Roundup: Smartphone Gift Guide | Wired.com Product Reviews

29 11 2009

Roundup: Smartphone Gift Guide

 Buying a Smartphone? Here’s What You Need to Know

Choosing a cell phone isn’t a simple cut-and-dried process anymore. Yes, they still make and receive calls. But now they’re also dynamic, multifaceted communication tools too. Here are some points to digest before investing in your next calling / texting / surfing / tweeting powerhouse.

What Are Your Carrier Options?

Don’t be fooled, there is no perfect wireless carrier. Since hardware exclusivity agreements are en vogue, it’s entirely possible the phone of your dreams won’t be available on your network of choice. That said, let’s have a look at the four main options:

Coverage Map

AT&T

AT&T offers a solid nationwide voice network, but its high-speed data coverage is notoriously spotty. Despite this, AT&T remains one of the more accommodating carriers for overseas travelers.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-star: iPhone 3GS
Hidden perk: Sells cheap iPhone refurbs (with warranty!) through the website.
On the horizon: Forthcoming 4G data network (LTE)

Coverage Map

Sprint

Sprint is known for its speedy data network, lax credit requirements, push-to-talk offerings and passable voice network. Overall handset selection and customer service ratings haven’t been the company’s high point, though.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-stars: Palm Pre, HTC Hero
Hidden perk: Roaming agreements with Verizon means extra coverage on certain plans.
On the horizon: Forthcoming 4G data network (WiMax)

Coverage Map

T-Mobile

German-based T-Mobile positions itself as the cost leader in the wireless game. Setbacks like smaller voice and data networks are offset by cheaper calling plans, compelling handsets, overseas support and high customer satisfaction ratings.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-stars: Motorola Cliq, T-Mobile G1
Hidden perk: Offers contractless calling plans for consumers who already own compatible hardware.
On the horizon: More network expansion

Coverage Map

Verizon

Verizon prides itself on voice and data coverage, but it comes at a price. Lackluster handset offerings, limited overseas-ready handsets and pricey calling plans are the norm.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-stars: Motorola Droid, Blackberry Storm
Hidden perk: Online phone purchases often offer instant rebates instead of mail-ins.
On the horizon: Forthcoming 4G data network (LTE)

Basic Features

You can hardly throw a Treo without hitting a cellphone user. So, it’s likely you already have a handle on universal goodies like caller ID, speakerphone and voicemail. Here are four oft-overlooked features worth considering.

OS: Operating systems have become a new battleground for phone shoppers. In short, the OS is the way you leverage a phone’s speed, capabilities and ultimate usability. Budget handsets often ignore this completely by putting a drab, utilitarian menu system in place. In contrast, Apple and Google have released the polished, full-featured iPhone and Android OSes respectively. Nokia’s Symbian, RIM’s Blackberry OS, Palm’s WebOS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile are noteworthy as well, if less polished and user-friendly. Each OS has its good and bad points, but ultimately there’s an operating system out there for everyone.

Entry mode: Virtual keyboards, QWERTY keypads and everything in between appear on handsets now. Before choosing a device, consider how its entry mode(s) will affect your usage. Are you heavy texter or e-mailer? The speed and accuracy of a physical QWERTY may be the way to go. Want quick, seamless access to your calendar, music and pics? Stylishly whisking around on a touchscreen might suit you better.

Messaging: The question is simple: How would you like to connect with your contacts? If voice and text are all you need, then the choices are myriad. Advanced messaging services like IM, e-mail and even Facebook and Twitter have become common too, but they tend to be more common on advanced handsets. The right phone can be as much (or as little) of a communication hub as you’d like.

Multimedia: Even basic phones moonlight as an MP3 players and digital cameras now. In searching for a phone, consider the multimedia capabilities you’d like crammed in. High megapixel counts, video streaming and capture capabilities, as well as beefed-up memory can pump up even a ho-hum handset (and minimize the number of gadgets you have to carry).

Extras

Now that you’ve taken care of the core concerns, it’s time to think about the goodies. Before chasing the most expensive, feature-filled handset on the market, consider what extras you’ll actually need and which ones you’ll find handy down the road in your contract.

Wi-Fi: Sure, it’s not nearly as widespread as 3G. Wi-Fi is still the gold standard of extra features. Not only is it faster than 3G, but it’s easy to connect and hotspots are everywhere.

3G: Most budget handsets don’t offer this high-speed data standard. But, if web surfing is something you’ll only occasionally do, you’ll want a 3G-capable phone. Trust us, the fleet-footed download speeds are worth it.

E-mail: Extending your inbox has never been easier. Even budget handsets offer rudimentary web-based options, while upscale devices sport dedicated e-mail support and push updates from multiple inboxes.

App stores: Want to transform your phone into a gaming system, night light or pedometer? Then you want access to downloadable apps. Phones running software from Apple, Palm, RIM and Android all offer options. Tread carefully, though: Not all apps are created equal. Apple’s app store has far more selection than any others, with more than 100,000 apps. The Android store is No. 2 with 12,000. While selection isn’t everything (do you really need 42 different “pull my finger” apps?), it does make a difference — the more apps in a store, the more likely it is to have what you want.

GPS: Newer, faster alternatives to traditional GPS are turning phones into navigation powerhouses. Though services like aGPS are reliant on network coverage, finding a handset with the feature is often cheaper and more convenient than buying a standalone GPS unit.

Wired’s Top Picks

Blackberry Curve 8900

Business: Blackberry Curve 8900

The Curve is one of RIM’s best productivity workhorses with a (thankfully) revamped HTML browser. However, the retro OS/processor pairing puts a damper on multimedia playback.

Runners up:
Palm Pre
HTC myTouch

Motorola Droid

Multimedia: Motorola Droid
The newest flagship phone from Google’s Android army sports lightning fast access to music, pics, web and messaging. The only roadblock is the clunky (and unnecessary!) keyboard.

Runners up:
iPhone 3GS
Sony Ericson C905a

Palm Centro

Budget: Palm Centro
The Centro is cheap and hardly sexy. But, it makes up for that with reliability and stable performance.

Runners up:
Samsung Alias 2
Nokia E71x

Product Photos: Jon Snyder

 

Posted via web from Encourager Recommends





Roundup: Smartphone Gift Guide | Wired.com Product Reviews

29 11 2009

Roundup: Smartphone Gift Guide

Buying a Smartphone? Here's What You Need to Know

asmythie/flickr
$0  • 

 

Buying a Smartphone? Here’s What You Need to Know

Choosing a cell phone isn’t a simple cut-and-dried process anymore. Yes, they still make and receive calls. But now they’re also dynamic, multifaceted communication tools too. Here are some points to digest before investing in your next calling / texting / surfing / tweeting powerhouse.

What Are Your Carrier Options?

