Posts tagged with: social media
Posted by Ava Blackstone Jan 13 2016, 12:01 am in Ava Blackstone, keyword optimization, Marketing, social media
Long before I decided to self-publish, I attended my first workshop on marketing at an RWA national conference. After an hour of PowerPoint slides about engaging with readers on social media, I wanted to hide in a dark, quiet corner with no computer or internet connection. (Have I mentioned that I’m the introvertiest introvert in the world?)
After five or six more marketing workshops with different names, presented by different authors, all of which focused on various social media marketing techniques, I’d had more than enough. So when I saw that the next speaker for my local RWA chapter was going to be talking about—you guessed it—marketing—I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic.
But it was a good excuse to see my friends, so I went to the meeting anyway. And was blown away by the speaker. Her talk was on marketing, but it wasn’t all social media. She talked about things like generating back matter for your book that would help drive reviews and Amazon keyword optimization. For the first time, I realized that there was a way to market my books in addition to the social media strategies I’d heard so much about. And some of those things I was actually excited about doing.
And that made me stop and think. I’d heard a ton of people talk about the importance of “finding your process” for writing, the idea being that some people write most effectively when they plot extensively beforehand, some people prefer to jump straight into the manuscript, and others are somewhere in between. But I’d never heard anyone talk about finding your process for marketing.
I’d love to be a marketing superhero and make optimal use of every single technique out there. But I’m not. There are only so many hours in the day, and let’s be honest—I’m going to spend most of them writing. So I need to make sure that the little time I have for marketing is used most effectively. For me personally, that means focusing on the non-social side of things. I have friends who are just the opposite—they love meeting readers in person or on social media, and can make a new best friend (and a dedicated fan) in minutes. That’s not me.
Will narrowing my marketing focus be an effective strategy for me? My first book came out two days ago, so it’s too soon to tell. But I certainly hope so.
Okay, I also set up my author Facebook page. Just don’t make me sign up for Twitter.
What about you? What marketing strategies do you find most effective? Are there any you find particularly enjoyable or unpleasant?
Posted by Tamara Hogan Jun 8 2015, 12:01 am in authors and social media, Joss Whedon, social media, tamara hogan, trolls, Twitter, writing life
On May 4, 2015, the Monday following the wildly successful opening weekend of Avengers: Age of Ultron, writer/director/producer Joss Whedon deactivated his Twitter account.
And the Twitterverse went WILD, attributing his departure to everything from him receiving death threats, to militant feminists’ anger over his depiction of the Black Widow character in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. But several days later, Whedon gave an interview at Buzzfeed denying those reasons.
His real reason?
“I just thought, Wait a minute, if I’m going to start writing again, I have to go to the quiet place. And this [Twitter] is the least quiet place I’ve ever been in my life. … It’s like taking the bar exam at Coachella.”
“The quiet place.” Remember that place? I do, quite fondly – but with every day that passes, it seems to regress farther back in my memory banks.
In our day-to-day lives, we are deluged by media, by digital media in particular. Between time spent writing, and then promoting via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Snapchat, blogs, blah blah blah and whatever the hell pops up next to infinity and beyond amen, the idea of a quiet brain, a quiet place, seems…almost quaint, doesn’t it?
Social media can be a wonderful way to create community, and for readers and writers to connect, but let’s be honest: it can also be tiring. Time-consuming. Guilt-inducing. Overwhelming.
It can also be addicting. Again, Joss Whedon:
“The real issue is me. Twitter is an addictive little thing, and if it’s there, I gotta check it. When you keep doing something after it stops giving you pleasure, that’s kind of rock bottom for an addict. … I just had a little moment of clarity where I’m like, You know what? If I want to get stuff done, I need to not constantly hit this thing for a news item or a joke or some praise, and then be suddenly sad when there’s hate and then hate and then hate.”
Will he ever come back?
“I think the articles that I found [via Twitter], I can find elsewhere,” Whedon said. “I’ll miss some jokes. Maybe I’ll have to go out to a club to see jokes! I think that’s already an improvement in my life. … I need to go out, do the research, turn the page, see the thing, hear the music, live like a person. I’m not great at that. So, oddly enough, because I always feel like I’m the old man who doesn’t get the tech, right now I’m the man who thinks he could do better without it.”
