Friday, January 25, 2013

A New Year with Social Media

The Blog and YouTube format are the current powerhouses of online networking. Review your Twitter feed; FaceBook/Google/Yahoo/Pinterest page, and Email Groups/Loops, and LOOK at what is being shared or promoted. Pay Attention to how and where the item was originated. The majority of items not from official news sources are going to be either a Blog post or a Video short.

If you are on multiple platforms you may easily see the same item shared numerous times. Remember that when you are posting news as it is being broadcast to people who already like, follow, or subscribe to your network. Our AM101 TIP is to cross-promote and team up but when you do so in Social Media networks - Be Aware Of The Volume of posts and email you generate.

Here's a great example of how a few authors having fun together can generate a rash of duplicate multiposting:
Spread the word, THE RESOLUTION TOUR – January 1 – 9, 2013, is off to a tremendous start.  If any of these resolutions below sound familiar, you might want to check them out:

Maggie Jaimeson – Take a Vacation
Jessa Slade – Get Organized
Paty Jager – Volunteerism
Linda Mercury – Creating a Literary (or Creative) Life
Jenna Bayley-Burke – Eat Healthier
Cassiel Knight – No More Procrastination
Cathryn Cade – Take Time for those OTHER Creative Passions
Susan Lute – Reduce Stress: Find and Follow Your Bliss
Jamie Brazil - Shrink My Closet
Share this:

All the above authors are in our networks. The Numbers are - 9 posts x 9 days = 81! We BOTH saw numerous daily notices regarding this resolution tour and have to point out that this is an example of Social Media OVERLOAD! But We Love Them All as authors and friends. We applaud their innovation and enthusiasm. We consider the Guest Posting on each other's blogs a good idea! Three additional promo's per day/per blog is an Oops!

Remember the audience who has Already Liked, Followed, Subscribed to you is seeing each promo you post. Your life may be about your books and how to promote them. Your readers have their own lives. Few aspire to be authors. Less than FEW become authors. Most of your readers will like reading your book and then move on with their lives. Be OKAY with that even when you are solving the mysteries of the universe .

Have a grand time writing and publishing your books. Make sure they are presented well. Make sure it is easy for readers to find and BUY your books. If your BUY links fail - everything else is a nice effort that does nothing.

To wrap up our Social Media month: Here's some predictions and information to review that can only be shared because blogging has made it possible:

Seth Godin's 1/14/13 article: Understanding Idea Adoption Explains in another way why we at AM101 state that marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and advise authors stop burning themselves our with release week promotions. Digital books do not have limited shelf life. Build sustainable marketing into your career instead of being a splash and dash promoter.

Deborah Cooke also shares her insights, and practical pointers, of the various publishing venues as a former print-now Indie author. ANY former midlist or genre or literary fiction author will benefit from what she posts on her personal blog.

And check out WiseInk as they are fresh voices advising and supporting Indie Authors on their journey. We discovered them because their post: 12 Lessons We Learned Coaching Indie Authors in 2012 was referenced on another blog. Why would we promote this blog? Because the authors/creators at WiseInk are having FUN. At first glance we feel - hey, this is a fun site.

Do you have any insights or resources that you want to share about social media? Please post them in the comments!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Social Media - Does It Add Value?

Today's repost is from Joe Konrath (J.A. Konrath/Jack Kilborn). It would be great to read his entire post at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing as it recaps his annual year-in-review/new-year resolutions since 2006. 

Social Media ADDED tremendous VALUE to Joe's career and sales. His Enthusiasm for his Books, and the Social Media opportunities he took advantage of these past few years, made his career.
"The books combine hair-raising scares and suspense with laugh out loud comedy." 
Joe's been nominated for several awards, including the Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, Dagger, and Barry, and has won the Derringer, Bob Kellog, EQMM Reader's Choice, and two Lovie awards.
All this means he's a rather solid and talented midlist author who knew his audience would buy his books even if the traditional publishing world didn't have room on their bookshelves for another thriller-horror author.

