I will be a guest on “Crossing the Void” radio show on Wednesday, March 5th, from 9-11P Central / 10-Midnight Eastern. We’ll be talking about ghosts, writing, hauntings, and all things paranormal. You can listen LIVE at Hey-Z Radio (The Energy Drink for Your Soul). Here is the link:
Many writers ask about marketing their books on Twitter. I’m not a Twitter expert, but I’ve enjoyed mild success by marketing by books on Twitter. How? It’s simple. It’s about good manners and hashtags.
I try to tweet once every day or so; I don’t overdo it. That’s my biggest challenge, as I don’t like moderation. “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and worth doing BIG–to the max, to the limit, over the limit!” is one of my many “patisms.” If you can’t, or won’t, give something 250%, 500% of the time, then don’t do it! Okay, enough. But I digress….
One day, I’ll tweet about the weather; the next day, a fellow author’s book; and the next, my writing progress. Then, about once every week or so, I will tweet to people that one of my books is currently on sale (which it is). I’ve tweet-promoted my books more frequently, but with no results. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that while people love to hear about good books, they don’t like having books shoved down their throats. “Buy my book!” “Buy my book!” tweeted 30 times daily, by the same author, not only makes an ass of the author, but also irritates his or her soon-to-be unfollowers. Be humble. Be nice. Remember that Twitter is a social interaction tool, and should be used to SOCIALIZE with people. There’s nothing wrong with advertising your books, but a little moderation and more socialization–personal socialization–go a long way. And, so do hashtags.
I’ll spare you from my long, ad-nauseous definition of a hashtag, and say, simply, go check out http://www.hashtags.org . You’ll learn what a hashtag is, why it’s important, which hashtags are “trending,” which hashtags have the most activity, and a thousand other points to consider when hashtagging your tweets. Once you’ve learned what hashtags are (assuming you don’t already know), see my list, below, which can be helpful to authors.
PLEASE consult hashtags.org and RESEARCH any hashtag you plan to use. Understand what it is, what it isn’t, and when, and when not, to use it. If you misuse a hashtag, you’re subject to embarrassment and ridicule from the Twitter gods.
Basic Book Stuff –
#novel #new #paperbacks #short #story #greatread #whattoread #books #nonfiction #storytelling #book #mustread #writers #pubwrite #writetip #fridayreads
Indie and eBook Stuff –
#ebooks #epublishing #epublishers #epub #digitalpublishing #selfpub #readanindiefriday #indieauthor & #indieauthors #indiepublishing #indiepub
Quote from your book-
Genre Stuff –
#RWA (Romance Writers of America)
#ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
#SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
The Book Industry –
Reach out to Readers (IMPORTANT!!!!!!)-
Ok, I’ve let the cat out of the bag and given you my secret. Again, PLEASE consult hashtags.org and RESEARCH any hashtag you plan to use. Understand what it is, what it isn’t, and when, and when not, to use it.
This is Part One of my pseudo-sarcastic series about destroying one’s credibility as an author. I’m not being mean, and I’m definitely not pointing my finger at anyone; I’m just tired of seeing the same old unsavory practices all day, every day. Writing a book is hard, I know. But who said writing is an author’s only job? Granted, writing is the most important part of an author’s job, but non-writing responsibilities, such as promotion, time management, financial management, and public relations, also play a role in achieving success as an author, especially if you’re an independent, or “indie” author.
The manner in which independent authors perform the non-writing aspects of their jobs speaks not only for the individual authors, but for all independent authors. When many authors make the same mistakes again and again, the book-buying public lumps all independent authors together. And that’s when you read such comments as, “Oh yeah, invincible self-published authors and their massive, vapor-filled ego bubbles,” or, “Our publication no longer reviews self-published books because the authors lash out at us if we give their books less-than-stellar reviews.” Sound familiar? And speaking of reviews… Part One of my series deals with handling bad reviews.
~ How to Mishandle Bad Reviews and Destroy Your Credibility and Reputation ~
1) When you receive a bad review, immediately “lash out” at the reviewer. Call them a jerk, and insist that they don’t understand the book or, alternatively, that they had read the book through their eyes instead of your eyes. If the review noted spelling or gramattical errors, simply tell the reviewer, “Nobody’s perfect! A few errors aren’t a big deal.”
The reality: Reviews are for readers, not authors. The author’s job is to create a reading experience for the reader, and then back away. Commenting back on reviews is authorial intrusion at its worst, and in addition to eroding your credibility and reputation as an author, it will likely earn you more bad reviews and/or a spot on one of the many “misbehaving authors to avoid” lists. To put it bluntly, when you receive a bad review, suck it up and move on. Unless the review contains profanity, racism, or a very explicit personal attack, nobody is going to remove it for you.
But, what if a competing author, their publisher, or someone who hates you submits a trash review? Sadly, it happens all the time. It has happened to me twice, plus a third review came from someone who exploded when I didn’t support their relative a local election. There’s nothing you can do about it, although karma usually wins out over the long run. I’ll tell you that story some other time. Now for the good news… Readers are smart! Most readers can spot a “rigged” review faster than you can spot one, and they often vote down bogus reviews as being “not helpful.”
