We writers are kinda weird…okay, a LOT weird. We can drift to extremes if we aren’t vigilant. Either we are the non-stop All-Writing-All-The-Time Channel or we’re afraid to mention we have ever read let alone written a book lest we offend anyone. I get it. I struggle, too. We are artists and “selling” feels…ookey.
Yes, ookey is a word.
Marketing feels especially weird in The Digital Age. But why? Also, why is the ROI (Return on Investment) so dismal with traditional marketing tactics? Facebook ads are a notorious waste of money and I doubt the guy who programmed his Twitter to mention his new book five times an hour has seen a massive uptick in sales.
Perhaps death threats, but not sales 😀 .
I feel that, as we shift from the TV-Industrial complex of the past century and into the Digital Age, we are becoming more of a global village. Information no longer runs one direction, from sender to receiver.
Because the medium has changed. The medium always affects communication, and a lot of well-intended advice fails to account for this shift.
We Heard It the First 20 Times
As much as I rail against it, we still see the relentless book spam. Yet, we are wise to appreciate that as the communication mediums changed, society, culture and values shifted as well.
For instance, we never had America + Television. Once television became a part of our everyday life, America was different. It could not go back to the way it was before television. The change was like a chemical change, a cake that could not be un-baked. The culture changed. Our habits, language, expectations and definitions of “truth” all shifted.
Same with social media.
In the traditional paradigm, “air space” cost money. To put out an ad, a commercial spot on television or even an ad on radio cost money. Even printing off flyers and paying someone to stuff paper under windshield wipers cost money. This “cost barrier” was a sort of gatekeeper that naturally decreased the number of people who would be “advertising” their products.
Then came the Internet and social media.
Now it is FREE! for everyone to talk about goods and services non-stop. The sheer volume of people all pitching their services renders them invisible at best and highly annoying at worst. There is a lot about the new publishing world that I love, but it also has created some serious problems.
How I feel checking e-mail. Remember when we LIKED getting e-mail?
Now that everyone can be published, we are inundated with constant pitching to buy books or download free books or read reviews for books. We can’t escape it.
Posting multiple times a day about our book for sale is like us going to a cocktail party and opening a card table to take book orders. The medium has changed and so have the rules.
Yes, it is important to let people know we have a book to offer, but how we do that has changed.
In the TV-Industrial complex, people merely received information. There was no dialogue, so no social rules applied. We didn’t take offense when we saw a commercial on TV…but the TV wasn’t our “friend.” We were strictly grounded in market norms. Market norms govern commerce. We pay the price on the sticker. We use coupons. Market norms are not personal.
Yet, social media seeks to harness social norms. Social norms are governed by relationships. They are more nebulous and emotionally driven.
I open the door for you and it’s implied I don’t expect a tip.
Where social media gets sticky is that yes, we can get the benefit of social norms. For instance, many people who know and like me from social media might choose to read my book above others even though it isn’t normally a genre they’d read. Yet, we must be careful mixing marketing norms with social norms or people feel used and manipulated.
Thanks for being my friend! Here is a link to my fan page and a free book! Please leave a good review, since we are friends *wink, wink*
Yeah, not creepy AT ALL.
In the Golden Age of TV and Advertising, we accepted that commercials were just part of having entertainment on television. We didn’t “own” any of that airspace, so we willingly acquiesced. Social media changed this dynamic, and, for the first time in human history, the Internet gave us virtual territory.
Tom Anderson was highly intuitive when he called his new social network (2003) MYSPACE. Humans are territorial. Our Facebook wall is literally OUR WALL. When strangers post ads in “our space” it is irritating and personal.
Don’t be a personal space invader.
We cannot get the benefits of social norms unless we respect social norms. On social media, we use terms like “friend” and “Likes.” To humans, these words have meaning, whether we consciously acknowledge this or not. When I “befriend” someone on Twitter and they immediately DM me with a spammy message to buy their book? I am offended.
Because social norms regulate social media.
Social norms don’t mean we are against buying stuff from “friends,” but it does mean we are part of a social dance that we should respect. For instance, how many of you have kids? How many of you have had your kids come home with boxes of candy to sell for school? Who did you go to first to offload overpriced crappy candy? Family. Then friends. Then probably some coworkers.
Because no one wants to go door-to-door selling anything, let alone $4 stale candy bars.
But see how the social norms guided who you would ask, and in what order, and even how you would ask for a sale? Many of those closer relationships are happy to buy overpriced candy, but only because they know you.
Let’s look at this scenario instead.
What if I complimented a woman in the grocery store, then got her chatting about the items in her basket and what she was cooking for dinner? At first she is hesitant but as we chat she lets down her guard and talks about her cat Muffin, and how she likes to bake cookies for the church.
And just about the time she is comfortable talking to me, I ask, “Wow, if your church likes cookies, they would LOVE chocolate bars. Would you like to buy some candy?”
