C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

How to stop hurting yourself on #Twitter

I’m in a bind. I hate scolds, but occasionally I fall into that category. Usually, I stay silent when a righteous rebuke is all lined up for the tee off. Not today.

CASUAL INDIGNITIES AT THE MALL

When the cashier at A&W refers to the restaurant as “the store” and my dinner as “your chicken product”, I’m embarrassed to be there. I bite my tongue and swear again I’ll learn how to cook.

When I redeem  a lotto ticket and the counter guy says, “You’re a gambler! Come around to this counter, not that one!” Even though no one else is in the store (and, no matter what, I AM F#$@!%! NEXT!) I say, “Sure.” Then I walk around to the other counter. The controlling nit doesn’t move. I get a lousy two bucks and my dose of humiliation. I swear never to return to this inconvenience store and never again shall I lay eyes on the smug bonehead who runs his petty fiefdom with an iron fist of passive aggression. 

I try to be a nice guy. But the rage…these urges. No wonder I write about killing people. Crime fiction is my passive aggression at work.

BUT NOW…THE CALL TO END TWITTER PROMO MADNESS

It’s time to assert. I try to appear somewhat adorable and mask my true whiny/murderous nature, but the time to stay silent and patient has passed. I’ve asked this before. I’ve reasoned and cajoled. I’ve stopped short of insisting. I said please and thank you. I’ve led, but few followed. It’s time to say it again and to get tougher:

Authors, stop just tweeting Amazon links! Please!  Stop it!

Okay, there are times to do it. If you’re launching a book or doing something different and new, fine. Free days on Amazon spawn a lot of lookalike tweets and we can’t help that. Tweet away! I don’t believe in spam per se, but I do believe in dumb and dumb is dangerous.

It is, of course, entirely up to you what you decide to commit on social media. However…

I’M STEPPING UP BY STEPPING DOWN

I won’t be retweeting those repetitive tweets from now on. To interest readers, you need to offer fresh content and many of my fellow aspirants aren’t doing that. The practice does not help your book and it hurts my Twitter following. I have to tweet content, not air to grow my cult. You do, too.

I’ve retweeted many authors, happily and generously. Well…lately it’s been less happy because I’m too often asked to sow the same seeds in the same field. That’s not healthy for us or the crops. And consumers? They hate it. It tastes like rerun roadkill when they see the same tweet repeatedly. Grow your reader farm: Tweet and retweet more randomly.

Book promotion laziness has fallen into too many Twitter streams. For instance, how about more of a clue what your book is about and/or what genre it is? I know it’s only 140 characters, so be clever and craft your message so we understand. Use hashtags or a short quote. Telling is not selling.

Not everybody’s on board with using fresh, imaginative tweets to seduce new readers so I must participate less. It should be that the more I take part, the more followers I gain. I don’t see that in my stats at the moment.

WHAT WORKS ON TWITTER

What I see is, the more I tweet and retweet fresh content that’s funny or useful, the more followers I gain. The more I retweet stale links, the more Follow drop off I suffer. I want to help with RTs and I often do, but I won’t do so if what you want me to retweet hurts me.

HOW TWITTER FAILS AS ADVERTISING

Unless your title screams exactly what your book is about and you’re hitting the Twitter browser at just the right time, broadcasting your title and a link isn’t effective. This is exactly what it’s not like:

“Oh, there’s an Amazon link to a book called Survive Your Ambulance Ride! and I happen to be having a heart attack right now! Tis kismet! Uh-oh! I can’t feel my left arm! Quick, Helen! Before calling 911, help me click that Buy link! Good thing I have one-click buying! Um…oh, god, the blinding pain! How’s your speed reading, Helen?”

THE MYTH OF HELPFUL REPETITION

Small business owners have always been told that, for ads to be effective, they have to be seen over and over, between nine and twenty-seven times, depending on how greedy the salesperson is. The people telling them that were selling Yellow Pages advertising (or, as I now call it: Yellowed Pages.)

The Crazy Expensive Repetitive Advertising Model might even have been true then. We have more choices now. When I detect you’re trying to skate by on the same bland tweets, it feels less like a marketing plan and more like blackmail: “Buy my book and maybe I’ll stop asking you to buy my book.”

