Tag: social media

social media

Social Media: Tonic and Toxin

 I’m in a love/hate relationship. With social media. I love connecting with people on various platforms. As an extreme introvert, I find too much face-to-face contact exhausting. Social media provides me with the distance I need to make social engagement engaging, instead of an exercise in “put on a happy face”. Social media also lets me keep in touch with geographically dispersed friends. Neither my budget nor my schedule let me go visiting all over the world. And, as much as I cherish handwritten letters, social media accounts tend to change less often than physical addresses. Finally, social media lets me connect with readers and reviewers. I have a day job so extended book tours are not an option for me. Social media is vital in promoting my books and building my audience. But, I hate the way a constant diet of social media makes me feel. Instagram’s not so bad; it’s mostly pretty pictures. However, a week of ingesting negative news and caustic comments on other platforms leaves me feeling worse than a corn dog-and-fried-Twinkies binge at the State Fair. Despite my good intentions to only post, and respond to, funny Episcopal Church memes and heartwarming stories of animal rescues […]

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To Query or Not To Query: Alternative Ways to Find an Agent

 Once upon a time, if a writer wanted to find an agent, they’d have to send a query letter—in the mail at that! Although querying is still by far the most popular way to get a mentor, I’m happy to say that it’s not the only way. Now, to the joy of everyone—except maybe the Post Office—you can also find your agent through online mentoring programs and even Twitter! In fact, New York Times Bestselling authors like Angie Thomas and Tomi Adeyami both got their agents through these untraditional methods. Angie pitched her agent on Twitter and Tomi was a 2016 mentee in a mentoring program called Pitch Wars. Here’s a list of several fun alternatives to finding your agent through querying, including a couple I’m thrilled to say I help organize. Pitch Wars What is it? An annual program that pairs more established writers—aka mentors—with mentees, aka those emerging writers still looking for an agent. If selected, the mentors and mentees spend months polishing the mentee’s manuscript for the Agent Showcase—where, after reading a pitch and first 250 words, agents comment requesting more pages I was a 2014 Pitch Wars mentee and got my agent, Michelle Richter from Fuse, from the contest. In addition, my Pitch […]

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Writers, Politics, and Social Media

 In June, the New York Times ran an article  (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/29/books/review/david-lynch-elin-hilderbrand-best-seller.html) that started, “Though it probably gives their publicists heart palpitations, some best-selling novelists are choosing to enter the political fray on social media.” It went on to site Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and other best-selling authors. I wondered how mid-list authors who aren’t already on the New York Times best-sellers list were handling the same dilemma, so I asked my talented writing colleagues, the Miss Demeanors these questions: Are you giving your publicist/publisher palpitations by making political comments on social media? Whether you have decided to jump into the political waters or sit on the shore, what was the basis of your decision? If you’re neck deep in political hot water, do you have a strategy for containing your involvement? Do you fear offending readers? If you’ve chosen not to enter the political conversation on social media, do you have concerns you may be criticized or that? Michele:            When I was an adolescent, I angrily challenged my father about why Americans seem to stand by silently during the Holocaust. He tried to explain how communications were different then and how later many people were horrified by their own ignorance and apparent indifference. That conversation lingers […]

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My Well Runneth Dry

 More than 300,000. That’s how many new titles were published in the U.S. in 2013, according to UNESCO figures reported in Wikipedia. Add in all titles published in a year and the number doubles or triples. That’s a lot of books competing for readers’ attention. Authors have to create ways to gain notice. In this modern, social media-connected world blogs, newsletters, and Facebook pages have become standard ways to build a platform to attract readers. Posts and newsletters, brief pieces offering readers writerly advice, funny or poignant stories about the writing life, and insights into how one’s work speaks to the human condition, come out more frequently than novels or short stories. They require frequent trips to the creative well. Once in a while, the well runs dry. An idea for a blog post hits you then you remember you used the idea six months ago. You stare at the blank newsletter template and realize you have no news. You’ve already described your writing process, your inspirations, your journey to publication, your tips for completing a first draft. You’ve got nothing but a deadline. What do you do? The blog has to be posted, the newsletter mailed. A goats in sweaters video […]

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Better Left Unsaid

I follow several writers, some published, some unpublished, on social media. Many post news of book deals, tweet about signing with agents, and ‘gram photos of awards. Friends and followers like, “heart”, and share the good news over social networks. Some writers also share their disappointments. A series is canceled, a manuscript doesn’t sell, an agent query is rejected. Friends and followers virtually gather ‘round to show support, offer encouragement, and share advice. Fortunately, most writers limit themselves to these common uses of social media. However, a few writers take up their smartphones, not to seek congratulations or commiseration, but to excoriate those they blame for, in their view, thwarting their literary ambitions. You’ve read their posts: the “stupid” publishers don’t understand them, the “opportunistic” agents pass up the Great American Novel because it’s not marketable, the “idiot” editors insist grammar matters, the readers who leave negative reviews are—you fill in the epithet. These writers do not take rejection well. As they see it, their manuscript is perfect; everyone else is wrong. The “story” is the only thing that matters (they sneer at punctuation and spelling) and anyone who doesn’t agree their novel is brilliant enough to warrant the expenditure of […]

