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News and tech help for the indie author

Can Anyone Recommend an Alternative to Hootsuite?
by Nate Hoffelder
22 Nov 2017 at 3:06pm

If you can take a moment from your Thanksgiving preparations, I have a favor to ask of you. Can you recommend an alternative to Hootsuite? For those not familiar with the service,Hootsuite lets you manage multiple social media accounts on several networks, all from a single dashboard. You can schedule posts, check the effectiveness of past messages, etc. It's quite popular, but I have had to stop using it because I am dissatisfied with its performance and with Hootsuite's customer service (whose job is not so much help customersas mollify them). So I need a replacement for Hootsuite. What do you use? Which one do you think is the best? Thanks!


You just finished reading Can Anyone Recommend an Alternative to Hootsuite? which was published on The Digital Reader.

Happy Thanksgiving
by Nate Hoffelder
22 Nov 2017 at 1:44pm

A happy thanksgiving from all of us at The Digital Reader to all our readers.


You just finished reading Happy Thanksgiving which was published on The Digital Reader.

Amazon is Now Punishing Authors for Running BookBub Promotions
by Nate Hoffelder
22 Nov 2017 at 9:17am

It is SOP in 2017 for authors to buy space in a BookBub or other sales promotion email so they can boost their ebook sales, but given how Amazon is letting its bots run amok authors might want to reconsider. There are numerous reports on KBoards from authors who have had an ebook "rank-stripped" within minutes of a BookBub promotion email arriving in readers inboxes. For example: Our VEIL KNIGHTS series promo got rank stripped on a 99c BB promo just a few weeks back. and Welp, I had a bookbub today for a 3 year old permafree wide book. I was at maybe #475 in the free store at the start of the day, before the email went out. I'm already rank stripped. Fingers crossed that my ranking is restored. and I have a Bookbub today. I was at #4 free. This is the only time really that I check ranking. Well, the ranking is gone. Thanks, Amazon. The problem is automation run amok. Amazon's bots can't tell the difference between an author running a legitimate promotion and a scammer who is gaming the system. As a result, Amazon is punishing authors for the crime of promoting their books. [...]


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Amazon to Open Pop-Up Store in London
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Nov 2017 at 11:34am

Amazon is opening its second European pop-up store this week. The first was in Paris, but this one is in London. From Business Insider: Amazon has opened a pop-up store in London's Soho Square to raise awareness of its upcoming "Black Friday" sale event. Visitors will be able to try electronics, toys, jewellery, and beauty products that will go on sale on Black Friday, which is the biggest shopping day of the calendar year. ... The 3,000 sq ft Amazon pop-up store is designed to look and feel like a home. It contains a kitchen, living room, bedroom, gaming zone, kids room, and a creative area. Customers can take part in workshops and win prizes at the store, where there will also be a number of special guests, according to Amazon. In 015 (right around the time Amazon was opening a bookstore in Seattle), Amazon opened a couple kiosks in Paris. Those short-lived locations were far smaller than the one in London, and they only sold Amazon's Fire tablets and Kindle ereaders. I am told the kiosks closed on early 2016, although I haven't confirmed that detail yet. Doug Gurr, country manager of Amazon.co.uk, said: "We are showcasing some of [...]


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A Bug in the Fire OS 5.6 Update Breaks Sideloading of Apps ? Here?s How to Fix
by Nate Hoffelder
21 Nov 2017 at 6:59am

I have some good news and some bad news for you today. The good news is that Amazon has released an update for the Fire tablet that, in the words of one user,allows the Fire tablet to monitor compatible home cameras with Alexa. The bad news is that the update also introduced a bug.Numerous Reddit users are reporting that the update has made it difficult to impossible to sideload apps. For those not familiar with the term, sideloading is the name for when an Android user downloads and installs an app from a source other than an official app store. You might download the app from the developer's own site, or from deals sites like Humble Bundle, and then copy it to your Android device before installing it. This is a common practice, but thanks to this bug, it no longer works on some Fire tablet models. Instead, users are reporting that the "install" button is grayed out, and cannot be clicked. And yes, this is very likely a bug; for one thing, Amazon isn't letting everyone download it (they probably pulled the update so they can fix the problem), and here is the official word from customer service: Thank [...]


