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1. Twitter and the Enlightenment in early America

A New Yorker once declared that “Twitter” had “struck Terror into a whole Hierarchy.” He had no computer, no cellphone, and no online social media following. He was not a presidential candidate, but he would go on to sign the Constitution of the United States. So who was he? And what did he mean by “Twitter”?

The post Twitter and the Enlightenment in early America appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Blogging, Marketing & Social Media: Three Rules I Break & Why

This is one of those posts that I hesitate to write, simply because there are a whole lot of “You should do X & must do Y” advice that, er, Becca and I do not do. Maybe this costs us sometimes, but it’s what works for us. So, I’m going to pull the curtain back a bit and offer some food for thought.

Before we move on…

There’s no judgements here on what other people do. This is about what Becca & I do. I will try to give my reasons for the choices we’ve made. Mileage may vary.

Monetizing Our Blog

piggy bankYou will notice there are no ads here, no requests for donations, no “tip jar” set up. Have people expressed a desire to tip? Yes. Could we make money with ads based on traffic? You bet. Have people offered to pay us for ad space? Many times. But honestly, Becca and I feel everyone gets enough BUY, BUY, BUY elsewhere, and we don’t want Writers Helping Writers to be bulked up with Google Ads and the like.

So, we’ve chosen not to monetize our blog beyond a few affiliate links to Amazon. If, down the road, we have a sidebar link to another site it’s because we believe in that site’s purpose, not because we’re being paid.

Are we leaving money on the table? Probably. But to us, your shares, referrals and word of mouth about our books, the Writers Helping Writers site, and now our One Stop For Writers library too…these are all the thanks we need.

If you want to support us and what we do, tell a writing friend about us and our work. That helps so much.  :)

Thanking Everyone Who Tweets & Shares

2thanky ouOkay, here the thing. Would I love to do this? Yes. And do I absolutely appreciate the time that everyone takes when they tweet me or share a link? Holy heck, yes! But the reality is that I get so many re-tweets now that to respond to them all I would literally be doing nothing each day but thanking people in tweets.

I know you guys love good writing content, and I try to find it, build it, and share it. I am betting that if asked, you’d say you’d rather me be doing that (and, you know, write more books) than spend that time thanking you for each tweet.

So, I made a judgement call and stick to an occasional “thank you all for the tweets” post. I respond to all conversation though, and always will. I hope you’re all okay with this and understand where I’m at, because I love you guys!

Use Free Incentives for Newsletter Sign Ups

It’s practically the Golden Rule: give something away for free to encourage people to sign up for a newsletter. And…it’s a rule I break, with good reason.

To me a newsletter should be personal, fun, entertaining or have high value. People should want to read it. You can give the best freebie in the world away, but if you don’t follow through with a newsletter that keeps their interest, not only will they unsubscribe right away anyway, their disappointment will probably cause them to hesitate when you do have a book or product for sale.

newsletterThe other reason is because I see people misuse freebies all the time. Even the big marketing gurus who offer free courses or webinars can go too far with the hard sell. I’ve attended more than a few webinars on how to market better, increase newsletter sign ups, build a sales funnel, etc. only to see the same manipulative techniques they teach being deployed in their follow up emails, all in hopes of “up-selling” a coaching service they provide.

Look, I get marketing. After all, girl gotta eat. Becca and I & our collective families? Yep, we gotta eat. Coaching Gurus, well, they gotta eat too.

But when marketing follow up is done poorly, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want anyone to feel that way because of something I do. I’d rather be transparent and just point you right to our Tools For Writers page, which is brimming with free, rather than make you do something to get free things.

(Really, visit and grab what you need. Becca and I like to share this stuff because we believe we should all grow and succeed together.)

When it comes to newsletter, I admit I have a lot to learn. I’m working hard to create ones that give my readers what the need and want. But I’d rather spend time growing my skills and focus on the content than try and entice people to sign up with the lure of “free.”

And here’s the thing…even without freebies, I average about 100 or so new sign ups between newsletters. So I really think it’s about the content, not the sign up freebie. So if you want to offer the free item on sign up, go for it. But make sure your focus is KEE{ING subscribers, not just getting them to sign up.

By the way, I love every one of my subscribers and their willingness to follow my lunatic ravings er, rambles!

That’s my three. What rules do you break and why? Let me know in the comments!


Image 1: Mdgrafik0 @ Pixabay
Image2: Ryan McGuire @Pixabay
Image3: Model4you @ Pixabay

The post Blogging, Marketing & Social Media: Three Rules I Break & Why appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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3. Dear Mr. President: The Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 1

Last week, after over a month since visiting Kaktovik, Alaska and many hours spent thinking about my own potential contribution to protecting Alaska's Coastal Plain, I made a decision: The Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project! 

For further explanation, you can scroll down for my complete letter to President Obama. I'm five days in and on a roll. I'll add additional images to this blog as the project unfolds and will collect them all as well at: http://polarbearpostcardproject.tumblr.com

That being said, stay tuned for many MANY polar bears in the next 62 weeks and a template as well so that you can send your own.



Dear Mr. President, 
Six weeks ago my family and I returned home from a trip to Kaktovik, Alaska. Tom Campion, who you know is passionate about protecting the Arctic, had graciously invited us along due to some cancellations by other parties. We jumped at the chance! The Campions know my wife Sarah through their philanthropic and conservation works here in Washington State, and I am a children’s book author/illustrator with a particular fondness for polar bears.
Having spent my elementary school years in Anchorage, the trip was extra special for the inclusion of our 12 year-old daughter Keeley, and for the opportunity to view this amazing place in the company of the Campions, author Terry Tempest Williams and her husband Brooke, and LatinoGreens founder, Mark Magaña. Truly, what were we doing on this trip? 
As you know from your own recent travels, Alaska is complex. It is vast and wild, but somehow fragile and precious. It evokes a curious mix of awe and empathy, and it leaves a lasting impression. You know the politics far better than I, and there are many sides and interests. Still, in the simplest terms, the 1002 and the unprotected areas of Alaska’s Coastal Plain have an immeasurable value far beyond their short-term life as a commercial good. This “one last place” needs to remain intact. 
Yes, it is important for polar bear den sites and reindeer calving grounds, for a diversity of species and for many other reasons of environmental nature, but it’s also important for “us” — as the greater extensions of Keeley and Sasha and Malia — as an example to the rest of the world that we can stop — that progress and change might mean finding a better way — and that saying “no” in permanent terms to short-sighted development will in fact spur innovation in other areas and directions — both for the country and for affected Alaskans.
I’ve been illustrating books for 15 years. I draw a comic strip in my local newspaper. I teach. I coach, and I volunteer in my schools and community. I have a quiet voice and a small platform — certainly nothing like that of our Kaktovik companions — but I also know that you are smart and that you seem to listen. So I bring you this, both as a serious outreach, and as hopefully something a little different to your every day: 
THE PRESIDENTIAL POLAR BEAR POST CARD PROJECT! From now until the end of your term, I will paint and send you five polar bear postcards each week! I know that Tom is bending your ear about protecting the 1002 — about preserving for all time a Monument status for something worth saving — so I am jumping into the fray with my best children’s book illustrator swagger. If a polar bear postcard five days a week keeps even a glimmer of hope alive — or provides an occasional pause for thought - then it will be well worth the effort. 
With many thanks for your service to our country, for taking the time to listen, and for your Presidential actions so far.
Sincerely yours, 
Erik Brooks
PS The actual letter looks likes this:

