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Once in a while, it all clicks. And this week was a great one for JRV.com. We wanted to take this moment to thank everyone for all their support and loyalty. We know that the Internet is full of so many choices, and we are blessed that you take the time to read the content on this blog.

This post will try to summarize some of the good news (and views) we received this week. Yes, sometimes you just need to share it and celebrate.

Whole Foods Controversy

©Boston Herald (Nancy Lane)

We saw the story about a new Whole Foods opening in the same place where a Latino supermarket (and cultural institution) used to stand. We reacted. We reached out to Whole Foods via social media. They responded and got us a name to interview. We reached out to a Boston City Councillor and he commented. We now have access to comments and will be adding more stories about this. Here is the original story: Whole Foods vs Hi-Lo.

Guest Post on @MarketingProfs

It is one of the world’s top social media marketing sites. We love MarketingProfs and love what @marketingprofs does on Twitter and beyond. This week, we appeared on their blog as a guest blogger and wrote the following post: How Niche Communities Build Brand Awareness. We were thrilled to be featured, especially since we got a chance to talk about #LatinoLit.

Short Story Makes Long List

This week, one of the stories from FRANKY BENÍTEZ, made the long list as part of the anthology, 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND. The story, “Power’s Sunday Slam,” is being considered for the publication, which will benefit the victims of the Australia floods. Out of 300 submissions, “Power’s Sunday Slam” made the first cut.

The New #Latism Web Page

We celebrated the new #Latism (Latinos in Social Media) web page as well. This is such a great organization, the best community in social media. #LATISM has done great things, and it will continue to do even greater things.

And finally, we think this blog is heading in the right direction and posting content that our readers want to see. We just checked our recent blog and fan page rankings (in the end, being online is all about reach) and we are happy to report the following:

  • The Facebook Fan Page of Fernando Varela is now over 18,500 fans as of January 30, 2011. We think we will get to 20,000 by the end of March, if not sooner.
  • The Sónico Fan Page of Fernando Varela is over 55,000 fans. We project that this will reach 100,000 by the end of 2011.
  • The current Alexa rating for juliorvarela.com puts us in some select company. We are amazed at how a personal, part-time blog is gaining new views each day. We are growing by 100% every month we are online.
  • The little novel that could, @fbnovel, which just started tweeting this January 3, is expected to hit 500 followers by January 31. At that rate, when the novel is published in September, the account will have 4,000 followers with the right level of growth and engagement.
  • We are currently at close to 37,000 views on this blog site and expect to be at 40,000 by the middle to February.

Yes, sometimes you need to celebrate. And we are doing just that this week. Hit it, Mr. Astaire.

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Well, here it is, people. Here is the video I had to make by losing my Patriots-Jets bet to Emmy-winning comedian Mike Robles.

 

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The Fernando Varela musical adventure continues. Fernando, an amazing vocal talent, producer, and performer, and his team have launched a brand-new site at FernandoVarela.com. The site contains Fernando’s new tag line, “Where Classical Meets Classic Rock,” as well as new photos, videos, and the latest 2011 tour information.

Fernando, who is represented by Mascioli Entertainment, has also understood the power of social media to get his music and videos to his fan base. As his older brother, using social media to share my brother’s amazing talent has been a joy. We will never forget the early support we received, especially from Twitter rockstars @ginidietrich, @justinthesouth, and @adriandayton. We will also NEVER forget the amazing love and support from organizations such as Latinos in Social Media and Being Latino. They were all quick to recognize what has been clear to me and the rest of my family: Fernando’s voice, talent, and performance style is WORLD CLASS and he is destined to become a major global star. A little fun facts about what has been accomplished on social media in sharing the talent of Fernando Varela:

  • When we started, Fernando Varela’s Facebook Fan Page in January of 2009, we had 3 fans: me, Fernando, and my dad. Today, we have close to 18,000.
  • Fernando’s Sonico page, primarily intended for the Latin American market, has over 50,000 fans.
  • Fernando’s version of “Por ti volaré” is still the #1-searched version of that song on iTunes. That means that since the song was released in December 2008, more people on iTunes have downloaded Fernando Varela’s version of “Por ti volaré” than any other artist’s version. Here is tonight’s screen capture for that song:

We think 2011 is THE YEAR for Fernando. He is positioned to expand his social network and continue to grow. We leave you with one of his new videos. Enjoy!

 

GET A FREE DOWNLOAD OF “MI MARAVILLOSA”

JOIN FERNANDO’S NEWSLETTER

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Major props to Being Latino’s Lance Rios and Louis Pagan, the co-founder of LATISM, for today’s appearance on Fox News Latino. The topic was “Social Media and Latinos” and asked this question: How important are sites like Facebook and Twitter to the Hispanic community?

Click on the screen shot to view the interview. Or click on this link.

Viva Louis! Viva Lance!

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We are excited to begin our #LatinoLit Author Series, where we will explore the issues related to the digital world, social media, and the printed word. Our series begins with Raul Ramos y Sanchez, the award-winning author of AMERICA LIBRE and HOUSE DIVIDED, which will launch in January 28. The books cover a world where extreme views lead to a civil war in the United States. We had a chance to interview Ramos y Sanchez about the role of social media in promoting an author’s work.

#LatinoLit Talks with Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

#LatinoLit: Social media continues to grow in influence and scope. Can it be effective in selling books or do you think social media is sometimes overhyped?


