Expanding My Platform: My Thoughts

Expanding My Platform: My Thoughts

BeFunky Collage
I even attempted Pinterest, but I could never get into it.

As some of you know or don’t know, I’ve joined Instagram, so that’s another thumb tack to add to my ever-widening travels around the social media sphere. Throughout my three years of being an author on social media, I’ve come to develop favorite platforms that I prefer to use much more than others. Even though I’ve just started Instagram, I can tell it’s probably going to be among my favorites. So here are my thoughts on the ones I’ve used so far:

  1. Facebook. I actually have a short post about Facebook here, but it is my least favorite platform to use. I like platforms that are easy to maintain and don’t require pulling teeth, but this platform does. You have to work unreasonably hard to receive views from your primary followers. Never mind that FB WANTS you to spend money so that way you can up your views–and it’s not even going to be from people who follow you but glorified spam bots. So I simply keep all of my social media connected to it and let that do the updating for me.
  2. Twitter. Though I try to regularly attract more followers, I can’t get into this platform. I understand there is so much you can do with it, like joining chats being hosted and being able to host one of your own, but Twitter isn’t exciting enough for me. I’ll manually update it–unlike my Facebook–but when 99% of Twitter consists of spam, it’s hard to develop any zest for it. Plus, I don’t like the sparse interactions. I don’t like being limited to a certain amount of words, though, as an author, this is advantageous, as it forces me to compress what my book is about into a few bite-sized words. I also dont like how spiteful followers can be. If you unfollow them for whatever reason, than they’re as likely to unfollow you back. But as far as interacting with others, I can think of better ways to establish a much deeper connection than what 140 characters allows. This isn’t to say I won’t start a Twitter chat of my own, though.
  3. WordPress. Obviously I love this platform, or else I wouldn’t keep it updated and would probably just spend most of my time re-blogging others’ posts. I love that you can connect this to your other platforms to receive more views. I love the SEO function since you can tag it with keywords so that others can find your posts through search engines. I used to spend a lot of my time gathering followers, but I realize followers don’t matter, insofar as your posts popping up in their inboxes. What matters to me, more than anything else, are the views and unique views my blog receives. You can have thousands of followers, but if you can’t even manage to scrape 50 unique views daily or have more than 30 re-blogs or even likes, what are those followers doing for your blog?
  4. Tumblr. This is my number one favorite platform and my most popular. Just about every post I write now goes viral and collects me an ample amount of followers. However, what’s interesting is that the posts I write are seen more by non-followers than my actual followers! One post I have has over 7,000 notes, and I don’t even have that many followers. More like 5,000. I also love the fact that Tumblr is very, very simple. You actually want to explore the different tags since Tumblr makes it so easy to do. And because followers are far more willing to explore tags versus other platforms, your posts can be seen more often by people who aren’t following you. I take loads of pride in my Tumblr and all of my super-supportive followers.
  5. Youtube. I love, love, love this platform, but it is so time consuming and very high maintenance. Yeah, you can just use your webcam, record something, and immediately pop it into Youtube, but if you’re like me, you’ll actually want to edit your videos. For this reason, I haven’t updated my Youtube in forever. With wanting to keep up with my other platforms and the fact that being a writer isn’t my only job, it’s rough. I would love to jump back into it, but doing so isn’t feasible at this moment.
  6. MailChimp. I love this platform for creating newsletters. It’s super easy to use. I didn’t even require a tutorial to jump in and start using it. It’s also super easy for people to sign up and receive your newsletters. I want to get back into sending a monthly one now that I have a job again as an author. It’s really hard to keep it updated when you have no news about your writing life.
  7. Instagram. Though it’s new for me, I’m super loving it. It’s simple to use and requires the least exertion among any social media platform. It’s fun to use since you can think of exciting, creative ways of presenting the pic you want to post. Just snap a pic, add a caption, throw in some tags, and there you go! I also love how easy it is to find book bloggers and establish connections with them.

If you don’t use any of the platforms I’ve listed, you’ve at least got to use Instagram.

The Usual Banter Against the Traditional Publishing Route

The Usual Banter Against the Traditional Publishing Route

I in one way condone this picture. I thought it’d be fitting for what I’m arguing.