0 Comments on Dear Mr. President: The Presidential Polar Bear Post Card Project No. 1 as of 10/26/2015 7:43:00 AM
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4. Harts Pass No. 269

Reading the latest news on teens and social networking... and feeling older all the time.

0 Comments on Harts Pass No. 269 as of 10/15/2015 9:32:00 AM
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5. A Chekhovian view of privacy for the internet age

Defining “privacy” has proven akin to a search for the philosopher’s stone. None of the numerous theories proposed over the years seems to encompass all the varied facets of the concept. In considering the meaning of privacy, it can be fruitful to examine how a great artist of the past has dealt with aspects of private life that retain their relevance in the Internet age.

The post A Chekhovian view of privacy for the internet age appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit

Book marketing is tough, especially when it comes to self-publishing. The good news is there is no shortage of experts, books and websites out there to advise authors on how to market. The bad news is that while some offer content brimming with strong, helpful advice, others impart ‘wisdom’ that belongs in a primer on what NOT to do. It takes time and the willingness to work hard to sort good ideas from bad and come up with a plan that is best for you.

But here’s a cold, unpopular truth about book marketing: you can do everything experts say to do, and still feel you are not getting a good ROI (Return on Investment).

There are a number of reasons for this. Here are some of the biggies:

Unrealistic expectations.

bookstoreIt’s human nature to look around and compare one’s book to that of a similar one and weigh the success of each, but the reality is this is an unfair comparison. Every book is different, so how readers connect with the characters and story of each will also vary. And readers aside, each author will have a unique platform and marketing focus. So while outwardly two books rest in the same apple cart, they might not belong together, and authors should not expect them to perform the same.

(image: Geralt @ pixabay)

Industry and market shifts.

amazonNot only do readers’ tastes change as trends reach a saturation point (people grow tired of reading about X so change to Y), so does the online retail market. Going exclusive with Amazon used to be a golden ticket, but now? Not so much. Same thing with the power of free. In the early days, free was the fast track to downloads, exposure and shooting up Amazon lists. But technology is fickle. Algorithms shift. Subscription services enter the picture. And BAM, just like that, the playing field changes…what used to work no longer does, or the value of marketing a certain way lessens. So depending on when you release a book and what is happening in the online marketplace at that time can affect your ability to reach those big sale goals.

(image: Roadrunner @ pixabay)


Anyone who says luck has had nothing to do with their success is either lying or naive. Luck is ALWAYS a factor – the right book, the right time, the author connecting with the right influencers to help boost their reach, and finally, being discovered by readers who will become super fans…this all requires an element of luck. Sometimes, people just can’t catch a break. But, that said, authors make their own luck by putting themselves out there. If you want to hear a knock at the door, you have to be close by.

Playing the game, but not getting why.

social mediaI know many writers who “do everything right” by pricing appropriately, paying for a professional cover, designing a website, blogging, getting on social media, running visibility events, book signings, speaking engagements…and they still don’t feel it’s working. A person can do every strategic thing right and still fail if they don’t understand and respect that their number one goal should be to connect genuinely with readers. Readers aren’t dollar signs, or Facebook likes, or book reviews…they’re people. It means treating them like people, caring about them like people, and enjoying that relationship without strings. It is about providing them with value when we can, and entertainment, a listening ear or whatever else is within our ability to give.

Being on social media is not the same as “getting” social media. Tweeting and blogging and posting to Facebook in ways that are strategic, not social, means one is not using the platform as it is meant to be used. And if you don’t come across as genuine and interested, if it feels like a job to tweet and share…people sense it. They will (maybe) friend you and (maybe) retweet because it is the polite thing to do, but the depth of the relationship will only ever go so far. They won’t really care about what’s happening with you. That level of connection won’t be there.

(image: Nominalize @ pixabay)

Marketing to the wrong audience, or focusing on only a niche.

AudienceIf you are marketing your heart out trying to connect with people who love and need hammers by hanging out with golf enthusiasts, your efforts won’t yield much. Understanding who your exact audience is and what they need and want is key to improving your chances for success when it comes to finding readers. Think beyond genre. And in the same wheelhouse, if you are targeting the right audience, don’t focus on too small a group. A typical way authors do this is by concentrating marketing on other authors who write in the same genre. Yes, writers are readers, but at best, this is settling for a tiny slice of pie when the whole pie is available. At worst, you are damaging relationships with your fellow writers who may feel put off when you promote at them.

(image: openclips @ Pixabay)

A sub par book.

Simply stated, a lot of books are published that aren’t at the caliber they need to be to do well. Learning strong writing craft takes a lot of time and dedication. Some writers understand this and by applying savvy marketing to their quality book, they knock it out of the park. But with the ease of self-publishing comes a subset of writers who are hoping a quick upload to Amazon is their shortcut to success. Or they think quantity wins out over quality, and seek to get out as much product as possible to have a larger revenue funnel. But, if one is more focused on quantity than making each book better than the last, the saturated market offers a sobering reality: unless there is something special about a book, it generally doesn’t gain a foothold that lasts. There are just too many other good books to read.

 So, does this mean we should all give up? That the cards are stacked against us? Not at all!