Whedon clearly had the wisdom to realize he’d hit the wall, and he’s far from the only artist who’s made the decision to disconnect in order to preserve their creativity or their health. Neil Gaiman once took a six month social media break so he could better focus on his writing. Comedian Louis C.K. shut down his Twitter account because he kept regretting his tweets and found himself growing depressed. Actor Simon Pegg turned his social media accounts over to his official fan club because he simply didn’t enjoy digital engagement any longer. Comedian and actor Stephen Fry left Instagram, and briefly left Twitter, saying he felt “hounded” and “unsafe.” Feeling hounded and unsafe is, regrettably, a rather common occurrence for many high-profile women on social media these days – women whose only ‘crime’ is daring to state an opinion in public.
It can be really rough out there.
Where’s the happy medium? Where’s the personal “Goldilocks Zone” of not too much social media, and not too little, but just right? How can we create healthy boundaries, preserving sanity, safety and self, in this era where creativity and commerce often intersect? Where direct contact with readers (and other writers) is not only desirable, but pretty much a job requirement?
Whether you’re a reader or a writer, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the expectations and pleasures, of using social media. Do you have any tips or techniques for finding your quiet place in this noisy digital age?
Posted by Liz Talley Feb 24 2014, 12:30 am in liz talley, promo hate, social media, writer's life, writing
is buy my book.
Truly. I’ve tried being witty. I’ve tried joining conversations. I’ve tried book blurb tours, giveaways, blogging six ways to Sunday, and going to reader conferences. I’ve bought book marks, reader trading cards, given away books, giftcards, and a kidney (okay, not an actual kidney but lots of heart-shaped things). I’ve advertised, helped host Facebook parties, given away raffle baskets and done everything else but tap dance to sell books (and I’m willing to do that if I can find some tap shoes to fit me). But the results are always the same. My book sales are…oh, I can’t even say it….average.
So what I really want to say is JUST BUY MY BOOK ALREADY!
But that would be crass. That would turn people off and then my name would be blacklisted as “one of those authors.” You know the ones – they constantly tweet their reviews and links. Their signature line is eight miles long (with links!) and they slyly slip things in about their books in other people’s posts. Basically they do everything they can but shove the book in your face and beg you to buy it.
Sad thing is, I understand that desperation because sometimes I want to say the hell with it and just post “You people need to buy my book because I want to go to another conference this summer and need some money.” Too honest? Yeah, I thought so.
And there are times I want to tell people to NOT buy my book. Like reverse psychology will work the same way it did when my kids were six years old and I’d say things like “Don’t you dare put this toilet seat down” or “I bet you can’t run get the mail faster than I can.” By the way, those challenges no longer work on 14 year olds. They give you that blank stare than could kill pretty flowers and baby’s smiles. I figure if I say “Don’t buy this book. Nothing to see here, folks” maybe readers might get interested enough to check it out for themselves. But I know that won’t work any better than chasing people with nail files and bookmarks.
I feel like I’ve tried everything I can think of to sell my books (outside of setting up outside the Barnes and Noble, yelling “Come try a real book, whydontcha?” which could possibly get me arrested).
So what should I do?
I already know what you gals are going to say – shut up and write another book.
And that’s pretty good advice. You see, there is much about the world I cannot control (which drives Virgos like me nuts!). I can’t control what readers think, I can’t control how much promo Harlequin will give me, I can’t control distribution, shelf space or foreign sales. I can’t control whether someone will pick my book to review, how many people like me on Facebook or how many people enter my raffle copter. I can’t even control my damn covers. BUT what I can control is my writing. I can control my characters (or try to), I can control my reading a good craft book (rather than watching The Bachelor) and I can control the amount of time I spend with my butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard. That’s it.
Can’t make people buy my book, even if I want to shout on Twitter, Facebook, blogs 1,2,and 3 and from the parking lot of the Barnes and Noble BUY MY DAMN BOOK!