First off, he does have some good points. The agenting process can be time consuming and often agonizing. One of my author friends sent her first now-self-published book to over one hundred agents and received roughly the same response: it’s great, but not for us. However, she is now, hopefully, a soon-to-be hybrid author, as she found a literary agent and was willing to do the edits for that agent before said agent accepted. She is still self-publishing, and she probably will continue doing so because she has found a little bit of success with it. He is also right that the agent then has to find a publisher, and I know not all agents update their authors on which houses they’ve sent the book to, most likely because they’re busy with other clients’ manuscripts, so their clients are left in the dark, something I can’t accept. In fact, I know one girl who wrote an amazing-seeming book, has been with her agent for several years, and that book hasn’t found a home. I often wonder why she doesn’t drop kick that agent and seek out a new one, or have the agent help her self-publish it. He also has a point that once said publisher is found, more edits will be done, almost undoing the edits the agent had you do. And then it can take some time for your book to come out, even after everything is finished. You also may not receive any promotion (other than reviews, like Kirkus), and being published with a traditional publisher doesn’t guarantee a shelf in a bookstore. Your book also has a certain time period in which to sell, and if it doesn’t sell all its books, it’s removed from shelves (however, with the advent of the e-book and online bookstores, authors removed from shelves still have time to build a fan base, so this point is, well, pointless).

One point I didn’t find in the article (it could have been mentioned) is that advances for first-time authors can be pitifully low, not to mention that royalties are pitiful as well (about 12% without an agent, down to 2% with an agent).

You do have full control with self-publishing, but at the end of the day, it’s not for every writer. It certainly isn’t for me, even if I am a little bit marketing-minded. Business-minded, I am not. Writing is an art, publishing is a business. They are two completely different monsters.

At the same time, the one thing I firmly disagree with about this article is that this writer implies that ALL authors should self-publish and never go the traditional route again. 

    1. You have to invest your own money into the process, and there is no guarantee you will make double on what you spent, even if you have an infinite shelf life. Even though you can make the process affordable to you, some people still have to tighten their budgets, and so many may not be able to afford self-publishing for quite a while (so they might as well go through the querying process because all that is FREE for them). Plus, unless an editor who charges cheaply has quite a few testimonials, mentions books they have edited (and these books have GOOD reviews), your only other option is to hire one who charges over 1,000 dollars, because these are more often than not some elite editors. Once I really began to research self-publishing, I realized that it wasn’t something I’d be able to afford, because I don’t have any connections who’d edit, format, and do cover art free for me. Some self-published authors are lucky enough to have connections who can make the process free, but most don’t.
    2. The authors who sell really well, who become bestsellers, are the exceptional ones, just as the ones in the traditional process. I look at the rankings of many a self-published novel, and MOST are not in the bestseller ranking. Very few make it to that ranking, for whatever reason, so many of those authors who sunk their money into the process may never make double of what they spent. Again, they have an infinite shelf-life, but I’ve followed a few self-published books that have been out for two years, and their rankings still aren’t that great–pitiful, in fact. They must be marketing well–otherwise, I wouldn’t have found them. Some books simply are not meant to be self-published. Some of these books would have found more success with a traditional house. For example, NA (new adult) books have found quite a lot of success with self-publishing compared to other genres. One author I know writes NA, and for some reason, her NA books are more successful than her genre books! I prefer her genre books over her NA ones. I don’t know why this is, as she has hired someone to do PR, but, again, some books just do better in a house than without one. 
    3. Small presses. Why are people glossing over small presses? Because small presses are, well, small, they are able to devote their time into book publicity, and it is either free or MUCH cheaper than self-publishing (with some houses, you might have to devote a little bit of cash, but this is to keep those houses from going under, as many small presses who come to inception don’t last long because they can’t afford to pay back their editors and what not). My publishing house actually helps with publicity. I help with it as well, just to double the efforts. All authors should delight in marketing their books, even if it’s small, whether or not they’re getting great publicity from their publishers–John Green certainly does, and he is MASSIVELY popular because of it. There are small presses who can also get your book into bookstores (Spencer Hill Press and Entangled Publishing come into mind, and you don’t need an agent). To me, small presses are much better than self-publishing, because you don’t have long wait times to hear back from one, it’s often free, and well, there are a bunch of other benefits I could list hear. I heard back from my publisher in just a few days. Though they’re new, my experience with them has been stellar, and they are continually revising their model–and their authors are allowed to help with this. I have also had an active part in every process of my book, so I was not kept in the dark. I also had the final say in the cover (though I had help in deciding which design would be best because I am too close to my book to know what type of cover would market my book well).
    4. Being in bookstores and libraries. It isn’t true that you have to be a bestseller, or you’ll be axed from the shelves. I read primarily YA, and I have seen many, many books that are still on the shelves whose authors are not bestsellers (paperback books, mind you). All you have to do is sell out within their time frame, and the bookstore will order your book again. Now being traditionally published doesn’t guarantee a spot on the shelf, but if you do make it to the shelves, that is publicity in itself, as many people do wander the shelves seeking their next book to read. You’ll also likely get into libraries, which is another form of publicity. Most self-published books don’t even have a chance of being on shelves (they can get into their independent bookstores, but they’re not a chain). This doesn’t mean those self-published books won’t become bestsellers, but, again, simply being on a shelf, with a great cover, to boot, can add to the publicity.