Don’t be fooled, there is no perfect wireless carrier. Since hardware exclusivity agreements are en vogue, it’s entirely possible the phone of your dreams won’t be available on your network of choice. That said, let’s have a look at the four main options:

Coverage Map

AT&T

AT&T offers a solid nationwide voice network, but its high-speed data coverage is notoriously spotty. Despite this, AT&T remains one of the more accommodating carriers for overseas travelers.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-star: iPhone 3GS
Hidden perk: Sells cheap iPhone refurbs (with warranty!) through the website.
On the horizon: Forthcoming 4G data network (LTE)

Coverage Map

Sprint

Sprint is known for its speedy data network, lax credit requirements, push-to-talk offerings and passable voice network. Overall handset selection and customer service ratings haven’t been the company’s high point, though.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-stars: Palm Pre, HTC Hero
Hidden perk: Roaming agreements with Verizon means extra coverage on certain plans.
On the horizon: Forthcoming 4G data network (WiMax)

Coverage Map

T-Mobile

German-based T-Mobile positions itself as the cost leader in the wireless game. Setbacks like smaller voice and data networks are offset by cheaper calling plans, compelling handsets, overseas support and high customer satisfaction ratings.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-stars: Motorola Cliq, T-Mobile G1
Hidden perk: Offers contractless calling plans for consumers who already own compatible hardware.
On the horizon: More network expansion

Coverage Map

Verizon

Verizon prides itself on voice and data coverage, but it comes at a price. Lackluster handset offerings, limited overseas-ready handsets and pricey calling plans are the norm.

Coverage Map
Exclusive all-stars: Motorola Droid, Blackberry Storm
Hidden perk: Online phone purchases often offer instant rebates instead of mail-ins.
On the horizon: Forthcoming 4G data network (LTE)

Basic Features

You can hardly throw a Treo without hitting a cellphone user. So, it’s likely you already have a handle on universal goodies like caller ID, speakerphone and voicemail. Here are four oft-overlooked features worth considering.

OS: Operating systems have become a new battleground for phone shoppers. In short, the OS is the way you leverage a phone’s speed, capabilities and ultimate usability. Budget handsets often ignore this completely by putting a drab, utilitarian menu system in place. In contrast, Apple and Google have released the polished, full-featured iPhone and Android OSes respectively. Nokia’s Symbian, RIM’s Blackberry OS, Palm’s WebOS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile are noteworthy as well, if less polished and user-friendly. Each OS has its good and bad points, but ultimately there’s an operating system out there for everyone.

Entry mode: Virtual keyboards, QWERTY keypads and everything in between appear on handsets now. Before choosing a device, consider how its entry mode(s) will affect your usage. Are you heavy texter or e-mailer? The speed and accuracy of a physical QWERTY may be the way to go. Want quick, seamless access to your calendar, music and pics? Stylishly whisking around on a touchscreen might suit you better.

Messaging: The question is simple: How would you like to connect with your contacts? If voice and text are all you need, then the choices are myriad. Advanced messaging services like IM, e-mail and even Facebook and Twitter have become common too, but they tend to be more common on advanced handsets. The right phone can be as much (or as little) of a communication hub as you’d like.

Multimedia: Even basic phones moonlight as an MP3 players and digital cameras now. In searching for a phone, consider the multimedia capabilities you’d like crammed in. High megapixel counts, video streaming and capture capabilities, as well as beefed-up memory can pump up even a ho-hum handset (and minimize the number of gadgets you have to carry).

Extras

Now that you’ve taken care of the core concerns, it’s time to think about the goodies. Before chasing the most expensive, feature-filled handset on the market, consider what extras you’ll actually need and which ones you’ll find handy down the road in your contract.

Wi-Fi: Sure, it’s not nearly as widespread as 3G. Wi-Fi is still the gold standard of extra features. Not only is it faster than 3G, but it’s easy to connect and hotspots are everywhere.

3G: Most budget handsets don’t offer this high-speed data standard. But, if web surfing is something you’ll only occasionally do, you’ll want a 3G-capable phone. Trust us, the fleet-footed download speeds are worth it.

E-mail: Extending your inbox has never been easier. Even budget handsets offer rudimentary web-based options, while upscale devices sport dedicated e-mail support and push updates from multiple inboxes.

App stores: Want to transform your phone into a gaming system, night light or pedometer? Then you want access to downloadable apps. Phones running software from Apple, Palm, RIM and Android all offer options. Tread carefully, though: Not all apps are created equal. Apple’s app store has far more selection than any others, with more than 100,000 apps. The Android store is No. 2 with 12,000. While selection isn’t everything (do you really need 42 different “pull my finger” apps?), it does make a difference — the more apps in a store, the more likely it is to have what you want.

GPS: Newer, faster alternatives to traditional GPS are turning phones into navigation powerhouses. Though services like aGPS are reliant on network coverage, finding a handset with the feature is often cheaper and more convenient than buying a standalone GPS unit.

Wired’s Top Picks

Blackberry Curve 8900

Business: Blackberry Curve 8900

The Curve is one of RIM’s best productivity workhorses with a (thankfully) revamped HTML browser. However, the retro OS/processor pairing puts a damper on multimedia playback.

Runners up:
Palm Pre
HTC myTouch

Motorola Droid

Multimedia: Motorola Droid
The newest flagship phone from Google’s Android army sports lightning fast access to music, pics, web and messaging. The only roadblock is the clunky (and unnecessary!) keyboard.

Runners up:
iPhone 3GS
Sony Ericson C905a

Palm Centro

Budget: Palm Centro
The Centro is cheap and hardly sexy. But, it makes up for that with reliability and stable performance.

Runners up:
Samsung Alias 2
Nokia E71x

Product Photos: Jon Snyder

Posted via web from Encourager Recommends





Watch Out Foursquare, Facebook is Poised To Dominate Geo

29 11 2009
Watch Out Foursquare, Facebook is Poised To Dominate Geo

–>

  • by Jason Kincaid on November 28, 2009

    Over the last six months just about all of my tech friends have started using Foursquare, a geolocation-based game that was built by the creators of Google-acquired Dodgeball. Some of them will literally pull out their phones as soon as they enter any restaurant, event or even TechCrunch HQ and check in just so they can be named ‘mayor’ of that establishment (whoever checks into any particular location the most times becomes mayor of that location). It’s fascinating and a bit bizarre to watch, and it clearly shows that Foursquare has tapped into something powerful.

    But all this time I’ve had a nagging feeling that Foursquare, at least in its current form, is not going to be the next Twitter, as some people have concluded. Because as good as Foursquare is at figuring out where and what your friends are up to, they can’t hope to compete with Facebook. That is, if Facebook does Geo right.

    While the world’s largest social network has been almost totally silent with regard to its plans for geolocation, we’ve been hearing an increasing number of rumors about Facebook finally coming close to launching these features. Such rumors have come and gone for a long time, but all signs point to the most recent batch being true. For one, Facebook recently edited its Privacy Policy to explicitly allow for location-based features. And perhaps more importantly, the clock is ticking: Facebook’s rival Twitter just launched its Geolocation API, and Facebook can’t afford to be left in the dust. Facebook absolutely needs to implement location if it’s going to maintain is status as the top social network.

    When it does launch, Facebook is going to have a massive impact on the current location based service environment. Much of this still-nascent space will change. And those that fail to evolve quickly will die.

    Deconstructing Foursquare

    I’m singling out Foursquare because it’s currently the hottest startup in location. But many of the issues affecting Foursquare apply to other promising geo-based startups like Gowalla, and the countless others that are surely in the works.

    During our Realtime CrunchUp, Foursquare VP of Business Development Tristan Walker described Foursquare as a company that “makes things that make cities easier to use. We try to get folks to get out and explore the cities in which they live, or visit, and incentivize them to do so. It’s a little bit of a friend finder, a little bit of a social city guide… and we use game mechanics to tie that all together.”

