Friday Whatnot: October 31, 2014

J.K. Rowling wrote a special story for Halloween on the fansite, She also shared it with so non-members of the site can read it too. Read The Story of Dolores Jane Umbridge here.

To help Rooster Teeth with a charity event for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, LeVar Burton read a book that would not likely be featured on Reading Rainbow: Adam Mansbach’s Go the [expletive deleted] to Sleep.

Rooster Teeth posted the video on YouTube with this explanation: “For reaching our stretch goal, LeVar Burton sits the Rooster Teeth employees down for a reading of the popular ‘bedtime story.'”

It’s been viewed 1.1 million times since October 25.

Mansbach and Burton exchanged tweets since then, and yesterday Mansbach tweeted this:

How to Zombify for Halloween

Using simple household items, like toilet paper and chocolate syrup,  author John Kloepfer, shows how to create a classic zombie look in 5 easy steps.

This is perfect for sharing… just in time for Halloween.

Works Well With Others

Works Well With Others

I’ve never been described as a “team player.” I’m a loaner, a rebel. Like Pee Wee Herman in his Big Adventure. The reality is that we all have to work together, and for many of us, that working together is shifted across time and responsibility. I work across multiple teams on multiple projects, and keeping it all in order can be an impossible task. But there’s one tool that I’ve found to sync all of our different tasks in one place.

I determined easily enough what was needed:

  • Virtual – because the main purpose is to keep track of what needs to be done. The doing can be organized on the individual level.
  • Shared – keeping multiple lists up-to-date is near impossible.
  • Robust – to handle a variety of projects and tasks.
  • Flexible – because the cookie cutter options are what cause me to not be happy in the first place.

Then I found Trello. An incredibly simple framework, that is flexible and robust enough to handle everything from application development to zoo management. The web app has mobile clients for everything from in browser, Android phones and tablets, iPhone and iPad, Kindle Fire, and Windows 8.

The best part, is that Trello is just a framework. Like moving post-it notes from one column to the next to designate status, person responsible, importance, or literally whatever. The whole team can use the system that works best for the whole team. But then imagine the post-it notes are infinitely expandable. That’s Trello.

The con is that a system this so flexible it might be daunting to set up. My advice is look at what you have in the analog world, and duplicate that on this frame work. Despite the possible difficulty, company is really helpful. Just take a look at this “Getting Started” video to see what I mean.

Or sign up for free now.

November IndieNext Lists

If you use the IndieNext shelf talkers and fliers provided by the ABA, the November 2014 “Full List” and “Now in Paperback” groups are ready for download.

Here’s a link to the page with the downloads. And here’s a link to the shelf talkers formatted for the ShelfWiz holders, where I’m sure November shelf talkers will appear soon.

The Social in Social Media Campaigns

I’ve been doing some work recently for my local public radio station, and for the Fall Pledge Drive, I came up with this social media campaign. And then I started to come up with ideas of how bookstores could do something similar. I think you’re going to like this.


It started with testimonials. Ten supporters of Wichita Public Radio were asked to come in a record testimonials for the drive. While they were here, I took their photo in front of a black backdrop. I pulled a quote from their testimonial, and inserted both the quote and the image on a black background. I added the “Keep KMUW Strong” slogan with a call to action and saved it for the web. Each morning of the drive, a new image goes up on the KMUW website.

Here’s where the social part comes in. I took the same images and quotes, adjusted the canvas size in Photoshop to 851 x 315 pixels, allowed for buttons, words, and profile images, and a different testimonial appears on the KMUW Facebook page every day.



And then it really got social. I invited the staff to take a photo in front of the backdrop and tell me why they want to keep KMUW strong. I created a Facebook cover image for each of the staff to share on their personal pages during the drive.




Once the drive started, anyone who came by the station was invited to do the same thing: take a photo, provide a quote, and they got a personal cover image to share.





If anybody came by the station to help pitch, we took a photo before they went on the air and then promoted the fact that they were here through the KMUW Facebook timeline.



If someone preferred Twitter to Facebook, we created something like this:


As the day went on, we used SoundCloud to share the testimonials through social media:


And any emails sent through Constant Contact has the same look.

Even though we’re only halfway through the drive, I can already see that the results are outstanding. Every time somebody changes their Facebook cover image to the one we created for them, they get 75-150 “likes,” and the number of “likes” on the station Facebook page increases as well.

It’s social media at it’s best.

Now, how can bookstores do something similar?

  • As you approach the end of the year, capture customers with their favorite read of 2014.
  • During Banned Books Week, take photos of customers with stacks of banned books.
  • Have customers nominate their favorite teacher and showcase them during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • Launch a This Book Changed My Life campaign.

One last thing. If this feels daunting, let me show you where I took the photos.


Yep. Everybody had to come back into the electrical room and sit down in front of black fabric I have yet to press. But it didn’t matter. I removed most of the black from the images, leaving a head with a black halo on a transparent background. I dropped it in on a black image I created in the correct pixel size in Photoshop, added some text, and then hit “save for web.”

A campaign like this is completely doable. Just have fun with it. And if you can get others to help spread your word through their own social media, the potential reach is exponential.