Tag Archives: social media

Why Kait’s Win Is Even More Awesome

results from Kait's bracket in round 1

Generally speaking, I figure you can look at Amazon reviews as a matter of reach. Not everyone who reads a book is moved to review it. I know that I rarely leave Amazon reviews for a number of reasons such as, I rarely feel five star about anything and don’t want to leave lower, I don’t want to be critical of my peers yet I have a highly critical nature,¬†andI get really ticked when I write something and then Amazon disappears it. (Seriously, is it because I called His Dark Materials’ Will swoonworthy? Because there’s a twelve-year-old girl inside this body who was totally swooning and doesn’t feel that’s inappropriate.)

What was I talking about? Oh, reviews as a measure of reach. Okay, so say there’s a more or less fixed percentage of any reading pool willing to leave reviews or tell others about what they’ve read. (It’s actually my theory that when a book goes viral it’s because something about it blows this percentage out of the water and unusual numbers of people start telling others and the ripples expand at an exponential rate. But I digress. Again.) (And certainly you can affect your review percentage to some extent by asking people to leave reviews and making sure your book gets into the hands of people more apt to leave reviews, like book bloggers, but generally speaking, just stay with me.)

When I looked at RED and ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD on Amazon yesterday, Red had 42 reviews and Anna had 175. This isn’t surprising. Anna is a traditionally published book by an author who has been traditionally published before. Red is an indie published book, and the author’s first venture into a different niche (from PR/UF to YA). There should be a tremendous difference, not only in copies of the books sold and people who have actually read and loved them, but also in people who have been exposed to the book and/or author on any level.

In the DABWAHA tournament, that matters. Few, I suspect, will have read every book named as a finalist, so a lot of people will be voting merely on any impression they have. It’s like how the incumbent is more likely to win an election. Not necessarily because of their performance, but because they have that bit of recognition and credibility over the other guy.

So how did Kait, publisher-free and all on her own, who I’m pretty sure hasn’t sold as many copies as Kendare, pull this off?

Well, partly because she didn’t do it alone. Kait spent her day on the road, traveling for her job. But she did an incredible job of mobilizing her people to help her succeed. They helped her because Kait is good at establishing and maintaining relationships, and because she gives to the writing community all the time. She has a very large following on her blog, many of whom aren’t really interested in her brand of fiction. They’re there because she constantly provides intelligent perspective on industry news and other topics to help writers both indie and trad. She founded and maintains the #ROW80 community, which continues to maintain a sense of community even where other writer groups have expanded and…jumped the shark, as it were. She helped to found IBC (Indie Book Collective), and before stepping down from that organization, put in a tremendous amount of time gathering and making available tutorials and other reference material for new indie authors. Self-confident and friendly by nature, Kait’s the kind of personality that shines on Twitter without allowing it to take over her life and take the place of, you know, writing books. So in addition to the fans who have flocked to her, she’s also made a lot of friends in groups like #MyWANA.

And that’s probably a big factor: Kait makes friends. You see her out and about, networking in the community, and that’s a big part of why she even had the reach to pull in all those votes yesterday. But you see her talking with people, not at them. So when she asked for help, people were motivated, not only to take 30 seconds to cast a vote in her favor, but to ask their friends, to keep an eye out for #TeamKait messages to retweet throughout the day.

I was on TweetDeck yesterday. The first time I’ve spent any time there in…I don’t know, months. And yeah, I wasn’t very motivated when I got there. I had to be bullied and strong-armed, because such are my personal issues with Twitter, and it was hard to imagine having to show up after my long absence and start asking for favors. I was put in the position of being one of THOSE people. Which, you know, was probably more of a problem in my head than in anyone else’s–as is usually the case–because at least I was spamming for someone else. And I stayed there all day and RT’d things on other topics or for other DABWAHA brackets, and sent out friendly @s throughout the day.

By the time I went to bed last night, I was exhausted. I’m not the sort who can focus on more than one thing. I was on this all day long, being friendly all day long. I’m nice–soooo nice it’s probably a disorder–but I’m not friendly because that’s an outward-facing trait and it’s an effort. But it’s not a bad sort of effort. And like that high you get when you finally force yourself to exercise, I got some genuine enjoyment out of yesterday when my presence was warmly received by several old friends who don’t seem to fault me for how I am or the absences that causes.

I think I may even go back.

Meanwhile, back to Kait. I hope you’re getting my point here, which in plain terms is this:

With regard to social media, Kait Nolan is how it’s done. Follow her, and follow her lead.

