How Self Publishers Can Make the Most of Google+
Is Google+ going to change the self publishing game? In the past couple of days, a few high profile bloggers have stopped blogging and pointed their URLs to Google+. I think they’re crazy to abandon their blogs, but having used Google+ myself, I can see why the idea is seductive. One of the key attractions of Google+ is that there is far more interaction on every post you make than there is on Twitter and Facebook (at least for me) and the interaction is also much richer. I’m not going to do a full review of all the features here, as they have been extensively covered elsewhere. If you’re still catching up on Google+, then check out these posts, otherwise, just skip to the next section:
- Google+: 50 Helpful Posts to Get You Started
- Getting Started with Google Plus
- Google plus – A Collaborative Document
Google+ – Idea Generation with Sparks
Sparks are interests you want to follow. It’s a bit like saving a search in Twitter, then clicking on it every time you want to see updates. While this feature is scheduled for improvement, including the integration of even better search features, I’ve found it a useful way to catch up on items I might have missed on self-publishing. I see Sparks as a potential research tool, which will supplement other searches you might do. If you want up to date information published in your area of interest, then Sparks has something to offer.
Collaborating With Others Via Google+ Hangouts
If you’re co-authoring a book, you’ve probably already used Skype to video chat with your collaborator. But what if you could talk to as many as 10 people that you want to work with, without having to pay an additional fee as you would in Skype? That’s the beauty of Hangouts, which integrates video and IM chat into the Google+ experience. Not only are hangouts great for brainstorming, but it would be an excellent way to share readings from your book and get instant feedback. To give an example, some of the Google+ engineers have been holding hangouts to get feedback and wish lists. Self publishers could do the same with an online writing group.
Circles – The Best Google+ Feature
Circles are a bit like Facebook groups, but better. You allocate people to circles based on where you think they fit. They know that they’re in your circles, but not which circle they are in. When you share information, you can choose to make it public or send it to particular circles or individuals. As a self-publisher, I’d probably put out a public call for those interested in my book to let me know, then add them to a special circle for discussing it with them. Best of all, content can also be shared, so your public updates could reach a wide audience, which would help with book promotion.
Putting It All Together
So what’s it like, when you put it all together? To test it, I posted a public update asking self publishers to the feedback on the usefulness of Google+. Within a couple of seconds I already had a reply from someone I had never connected with before and over the course of the day more replies came in. A post here has a much longer shelf life than a tweet. I asked:
If you’re a self-publisher, what benefit do you think G+ has for you? Will it replace other means of interacting with your fans – or just supplement them?
Here are some of the replies:
- So far G+ has turned out to be a much better networking and communication tool than any other social network - Rison Simon
- For people that are publishing information about themselves, I see circles as an easier thing to understand than creating a business page and publishing through that and your personal profile – Ross Collicutt
- I don’t see it as a replacement but a supplement. I see value in each social media platform and while there are shared features, the audiences and interactions are different. – Karen Swim
Read the whole thread to see all the replies.
I’m still evaluating Google+ but so far it’s proved a great place to have conversations with people I’ve only previously talked to in 140 characters – and that can’t be bad, can it?
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