I’m no expert and have plenty to still learn. But I’ve picked up a thing or two, so here’s a few sound bites:

senses 1) Write a book so good it fills you with pride. Never stop learning your craft. Always strive to do better with each new book.

2) Be genuine. Talk to people, start conversations. Build relationships and be present. This takes time and energy, but it’s worth it.

3) Only do what feels right via social networks. If you hate twitter, don’t use it. Remember to be social. Provide value in some way and be part of the community.

(image: john hain @ pixabay)

4) Figure out who your audience is, and find them online. Don’t just focus on other writers…unless that is your exact audience.

5) Learn to love what you do…not just the writing part, but the connecting with people part. Yes, even you introverts! The more you do it, the easier it gets, I promise. And when you connect with people, you find friends, supporters, and influencers, making your own luck!

6) Understand your personal strengths and what you have to offer, then offer it the best you can. Are you funny? Let it out. Have a knack for finding interesting content your audience will like? Share it! Be yourself, and be awesome.

7) Talk to other people about marketing. Ask for help. Offer help in return. Collaborate. We’re all in this together.

8) Try new things, take risks. Look at other industries and how they connect with their audiences. Don’t fear mistakes because they are simply opportunities to learn. Not everything will work and that’s okay.

caring9) Make it about your audience, not you. Put yourself in their shoes…shoes that are probably overworked, stressed, underpaid and over-promoted to. Do they need more spaghetti promotion thrown at them? Probably not. So how can you use social media to make a positive difference in their day to day lives? How can you provide content that entertains, supports or adds value? How can you make them feel valued?

(image: PublicDomainPictures @ pixabay)

10) When you give freely, it comes back to you. As self-publishers we have many hats to wear, and only so much time, which is why some authors struggle with the idea of doing something so labor intensive as “building relationships.” But taking the time is well spent, because when you form real connections with people and care about then, they care about you in return, and about your books and your success. Many end up helping in little ways, including telling others about your books. Word of Mouth is the most valuable marketing currency there is.

 Have any tips to share? Please leave them in the comments.

The post A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.

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7. Free Professional Development! Tweet All About It.

I admit, when I first heard about Twitter, I thought the concept was ridiculous. Shooting a message of 140 characters or less into the world? Why? Who would care? Since my initial incredulity,… Continue reading

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8. Making Twitter Personal

I'm no Twitter expert and have never claimed to be. That being said, I always have plenty of ideas about what works and doesn't work in social networking, primarily because I use it.

A lot of the people I follow on Twitter I follow because I'm a fan. Sure, I follow other industry experts and friends, but I also follow a lot of chefs (in my case). People I admire for their culinary skills. Some of my favorites are those I've gotten to "know" through various food competitions like Top Chef, Food Network or even their cookbooks or blogs. Not too long ago I was leaving Atlanta after a great conference with the Georgia Romance Writers. While waiting at the airport I Tweeted that I was leaving ATL and was bummed I didn't have the chance to visit Flip Burger and I included chef and owner Richard Blais (@RichardBlais) in my Tweet. Just a few short hours later @RichardBlais tweeted back "not as bummed as we are."

Okay, call me a fan geek, food geek, whatever, but I was on cloud 9 all day over this silly tweet. Over the fact that one of my chef heroes tweeted me back and actually seemed bummed that he wasn't able to see me. Does it matter how truly bummed he was? No. Not to a fan. When you admire and respect someone you're excited to be acknowledged by that person. And you should be. Life is too short not to get excited over the little things.

So here's my question to you writers. Are you giving your fans the little thrills that make their days, that give them reason to spend hours, heck days, talking about you? After my Tweet from Richard Blais (which by the way resulted in a number of people asking about this Flip Burger) I went to my personal Facebook to tell my friends and then I told everyone who would listen and now I'm telling all of you. That's buzz and that's the sort of thing that sells a product. It has nothing to do with the Tweets @RichardBlais himself has made, but everything about the "retweeting," so to speak. It's about the connection.


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9. Want Great Word-of-Mouth Advertising? Write a Great Book!

We hear so much lately about building a platform and social networking and “getting the word out” about our books. It’s true, and it’s important these days.

However, let’s not overlook one very critical factor. As one marketing guru said, “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.” Don’t let this happen to you!

I’ve read some good marketing books lately. I’ve tried–like all writers these days–to make the change from publisher advertising to the much more do-it-yourself marketing that is required.

The Cart and the Horse

But remember! Writing (plus studying and practicing to write even better) comes first. That’s your horse, and it is most important. Do NOT lose sight of that fact. Marketing is your cart. It won’t go far with a lame horse. [More about that in a moment.] But while you’re learning to write better, you can begin your own marketing if you want to. There are great resources to help you do that.

Helpful books on the new marketing?

Remember from our previous discussion that an introvert gets recharged in solitude and starts to feel drained after being around people too long. It has nothing to do with your social skills. Depending on which study you read, introverts comprise 40-55% of the population.

Put on the Brakes!

With all the concentration these days on building a platform and social networking, it’s easy to overlook one critical factor. It will make you or break you as a writer.

The first 25 pages of Hyatt’s book deals with this issue. It is about creating a compelling product. In our case, that means a book or story or play. As Hyatt says, “There is no sense in wasting your valuable time and resources trying to build a buzz about a ho-hum product…The purpose of marketing is to prime the pump. But if people don’t want to use your product and–more importantly–if they won’t recommend it to their friends, you’re hosed. You can’t spend enough money or be clever enough to overcome a lack of word-of-mouth marketing. It just won’t work.”

To get noticed in today’s over-crowded publishing

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10. Social Networking Burnout, OR How Much Marketing is Enough?

networkAccording to an article in Writer’s Digest three summers ago (“The Must-Have Online Marketing Plan” by M.J. Rose), “Ultimately, no matter what you do, careers are made on the book, not on the marketing.”

That’s very true. Just as true is this statement from the same article: “Someone–either you or your publisher–is going to have to get the word out about the book.”

More and more often, that “someone” is the author. That article was written three years ago…but the dilemma of “how much marketing is enough?” has still not been resolved.

Today’s Publishing Reality

More and more, today’s author is expected to do his part in the marketing. Marketing plans must be part of your query or proposal now–no matter how much you’ve been published.