I am going to end this  on a positive note for the sake of this author, as I am writing this article to argue against his. Check out his book, Iona Portal. Great cover art, and it seems interesting. This is a guy who knows what he’s doing.

To balance out this article, I am going to write one on the positives of self-publishing, arguing against an article who says you should never do it (it’s a really horrendous article, completely biased, and has god-awful points. This guy’s article at least has some valid points).

Review of Juniper Grove Book Solutions and YA Bound Book Blitzes

Review of Juniper Grove Book Solutions and YA Bound Book Blitzes

Unknown-1 Unknown Yeah, yeah, I said I was going to do a post on marketing, but I thought it was more pertinent to do a review of these two things that I used to help gain exposure for my book. Both services were $30.00 each to basically blitz my book.

I will start with Juniper Grove Book Solutions first. Juniper Grove Book Solutions was a one day blitz that included 17 bloggers (they do 15-20 bloggers). On the first day of the blitz, I was not paying attention to exposure because I had other things going on that day, like school and a launch party later that night; however, when I looked at what type of exposure it had created the next day, I discovered 81 Goodreads adds. I also discovered that there were about 400 entries–I believe–into winning an e-ARC of my book, When Stars Die. As the week continued, I discovered that the exposure was still continuing because I managed to receive about 15-20 Goodreads adds a day for about a week. So instead of the blitz feeling like a one day deal, it felt like an entire week. At the end of the e-ARC giveaway, I had over 1200 entries, which was astonishing to me.

I will be using their services some time in December to help blitz the e-book giveaway of When Stars Die. This made me realize that A LOT of people were interested in reading my book–which in turn made me realize just how much buzz and exposure Juniper Grove had created–except, this time, I will be giving away a $25.00 gift card instead.

As for YA Bound, as I said, this was also a $30.00 blitz. The website recommended that I do it for a week for increased exposure; however, on the first day of the blitz, I noticed very little exposure because there wasn’t much of a jump in my Goodreads adds or Twitter followers or even Facebook likes (which I use to assess the amount of exposure my book is receiving). I also didn’t see too many bloggers doing the blitz that day (which could be inferred from the Tweets that the bloggers do to help advertise the e-ARC giveaway of When Stars Die). However, I did notice the second day that exposure was picking up to include about 15 Goodreads adds per day. I was pleased with this, as it did continue throughout the week.

Even so, there was one day where the exposure was pitiful, and I found out this was because the blogs that were blitzing that day had pathetic exposure themselves, having only about 5 people who were following their blogs. I was very displeased with this and felt shorted as an author. Even though it was only $30.00, the week-long tour promised increased exposure, and I didn’t exactly see that. At the end of the tour, I had about 900 entries into the e-ARC giveaway, which is good, considering it will be going on for a month. However, compared to Juniper Grove Book Solutions, I felt I had far more exposure with When Stars Die with Juniper Grove–and that was only one day! Keep in mind, too, that YA Bound brings on far more bloggers on board, the website promising 70-100 bloggers, compared to the 17 bloggers I had for Juniper Grove. I even had excerpts of my book posted with YA Bound, which I did not do for Juniper Grove.

