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Elvis has left Linked In

English: Graph of social media activities

English: Graph of social media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought I was a social media gadfly with unlimited capacity and patience. I was wrong. I thought more was always better. Usually more is better unless we’re talking gunshot wounds. However, as the reminders and posts from Linked In piled up, I found Linked In had the least to offer me of the social media options I’ve explored. Linking with friends or old acquaintances was fun. Finding out what horrible job afflicted an old enemy filled me with inappropriate glee. However, the rewards were brief. Most friends, readers and dreamers are on Facebook or Twitter anyway, so Linked In quickly became redundant. After the bottom dropped out of Facebook’s IPO this week, some pundits are saying the big FB has past its peak and will tank to become the next MySpace. Facebook still looks plenty active to me.

The primary reason for my ennui has nothing to do with Linked In: I’m not looking for a job. Publishing keeps me very busy. If I were looking for a job, I might feel differently.

However, I had thought the groups related to my interests could be useful. Theoretically, they could have been, but that’s where the corpse floated up. I’m not going to name any names, but I can tell you that far too many posts seemed to fall into one of two camps:

1. I know nothing about X and could someone explain all the basics to me so I won’t have to do a pesky Google search or look at Wikipedia or read a blog or a book on the subject?

or, far worse,

2. Everybody sucks but me and I know everything and I’ve been in this business for 40 years and you all know that because I start every snarky post with, “After 40 years in this business…”

Ugh. No, thanks. I’ve had quite enough of that attitude, thank you. I really have to protect my time, especially from big green meanies. I hadn’t encountered that much rudeness in one place in other branches of social media and my policy is I give rude people no time.

If you were trying to connect with me, there are still plenty of fun and friendly ways to do so (Twitter, Facebook, email, puppetry and interpretive dance or possibly even G+.) I don’t think Linked In is a great communications opportunity for indie authors or at least it isn’t for me. Joining was an experiment. Staying with it too long was my mistake. Leaving means one less thing to track.

(Hm? Pinterest? What’s that? Never mind what it is! Quick! Sign me up!)

Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , ,

Book Promotion: To spam, or not to spam

no spam!

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I posted a too-long comment in reply to a post at The Taleist. (I recommend The Taleist heartily. Love his blog and bought his Kindle formatting kit, too.) However, I felt some despair at a guest post that seemed to imply it was awfully easy to offend people. The guest blogger, Norman W Wilson, is a Professor Emeritus, so what do I know? Still, my heart cried out, “What would you have us do?” Zip over here for the original post and below is my reply from the comment thread, reposted for your consideration. (Yes, I might very well be in the minority on this one.)

Often these strategies are not effective with many people. But they are effective with some people. I often get phone calls and email solicitations etc.,… and I, too, wonder, who would be interested in that, or who would fall for that? But spam must work in some small percentage of cases or the strategy would have been abandoned long ago.

My concern is that all that hectoring gives rise to cynicism. So an author asked you to buy his or her book in a place that offends you. I get that it offends you, but “inexcusable”? That’s an overcorrection. We excuse many offences that are far less egregious. Similarly, anyone with a new book is excited about bringing their baby out into the world. It’s the most natural thing in the world to make your cover into your avatar. What’s the real harm in that (except for a sensitive minority)? I skim right past that if I’m not interested. Are you offended for yourself or is this a perception that we just can’t take any more advertising? Some people really do like the taste of spam.

I’m not advocating tantrums and sedition in your forums. I’m saying let’s keep perspective and have some compassion for our fellow artists. When I get spam, I don’t get offended. I just ignore it as most people do. My book isn’t pollution in your space. It’s an option and an invitation you are welcome to ignore. (Who knows? You might love it.) I agree that aggression isn’t the answer for book promotion, but neither is obsequious timidity. No one ever succeeded hiding their artistic  lights under bushels of shame.

I especially worry that new authors who could have been helped are getting scolded instead. One example cited: Typical lines go something like this: “I just finished signing a contract for my new novel No Name with XYZ Publishing and would like to know how to set up a book signing.” That could easily be a genuine request for input from an excited, nervous newbie who looked to her more experienced peers for assistance.