Good news: You can run as many ads for your books as you like, but bury that ad in new, better and varying content. For instance, the content always changes on this blog, but I hope my book covers at least look familiar by now, right? Right?! (What’s left of Chazz’s soul dies a little more under the crush of ice-cold anonymity.)

SOLUTION: GET SOMETHING NEW TO TWEET

Write a new blog post (with plenty of links to your books). Go ahead and go crazy. It’s your blog. Just make the posts helpful or funny and new. We all love New.

Write about the setting for your latest novel (especially if it’s exotic and you had angry monkey sex in a hot tub under a palm tree on your last vacation there.) Tell us what true events inspired you. Get on a podcast and tweet about that. Write a guest post. Reblog more for easy, fresh content your readers will appreciate (and the original blogger will thank you for.) Stop depending on the same tweet to get us to buy that same book. Change it up! Rotate tweets at least! Say something amusing, interesting, offensive, odd, surreal, whatever! Anything! Just stop pounding that same key hoping for a new note. Resolve now to tweet new stuff.

And for Thor’s sake, for readers and for your career,

write a new book!

~ Robert Chazz Chute has recoiled, turtle-like and appalled, at having published this post. He wishes it wasn’t needed. He feels bad making anyone feel bad. He’s distancing himself from this post even now by writing this in the third person. Sure, he means well, but who cares about that? You can hear his latest rant about something else entirely at the All That Chazz podcast. 

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, Twitter, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stuff about Twitter that bothers you (but doesn’t bother me)

It’s interesting what grinds other people’s gears. Here are some complaints I’ve seen about Twitter etiquette. Let’s discuss, with fencing

English: The content of tweets on Twitter, bas...

English: The content of tweets on Twitter, based on the data gathered by Pear Analytics in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

terms*! En francais! Commence! En garde!

Duel 1

Attaque indirecte: Some consider it a breach of etiquette to have too many #hashtags in your Twitter post.

Froisssement: How many is “too many” and who made you king? Got any other arbitrary rules? Are you the one who made spats go away? If there were still spats, I’d definitely be one of those guys wearing spats! I’m still rocking the fedora.

Duel 2

Coup droit: After being followed, some consider it bad manners for the followee to have the audacity to send a message with a welcome autotweet. As in, “Thanks for climbing on board! If you want to know more about me, here’s my website etc.,…

Septime haute: This is another arbitrary one and I could very well argue that (a) you followed me and that’s how I run my show. You don’t like it, you know where the “unfollow” button is. (b) It seems an awfully friendly gesture of politeness to welcome someone to your Twitter stream if they thought you were cool enough to follow in the first place. You say “rude” and I reply “friendly”. That is the stalemate of our conversation of crossed swords.

However, so we don’t end in a draw and since so many people took this bit of etiquette as the new social contract on Twitter, I capitulated. I don’t do the gentlemanly thing anymore. I’m glad to have new followers on Twitter, but I don’t send out the auto-welcome anymore. If you follow me (@rchazzchute), you now have no idea that I give a shit.

Bravo. You win. Touché!

Duel 3

Opposition: But Chazz, autotweets are rude!

Passata-sotto: If that’s all you have to give, yes. However, autotweeting had its place as a useful time management tool. If you have a decent following on Twitter, it’s impossible to “engage” everyone. Then somebody made up a rule that autotweets are rude and too many people believed them.

There’s always somebody who wants to round up the cows and put a fence around them when they were just fine in the open field minding their own business. Scolds are awfully boring people, aren’t they? I should know. I’m being one right now.

Duel 4

Coup droit: If you can’t engage everyone adequately, you must be following too many people.

Balestra & beat: If you don’t follow enough people, maybe you’re a narcissist who isn’t really all that interested in the world.

Presser: But what’s with all these people spamming us all the time? They’re shameless!

Double: Maybe they just aren’t funny or useful enough, but that’s not spam. I don’t believe in spam. It’s only spam if it’s fraud from a Nigerian prince who wants to give you money from a needlessly complex banking transaction that start’s out, “Dear beloved, I’m going to prey upon your desperation, gullibility and greed…”

Mal-parry (in your Monty Python voice) SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! 