Because I don’t control the universe. Which is sad because if I did we’d all be a size four with perky boobs, gorgeous hair and Matthew McCognaughy, Brad Pitt and Henry Cavill (take your pick) giving us a foot rub…and we’d all be reading my newest book. See? Now you wish I were in charge 🙂
So here’s the premise of this whole post – don’t try to control the world. Just control what you can do (in the comfort of your own home…or Starbucks). Focus on your writing. Make it stronger. Make it tighter. Take it to the next level. Be a good friend to other writers. Don’t steal their thunder. Don’t whine (I don’t take my own advice sometimes). Don’t put the writing off. Control what you can control – which is how you put your story on the page.
That’s it. That’s all I got. (and in case you didn’t get it, this was advice to myself, too)
FYI, I do have a RUBY RELEASE this month and I’m adding the blurb and cover in case you’re interested in doing my will. When I snap my fingers you will go to Amazon and buy the book. 1…2….3… (okay, okay, I didn’t hypnotize you. Add that to the things you shouldn’t do to readers)
What are some promo Do’s and Don’ts that drive you nuts?
His Forever Girl
This forever is off to a rocky start!
Meeting Tess Ullo is definitely a sign life’s improving for Graham Naquin. After their spectacular night together, he knows there’s a lot more to explore between them! Good thing he’s aced the interview that will bring him home to New Orleans, his young daughter and Tess.
Too bad things don’t go the way Graham hoped. That job he lands running a float-building company? Tess thought it was hers so she quits to work for the competition. As they face off in business, he admires her talent…and keeps thinking she’s the one for him. Now he has to persuade her! http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Girl-Mills-Boon-Cherish-ebook/dp/B00EFPXVF2/ref=la_B003Y87BMK_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392841863&sr=1-1
Posted by June Love Sep 5 2013, 12:01 am in social media, taking control, time management, writing
Social media was winning at my house. To be fair, it wasn’t just social media. It was anything that required an internet connection. Email. Google searches. Yahoo News Stories. Amazon.
It took my husband pointing out my poor time management skills for me to realize, and I mean ton-of-bricks-on-the-head realization, how many of my writing hours each day was spent NOT writing.
Two years ago, I told him I wanted to quit my day job and focus on my writing. Being the wonderful man he is, he supported my decision. Fast forward two years: Unpublished and still working on same book. So, I’m packing for the RWA National Conference in July, and I ask him if he still believed in me and in my writing. This was important to me, since I no longer brought in money and he was paying for my Atlanta trip. He said, “Of course, I do. But, it’s been two years, and I really think it would help if you’d finish the book.”
His one sentence both warmed my heart and floored me at the same time. For the first time, I realized how unfair I’d been to him. He’d supported my decision to quit work, thereby reducing our income. He paid all the bills, put food on the table, and still allowed me my monthly spa appointments. He’d upheld his end of the bargain, whereas, I’d failed miserably on my end. I’d not been focusing on my writing.
So, what had happened? Where had I strayed? When I was working full-time, I’d finished two books. Why couldn’t I finish one book when all I had to do was write all day?
One reason is after working for thirty-eight years (yes, I started before leaving my mother’s womb 🙂 ), there’s an adjustment period you go through of not being “on the clock”. But, still…two years?
Another reason is I wasn’t ‘writing all day’. <Gasp> I know hard to believe. I was spending too much time online. With the popularity of social media, blogs, and articles on the ever-changing publishing industry, I lost valuable writing time staying informed. Yeah, that was my excuse. That, and I like to support my friends.
See, now I’m bringing my friends into it. I’m not published, as we’ve already established, but many of my friends are. I might get several emails a day requesting comments on a blog tour. Or, to like a their book on Amazon. Or, to re-tweet and post on Facebook a book release, a sale, or something along those lines.
I love supporting my friends, so I try and do my part, but then my ADD kicks in. The next thing I know, I’m searching Amazon for books on growing herbs. I go to Facebook and see that a high school friend has posted pictures of her daughter’s wedding. I’ve never met her daughter, but I scroll through the pictures. Then, I see a family member of hers that I haven’t thought about in years. I wonder, “Hm. What has she been up to?” So, what do I do? You know the answer. I find her page. After several hours, I realize what I’ve done. I close FB in horror that over half of my day is gone. Same thing with Twitter. Not only have I spent most of my writing time not writing, but I have failed in my original goal of posting or re-tweeting for a friend.
