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 going down the dark hole of the internet and investing too much time. But I think that a thorough (clean out the attic but don’t repaint it) look is needed. Anyone else out there thinking about an annual audit?Read more
Tag: social media
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 & Noble recommends “Rotting Pig Head on A Stick” (It’s a Lord of the Flies reference) and Book Cover Face Swap (which puts your face on your favorite book cover).Read more
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. She’ll probably have more before this post runs tomorrow. She is a top reviewer on Goodreads and her blog is followed by English-speaking mystery and thriller fans the world over. On top of all of this, she takes some beautiful book cover shots. Texas Girl Reads. Texas Girl, Sarah, sure does read. A book or so a week, by my count. She also takes visually arresting images of the suspense novels and mysteries that she loves and shares her heartfelt reviews on Instagram. Sometimes, she’ll share her kids’ favorite picks too. She shares detailed reviews on Instagram, where she has 1,044 followers, and on her blog. GareIndeedReads. Gare is a dedicated bookstagrammer that not only reads a new book seemingly every few days, but also provides in depth reviews on Instagram and on his slick, professional blog. On top of this, he also casts many of the books he reads, sharing his vote for the Hollywood stars he could picture playing parts of different characters. The photographs of the books that he takes along with his reviews, and the images of the celebrities that he sees starring in the one-day-film version make for some visually arresting book evangelizing. He has over 750 followers. (I also had the pleasure of meeting him at a recent book event and he’s a very thoughtful reader and all-around friendly person). Kourtney’s Bookshelf. Kourtney is a dedicated mystery, thriller and suspense reader. Her Instagram and blog often feature new releases in the genre. When she likes a book, this Texas girl will not only photograph it and share with her 1,676 followers, but she’ll often include favorite quotes from the novel. Oh The Book Feels. You can truly feel the book love from this #bookstagrammer. More than 66,500 people follow this Kansas City reader’s Instagram account–and it’s not difficult to see why. Carmen’s photos are composed like works of art, which isn’t surprising given her book library. She also has a cat that occasionally graces her posts, and knows how to pose perfectly on a book shelf ladder. Angie’s Bookshelf is another thriller and suspense #bookstagrammer to follow. According to her brief bio, this avid reader of thrills and chills loves wine, coffee, music and books, which you know means she’s part of the thriller tribe. (Thriller writing and garage bands go together. Check out any conference for verification). Angie has 579 followers and a taste for travel, as evidenced by this beautiful book shot. Who wouldn’t want to read whatever novel she put against that beach? Prose and Palate. The alliteration in the name alone should tell you this #bookstagrammer appreciates thoughtful writing, and it shows in her Instagram posts. Stacy has more than 4,680 followers and a penchant for thrillers, historical fiction and Southern fiction. She takes beautiful photos and has a vintage typewriter that often peaks from behind the pages. She also is a regular Book of The Month Club judge and has the collection of coolest coffee mugs around. Check out her Instagram to see what I mean. Books The Thing. Erika has nearly 1,000 followers (979 and growing as of this writing) and loves a good mystery. She reads all types: cozies, psychological thrillers, Agatha Christie-inspired, Sherlock Holmes’ updates. She also loves a good female sleuth, as evidenced by this post on her blog.Read more
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 has worked best. I think that might get filed under “Finding Your Audience.” Susan: I’ve taken part in several Bones and Scones events at the Madison Library, and those are fun because the only people who go are cozy mystery readers. And people who like scones. (This would go to Michele’s point about Finding Your Audience.) In terms of sales, the number one thing I’ve done is take part in BookBub. That causes your sales to jump by thousands in one day. It’s at a reduced price, but if you’re looking to get your name out there, it’s very helpful. Also, Gotham Writers has a newsletter they send out to 40,000 or so people and they’ve been very nice about excerpting my work and promoting it. Paula: It’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t, so the best thing is to do is as much as possible. Social media’s critical, and I do a lot of that. I also do a lot of appearances at writer’s conferences, where I sell a lot of my writing books (as that’s where my audience is). Robin Stuart: I second Paula’s advice. Conferences and social