Remise: When you cry “SPAM!”, I hear that you aren’t interested. But if you wanted it — whatever it is — you’d be pleased to be made aware of the opportunity from a brilliant author, entrepreneur or artist. We’re not all into the same stuff, that’s all.

Coup de taille: When I look at Twitter, I see no spam. I see stuff I ignore and stuff that intrigues me. I do not cast aspersions on people who try to sell me on anything sports-related. I pity them because they don’t know that I have no interest in cheap Superbowl tournament tickets. (Is “tournament” the right word for a swimming competition such as the Superbowl?)

Attaque au fer: Seems petty to be mean to people who are just trying to get attention to their art and support their families. If you tried their wares, you might even enjoy yourself. We’re all just squirrels trying to get a nut and chances are, you have a job, too. Either you’re advertising your business to keep eating or someone is doing it for you. Advertising is so easy to ignore, it’s impossible for me to get upset about it.

Coup d’arret: It’s not that the drumbeat of “Buy my books” is offensive. The problem is that it’s ineffective. We have to be funnier, smarter and more creative than that.

Me B&W~ Confession: I, Robert Chazz Chute, fenced in college. The most fun I ever had wasn’t the formal training. It was in practice when we’d fence without supervision, sometimes three at a time! It was less like a stuffy fencing school and more like The Princess Bride. Everything’s more fun when it’s less stuffy, including Twitter.

If you’re interested in the meaning of these fencing terms, check them out here. And click here for the latest All That Chazz podcast and links to my books of bizarre themes and intense violence. And don’t cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Cry freedom.

 

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, Twitter, , , , , , , ,

Your No Apologies Tour: What’s your Twitter ratio?

Follow me on Twitter logo

Image via Wikipedia

Many people on Twitter make a big deal about unfollowing anyone who tries to sell them something.

That’s screwed up.

I wish I could remember where I saw it so I could give the glory to the Google+ person who came up with this powerful observation:

“I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t understand what spam is,” she said. “The definition seems to have expanded to include anything you don’t want to read.”

Some people have a problem with being asked for something (even when there’s no obligation to read, to buy or even to acknowledge the attempt to sell a product or service.) It’s not enough for some people to simply refuse to read the commercial link. They get self-righteous and announce they are unfollowing anyone who dares try to sell them something.

That attitude casts aspersions on my intent. The first salesperson who trained me told me two things I’ll never forget: He said “ZZ Top is right. Girls do go crazy for a sharp-dressed man,” and “I’m not here to sell anyone anything. I’m here to help them buy.”

Okay, let’s grant that I’m a pig if all I do is pester you to buy, buy, buy! Agreed. But what’s the corollary? What’s your responsibility? I propose that you’re an ungracious snot if you can’t tolerate anyone who gives you the opportunity to check out something you might like (or even love.) 

If you say you value reading but get pissed if an author tries to get you to look at their book, that’s unfair. Not interested? Just don’t read it. Why get angry that someone tried to share their work with you? No one’s polluting your timeline. Just choose what you pay attention to without the drama. I don’t care for Carrot Top’s comedy. That doesn’t mean I have to hate his guts and declare a fatwa. I just change the channel (quickly!)

Does that mean Twitter should only be commercials? No, that wouldn’t be effective. Eventually you’ll tire everyone out. Some misguided fools use trickery or even make the mistake of trying to extort attention through Twitter and alienate people who could have helped them (see Eden Baylee’s weird experience below.) But if we can find a reasonable Twitter ratio of fun/information/helping others/even shameless self-promotion, there will be no need to apologize. Unless you’re royalty or a lottery winner, everybody serves somebody and we’re all selling something.

If you’re such a delicate doily that you can’t handle the mention of a blog post, a book or a service, just unfollow…just about everybody. Use Twitter as quick email among your friends and leave it at that (or don’t use it at all.) Don’t feel you have to announce you’re going, just go. The rest of us will take part in the world and try to feed ourselves off the proceeds of our labors.

What’s your Twitter Ratio?