I suppose I was satisfied with YA Bound, but I do not think I will be using them for blitzes in the future; however, YA Bound does do free cover reveals for YA books, and I know I will be using YA Bound for that.

Even if you’re traditionally published or with a small press, I do recommend Juniper Grove to really increase your exposure, along with the marketing plan your publisher has laid out for you. I think I will also be using Lady Amber for the e-book release of When Stars Die. Exposure doesn’t mean sales, but it does create a brand for you, so that the more people see your book, especially the cover, the more likely they are to prioritize your book when choosing which books to buy.

UPDATE: I have changed my mind about YA Bound. They are a good service to use. The adds I was seeing were adds that occurred on the first day of the print giveaway, which was VERY successful with exposure.


My Uncluttered Social Media Foray

My Uncluttered Social Media Foray

4_social_media_393706Lately I have been doing some serious social media housekeeping–mostly getting rid of followers on Twitter, unliking pages on Facebook, unfollowing Tumblr users, and putting a pause on following people on WordPress. I am doing this because I am following writers who have thousands of followers on every social media platform they use but pathetic rankings of their books, and it isn’t because they’re spamming links to their books. It’s because they are following way too many people who are drowning in their feeds, and they can’t establish a strong social media bond with any one of them.

Let me begin with Twitter. Thus far, I have unfollowed over 400 people who link spam their books, re-tweet too much, have a high follow to follower ratio, and who don’t engage in conversation with other users because they’re following too many people.

I once read on Facebook that writers should follow 50 people a day, and I think that is a horrible idea because you’re not likely to chat with any of them. And if you do, you’re spending away too much time on Twitter when you could be using that time to write.

I am still unfollowing people on Twitter. It’s fine if people follow me. I’ll engage them in conversation, but I am extremely selective now about whether or not I’m going to follow you back because I want to make certain that you are a person I am going to regularly engage in conversation with on Twitter. Otherwise, you’re just crowding my feed. Social media is about interaction, and if I’m not interacting with you, there is no point in following you. I don’t feel like I owe anyone anything anymore. It is your prerogative to follow me, but I don’t owe you a return follow. However, if you engage in conversation with me, I’ll be happy to engage back, and that may lead to a follow from me. Maybe. I no longer want thousands of people crowding my feed. I now understand why people with a crap ton of followers only follow back a few of those people (I don’t have a crap ton, but you get my point). This has lost me followers, but those people probably weren’t interested in me in the first place. I am still following people, but only after I’ve engaged with them in some type of chat, like #yalitchat.

As for Facebook, I received a lot of my likes through Like groups. Authors post links to their pages, and we follow them and expect a follow in return. I am now unliking a great deal of the pages I’ve liked because, frankly, I’m not interested in the books, and authors create Facebook pages to further their careers, and if I’m not contributing to that, I see no reason to keep that page on my feed. It’s just cluttering it when my Facebook is supposed to be about my friends and anyone else who chooses to befriend me. If people unlike my Facebook page because of this, they probably weren’t interested in my book to begin with–or me, or anything I had to say.

Tumblr hasn’t been as bad because a lot of the content posted is often interesting and Tumblr makes it very, very easy to post something or re-blog something or follow someone or unfollow someone, so its interface is very smooth and I am not made to feel like my feed is cluttered when I follow someone new. I am just following writers and readers now and cleaning out those who are not interested in either.

But I no longer feel like I owe anyone a like or a follow because I feel like my book should do that for me. You can have 10,000 followers, but if you’re only getting 100 to respond to anything you put out there, then it’s absolutely pointless to have all those people cluttering your feed. I am not following people on WordPress anymore for this reason. I already wrote the blog post. That’s my product. If you follow me because you like my product, I don’t owe you a follow in return. I’ll do the polite thing and look at your blog, and if I REALLY like what I see, I might subscribe, but I can’t have e-mail subscriptions crowding my box when I have to make room for other, more important e-mails.