It can include (but not be limited to) creating a website, writing a blog, making video trailers, doing blog tours, getting your book reviewed online, writing a newsletter…AND being active on Facebook and Pinterest and Goodreads.

Why Social Networking?

Until I heard several speakers at a leadership conference a few years ago, I’d avoided most social networking because of the time it took. I was very “hit and miss” with Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn until I discovered SocialOomph.com, which let me schedule posts and tweets for a week at a time.

According to those market gurus, a high percentage of people check Facebook accounts four times more often than their email. (I’m sure it’s much, much more often now.) Social networking appears to be the new way to connect with people–including your readers (now called your “tribe,” a term I heartily dislike.)

I have a private family Facebook account, although I have my doubts anymore about just how private anything is online. And I have a writer’s Facebook account and what they used to call a “fan page.” I finally set up my LinkedIn account, my Amazon author page, and Pinterest account. I tried Goodreads three times and got kicked off each time…more rejection to deal with! Ha ha.

The Times, They Are a-Changin’…Again!

We writers feel the pressure to learn and use all the marketing and networking opportunities, but is there no limit? How much time do YOU devote to marketing (daily or weekly)? How do you decide which sites to try, and which ones to leave until later?

If you have time, leave a comment below about your own social networking and marketing experiences. Which avenues have worked best for you? Which ones do you actually enjoy? How do you keep from using more time than you intended? (I literally missed a meal the first time I got on Pinterest! My eyes were nearly bloodshot when I logged off.)

What are the pluses and minuses you’ve encountered? Looking forward to your ideas!

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11. The Secret Ingredient to Creating Engaged Writers

I’ve been thinking about student engagement in writing workshop for the past couple of weeks.  I started thinking about it as I was reading Guy-Write, Ralph Fletcher’s new book.  My thoughts about engagement… Read More

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12. Interview with Lisa Becker, Author of Click

Lisa Becker is the author of Click: An Online Love Story.  She dropped by the virtual offices to introduce herself and discuss her book. 

Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Lisa Becker] About me: Mom, wife, writer, college professor, PR professional, Girl Scout troop leader, chauffeur, referee, cook, house cleaner…and exhausted!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Click?

[Lisa Becker] Click: An Online Love Story follows the dating (mis)adventures of Renee Greene, who is fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, without even a prospect or a house full of cats. She reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal retentive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the overly-sexed Shelley), as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical “B-list” celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC’s, FWD’s and inadvertent Reply to All’s, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Lisa Becker] My husband and I met online on a popular dating website. After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating.  I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged.  Click is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me.  In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred. Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect. And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.” But, the happy ending is real.  Steve and I have been happily married for nine years and have two amazing daughters.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Renee?

[Lisa Becker] Romantic, loyal and modest

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Renee had a theme song, what would it be?

[Lisa Becker] Renee’s theme song would be “Live is All-Around” by Paul Williams. Most people know it as the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Renee is a spirited, independent, capable young woman who is “Gonna make it after all” in both her professional and personal life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Lisa Becker] · Ms. Griffith, my high school English teacher, who encouraged me to write and share my work – for better or worse.

· Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210 and the subject of an interview I conducted for an alumni magazine article. He gave me some of the BEST advice I’ve ever received: "Don’t fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them."

· Matthew Beaumont, author of e, who inspired me with his narrative style, which I thought would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world.

· Herb & Sheila Willet, my amazing parents, who offered endless love and support in all of the choices I’ve made in my life. I only hope I can show my children the same level of respect as they mature and decide their courses in life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Lisa Becker] 1. Chocolate! No joke, I eat chocolate. If I’m stuck on a certain section or not feeling motivated to write, I give myself little chocolate incentives to get past the blockage. Judging by my thighs, I had some serious problems writing this book. ;)

2. The television on in the background. When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns. Now, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS. I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served.

3. Inspiration. I need to have a story that I not only want to tell, but feel as though I can tell in a compelling and entertaining way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Lisa Becker] Several months ago, I read Michael Pollan’s nonfiction book, In Defense of Food, which examines the western diet and its effect on our health. His advice is simple: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” That, coupled with a viewing of a documentary called Forks Over Knives, which examines how many degenerative diseases can be controlled or reversed with a whole food, plant based diet, changed my life. I’m now six months into being a vegetarian and have never felt better.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Lisa Becker] I remember always reading and having books around in my house. And, one of my favorite books as a child was Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie (Andrews) Edwards. I bought a copy several years ago for my nephew and he recently gave it back to me so I could give it to my daughters when they get older. It’s a wonderful, fanciful story and I still smile when I imagine the Whangdoodle who has a daisy on his sweet tooth.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Lisa Becker] When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. As mentioned, I’ve recently become a vegetarian, so I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting recipes. And I’ve recently taken up painting. Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment around here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Lisa Becker] I have a Facebook page here set up for Click: An Online Love Story. And I’ve been asked numerous times when the sequel is coming out. I’m thrilled people are feeling invested in the characters and want to know more. With each positive review and reader comment, I get more and more motivated to continue writing. I’m wrapping up the sequel, Double Click that picks up six months later. I hope people will be excited to see where Renee and her friends are in their lives.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Click from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.  Available in both print and digital.

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13. Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse

Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse

What’s Your Marketing Integrity Philosophy

In one of my Linkedin groups, a member asked, “What does integrity mean to you?”

In our fasted paced, condensed internet world, where you really never know who you’re connecting with, integrity is an important issue.

Integrity to me means being honest and having 'high' moral standards in all aspects of life and business. It really boils down to the 'do unto others' biblical philosophy.

A commenter in the group mentioned that she doesn’t endorse people she doesn’t’ know, but wasn’t sure if this was appropriate, since others who don’t know her endorse her.

This issue just came up last week for me again. A new Linkedin connection who I don’t know messaged me that he recommended me in seven areas and asked if I would reciprocate in only two for him.

Two things went through my head: (1) it’s an awkward situation and (2) why would anyone recommend someone they don’t know.

I don't endorse people I don't know. To me it's unethical and would be doing my subscribers and connections a disservice if I did.

I, as nicely as I could, thanked him for the recommendations, but had to decline on the reciprocation. I explained why and he replied back that he understood.

This situation holds true for connecting with someone also. I always check the profile and related sites before accepting. Unfortunately, there are scammers and others out there who I prefer not being associated with, in part because of my values and in part as respect to those who I'm connected with.