How often do you tweet your blog link before you let it go? How much of your feed is commercials versus fun and informational? How often are you tweeting about other people’s work to help them meet their dreams? We give  and we get. If you resent it when someone asks for your attention, maybe your expectations are screwy. 

Maybe those people you despise aren’t pigs. Maybe you’re just dealing with reality poorly.

Filed under: Rant, Rejection, self-publishing, Social Media, Twitter, , , , ,

Writers: What I learned from Kevin Smith about AUDIENCE (they don’t own you)

Follow me on Twitter logo

@RChazzChute

The other day I was feeling feisty and I said something about DIY on Twitter (full of bravado):

Burned bridges with a blog I wrote tonight. Fuck the bridge. I’ll swim. Go indie. Live free or die hard.

Someone shot back with a sarcastic:

Proudly alienate those who are not your fans. Awesome.

Well…yeah. People who don’t get me are not my fans. Why should I chase people who don’t like me for me? I have a particular voice and point of view, in my fiction and non-fiction and my blog, that will appeal to you or it won’t. If it doesn’t, no hard feelings and I hope you find something you do enjoy. However, when I dilute my voice, I lose the little tribe I have and any hope of real fans in the future. I’ve heard the quote attributed to a couple of celebrities, but basically it goes like this:

I don’t know what the secret to success is,

but to guarantee failure, try to please everyone.

Which brings us to my personal icon for all things indie, director Kevin Smith. For years, he argued with people who didn’t love him. If you look at his old tweets, he had a serious anger (and sometimes still does) for media, critics and haters. He would do battle with them and, despite all his success and wealth, would still end up arguing with some loser living in his parents’ basement. People who complained about what he did in his career—sometimes about everything he attempted—really bothered him. (Think on that a second: Some people wouldn’t even give him credit for getting something right once in a while even by accident!) Mr. Smith engaged in flame wars while his lovely wife looked on perplexed saying, “You have a wonderful life and live in a mansion! Why do you care?”

Mr. Smith is more relaxed now. Part of his new attitude is the prodigious amount of weed he smokes, but it’s not just that. He’s been successful for so long that he recognizes the pattern: People who are haters don’t do much else. People who don’t write will tell you how to write. People who can’t do, don’t teach. They snipe and snark.

You don’t find your audience so much as your audience finds you. As you try to build your platform and reach out to express your art, you’re going to dredge up some people who are pissed you aren’t what they’re looking for. We don’t do this with things other than art. You don’t go to the pharmacy and get pissed off because they don’t have coconuts in stock. You go to the grocery store for coconuts instead.

Do what you do. Write what you write. Define your voice through your expression and remember that it is your voice. I think harsh critics think they own your art (even if they haven’t paid a dime for it) because, unlike those coconuts, they take what you write into themselves. That doesn’t mean they own it, though. And they certainly don’t own you. They can react to it. They can criticize it. They can argue with it. They can move on (which makes the most sense.)

People who do nothing but hate think hate is art.

They’re wrong.

Art is a creative force, not a destructive one.

What does matter is your core audience. Now if you write and write and produce and put your stuff out there and very few people are feeling any love for it, that’s a different problem. However, if your core audience can be built big enough, that’s all you need. You don’t have to go chasing after the people who are running away from you. No one gets universal acceptance. Don’t even try for it. Expect obstacles and naysayers and pay little or no attention to them if you can. For everything you love, for everything you think is the best, there are millions of people who sneer and call it shit.

Check the comments on any book you love on Amazon.com. See all those nasty reviews? Now, do you really love that book any less because some guy  you don’t know thinks it’s the worst thing on earth since the rise of Hitler and Pottery Barn?

Great people make you feel like you can be great, too.

Haters don’t do that. They don’t even know how to do that.

Now is the time for all good indies to stand up. You now have the technology in your hands to let your unique voice be heard. You can be read when, just a short time ago, gatekeepers could hold you back. There are no gatekeepers anymore. You don’t have to approach publishing or film or any other art as if you’re going to The Man for a job! You can employ yourself and deploy yourself. You can Crowd Source your financing or  convince a fan of your blogged fiction to spend a few bucks for an e-book that costs nothing to distribute. You can grow your fan base without old media’s distribution system and middle man percentages. You can be the boss if you want to be. Your art doesn’t have to wait and you don’t have to ask permission. Make your art and see who shows up. Whoever shows up and stays is your audience.