media are good for reaching beyond your immediate circles. So is looking for and jumping on every single opportunity to be interviewed, interviewing someone else, and writing articles/blogs on topics close to your platform or premise. If you’re not already a member of organizations like Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America – do it now. They both offer opportunities for volunteering, panel appearances and organized events to raise your own profile as well as that of your books. I’m also a fan of creative promotions, like our Miss Demeanors webcam covers. Since I write what I know (cyber crime) I have “names” in the cyber crime fighting community ready and willing to help out with promotional ideas and opportunities, too. Basically, book promotion is self-promotion. The key is to throw shyness out the window. Believe in your product (you) and leverage your communities, be they personal, professional, local or international. It’s all fair game and the only limits are your imagination. Tracee: I think I agree with everyone! Particularly on the it’s hard to tell what works issue. I’m with Paula that you have to delve into social media, but I keep looking for the sweet spot – meaning how much and how targeted. I wish I could do it as well as Steve Berry. His social media posts are consistent and reflect the focus of his books – thrillers set around a historical topic. When he is gearing up for a launch the posts focus on historic facts/places/items of interest surrounding that particular theme (for example, tie in to the Templars for the Templar Legacy.) When he’s not gearing up for a launch the historic topics range a bit further but keep the interest of readers who like the history angle. It’s targeted and informative. I think it is a success. I’ve not been as creative as Cate with her mystery party but I do think that in-person helps. I liken it to politics. When you are a new candidate (or a known name going to the next level) you have to meet people. Hopefully these people become your strongest supporters (fans) and spread the word. For me, that means getting out and about: bookstores, libraries, local groups, in person or Skype book clubs and, of course, conferences. I also think these outings are energizing. Meeting readers and talking about books is why we write! I always think what would Paula do/say? She would likely remind us all that the MOST important thing we do is put time into writing the best book we can. So I suppose that’s the scale upon which I weigh the other marketing activities. Have to do them, but don’t let them become all I do. Alexia: My publisher’s sales are mostly online so I’m working on “building my social media presence”. I’ve got an account on nearly everything except Reddit, although I have varying success in keeping up with all of them. I blog, which is not something I did before I had a book deal. (And, honestly, wouldn’t if I wasn’t an author.) I seldom say no to interviews on others’ blogs or podcasts (even though I think my recorded voice sounds weird). I also go to as many conferences as I can afford to/arrange time off from work for. A lot of my book sales are made at conferences, both on-site and to people who meet/hear me and buy later. Conferences help me improve my networking skills as well as sell books. I’ve made contact with people who’ve offered me guest blogs, interviews, and book blurbs. The next time I see a movie or TV show that depicts an author leading the life of a hermit, never connecting with anyone but their inner muse, yet still selling books, I’m going to track down the script writer and bop them over the head with my calendar. (Not really, because I don’t advocate violence but you know what I mean.) On the plus side, I made enough trips this year to get my United frequent flyer status upgraded to Silver. If I ever win Powerball or Mega Millions, I’m hiring a publicist. Alison: As a yet-to-be-published writer, I know where to turn in 2018 when I need advice! I have to admit, it’s not something I’m thinking about yet. (Alison, book mark this blog. I learned a lot from our fellow MissDemeanors.)Read more
I recently turned in the first draft of my third novel, A Killing in C Sharp. During the last two weeks of writing, I cut myself off from nearly all distractions in order to get the manuscript finished. Cut off, as in, no social media, no podcasts, no blogging, no streaming, no email, no pleasure reading, no dining out. I even skipped Sunday church services. I went to my day job then I came home and wrote. That’s it. I retreated deep inside my mental well and stayed there until I hit send on the email to my editors with my manuscript attached. When I returned from my self-imposed psychic exile to the land of the living all of the things I’d neglected hit me full in the face. Sensory overload. My head hurt, I felt lost, adrift. Everything demanded my attention at once and I didn’t know where to begin. Email, Facebook, Instagram, laundry, grocery