I do this for all my social networks. I always check who I’m going to be connected with.

As a writer and book marketer, with connections and subscribers of your own, being considered honest and forthright are key relationship elements. If you want to create and build strong and long-lasting relationships, you need to take your ‘connections’ into account in all your online actions.

What’s your marketing integrity philosophy?


Book Marketing – 9 Quick Tips for Being a Guest Blogger on Blogging Sites
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0 Comments on Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse as of 12/7/2012 6:31:00 AM
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14. Social Networks for Teachers and Finding My Place Speaking Engagements

Smarter Cookie, a site for teachers, logo

Smarter Cookie, a site for teachers, logo

It has happened again–I forgot to blog yesterday. It always seems to happen when there’s a holiday weekend. Then I can’t keep track of what day it is. SO, I am going to combine two posts–the one about Finding My Place that was supposed to be yesterday will just be a quick post about a couple of speaking engagements I am doing–in case you would be interested in having me at your school or group. AND then I am going to share a really great article written by my friend, Carole Di Tosti, PhD about social networking sites for teachers.

  • Speaking Engagements: I will be going a lot of places in February, but the three I wanted to point out are: Columbia, MO; Savannah, MO; and Wentzville, MO. In Columbia, I will be speaking to two community groups about writing a novel, researching historical fiction, and finishing a project to its end–the groups are COSMO (diabetes group) and Pachyderms. Both groups needed a speaker, and they are allowing me to sell copies of my book after I speak! So, if you need a speaker for your community group, let me know. Then in Savannah, I will be doing a workshop for TEACHERS! This is near and Final Finding My Place Cover dear to my heart, and my topic is 6 traits of writing! I can’t wait to share ideas with teachers and help them figure out how to use the 6 traits in the classroom. I can come do professional development at your school, too! Then in Wentzville, I get to talk to fourth and fifth grade students, who are currently doing a unit on historical fiction. I love to share writing and my story with children, and I have many different programs that I can present. They are on my website, under SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, or I can send you a brochure if you e-mail me (margo@margodill (dot) com). In other words, I love speaking and can accommodate almost any group.
  • Social Networks for Teachers: Have you ever been worried that your students and parents of your students would find you on Facebook or Twitter? Worrying about whether you should post certain things? Well, Carole solves these problems with a list of social networks for teachers/educators only. This is a must-read article for teachers and even children’s authors who are trying to reach teachers. Read here: http://technorati.com/social-media/article/teachers-social-networking-increases-with-the/ .

I hope you find this information useful! I am going to be featuring two great books next week, so stay tuned.

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15. @aboy!

I'm a devoted fan of twitter and the world it offers to us.  Here's a wonderful blog post by, of all people, a medieval scholar, about how he started having fun and being productive on Twitter.

The only thing to say is @aboy!

(thanks for the heads up on this Mrs. Grant!)

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16. Geek List: Paying attention to Facebook Pages

I had a hundred million other things to do the other day but then I came upon this piece in the New York Times about "Protecting Your Privacy on the New Facebook". The NEW Facebook? Again? Sigh. What with now being a quoted company, FB is adding new meaning to the word INSIDIOUS. Having said that, as someone who promotes stuff on Facebook, I have found the Facebook page very useful in

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17. Don't blog, do blog ... let's call the whole thing off!

Cartoon: Johnny Ancich By Candy Gourlay Over at Jane Friedman's guest blogger L.L. Barkat has called on experienced writers to stop blogging. Does this mean I would recommend that everyone stop blogging? No. I encourage new bloggers, just the way I always have. It’s an excellent way to find expression, discipline, and experience. But if writers already have experience, and they are authors

28 Comments on Don't blog, do blog ... let's call the whole thing off!, last added: 3/22/2013
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18. [PR] September Romance Extravaganza with Sourcebooks!

{ED – I received this notice from Sourcebooks and thought you might be interested in joining their chats with some historical authors.  There will be giveaways for your to win}


Join us for our largest author event yet. It’s a party of historic proportions. On Wednesday September 4, 2013 we’re hosting six bestselling historical romance authors for an all day event—including 3 live author chats with fabulous giveaways. Additionally, the authors will be blogging throughout the day and giving away books, edibles, jewelry, and more to readers who comment. This is sure to be one AMAZING day. Do not miss it!

Event Schedule

NOTE: All times are Eastern Standard Time

8am-9:30am EST – Kieran Kramer will be blogging and giving away prizes

9:30am-11am – Miranda Neville will be joining the blog and giving away prizes

LIVE CHAT #1: 11am-12pm – Join us as we chat with Kieran Kramer and Miranda Neville and have a chance to win some great prizes including a $25 gift certificate to the online bookseller of your choice (open to US and International readers), a “Love” bracelet, copies of The Earl is Mine, and a 30-minute long Skype book club session with Kieran Kramer.

12pm-1:30pm – Shana Galen will be blogging and giving away prizes

1:30pm-3pm – Theresa Romain will be joining the blog and giving away prizes

LIVE CHAT #2: 3pm-4pm – Join us as we chat with Katharine and Theresa and have a change to win some great prizes including: a copy of the new release It Takes Two to Tangle, an audiobook of Georgette Heyer’s Venetia, read by Richard Armitage (open to US and International readers), a latte mug and copies of Swept Away by a Kiss and In the Arms of a Marquess.

4pm-5:30pm – Katharine Ashe will be blogging and giving away prizes

5:30pm-7pm – Erin Knightley will be joining the blog and giving away prizes

LIVE CHAT #3: 7pm-8pm – Join us as we chat with Shana and Erin and have a chance to win some great prizes including: an audiobook of More Than a Stranger and a copy of the new release Flirting With Fortune, a copy of True Spies and the I Love Darcy bag collection, featuring: 1 “I Heart Darcy” tote bag, four Darcy buttons, one “I Heart Darcy” keyring, and and “I Heart Darcy” bumper sticker.


Get all of the details here

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19. SCBWI Is Here for You

If you're involved in children's writing and/or illustrating in any way (which I assume you are since you're reading this blog), and if you don't already know about SCBWI, let me enlighten you. Because this organization will help you in perfecting your craft, learning about the industry, connecting with colleagues, and avoiding many mistakes that will save you time. 