We'll add more insights beneath his quote:

Konrath's resolutions for writers - 2013
I've lived long enough to see my advice become obsolete, and that gives me hope for the future.
Back when I began, this business was all about finding an agent, finding a publisher, then doing whatever you could to promote yourself.
This blog spoke at length about social media, and book tours, and partnering with your publisher.
Things have changed.
I have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but I only use it occasionally Facebook? Haven't been on there in eight months. I witnessed the rise and fall of MySpace. I've opted out of Google+ because I saw no benefits. LinkedIn? I can't even remember my password.
I'll never do another book tour. I doubt I'll ever do another official booksigning. I've stopped speaking in public, stopped attending events. Once it was important to meet fans and network with peers. Now I can do that just fine via email.
Partnering with your publisher? Why would you do that, when they offer so little? 17.5% ebook royalties with them, vs. 70% on your own.
I haven't blogged or Tweeted in months. I've been busy doing what writers should be doing: writing.
And guess what? My sales have remained constant.
Many times this year, I took industry practices to task. I saw stupidity, or unfairness, and I did my best to discredit it. I fought, tooth and nail, for what I believed, and wasted untold hours arguing with pinheads.
Which brings me to my resolution for 2013.
Get Over Yourself
I have turned off Google Alerts, and don't Google my name or my pen names.
I don't go on message boards.
I don't read my book reviews.
I don't care what people are saying about me, good or bad, in blogs or on Twitter or in the media.
There will always be people who don't like you, and don't like your books.
Ignore them.
Trust me, it is liberating to be free of the opinions of strangers. We all need to focus on our writing. Because the millions of readers out there don't care about your blog. They aren't searching for you on Twitter and avoiding your books based on the comments of others. They aren't taking one star reviews seriously.
It's very easy to obsess in this business. But I haven't seen a single shred of evidence that obsession helps careers.
The thing that I have seen, over and over, is people finding success by writing good books.
I really think it is possible to make a very nice living by writing and not worrying about anything else.
We all want to believe we're doing something good for our careers, so we abuse social media, buy ads, rigorously defend our good name, cultivate media contacts, make appearances, and celebrate our own very minor celebrity.
Let it all go. Spend your time working on your books. That's the only thing that really matters, and the only thing you have control over.
I hope everyone reading this has a very successful 2013. Happy new year.

Now for some Common Sense Points from AM101:

Joe's got a good website, lots of books, and BUY links. He's a NAME. He's got an AUDIENCE. His time and career is about Writing Books. That's what his audience wants. HE'S NO LONGER A NEWBIE! He was one of the early trailblazers in the e-revolution. He's a great example of using social media to his advantage. He's now an Urban Legend. It would be good if he'd change the title of his blog so as not to confuse new authors who feel they can mirror his publishing success without investing in a decade of learning the craft of storytelling.

Joe was ASPIRING TO BE a novelist (for 12 years) prior to when his first (tenth!) novel was published in 2004. His stories have won awards. He also Enthusiastically Invested his time and energy into Every Social Media outlet available to build his audience. Pulling-Pushing readers to his Website activities that contained Point-Of-Purchase experiences and BUY links. Now he can just keep writing books and let his Marketing Machine operate with minimal energy. At least for this year.

Joe is a great example for self-published, genre, and midlist, authors when they look at his whole PUBLIC journey. In his first 12 years of writing and marketing his manuscripts to publishers, he also was enhancing his skills as a storyteller, a writer, and his Author Persona. Those skills have amplified his success these past eight years.

He's now at a point in his career where he can write books, advocate for libraries, and be pithy with his disregard for all the opportunities and tools that he used to achieve his success. Remember that and take all advice with a grain of salt.

Fortunately, he's been pithy about a lot of stuff in public so he's not going to alienate his audience of READERS because they only care about the next book.

In short, NEW AUTHORS need to market their books and PERSONAS to find their audience and connect with readers.  Once you are established with a solid backlist of books, like Joe, then you can decide how much time you want to focus on marketing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Workshop #7: Using Google Reader for Blog Management

It's a new year and now is the time to get organized!  There are all manner of tools available to help you better organize your life.  We've found that many of these tools turn into yet another time sink.  However, there are a few software packages and services worth a second look.

