Which Social Media Outlet is Most Effective for Authors?

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Happy Monday, All! Today I’m super excited because I have science fiction and fantasy author Violette L. Meier as a host today! Today Violette is giving us an overview of some of the most popular venues for anybody out here on these social media streets trying to build a platform. Enjoy!

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Social media marketing to writers is a Godsend! Never underestimate the value of a great marketing campaign. There are so many creative ways to get your book known to the world. Today I am going to tell you about seven social media outlets that can help you promote your book.

1. Facebook.
Facebook is an awesome place to build relationships with readers and writers, and promote your book events. Using it for free is effective, but since Facebook has been blocking many posts from friends, you may want to consider doing a paid promotion. Paid promotion is a good investment. It is a proven way to drive people to your website. You can set your budget and control its time duration. It allows you to tap directly into your demographic by using filters (age, location, interests, etc.).

2. Twitter
Twitter is a wonderful marketing tool, but Twitter calls for advanced craftiness. You can’t just tweet “Buy my book”. You have to come up with catchy phrases, tweet interesting articles, share news stories, and find a way to tie some of these things to your book. Make sure you use pictures and links. They are attention catchers, and more interesting to retweet.

3. Instagram
Instagram is a great source to post cool pictures and memes. It allows writers to post pictures of their events, characters, book covers, and all things visually stimulating.

4. Google+
Google+ is a social media outlet for intellectuals. Spam is frowned upon so make sure that your self-promotion isn’t overwhelming, and that you post it in the appropriate places. It is important that you tie your work into popular topics, news stories, scientific discoveries or paranormal activities. Join Google+ communities and be an active participant. Google+ is also a great way to tap into the international market.

5. Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a wonderful social tool that allows you to post to all of your social media sites simultaneously. It is a wonderful timesaver, and it allows you to schedule postings. I post event reminders months in advanced so I don’t have to worry about last minute promotions.

6. YouTube
YouTube is wonderful for those who are video savvy. Create book trailers, short films, or comedic commercials. You can also post interviews, events, and record informational videos. YouTube allows you to be up close and personal with the world.

7. SlideShare
SlideShare is a site where you can upload PowerPoint presentations to share with the world. You can create wonderful teaching tools while promoting your work at the same time.

Using social media as a promotional venue is the most economical and practical solution for most writers. However, it is important not to over promote. Build relationships with people and people are more likely to purchase your products. People support people that they like. Be likable, witty, compassionate, informative, and most of all offer great books so others will want to support you in the future.

book flyer

 

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Violette L. Meier, author of Son of the Rock, Angel Crush, Out of Night, et.al
www.violettemeier.com

Thank you, Violette!

So whether you’re an expert, novice, or somewhere in between: which social media outlet do you find most useful for building your platform??? Inquiring minds want to know!


About Those Annoying Auto Dms (And How to Respond)

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We had a discussion here a couple weeks ago about networking and building connections (and how that, as opposed to spamming folks from here to eternity) is better for your brand (and the world’s sanity).

During the discussion, blogger buddy Lidy Wilks mentioned something that I’m sure we’ve all come to loathe: auto DMs on Twitter. She mentioned how some people will send an auto DM saying like their FB page and they’ll like yours back, but then they never do it.

She is so right! That’s actually one of my pet peeves right now on top of the auto DMs: the promise to do something you have no intentions of doing just to get something. It’s not good “marketing.” It’s annoying and dishonest. If you have over 20,000 followers, you might reason that you just don’t have the time to return every like or comment. Well, maybe you shouldn’t be making promises you can’t keep. But that’s none of my business, though.

Here are a few that I’ve gotten recently and my initial thoughts after reading them:

I dare you to read the first chapter of my novel (sounds like a threat).

Read my shorts at ______________  (at first, I thought it said “eat my shorts”).

I’m on FB, too! (link to page). I like back! 🙂 (Sure you do, hon. Sure you do.)

Remember that time you tried to sign your mama’s name on your report card? And you didn’t even know how to write in cursive? Remember that look your teacher gave you? Well, that’s the kind of side-eye I give those auto DMs.

The next time someone sends you an auto DM promising to “like your FB page if you like mine!” send them a Facebook page like for a like contract and see how they respond.

Here’s a sample you can use:

I, author spammer extraordinaire, promise to like your Facebook page if you like mine. If I don’t, I shalt be forced to write and publish Twilight fan fiction only for the rest of my literary days. This I swear, on this day, the 23 of March, the year of our Lord 2015, heretofore, heretofive, and all that jazz.

___________________ Date

___________________ Signature

What about others? How do you feel about auto DMs? Let’s talk about it!


9 Helpful Tips for Self-Published Authors

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When I first decided to publish my first novel, I did everything wrong. I paid a book cover artist upfront and then found out later that he was shady, got my book proofread and then realized I needed more beta readers, found some plot things I wanted to fix—after I’d already sent the book to the formatter, and sent one poor book reviewer the wrong copy 3 times. I realized that, for some reason, the file name was “I was a nanny before I was a dragon slayer,” so guess what the reviewer saw as the title when he loaded my book on his Kindle? I was mortified! Truth? I had no idea what I was doing. And I’m sure that if you looked in the dictionary, you’d see my picture right next to the definition of “a hot mess.” Sure, I looked at articles online but there was just so much info to sort through that I ended up feeling overwhelmed and just jumped right in. I’m by no means an expert, but I thought I’d share a few things that might make it easier for someone who may be at the beginning stages of their publishing journey.