The world's most unpronounceable acronym stands for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Our international headquarters is based in Los Angeles, and we have regional chapters throughout the world. The region we're in is Utah/southern Idaho. You can learn lots more at the web site scbwi.org and at our region's page on that site. 

Tonight--yes, July 18, 2014--you have a chance to connect in person with others in the organization, including me. We're gathering for the annual summer potluck, which is just a time to socialize, talk shop, and generally have a blast.  Here are all the details:

Hello writers and illustrators in Utah and Southern Idaho!

Writing or illustrating can be a lonely endeavor, so join us this summer for some much-needed social time.  We'll be coming together at the Rice Terrace Pavilion at Liberty Park (600 E. 900 S. in Salt Lake City, Utah) on Friday, July 18th from 6pm-9pm to eat and mingle.

You don't have to be a member of SCBWI to join us for this free event, so bring all your writing or illustrating friends with you. The more the merrier! 

Potluck assignments are as follows:
YA writers: pasta salads, potato salads, deviled eggs
MG writers: fruit, fruit salads, desserts
Picture Book writers: fried chicken, finger sandwiches, other finger foods
Illustrators: green salads, chips and dips
You may want to bring your own lawn chair as well.

Are you still struggling to figure out where to start with your online presence? Bring your smartphones and other wifi-enabled devices and we'll help you get connected. We'll have teachers on hand to walk you through the steps to signing up and using your social networks of choice, as well as offer suggestions on ways to contibute to the online conversation.
Can't make it to the social? This year you can join us virtually! We will be using the hashtags #GoSocial and #SCBWIUtahSouthIdaho for this event, so you can follow the event on twitter, instagram, and other social networks.

We hope to see you at the social (in person or online)!

For a map and directions to the pavilion, please visit our website at http://utahsouthidaho.scbwi.org/events/2014utah-summer-potluck-social/

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20. Ethics of social networking in social work

Facebook celebrated its tenth anniversary in February. It has over 1.2 billion active users — equating to one user for every seven people worldwide. This social networking phenomenon has not only given our society a new way of sharing information with others; it’s changed the way we think about “liking” and “friending.” Actually, “friending” was not even considered a proper word until Facebook popularized its use. Traditionally, a friend is not just a person one knows, but a person with whom one shares personal affection, connection, trust, and familiarity. Under Facebook-speak, friending is simply the act of attaching a person to a contact list on the social networking website. One does not have to like, trust, or even know people in order to friend them. The purpose of friending is to connect people interested in sharing information. Some people friend only “traditional friends.” Others friend people on Facebook who are “mere acquaintances,” business associates, and even people with whom they have no prior relationship. On Facebook, “liking” is supposed to indicate that the person enjoys or is partial to the story, photo, or other content that someone has posted on Facebook. One does not have to be a friend to like someone’s content, and one may also like content on other websites.

Unbeknown to many Facebook users is how Facebook and other websites gather and use information about people’s friending and liking behaviors. For instance, the data gathered by Facebook is used to help determine which advertisements a particular user sees. Although Facebook does have some privacy protection features, many people do not use them, meaning that they are sharing private information with anyone who has access to the Internet. Even if a person tries to restrict information to “friends,” there are no provisions to ensure that the friends to not share the information with others, posting information in publically accessible places or simply sharing information in a good, old-fashioned manner – oral gossip. So, given what we know (and perhaps don’t know) about liking and friending, should social workers like their clients, encourage clients to like them, or friend their clients?

When considering the use of online social networking, social workers need to consider their ethical duties with respect to their primary commitment to clients, their duty to maintain appropriate professional boundaries, and their duty to protect confidential client information (NASW, Code of Ethics, 2008, Standards 1.01, 1.06, and 1.07). Allow me to begin with the actual situation that instigated my thinking about these issues. Recently, I saw a social worker’s Facebook page advertising her services. She encouraged potential clients to become friends and to like her. She offered a 10% discount in counseling fees for clients who liked her. What could possibly be a problem with providing clients with this sort of discount? The worker was providing clients with a benefit, and all they had to do was like her… they didn’t even have to become her friend.

In terms of 1.01, the social worker should ask herself whether she was acting in a way that promoted client interests, or whether she was primarily promoting her own interests. If her decision to offer discounts was purely a decision to promote profits (her interests), then she may be taking advantage (perhaps unintentionally) of her clients. If her clients were receiving benefits that outweighed the costs and risks, then she may be in a better position to justify the requests for friends and likes.

Woman in home office with computer and paperwork frowning. © monkeybusinessimages via iStockphoto.
Woman in home office with computer and paperwork frowning. © monkeybusinessimages via iStockphoto.

With regard to maintaining appropriate boundaries, the worker should ask how clients perceive her requests for friends and likes. Do clients understand that the requests are in the context of maintaining a professional relationship, or might terms such as friending and liking blur the distinctions between professional and social relationships? If she truly wants to know whether clients value her services (as opposed to like), perhaps she should use a more valid and reliable measurement of client satisfaction or worker effectiveness. There are no Likert-type scales when it comes to liking on Facebook. You can only “like” or “do nothing.”

Confidentiality presents perhaps the most difficult issues when it comes to liking and friending. When a client likes a social worker who specializes in gambling addiction, for instance, does the client know that he may start receiving advertisements for gambling treatment services… or perhaps for casinos, gambling websites, or racetracks? Who knows what other businesses might be harvesting online information about the client. “OMG!” Further, does the client realize that the client’s Facebook friends will know the client likes the social worker? Although the client is not explicitly stating he is a client, others may draw this conclusion – and remember, these “others” are not necessarily restricted to the client’s trusted confidantes. They may include co-workers, neighbors, future employers, or others who may not hold the client’s best interests to heart.

One could say it’s a matter of consent – the worker is not forcing the client to like her, so liking is really an expression of the client’s free will. All sorts of businesses offer perks to people who like or friend them. Shouldn’t clients be allowed to pursue a discount as long as they know the risks? Hmmm… do they know the actual risks? Do they know that what seems like an innocuous act – liking – may have severe consequences one day? Consider, is it truly an expression of free will if the worker is using a financial incentive – particularly if clients have very limited income and means to pay for services? Further, young children and people with dementia or other mental conditions may not have the capacity to understand the risks and make truly informed choices.