You just finished reading A Bug in the Fire OS 5.6 Update Breaks Sideloading of Apps – Here’s How to Fix which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee ? 21 November 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Nov 2017 at 9:33pm

Here are a few stories to read this morning. Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over (NYTimes) Erik Spiekermann makes a deep impression by marrying new to old (Glenn Fleishman) The Sad Legacy Of Copyright: Locking Up Scientific Knowledge And Impeding Progress (Techdirt) On Being Forced to Read (BookRiot)


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AAP Reports Trade Revenues Down a Fraction of a Percent Through July 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Nov 2017 at 12:48pm

Publisher trade revenues decreased 11.7% in July, bringing down revenues for the year. eBook revenues were down 5% and ,paperback revenues fell 1.7%, while revenues fromhardback sales increased 2%.Downloadable audiobooks revenues were of course up. As much as I would like to mock MSM and declare "print is dead", the most likely cause is the 2016 election cycle. July 2016 marked the beginning of the final phase of the campaign, and that could have caused an uptick in nonfiction sales as people read more about the topics of the day and a an increase in fiction sales as people tried to avoid the topics of the day. Press release: After several months of increases, publishers? revenues (sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc.) declined by 11.7% in July 2017 compared to July 2016. Revenues for Jan. ? July 2017 were relatively flat, up by 0.2%, according to the most recent StatShot data from the Association of American Publishers. Tracked categories include: Trade - fiction/non-fiction/religious, PreK-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses. Revenues for trade books (fiction/non-fiction/religious) declined in July, and were flat (down 0.3%) for the year-to-date, compared to the same periods [...]


You just finished reading AAP Reports Trade Revenues Down a Fraction of a Percent Through July 2017 which was published on The Digital Reader.

Simon & Schuster?s Vanity Press Launches NaNoWriMo Writing Contest to Exploit...
by Nate Hoffelder
20 Nov 2017 at 8:05am

Of all the major publishers, Simon & Schuster is uniquely exploitative. They had previously revived theStar Trek Writing Contest to use it as a feeder pool for their vanity press, Archway Publishing, complete with cold calls where authors were pitched overpriced services, and now S&S has found a new way to gather in the lambs to be fleeced. They are using the cover of NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, to launch a writing contest, and they even roped in the S&S writing communityXOXO After Dark to lend an air of legitimacy to the contest. XOXO After Dark, a community site offering the best in romance, urban fantasy, and women?s fiction supported by Pocket Books and Simon & Schuster, is teaming up with Archway Publishing to launch the Hot Books, Cold Nights Romance Novel Writing Contest. Abby Zidle, Editor-in-Chief at XOXO After Dark and Associate Director of Marketing and Senior Editor at Pocket and Gallery Books announced the news today. ?XOXO is excited to find great new talent in romance writing,? said Zidle. ?Some of the most popular writers today started their careers as readers and fans.? Pocket Star, the digital-first imprint of Simon and Schuster, will publish the winning [...]


You just finished reading Simon & Schuster’s Vanity Press Launches NaNoWriMo Writing Contest to Exploit More Authors which was published on The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee ? 20 November 2017
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Nov 2017 at 9:44pm

Here are a few stories to read this morning. Independent bookshops play a vital role in our communities ? don't let Amazon destroy that (Guardian) An Unsolicited Great Idea for Your Next Book (New Yorker) Interactive marginalia ((Liza Daly) How to Disable Links (CSS-Tricks) ?It?s Peter Pan for grown-ups?: play by Barrie is back on stage (Guardian) W3C Publishing Summit 2017: An Ebook Dev?s View (Epub Secrets) I Pretended to Be Emily Dickinson on an Online Dating Site (Electric Lit)


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Amazon?s Black Friday Kindle and Fire Tablet Sales Start Now
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Nov 2017 at 3:03pm

Amazon is kicking off its Black Friday sales today. on the tenth anniversary of the launch of its first gadget. It has put several Fire tablet models and Kindle models on sale - but not the oasis or Voyage, though. Kindles Kindle ($50) Paperwhite ($90) Kindle for Kids bundle ($70) refurbished Kindle ($40) Paperwhite ($80) Voyage ($120) Oasis ($200) Fire Tablets Fire 7 Kids Edition ($70) Fire HD 8 Kids Edition ($90) Fire HD 10 ($100)


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Tech Tools for Authors #1
by Nate Hoffelder
19 Nov 2017 at 9:38am

Authors have to juggle a lot of balls in today's book industry. Not only do they have to write that next book, they also have to market it, balance the ledgers, woo their fans on social media, do background research on their next project, and make dinner. With all this work piling up, everyone is always looking for ways to get more done in less time.The following post detailsa few online tools I use on a weekly basis to keep my head above water, plus one I really need to start using. Canva A good image can change a post from blah to boss, and making that image doesn't have to cost you a lot of time or money. Do you see the graphic at the top of this post? I made it with the free online design tool, Canva. This tool isn't as capable as Photoshop but it is also a lot easier to use. I make everything from blog graphics to book covers to Twitter graphics with Canva. It took a little bit of time to master, but once I did I found that I could turn out a good graphic in only minutes. Instapaper Instapaper was one [...]


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