Several months before your planned release:

  1. After your CPs or betas have given you feedback and you’ve revised the novel within an inch of its life, hire a proofreader. And don’t be tempted to skip this step! You’ll be amazed at the amount of errors you’ll still miss, no matter how many times you go over the manuscript.
  2. Start looking for book cover designers. This can take a while because self-publishing has exploded and anyone with a sign that says, “Book cover designer resides here” will likely be swamped (especially if they’re good). You’ll also want to consider time needed for finding the right stock images and revisions. Don’t rush this process! Another tip: if they ask for full payment up front, run for your life. If you pay anything beforehand, it should be half before and the other half only after you are satisfied with the final product. Don’t believe me? Read “A Book Cover Horror Story: Why you Should Google Before you Hire.” Don’t make the same mistakes that I did!
  3. Once you’re novel is done and error free, it’s time to convert your book. You’ll probably want several formats:
    • Mobi (for Kindle)
    • ePub (for B&N and Apple)
    • Createspace
    • Smashwords

You can do the formatting yourself, hire someone to do it (like I did), or use a converter program. If you’re not familiar with this process, don’t panic. A good formatter will lead you through it. Just make sure you specify all the files you need. And make sure your book is error free before you send it to the formatter. If you find formatting errors (like funny spacing or odd characters), a reputable formatter will fix it at no charge. But if you find grammatical errors while reviewing the formatted book, the formatter might charge you for making changes (especially if it’s a lot of changes). For Createspace/print on demand books, your formatter will also need the trim size.

  1. Now that your book has been formatted, you might want to start soliciting reviews. If you can, do this a few months ahead of your release. To find reviewers just Google “insert genre” book reviewers. Be sure to:
    • Check their review policy. No use querying someone about your romance novel when they only review horror. Also, many may be closed to submissions so look at their homepage or review policy page to check. Helpful hint: if a book reviewer hasn’t posted on their blog since 1997, chances are they’ve abandoned their blog. Don’t waste your time.
    • Look at the formats they accept. Some will prefer mobi, others may want a PDF, etc.
    • Personalize your query. Look for the blogger’s name and address it to them. No “Dear Blogger,” or, “Hey there, you.” Take the time and find out their name.

If you contact 30 reviewers, you may only hear back from 10 (or less). You may even experience people who say they’ll review your book and never do it. Don’t get discouraged. Just assume they didn’t like your book or didn’t have time and move on. And if you get a bad review? Do nothing. No matter how upset you are, do nothing. Word of a bad reputation spreads fast in this community and the last thing you want is to get a bad rep for lashing out at reviewers.

Ahead of your release:

  1. Organize a blog tour. If you don’t have the connections or time to do this yourself, hire someone. Companies to look at:
    Diverse Book Tours
    Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours
    Pump up Your Book
  1. Order some author swag for promo purposes: bookmarks, business cards, bags (or whatever suits your fancy), with your bookcover and contact info.
  2. Doing a print copy of your book? Order a few and keep them around, especially if you’re doing author events. They’ll look really cool sitting up there with you on your table:)
  3. Read this helpful article by author Melissa Maygrove about attending author events.
  4. Start working on your next book! If people love your book, and I’m sure they will, they’ll be eager to read your next one.

If you’re completely new to self-publishing, I suggest reading a book like Self-Publishing Boot Camp by Carla King or, if you want to publish a book but just don’t want to do all the legwork, go through a company like BookBaby.

This list isn’t exhaustive, of course. I’m still learning about the process but thought I’d pass along some things I’ve learned so far. There’s a LOT of information out there, so make sure you do your research!

Any tips or horror stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 


Book Promotion 101: Networking

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I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline when a familiar post jumped out at me: “Buy my book! It’s .99 cents!”

Did I click on the link to check out the book on Amazon? Respond to the author and say, “Hey! That book sounds cool! What’s up with that free copy?” Or, did I keep scrolling down, hoping to eventually get to some interesting content? Yep, you guessed it. Kept scrolling.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with self-promotion. In fact, if you’re a fan of paranormal novels, I suggest you check out The New Mrs. Collins by this stellar author I know named Quanie Miller, because as one reader recently exclaimed, it’s “Fantastisch! Wat een boek.” *End shameless plug*

But if all I did was promote my book here or on Twitter, I’d probably be hanging out around these parts all by my lonesome because nobody likes a spammer. In fact, I was going to call this post “Spam be Damned,” but I thought that might be a bit off-putting. But I’m sure I’m not alone in my sentiments: I hate spammers about as much as I hate those pesky telemarketers, and guess what? I used to be a telemarketer. For one whole week and you know how many sales I got? One.  I would say, “Hi, this is Quanie calling on behalf of AT&T and I want to talk to you about our nifty phone services?” One woman, with a twangy accent, said to me: “Oh, honey, it’s too hot to talk about all this.” Click.