Ramos y Sanchez: In my opinion, social media is not a magic bullet for authors but more of a “force magnifier” as the military is fond of saying. Social media allows the relatively small number of well-known authors at the top of the pyramid to leverage their fame through a channel that gives them direct access to their fans without the mainstream media. That’s very seductive — but it can also create thorny results (as you have so well chronicled in the continuing story of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Encanto and NBC). J.K. Rowling is another example of celebrity author primacy in social media. She follows no one yet has nearly 300,000 Twitter followers thanks to a total of five tweets, all of which essentially say “you won’t hear much from me, I’m busy writing.” (No disrespect to Ms. Rowling. She’s earned that privilege through her exceptional work.)


For emerging authors, who make up the base of the pyramid, social media is an entirely different animal. We are not guaranteed an instant following once we hang out a social media shingle.  All the same, emerging authors willing to work hard and be innovative will find social media provides an unprecedented opportunity to connect with readers and, perhaps just as importantly, network with influential people who can help create more exposure through other channels.

Social media is still a wide open field, ripe for experimentation for authors at every level. As part of the launch of my second novel, HOUSE DIVIDED, in late January, I’ve created a PDF Sneak Preview of the novel’s first chapter available by “liking” HOUSE DIVIDED on Facebook. I’m inviting my social media friends to read the first chapter, and if they’ve enjoyed it, to share the PDF Sneak Preview with their friends. It’s a social media variation of viral marketing that could become a staple for book launches if it works.  If not, well, there’s a whole new sea of opportunities still out there waiting to be discovered. We’re all still charting new waters in social media.


#LatinoLit: Your first novel, AMERICA LIBRE, earned a long list of awards mostly from Latino organizations and received considerable media attention, again primarily from Hispanic media sources. Do you think your novels are marketable to mainstream readers?

Ramos y Sanchez: I certainly hope so! But it’s important to recognize minority authors face a unique challenge. Most minority readers I know buy books from both mainstream and minority authors. But I sense many mainstream readers feel that minority authors are not really writing for them, that their work is exclusively for their own group. That’s a double whammy–especially for emerging minority authors who face competition from established mainstream authors within their own group but are at a great disadvantage among mainstream readers. I say this with well-known minority authors like Walter Mosley and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez as the few exceptions which prove the rule.

My novels are written for a crossover audience, which reflects my personal history. I was born in Cuba, arrived in the U.S. at seven and have lived in the Midwest most of my life. English is my primary language and I eat beans and cornbread as often as black beans and rice. So when I write, it’s from a point of view steeped in both cultures. Still, I face the uphill battle of making mainstream readers understand my novels are written for them as much as for Latinos. Ultimately, it will take more mainstream readers willing to extend their comfort zone. If they do, I believe a number of minority authors will provide them with a pleasant surprise.

FOR A FREE DOWNLOAD OF THE FIRST CHAPTER

OF HOUSE DIVIDED “LIKE” RAUL ON FACEBOOK


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The last few days, we have been reading several blog posts from all over the Internet about the Tuscon tragedy and we think that the following post by Ulises Silva, which appeared today on the Being Latino blog, expresses a lot of the themes that we think are related to this crime in a way that is hopeful and positive. Here is to civility and to the challenge we should all accept as a nation. Everyone who feels a desire to process all the conflicting issues regarding this horrible act of violence, must read A State of Madness, A Call to Reason.

A few excerpts from the post really hit home with us. It starts:

Sometimes, there are no words. No explanations. No ways to make light of the situation. Only ironies. Ironies that speak for themselves.

It focuses on the tragedy:

Regardless of what the news reports in the coming weeks, what happens next is really up to all of us. Because for all of Saturday’s horror—the most horrific being the death of a nine-year-old who probably couldn’t understand our fixation with red and blue states—we are now at a moment of learning and opportunity.

I’ve often thought that history will not look kindly on this era. We’ve allowed network news to manipulate our political consciousness to the point that Abraham Lincoln would lose a modern-day election. We tweet simple thoughts to complex problems in 140 characters or less. We worry about who’s going to be voted off what island rather than what holes Congress is voting us into.

And yet, here we are, rudely awoken to the consequences of our inability to have civilized disagreements. To the consequences of spewing rhetoric fit for warring nations, not fellow citizens. To the consequences of our combative, disrespectful, and oftentimes selfish ways of dealing with problems and disagreements.

So I ask: How will history look at us? What is the legacy we’re leaving behind?

And it concludes with a message for all of us:

When these days become a museum exhibit hall centuries from now, what will it say about us? And what will it say about this past Saturday? Was it the start of something terrible? Or of something amazing?

know we’re more enlightened than those in The Dark Ages. Let’s start acting like it. It’s our legacy, and our children’s legacy, we’re actively creating, after all.

Bravo, Ulises. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We are so proud to be associated with you and BeingLatino.

PS Ulises is also a LatinoLit Renaissance man and author. You can visit his fiction here: SpaceChurros.

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In the digital age, the printed word has its challengers and one of the biggest ones of all is YouTube. So, without question, as authors share and market their works with others online, video is central to any social media marketing strategy.

As part of the plan to spread the word about Franky Benítez, I created a YouTube channel for the novel. The hope is to share videos related to the stories mentioned in the book and even include some appearances from me and other guests.

In the meantime, we did a quick 30 second intro about the novel with some photos and iMovie (oh, yeah and The Beta Band). The photos are family ones that inspired some of the characters in the novel. Yeah, I do write about what I know, but a lot of what I have included is fiction.

Let me know what you think?

And don’t forget to follow the novel on Twitter and Facebook.

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