I have no doubt your heart is pure, sir. However, too wide a net and too dim a view can catch  up innocent authors and batch them with the rabid spammers. It is not spam that has turned me off several Linked In groups (where I lurked but never posted, by the way.) I clicked “leave group” because of what I perceived as chronic incivility from veterans in the field who posted with their own sense of entitlement. Not all posters were impolite, of course, but enough were so cranky and cynical that I turned to bloggers because they have a vested interest in being sweeter to the less informed. I believe that’s how the less informed become better informed.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Books, Publicity & Promotion, Rant, , , ,

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, , , , , , , , ,

#Book Marketing: The old divisions don’t apply

Social Media Landscape

Over the weekend, inspired by the social media conference I attended, I got signed up for Linked In. I had signed up a long time ago, but frankly, I really hadn’t done anything much with it. Stuff you don’t engage with doesn’t count, so Linked In didn’t count. However, the more I explored the site and played with it, the more I understood that there were some great conversations I was missing out on. So I got engaged again.

One of the great things about Linked In is that it suggests groups and associations and companies that dovetail with your interests. One of the groups—I guess I won’t name them because I don’t know if I’ve been accepted yet—sent me a list of rules as a preliminary how-to and how-do. The group moderator’s membership criteria was that I wasn’t going to join in on their forums just to get all spammy. In some detail, the moderator warned me that I shouldn’t post on their site just to introduce myself and say hello. (I’ve been a member on other forums wherein that’s their first request of noobs.) None of this was personal. The forum had a large membership and I undertand they want to keep it clean if not pure.

Basically, I was to contribute on-topic value at all times, never straying into self-promotion and blog blaring.

Well, okay. But…

Look, I don’t want to be spammy. At the conference, one social media guru referred to that as “Shout Marketing.” That’s basically being obnoxious with outdated marketing approaches where the information goes in one direction and the message is “Buy! Buy! Buy! Hire the magic that is ME, for the love of god!” and so forth.

What makes social media “social” is that it’s a conversation. Information goes back and forth. You interact with customers who (gasp) give you feedback, leave comments, contribute their own thoughts and opinions and (worse!) let you know how you’re doing.

So the forum admin had a point about avoiding the old style of marketing. However, the implication that we can all totally divorce our marketing roles from the life of the mind is also outdated. If you’re an artist of any sort, you need to market yourself. Writers comment on blogs and engage in conversations because it’s fun and interesting. They are also trying to sell their books. There’s no shame in that as long as you use the new style of marketing (engaging in conversation) and not getting all spammy over their screens.

I’ve noticed some people on Twitter get a tad irked when too many tweets from one person are too advertorial. I’ve felt this way, too. For instance, I love Chuck Pahlaniuk’s fiction, but his Twitter account seemed to be managed for him by one of Skynet‘s spambots. As vast as his cult is, Chuck doesn’t appear to be engaging with his audience as a person. As a result, I reluctantly unfollowed the author. No hard feelings. Still love most of the books and Fight Club is an all-time favorite.

So what I’m saying is, you can sell effectively without being obnoxious. By all means, let us know about your next book signing so we can show up and engage you there, too. But:

1. Be authentic.

2. Be yourself instead of your intern.

3. Have conversations. Have opinions.

4. If it’s all spam, you will be unfollowed and your blog shall go unvisited and unlamented.

Me? I retweet links that interest me. I sometimes go off on tangents that aren’t about writing and publishing. I hope you’ll like me and visit the blog often. (Updated here, Monday to Friday! Same Bat-time, same bat-channel!) When I have a service to sell (like my editing services) or when I have an e-book or tree book to sell, I hope you’ll like me enough to consider laying out some moolah for my work.

I say unto thee, I am open, honest and unashamed. I am marketing myself because that’s what creators must do now. As long as you don’t feel that’s all I do, you’ll probably stick around. I don’t need millions of followers who don’t give a shit about me. A core constituency that does care (and forgive my occasional missteps) will do fine.

The take-away truisms are:

1. First you sell yourself.

2. Then you sell your product.

3. You do so by doing what we’re all here to do. We serve each other.

Filed under: blogs & blogging, Books, ebooks, Editing, Editors, getting it done, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, Social Media, Useful writing links, web reviews, Writers, , , , , , , ,

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

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