But the point is is that too much clutter makes for inefficient use of one’s social media time. I can create all sorts of e-mail accounts and other accounts for the purpose of containing the clutter, but why bother? I’m likely to not visit them. Ever. I want to make efficient use of my social media time now so I  can spend more time writing and creating a product that people want. I just think it’s so maddening and petty that people actually use apps to see who unfollowed them. Why do we expect anything at all when it comes to social media? If you go to the store and buy post-it notes, you don’t expect a thank you letter from the company who made the post-it notes, so why do we expect the same with social media? I wrote the post, you read it and enjoyed it and got something out of it, so what more do I owe? I love to look at people’s blogs and comment on their stuff, and I love to reply to their comments to my posts, but it’s like we expect this, that it’s our obligation as bloggers to do this when our only obligation, I think, is just to write the dang post in the hopes that someone gets something out of it. Life is too busy for us to worry about whether or not these people are going to follow us back or whatever.

I would rather just write and make my writing what I owe people. Of course social media is very important anymore to sell books, but people expect too much, which leads to clutter, which leads to frustration. Social media is about interaction, and clutter doesn’t allow for much of that.



The Perks of Being a Tumblr

The Perks of Being a Tumblr

Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

I have too much time on my hands this morning before I must take my leave for work (the chapter I have to revise in His Vanity today is rather short, so I can either do that before or after work). So here is a blog post for all of you, just because I really feel like blogging this morning. Of course, I’m going to hate when I have to leave for work. Sometimes I wish I could just join a convent and be done with all these earthly things.

In any case, I’ve whined about Tumblr a lot, but decided to pick back up on it because, hey, John Green uses it, as do a bunch of other big-time writers, and even some small-time ones, so I should quit whining and get back to trying. I should go to my potential fans instead of expecting my potential fans to come to me. I mean, it’s rife with teenagers. Twitter and WordPress and even Facebook, not so much. And teens are great and post interesting stuff on Tumblr, and yeah…

But what’s so great about freaking Tumblr is there are teens looking for book recommendations. I mean, they are actively seeking this stuff out in the book tags and everything. Sometimes they will tell you what types of books they’re seeking, and other times, you just have to wing it. I’ve been recommending them books that I’ve loved, books that I think deserve their full attention, and have even been trying to help a few author friends of mine by at least letting Tumblr know their books exist, even if it doesn’t improve their sales immediately.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think Tumblr makes a great street team. Have no clue what a street team is? Here’s a nifty link explaining that. Except we will metaphorically hit the streets.

Since I know a lot of you have offered to read ARCs of my book, I thought it’d be cool that, on its release day, you could hit the metaphorical streets of Tumblr and release recommendations about the book–it can be shorter versions of the reviews you guys are likely going to do for the ARCs–like I love it because of this, or I hate it because of this, along with some quirky quote or pic of the book, or whatever you can think of. Whether you love it or hate it, people on Tumblr are book hungry.

So why should you get a Tumblr? A lot of you are readers and writers. Readers could benefit from Tumblr through sheer book recommendations alone, along with the fact that it’s very, very simple to engage in conversations with people about books through reblogging or just direct messaging. And pics. Hello, the pics. You can post awesome, inspiring pics of awesome, inspiring stuff. And anon questions are fun to answer. Also, you can publish your responses to people’s messages.

For writers, it’s a great way to connect to readers who are sometimes just readers and not writers. That’s the difficulty in being a writer is you often go after readers who are also writers instead of just flat out readers. Granted, I think most readers also happen to be writers or want to be writers, but we writers have this bad habit of reading with a writerly eye instead of readerly eye. Of course, Goodreads is a fantastic way to connect with readers too, but I’m talking about connecting with readers in a very simple way, and Tumblr is probably THE simplest way to connect with them.

I have people who are looking forward to reading my book on Tumblr! It means more social media, but it’s one you do not want to miss.

Just so you know, I’m likely going to bring up the street team thing again closer to my cover release date (whenever that is), which will include a media kit and a more concise way of doing things instead of my throwing it out there and going, “Hey, wouldn’t this be a great idea?” like I’m doing now.

Also, I return favors…I try to, anyway. Sometimes I’m too busy with writerly things to return favors because you guys  would likely rather see my books than my spending all day on the computer trying to return favors to everyone who has ever done anything for me. But you got something you want known? Post in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.


Cover Reveal: Awakening the Fire

Cover Reveal: Awakening the Fire

All right, everybody! Today’s post involves an awesome cover reveal by a relatively new author named Jake Bonsignore. I am a huge fan of his first book, Empyreal Illusions, so I hope you guys will take the time to check out his cover and his book. 