Okay. I don’t really blame my friends. I love my friends. I love doing these things for them. They are doing what they should do. Promoting themselves and their books. It’s not their fault I have ADD and am easily distracted.
Let’s face it. It is becoming necessary to self-promote. This is especially true for self-publishing authors and small press authors, but I’m seeing it more in traditionally pubbed authors, too. They run contests, give away prizes, and announce to all of their followers they’ve released a new book. They can post excerpts, blog about their book, and tweet sales on Amazon. The marketing tools are at their fingertips, so why not use them? We may start out writing because we love it, but let’s not fool ourselves. If we are writing professionally, then it is a business.
Ah. Now, I’ve hit upon something. Writing is a business. Therefore, it should be treated as such. When I worked at my day job, I rarely had time to check my personal email, much less read blogs. I stayed off Facebook, and I didn’t attempt to have a Twitter account. Why should it be any different if writing is my day job?
I left for Atlanta thinking about what my husband had said. Some things had to change in my writing schedule. I knew this. Then, I heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips speak at the Golden Network Retreat. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist of what she said was writing is writing.
She explained by telling us that writing is not checking Facebook. Writing is not Tweeting. Writing is not blogging or checking email. Writing is not attending chapter meetings, or having dinner with writer friends. Writing is sitting at the computer and putting words on the page of a story. She uses a timer to keep on task. She sets it for the number of hours she wants to write that day, but stops it when she does anything other than write. If she’s spent too much time doing other things, then she must work into the night to meet her required hours.
SEP’s talk convinced me I needed writing structure, but I also knew I didn’t do well with timers. I consulted with my writing mentor. I told her about SEP’s method, but I kept going back to the day job thing. She recognized I had a five-day workweek hang up and suggested I use it. Every Sunday, I am to look at my calendar for the week, then I am to decide which five days will be my “work” days and which two days will be my “weekend”. She challenged me to write 5 pages a day for those five days. It was a small challenge, but was what she knew was an attainable goal. Then, she asked me, “What happens if you don’t make your five pages one day?” Well. Um. “What would you have done in your day job?”
That question I could answer. It was a no brainer. I would stay late, go in early the next day, or pick up my pace to catch up. Sometimes, if necessary, I’d go in on a weekend. In other words, I’d do what I had to do.
That’s when it clicked. Writing is my day job, and I’d just been given a project. Write five pages a day. If I couldn’t write five pages in one day, then I’d make it up another day. At the end of the week, I needed to have twenty-five pages. If that meant working overtime, then so be it. If that meant staying offline, then that is what I’d have to do. Because as SEP said, “Writing is writing.”
There are a lot of writers who juggle full-time day jobs, families, and all the obligations that entails. They still manage to write, keep up with social media, and get words on the pages. I don’t know how they do it, but I respect and admire them to no end. I was never one of those writers. I couldn’t do it then, and I can’t do it now.
I don’t have anything against social media, and I honestly don’t mind supporting my friends by liking pages, books, posting and re-tweeting. I hope they’ll continue to ask, and I hope they’ll do the same for me when my time comes.
I learned, however, that to focus on my writing, I had to make a choice. I could either control my involvement in social media/blogging/emails, etc. or it could control me. I chose to control it. As a result, I am writing more.
I’m always interested in how other writers manage their time. Who is winning the battle at your house? What works for you? What is your biggest distraction?
Posted by Kim Law Jul 29 2013, 12:01 am in Facebook, RWA Nationals, social media, street teams
I’m sure you’ve all heard it . . . street teams are “the thing” right now. Everyone is getting one! But how do you start one? And what do you do with it when you get one?
I’m far from an expert, but I’ve been watching and listening and playing around with one on my own. I also sat in a street team workshop at Nationals this year just to pick up some tips. Additionally, I’m sure there are many other rubies here with much more knowledge and know how, so please, feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments (because I guarantee I’m only scratching the surface here). Non-rubies…please tell us what you know, as well! This post is here to help, so comment with anything you think others could use. 🙂
Posted by Tamara Hogan May 31 2013, 12:01 am in fun, social media, tamara hogan, Twitter
I’ve always likened Twitter to a global, virtual cocktail party. Depending on who you follow, you can participate in, or overhear, some of the most interesting conversations. But…don’t you sometimes, even while recognizing its importance, get bored to tears with the sheer volume of author promo appearing in your Twitter stream? With seeing upteen retweets of the same promo tweets you scrolled past yesterday? For me, there comes a point where it all just turns into hissing static.