Digital natives (people born into the digital age) might say these are the ramblings of an old curmudgeon (ok, they probably woudn’t use the term curmudgeon). When considering the ethicality of social work behaviors, we need to consider context. The context of Facebook, for instance, includes a culture where sharing seems to be valued much more than privacy. Many digital natives share intimate details of their life without grave concerns about their confidentiality. They have not experienced negative repercussions from posting details about their intimate relationships, break-ups, triumphs, challenges, and even embarrassments. They may not view liking a social worker’s website any riskier than liking their favorite ice cream parlor. So, to a large segment of Facebook users, is this whole issue much ado about nothing?

In the context of Internet risks, there are far more severe concerns than social workers asking clients to like them on Facebook. Graver Internet risks include cyber-bulling, identity theft, and hacking into national defense, financial institutions, and other important systems that are vulnerable to cyber-terrorism. Still, social workers should be cautious about asking clients to like them… on Facebook or otherwise.
The Internet offers social workers many different approaches to communicating with clients. Online communication should not be feared. On the other hand, social workers should consider all potential risks and benefits before making use of a particular online communication strategy. Social work and many other helping professions are still grappling with the ethicality of various online communication strategies with clients. What is hugely popular now – including Facebook – may continue to grow in popularity. However, with time and experience, significant risks may be exposed. Some technologies may lose popularity, and others may take their place.

Headline image credit: Internet icons and symbols. Public domain via Pixabay.

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21. 5 Steps To Find Your Book’s Ideal Audience

There’s nothing quite like seeing a book with your name on it. The beautiful cover, the weight of it in your hands, the pages of your creativity bundled into a package for readers to enjoy. It sits o the shelf–maybe a physical one, perhaps a virtual one–but it is there, mingling with other books, rubbing spines with both fresh and established voices alike.

And there it will sit, waiting to be noticed..among not hundreds, not thousands, but a virtual tsunami of books that grows larger each day. Sure, family and friends will buy your book, and perhaps some of your supporters and connections online, too. But unless you do something, it will eventually fade into obscurity, never having the chance to break out and be discovered by the exact people looking to read a book just like yours.

The number one failing of authors (provided they have a well edited, quality book) is an inability to connect with their exact audience.

AudienceTraditionally published or self-published, in this competitive market, authors must actively find readers or risk their book dying on the shelf. Many fiction authors try hard, but often miss the mark as far as targeting an audience (promoting too narrowly for example, say only to other writers). Some unfortunately go the spam route, misusing social media to shout constantly about their book, sales, 5 star reviews and even sending “check out my book + LINK” messages to followers. This type of promo becomes “White Noise,” which most ignore. In some cases, people become so annoyed, rather than this strategy pulling new readers in, it pushes them away.

So How Does An Author Find Their Ideal Audience?

1) Know What Makes Your Book Special

While a book’s genre (and sub-genres) help to narrow reader interest, this is only the start of your journey to finding your ideal audience. A Fantasy enthusiast will not be interested in reading ALL types of Fantasy, right? So the first step is defining what about your book makes it stand out from all the other novels like yours. Move beyond just genre. What themes or elements are unique about your book? What are the strongest qualities about your hero or heroine that make them likeable? What concept makes your book pop?

Is your fantasy about a race of nomadic humans who are really shape shifting dragons, but over the generations, have forgotten what they are? Or, does your book have a hero who must solve codes and cyphers to uncover an astrological prophesy? Maybe it involves unusual magical travel…wizards that have discovered they can bottle the scents associated with a location and when a subject inhales it, he travels to that place. Whatever it is, this “special element” is a big part of what makes your book unique, and what will draw readers to your type of story and characters.

2) Make a List of Groups that Tie into this Element

Figured out what makes your book stand out from all the others like it? Awesome. Now it’s time to find out what interests people who think X is compelling, because that’s what’s special about your book.

Let’s take one of my examples. Say your book is the Dragon Fantasy concept above. A book featuring dragons may appeal to people who collect dragon figurines, read dragon-centric books, play dragon fantasy games, create dragon artwork, fashion dragon jewellery, blog about dragons, go to dragon-themed movies, visit forums that discuss dragon culture, etc. Google has 38 pages for “dragon lovers.” In less than a minute, I found a Dragon Museum, Dragon Decor Designs and a ton of forums, facebook groups, and the like.  Using Twitter Search, I discovered there is a #Dragon hashtag that brings up people, products and discussions about dragons. All of these people have the potential to be your exact reading audience, especially those who wish dragons were real, but are hiding their true forms. Or Fantasy readers interested in shape shifters and nomadic cultures.

(Don’t forget to look around locally, too. There may be groups, events and activities that tie into your book’s special concept in your own backyard.)

3) Identify Possible Influencers and Opportunities

Now within this glorious pool of Dragondom, there will be influencers: people who blog about all things dragons that really draw an audience, or active forums that discuss the latest dragon films and books. Perhaps gaming communities or even Facebook or Goodreads groups that draw a crowd. All of these help dragon enthusiasts discuss the thing they all love.

Check some of these places out to see if they might be a home for you too. After all, if what makes your book special is the shape-shifting dragon element, I’m going to assume you have a strong interest in dragons, right? Surely you have some things to talk about, links to share, books to recommend, etc. We write what we love, and so we should love to talk about what we write.

You want to find several groups or blogs that offer content to their readers that would also appeal to your readers. See who is discussing dragons on the web. Is there a Twitter Chat about dragons? Also look for people who create tangible goods for dragon lovers (artists, designers, etc.)  These are people you want to try and connect with, because opportunities might exist down the road for some cross promotion. Don’t forget other authors with books like yours. Make friends, tweet links to their blog and book. They will notice and most reciprocate, meaning your book might get noticed by their audience.

4) Connect and Engage

Hurray! We have found a slew of blogs, websites, forums and people who are into dragons! Time to join up, follow and send messages about our book, right?

Sorry, that’s not how it works.

Finding out who your audience might be is one thing, but actually (hopefully) turning them into your audience is another. To do that, you need to connect. Interact. Join conversations going on about dragons. Discuss your own collection, the books you read, the movies you watch. Talk to people, find out more about them. Talk about life. Ask questions. Be genuine. Add to the conversation, supply links to things you think others will find interesting about dragons. Build relationships.