Remember Chili Palmer in Get Shorty? Some guy tells him how easy it is to write a screenplay. “We can do this…we can do that…” Chili lights a smoke and says, “It’s really that easy? Then I got one question. What do I need you for?”

Here’s today’s message for you if you’re my core audience:

Not sure how to proceed? Resolve to ask questions, learn and try.

When you mess up, resolve to begin again.

If you’re new here and like it, welcome. I’m Chazz.

If you don’t like it, via con dios, friend. I hope you find what you’re looking for.

If you don’t like it and you choose to stay, well, that’s your own damn fault

because you’re looking for coconuts at the drugstore, you idiot!

Oh, and the person who felt alienated by my Twitter post? I saved her some trouble. I agreed with her.

Then, in honor of Kevin Smith’s fine example, I didn’t just block that bitch. I KA-blocked her.

Filed under: publishing, self-publishing, Twitter, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: The short form is roaring back

Ernest Hemingway's Grave

Image by gharness via Flickr

I met The Fab Rebecca Senese (I think of her as TFRS at all times) at the Writers’ Union symposium. We went to Tims and went through that excited decompression phase. You know the one. It’s where you are packed with new information to mesh and meld with your old data and you talk fast to get it all out and solidify new, useful neuropathways.

She made an observation that really got my attention:

Amid the hubbub, TFRS said that e-books were a sure opportunity for the short form to make a strong comeback. Got a short flight or need a distraction over lunch? Read a short story or two. If you just want to gulp down a tale but don’t have time for a whole book, enjoy a novella after work.

Makes sense to me. I love short fiction. For instance, it’s a mystery to me why people say they love Ernest Hemingway‘s books, but I do like some of his short stories very much.

Short stories have been relegated to the back of the bus (read: unread literary journals.)

Until recently people have been buying books by weight, so publishers laughed at their puniness and demanded big doorstops they could sell. Length is an issue with paper, constrained as it is by the strictures of the printing press and bookstore manager’s expectations.

Novellas are ignored by many professional critics who often don’t take it seriously because they think the short punch packs less heft behind it. As if we all feel that way all the time.

A good short story takes talent to write and in some ways is a different skill set from the novel. (These critics must be those same twits who scoff at Twitter just because they can’t put together one clever coherent thought in less than 140 characters.)

Now with e-books, the answers to those objections are: Who needs publishers for that? What’s a professional critic and what is this “newspaper” thing you’re babbling about? And lit journals? What’s that? Is all this stuff available online?

Click this link to see  Rebecca Senese’s short fiction.

Please do take a look.

Filed under: authors, blogs & blogging, Books, ebooks, self-publishing, short stories, Twitter, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: Optimizing your social media (and a question)

Mostly I talk about writing and publishing here, but if you have a book to sell, promotion and publicity is integral to the process. Social media has democratized book promotion in that it’s an all-access pass and the admission is free.

Writers, this afternoon, I have three great links on the topic of optimizing your use of social media to spread the word about your words:

TNW Social Media » 10 Ways Journalists and the Media Use Twitter‏

How to triple your Twitter traffic in 7 days‏

Is It Time to Take a Social Media Inventory? | FreelanceFolder‏

 And a question: Which social media are you using to promote your book or business?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Social Media, Twitter, Useful writing links, , , , , , , , ,

Resistance is futile: Social media, doc trailers and blog vision

I just watched about as much as I could stand (not much) of a documentary called We Live In Public. It’s about internet pioneer and visionary Josh Harris. In 1989, he was a nobody researcher in New York. But he saw the Internet coming and capitalized on it. He was one of the young multimillionaires who hit it big before the locus of Internet power went to Silicon Valley and the west coast. It’s not that the documentary is particularly bad. It’s just that if they had a big point to make, it’s either out of date or they buried the lead the past the first half hour.

Here’s the deal: The future of books is digital. Arguably, the present of books is digital. After this Christmas, even more so because wow, are there ever going to be a lot of Nooks, Kindles, Sony Readers, iPads etc.,… unwrapped on the morning of December 25th!