Don’t you sometimes want to go to a different corner of the cocktail party, hang with a different crowd? Use Twitter for PLAY, instead of for WORK? I know I do.
Heresy!!!! BAD AUTHOR!!! I can see agents, editors, and publishers chasing me with flaming torches and pitchforks right about now. But…honestly. Sometimes I desperately need a palate cleanser. Something different, something fresh.
With Twitter, it’s really easy to drop in on those other conversations. You can follow whoever you want, and search for anything you want. Do I have a few minutes between day job meetings? Fire up HootSuite, and see what’s happening in the world. Any breaking news? Who’s been hacked today? Where’s my Science Porn? WHERE ARE MY EMERGENCY KITTENS?! In the reading/writing world, which books are people talking about – not just mindlessly retweeting? What are they saying? Who’s kicking off a #1k1h writing challenge as I dial into my fourth meeting of the morning? #sojealous
My Twitter use kicked into higher gear when I bought a Kindle Fire HD late last year. For better or for worse, I can now tweet from my living room couch in the evenings, and not just from my desktop computer, my laptop, or my smartphone.
Some things I’ve had fun with on Twitter recently:
- I exchanged quips about the TV show #Hoarders with writer Amanda Hocking and comic Michael Ian Black. We deemed the episode we were watching “Extra roachy.”
- Book blogger Limecello and I occasionally snark on #Bones and #SYTYCD together – but we snark out of love.
- I had way too many raunchy #candyheartrejects suggestions on Valentine’s Day. It’s better that some of those tweets never again see the light of day, but the next morning I woke up to 35 new followers. 😉
- I’m thrilled that I’ve received several friendly and innocuous (damn it) direct messages from an athlete/writer/LGBT ally who not too long ago elbowed Johnny Depp off my “Top Ten To Do” list. Minnesota recently became the 12th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, and IMO, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe‘s smart, incisive, and hilariously profane advocacy had a lot to do with it. Damn, can this guy write. And he reads! Books! And tweets about them! And how cool is it that Kluwe’s wife asked him to do beefcake shots for his recent feature in Out magazine? Let me throttle back on the fan-girling long enough to pimp his upcoming book: “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies: On Myths, Morons, Free Speech, Football, and Assorted Absurdities,” his first collection of essays, is coming out end of June 2013. (Here’s a partial index to give you a feel for its content. Language NSFW.)
Does anyone else get a completely over-sized thrill when someone whose work you respect responds to a tweet, retweets or Favorites something you’ve written, or follows you? Thank you, Wil Wheaton, Mindy Kaling, John Taylor, Foo Fighters, Amanda Palmer, and (gulp) the hacker collective Anonymous – not that I’m keeping track or anything. 😉 Foodie and fellow Minnesotan Andrew Zimmern recently followed me after I tweeted “GET IN MY BELLEH!” in response to a picture he posted of some yummy-looking fried chicken. /shrug/ Go figure.
I don’t have a huge list of followers – it’s growing slowly, steadily, and organically – and being I write so slowly, most of them have NO clue I’m a writer…but I guess they’ll find out when they see a very judicious amount of promo in their Twitter streams when I release my next book. (Novella cover reveal below!!)
Whether it’s via Twitter or Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or Pinterest, who do you think has an interesting or entertaining social media presence? Tell us about a time when an RT, DM, Like or Follow gave you a tingle.
Follow me! Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
TOUCH ME, an Underbelly Chronicles novella, is releasing later this summer.
Award-winning author Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting to Silicon Valley, she writes paranormal romance with a sci-fi twist. A feral reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots.
Her debut, TASTE ME, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense, was nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award®, and won Prism Awards for Best Dark Paranormal, Best First Book, and Best of the Best.
“Heresy” comic by Esther Wheaton via Obohemia (Ren) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.5
Posted by Kim Law Feb 11 2013, 12:01 am in Facebook, goodreads, promo, social media, Twitter
Book promo…author promo…just jab a needle in my eye and make it stop 🙂
OK, maybe it’s not quite that bad, but promo is a necessary evil, right? We all have to do it! And who of use really likes it? I would venture to guess, very few of us. So…since it’s likely very few people’s favorite part of the job (possibly NO ONE’S favorite part of the job), I would like to know What Really Works?