    First, let’s look at Foursquare the game. Whenever you check in on Foursquare, you’re rewarded with points and (sometimes) badges with clever names. These are fun initially, because you can easily compete with your friends for bragging rights. But while these game elements are a good way to entice users, they’re ultimately just a gimmick. In two year’s time, will any of these people seriously care about how many checkins they have? I doubt it. Certainly not enough to motivate them to check in every time they enter an establishment. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a lifelong gamer, it’s that even the most engaging, addictive games out there get tired after a while. And Foursquare’s gameplay simply isn’t that engaging to begin with.

    Then there’s the social city guide element of Foursquare, which could one day be a full-fledged social recommendation feature. But right now it revolves around leaving ‘tips’ about the locations you visit. This is Foursquare’s weakest point. When I look through the tips of various restaurants they’re usually filled with things like “try the chicken noodle soup”. These are occasionally helpful, but they lack context. Most of the tips I’m seeing were left by people who I don’t know at all, and they’re too brief to be any more useful than something I can already find on Yelp. I certainly haven’t reached the point where I want to see the available Foursquare tips every time I check into a restaurant.

    Finally, there’s Foursquare the friend finder. The first thing you see when you boot the app is a list of where your friends have checked in recently. This is the driving force behind Foursquare’s growing popularity. There have been other services, like Loopt and Brightkite, that have let you keep tabs on your friends for quite a while. But Foursquare’s check-in model has struck a chord because it provides more context (you know what people are up to as opposed to just where they are) and a greater amount of privacy, because you have to explicitly choose to check in. The appeal of the friend finder is obvious — if you see your buddy is at a nearby bar, maybe you’ll walk over to meet him. This isn’t just a gimmick. It appeals to some fundamental human desire to be close to hang out with people you enjoy spending time with. This will never grow old. And it’s where Facebook is poised to dominate.

    Why Facebook Already Won

    The most compelling part of Foursquare is the ability to see at a glance what your friends are up to. Unfortunately, most people don’t know all that many people on Foursquare yet — my current Friends List on Foursquare is dominated by folks who live and breathe tech, without a single person from my ‘regular’ social circle on the service. Twitter has always suffered from the same problem, and even a year of stellar growth and constant press attention hasn’t yet given Twitter an on ramp into mainstream use.

    Facebook doesn’t have that problem. At most, there are probably a few dozen people who you’d like to share your location with. And you’re already friends with all of them on Facebook. You may even have separated them into a Friends List of “real” friends — the people you hang out with on a regular basis. And that’s why Facebook has already won the battle. Unlike Twitter, where you may be interested in following people you don’t know well, your circle of close friends on Facebook and the people with whom you’d probably like to share your location are one and the same. If Facebook really wanted to, it could probably even look at people you’re commonly tagged alongside in photos to help suggest who to include on your list of ‘location’ friends.

    There are plenty of other things Facebook has going for it. Facebook already has a robust system for managing privacy settings. Granted, they’re confusing as all hell, but Facebook has made it clear that it’s working on making them easier to use. And over the years millions of people have come to trust Facebook as a relatively safe service — something that is key given the sensitive nature of location. Foursquare is a looming privacy disaster.

    The other key component is Facebook’s ubiquity on GPS-enabled smartphones. These are essential for updating your location on the go (which is where most of geo’s utility comes from). And Facebook is already dominating here. Facebook is the most popular iPhone/iPod Touch app of all time, and it has a strong presence on other platforms as well (it comes preinstalled on Android and Palm’s WebOS).

    It is hard to overstate how important these advantages are for Facebook. It may not be particularly difficult for other services to implement privacy features and friends lists, or even to build nice iPhone apps. But getting people to start using them will be incredibly difficult.

    The Big Question Mark

    Facebook has made it quite clear that location based something is coming. We’ve heard rumors about it for months, and in their most recent Privacy Policy change they actually included language directly pertaining to location based services. Here’s how it reads:

    “Location Information. When you share your location with others or add a location to something you post, we treat that like any other content you post (for example, it is subject to your privacy settings). If we offer a service that supports this type of location sharing we will present you with an opt-in choice of whether you want to participate.”

    So it looks like it’s coming soon, but we still don’t know the direction Facebook is going to take.

    There are two obvious ways Facebook could treat location. It can act as a direct competitor to services like Loopt, Foursquare, and the rest by allowing you to directly check into locations from your phone or via the web. Or, it serve as something of a central hub for location that third parties could update via an API. In other words, updating a service like Foursquare could then update your Facebook location.

    It seems likely that Facebook will wind up doing both. Twitter is already trying to become the central hub for geo-positioned status updates through its own API, and Facebook isn’t going to give that up without a fight. Given Facebook’s moves to bolster its other API functions, I think it’s safe to say they’ll be allowing developers to push a user’s geolocation from their service or app into Facebook.

    Facebook would be foolish to rely exclusively on third parties as a source of location data. Many people update their status messages and photos exclusively through Facebook.com and their official mobile applications, probably without realizing they have other options. The big question is what form this native location functionality that appears within Facebook will take. Facebook could simply allow people to geotag their status updates in the same way that Twitter does. Or it could adopt a robust location feature that more closely resembles Foursquare and Loopt. The Terms of Service change leaves room for both of these. Again, I think Facebook will do both. Third parties may be able to tap into this data via Facebook Connect, but they won’t own it.

    I don’t think Facebook is going to set out to beat Foursquare. Far from it, in fact — I think Facebook is going to readily accept geo data through its API, which makes Foursquare a great potential contributor. But if Facebook chooses to own your location and that of your friends, it will severely undermine Foursquare’s primary feature.

    Nothing Is In the Bag

    All of that said, Facebook could still mess this up. The company has been thinking of location for a very long time now, and has held off largely because of the concerns over privacy. These concerns are certainly valid. Attorneys general from multiple countries are clearly keeping their eyes on the site’s potential safety risks. In light of this scrutiny, there’s a chance that Facebook will roll out location too slowly. Or that what they do roll out will be handicapped. Given how much is at stake I don’t think they’ll let that happen, but it’s possible.

    How Foursquare And The Rest Can Still Thrive

    If Facebook does nail geo, that doesn’t necessarily mean Foursquare is doomed. It just means that Foursquare needs to build a product whose core value extends beyond showing where your friends are. That’s why I think their social city guide is probably the best thing it has going for it. It may be lacking now, but if Foursquare can build out a compelling recommendation engine that introduces you to new people to meet and places to see based on your past checkin history, it could be very cool. It could also continue building out its gaming elements to keep them fresh.

    Looking forward, services like SimpleGeo and GeoAPI will be able to help apps integrate location very quickly. Facebook is going to own the social graph, but there’s plenty that can still be done beyond that. Games. Dating apps. Hyper-local advertising. These all have very bright futures. They’ll just need to figure out how to use location as a starting point, rather than a core feature.

    Facebook image
    Website: facebook.com
    Location: Palo Alto, California, United States
    Founded: February 1, 2004
    Funding: $716M

    Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 300 million users.

    Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard… Learn More

    Foursquare image
    Website: foursquare.com
    Founded: 2009
    Funding: $1.35M

    Foursquare is a location based social network that incorporates gaming elements. Learn More

    Posted via web from Encourager Recommends





    Ask the editor: Top 5 secrets to getting a book deal

    29 11 2009

    Ask the editor: The top 5 secrets to getting a book deal

    Q: I haven’t had any luck finding a publisher for my book. What’s the secret to getting in the door?

    A: Here’s my advice on how you can beat the odds and overcome the biggest reasons most books get rejected.

    But first, I’d like to give you an idea of what it’s like behind the scenes at a publishing house, and how acquiring editors go about the business of signing up books.

    The reality: Editors are desperate to find books!

    Writers often don’t realize that editors are strongly motivated, in fact desperate, to find authors and their books. Editors wake up in the morning with acquisition anxiety!  We’re all under tremendous pressure to find promising new books that will sell.

    That’s why we’re out there hounding literary agents, scouring newspapers, magazines and journals, cornering college professors, the local city councilwoman and the 16-year-old tech head from next door – because who knows, just maybe they have a great idea or brilliant new manuscript ready to go.

    Given this nervous reality, why do acquiring editors reject so many of the dozens of ideas, proposals, and manuscripts they see each week, often after only a 30-second glance at the first few pages?  Here’s why, and what you can do about it.

    .

    The 5 best ways to improve your chances

    .

    #1  Bulk up your concept

    The concept is the core idea of any book project. So we’re disappointed when an author or agent sends us a project with a concept that is weak or inappropriate.

    We see too many memoirs, for example, that are motivated by hurt and resentment.  Or books that are clearly calculated efforts to climb on the bandwagon of a perceived hot trend, like cross-over vampire love stories, and terrorist infiltrations of suburban St. Louis. Or quick and easy programs for financial success, satisfying marriage and perfect kids based on no research or track record.  No thanks.

    Some concepts reveal a writer who thinks he can make a quick killing in the book business.  Now that’s funny.

    Here’s what we’re actually hoping for:

    We want to see a concept with a strong premise that has energy, intensity, utility, focus and vision. We want books that will grab readers by the throat, quicken their pulses, and resonate for their own lives.

    We want authors who have something new to say about an important subject or story, who bring a fresh voice or unusual perspective on a topic of concern to many people.  Authors who are passionate about their ideas and stories, who bring to their work a maturity, expertise, and a visceral compulsion to write that comes from their hearts.

    An editor can usually tell right away if a concept has a new idea or point of view.

    It’s also helpful for you or your agent to know as much as possible about any given editor’s special interests or personal biases.

    #2  Submit a complete and convincing proposal

    I can tell pretty quickly when a submission is canned or formulaic. Beware of clearing your throat with digressive warm up sentences, or hyperbolic claims of grandiose brilliance.  Too many proposals appear to reinvent the wheel without acknowledging the competition. Too many authors are uninformed about the importance of self-marketing. Not enough writers hold themselves to a high enough standard of good writing.

    The bare-boned essentials of any book proposal I’d like to receive should include:

    • A two or three sentence hook that tells me what the book is about and why you’re the best person to write it.

    • If it’s non-fiction, include a chapter outline with a few paragraphs for each, a total of no more than two or three pages. Same thing if it’s fiction: Give me a thorough synopsis of the story.

    • Then write about your platform, including education, career status, track record as a writer, past or present appearances in print or broadcast media, current or future plans for websites, blogs, or internet marketing. I also like to see a DVD that shows you talking about the book with no script, either on local TV, at some community event, or even just in your living room.

    • A good proposal requires a serious and honest analysis of the competition. Too many submissions dismiss all other books and claim a presumptuous kind of superiority. We prefer respect and acknowledgment of similar books, since it proves there’s a market. What you need to tell us is how your work is different.

    • Finally, whether it’s non-fiction or fiction, I want a sparkling example of your writing. Usually the first chapter is best, but if it’s a first novel, send in the entire manuscript. I know conventional rules say start with a query letter, but with a novel, I recommend that you be more assertive and send the whole thing. It’s the best way for us to see what you can do, beginning to end.

    For a more thorough discussion, have a look at this earlier post,  The book proposal: what publishers want.

    #3  Come in with an agent

    You’ve probably heard that unrepresented, unsolicited proposals and manuscripts don’t get the same attention, and it’s true. They end up in the slush pile.

    Editors at most publishing houses won’t even open the email or package from someone they don’t know. They want to see a project a respected agent recommends — rather than spend hours going through literally hundreds of emails and packages.

    Finding the right agent for your book is crucial. It’s your job to find the best one specifically for you, an agent who knows which editor at what publisher might be interested in what you’re doing.  That agent’s relationship with the editor is also essential for negotiating the best financial terms, since it’s the acquiring editor’s job to pay as little as possible.

    It may not be easy to find the right agent, but remember, they’re also looking for you. So go to writers conferences where agents appear, search their websites, find their names in the acknowledgment pages of books you like, find a friend who has a good agent, and subscribe to Publisher’s Marketplace for the latest inside information about which agents have sold what project to which editors.

    And beware of any so-called agent who charges you for reading the book. That’s a scam.

    #4  Polish your writing to the highest standard

    Your proposal, sample pages, or complete manuscript must be held to a high literary standard. Some common problems I see are proposals with disorganized thinking that jumps from idea to idea with no apparent logic or linear sequence. Or the same idea is repeated over and over. Or the writer makes unwarranted assumptions that I’ll be able to understand prose that twists and turns with bewildering shifts in time and place.  Or I see characters who are two-dimensional and all speak in the same voice.

    And surprisingly, I see proposals replete with typos and poor grammar. Sure that stuff can be fixed, but it indicates a lack of care and professionalism.

    Remember that writing is rewriting. Some fine authors I’ve worked with – Toni Morrison, Tom Robbins, Hunter Thompson – each labor over every word, and are actually never quite satisfied, always feeling it can be better. And it can.

    Compare yourself to the best and see how good you can make it. Raise the bar. Be tougher on yourself.  Seek feedback beyond family and friends.  Here are some suggestions:

    • Take a writing class that provides discipline and high standards

    • Hire a freelance developmental editor (not for spelling or punctuation but content, style, organization) with a track record of published authors.  Here are some tips from an earlier post,  Choosing a freelance editor: what you need to know

    • Be prepared to take the time needed to produce well-organized, highly polished prose. Yes, I know Dan Brown can get away with clunky prose, but he’s a master of cliff-hanging and page-turners, despite his writing.

    #5  Come with a platform and plan for self-marketing

    I’ve seen proposals from writers who say their book will sell itself or that they’re too busy or shy to participate in publicity or marketing.

    Ouch. We depend on authors to cooperate and participate in a big way on selling their books. For more specifics, take a look at this earlier post on Building the author platform: 10 tips from a pro

    That doesn’t mean every writer who submits a proposal already needs to have a celebrity status platform. Not many new authors have a national TV show or a website that gets a million page views every day.

    But your proposal should demonstrate a willingness to understand and be effective at self-marketing. There’s so much an author can do these days to reach their readers directly. Even writers who are intrinsically shy are able to enter an online community that relates to their book and present their information, ideas, and stories.

    To give your book the best chance of success these days you must provide your prospective agent or publisher with your own self-marketing plan for the book.