I bet she couldn’t get to
her wallet the door fast enough.
What To Do?
All right. Some of you might be panicking a little right now. But Kristen, how can we ever sell our book if we can’t TALK about it? I never said we couldn’t talk about our books. I said we had to adjust our approach. Sure, tweet about your book but don’t feel the need to camp on top of it 😉 .
It should be clear to anyone looking at our interaction history that we are on social media primarily for the purpose of being social, NOT using Twitter of Facebook as free ad space.
We just need to apply the Golden Rule here.
Don’t just blast out a bunch of links all day. Are you lacking for stuff to read? I know I’m not. How many of you woke up this morning and said, “Gee, you know what I need? MORE information. I don’t have enough. In fact, I have far too much free time I need to fill. I hope I get some more e-mail.”
Most people are on social media because humans are wired to be social. We are looking for connections, not another news feed with commercial breaks. If we wanted that, we’d just watch TV. I joke that social media was invented to fill a need. Many of us were seriously ticked off that Show-and-Tell was canceled after Kindergarden.
We’ve never gotten over the hurt.
We like Show-and-Tell. We love participating and we love watching and sharing in return. Hey, check it out! I baked a CAKE! Look at my new BIKE! I taught myself how to make a TREBUCHET!
Strangely enough, we haven’t changed much since childhood. Making friends is easier over something nonthreatening like a pic of our cat who has shredded the new ten-pack of toilet paper. People can relate. It generates the foundation of all relationships…a conversation.
Meet my fur-baby, Odin the Ridiculously Handsome Cat (who, upon popular demand, got his own fan page)….
I’ve even memed him:
Y’all get the idea. But see how a random picture of my cat, became fun for ALL? A regular pic of my cat taking a nap transformed into something interactive. Suddenly, people who might never have before spoken to me were coming up with captions for Odin the Ridiculously Handsome Cat. Thanks Diedre Dykes!
This has nothing directly to do with selling a social media book, but it IS fun and it IS memorable and it IS the kind of content people love to contribute to and then share. These actions add up over time to create what we call “BRAND.”
Interruption Marketing DOESN’T Work
When was the last time a writer tweeted several times a day about her book and that prompted you to drop everything and go buy? When was the last time you clicked on a Facebook ad to buy something?
One of the reasons I encourage writers to blog is that a blog is very useful for passive selling. Every one of you who follow this blog know I have a book for sale (and even teach classes) even though I have never tweeted about them and never posted about them on Facebook.
How is this?
I serve first with a blog and then, at the end of my post, I mention my books or any W.A.N.A. International classes that might be of interest. So I am promoting my books and classes, thousands of times a day…but I am not doing so intrusively.
Most of you are not offended that I mention my books (I hope), namely because I gave freely, and thus reciprocation on your part feels natural. You don’t feel like I am ramming book ads down your throat.
No one likes a personal space invader.
My attitude is that some of you will read, click and even buy, but those not interested can simply quit reading at the end of the blog post. You might not buy one of my books today, but you know about them. So when the day comes that you decide you need to blog, hopefully my book will be in your mental databanks.
Since you have come to my corner of cyberspace it doesn’t feel invasive when I mention my books and classes, because I mention them in MY space, not YOURS. Also, like the picture of my cat, my blogs are interactive. I tell my thoughts, then look forward to yours. I am super blessed that my comments are a vibrant and interesting community.
See how the experience now no longer only flows one direction? Content-recievers are now content-contributors and social media is far more fun because we are all engaged.
What are your social media pet peeves? Do you see red when people post ads on your walls? Or does it not bother you? Do you buy books from people who promote a lot on Twitter? Or do you not see the tweets? Do they irritate you or make you unfollow? What are some of the areas where you see the most personal space invasion?
Do you have any ideas for future installments of Odin the Ridiculously Handsome Cat?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of APRIL, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
***Note: I have been out of town and need time to calculate March’s winner, so will announce that NEXT BLOG POST.
Also, for more help on how to use characters to ratchet anxiety to the nerve-shreding level, I am finally back teaching and offering my Understanding the Antagonist Class on April 18th and YES, it is recorded in case you miss or need to listen again because this class is jammed with information.
I LOVE teaching this simply because our antagonists are pivotal for writing a story (series) readers can’t put down. Yet, too often we fail to harness characters for max effect. I look forward to seeing you there! I also offer the Gold level for one-on-one. Maybe you’ve hit a dead end. Your story is so confusing you need a GPS and a team of sherpas to find the original idea. Instead of wasting time with misguided revisions, I can help you triage your WIP and WHIP it into fighting form 😀 .
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.
What a truly excellent post: A must read for all of us who write books and do our own marketing… thanks.