I’m sure you would, too! 🙂
Posted by Jeannie Lin Nov 6 2012, 12:01 am in blog tours, blogging, social media
You know how it goes…
- You spend hours writing a thoughtful post and no one sees it
- You’re giving away free books, gift cards, candy and your first born child, and there are only two comments
- You’re guest blogging somewhere and you have to BEG your friends and family to go over and comment so you don’t look like a LOSER
- You blog with a group of people and every week you find yourselves scrounging around and to fill empty slots
There was a time when blogging was supposed to be the thang. Everyone was doing it. Publishers were holding seminars on how to blog effectively. Unpublished authors were told it was important to blog and build a platform even before selling. But now, more and more of us are wondering, is it really worth it?
“Is blogging dead?”
Posted by Tamara Hogan Oct 26 2012, 12:01 am in agita, CHASE ME, social media, tamara hogan, Technology
For authors, it’s pretty much de rigueur to promote our work, and engage with our readers, using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. But for many people in the information technology field, willingly supplying personal information to any third party unless it’s absolutely required is…unthinkable. Anathema. Gets you sprinkled with loser dust.
Being both an author and a technologist, social media is a subject of massive personal agita for me.
My native mindset is that of the technologist: security and risk focused. I have an innate personal desire for silence and privacy, near-zero socialization needs, am massively introverted, and have an ongoing challenge with digital overload…add growing up Scandanavian and Lutheran in Minnesota, where, as Garrison Keillor says about Lake Wobegon on A Prairie Home Companion, every child is above average, so there’s no need to go tooting your horn, little missy. Is it any wonder social media and promotion are not exactly natural fits for me?
And then there’s the physical safety issue.
There was an unfortunate incident recently that brought all this agita to the forefront: a literary agent recently reported having been assaulted by a disgruntled author. As an assault and stalking victim myself, reading this story made my stomach plummet to my feet like an elevator in free-fall. As a technologist, I found the divergent attitudes toward social media to be rather eye-opening. From the story:
Van Hylckama Vlieg said the incident taught her to be more cautious about her job and social media usage. Until the incident, she had been a keen user of the location-based social networking service Foursquare, often sharing her location in and around her daughter’s school, where the attack took place.
“My husband works for Yahoo,” van Hylckama Vlieg says. “A lot of people who work in tech[nology] circles tend to be more open [with their information].”
I found this comment startling. It doesn’t align with my experience of technologists at all. Several commenters expressed similar views:
The IT people in my family are absolutely paranoid about the internet…constantly warning us all not to put anything out there at all. They don’t use any social media – no Facebook, no Tweet, no nothing. They even refuse to order stuff online using credit cards and each have several email addresses not using any variation of their names. –– Susan of Wales
Same with mine. My father’s in Information Security…he’s the most paranoid person in my family about sharing information over the internet. No addresses, alias when I post something (sometimes) and never do things like tell my age and stuff… I know very few IT people that are open with their information on the Web. – Mercy Grant
Being a successful author today pretty much requires that you reach out to readers, reviewers, and other writers using digital means. But what do you do when the requirements of the author’s job utterly collide with beliefs and behaviors forged by decades of professional experience and personal inclination? From the technologist’s perspective, I’m a clueless loser if I willingly feed the digital maw with likes, tags, tweets and clicks, or provide more personal data than I absolutely must. From an author’s or publisher’s perspective, I’m a paranoid loser if I don’t.
Sometimes my brain feels utterly cleaved in two.
It’s a struggle for me to try to explain to friends and loved ones exactly why so many technologists are so rabid about data privacy. It’s challenging to talk about such a complex subject in a meaningful way without a shared vocabulary. How do you condense a career’s worth of knowledge, experience, research and concern into a casual conversation, or into a blog post? Where do you even start? (I tried: “Ten Things You Can Do To Reduce Hack Risk” Part 1 and Part 2) Technologists are concerned because we simply don’t know who can access, use, buy or sell our personal data, now or into the future. We don’t know how our personal data might be used. The law is about fifteen years behind technology here – the last significant update to the Telecommunications Act was made in 1996 – so in the absence of meaningful and appropriate consumer protections, we choose to protect ourselves.