    That means starting a website and blog before you even go for the agent or book contract. Get that URL based on your preliminary title, build your website with expert help, and start blogging, commenting on other sites and blogs, and social networking.  Welcome to the 21st century!

    Conventional self-marketing is also still important. Learn to stand on your feet and speak extemporaneously about your book. Seek invitations to appear at professional and community events. Approach local print and broadcast journalists as an expert in your field, or with a great story to tell about your novel. Hire a publicity agent if you can afford it, publishers love to see that kind of commitment. And get to know the owner of your local independent bookstore.  They may be interested if you can pull in 75 people on your personal list for a reading when the time comes.

    I know some of you may prefer to remain at home writing, but do it anyway — it works, and it can be fun.

    .

    Motivated writers can navigate the changes in publishing

    There’s never been a better time for a writer to navigate the big changes in book publishing. Agents and editors are tearing down old conventions and experimenting with new ideas. No one in the book business knows what the digital revolution or downturn in the economy will bring next.

    Everyone realizes that they need creative authors who believe in what they’re doing, hold themselves to a high standard, and are able to reach their readers directly.

    Dive in and you’ll have a much better chance of success.

    Any questions or tips?

    Have questions about any of this?  Tips and suggestions to pass along to fellow writers?  Please post them here in comments.

    23 Responses to Ask the editor: The top 5 secrets to getting a book deal

    1. Carl Selby
      October 30th, 2009 at 12:37 am

      Wow! What a wealth of information for one blog post!

      Number 5 struck a particular chord with me. It’s so important for modern writers to acknowledge that the world is very different to even four or five years ago. If you can’t be bothered to get out there and sell your product (or idea/ms/proposal) then don’t expect anyone else to either!

      A related favour – could fellow readers/writers please take a look at http://www.carlselby.wordpress.com and let me know what you think of my first edit Book Trailer.

      Kind regards,

      Carl Selby

    2. uberVU – social comments
      October 30th, 2009 at 6:01 am

      Social comments and analytics for this post

      This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michelle Hodkin: Awesome post from Alan Rinzler that indirectly explains why agents have to be so discriminating- http://bit.ly/1tZnYg

    3. Sandra
      October 30th, 2009 at 8:59 am

      Great post. What impresses me is your forward looking attitude which makes a refreshing change. “No one in the book business knows what the digital revolution or downturn in the economy will bring next.” Too true!

    4. Pierre Lehu
      October 30th, 2009 at 11:23 am

      Alan:

      Do you think you’re more likely to want the entire manuscript now that it can be sent electronically rather than having manuscripts of typed pages lying around your office?

      Great post, though with 650,000 books published last year you would think it would be a breeze to get a book published. Getting them sold in any quantity is another story.

      I’ve got a client whose print book I’m trying to sell who’s already sold 65,000 e-book copies. How would you treat that situation?

      Pierre Lehu

    5. Friday’s Links: book pricing controversies, m-readers, and what we mean when we talk about bad writing « Booklife
      October 30th, 2009 at 11:38 am

      […] Editor and consultant Alan Rinzler shares his top five secrets to getting a book deal. […]

    6. Alan Rinzler
      October 30th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Pierre –

      Yes, I always request the entire manuscript as a single Word document email attachment, since it’s much faster, cheaper, and easier to handle than a stack of paper.

      Selling 65K ebooks is a very impressive accomplishment. If you’re having trouble placing the print version, perhaps the publishers are assuming everyone who wants it already has one. Your job is educational: to explain why the book isn’t focused on a specialized market and there are still plenty of new potential readers. You can also cite statistics showing that people who’ve purchased an ebook are also likely to buy a print version (see Kindle stats from Amazon.)

      If that doesn’t work, maybe the flaw is in the book itself and it needs work, a new edition, a preface from a credible famous expert in the field, or more developmental editing.

      It also helps, as you know, to guarantee buying a few hundred or more at a good discount, as back-of-the-room materials.

      Good luck,

      -Alan

    7. Matt
      October 31st, 2009 at 2:56 am

      A wonderfully candid and detailed post. I’ve already bookmarked it for when the time is right, although, as you hint at, the publishing industry could well be a very different place by the time I’m ready. Still, I’ve already started my self-marketing, with a website about my writing experiences, and some plans about what I’m going to do with my first book.

      A friend of mine has just got himself an agent, and helpfully wrote a blog post about it for me. Hope it helps someone: http://www.getmewriting.com/getting-published/getting-an-agent/

    8. Bernard S. Jansen
      October 31st, 2009 at 3:22 am

      Thanks for sharing this. Point one spoke the loudest to me, especially the part about the desire for books that “will grab the reader by the throat, quicken their pulse, and resonate for their own lives.”

      I find this statement very challenging. You’re not just looking for a ‘good’ book, but a book that’s also an assailant, a drug and a mirror.

    9. Mimm Patterson
      November 1st, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      Alan,

      As ever – full of information, incredibly helpful but most of MOTIVATING. Thank you so much.

    10. Nath Jones
      November 2nd, 2009 at 5:36 am

      I just read the sentence, “Hire a publicity agent if you can afford it, publishers love to see that kind of commitment.” (I think I’m going to puke.) How do you recommend making the transition from an insulated life, writing in a room with a view, to the very real world of selling yourself and your book?

    11. Dustin Hansen
      November 2nd, 2009 at 8:13 am

      This is fantastic. I work in the video game business and the advent of smaller, cheaper, more bite sized games for the iPhone and social media sites like Facebook forced me to take a new approach 2 years ago. It is fascinating to see the same type of self promotional/direct to consumer shift happening in my other passion – literature. I just blogged about looking ahead and writing for readers that aren’t there yet. http://dustinhansen.com/?p=65 I’d love to hear your feedback.

      This is such a great post – thanks again for your honest advice.

    12. lakj f
      November 2nd, 2009 at 10:15 pm

      Bernard:

      Cute, but the last one doesn’t make sense = ‘resonate in their own lives’ links up how with ‘mirror?’

    13. Donna McAleer
      November 4th, 2009 at 6:41 am

      Thanks for this informative piece. How do you suggest managing the relationship with an agent for a non-fiction completed work? What should be expected in terms of submissions to editors and response times?

    14. Robert
      November 4th, 2009 at 8:39 am

      Some people just aren’t this motivated…

      …It’s like trying to motivate a PFC of 4 years in the Marine Corps after he’s continuously been knocked down throughout his enlistment. After you’ve spent so much time on a project, you would think that it would be fun, full of motivation, inspiration, and enthusiasm. But to some of us writers, it’s none of the above.

      Marketing the damn thing is probably the hardest part, even after all the countless nights tossing the irrelevance and perfecting the wordsmithing. Try persuading a seventy-five year old man to begin using email and other online communication, though he refuses to rid his rotary telephone.

      Us old-timers just aren’t up for all this “contemporary” foolishness. We guide ourselves down this strict passageway of completing our story of days long past, and hope to hand it off in a single wave. Your advice tends to steam from this new world, liberal sociable array that seems boisterous; giddy, but in reality is quite frightening and straight up tumultuous.