Who knows how the rest of DABWAHA will turn out. I believe Kait is the only indie in the bunch, and just her making it out of the first bracket is such a huge accomplishment. It means the world to her. For authors, the reach we think we have so often doesn’t translate directly to sales and readers. We so often wonder if we’re spinning our wheels and wasting our time. Kait has put tremendous time and effort into building her social network, so not only is this an honor for her, but it’s validation. Validation rocks. So I want to thank all of you who took the time to support her, especially if there were any of you who did it because I, as a small part of that network, asked you to, and I really hope you’ll be willing to do so for as long as she can hang on in this tournament.

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TweetDeck brings more Susan to Facebook

Some of you know that I just don’t get Facebook. I’ve tried reading Facebook for Dummies, I’ve tried spending time there…I just don’t get the interface and I don’t understand how we’re supposed to keep up with stuff over there. So mostly I just feed in my blog, make an announcement whenever there’s something announce-worthy, and have done with it.

Now that I’m coming back to Twitter, I’m trying to use TweetDeck to get a little more active on Facebook. I always had it set up so that I could post those occasional announcements to my Facebook profile and page. On my new computer, though, I’m starting pretty much from scratch so I had to set it up again. I remember getting the page set up being really difficult the last time I did it. It seems like TweetDeck’s made this really easy now.

I’m going to go over how I’ve got my TweetDeck set up for Facebook and how I’ve been using it. It will make a lot more sense if you’ve already got TweetDeck and can just do it with me. If you haven’t been using it, feel free to read my post about using TweetDeck for better Twitter management.

Adding your account

At the top left it says From: and there’s a little Twitter icon as well as a box with a + to add another account. If you click that, a box pops up. Use the Add Account button, choose Facebook, and follow the steps to allow Facebook and TweetDeck to work together. If you have pages, they’ll show up on the screen and you can check whether or not you want to use TweetDeck with them. On my account I checked my author page, but not my doll page because I’m not dealing with that right now. You can change this later by clicking on that button to add an account, selecting the Facebook account when the screen comes up, and then click whatever you like.

Now you’ve got more icons on the From: line. My Twitter account is my default (I only have one), and that’s what I leave on all the time. When I want to post to Facebook, I click to unselect Twitter and click to select my Facebook profile or page. Sometimes I leave Twitter selected to post the same update to both sites, but not often. Compose update as usual and publish. And I’m always sure to have only the Twitter account selected when I’m finished so I don’t accidentally post to the wrong account.

Adding a column for Facebook

You guys know how to add columns. At the top left it says TweetDeck and there’s a round button with a +.¬† A screen pops up. There are icons at the top and one looks like Facebook. Click that. You can get your full feed or just one part of it. I’m starting with just Status Updates.

Liking and Commenting

Hey, just me clicking like is more Facebook interaction that we normally see, and I guess it’s a nice way to let someone know you paid attention to what they said. In that column, if you hover over the picture of the update in question, you get 4 icons, just like with Twitter. But for Facebook these are: Comment, Like, Write on [that person’s] Wall, and Other (which has stuff like send message, tweet their comment, and other handy stuff).

To make a wall post without finding someone’s picture, select to post from your Facebook account. Start your post with the > character. That should bring up a list of your friends’ usernames.

When you click the icon for comment, a little box pops up below the update in which you can type what you have to say and click Add Comment. You may have to scroll your column to see it. This will also let you see other comments that have been made. You can also see those comments without saying anything yourself by clicking the comment bubble underneath the picture.

Conversations

When people start having conversations in their comments, this is hard to follow with TweetDeck alone. TweetDeck will update to show that there are more comments, but a) you’ll have to click the comment bubble again to refresh and see them, and b) just because there’s new stuff doesn’t mean TweetDeck bumps the update to the top of the column. It stays where it is in the stream so that you have to scroll through the old stuff to find new stuff.

At this point, unless there’s a solution I don’t know about, you’re better off relying on your email to keep tabs on a conversation.

Again, I’m sure this is old news to some, but if there are any of you who, like me, like TweetDeck and fear Facebook, I hope you’ll give this a shot. I’m trying to post to my Facebook page once a day during the week and I think I’m doing an okay job coming up with something every day. If you’re active on Facebook (more power to you) and would like to stop by and help me get some interaction going over there, I’m sure there’s good karma in it for you.