I try to make what I hope are informed compromises. Writing under a pseudonym has been very helpful for this purpose. Tamara has a Facebook account and fan page; Tammy doesn’t. Tamara has a Twitter feed; Tammy doesn’t. Yes, Tamara and Tammy share computers, ISPs, IP addresses, and other technological trackables, but the risk of any one individual having enough interest, time and skill to connect the digital dots between Tamara and Tammy is relatively low—not zero, mind you, but low. Making a mental distinction between Tamara and Tammy helps me navigate this risk more productively.
Like the children of Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, I want to be above average in everything I do, but when push comes to shove, Tammy’s concerns will always trump Tamara’s. Always. This means that Tamara, who writes and sells books, pays a price. She doesn’t always hold up her end of the bargain, promotion-wise. She isn’t above average – at least as far as sales go.
And that realization really, really stings.
Do you ever experience social media agita? If so, what do you do about it?
Award-winning author Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting to Silicon Valley, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. A feral reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
“Gabe. Where can I get me one of him? Sexy and smart? That is a diabolical combination that left me wanting to hunt down this man and make him my own.” – Redheads Review It Better
“It’s sweet. It’s fun. It’s downright naughty. I can’t wait to see what pairing gets their book next.” – Pure Textuality
Posted by Hope Ramsay Dec 16 2011, 12:01 am in author promotion, Facebook, social media, Twitter
Whether you are a published or soon-to-be published author, the chances are pretty good that you’ve already been thinking about social networking. If you’re a published author, your publisher has probably insisted that you do this. If you’re an indie author, knowing this stuff can make a huge difference in building readership. If you’re pre-published, learning this stuff before you sell can be a huge time saver.
So, like it or not, we right-brained authors need to learn a few left-brain tricks.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned any of this stuff before I sold my first book, so I had to do a lot of catching up while simultaneously trying to meet killer book deadlines. I would not recommend this method of learning.
And so, in the interest of sparing you some of the pain I’ve gone through, I thought I would pass along a few helpful tricks that might give you a running head start in trying to stay “social.”
How to have a blog delivered to your email account.
Let’s start with something really simple, like having the content of the blogs you want to follow, including the Ruby Sister blog, delivered to your email. To do this, you’ll need to learn about something called a “Real Simple Syndication Feed,” otherwise known as an RSS feed. (And, no, that is not short for Ruby Slippered Sisterhood.)
Every WordPress and Blogger site has an RSS feed that contains the content of the blog. An RSS feed looks like an Internet URL address, but it’s not the address for the blog — just for the blog’s content. Here is the URL address for the Ruby Sister blog feed.
If you follow this feed, you’ll see all of the blogs posted on the Ruby Sister Blog, displayed in a webpage without our site’s navigation buttons and graphics.
Using an RSS feed, you can have just the content of the Ruby Sister blog delivered to your email account on a daily basis. All you have to do is visit “Feed My Inbox” (http://www.feedmyinbox.com/). At this site, you simply enter the URL for the Ruby Sister blog and your email address and voila you’re done. Every day you’ll get an email containing the blog posted here on the Ruby Sister blog.
Obviously if there are other blogs you want to follow, you’ll need to get their blog feed. Luckily there are specific naming rules for WordPress and Blogger RSS feeds. Below you’ll find a link to more information about this, so you can figure out the feed for each of your favorite blogs and have them delivered to you, instead of having to go onto the Internet and search for them.
For a full discourse on RSS feeds from WordPress blogs, follow this link: http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Feeds
For more information on Blogger RSS feeds, follow this link: http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=97933
Following blog comments
It turns out that WordPress and Blogger have RSS feeds that include more than just the content of the blog posts. You can also follow comments posted on a blog. So if you want to follow the comments that are posted on the Ruby Sister Blog, the URL would look like this:
Like any other RSS feed, you can have this one delivered to your email.