We are all connected. What was once metaphorical is now electronic. We consume digitally, therefore we are. (That’s not all good, by the way. The planet will suffer and in turn, make us suffer for our rampant consumerism, but that’s another post. For a great documentary on that issue, check out How to Boil a Frog or take a look at this trailer.)

[MORE AFTER THE JUMP]

The point is, We Live in Public documents how one guy saw future possibilities and so stepped in to make them happen. What was once sagacious is now a mundane truism, the I-told-you-so stuff makes you feel bad if you happened to be around at the birth of the Internet and are still poor.

The technology has changed again. And yet, there are the still modern-day Luddites. I recently connected with a bunch of editors on Linked In. Good folks. Smart, interesting people all…but that doesn’t mean they are like-minded. I ran into some people who were disparaging Twitter as a marketing source. They intoned sagely about the Law of Diminishing Returns kicking in.

I’ve already blogged about the proper use of Twitter, so I won’t pound away on it here. However, there was a general sense from some that they were being dragged screaming into the present. No matter how hard opportunities pull, some people want to resist the allure precisely because it’s the shiny new thing. It’s a knee-jerk contrarianism that won’t serve them considering what they say they want to achieve. (For instance, yes, studies say you catch more edits if you edit hard copy on dead trees. Too bad. Adapt. Learn to edit the pixellated stuff. The efficiency lost in editing websites on paper isn’t worth it.) Still, their knuckles are white as they cling to Future’s door frame no matter how hard possibilities pull.

Yesterday a friend complimented me on the many useful writing and publishing links on this blog. (Insert smile of pride here.) I take the curation of useful information very seriously here. And where do I find all those great links? Mostly from Twitter because it pushes information to me that I wouldn’t necessarily think to find on a search engine. Also, some links wouldn’t be in the first few pages of a search term I’d think to use.

The people I follow, the living and breathing humans behind those Twitter avatars, are sending me links all the time and I’m boiling down what I find into the elixir I find most intriguing and useful for my readers. Some of those readers will be authors some day, either published traditionally or self-published. They have websites that need editing. They’ll need my help beyond the information I provide here. I’m ready.

But, the foot-draggers object, is all this translating into present-day moolah? Nope. Not yet. I’m working fairly steadily on my freelance gigs and expanding my sphere of influence. When I worked in publishing in Toronto I had to meet people in person to do that.

Now I’m reaching out from my office in a house that’s much cheaper than what it would cost t in T.O. My kids go to a great school and I feel well-placed and cozy here by the wood stove and the warm glow of the world through my screen, reaching through my keyboard. I’m building my brand (and things have really taken off lately as more people find Chazz Writes. Thank you if you’ve already spread the word!) I’ve had other blogs but this one hasn’t really been up long. It’s already delivering intangibles (i.e. My God, this is fun and instructive for me, too!) I’ve built it slower than I could have, but it’s a learning curve I’m climbing. I can see the top from here. I’m enjoying the view. This is going to be great!

I see the future.

I’m making it happen.

Here.

Now.

So, I’ve got passion and skills and a big dream…so what? Where’s the evidence?

Well, there’s this:

The Numbers Tell the Story: Why Social Media Matters

Filed under: Friday Publishing Advice Links, links, Twitter, Useful writing links

#Writers: How much should you tweet?

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...

Image via Wikipedia

This article in the Globe and Mail advises you drop tweeting from your schedule. The main point is, writers waste time tweeting when they don’t have something to sell.

Well, yeah, but…

I’m not sure why anyone thinks a writer’s e-marketing time should be all or nothing. It’s probably useful to market to your audience, present or future. Your marketing time should not cut into your writing time. If it does, you either aren’t writing enough or not prioritizing. Blogging and tweeting to your market (present or future) should be a fun thing for you to do. If you don’t like it, then don’t do it.

I tweet, but always during time that would otherwise be dead time (e.g. waiting for something, while suffering insomnia or during commercials when I forgot to PVR something.) I enjoy blogging about writing and I make time for it. As a result, I watch a lot less TV than I used to do.