Hello, and thank you again for an excellent and informative post! I have wondered if anyone does buy books that are being hawked on Facebook or through other social media. I have also wondered what the proper approach to promotion should be, so I deeply enjoyed your points on not being intrusive. This is an extension of a basic concept of civility in life. Well done!
Reblogged this on K. L. Romo and commented:
Great tips for not overusing social media to advertise.
Great tips! Just reblogged.
I do have a question though, Kristen. Since you post cute pics and stories about your cat, I assume that your opinion is that the blogging on a writer’s website doesn’t necessarily have to relate to the writing life, but just has to be engaging? I have been a little hesitant to post funny stories (most of them about kids) and other articles/opinions that have nothing to do with me being a writer. I’ve been concerned that posts not connected to my writing life would be thought if as “disconnected” on my website.
PLEASE stop blogging about writing. No one cares other than other writers and what happens is writers all end up connecting to other writers at the expense of relationships with readers. This isn’t the 90s. Topic is no longer the brand of a blog. YOU are. Your voice is what connects them and what people come to love. Even on this blog, though I DO talk about social media and writing, I also talk about other things like life, whining, my thighs, ageism, bullying, etc.
I wish I could favorite this comment a thousand times. I feel this is something that everyone needs to read and is a good reminder for me.
You are so right, Kristen! Most readers don’t care about plot, character development, or POV. They want a good story they can get lost in. There’s more to writers than writing. We all have hobbies, experiences that shaped us, crazy things we’re addicted to (and no I don’t think Benedict Cumberbatch counts as crazy). Readers connect with someone who shares common interests or experiences
Thanks so much everyone! Great info! Glad to get your enthusiastic perspectives. The content of my blog posts will return to posts on varied subjects.
“He had ‘two’ eye’s’ in the mirror as he watched himself go by.” I believe the song was written about Warren Beatty. FOR YOUR CAT
I am attempting as a recent user of twitter to only Follow after I have been followed. I am reasonably certain that is how all of us start. I have amasses some 34 followers in the past two months. Each as been hard earned. I do not keep stats; but, I would bet that humor has been at the base of 90% of someone deciding to follow me.
I rarely talk about my book, and don’t stray too far from #mywana, and #amwriting. I make it a point to explore other hashtags. I can’t seem to break outside writers, or the masses who are waiting to provide services to authors.
Readers are hard to come by. Yes, I know writers are readers. Joining a group that reads Fantasy seems likes an obvious peddling of my own genre, so I shy away.
It is a daunting task to interject oneself into a stream that might grab hold of what I have to offer. Still, I find the challenge humbling and worthy of pursuit. This blog is timely and on the mark. Thank you for sharing.
Great info, Kristen. I feel like I can take a deep breath and not feel so pressured that I haven’t been actively advertising my book on social media (I do mention it in my blog, but only if it fits the topic.)
A great reminder, even though I’ve read your book. I’m a “Senior scribbler,” haven’t even tried Twitter. It’s too manic.
Just jump in. Download “TweetDeck” play around for awhile. Hashtags are nothing more that a word that groups tweets into a feed. Kristen has a blog on such things.
At the least it is a good way to waste time while thinking of what to write next. At best you will find folks just like yourself who are willing to share; and thus we all learn from each other.
Nothing aggravates me more than following someone who has followed me on Twitter, and getting an auto-DM saying, “Hi! Check out my book website!” or “Hi! Follow me on Facebook and buy my book here!” I usually send a DM right back saying, “Sorry, auto-DMs are not good marketing. I am unfollowing you.” And then I unfollow. Ugh. Talk about an invasion of personal space!
Thank you for writing this. I see it all the time on Facebook. People don’t like to part with their cash to strangers who haven’t built trust yet. I almost never pick up a book from someone I don’t know or haven’t heard about. It does happen, but only in a book store–which is its own kind of legitimacy. The amount of pre-work writers have to do these days are akin to the amount of pre-work in a political campaign. A lot of writers have a hard time with that because they are strongly introvert. It takes a lot of work to move into extrovert/giving territory. Thanks for this post!
Kristin, my two pet peeves are two you’ve mentioned here. One is befriending someone and have them two seconds later sending me messages to buy their book. Not even a ‘hi’ or ‘thanks for the friendship offer’ – only BUY MY BOOK. The second is posting ads to my page. I have had to de-friend two people because they kept clogging my page with ads. I sent them three polite private messages telling them that I’d like to be friends with them, but to please stop posting their ads to my page. They ignored the messages and kept posting the ads. How can anyone think that kind of behavior would solicit sales!
No clue, but it is shocking how many “experts” teach this kind of nonsense. I spend most of my presentations UNteaching this stuff. “You have to market yourself and your BOOK.” NO. Stop it. If you are only “friending me” because you think I will part with money to buy a book, that is called “USING” me. We don’t like manipulation and we don’t like being used. Yes, my methods do take longer, but they are much more effective and far more resilient to change because the focus is on PEOPLE and genuinely connecting.
