AmazonConnect: Connecting Readers with Writers
Well, maybe. AmazonConnect is a newish scheme launched by, who else, Amazon.com, in which authors can contribute to a blog whose entries then appear on the personalized pages of readers who bought their book. Apparently, entries also show up on Amazon.com book searches, so we authors can reach readers who have yet to wallow in the muddy delights of our fiction. Amazon.com like to call this blog a plog - I just hope they're aware they copied it from Roger. I found out about the scheme via Debra Hamel, ace reviewer.
Over on Galleycat, there's a sniffy article about the AmazonConnect plog. The article was prompted by an email from Amazon.com to their 'ploggers' that asked them, in prickly fashion, to raise the quality of their posts. I can see why this might lead to a certain sniffiness: Amazon.com is getting free content from - presumably - talented writers, and has the temerity to check the mouth of this gift horse for further goodies.
Well, I'm reasonably happy with the scheme. I've crafted my first plog entry, which appears here on the product page, and I think it looks quite nice (i.e. it is placed in a manner that pleases my jaundice-yellow eye).
There are couple of thing I don't like, however. This being Amazon.com, I have learned to look for the part of the scheme that's been buggered up by poor implementation. There is no protocol to submit entries to the plog using a method other than the rather clumsy - and applet-infested - page on Amazon.com. News for you, Amazon.com: Just because I'm author, I don't spend my life gazing at the cluttered mess of my 'personalized' homepage, so the plog is something I'll have to remind myself to do. And - like the washing-up - I can see myself lapsing regularly. Why can't I plug it straight into Ecto, my blogging software?
I always expect a little give-and-take with Amazon.com. For example, my publisher gives them the details of my book, they take any the word 'English' from the 'language' metadata field and replace it with - "Gee, what random language can put on this guy's book?" - Spanish.
Oh, how I laughed when I saw that. A book with a French title written in Spanish by an author that nobody in America knows from Adam. Imagine my continued laughter that, only fourteen months later and following a slew of emails from my publisher and from me, the busy bods at Amazon.com have still not found the time to correct it.
Mmmm. I love businesses that are so large they switch from human time to geological time.
However, carping aside - hey, what's a writer to do but carp? - this is a nice opportunity to reach out to readers. They should brace themselves.