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A Writer's Choice: Politics and Social Media

  Like many Americans, I awoke this morning charged by the results of the U.S. Senate election yesterday in Alabama. No, I am not going to rehash the politics, the results, or the implications. You have CNN, CBS, ABC, and FOX to do that for you. You also get to jump aboard social media. That’s what I want to talk about.            Should writers take to their virtual pens and express their personal political beliefs on social media? Or should they contain their opinions where they can be conveyed privately?            There is considerable advice on this topic, not surprisingly, much of it found on social media. There are experts who suggest that there is little to be gained and much to be lost when a writer tweets how she feels about a particular candidate or issue. They warn people will not buy your book, the buzz will be negative, and you will be buried with comments more hurtful than your worst review. Play it safe and restrict your Facebook comments to what you made for the dinner last night. Why invite disaster and undermine the work you have invested in your book?             Why? Robert Stribley offered six reasons in his Huff Post article, “Why […]

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End of the year. Time for on-line presence and social media audit?

Soon people will start talking about New Year’s resolutions (which I don’t do). However I am a fall and spring clean out person. Closets, attic, you name it. Time to weed out things I don’t love. This seems like a bad segue into all things internet and social media – I don’t want to give the impression that I want it to all go away! However, I’ve recently realized that I’ve updated some profiles, but not others (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook…. my personal website…. where does it stop!) So…. I’m about to undertake an audit of my online presence prompted by the release of my newest book in early February.  Technically the prompt was the marketing department at my publisher….. a very nice email with links to every place in the universe where my books can be purchased. Wish I could just say Google my name and your favorite book seller, or visit the store, and order one! Apparently that’s not enough.  Anyway, prompted to update these links I am now working my way through with a checklist, making sure everything aligns and is current. Photo, current books with links to sellers, contact information, directions to other pages, links to…. you get the picture. I’m afraid that I run the risk of […]

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The New Social Media Frontiers

We all know about Facebook, Twitter and (hopefully after my last post) Instagram. But what about all the other ways to interact with readers online? How do we reach readers on new platforms?  Today, at 4 p.m., I’ll be doing something that I never tried before. I’ll be participating in a Ask Me Anything interview on Snapchat. I am hoping that the questions will focus on my books and the writing. But, it’s Ask Me Anything, so we’ll see.  According to one of the organizers of the Snapchat AMA, Author Joe Clifford, that last AMA they hosted resulted in 51,000 tweet impressions and 12,700 video views. That was nearly 6X the engagement that the author usually received from tweets.  I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.  In the meantime, here are some must follow book snapchatters that I learned about this morning, courtesy of BookRiot. On their list is MyBookBath, a snapchat by a Vancouver book blogger who takes videos and photos of beautiful book swag and bookshelves. BookRiot has a snapchat too that’s made lists on blogs such as iDiva. And, if you’re joining the snapchat book community, there are some lenses to try that will spruce up your posts. Barnes & […]

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10 Bookstagrammers To Know

Bookstagrammers are the life blood of the social media book community. Found on Instagram under the hashtag #bookstagrammers, these literature-loving individuals read, review, photograph and spread the word about books that they love (and, sometimes, hate). Some wonderful bookstagrammers even supply casting recommendations for films.  At last count, there were 1.36 million posts by #bookstagrammers on Instagram. Here are some #bookstagrammers any thriller or mystery author should know.   BookSugar. Maria has more than fifty thousand followers on Instagram, which means a ton of exposure if you make her must read list. This Canadian book blogger’s tastes range skew literary (Jane Austen, anyone?) but she does include the occasionally mystery, thriller, or suspense novel on her list. Wendy Walker’s Emma In The Night made the list recently. Crime By The Book. Bookstagrammer Abby started out with a cup of coffee and passion for thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels. Now she has 47,000 followers (and growing) and a major book marketing career! Though she works for Dutton, the opinions on her blog and Instagram account are her own. Her reviews are insightful, well-explained, and sought-after. She also clearly knows where to get the prettiest cups of joe in the city.     SuspenseThrill. Avid bookstagrammer, blogger and reviewer Chelsea Humphrey had 4,588 Instagram followers as of Nov. 7. […]

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Promoting… The All Important P In Publishing

Promotion! I hate it. Some folks may love it. Certainly, most folks are way better at it than I am. So, my question to the MissDemeanors this week was: What is the best thing you’ve done to help promote your book so far? I’ve highlighted some of my favorite bits that I will definitely be exploring with my latest book.   Here’s mine. I had a murder mystery party in my house for The Widower’s Wife. About 50 couples showed up and everyone had a character (most of which I made up). Pretty much everyone bought a book. More importantly, folks had so much fun being part of a mystery that they actually read the book and then shared it with friends. I am pretty sure that each person who came spread the word. At the end of the day, I can’t quantify the sales, but it was fun and it definitely got folks talking.  Michele: The unfortunate answer to this question is I don’t know. That’s because it’s very difficult to tell what works and doesn’t unless you can make a direct connection to your sales. My sense is that marketing my books to people who live in or visit and love the Virgin Islands […]

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