Thanks for the opportunity to be a guest with the Lady Scribes. I’m a big fan...even if I don’t get to post comments each day. Let me preface this blog with a statement that I really wish I had more answers, more advice, more knowledge regarding my top five list. For those of you who may not completely know my story, my book HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP is on shelves just ten short months after Harlequin Intrigue offered me a contract. I’ve had a wonderful time this past year with lots of ‘first’ experiences after I received THE Call. But there are a few things I wish I’d learned before I sold.
1. Social Media: Twitter
2. Social Media: Facebook
3. Social Media: Blogging
4. Social Media: Reviews & Book signings
5. Social Media: Widgets
Do we see a pattern here?
Before this past year I hadn’t even heard of the term SOCIAL MEDIA. Now I’m taking webinars from my publisher, and everywhere I turn someone’s got an on-line class. Our chapter had guest speakers last winter who spoke on how much time to devote to social media and they touched on a very small part of what to do. It gives me a headache to think how much I need to learn. And hey, what about READER communities? Heard of those? And RSS feeds? Is your head hurting yet? (LOL)
Okay Okay Okay... this is my Top Five, not a complaint. I just need ten or so extra hours in a day and I might actually get caught up (and *I* don’t have a full-time job--not certain how those authors manage it). I also want to add a caution: Have a professional on-line persona and warn your family about not posting private information publically. It’s very easy to forget where you’re posting what...and once it’s posted the information will always exist somewhere (even if you hit delete--the message is somewhere).
NUMBER ONE: Twitter
Tweetdeck is a must. I’m not completely certain why yet...but I’m beginning to see the benefits of utilizing it. In the training I’ve been receiving, there’s a general rule of thumb: 12 to 1. Twelve general posts or retweets to every one post regarding promotion. In other words, you have to really use Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it has a limited number of characters and a shorthand which takes time to get used to. But more than anything else, it takes time to learn. AND IT’S FREE.
NUMBER TWO: Facebook or MySpace
Facebook LIKE/FAN page is a must. I’m familiar with Facebook but still don’t know how to utilize it completely for publicity purposes. Facebook has changed a couple of times since I’ve been using it (Jan ‘10). It’s a mini-blog 24/7/365 that is worth learning how to use --especially as a professional. AND IT’S FREE.
NUMBER THREE: Blogging
There is no guarantee that blogging sells books, but you’ll get your name “out there.” Most of the time it’s fun, readers and other writers are excited to discover your story (and honestly, it keeps your excitement at a high level). Advice--start your blog now since growing followers is a slow process. You need a consistent place to be found when you sell (join a group of friends and form a blog). My word of caution is to get involved on the blogs and not just be a guest. It doesn’t require a devoted following. Find subjects that genuinely interest you and leave a comment --it’s polite. Second caution: Don’t schedule blogs on your release day, enjoy it, spend it with friends looking at your book on the shelf (if this isn’t possible choose a blog to have a party). AND IT TOO IS FREE.
NUMBER FOUR: REVIEWS & BOOK SIGNINGS
Attend book signings and help an experienced author. Make notes on what you need, make friends with the employees at your local book store who are in charge of the book signings. BE BOLD. ASK. Learn what type of publicity they give, provide the stores bookmarks (that means you need to design and order in advance). FIND out where to submit reviews. Will your publisher be sending your ARCS anywhere? How far in advance does a book need to be submitted? Is it going to be worth your time? And grow a thick skin (not everyone will love you). MOST OF THE TIME IT’S THE COST OF YOUR FREE PROMOTIONAL BOOK AND POSTAGE.
NUMBER FIVE: WIDGETS
Uhm what? I’ve heard the term. Want to learn more about what they are. Want to have the time to find all that I need and where they should all be placed (I have a place in mind, but I’m a guest here). Can I describe a widget? My very general-non-professional description: an application shortcut. The cute little buttons that take you to (what else) other social media (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon.com., Barnes & Noble, etc.). AND GUESS WHAT...THEY’RE FREE.
The best advice I can give pre-published writers is to learn about the different branches of social media a little at a time, at your own pace, but start walking down the road. One step now will eventually get you ahead of the game.
Let me paraphrase what Cherry Adair (CheryAdair.com) told me when we spoke about my first sale: Don’t get caught up in the first sale and publicity dawhling (she’s a transplanted South African). Writers...write. Always remember that writers...write. Great advice that I took to heart. So I might be a little behind in the social media/publicity world...but I made the sophomore sale and hope for a third soon.
MY QUESTION FOR YOU? How many from my list would make yours? And if you have ANY advice...I’ll take it.
Thanks again for having me...
Check out Angi’s new look on her website: AngiMorgan.com and check out the prizes she has for her Debut Release: Hill Country Holdup. Just send her a picture of you holding the cover of HCH (that would be her HOLD UP THE COVER contest), register for her newsletter, and maybe win one of those prizes.