Yes the rules have changed. Good thoughts here.
One of the best is that a blog is passive selling.
Some sales people know that to get a person to change behavior and purchase, they must encounter the product/rep’s name a certain number of repetitions first. But many don’t admit those encounters must be pleasant ones – often not related to actually buying. Take time to develop a relationship with potential customers – don’t nag, don’t annoy, don’t rush in and make them feel uncomfortable like you only talk to them when they have money or something you want. People buy from people they like.
Relationship selling works. People can become long term fans – and even better, they will bring others to you and spread the word (people love to share a good thing.)
So handsome mice catch themselves! That had me snorting my morning coffee out my nose!
I’ve never felt like I had enough to say to people to blog, but I’m starting to see the importance. Guess it’s time to get off my butt and create a webpage and blog.
Time to pull out your book and re-read. When I first bought it, I don’t think I was ready to absorb it, but since I have moved ahead into publication territory, I know I will benefit from all the information it contains!
And I’m looking into your next class …
Great article! I could relate to everything you said. I’ve tried a few different things to mention my book without being a pest about it, including posting occasional snippets from the story, but always felt like I was beating people over the head with it. I stopped since it felt awkward. It did generate some good interaction from my followers on social media, though. In contrast, I have zero interaction from readers of my blog, even though I ask questions and invite comments and share the posts on social media. The posts usually don’t include anything about my books, but links to my books are always in the side margin so they’re visible without me having to mention them. This feels more comfortable and allows me to focus more on writing stories and articles for my blog instead of using that space for marketing my books.
The immediate DM to buy a book after I follow somone on Twitter, or someone liking my FB page and then messaging me to either like their page or check out their book irks me. Build relationships first otherwise, I feel exploited.
Thanks! This is, honestly, the first time I’ve read your blog. This post was shared by a member of a group I’m in on Facebook, and I’m glad they did. The folks that set up autobots to tweet/post on FB advertizing their book can definitely be annoying. In fact I saw one where there were 7 posts of the exact same ad within 5 minutes. It was definitely a lesson in what NOT to do. I hope, when my book is finished, that I can find that fine line between acting like I’m not proud of it and being too pushy.
Regarding your book, it wasn’t on my list to read, but it is now. Too often, when I’ve looked at other books/blogs about building an author platform, they’re aimed at non-fiction and push finding things to give away so people buy your services. I’m looking for information on how to build a platform that sells me, and hopefully eventually leads to people wanting to read my books.
Thanks. I do things VERY differently. My goal isn’t to turn you guys into high-pressure sales people. Who likes those folks? NO ONE. We tolerate them. And in this new world we are tolerating them less. Though I WILL say, start NOW. A platform is far easier to create when we have no agenda. Also, I published my first book with NO platform and it is tough spinning one from the ether. If you begin early it will take off a TON of pressure. So happy you found me!
I’ve noticed that I sell the most books when I’m updating my blog regularly. It doesn’t have to be book related. Heck, I get a jillion hits on my research post about chupacabras, and my musings about how Christians should approach werewolves. :-p
I can’t tell you how many blogs I have “un-followed” because of their constant cyber-nagging to buy, buy, buy this or that. You’re right, there is a tipping point where the content becomes so thin that the sales pitch isn’t worth enduring. And if you load up my inbox or reader all of the time–bye bye!
On a side note–Odin needs to do a culinary tour–perhaps with costumes 🙂
Really enjoyed this blog! I thought the points you highlighted were very informative and honest! Generally, I only post links on my page or those I have permission to do so, the rest of the time I use my blog just as you do and try to keep it light and fun! I also enjoy putting on pictures of my cats too, just because they do the craziest things, but I also like to show that I am a person and not just a writer!! 😀 There are many sides to every person, we’re not one-dimensional after all! 🙂 Plus, Odin is just too cute for words, he definitely deserves his own blog for sure!! 😀
A rant. The entire online experience has become advertising overload that dives beneath my skin within minutes of going online. Companies that emailed me once per day a few years ago now email me three or four times per day. And these are the ones I care about. The rest go to junk. I look at my Twitter lists, but ignore the home feed. The tweets there spin past so fast I can’t even see who’s tweeting, let alone what they’re saying. Facebook is burying me in “suggested posts” that are ads in disguise and half of the people I know there post political rants that never stop whether there’s an upcoming election or not.
There seem to be plenty of deaf ears out there, those who ignore what you say. The number of people who immediately send me a “BUY MY BOOK” message after following them on Twitter is increasing instead of decreasing. I’m flooded with people offering to “sell likes” or “sell twitter followers.”