Title: Awakening the Fire: Book Two of The Inferno Unleashed

Author: Jake Bonsignore

Genre: YA Fantasy / Thriller

Release: August 30, 2013

Book Design: Regina Wamba of Mae I Design and Photography

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17992776

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/oKfRtBcb_jo

awakening the fire

Breena Taljain’s idyllic days in Araboth came to a skidding halt when circumstances forced her into the dangerous hinterlands. The dire sacrifice she made to protect her comrades tainted her heart with hatred and despair. To cleanse herself she must outrun Death’s relentless pursuit and venture into the bleak unknown. With the odds stacked against her, stumbling into love when she least expects it may very well be her saving grace.

Meanwhile, succumbing to the Patriarch’s devious traps has Galbrecht Atalir questioning his motives. The folly of his recklessness has left him physical scarred and mentally traumatized. Now he must overcome more adversity as the wrath of the Sin Ministry bears down upon him. He will need more than wits and quick fists to find the truth he has sought for seven years.

Alas, every second Breena is apart from Galbrecht draws her further into strife. With her world rapidly crumbling inwards, she puts everything on the line for a last stand against the ruthless force that threatens to destroy all she holds dear….


** Social Media Connection **

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jakebonsignoreauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jakebonsignore

Blog: http://jakebonsignore.wordpress.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1438031  

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/jakebonsignore


** Purchase Empyreal Illusions: Book One of The Inferno Unleashed Here: **

Amazon – http://amzn.com/B00D18OUU4

Barnes and Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/empyreal-illusions-jake-bonsignore/1115427220?ean=2940016473031

Signed Paperback (with Bookmark) – Contact Jake Bonsignore directly via Facebook or jakebonsignore.author@gmail.com

The Madness of…Blurb Etiquette?

The Madness of…Blurb Etiquette?

Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent, has an interesting post about blurb etiquette here written by a guest  blogger.

I just recently did a blurb for a novel called COUNTRYSIDE by Jess Cope that will be released by Village Green Press LLC, a partnership publisher. The editor put out a call for blurbs on Facebook, and I decided to do it not only because the blurb of the book sounded interesting, but just because I thought it’d be cool to see my name either on or in the book. Her book reminded me of Dianna Wynne Jones’s books, so I compared the author to her.

When I received the author package from my contract manager for the first time and discovered one part wanted reviewers, I was completely dumbfounded on how to do that. Not only that, but I felt shy about doing it, even though it was just over the internet. How was I supposed to approach people about reading my book and doing a review and/or quote? I wasn’t sure if I should put out a call publicly because I had no idea if that would look bad or what, so I ended up approaching people personally, gathering about 10 interested people.

Of course, that wasn’t enough, and I was slightly deterred because one reviewer was nervous about giving her e-mail, and someone on Tumblr told me it raised red flags because of the potential for spam. As I searched around the internet, I realized it was common of people to send out calls asking for reviewers in exchange for free ARCs. I then realized there was nothing red flaggy about it, and you have to get the word out somehow. So I swallowed my shyness and put out a call on here, Tumblr, Goodreads, Twitter, and my Facebook page. I received most of my reviewers from Goodreads and here, a few on Twitter and Tumblr, and I think none on my Facebook page.

I wasn’t searching for big names like the author in Gardner’s link because, well, I’m an unknown. But I did get a few known names around the young adult community, one being a literary agent who helps out with YALITCHAT, and a writer who also helps out with YALITCHAT. But I knew these people and had worked with them at one point for YALITCHAT. So I wasn’t fighting for anything. They were eager. And of course Shannon Thompson, but she’s a given.

But I asked your everyday reader, so I didn’t have any difficulties collecting reviewers, and I’m also not too concerned about getting quotes because how many non-writers who read actually care about the quotes? I don’t read them when deciding whether or not to get a book. I find them at the last minute and think they’re cool, but they don’t influence me too much. It’s the cover, the blurb, and the first page that draw me into a book–but mostly the cover and the blurb. So when I put out a call, I was seeking reviewers, potential word-of-mouth people. However, I sought these people out very early. Just because I have 50+ right now doesn’t mean that all are still going to be able to do it. Ideally I hope they are just as eager as  they are now, but that’s why I sought out 50+. I thanked every single person who was eager to help and even thanked the ones who weren’t certain they would like the book but offered to help anyway.