Why are we focusing on Google Reader in this post?
As writers, we are all aware that the publishing industry is in the midst of rapid change.  Following industry insider blogs and Twitter feeds can help us keep a pulse on this evolution.  Since writing your next great book should be your top priority, finding a way to stay up to date quickly and efficiently will keep you informed without cutting into your writing time.

Just imagine being able to consolidate various blog posts into one cache.  Google Reader is a FREE, online application that helps you manage and organize all the blogs you read into one site.  Basically, Google Reader gives you the ability to create your own newspaper in real time.

How to get started:
If you have a Google account already (via Blogger, GMail, etc.) then just log in and go to If you do not have a Google account, you will need to create one.

To add blogs to your homepage view, click on the 'Subscribe' button and either paste in or type the link to your blog of choice and hit "Add."
Adding a blog to your Google Reader homepage.

Almost like an email account, your homepage will populate with the latest posts from each of your chosen blogs.
Example of a Google Reader homepage.  Looks a lot like email, doesn't it?

Just like email, to read a blog, simply click on the latest post or select the blog from your Subscriptions menu in the lower left of the screen.
Morgan's subscriptions.

Again, we know there are probably other ways to get this same information.  We've found this tool to be easy to access, FREE, and simple to use.  Plus, you get less emails in your inbox - BONUS!

Get Organized & Happy Writing!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Social Media - How Much Do You Need?

Welcome to 2013!

We are back with a new schedule because - How Much Social Media Do You Need - From Us? You don't have to answer that - it is Not So Much! Our topics will continue to be Myths/Tips, Workshops/Field Trips, and Finer Points/Guest Posts, BUT instead of posting 3 times a week, we will only post on FRIDAYS. We will add an additional post for the 4th week of the month which will include current links that relate to The Theme Of The Month.

The Theme this Month is SOCIAL MEDIA.

A review of our Marketing Myths Busted page states: Media is the Tool, Marketing is the Content. Being active in Social Networks is Not Marketing but it can be USED as part of your Marketing Plan to generate interest in YOU and promote your books to your audience. Our Primary AM101 TIP regarding Social Media is - Your Author Persona can control the Quality and Quantity of that public first glance.

Another Social Media MYTH is to be everywhere. Our primary Myth Busting TIP is to only do what is fun. Our primary Marketing TIP is to link your social networking accounts direct (and only) to your website. Your website contains the links to all your ACTIVE social media accounts so you can Control which ones Readers find. Lisa Nowak listed her Twitter account in the "About The Author" section of her first three books. Now she regrets being Trapped-to-Tweet as she gets new followers daily because it is in the print version of her books. Our TIP is to only include your website as a contact link for readers. If you're tired of Tweeting, remove it from your Contact links on your website. It won't go away entirely, nothing in cyber space disappears, but at least you're no longer promoting it as an active connection tool to you.

Here's a checklist for choosing the relevance of a Social Media platform/tool for your Author Persona.
  1. Is it fun, beneficial, and easy to use?
  2. Try it for 3 weeks then reassess #1. 
The MYTH is to be everywhere and do it all - ALL AT ONCE. Our TIP is to spread your marketing campaign PER BOOK over a 18 month schedule. This applies to Blog Tours. The frenzy of six weeks of daily blogging at the release of your book is tied to the PRINT BOOK ON A BOOKSHELF time requirements. Prior to digital versions, a few years ago, your career as an author was tied to the Initial Release Sales Data. If sales didn't meet the expected benchmark your career could end, so that huge promotions push was a life-or-death activity. Not So Anymore!

The message for Authors in this new world of ebooks is that the Power to Control YOUR Career Is In YOUR Hands. Write a great book. Have it professionally edited and formatted. Present this book to the public with great cover art and blurbs - everything else is marketing. Even reviews are marketing tools.

A good Marketing Plan, tied to a great product, can be used for promotions through every Media Outlet at Any Time. Promote your website and BUY links and your marketing can become a well-oiled Sales Generating machine that happens because you're having fun writing books and connecting with readers through radio or YouTube; from book fairs to Pinterest, and/or the Social and Media venues in the future.