The faster our internet becomes the more ads companies shove onto the screen to slow down its loading. Once again human beings are taking a tool that could have enlightened us all and turned it into a mindless rag. Yes, the quality remains if you walk carefully around what you don’t want to step in, but I keep wondering how long before people discover something else or a backlash leaves behind only those who enjoy “least objectionable programming.”
I’m beginning to question myself, to wonder if I’m not sufficiently thick-skinned to exist online. I turned away from business because I’d soured on the manipulation too often present, and now it has followed me to the internet.
Rant over. This isn’t my best day and this post hit a chord with me. In all this muck I’ve written is me agreeing with you and now this is me thanking you for a great post that was worth my time receiving in my email.
BUT, the good thing is this. The more people spam, the more OUR content that is genuine will stand out and be memorable. People will gravitate to our posts and tweets and blogs because we offer what they crave—authenticity, connection and fun with no strings attached.
I dearly love your good advice and positivity. You help us all on so many levels.
Sometimes I wonder if the goal is not to have quality advertising, but quantity. And by quantity I mean number of ads not sales. Over the last umpteen months I’ve noticed that every time I buy things on line, it shows up in ads in my email, Facebook etc. I can’t help but thinking, “Are you people stupid? I just bought this!” And it’s not for products that you’d buy more of, it’s usually of products that I and others would only need one! I am not sure they even care about sales anymore. Or perhaps they feel like scammers if they contact enough people they will eventually get a bite. I really said commentary on society. But if like Kirsten said it make our authentic content stand out, I guess it’s not a total loss – just annoying.
It points to a knee-jerk, simpleton approach to advertising, Laurie. “If you didn’t buy when we sent you one ad, then we’ll send you three or four until you relent.” It also speaks of desperation. I, too, get the ads for items I’ve already purchased, which tells me the computers are doing their jobs, but their human handlers aren’t, though maybe they’re thinking the reminder sent to a satisfied customer will prompt her to recommend the purchase (for instance, post the purchase on FB or Pinterest). It’s all about psychological manipulation. FB may be the worst. With each attempt to manipulate you they monitor your reaction just like they do when they manipulate your newsfeed. I don’t scroll anymore. Again, this is partly me suffering burnout. I’m sensitive to being manipulated like that.
Their approach is often like a fisherman who wants to catch a specific fish. But instead of taking one or two nets to where the fish are known to swim, they just go to a body of water through out a hundred nets or more. Most industries are taking short cuts now. Why not advertising? It’s also surprising to me how many businesses are more concerned about getting more customers than keeping customers. They don’t look at the big picture. Neither do “Buy my book” spammers. I supposed our whole society is set up that way now. Hurry up and wait. That’s why people think they can build a platform in as little as a month.
You’re absolutely right when you say many “are more concerned about getting more customers than keeping customers.” I run into this on Twitter when people follow me, wait for me to reciprocate, and then unfollow so as to inflate their numbers. I don’t understand people must act this way.
It’s rude. So assuming that their main goal is to make money sell whatever, why can’t they look out to the future. By defriending you not only did they miss you business the first time, but they risk you remembering their name in the future and then they’ve just burned a bridge. So even if they don’t care about being liked or offending people why aren’t they concerned about alienating people who could be future customer.
Exactly, and I have no explanation, though I’m sure the answer is located in the same place as why do people insist on tweeting “Buy my book, buy my book!” Some people have social skills and other people—not so much.
Laurie, a lot of the ads you get from stores (pop-ups are the worst) can be filtered out by downloading something like Adblock Plus. I use it and I don’t see 99% of the ads on FB or Twitter that everyone complains about. It’s free and it works.
I also recommend noscript (also free) if you want to speed up your loading time and block some of the more evil scripts. It’s amazing how many unnecessary scripts every ad and webpage try to put on your computer. It will also allow you to control what cookies are allowed. It takes some practice to figure out what scripts you need and which ones you don’t, but it’s worth the effort.
The internet doesn’t have to be such a headache. 😉
As far as Kristin’s blog goes, I agree 100%. I feel that building relationships is the foundation and you have to lay that before you can build the rest of the house.
Ooops! I just realized that Laurie wasn’t the first to comment about how annoying ads are. Sorry, Ontyrepassages! I hope you find the above helpful!
No worries! It reinforces what we are all ready thinking 😀
Yeah *sigh* there should be a rule about not posting when you’re under the weather and easily confusadled like I am tonight. 😀 *probably shouldn’t be responding either* *hits send anyway*
Thanks, Hanna. I may try them. Especially the noscript one. Sometimes my computer does not like some of the scripts. As for the ads. I find them annoying when I notice them. But much of the time I ignore them. Which I guess all attests to their ineffectiveness. I tune out commercials on t.v. too! Although the bigger ads now on FB right in the news feed are harder ignore.
