forgive me, but that isn't what blogging is about, surely? Especially if we're simply providing more info on the book that is for sale (which is all I've done so far!)

You'd never read a newspaper article and write to the paper and say "don't like that article because I don't know the person in it." The whole point is the information is there, take it or leave it.

Nikki, I'm so with you on that. The actual writing hours diminish.

Wendy, that's it isn't it. Just move on. I really want to get to Myspace, it seems more fun too. But something has to give around here and I don't want it to be my actual writing!

Nikki said...

People vote on the plogs? For goodness sake...the internet is eating itself.

Saskia Walker said...

LOL yes Nikki, eating itself! You're so right.

Madelynne said...

Amazon plogs feel really weird to me too. I've never actually posted anything on mine because the prospect is just too scary. I'm not sure I will now. Voting on me saying hello... Yeek! No thank you!

Saskia Walker said...

Madelynne, don't let me put you off trying it out!

Shanna said...

Oh, me too! me too! I got myself all stoked about both the plogs and the My Space stuff, and now I can't really keep up with either. First, I'm not sure it was all that beneficial for me (other than to check a million times a day to see if someone hated my lastest plog) and second, because as Nikki says, damned if it didn't cut into my writing time for no reason.

Granted, blogging does that too, but I really like the blogging (which feels more like a journal and less less a "must sell myself" post), plus it's created a great online community of writers who inspire me, which kind of rocks! Way better than stupid anonymous people who vote on what you wrote.

:) s.

Tempest Knight said...

I have a blog and a MySpace. That's more than enough. If I have to keep spending so much time on the web, when will I write again?

kristina lloyd said...

Sometimes I check my own blog to see if I've posted anything. I never have.

'Plog' is such an ugly word. I'd veto it on those grounds alone.

Saskia Walker said...

Thanks all! I'm such a worrier, knowing it's not just me struggling with this helps a lot.

Alison Tyler said...

Hi Saskia,

It is totally freaky to see the votes on Amazon. Especially, since there's no way to tell why someone DOESN'T like what you've posted. Are the entries too short, too long? Too dull? I got slammed right away from the start and now try only to publish information about the books on Amazon. No chatty comments. I'll post TOCs of new titles or link to reviews, but that's about it. Rachel Kramer Bussel does post nice info on Amazon, and she seems immune to the votes. Maybe I need a thicker skin!

Saskia Walker said...

I feel exactly the same way, Alison. Perhaps the negative posters are just trolls, abusing the system, but we have no way of knowing that.

ZaZa said...

I'm not sure how it works for others, but it seems like I get the plogs on the book page of authors I've bought. I have no way of knowing, of course, if other authors have one but I'm not seeing it. I also, occasionally, get notifications on the homepage when I go there for the first time in a visit.

If this person didn't know you, then she/he presumably hadn't bought your books before, so who knows?