Neil Clarke

The Award-Winning Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, Forever Magazine, The Best Science Fiction of the Year, and More

Psst. Here’s a great story. Pass it on.

When the topic of saving short fiction comes up, it inevitably turns to money. I don’t want to talk about money right now.  Rest assured, I’ll come back to it, but right now, I want to talk about the second best thing you can do for short story or magazine that you enjoy.

Tell someone about it.

I think David de Beer made some pretty good points in his recent post about promoting and sharing. As he mentions, I installed a tool called ShareThis at Clarkesworld Magazine back in December. It’s pretty easy to find. Just look for the little green icon and the words “Share This” at the end of any story, commentary, or interview. When you click on that button, it gives you a nice little menu of places that you can share that page with. It even gives you an option to email the link to a friend. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.

But does it help?

Definitely.

Our usage stats for ShareThis aren’t fantastic, but since adding it, I’ve seen an increase in incoming traffic from sites like StumbleUpon or Digg. The way those sites work, the more people that recommend a page, the better. A single person, even a completely friendless person,  could end up sending hundreds of people to a magazine. There’s no reason we should think of this as restricted to online magazines either. Many print magazines are placing sample content online. What better way to encourage that behavior?

To wrap this up, I’d like to ask a favor of you. Create a StumbleUpon, Digg or Reddit account today. I seem to have developed a preference for StumbleUpon. Then go recommend one or two stories you’ve read online and enjoyed. Heck, get a friend to do it too.

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13 Comments

  1. I’ll try to remember to digg Clarkesworld each month. I’ve been wondering if a genre fiction digg mafia could work to improve the visibility of our section of the web.

    • Thanks! I think a digg mafia would be a good thing for online fiction.

      • Can anyone tell me the correct Digg category? Last time I trawled their headings, ‘celebrities’ was the closest I could find to fiction.

        • I’ve been Digging Horror Fiction News Network’s and Horror Literature Quarterly’s stuff in the Arts and Culture Class. If there is a better one then I’m all ears.

          • That sounds better than ‘entertainment’, in any case. Thanks!

          • Yeah, I think the Arts and Culture is a new class there. I used to put them under Entertainment.

            It is a sad commentary on Digg that Fiction isn’t a sub class or something.

          • Definitely sad, but they’re lacking in a lot of categories. It’s one of the reasons I don’t use them much.

        • I put them in the Arts&cultures, is about all where I can see to put them. delicious and Stumble are easier in that regard. Facebook and myspace I find easiest of all, though. Myspace you can choose to add the link to your profile/ blog/ or bulletin it.

  2. Thanks for the reminder – I had digg and delicious on my site, but ShareThis is quite convenient. The only problem is the measurable delay it adds to the first appearance of each page (thanks to loading the JS file remotely.)

    Never mind, maybe Google will buy them out and invest in faster servers …

    • I hadn’t noticed a delay. Now I have to go back and see how bad it is. 🙂 Seems a small price to get some of the reporting functionality and convenience though.

      • I get ‘waiting for w.sharethis.com’ before the site pops up. It’s only a second or so, but usually the page fills instantly.

        However, I think I know why it appears to be slow (to me). My websites are hosted by my ISP, so I’m connected directly to the servers. JS from other sites (US ones, for example, like Google) have a slight lag.

        As you say, it’s a small price to pay for the benefits. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I’ll see whether there are any stats. (I’ll be adding it to the Andromeda Spaceways site as well as both the Spacejock ones. We publish a lot of book reviews now, exclusive to the web, and they could do with a share button.)

  3. I’ve been getting good traffic from Digg for HFNN.

    I don’t understand why authors or publishers don’t use Digg to digg their stories that say I, or you post to Digg to get more exposure.

    Hell, I’ll Digg your stuff as I see it.

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