You’re welcome, Laurie! Glad I could help. And… what big ads on FB? 😉
So true. I almost cringe when I see a “free” ebook now, even though it is a very good one, I could use. Why, because my face ends up underwater drowning as you show in that lovely picture; I am then inundated with offer after offer from these people to get you on another site with another free ebook. On and on. I used to blog them quickly in hotmail, but for some reason it no longer works. Finally marking them as phishing and hope that will get them put in junk after awhile. I would rather have offers for real books you pay for then ” free ebooks, because it does not seem to amount as much to adding more “spam.”
Sorry, Block them. Not blog.
Reblogged this on Mari Christie and commented:
It bothers me that some old time friends never come to my Facebook wall and ‘like’ or comment on anything and then when they have something to sell, they post it all over my wall. I didn’t ‘unfriend’ them but it irked me so much I removed all their advertisements and links to their blogs. Needless to say, I’m aware of how I felt and vow not to do the same things to others. 🙂
Your book on social media revolutionized my online life. I now have a website up and continue to develop and enhance it every day. My next step is to dive into twitter, or maybe I should say fly. Not a real fan of cats, but love the Odin pics. How about this: Odin, so handsome he makes my dog cry.
Another terrific post and timely for me. I’m offering a giveaway on my site (not a copy of my book, but an artisan product I love) and it’s a struggle to find the right balance of encouraging entries vs. annoying the crap out of my followers. I try to think of my social media in terms of averages where the self-promo averages out over the course of a week or month. When a brand new book comes out, I celebrate a bit more, but after that, my stream reverts back to cat memes (especially hairless), TV and coffee. And Odin? Well – I can’t think up a clever quip to say so handsome, he makes other fluffy cats rip out their fur in shame to become Sphynxes.
Hi Kristen, this post is great advice for me as a new author. I think there are ways to market your book through social media that does not involve a direct sales pitch. To be honest, we are writers and should be clever enough to think of ways to tempt our writers into finding out more. If we can write an enticing first chapter to make sure people keep reading, I am sure we can do the same on social media without coming across as if we are selling. Hey that’s half the fun! Getting our readers to bite is key. Clever social media marketing is the way forward. Thanks again! Mark
Reblogged this on Lori Beasley Bradley my writing.
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
Like Kristen and a LOT of authors, I think this message must be repeated and reinforced again, and again, and again…
Reblogged this on Rose's Road and commented:
Some great advice from author and social media guru Kristen Lamb. When my new computer arrives I will be implementing more of the advice in her book. A computer that doesn’t have a heart attack at the mere mention of Hootsuite will be so nice. lol
True, she’s the reason I am reading this. Great blog post Kristen. Thanks, Rose.
Reblogged this on Insomnia, Nightmares and General Madness and commented:
I tripped over this almost immediately after having a conversation regarding this very subject; one almost thinks someone’s trying to tell me something. Hmm…
Interesting points, and presented in a way that made me laugh. You’re speaking my language. Thanks!
Another excellent blog, Kristen! In essence, you assured me that what I blog and tweet about is just fine – in other words, cats, kittens, dogs, bunnies, herbs, etc.Occasionally, I mention a book I am working on or a sale, but mainly, if I mention anything about writing, it is how Xander, the Siamese Sea Purrtector views humans or how Nimri uses whatever healthy food the blog was about to keep her tribe healthy.
A non-cat-lover is not going to choose to read something from Xander’s POV, so a main goal is being noticed by cat enthusiasts 😉 Thus while I do have some writers that I follow and vic-versa. most of my followers are other animal and cat lovers and/or environmentalists groups and herbalists.
One last comment – when someone follows me, I check them out and often follow them. However, there have been three instances when I quickly unfollowed – twice because the new person was a spammer – the worst one had 8 identical ads in a row every half hour & was not appreciated. And, the other tweeter did not define ‘cat’ as a four-legged fur ball that Odin might like to chase red dots with… in fact, the first two tweets they put out were X rated, which taught me to check their site before I follow.
Thank you for continuing to share such excellent advice and I hope you have a wonderful Easter.
Is Johnny Cat also your cat? I like him. He looks like my daughter’s cat named Simba.
Yes, he’s our ginger. More Hubby’s cat than mine 😀 ….except when I am trying to WRITE. Then he LOOOOVES me.
For me, it seems a fine line between ‘being social’ and promotion – I’m anal about, “If you have a business to promote – build a Facebook page and share the initial link with me – if I’m interested, I’ll follow and now you can post there all you want, at least I’m not feeling hammered by your personal ‘friend’ profile – 🙂 I have different sites/blogs, so I don’t ‘invade’ – my feeling – you clicked to get here or clicked to follow and you can leave anytime you wish – 🙂 Thanks for writing a post that makes me feel more on track and not anal about my preferences – 🙂 LOL
As a self-avowed Luddite, I like your article, but couldn’t read all of the comments! Thanks to Chris Graham for sharing this blog. Man, I hate social media.