      For those of you reading this that have any doubt in this enduring process posted above, please be rest assured there are rather more conservative approaches for your success as a writer. The modern media would rather have you flaunt yourself and boast your work over say, The president’s autobiography, when the two having nothing in common, nor are comparable on any level. This by example is an unfortunate situation, because you have then become accountable for the conflict the mainstream media is always in search of.

      If you are not the persuasive type and rather be left standing behind the curtain, there is such a team of advertisers that are of your disposal to hire/ fire at your convenience to sell your product or work, rather than selling yourself. There is a difference between you and your work. Again, the liberal base doesn’t like to differenciate the two, but there is no argument. Another common example is not being able to afford this team, so as to do it yourself. Again, it is easier said than done. But instead of selling yourself, advertise your work under the influence of other writers and stay conservative throughout the marketing journey.

      I can promise you that if you choose this route, you won’t have any problem remaining conservative as it will come natural. Which proves humbleness and passion for why you’re here and what got to where you are in the first place. Hold your spirit high. There is a way!

      –Rob USMC

    15. Meghan Ward
      November 8th, 2009 at 8:36 am

      Great post! It’s daunting as a first-time author to read how important it is to have a platform (and EVERYONE is writing about that these days), but those of us who are willing to make that happen will have an edge on those who don’t. And with the publishing industry crumbling, we all need an edge!

    16. Suzannah
      November 12th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks for this article–really helpful. I’ll be including it in my next list of links for my readers.

      I like that publishing is changing and the internet is becoming a more valuable resource for marketing. A lot of aspiring authors use their websites as a means of gaining writing experience and finding a supportive audience, and it’s a shame not to take advantage of that if one gets published.

    17. Mark Griffith
      November 12th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

      Not meaning to be impolite, but isn’t “grab the reader by the throat, quicken their pulse, and resonate for their own lives” itself a piece of pretty formulaic writing? I’m not sure what those phrases really mean, but when I pick up a book to read, fiction or non-fiction, I certainly don’t want to be grabbed by the throat or have my pulse quickened.

      I also prefer books that don’t resonate with my own life, but show me something new. Just saying, like…

      I’ve worked as a magazine editor, a book editor, a literary translator, and a writer. On the topic of fiction, my suspicion is that most of the best novels of the 18th and 19th century would never have got past today’s editors. I think that’s because writing novels in instalment form for magazines is a much better way of getting readers interested in a story than trying to sell them a complete packaged tale the same size as months of collected episodes from a Richardson or an Austen or an Eliot or a Hardy. Equally, writing a long story without that regular reader feedback is very very hard. So it seems to me that modern editors and writers of long-form fiction are both trying to do something near impossible – explaining the drop in quality since long-fiction magazines died out around 1900.

      It’s also a bit dishonest to pretend that both sides don’t have other problems. All the would-be writers I’ve met care about “being writers” more than telling stories, and have little or nothing to say. On the other hand, all the editors I’ve met are shockingly lazy, but have found a better way of hiding the fact they also have nothing to say. Colleagues used to express frank astonishment that I – as an editor – actually read and answered all my mail each day, as if this was a weird thing to do. On one magazine I found I could work part-time and replace three full-timers – with a steep increase in quality I have to immodestly add.

      Most writers and most editors {and most agents} have in common a desire to be involved with creativity and to see themselves as creative people. They also tend to share similar character problems, psychological difficulties, and lack of talent – albeit with different strategies for hiding these shortcomings from themselves and others.

      Sorry – but this is just what I’ve seen working on both sides of the fence.

    18. Alan Rinzler
      November 13th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Books don’t have to start with murders, car crashes, or terrorist bombings to get my attention. Right now I’m reading “Chronic City” by Jonathan Lethem, and the opening sentence, “I first met Perkus Tooth in an office.” is hardly formulaic. Something about the funny name and ironic flat pacing, though, led me to the next sentence, and the next, until I was hooked. Just goes to show, everybody has a different reason for not putting a book down.

      As for lazy editors, I can tell you that they won’t survive, and are quickly let go. Good editors work hard to find good books. And when it comes to lazy writers, OK, some lack talent to be sure, but others just need help.

      I can’t agree that there’s a drop in quality these days or that there were any more great books published in the 1800’s than there are today. Great books are few and far between but I keep finding new stuff, like Lethem, that holds my attention and deserves respect.

      I do confess to having a “glass half full” point of view, which I suppose some may consider naive.

      -Alan

    19. Larry Myler
      November 14th, 2009 at 10:11 pm

      Alan,

      Nice post. Thank you. If I had read it a year earlier the following probably wouldn’t have happened:

      I am a first-time author with a business book coming out in January, 2010. This may sound strange, but to get the deal I simply sent an email inquiry directly to Wiley. Ten minutes later they requested a full proposal. A month later I had a signed contract with an advance check in the mail. All this without an agent. The very idea of writing a book hadn’t even entered my head until one year ago, and the finished product will hit stores less than three months from now.

      I have a strong feeling that I am extremely fortunate, both in terms of the caliber of publisher and the quick timing. Further, I suspect that this good luck has far more to do with my book topic lining up well with current economic conditions, and less to do with my track record (non-existant), platform (still building it) or writing skills (workin’ on ‘em). Wiley is now talking about a second book contract for 2011, and I’m thinking this is pretty cool stuff.

      So, I just have to know. How rare is this scenario? Any advice on how to make the most of it?

    20. Victoria Mixon
      November 15th, 2009 at 7:50 pm

      “[Most writers and most editors {and most agents}]. . .tend to share similar character problems, psychological difficulties, and lack of talent – albeit with different strategies for hiding these shortcomings from themselves and others.”

      I have to say, Mark, this is hilarious. Just writers, editors, and agents? And most of those guys? You’re absolutely certain about that?

      Because you should hear how disgruntled computer engineers talk about their “talentless” peers. Disgruntled marketing executives. Disgruntled loggers, used-car sales reps, gas station attendants.

      Every industry has its share of deadwood, and every industry has its disgruntled complaining about them, too. I was certainly taken aback to hear a story recently on Twitter about a publisher’s editor who cavalierly altered a character’s dress and make-up to reflect her own tastes rather than the author’s. But that’s not a problem with being a writer or editor. That’s a problem with being a jerk.

      How many of us reading Alan’s blog have been or still are magazine/newspaper editors? professional writers and book editors? dreamers, agents, and published authors? I’m guessing you’re going to get some push-back, Mark, on the idea that most of us are, basically, just losers. We kind of like being us. We kind of like each other!

      We work hard, we study our craft, we love books. It’s what we do—we just love working with books.

      Alan’s advice to write something that will “grab the reader by the throat, quicken their pulse, and resonate for their own lives” is no more formulaic, really, than saying, “Write in sentences.” The world is packed to the gills with potential stories along those lines. Not everyone sees them, and not everyone knows what to do with them when they do. But they’re there.

      And you know what makes readers love them? The power of expressing something that truly matters about being alive with the written word.

      best,
      Victoria

    21. Malcolm
      November 16th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

      Interesting post. I really enjoyed reading some fresh advice. I had to smile over the advice “come in with an agent,” which made it sound like one can just pick up an agent like selecting a toothbrush at the five and dime. Agents are about as hard to land as a publisher. If you’re not already published, an agent probably won’t respond to your query.