Now, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Let’s suppose a valid customer submits a bad review and goes into detail. Send them a check! Really. They’ve done what most people won’t do without a fee. They’ve pointed out things you need to work on. Such bad reviews are invaluable in developing and furthering your writing career.
2) When you receive a bad review, vote it down and ask your friends, relatives, and forum buddies to vote it down or leave nasty comments. You can easily bury the bad review, and potential customers will see only good reviews unless they spend oodles of time digging–and most won’t.
The reality: Again, reviews are for readers, not authors. Also, a review’s helpfulness rating influences book-buying decisions. Voting down (or up) a review is manipulating, or “gaming” the system to make one’s book appear better or more popular than it really is. It is a deliberate and willful misrepresentation of a material fact, for the purpose of achieving financial gain. And yes, the F-word applies here: Fraud. Gaming the system not only damages your credibility and reputation as an author, it also calls into question your integrity as a human being–by making you appear as someone who will “do anything for a dollar, even if you have to mislead people.”
3) If a competing book is more successful than your book, or if you’re afraid it will become more successful, visit every review site on the internet and give it trash reviews.
The reality: Much has been said about this practice, but nothing good. I can’t think of anything more unprofessional or unethical than an author’s trashing of a competing author’s book. Sure, authors have the right to an opinion, but sometimes opinions are best left unsaid, especially when an obvious conflict of interest exists. As I said earlier, readers are smart. If you trash the work of your competitors, readers will catch on and your plan will backfire.
Now, a few parting words. You shouldn’t over-analyze reviews; weigh them and move on. If a reviewer gives useful tips, take them to heart. If you receive tons of great reviews, pat yourself on the back, but don’t think you’re J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. If you get lots of bad reviews, take a close look at your writing; you might need to develop and hone your skills. And remember that reviews aren’t about you; reviews are about your books, by readers and for readers. Step back. Don’t intrude. Allow readers to give their opinions and to judge for themselves the merits of other reviews.
The bottom line: If you get a bad review, don’t make an ass of yourself.
Up Next Week: Part Two – Getting Sucked Into the Virtual Whirlwind of the Internet, aka, the ClickFest
Today I enjoyed the company of Devon and Angie of Mysterious World TV. During the three-hour interview, we discussed The Bell Witch: The Full Account and Ghostly Cries From Dixie, along with a few stories from the latter. We talked about “Mary,” the ghost of Memphis, Tennessee’s famed Orpheum Theatre, Voodoo queen Marie LaVeau and New Orleans ghosts, the abandoned Waverly Hills TB Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, the “Devil’s Tramping Ground” in North Carolina, ghost lights (Will O’ the Wisp), and the infamous “Bell Witch” of Tennessee. We all had a great time. And now, back to writing–after some much-needed sleep.
This has been a busy week. I’m working on the sixth draft of my upcoming book, From Turkey Creek – A Memoir, and each day I’m cutting 4-6 pages of unnecessary prose. That’s what it’s all about: Making more sense with fewer, more precise words. The tighter and more precise the writing, the easier and more entertaining the read. Besides working on “Turkey Creek,” I’ve also begun researching for my next ghost story book, which will require extensive travel and planning. Yesterday was spent thanking those who wished me a happy B-Day and V-Day, and last night I got some much-needed shuteye. On Sunday, I have a TV taping, which will last about three hours.
Meanwhile, and behind the scenes, I’ve been working on a new post for my blog. Akin to a serial article, the finished product will be a step-by-step guide for authors seeking to destroy their credibility and careers. Although a good number of newer, inexperienced authors have already swirled their egos into narcissistic tailspins and experienced the resultant, career-ending literary nosedives, I feel it’s time for a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek discussion of the things authors should NEVER do. If it helps only one person, I will be happy. Expect it in a couple weeks.
In the interim, please read the post, below, which illustrates one example of how not to succeed as an author. It’s from Gayla at Feral Intensity:
This lady (see link, above) has got it right. Carefully estimate when your book will be released, create a professional press release, and let the buzz begin!
Thirty-plus years of writing and publishing has taught me a few things, the most important of which is: “Keep it simple.” Take the old-fashioned, tried-and-true, bread-and-butter approach to promoting yourself and your books. If you have a decent, timely book about something people are interested in and want to read about, a concise and carefully-worded press release will help you to get the word out quickly and effectively.
Over a short period, more people will hear about your book by reading newspapers, watching TV, and listening to their radios on the way to work than by surfing the internet and stumbling across your blog or Facebook. A book release, assuming that the book is timely and promises a good read, is newsworthy; hence, the media are likely to mention it.
After you create the first wave of your release buzz, send your forthcoming book’s description and, preferably, a couple sample chapters to your local bookstore’s small press or community events coordinator, asking for a signing at the store. Call or visit a few days later, to follow up. Do this with every bookstore in your area. You’ll most likely get two or three signings if you play your cards right. Once you’ve scheduled the signings, create and send a press release for each one.
The additional press releases and the signings themselves will create more buzz, and open doors for more promotion and bigger opportunities. Aside from the two hours you spend crafting a professional press release, the effort costs you nothing but leaves you with plenty to gain.
I found Mark Coker’s predictions interesting, but not surprising. I would encourage other writers–especially independents who produce eBooks–to read the article and take heed. Mark’s predictions usually end up being right on the money. Click the title of this post to read the article.