Friday, November 28, 2008

Stay Classy, Mumbai

Tomorrow, we shall shrug and get back on our feet.
Tomorrow, we shall dream better.
Tomorrow, our heartbeats will get back to normal.
Tomorrow, we shall tell happy stories.
Tomorrow, we shall continue to hope.
Tomorrow, we shall count our blessings.
Tomorrow, we shall grieve for heroes dead or alive.
Tomorrow, we shall look for answers.

Tomorrow, we shall move on.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to turn your blog into a book

Consider this as Part 2 of my post on turning Blogs into Books. In Part 1, I wrote that when your blog could be turned into a book, it is a sign that you indeed have a quality blog.

Hillary Clinton wrote, "It takes a Village".
First you need a good blog before you turn into a good book.
That is a double whammy. Fear not, help is here.

Here's a non-nonsense 10 step method to achieve author stardom by first creating a quality blog and then turning into a quality book:

1. Read blogs of people who have done it:, Nicholas Carr (, Jeff Jarvis (,, JuliaandJulia -365 days 354 recipes. and other topical gems.

2. Pick a topic: Use tools like Google Suggest, Google Trends for ideas if you haven't gotten one. Use Google Adwords Keyword Selector Tool to get an idea of search volume and related keywords for your chosen topic. I know this is the SEO way of selecting a topic but you asked for it. I like to think even Malcolm Gladwell uses this method to write his breezy non-fiction. The Keyword Selector Tool will also give you an idea about the profit potential of your keywords.

3. Create a mind map. If you do not have any Mind-Mapping software, draw a Mind Map on a blank sheet of a paper.

Start with the topic in a circle in the center. Draw other circles with related ideas and join these with the main circle. Each one of these is a chapter. Draw other circles from each circles. Each of these is a part of the Chapter and so on...

Tip: Keep a Writing Calendar on hand - to chart out your work and to cover what you write on a daily basis. A sample writing Calendar has weekdays on the X-axis and keyword/s on the Y-axis.

4. Write to-the-point articles on each of the topic on the mind map. To make sure you write original posts, do a search for the topic/sub-topic/Chapter title on Google Blogsearch and Google to see what has already been written about it before. It will help you tailor unique content.

5. Write in a warm, engaging manner. Don't be preachy, don't be too casual.
Be controversial. Be upfront. Rather than spouting simple, banal and unoriginal pontifications, practice the 'Show, don't tell' method of writing.

6. Make sure you have covered all the topics that you noted on the Mind Map sheet.
If you have written about 100 posts or so on your topic, proceed to fit all that in your book. Only then will you know what you are missing.

7. Show your blog posts to friends, family and colleagues for inputs.
Go the extra mile to solicit comments from readers.

8. Add some more data: Today's readers are spoilt for choice.
The ratio of failure to success in book publishing is very, very high.
Add any extra data you can - illustrations, infographics, maps, doodles, extensive footnotes and reading lists...whatever that it takes to make it 'special' and stand out in a crowded space.

9. Pitch your book idea to book agents and publishers: Write a brief letter listing out who the target reader is, the sample table of contents, what you will do to promote the book (offline and online) and do not forget to give a backgrounder about your blog, Youtube Videos, presentations, blog traffic, among other things.

Basically, you got to pitch yourself as well.

10. If they publishers/agents seem sluggish to come on to your world-changing idea, publish it yourself: Use services like

Publishing on Demand
(POD) is an idea whose time has come.

Sometimes, you are better with POD, as publishers might be reluctant to print your book just because they fear demand for your book does not run into tens of thousands. POD makes sure that your work remains available at all times.

It is much better that your book for which you labored so hard, is languishing inside a nameless warehouse
( if it hasn't been already pulped).

Bonus: Remember to send me my commission if you make it. :-)

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Ultimate test of a quality blog or a website

Can it become a book?

- Like
- Like Postsecret.
- Like Indexed.
- Like Julia and Juila - 365 days, 524 recipes.
- Like Pitchfork's Pitchfork 500- Our Guide to the Greatest songs from Punk to the present.

These are 5 of my favorite examples. You can find more here.

Seth Godin always uses his blog to write a number of posts expounding upon an idea he is working.
Nicholas Carr wrote "The Big Switch" along similar lines, exploring the pluses and minuses of a Google-dominated online world.
Jeff Jarvis is anti-Carr, in the sense that he is all praise and nothing else for Google and wrote a number of great posts upon the idea - Link Economy, What Would Google do? - before he came out with his "What would Google do?" book.
Darren Rouse is well positioned to bring out a book based on his excellent "Digital Photography School" blog.
Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration( can hope to make a success out of a Tips and Tricks book titled "Digital inspiration - 101 ways to use Digital tools successfully".

I am sorry to report that my Blog Mediavidea can't be turned into a book.
Mediavidea is more than 2 years old now and there are more than 400 posts but there is no single focus.
Unless you consider New Media which is too big a topic for a guy for me to cover.