That’s exactly how I feel when I run across a random “Buy my book!” Tweet: It’s too hot to talk about all this, which is code for: I could maybe be interested but your approach is all wrong and now I don’t feel like being bothered.

Let’s imagine: you’re walking down the street. Some random guy runs up to you and yells, “Yo, ma! Buy my book!” After you hit him on the head with your pocketbook (or your fist if you’re gangsta like that), and he walks away nursing his bruised head and ego, would you ever think: wait; I wonder what his book was about?” And run after him to find out?

Um…probably not. You’d probably think, “What a loser!” and walk away shaking your head, or if you’re like me, you’ll walk away saying, “Now where did I park again?”

But let’s imagine this: there’s this lady at your gym. She always gets in your space during Zumba but you don’t really mind. After a while, you strike up a conversation. After a few classes, she reveals that she’s an author and she has a book out. “What’s it called?” You ask, writing it down. You go home. You buy the book (even if you only use it as a foot stool. You bought it).

I say all that to say this: online marketing is no different from doing it off line. If “Buy my book!” doesn’t work on Twitter, it sure won’t work in the parking lot at Piggly Wiggly. But you know what does? Getting to know people. I know, I know. It’s not the sexy answer, but it’s true: networking, online and off, will get you more readers than any one “Buy my book!” Tweet ever will. And you don’t get to know people through shameless self-promotion. You do it through conversations: via blogs, Facebook, Goodreads, Google +,  a little known place called Twitter, and if you feel so inclined, the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. Well, what if I’m one of the lucky authors and I don’t need to get to know people because my first book was a smashing success?  

It’s too hot to talk about all that.

What about others? How do you feel about authors who shamelessly promote? Also, what’s worked for you in promoting your books, your blogs, your businesses? I want to hear it all!


Should You Have an Author Tagline?

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Hello, All!  It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to unfurl (yes, I said unfurl) our fears and insecurities onto the world.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Our awesome cohosts for the month:  Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence! To find out more about IWSG (and to sign up), click here.

I’d also like to take a moment to tell you: I’ve been nominated! Woo-hoo! *throws confetti*

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne,  Gina Stoneheart , Lidy Wilks and Liz Blocker have  nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and Renee Scattergood and Angela Wooldridge nominated me for the Liebster!

There are all sorts of rules to these awards. One must nominate other bloggers, answer certain questions,  watch 3 consecutive episodes of Catfish without throwing the remote at the TV, and juggle a swordfish while standing on your head.

But since I’m a renegade, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to answer two questions and list one thing that inspired me in the last few weeks.

Which fairy tale character would you rather be?
Definitely the Fairy Godmother because I’d go around turning cars into pumpkins just because.

How many books (on average) do you read each year?
I’m embarrassed to admit this but around 4. *Grabs chocolate donut. Runs from the literary police. Hides under bed.*

One thing that inspired me in the last few weeks.
I can see the end of the tunnel with this current novel! Almost done and have the next one outlined. My goal is to finish at least three novels this year and publish one. Fingers crossed!

Now. On to what I’m feeling insecure about this month: author taglines. I’ve finally hired someone to do my author website, and while looking at samples of things that I like, I realized that most authors have a tagline in their header. It’s generally a nifty little phrase that keys readers into who you are as a writer and the types of things that you write. For instance, Jackie Collins’ tagline is “She’ll keep you up all night.” When I read that, I think of page-turning, scintillating reads. Easy, peasy, right? It shouldn’t take me long to come up with a tagline for myself.

Let’s see….

Quanie Miller: B-Town’s Finest.

Quanie Miller: Southern Sass on fleek.

Quanie Miller: You Ain’t Seen Crazy Yet.

Quanie Miller: A bird in hand is worth two in a bush

Quanie Miller: Be like that sometimes.

Quanie Miller: Bringing Characters to life. Meh.

Quanie Miller: Don’t Start No Shit, Won’t Be No Shit.

As you can tell,  I. Am. Stumped.

So I did some digging around and found some really useful articles about taglines.

From Author Cynthia Herron (whose tagline is “Heartfelt, Homespun fiction”):

Think of a “tagline” as a condensed descriptor of your brand. Your “brand” is what makes you distinctive from other authors. It’s the “big picture” of who you are, what you write, the overall feel one gets when your name comes to mind. Your tagline creatively sums up all of these characteristics/factors into a few simple words that mirror you as an author.

And from  How To Attract Readers By Creating A ‘Lighthouse’ Author Brand:

A simple way to keep your novels top of mind is to create a distinctive theme tagline that draws your books together under a single overarching identity, giving them a memorable point of difference that enhances your Author Brand.

So now I’m thinking: what’s the one thing that ties all my books together, regardless of the genre? I haven’t come up with a tagline that I LOVE yet, so I’m still brainstorming. Do we need a tagline as authors? Not at all. But I think it’s a quick and useful marketing tool–especially when a new reader stumbles across your website.

What say you, folks? Do you have an author tagline? If so, share them in the comments section. Have you seen any really really really bad ones? Share those too!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!