      Malcolm

    22. Alan Rinzler
      November 18th, 2009 at 11:50 am

      Hi Larry,

      That’s a great publishing success story. Congratulations! You clearly had a winning idea and made the right connection. Yes, it’s a rare scenario but who said good things can’t happen in the book business?

      To make the most of it, support your publisher in every way you can. Tell them in detail about everything you’ll be doing as an entrepreneurial author to drive sales through conventional and internet media and networking.

      Communicate with them primarily by email since that’s the least demanding and intrusive. Remain upbeat and cooperative, and have realistic expectations about the amount of time they have to devote exclusively to you.

      Enjoy yourself and best wishes for a great success.

      -Alan

    23. Bernard S. Jansen
      November 23rd, 2009 at 4:04 pm

      @lakj f
      Sorry for the delay, I only just checked back here and saw your comment. You are right in that my connection between, ‘resonate in their own lives’ and ‘mirror’ is a little cryptic.

      When I read a work that really resonates in my own life, it is because it has shown me something about myself. This is most powerful when it is something about myself that I’ve not seen before. In this sense, the written word becomes a mirror placed in front of me. Without that experience, I would not now see myself as I do now.

    Posted via web from Encourager Recommends





    This Is Why The Internet (And Twitter) Wins

    28 11 2009
    This Is Why The Internet (And Twitter) Wins

    –>

  • by MG Siegler on November 27, 2009

    Screen shot 2009-11-27 at 12.22.51 PMUndoubtedly by now you’ve heard about Tiger Woods’ car crash. Early reports had him in serious condition (which remember, is better than critical condition) after he apparently hit a fire hydrant and a tree while leaving his home in his SUV. The latest reports say he has been released from the hospital and is “fine.” But I’m not going to speak to any of that because that’s not what we do (you can find out more here).

    Instead, as I’m watching this unfold infront of my eyes on the Internet, I’m reminded that this type of story is exactly why the web is destroying newspapers, and should eventually even take down television and the main source of news for most people. I first heard the news via a BNOnews bulletin sent via push notification to my iPhone. I immediately pulled up Twitter and already some 10-15 people had retweeted it and the news was appearing in my stream.

    The message read, “BULLETIN — REPORT: FAMED GOLFER TIGER WOODS SERIOUSLY INJURED AFTER CRASH NEAR FLORIDA HOME.” Sure, not a lot of information there, but it’s clearly labeled as a report, and yes, it did turn out to be correct. And thanks to Twitter, thousands of people had access to this information about 45 minutes before it appeared on CNN or ESPN, the “worldwide leaders” in news in their respective fields.

    Of course, there is something to be said for these outlets independently verifying the news, but the the fact of the matter is that there was a report out there, filed by the police department and BNOnews was able to get it and send it out via Twitter much, much faster than any traditional news source.

    Information wants to be free, and the web, with services like Twitter, provides the easiest way for that to happen.

    Google was almost as fast on the case, as some 10 minutes after the tweets were flowing, it started showing reports from local Orlando news outlets (where the crash occurred) giving details of the crash. Within 15 minutes, we knew what time the crash occurred at, apparently what happened, and some other important details (like no alcohol being involved).

    Cut to about 30 minutes after that. CNN finally got its “breaking” story up. And what did it contain? This:

    (CNN) — Golfer Tiger Woods was injured in a car accident near his home, Florida officials say.

    Seriously. That’s it.

    That apparently took 45 minutes to get up. They could have called anyone on Twitter 30 minutes ago to get those details from what officials were saying based on what they had already read thanks to Twitter and Google.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand Twitter should look no further than situations like this. Which has been very clear for a long time. From earthquakes, to the massive fires in San Diego (in 2007), to the Mumbai shootings, to the situation in Iran, this is the future of information population, like it or not.

    It’s interesting to note that MSNBC.com recently reached a deal to take over the @breakingnews account (the one tied to BNO News). Here’s to hoping they don’t slow it down to CNN speeds. But if they do, someone else will come along with another service that will replace it. That’s the beauty of the Internet. It’s Darwinism unbound.

    Posted via web from Encourager Recommends





    How Twitter Lists Are Changing #FollowFriday

    28 11 2009

    tweetWhen Twitter Lists were first rolled out to everyone, some people questioned how the feature would effect the long tradition of #followfriday, a weekly event on which Twitter users recommend different tweeps they enjoy for various reasons. Though Twitter Lists are changing the way some people participate in #FollowFriday, they have have actually not lowered the number of tweeps participating.

    #FollowFriday recommendations come in all shapes and sizes. Some people broadly recommend their favorite followers and others are more specific to a subject area or industry. Twitter Lists have followed largely the latter, and often include specific tweeps that tweet about specific subjects. And though the majority of people are continuing to make recommendations using the traditional route of including the usernames of tweeps people should follow, some people are beginning to create #followfriday Twitter Lists or are linking to one of their lists in their #followfriday tweet.


    #FollowFriday Still Going Strong


    The number of tweets each Friday that contain the hashtags #ff or #followfriday have actually increased in the last month following the rollout of Twitter Lists in October, according to Trendistic. The percentage of tweets containing #ff have gone up slightly from 2.09 percent on October 30 to 2.45 percent on November 20. The results for tweets containing #followfriday have fluctuated a bit, but have mostly remained consistent.

    followfriday-tweetchart

    This graph doesn’t show any changes in #FollowFriday behavior — any of these tweets could point users to lists or use the traditional method of recommendation — but they do show that just as many Twitter (Twitter) users are participating in #FollowFriday as ever. There was some concern, when the list feature was first announced that users would simply create lists and start recommending other tweeps on #FollowFriday altogether. That has clearly not happened.


    #FollowFriday With Lists


    Some people are starting to change the way they participate in #FollowFriday, however, by recommending one of their Twitter lists for people to follow instead of specific users. Others are creating special #FollowFriday lists and updating them each week.

    followfriday-twitterlist

    It’s hard to tell how many people exactly are participating in this trend, but for Friday, November 20, we found more than 400 examples of tweets that contained the hashtag #followfriday or #ff that included the word “list” and a link pointing to a Twitter list. Though it’s a small amount of people that are starting to use #followfriday this way, it may be a precursor to a change in how people participate in #FollowFriday, changing the way people recommend their tweeps.


    How Lists Could Change #FollowFriday


    Because Twitter Lists are relatively new to Twitter users still, the trend of people using lists for recommendations instead of actually including usernames has the potential to catch on. This would change the feel of #FollowFriday significantly and perhaps some of its effectiveness.

    followfriday-guardian

    Creating a Twitter list designated for #FollowFriday allows users to recommend more people and brings down the noise of people who use multiple tweets to recommend followers. It also makes the recommendations more specific because users could update the description of the list each Friday. This method also has more shelf life than just recommending specific users each Friday. After all, the usernames attached to the #FollowFriday Twitter list would remain there for a whole week for people who stumble across your profile or your tweet linking to it. This has the potential to give those you recommend more exposure.

    However, it may not necessarily translate into followers for those you are recommending. If you create a Twitter list for #FollowFriday, people will likely just follow the list and not necessarily the people on it. Also, including a link to a list for #FollowFriday instead of @usernames of each tweep you recommend creates an extra step for your followers to see the people you are recommending. You can’t just click on the username and assess your interest in following that person, now you’d have to click on the link and run through the list of people.