Oh, P.S. Kait’s new book, RED, is now available. It’s YA! Kait’s brand of action and romance, now with angsty teen goodness. Because of the rather fascinating way Kait and her agent have been thinking and are going to experiment with Kait’s trad/indie author in two worlds crossover domination, the book will be out for a bit before it is shopped around NY and then it may disappear for a while. Go get it and read it now so you’ll have plenty of time to tell your friends. Here’s a link to the places it’s currently available: https://bitly.com/bundles/kaitnolan/4.

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Filed under for writers, social media

#ROW80 Getting back on track

It’s the week before school, so my goals lately have been more about getting ready to get back to NORMAL. I’ve been trying to gather the back to school stuff, work out our new schedule, and get the house back in order so that when school starts (a week from today!) I can really go back to giving the writing stuff the attention it needs.

I’m having a very productive week on that score. Sunday I did massive list-making, under the direction of Kait, and assigned myself daily tasks. Those are going really well. I’m trying to ease back into Twitter and even be more active on Facebook (thanks to TweetDeck). Monday was an especially productive day for me and I feel like I’m really taking back control over things.

This is the shortest post evar. How’s everyone else doing this week?

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Giveaway: My favorite book marketing how-to guide

ETA: Read on for more about this very helpful book, but please note that this giveaway is over and comments have been closed.

My daughter’s scheduled outpatient surgery (getting a bunch of gum-chewing teeth taken care of because she tried to sock the dentist, even with laughing gas), was canceled due to snow. It’s certainly not a ton of snow by our standards, but for this part of the country, everything has to shut down. I hate snow, I really do, and my daughter told me, “If you hate snow, you hate Christmas.”

But, I really don’t. I’ve “Bah Humbug”ed more than once already, and I’ll do it again, but underneath this stress-ed out exterior, I really do love Christmas. And to prove it, I wanted to give away something I’ve found very useful this year.

Yep, I’m talking about We Are Not Alone: A Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb. I talked about this book when I was reading it back in September, but I just got around to writing an Amazon review yesterday. Bad Susan.

I’d like to believe you all hang on my every word and that, when I mention a book, you all run right out and buy it. But hey, you don’t, and this one’s 8 bucks for the Kindle version! And we’re all starving artists, aren’t we? But thanks to the magic of Amazon’s Gift as a Gift button (how much does that rock?) (and my magical Amazon credit card), I can easily offer you this book that I found so helpful, encouraging, and entertaining.

Note that this is the Kindle edition, and is DRM’d, so you’ll have to read it on a Kindle-compatible device or on your computer.

It would be lovely if you’d use the sharing buttons below to mention this to your friends and get more people to check out Kristen’s book, but I’m keeping this simple and all that’s required is that you leave a comment, saying that you’d like to win the book (to distinguish you from the other people who have to comment to gush about how great Kristen is). Let’s have an end to entries at 9am Eastern on Friday, since I’ll have another 1-day giveaway for you on Thursday. That should jog my memory to, you know, pay up. Then I’ll choose one random winner from among the entries. (ETA: it looks like I’ll be doing that other giveaway tomorrow, FYI. Doesn’t affect anything for this one, though, except my ability to remember to hand out a prize.)

And if you already read this book, will you please drop by Amazon and leave a review? Just your 5-star rating (I assume) with the line “I found this book really helpful” or “Great introduction to social media for authors” or something like that. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but ratings really help. In a world of corporate-branding For Dummies and Idiot’s Guide how-to books, let’s help out one of the little guys who deserves it.

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Filed under Contests

Increasing Your Kindle Rank: Blogging and Social Media

Saturday, I posted about reaching the Kindle top 1000 within 8 weeks of self-releasing my first novel, Hush Money. This post is part of a series in which I’m talking about some things I think helped me get there.

I have pretty much decided that blogging is the thing on which I get the worst ROI (return on investment), as far as my time is concerned. Pretty much every post I write takes more than an hour, often more than two hours. When I look at my blog stats, I can see how many people clicked links from my site to the places where my book is available for purchase. Even on days where I get better-than-normal traffic on the blog, there’s not the kind of clicking of my buy links to my 99cent ebook, of which I get 35cents per download, that’s gonna pay for those hours of work.

But blogging, and all social media activities, are a little more complicated than that, and time spent building and maintaining a network, in whatever way you do it, is about more than a ratio of visits to clicks. For more about the importance of such networking to authors, and a detailed method by which authors can approach it, I highly recommend Kristen Lamb’s book, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. I talked a bit about what’s in the book…here.

I didn’t put the time in on my blog, prior to my book release, to build a good, ready network of readers who were impressed by my brains, curious about my work in progress, and waiting for its release. In fact, I’m still having trouble figuring out what to talk about, and content is inconsistent in both topic and availability. (Hint: if your book’s not out yet, this might be something for you to work on.)