Following a specific blog author
It gets better — and more useful — because WordPress has a way of filtering an RSS feed. You can filter a feed in a number of ways, but for me the most useful is to filter the feed so that it provides only the posts of a specific blog author. So if, for example, you wanted to read blog posts that were submitted only by me, the RSS feed would look like this:
Using a blog feed on your own webpage
I use my own Ruby Sister author feed to build content on my own webpage. If you follow this link: http://hoperamsay.com/news-feeds/, you’ll see how my posts at the Ruby Sister blog show up on my own webpage. I don’t have to create these links by hand, using my RSS feed, they post automatically.
My webpage uses WordPress so I have a huge array of free software “plugins” that help me manage the page pretty effectively. The WordPress plugin to display my Ruby Sister author feed is called “Syndicate Press” (http://henryranch.net/software/syndicate-press/), but there are others available. I am not familiar with Blogger webpages, but I’m sure there are methods that you could use to have your author RSS feed embedded on a blogger webpage. If your webpage is more traditionally built, you may have to check with your webpage designer for ways to have your author feed embedded into your webpage. But if you are blogging at other sites, you should not miss this opportunity to automatically keep your webpage content dynamic.
Using a blog feed to create Facebook content
Suppose you have a webpage like I do that includes a blog. I occasionally make posts on my own blog, as well as participating in multi-author blogs. Every time I blog, I want to make sure that I let my friends on Facebook know about it. If you visit my facebook author page, you’ll find my blogs posted in two different ways. I have a tab on my facebook page that shows the feed from various blogs that I participate in. In addition, every time I create a blog, a Facebook status update is created, with an automatic link to the blog.
I use an app called “Social RSS” to make this happen. The free version of social RSS will post the blog feed to your Facebook status timeline or author wall in about 24 to 48 hours after the initial blog post. Because I want my feeds to show up quicker than that, I pay for the premium version of this service.
I have to be honest, I like this app, but it sometimes malfunctions. I’ve been searching for a better way to do this, but I haven’t found it yet. If anyone has suggestions, please leave a comment. The point, though, is that it is possible to link your blog feeds to your Facebook page automatically, using an RSS feed. And anyone who regularly blogs, should be taking advantage of this connectivity.
What else can you do?
Well, it turns out that Facebook and twitter also have feeds. And with a little bit of research you can figure out ways to do some pretty interesting things. For instance:
- You can connect Facebook and twitter so that the feed for every one of your Facebook posts is automatically tweeted. There are two advantages to using twitter this way: 1) you don’t have to worry so much about the character count, and 2) you only have to post a status update or comment once. Follow this link to set this up: http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=123006872130#!/twitter/
- You can put your Facebook or twitter feed directly on your WordPress website. I embedded my Facebook feed on my own webpage by using a WordPress plug-in called “Simple Facebook Connect.” Not only does this plugin allow me to embed my Facebook feed on my webpage, but it also allows my readers to “like” posts and other content on my page. If I wanted to, I could allow users to post Facebook comments on my webpage content. If you visit my page (www.hoperamsay.com) you’ll see my Facebook feed on the right sidebar.
- I have also opted to use Constant Contact to manage my mailing list. This is a paid service, so it might not be for everyone. But one of the advantages of using Constant Contact is that the service provides a mailing list app that I can use on my Facebook page as well as my personal webpage. Facebook normally doesn’t have a mailing list option, so if you are an author and trying to build a mailing list, I strongly recommend that you find a service that will allow you to connect a mailing list option on your Facebook page. Constant Contact also has a way for people on my mailing list to tweet and to share my email messages to them, potentially broadening every mailing that I send to my mailing list.
- If you are using both twitter and Facebook to communicate with readers or friends, it can get really tiresome flipping from the Facebook interface to the twitter interface. There are two great solutions for this problem. You can download free software called “Tweetdeck.” Alternatively, you can visit www.hootsuite.com and set up a hootsuite account. Both of these solutions allow you to set up multiple twitter, Facebook, and linkedin accounts in one place. You can post to all of your accounts in a single post, instead of trying to post in multiple places. Using hootsuite has really saved me a lot of time.
I am only beginning to explore additional ways to connect my presence as an author on Goodreads and Amazon to my webpage and Facebook. So I can’t provide much help on those things right now. But I would sure be interested in hearing any other tips from readers and authors about connecting things up and staying social.