This essay is a great reminder to us all to be considerate, while hoping for better book sales. Sometimes, it’s “tit for tat” author recommendations/blogs/tweets/smoke signals. Other times, it’s just hit every “send” button available and wait for the flak. Spam is pixel pauses.
Me? I frequently go looking for books, based on some clever or enlightening post by someone on an author-oriented posting, Someone SO smart must be a great writer! This method hasn’t failed me yet.
Sometimes “less is more.”
All the book-promotion sites on Twitter are just so spammy looking – I never get a sense of any individual book, just of being overwhelmed by all the stuff I all ready have in my reading pile. Would love more posts on this topic as I prepare to take my novel to market in fall without being a Space Invader!
Ha ha! Very timely. Just this morning I got a direct message on Twitter from someone I didn’t know, asking me to buy a book in a genre I don’t read (or like!)! I have discovered some great authors through WordPress blogs and bought their books as a result, particularly if they post flash fiction or microfiction. That way I have an idea of what they write, their style and quality, and whether I will like their book!
Great post, Kristen! Always love your insight 🙂 Happy Easter!
For some reason it’s so easy to fall into the “buy my book/service/random product” tweets and posts, all the while despising being on the receiving end of such posts. Being SOCIAL on social media is really what it’s all about, and what generates more long-lasting results (and sales). Thanks for this wonderful and witty reminder!
I totally agree about the commercialization of the net. I am working on re-tooling my presence online. I have an author’s facebook and I try hard to keep my “this is my book” things there. I use my main facebook for all the other stuff, a little discussion of what’s going on in the writing of my book, and a whole lot of “THIS: it’s fun for the day” type stuff.
I do have a question for you. How do you handle cultural and political issues? There are times when the rant pants get pulled out of the drawer and I launch into a tirade about something. I have a rule for my posts, I never launch into the “Jane, you ignorant slut” (with apologies to Saturday Night Live) discussions. That’s the fastest way to shut someone down and turn them against you. I want to be able to discuss topics on my personal facebook and not worry about how it’s looking to my readers.
BTW: love your writing and I’ve recommend it quite a lot.
I ignore almost all that stuff. Sometimes I go to reply, then have to backspace and say, “Kristen, you are NOT the jackass whisperer.” Love the SNL reference, LOL.
I’m new to your blog, so I don’t know yet if there is a better way to ask you about your Antagonist workshop. I just heard you speak last week at GLVWG in PA and loved what I learned from you. You saying that most people don’t understand the protagonist intrigues me, and I’m wondering if your workshop would help me with what i wonder might be a non-classic type of protagonist/antagonist relationship. My novel is a family drama–each member of the family is a protagonist in their version of the story but also each is an antagonist to some other member of the family. My story spans 2 times periods and has 4 POV characters and there is no one antagonist for all characters.
Yours is a BUGGER to plot. I would advise the class and possibly the one-on-one. And NOT just to sell something. You have a number of issues. First, who is the REAL antagonist? Also, it has four proxies, and THEN parallel timelines. If you decide you don’t want to or can’t take the workshop, study the structure of “The Joy Luck Club.” Great to see you here!
Wow! There are so many comments I almost gave up on ever finding the end!
I completely agree with you on social media marketing. I’m an author, I’ve been a published author for almost thirty years, and I am still put off by pushy online marketing. I and a few friends started a Facebook authors group, Writers Mayhem, as a kind of lounge to kick back, have fun and occasionally talk shop. We ban all repeated Buy My Book Messages.
I am sharing this post with the group. Hope you don’t mind.
I never mind 😀 . Glad you persisted!
Now you have made me feel real again!I constantly think about the next words I have in my head,however,I sometimes hesitate to express them for fear of being known for what I am.Do you think I’m crazy?
Nope. Just a writer. So yes, you are crazy 😀 .
Thanks, Kristen! Not only did you respond to my lengthy comments on your last post, you directly addressed the questions that I asked. This blog made PERFECT sense!! I bought your book; it was shipped yesterday. I’m looking forward to diving in. Thank you!!
Another great blog post 🙂 I recently joined Twitter (like, a week ago) because I thought it would be a good way to connect with people and, for the most part, that’s been the case so far. But I did receive a message yesterday that read ‘I’d drink Drano to get you to read the free sample of my book’ with the link to the book attached. Creepy, right? If not a little extreme. And this from someone whom I’ve never met and not yet interacted with. I’m trying very hard not to post ‘Buy my book stuff’ – I’m also reading your book ‘Rise of The Machines’ – it makes so much sense and ties in very much with the way I’d like to promote my own work – that is, without actually smacking people in the face with it. So thank you for that 🙂
AAAH, that is SCARY! I think I once got the same message from someone. Yes, this are the last pages I want to read.