For some reason the process was very easy for me. I have seen writers put out calls for reviewers, even put Free ARCs in the topic line, and just couldn’t get any bites, not on Goodreads or anywhere else. But I suppose it’s because not only did I have an interesting summary but I am very personable and don’t shy away from interacting with any of my fan base. So I suppose if you want the process to be easy, make sure you’re personable as well, have a strong summary, are grateful for each and every person who gives you even a modicum of attention, and ask in the right places. AND DO IT BEFORE THE RELEASE OF YOUR BOOK, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE SELF-PUBLISHING! That is ridiculously important.


The Importance of Social Media Interaction

The Importance of Social Media Interaction

Interact with my cat?
Interact with my cat?

I have read just about everywhere that with Twitter you should just follow everyone who seems even remotely interesting or has the potential to be interested in what you say. You should follow them, then use any of the various Twitter programs out there to unfollow those who don’t follow you within three days. I know I blog about social media a lot, but I can’t stress enough how futile blind following is. It’s like blind querying: Agents tell you not to blindly send out queries. They tell you to carefully select your markets and send letters to those. I feel Twitter, and any other social media, should be the same way. So I don’t blindly follow writers or readers on Twitter. I carefully consider them and their Tweets. If they don’t pose questions or interesting discussion and only spam links, what is the purpose of following them? They’re so wrapped up in their own link spamming that they’re not going to notice me.

Social media is about social interaction. If you find you are not interacting with your followers or your followers aren’t interacting with you, what is the point?

I see authors link spamming their e-books all the time on Twitter. I go to check out their Amazon rankings, only to find that their link spamming is not at all helping their sales. It’s because they’re not treating their followers as people. They’re treating them as commodities to buy their products, and thus killing the human element to this social media thing.

Yesterday I joined a community on Facebook of writers who post their author pages and receive likes in return. I received 36 likes from this page. My hope is that we’re all not simply liking to like but are going to actually interact with these pages that we liked. Or else what is the point if we’re just going to ignore these authors’ postings? I didn’t simply like to like. I liked authors’ pages who engaged well with the fan base and who had books I might be interested in checking out. It doesn’t do me a bit of good to have 85 likes but not a one of them pays attention to what I write. It doesn’t do anyone any good to have thousands of followers but no engagement from them.

So I don’t understand why social media moguls encourage follow spamming. I am very selective about who I follow. I primarily follow people now based on their websites–which mostly occurs from WordPress. I am wary about following people with an enormous follower base because these people usually interact so little with the followers I wonder why they even have a Twitter or a FB or any type of social media in the first place. These people may seem popular at first glance, but a look at their Amazon ranking begs otherwise.

I suppose follower spam is encouraged because you might get lucky and find lots of people who are suddenly interested in what you’re posting. But it’s not working for me to do that. I find those I interact with are interested in me far more than those I try to interact with but won’t interact with me in return.


The Importance of Follower Appreciation

The Importance of Follower Appreciation

Have an appreciation butterfly!
Have an appreciation butterfly!

I’m nearing the 300 follower mark after two months of blogging, followers I worked hard to get. At the same time, I am learning that it is not the amount of followers you have, in spite of what social media moguls will tell you. I believe it is the relationships you try to establish with each one. So, if you have 100 followers and talk to every one of them, then that is better than 1000 followers you don’t even acknowledge. Those are 100 followers who could potentially support you in your endeavors versus the 1000 followers who feel ignored and may choose not to support your endeavors because you don’t acknowledge them.

So I’m going to get down to the nitty gritty of what this post is about using my experiences so far in the social media world. I’ve only been back in social media for about two months, but I’m learning that it is so important to see your followers as more than just a number–you need to see them as people. You need to devote the time they devote to you, if you can. Even if you can’t go to their blogs, interact with them when they comment on your posts (and I will get to commenting on my last post. I promise). These are people you talk to, people you can form invaluable online relationships with, and not just for book promotions either. It just feels good to know others are taking the time out of their day to appreciate what you wrote. I can’t describe the feeling. I’m sure a lot of you know what I’m talking about. But please, don’t get followers for the sake of followers so you can expand your platform. Take the time to try and get to know who is following you. And even if you don’t want to follow that person back, at least recognize this person read your stuff. READ. YOUR. STUFF. This person could have chosen to read other stuff, but no. YOUR. STUFF.