But you know who did? Kait Nolan. When Kait released Forsaken By Shadow, not only did she have a number of readers who were interested in her and knew that it was coming, but she also had a many contacts in the online writing community to approach for a blog tour that exposed her to the networks of, what, thirty different bloggers? In addition to blogging about her writing life, the Shadow and Fang blog focuses on topics of interest to writers: informative articles giving Kait’s perspective on many aspects of craft, as well as on industry news items she reads, and the changes taking place in publishing. This is something she enjoys and has been working on building for the last three years or so.

And I totally benefited from that base when she recommended my book to her readers.

Who else is a good blogger? Book-Crazy Jenn is an example, and one of book bloggers who took the time to share Hush Money with her network. Jenn is an avid reader (I think she’s read over 170 books already this year), and so updates her readers regularly with new books for them to read. She’s full of enthusiasm and warmth, and is a pleasure to read and to work with. She works to develop relationships with authors, which bring them back to her so that she can provide more content of interest to her readers, as well as occasional giveaway items.

And I totally benefited from all her effort when she reviewed Hush Money on her blog, as well as when she published a Q&A we did together. And when she mentioned my name in a post titled: Fangirl, Me?

Do you see where this is going? So you’re not a great blogger…yet. So what? You’re a great fiction writer, right? So buck up, ’cause maybe that’s all you need to be. Do what you can, and then leave the blogging greatness to others and just help them find you.

And then, just take that idea and rubber-stamp it onto other social media. I think it’s important to have some kind of presence, and to try to keep it up to date. After all, the more places you are, the better chance people have to stumble upon you. I have a Facebook profile, but I’m not good at Facebook. I put a little more time into my Facebook (fan) Page because I think it makes more sense to maintain that for people who go out of their way to say they’re interested in that aspect of you. Just because I don’t like Facebook is no reason neglect getting my information to the people who do like it. I do this by having my FB information in Tweetdeck. I do NOT funnel all my tweets to FB. If I were a regular FB user with tweets coming through on my NewsFeed all the time, I think that would really get annoying. But I do use Tweetdeck to send status updates of breaking news to my FB Page when I’m thinking of it without having to actually go to FB. And I try to check the page regularly to respond to any comments. I know the people there can tell that I’m not a FB user, but as long as I don’t make them mad, I think that’s ok.

I treat MySpace the same way, except that my MySpace is a wasteland where I don’t think anyone is listening. I have no idea how it works or how to make friends there. So it’s most just there for informational purposes, should someone happen to stumble across it.

Twitter is the place that I think requires the most hands-on approach. And fortunately, it’s also the easiest and most engaging, once you get into it. I have days where I’m really “on” on Twitter, and others when I have absolutely nothing to say. And still others where I don’t manage to get there at all. One thing I have on Tweetdeck that I want to mention, is a column with a search for my name. You already know when someone’s talking to you with an @mention, but what about when people are talking about you? If you set up a column for your name, you’ll see all those auto-tweets from Goodreads where members have just given you 5 out of 5 stars. So you can RT those if you want, or just send an @reply and say, “Thank you, I’m glad you liked it.” Make friends with people who like your work. They might RT some of your news later on.

And again, with Twitter, it’s not always about the size of your network, but also about the size and quality of your friends’ networks. When @kaitnolan spontaneously decides to send out a great tweet about my book, sometimes people buy. When I ask @zoewinters to RT something important for me, she’s very gracious and always does it right away. People I don’t even know who are just out to support indie writers will RT my tweets and help me sell books. Author Belinda Kroll, aka @worderella is an example of someone who does a lot of spontaneously helpful RTs. So don’t get too down on yourself over your number of followers. Just make friends, be nice to people, and wait for the karma to work its way back to you. (To avoid being a spammy tweeter, maybe check out this recent article on Parajunkee’s View.)

We can’t be everywhere and do everything, but at the same time, isn’t it kind of audacious to decide that readers should work to find you, in the places you’re most comfortable with, because you refuse to maintain any kind of presence in the place they prefer to get their information? I mean, as an author, who’s paying your salary? Just sayin’.

So what are you supposed to take away from this post?

  • You’re probably going to need to suck it up and do this stuff
  • But it’s also not as difficult as it feels
  • Concentrate at least as much on being a mensch as on adding people to your network
  • Get Kristen’s book if you need guidance

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Filed under Hush Money, Increasing Kindle Rank, links, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, tips, writing