Working the Web

Reality Bites: Just How Well Does the Average Book Sell?

Think you’re the next Steven King or Agatha Christie? Have the plans for your 20 room mansion and country estate primed and ready to go? Read this first.

As we’ve stated before, if you want to be rich and famous, study ACTING. If you’ve planned all your life to make your fortune writing conventional books, you might need to think again (unless, of course, you’re Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, or Rupert Murdoch).

Here are the hard cold facts, directly quoted from an article in Publisher’s Weekly:

in 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies.

Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies.

Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies.

The average book in America sells about 500 copies.

Those blockbusters are a minute anomaly: only 10 books sold more than a million copies last year, and fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000.

Stunning. Painful. But it’s the truth. Fortunately, however, if you’re a great writer, you can now publish your work, virtually cost-free, by choosing the e-book route.

In the not-so-distant past, you’d have to make a rather hefty capital investment just to get a 3000-copy-run of a print book, then market, sell, and ship it; now, you can go from manuscript to book to reader’s hands all by yourself, if you’re willing to do a bit of legwork on your own.

So cheer up; reality bites, but it’s ALWAYS better to know, than not to know.

Isn’t it?

Good writing never goes out of style. First published 10/8/2011.

It’s True! Amazon Introducing a Tablet This Fall

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has confirmed that Amazon will indeed be selling an Amazon-branded 7″ cloud-based tablet PC this Fall (November). Read more here!

Even MORE news on this: Reportedly, this will be a KINDLE device. Here’s a firsthand report from someone at TechCrunch who’s actually testdriven a prototype.

9/6/11 Update: More details emerge from Business Insider. Peek here.

9/6/11 9:15 PM Update: EVEN MORE DETAILS emerge about this exciting new tablet. Possibly 7″ AND 10″ model Kindles soon to come. Check out Tom’s Guide Gadgets post for the lowdown.

9/12/11 10 AM Update: Further speculation from PC Magazine.

9/26/11 LAST UPDATE: TechCrunch is reporting that this new color Kindle will be called the Kindle Fire and that e-ink Kindles will continue to be sold and supported (yea)! Click here to find out more before Amazon’s official Press Conference on 9/28.

Twitter Launches a Guide for Journalists

Confused about Twitter?

You’re not alone.

The problem is widespread enough that Twitter has just launched a Guide for Journalists, called Twitter for Newsrooms.

If you’re a Twitter Vet, don’t bother. But if you’re still confused about #hashtags, give it a whirl!

Google Unveils Voice Search Capability

Bad speller?
In a hurry?
Hands full?
Hunt-and-peck typist?

Then Google’s got the answer for you: Voice Search.

Use Google’s Browser, Chrome, connect a microphone & go. You can simply speak your search terms into your microphone and get results FAST.

I’ve used voice recognition software for years & am an enthusiastic fan (once you’ve TRAINED your system, that is). It will be interesting to see how well Google can understand the vast array of accents and speech patterns it will be presented.

Adventurous? Give it a try; you may never go back to your keyboard!

Welcome to WordPros

WORDPROS’ BLOG Celebrates Great Writing. It’s also filled with tips and tricks to help you improve your own writing skills. Whether you are a professional writer, a blogger, an Executive Secretary, or an English Major, a few basic tips can take your writing from bland to WOW.

OUR MOST BASIC ADVICE for the beginning writer? (more…)

Geek Out: Google Domestic Trend Charts

Here’s a cool resource for economic freelancers (or for anyone who is interested in real world charts and graphs): America’s past economic performance, as demonstrated by trends in Google searches, adjusted for search volume.

The first page shows a couple of fascinating charts: the first is the “Google Retail Index and Clothing Store Sales” and one called the “Auto Buyers Index.” Actual retail sales figures are added on the Retail Index chart–interesting trends here.

It’s also obvious from the Auto Buyers Index that Cash for Clunkers had a dramatic effect, as was widely reported by the news media.

You can generate all types of charts by clicking through the lists on the left sidebar. Google also invites you to download the data, search for trends, & report back your results. You can learn more about this resource here.

There’s even MORE info about this project on the Google Research Blog.

Quickly Condense Web Pages for Easy Reading

Here’s an indispensable tool for prolific readers of web content: Readability.

Just download this handy app, easily add it to your browser’s toolbar, & with a single mouseclick you can escape all the web page clutter (ads, images, photos, rotating banners, Bing nag screens, etc.) and get to the heart of the web page: the article you’re trying to read.

I’ve found it indispensable for web research; I can quickly scan an article and move on to the next search result without enduring all the visual distractions inherent in the modern web.

See what you think; download this great experiment here.

Google’s Webmaster Central Blog

Here’s an indispensable link for bloggers: Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.

This handy tool will keep you in the loop regarding Google’s spiders and their policies about site indexing for Google searches.

Help make the internet a better place by cleaning out any comment spam or other nuisances that might be costing your blog precious site ranking. Remember, “you can’t do what you don’t know”–educate yourself!

Backup Your WordPress Blog

Web site backups may be boring, but they’re essential to good web hygiene. Here’s the official WordPress guide to backing up your blog (and yes, you MUST back up both the site and its associated database).

Here’s how.

How to Find Incoming Links to Your Site

Another great service from Google: here are a couple of methods for finding incoming links to your site.

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