I say don’t go after a number because you can have 10,000 followers but only 100 are ever commenting on your posts. So where are those 9900 other followers? What are they doing? Why do you even have them? I guess it’s great to have them should they happen to catch what you write, but I’ve always preferred quality over quantity. Quality seems to be working for me thus far.

There is also Twitter where people love to play the number’s game. I have 1,000 followers, most of who followed me. I do not follow for the sake of following. I generally wait until people follow me, and if I like their profile (meaning they’re not spamming), I will follow them back and engage in conversation. However, while I want to interact with all 1000 of my followers, some of them fall into the trap of link spamming. Now I will re-tweet ones I find engaging, but most are just plain irritating and I hate that that follower fell into that trap. They then start neglecting their followers in favor of trying to push their wares on us all. It does no good to have 2000 followers if 2000 of your followers aren’t checking you out because you’re link spamming. Social media is not like my part-time job, which is a number’s game. Social media is about interaction, recognizing people for who they are. At least, that’s what I think.

But I seriously appreciate all of you. Like, you have no idea. It never gets old to find out when someone has liked my post or commented on it. Never. I don’t think it ever will. I’ll admit I love being noticed. But I also love meeting new people and getting to know them and what they write. People are just awesome to me.


The Madness of Pre-Release Marketing…Again

The Madness of Pre-Release Marketing…Again

Emily the Strange #1, Dark Horse Comics (Augus...
Emily the Strange #1, Dark Horse Comics (August 2005) I feel just like this. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My fiancé and I did some thorough research on this SEO optimization thing, only to come to one conclusion: that I have no time to manage the maintenance of my own wordpress.org website and certainly don’t have the money to hire someone to do it. I keep reading articles that mention people shy away from SEO because of its complexities, but I’m shying away from it because of its power to be time-consuming. I have to work my part-time job, for my  health I need to do ballet, for my book I need to keep on top of social media and blogging, and for my writing career, I need to keep writing. I’ll also be starting school up in the fall where I will have to drop some of my work hours, so where can managing my own .org database fall into this? It can’t. It’s simply impossible. I barely even have any time to read. I need to get to reading a proof from an author looking for pre-release quotes. I’ll probably end up doing that during work today instead of checking my traffic results.

So instead of stressing about this SEO plugin, I’m just going to have to start using Google AdWords to choose the strongest keywords that will yield more search engine results to my website while expecting WordPress to deal with all the maintenance and junk. I also need to buy my own domain simply because it looks better.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing weekly book giveaways. I might have to hold off on doing one for one week simply because my fiancé wants me to buy IMAX tickets for Superman (I also said I would anyway), and that’s pricey. But I do want to keep doing this because not only is it the best way to bring in an audience, but it’s a way for me to thank my followers because I don’t always have the time to return the favor by visiting their websites, even though I do my best to read the posts that I find in the Reader. I also try to visit the websites of frequent visitors to mine, but I think books for now are the best way of showing that appreciation.

I am still trying to crack the code of how to use Tumblr as a viable form of social media. I just think the best way to do this is make very visual blog posts and talk about my writing life. Since Tumblr is filled with aspiring teen writers, they think it’s amazing when you land a book deal, so talking about that is likely to get me more attention than talking about it on, say, Twitter, where authors often frequent anyway and getting a book deal to them anymore is like eating a Skittle. Skittles still taste great, but you can’t have just one.

For Twitter, I’m going to do my best to attend scheduled chats that relate to blogging or writing or both. I also need to take my author’s page on Facebook seriously, but, half the time, I never know what to do with it, so more research is necessary for that.

Also, if my contract manager can’t afford to (because she will be spending some money on marketing, something you don’t find at a lot of houses), I’m going to take the leap and buy an ad on BookBub. I’m going to do more research though to see how effective this really is because the ads are pricey. It’s lucky I’m doing young adult because YA ads are $200.00. But I have crazy dreams and I don’t stop until I’ve achieved them, even with monetary risk.