Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hemingway And His Cats Have Nothing on Me

So I was writing in the study (a beautiful book-lined room with the requisite desk, computer, reading chair and comfy love-seat coach, not to mention some skulls and a great painting of Hemingway writing for good measure) the other day.

As I looked up from my writing, I realized that all four of the animals were lounging in the room with me.

After a slight heart-warming pause, I snapped some quick pics of the little fellows and posted it to Instagram with the following note:

"I’ve always loved this #jameslumbers painting of Hemingway called “The Sun Never Set” that hangs in my writing space. Love Papa’s cats in the image, and now have two similarly coloured ones PLUS a couple of puppies too!"

Left to Right: The Sun Never Set by James Lumbers, Meredith, Indie, Atticus and Maya

I have always loved that particular James Lumbers painting (among so many of his other works because of the beautiful "Moments in Time" that he captures using ghostly figures -- go figure that a writer of ghost stories and thrillers might enjoy that), but now this painting has an additional heart-warming feel to it, given the furry friends that I spend most of my days with lately.

I noticed, recently, that two of the cats in the Hemingway painting have the exact same coloring as Meredith and Atticus (the pair of mother and son cats in our home). Yes, Hemingway might have an additional cat in this painting, a Siamese cat, but we have two cats and two dogs: a golden retriever and a labradoodle.

So there! ;)

I finished three chapters on Macabre Montreal this week. I think I earned a celebratory drink of scotch. Thinking about Hemingway has, for some reason, put me in the mood for that . . .

Left: Papa Hemingway. Right: My Hemingway scotch glass: "Write drunk, edit sober."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Podcast: Stark Reflections on Capturing Reading Data via eBooks



In the third episode of the Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing podcast, Mark interviews Sinead McElhinney, PR Coordinator on the Communications team from Rakuten Kobo in Toronto, Ontario about some interesting reading data that Kobo released near the end of 2017. They discuss the analysis of reading data, understanding core eBook readers better, as well as some of Sinead’s favorite things about her role in the book industry.

Sinead and Mark at RT (Romantic Times) in Atlanta in May 2017 (May the 4th, if you catch the subtle hint from Mark's t-shirt)

During their conversation, Sinead and Mark discuss:
  • Where she started in PR and how she got her start at Kobo
  • Her role in marketing and the on-brand customer/reader experience
  • The double-edged sword of social media
  • The difference between using social media for personal use and for a corporation that needs to keep its target demographics in mind
  • Just because something is a bestseller doesn’t mean that it is a book that has been read through to completion. IE, looking at books that were actually finished can be meaningful data
  • The binge-reading that Sinead does the same way some others might engage in binge-watching a show via Netflix
  • Some common themes in the most popularly read
  • Details about the top "actually read" books from the previous year and the data dissection performed on this reading data
  • The dynamic engagement with both writers and readers that Sinead participated in when visiting the Romantic Time (RT) Booklovers conference in Atlanta in May 2017
  • The diversity within the many different types of romance readers that Sinead discovered at RT Booklovers
  • The launch of audiobooks at Kobo in late summer of 2017 and some of the things they learned about the types of books people prefer reading in eBook format versus listening to
  • The integration of OverDrive library borrowing in the Kobo Aura ONE

After the interview, Mark reflects on the evolution of storytelling and how, in oral storytelling, the creator could receive immediate and instant audience feedback that might help them to adjust their story's tone, pacing and other elements on the fly. He touches upon how story, as a written medium in print format, completely divorces that connection when the act of reading becomes a solitary pursuit, but that digital reading brings back an intriguing degree of those elements that writers and publishers could likely benefit if analyzed effectively.

He shares his own experience telling ghost stories to live audiences and how, as a storyteller, he can easily adapt the tales based on audience reaction. He discusses the interesting metrics that a platform such as Wattpad.com offers to writers about the demographics of their readers and other reading stats. He also talks about the "real time" blog story I, DEATH that his novel was based upon allowed him the luxury of adapting the story as it was being rolled out based on reader reaction. And, finally, he suggests that platforms like Kindle and Kobo wield a fascinating opportunity related to the type of in depth reading data that Sinead was talking about that can significantly benefit writers and publishers.
This podcast was sponsored by Findaway Voices – a company that gives authors and publishers everything they need to create professionally-narrated audiobooks and reach listeners in more than 170 countries through the world’s largest audiobook distribution network

Links of Interest:

Related Articles on Reading Data From eBooks:

 

Sinead McElhinney is the Public Relations Specialist at Rakuten Kobo Inc in Toronto, Ontario, where, among other things, she manages Kobo’s PR agencies in Canada, the United States, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia. She believes in uniting professionalism and personality and is committed to the notion that the right story has the ability to spark meaningful change.


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

RSS options for this podcast: Mark Leslie at Libsyn or Feedburner