Thursday, January 10, 2013

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Linking The Science Fiction Romance Data



Image source: Fanpop

Kassia Kroszer, a well-known digital publishing consultant, wrote an article at 40kbooks called The Smartest Thing in Publishing Is to be Flexible. The following passage in particular caught my eye:

Linked data, I believe, is the next big thing. I'm sure others have their definitions, but here's mine. The connections in books, between books, between books and other media, between books and the real world. An example of the last two comes from a company called Small Demons (smalldemons.com). They are connecting the people, places, and things in books with the people, places, and things in other books and other media. It's an addictive rabbit hole... once you start exploring, you discover all kinds of new things..."

The idea of “linked data” got me thinking about the issue as it pertains to science fiction romance. I began to wonder if the books in this subgenre were effectively linked. In other words, to what extent are authors and publishers “connecting books with books.”

How might science fiction romance authors and publishers accomplish this goal? How can they make it easy for readers to find more books in this subgenre?

I think we’re heading toward a linked system of sorts, but it seems like our methods could be stronger and more effective. Toward that end, I came up with a few simple, easy-to-implement ideas:

* Within each book, include links to at least one active science fiction romance site. This would be especially important for ebooks since URLs can be more easily included.

Think about it. What if dozens of SFR authors included information about sites like the SFR Brigade, The Galaxy Express, Spacefreighters Lounge, and Smart Girls Love Sci-Fi & Paranormal Romance right in the books themselves? All four are gateway sites leading to information about various sci-fi romance books and authors. This could be done in the bio section (e.g., "[author] is a member of the SFR Brigade).

* Link active SFR blogs to each other. Each has its own unique flavor and content but all have SFR in common. By linking the sites, readers would have a window to a wide variety of books, news, and topical content.

Here are the current active sites of which I’m aware (some focus on paranormal as well, but the SFR content is significant):


Are we all linked to each other? It’s in everyone’s best interest if we are. Readers should be able to find the links—and more books—easily. (For what it’s worth, I updated my own list while working on this post!)

* Ideally, authors will help pay it forward for other authors by linking to the active science fiction romance blogs on their author sites.

If they’re really ambitious, they’ll create a page linking to current authors of sci-fi romance. My SFR Authors page is a handy place to start.

The above ideas would require a minimum of time. Some of it we’re doing already as a community. It’s just a matter of making linked data for SFR a regular habit. In the future, these actions could translate to higher visibility in SFR across different mediums. Both readers and authors would benefit.

Can you think of other ways to link SFR books? If you have suggestions for implementing these ideas or others, hit me up!

Joyfully yours,

Heather