Saturday, February 13, 2010

How Frequent Changes on Big Web Sites Affect Our Publishing Plans

What do the constant changes on Facebook and Amazon, etc. mean to us writers of nonfiction? Do they only mean that we have something new to learn all the time?

Yes. But for those who write how-to books (or buy them) that feature lots of online tips with links, they mean you need to consider their shelf life. You new book will be outdated with the first change any of the tech giants make if you are trying to help people through the step-by-step practicalities.

So, what to do? Consider eschewing paperbacks that are more expensive to update. A good alternative is the e-book format. It can be updated reasonably quickly.

The alternative is to avoid specific navigation steps in your print edtion. See the new changes expected on Facebook soon at http://www.switched.com/2009/12/28/facebook-gets-another-facelift-in-other-news-sun-rises-grass/?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl6|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fwww.switched.com%2F2009%2F12%2F28%2Ffacebook-gets-another-facelift-in-other-news-sun-rises-grass%2F

And, now go rework anything you've already published or plan to publishes that helps people with Facebook.

It does seem a shame, doesn't it? Some of these changes don't really feel like improvement and they discourage us from writing anything but the most general of guidelines for our readers. If you're a techie, you may not agree. You may not want to discourage progress.

Where do you stand?

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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