Yes, this takes time. It’s work, but if your heart is into it, it’s fun too. In time you will see that these relationships are worth far more than a handful of sales generated from  spam promo. Why? Because when you need help, you can ask. Maybe you need reviewers, or have a book launch coming up and need people to spread the word. These individuals who you have invested your time in will often be the most enthusiastic about helping you gain visibility. They become not just supporters, but if we are lucky, fans.

5) Create Book Events to Draw in Your Reading Audience

One of the best ways to gain visibility is to host a big book event online. Thinking very hard about who your exact audience is, and what they would find interesting or entertaining is the key to drawing the right crowd to your event. Online book events like a book launch are the one time when people expect us to shout about our new book from the rooftops. We can build buzz and flash our cover and blurbs, and draw interest. Events are excellent ways to get your book noticed by the right people!

But the trick is to create an event that utilizes Social Media well, and draws the attention of the right people: people most suited to enjoy our book. Unfortunately this has been made harder because of all the “White Noise” of online promotion out there. So, the task is up to us to WOW people enough that they take notice, and don’t dismiss the event as more “book promotion.”

When you create your event, keep your theme or special element in mind. Build around it. Could you do a dragon treasure hunt across many different blogs using street team members? Perhaps add a shape shifting element where participants follow clues to figure out which street team member is human and which is a dragon, so they can find the hoard (giveaway prize) on someone’s blog?  Something else? You decide!

I hope these tips help!

  *  *   * * *   *  *

WANaHEADS UP! If you are interested in learning how to promote better during these big Book Launch or Book Sale type events, Becca and I are running a special marketing webinar on October 13th at 8:00-9:30 EST called The Marketing Marriage: Creative Social Media Solutions to Help Your Book Event Get Noticed.

Becca and I have run many successful events that have generated thousands of visitors, huge visibility and strong sales. In this webinar we will show you how to create your own book event that attracts attention, engages your audience, and rises it above Promo White Noise. It’s not just about getting eyes on your book, it’s about the RIGHT eyes.

Can’t make the webinar date? No worries! Sign up and get the recording to watch at your leisure. Follow this link for more information.

How have you found your readers? Any tips to share? Post them below!


Image 1: OpenClips @ Pixabay

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22. Social Networking: Trying Out Pinterest and Twitter

A couple months ago I started seeing images that had the words “via Pinterest” on my friends’ Facebook news feeds. It took about a week ‘til my curiosity was piqued enough to find out what Pinterest was. Once I found out what it was, I requested an invite. Once I received a Pinterest account, I [...]

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23. Destressing the Writing Life

For the past two days (plus today) I have been answering questions in the Writer’s Retreat Workshop on “Destressing the Writing Life.” You still have time to post a question today–or just pop by to read some of the discussion threads.

This subject isn’t just about destressing during the holidays. Frankly, we lead such busy lives these days that there are precious few “slower” months in the calendar year. You need to know how to destress your writing life every day.

In the workshop we’ve talked about such things as:

  • stress caused by the flood of information on writing, publishing and marketing
  • stress caused by the new social marketing–and how much is worthwhile
  • setting goals that motivate without stressing you out
  • handling multiple deadlines more easily
  • critique groups–and how to benefit from them without adding stress to your writing life
  • scheduling your writing day when juggling things like chores and a day job
  • unexpected stress that comes with success

Check It Out!

If you have other questions on this topic that you’d like to see discussed, post them at the Writer’s Retreat Workshop before the day is out–and I’ll meet you there!

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24. Twitter Tips

I love getting book recommendations. I mean face it, I'm a book person, I love to read and I love it when someone emails me or sends me a Tweet to tell me about something new they have just discovered. That being said, there's a big difference between Tweeting about your book release and spamming your book.

If you're a Tweeter it's perfectly acceptable, and encouraged, to let all of your followers know when your book releases, when you received your new cover, or where your edits stand. Of course, it's also encouraged to let them know where you are on vacation, what you're eating for dinner, what you're reading and other more personal bits of information.

It is unacceptable to send Tweets directly to other Tweeters (starting your Tweet with an @BookEndsJessica is what does this) to tell them about a "great new read" and have it be your book. Frankly, it turns me off. If you're telling me about someone else, I'm interested and appreciate it; if you're telling me about your own book, it's spam and it's irritating, and out of irritation I will probably not read your book.


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25. Is Your Promotion Making Sense

You've been told by someone what you have to do. Now that you have a book out or coming out you need to be blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, LinkedIn, Glad-Handing, and selling your soul. You need to add an extra 12 hours into each day just to manage the new schedule your publishing contract requires. But is any of it actually working and are you paying attention to that?

I think I've always been very open about the fact that I don't necessarily believe that social networking and all of the "have to" publicity and promotion you hear about necessarily works or should be required of all authors. I don't necessarily think that blog tours sell books, especially if you don't even know the audience you're reaching with each blog. What I wonder, though, is how many of you are actually tracking the success of the publicity you're doing.

When sending bookmarks to writers conferences, for example, do you really pay attention to how many bookmarks are taken from the table versus how many are simply tossed in the trash at the end of the weekend? When you do a blog tour do you actually follow up with the host of the blog to see how many readers (not hits) the blog gets both before and after your post? Have you ever polled your readers through Facebook, Twitter, or your website to actually learn what brought them to your book?

I guess what I'm trying to say is are you running your publishing career like a business or are you simply throwing stuff into the wind book after book, the same "stuff," and assuming because that's what you're "supposed to do" it must be the right thing to do?

Do blog tours sell books? I don't think they can hurt, unless you're spending hours and hours on a blog tour and not selling one book. Time is money and losing all that time is losing money, so in that sense then yes, I guess it can hurt. Great publicity and marketing means changing things up. It means not doing the same things book after book, and it also means that you need to understand that what might have worked for one book or one author doesn't work for another, even if you are the same author with another book.

When planning your publicity and promotion it's important to work smart. If you're going to spend time and money doing something then I think it makes sense to spend time figuring out if that something worked. If it didn't, then for your next book it's time to switch things up, think outside of the box. Just like you did when you wrote the book, it's important not to follow the crowd. If everyone is doing a blog tour, does it make sense for you to jump in and join the pack, a very full pack, or find a new way to sell yourself and your book?


20 Comments on Is Your Promotion Making Sense, last added: 2/29/2012
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