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
This is a very useful and informative post for writers.
Really good information. I’m asking, though I’m guessing the same rule of thumb applies, tweeting about posts we’ve made to our blog? I’ve read too many “advice” places that say you should retweet about blog posts multiple times. I started doing it, but feel that it’s just as invasive. Still not building community…I have a lot to learn.
I rarely tweet links. I tweet once when I publish a post then leave it to others to share it if they like it. If you DO see a link from me, it is rare, thus I think it gets more attention. But maybe that’s my preference. I just got tired of LINK, LINK, LINK…because I don’t have enough to READ. *rolls eyes*
Awesome posts with a lot of important tips for writers who blog. The worst thing ever is having someone comment on your blog for the first time with something like “great article, you should buy my book!”
LOL, yes, I get those too. Sigh.
This was great, Kristen. I couldn’t figure out how people could be so blatant as to do direct sales on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever. I see it but I never read it and just move on. If and when I finish this novel, I’ll put a mine cover on my sidebar of my blog, tell a little about it, and where they can buy it. Once in a while I’m put something about it at the bottom of my most current post. I will mention it occasionally at Google groups, Goodreads, and Writing.Com. Of course, I will have a platform page too. If Amazon will take me on, I’ll have an author’s page too. I might, just might, see if my local newspaper’s site will help me too. That’s it for marketing, don’t you think? 😛
Thanks for your input. I’m making up memes to advertise my first ebook and the process has been fun. I know that the last thing my friends and former colleagues/classmates wants is a constant reminder to buy my book!
Yes, lets restore civility, connection, and community! I love the message. Applicable to all other spheres which involve any kind of self-promotion. As a newbie bloggers, I find it especially useful. Thanks!
I have a very basic question: what is a trackback, and how is it done? Please help.
A trackback and a hyperlink ar the same thing. It’s the words in blue that indicate they are clickable. On your dashboard, you should have an icon that looks like a chain link. Click that and paste the URL of where you want to direct readers to in the box and select the option to open on a new page so that you don’t direct people off your page when they click.
Loved this post! I don’t follow everyone and don’t post to everyone. I have all comment sent to a folder to look at when I have time. I am starting to write again after 100 year time out for kids, and am a bit rusty. Have actually submitted once. Will follow you as I think I can learn something in your posts, and appreciate that and Thank-you1
Reblogged this on Julie Lawford and commented:
An excellent post, one after my own heart. Worth reading through the comments too…. “Topic is no longer the brand of a blog, YOU are.”
I kind of love that Odin fella’s photo too. And the guy who follows people on Twitter and after work. I had a good laugh at him and his idea. Anyway, I like the concept of social media governed by social norms. In the end we are just people looking for connection with one another.
There is a guy I follow on Twitter who lies that his book is going to be made into a $30M movie so as to get readers. He’s been saying that since 2013 and it’s crap. Same line everyday. I think I should ask him to be reading your blog and improve his marketing strategy.
What an excellent post, just the right thing for start up authors! Thanks for sharing.
Yes! I feel like there should be a word for the disappointment I feel when I look at a new Twitter follower’s profile, think their bio is cool, and then look down at a wall of book ads. I want to have fun interacting with interesting people, not subscribe to a commercial. I often get advertising overload in general. The internet makes it even easier to be constantly inundated with people trying to sell stuff. Sometimes, even the sight of yet another ad makes me want to scream. So I won’t follow accounts that do that type of stuff.
I’ve been followed, unfollowed, followed, unfollowed (keep repeating) by people who didn’t even realize they’d followed me before. I guess they use one of those auto-follow services to try to get their numbers up? It’s almost insulting. Actually, when I think about it, it *is* insulting. No one wants to feel like a number checked off by someone’s spambot.
Great article, but the description of social media as the grown up replacement for “show and tell” is absolutely BRILLIANT.
It seems silly, but it really IS, LOL.
Hi and thanks for this information presented in style. New to the world of publishing, my efforts were delayed by a publishing contract that went unfulfilled. If Emerson were alive to add to ‘Self Reliance’. It would be a chapter on self-publishing. A former writer of clinical reports, the transition to fiction isn’t simple and all suggestions would be helpful as I enter a last round of informal editing to a thriller.
Very welcome post. I frequently receive newsletters in which someone is trying to sell me something, on occasion I can receive 3 emails from different web sites hawking the same product……just makes me want to reach for the unsubscribe button. I very rarely mention my work to my connections online, that’s not what I reach out to people for. 🙂
Reblogged this on Aspirations of Flight and commented:
This is a FANTASTIC post for writers on what not to do, and more importantly, what you could be doing on social media so you don’t annoy everyone on the planet. I think everyone needs to read this!
This is a very important distinction and something I haven’t seen among the different “writing advice” pieces I’ve seen. Thank you very much.