But writing time has to come first. The real question is, must you blog or make a book trailer or tweet to your followers? Can’t you just leave that to someone else when the time comes? (Answer: No. Selling anything means selling yourself.)

The Globe article suggests that it is often contests that curate bestsellers (especially in Canada.) Mm, yes, but what if you don’t write the sort of fiction that’s likely to even be considered by the Giller Prize panel? You can’t leave your book’s promotion to the whim of a handful of people, not when the power of the Internet is right in front of you.

It’s worth noting that publishers expect authors to shoulder most of the responsibility for promoting their books. Your publisher and agent will want you to have a blog as a home base that all your marketing efforts feed. If you’re into self-publishing, it’s all you, though that’s arguably not much different from what it ever was. (I’ve been a publicist and I’ve worked with publicists. What they’re doing is not rocket science. You can do it and if you won’t do that, at least control it.)

Do people follow you on Twitter and then buy your books based on those interactions? I bought a Scott Sigler book after he shot me a kind tweet. If Margaret Atwood alerted to her Twitter followers that she was holding a book signing at a particular bookstore, not only would they all get her message, that’s free targeted marketing to a group very likely to show up if they can.

Is social media marketing the norm for book marketing? Answers: Yes, no and not yet. Yes, because it’s the cheapest way to go. No, because the are many authors and publishers out there who haven’t embraced the full power of social media’s potential. Lots of people still think Twitter is about letting people know about that spicy burger from lunch backing up on you. They don’t get that Twitter can push information you want to you (sometimes information you didn’t even know you needed.) And finally, not yet, because I wouldn’t count on that “no” remaining stable.

Yes, there have been authors who did not promote themselves. JD Salinger became a recluse and never tweeted. However, that’s a lousy example for two reasons:

1. He was JD Salinger and we aren’t.

2. The world (and the world of publishing) has changed drastically, even among those who are reluctant to embrace new models.

For instance, the number of book sales reps has plummeted. Interactions through Twitter and Amazon Reviews and Blogs and search engines: All that technology has turned up the volume on the marketing environment so it’s hard to hear the tiny books by unknown authors who aren’t stepping up to speak for themselves.

Yes, I know you have lots of books on your shelves and most of your buying decisions were not influenced by anything you saw on Twitter. You’re right. But as e-books flood the market from self-publishers, you won’t be right about that for long.

Build your following now so when you do have something to sell, you’ll have lots of people to spread the word. If you don’t begin to market yourself until you have a book to sell, you’re already late.

First I have to buy in to you. Then I consider your product. Twas always thus, but now more than ever.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, book reviews, Books, links, Media, publishing, Rant, self-publishing, Twitter, Useful writing links, web reviews, , , , , , , , , , ,

#Twitter mistakes (Sorry, I didn’t mean to break your crazy rules)

Free twitter bar

Image via Wikipedia

You know what I learned from 20 Reasons People Unfollow You On Twitter? I learned people can be really cranky about why they dump you from Twitter. And yes, I’m guilty of some of these offences.

Meanwhile, Rachelle Gardner, literary agent extraordinaire, offers A Few Hints on Twitter. And yes, I’m guilty of messing up my manners in some regard according to these standards as well.

My God! I’m a Twitter monster!

Filed under: Twitter, , , , , , ,

Twitter Time Management

Twitter logo initial

Image via Wikipedia

(This bears repeating & retweeting.)

I love Twitter, but as Seth Godin says, “Twitter is never done.” You must be careful how you use it.

Here’s how: I post often on Twitter. However, I never post to Twitter from my desktop. Twitter is for the iPod. Twitter is for the in-between times. Twitter is for down time. Twitter is productive time when you would otherwise be unproductive. Twitter is for commercials (if you aren’t already saving years of your life by saving your TV shows on PVR and zipping through commercials.)

I use Twitter to:

Help people find links to useful information.

Say something funny and read something funny.

Answer questions and connect with people I wouldn’t otherwise know.

If it isn’t useful or funny, I’m doing something else.

(Plug: you get fresh updates on the latest publishing links on your right of this screen so this blog always has updated content through the day. Follow me @RChazzChute!)

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Twitter, , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

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