    Whatever the outcome of this potential trend, people should remember that #FollowFriday is about the people that you recommend that bring you value and think are worthy of being followed by those following you, regardless of how you do the recommending.

    Posted via web from Encourager Recommends





    Motivational Tweets: 25 of the Most Inspiring Users on Twitter

    28 11 2009

    cloud imageQiana Mestrich is the Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Manager at Beliefnet, the largest inspiration and spirituality website. She manages their Twitter account @beliefnet.

    Many motivational leaders are harnessing the social power of Twitter to spread their philosophies – perhaps because when their speaking engagements are over, tweeting becomes a way to reinforce their message daily and reach their audience beyond the stage. The breadth of life and professional experience of these leaders spans across all levels of human interest and for this roundup we’ve selected motivational leaders actively using Twitter (Twitter), not just as a marketing tool, but as a way to get you moving in the direction of your goals.

    Can a 140-character tweet possibly be the wakeup call you need to start living your dreams? There’s only one way to find out — and following the leaders on this list is a great place to start. Who else is inspiring you on Twitter? Let us know in the comments.


    1. @TonyRobbins


    TonyRobbins

    Author Tony Robbins has been active for over 30 years and became well known through his infomercials and bestselling self-help books. Robbins writes about subjects such as health and energy, overcoming fears, persuasive communication, and enhancing relationships.


    2. @J_Canfield


    J_Canfield

    Jack Canfield is an American motivational speaker and author. He is best known as the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series with his writing partner, Mark Victor Hansen.


    3. @MarkVHansen


    MarkVHansen

    For over 30 years, author and speaker Mark Victor Hansen has spread the message of opportunity and action, dubbing himself “America’s Ambassador of Possibility.”


    4. @Deepak_Chopra


    Deepak_Chopra

    Indian physician and author Deepak Chopra has written extensively on spirituality and is a champion in mind-body medicine. As a TV personality and household name, Chopra has influenced the New Thought Movement in the United States.


    5. @StephenRCovey


    StephenRCovey

    Who hasn’t heard of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? First published in 1989, it is still a bestselling book. In it Stephen Covey promotes what he calls “The Character Ethic” or aligning one’s values with “universal and timeless” principles. At age 76, Covey is staying relevant by moving his message to the digital platform.


    6. @TomZiglar


    TomZiglar

    For over 50 years Zig Ziglar applied his “performance enhancement” principles to help Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, small businesses, schools and non-profits. These days Zig has passed the baton to his son Tom who is bringing the same personal development techniques to the digital age.


    7. @paulocoelho


    paulocoelho

    Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He is the author of the bestselling novel, The Alchemist, which has become one of the top selling books in history, holding the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.


    8. @TheRealLesBrown


    TheRealLesBrown

    As a child Les Brown was declared “mentally retarded” and suffered many setbacks and failures in school. Now a renowned professional speaker, author and TV personality, Les Brown’s own rags to riches story fuels his inspiring “live up to greatness” message to people of all ages.


    9. @Marci_Shimoff


    Marci_Shimoff

    Marci Shimoff is the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history, Chicken Soup for the Soul. One of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time, Marci’s a featured teacher in the international film and book phenomenon, The Secret.


    10. @larrywinget


    LarryWinget

    As the so called “Pitbull of Personal Development”, Larry Winget has evangelized his in-your-face approach to self help as a financial guru and author of books like his bestselling Shut Up, Stop Whining, & Get A Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life.


    11. @yossi_ghinsberg


    Inspired by the nomadic Bedouins of the Sinai Desert after meeting them as a young member of Israel’s navy, Yossi Ghinsberg has since traversed the globe absorbing the spiritual lessons of the world’s indigenous populations. Ghinsberg has used this humanitarian approach to organize symposiums and publish works around issues like biodiversity, treating opiate addiction, and conflict resolution.


    12. @SPiver


    SPiver

    Susan Piver is a writer, teacher, and speaker on topics such as love, creativity, and spirituality. She is the New York Times bestselling author of The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do” and the award-winning How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, in which she offers insight and information about conquering the fears that hold you back.


    13. @BrianTracy


    BrianTracy

    A high school dropout, Brian Tracy spent most of his early work years as a laborer around the world until he tried his hand at sales and became a VP at the age of 25. A board member of Washington DC public policy institute The Heritage Foundation, Tracy has authored several books, audio materials and even an online leadership course.


    14. @DrWayneWDyer


    DrWayneWDyer

    Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is a popular American self-help advocate, author and lecturer. His 1976 book Your Erroneous Zones is one of the bestselling books of all time and is said to have “[brought] humanist ideas to the masses.”


    15. @inspiremetoday


    inspiremetoday

    Gail Lynne Goodwin is an Ambassador of Inspiration and the founder of InspireMeToday.com. She often blogs for The Huffington Post, and counts people like Wayne Dyer and Jack Canfield (also on this list) as her mentors.


    16. @pwDan


    pwDan

    Dan Millman is the author of thirteen self-help books, the most famous of which is the semi-autobiographical novel, Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Due to the varied topics of his books, his work is difficult to label, but is generally connected to the human potential movement.


    17. @byronkatie


    byronkatie

    Byron Kathleen Mitchell is a speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work of Byron Katie” or simply as “The Work.” She tweets a steady stream of inspirational messages.


    18. @charmedlifelady


    charmedlifelady

    Victoria Moran is the author of ten books, a motivational speaker specializing in inspiration, wellness, and personal growth, and a certified life coach specializing in spiritual- life coaching. She also writes the Charmed Life blog for Beliefnet.


    19. @_robin_sharma


    _robin_sharma

    Robin Sharma is an author of several internationally published books, and an expert on leadership and personality development.


    20. @LouiseHay


    LouiseHay

    Louise Hay has had an incredible life story, from surviving rape at age 5 to curing herself from cervical cancer as well as being an early champion of support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS. She is the founder of the Hay House publishing company, which publishes books by others on this list, including Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer.


    21. @JimRohnQuotes


    JimRohnQuotes

    As an entrepreneur, Jim Rohn became a millionaire by age 31 and over the past 40 years has shared his story with millions of people worldwide that seek the guidance of Rohn’s unique personal development philosophy. He’s helped launch the careers of other motivational speakers in this list, such as Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield.


    22. @soniachoquette


    soniachoquette

    Sonia Choquette is an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher, intuitive guide and masterful catalyst whose special gift is to energetically activate the highest vibration and free the authentic spirit in everyone she meets. She releases people from the restriction and fear of the ego and guides them through the portals to joy, wholeness, and personal empowerment in every area of their life.


    23. @Debbie_Ford


    Debbie_Ford

    Debbie Ford is an author who writes books that take the reader on amazing journeys into the internal world, laying out the blueprint of the human psyche. Debbie’s books are used by universities, teachers, lawyers, mediators, and therapists around the world to support others in a true healing of the heart.


    24. @kenblanchard


    kenblanchard

    Considered a management expert, Ken Blanchard is the “Chief Spiritual Officer” of the international management training company he and his wife co-founded in 1979. Ken has also co-authored over 30 bestselling books on the subject of leadership.


    25. @marwilliamson


    marwilliamson

    Marianne Williamson is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. She is also the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. She has published nine books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers.

    Very useful list of Motivational people on Twitter.

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