shopping, yard maintenance? What to do? As if I needed more to cope with, story ideas bombarded me while I dealt with the practical aspects of catching up with my life. Normally, story ideas stream through my head constantly, like a background podcast. I give each one a little attention in turn–jot down a few notes, scribble a reminder–then move on to the next thing. But to get my manuscript finished I forced thoughts of all stories except the one I was writing out of my head. They’d nibble at the edge of consciousness but I’d shove them away. They paid me back by bumrushing me. They amped up their demands for notice and flooded my brain. I couldn’t choose which to pay attention to first. The story about the cop who investigates the murder of his ex’s new husband? The one about the guy framed for murdering his girlfriend’s twin sister? How about the princess who foils an assassination attempt on the uncle who cheated her out of her inheritance? Or one of the dozen others jammed in my brain? After several days of struggling to make sense of the stimuli flooding my brain, and getting nothing done as a result, I conceded that my brain needed a rest. Some time off. I turned to Facebook. Mistake. There aren’t enough heartwarming stories about furry animals or geeky articles about sci-fi cult favorites in the universe to counteract the toxicity of the current political climate. Two days of FB and I felt worse than I had on my most sleep-deprived writing day. I spent some time on Instagram as pictures of food and flowers are pretty low key but the food had a negative impact on my waistline and wallet. Finally, I turned to technology-free walks downtown–I live in a lovely town, I needed the exercise, and nothing beats a walk for clearing the head–setting cheerful flowers out in the garden, and re-bingeing on some mystery favorites via my streaming services. Rewatching shows let’s me focus on plotting, pacing, and character development instead of just being entertained. How do you deal with sensory overload?Read more
WHEN DID EVERYONE GET SO MEAN?
Sometimes being on social media makes me feel like I am back in high school. That is not good. I found high school to be like a four-year dental appointment. And I was considered “popular,” whatever that means. I can’t imagine the pain if you were a nerd.
“Like” me is now the unembarrassed beg on Facebook. Was your post “shared”? How many “friends” do you have? Dear lord, not that again.
But still, I engage. I’d love to blame it all on being a writer just following Jane Friedman’s latest advice (which is right on), but the truth is I get sucked into the vortex. I want to play with the big kids, be part of the fun, and sell a few books along the way. I’ve trying “getting in” with the other crowd, you know, those Twitter folks, but so far they’re not sure about me. I’ll keep trying, though.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I can actually have fun on Facebook. It’s just short of miraculous to be reconnected with people I haven’t seen or heard from in years. I love seeing photos of new babies, weddings, and puppies. Celebrating new books is like an online party. Sharing joyful news is a huge draw to social media, but so is the ability to talk about sad events and loss. A new community has been born. How can that be bad?
Enter the inevitable meanies. Remember the girl who was sitting at the popular table in the cafeteria, whispering into the ear of the prom queen while pointing at your knee socks and laughing? I’d love to hear what the guy-version of this is, because I’m sure it exists. Anyway, the meanies are back, alive, and have infiltrated social media.
Witness one poor woman who made the mistake of warning her fellow town-folk on Facebook about the price of a fish platter at a local restaurant if you customize your combo order. She went from being anti-the-restaurant to anti-commerce to anti-American in twenty comments. The vitriol in the remarks was so over the top, I winced reading them. Her reaction was to recoil, explaining she was only trying to help people avoid the same experience.
Don’t even start me on the nastiness about the political scene. I wish I could say it’s limited to my “friends” on the right, but some of the most condescending disdainful posts I read recently actually were delivered by those I consider political allies. Can’t we disagree without becoming mean and personal?
As a lawyer, I have long mourned the loss of civility in my profession. We have lost the art of advocacy without evisceration. Social media is rapidly becoming no less contentious, I fear. One person “unfriended” me when she learned I was a divorce lawyer. For that reason only. Ouch.
Come on! Why can’t we all just get along? I’ll defend your right to say what you want to the mat, but can’t you say it without trying to bully others into silence?
I didn’t have the guts not to be mean in high school and for that, I am sorry. I’ll be damned if social media makes me repeat my mistake.