Rather than being an armchair warrior, I hope to prove that Bighow, the online publishing platform works. But, that is another story.

So, tell me: Can you turn your blog/website into a book?

Labels: , ,

The 4 timeless tenets of the link economy

Here's what you get when you combine ideas from Jeff Jarvis with that of SEO 'guru' Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz. Rand has written a timely piece of advice for web publishers and SEO people who seemingly can't cope up with Google's umpteenth new offering, or, for that matter, any new thing that Google does.

Such are the perils of surviving in the so-called Google's Link Economy, a term coined by New Media Blogger Jeff Jarvis.

Don't worry, advices Rand Fishkin.
Because, the fundamentals of success with web content in Google's World (I was going to say GARNIA, but damn, Epic Movie beat me to it) never change:

1. Make pages accessible
2. Target with keywords that searchers employ
3. Build content that users will find useful and valuable
4. Earn editorial links from good sources


Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

simplelist: The only 15 blogs on social media you need to read often

You will find many ranking of blogs in this genre. But, are these rankings of any use? I have read quite a few blogs on the subject for some years now and I have discovered that RSS subscribers and Pagerank are no real indicators of a blog's utility. Both can be manipulated. So many blogs have more than 10,000 RSS subscribers but the content is worth zilch.

There were some blogs that started out with enthusiasm and great content but have now fallen back to rehashing stories from the RSS reader.

Besides, too many of social media blogs are written by self promoters and PR hopefuls.

Result: there is much noise, less signal.
We have enough news about startups and events. We need analysis.

So, here is a simple, no nonsense list of 15 essential blogs covering the social media scene that you need to read.

1. ReadWriteWeb: USP - great theme coverage e.g. semantic apps, future of...
2. Mashable: USP - great ' servicey' lists
3. CenterNetworks: USP - to know the truth about Jason Calacanis
4. Problogger: USP - great guide to blogging and making money online.
5. Chris Brogan: USP - Chris ran one of the all time great series on social media marketing.
6. Webware: USP - Veteran Tech Journalist Rafe Needleman writes on it.
7. Web Strategy by Jeremiah: USP - Written by Jeremiah Owyang who works at Forrester Research and covers Social Media really well. You will love those Social Media visiting card type posts.
8. Zac Johnson: USP - Written by a guy who knows a thing or two about affiliate marketing.
9. Andrew Chen: USP - great How Tos and analysis of social media, social gaming etc...
10. GigaOM: - USP - useful analysis pieces on the Digital Economy.
11. FeverBee: - USP - great, lean guide to building online communities.
12. The Social Customer Manifesto: - USP It will really change how yu think about consumers in this user-led digital economy.
13. Bubblegeneration: - USP Umair Haque's blog. Umair has now moved to Harvard Business Online and writes here -
14. Nicholas Carr: USP Nicholas Carr's blog, the man who never stops questioning and we are all the better for it.
15. Micro Persuasion: USP Written by Steve Rubel, a PR blogger. He has been blogging for long. Downside: sometimes, Steve can be as only PR guys can be - i.e. being a bit too 'pushy' about services and products, which, considering his PR background, probes the boundaries of objectivity.

This is my list. What's in yours?

P.S.: I have omitted many worthy blogs because of their infrequent posting frequency. Jushua Porter's "Bokardo" is one of them.

Others I have omitted to mention just because I have never found the time to read and I am positive there are hundreds of useful reads that are yet to be discovered.

Labels: , ,

simplelist: If you had only 3 blogs to read on blogging

There may be tens of thousands if not thousands of blogs on blogging, all aimed at helping you success at blogging and make some money on the side. Allow me to save you from the 'information overload' of having to scan billions of rehashed articles.

Here are the three blog you need to read often to tone up on blogging tips. These blogs have been around for quite a time now.

Performancing - a great group blog
Problogger - Darren Rouse is always a great read
Blogherald - a classic blog where some really expreinced bloggers write, including Lorelle VanFossen.

Labels: ,

simplelist: The only 10 SEO blogs you need to read

Here's a simple solution to the problem of Blog Overload: Read Few, Read only the best.
Here's a list that might do the trick for you need for quality SEO news and advice:

Seobook - Aaron Wall is concise, to the point and knows what he writes
Seomoz - Rand Fishkin and his folks at SEOMOZ write well and often.
Searchengineland - Danny Sullivan is a respected veteran in the search business.
SeoRoundtable - to access wisdom from all those internet marketing events. Priceless.

Matt Cutts - Google's in house blogger is a good read as well.
Blue Hat SEO - some 'out of the box' (pardon the cliche) SEO tactics that are not black hat.
Sphinn - Digg for SEO articles.
E-Consultancy Good guides, occasionally.

Internet trends
Knowing what's up with internet traffic, what sites users are flocking to currently. should be a key element of your SEO and Internet marketing armory.
Hitwise blog
Compete blog

Labels: , ,