Advice, Marketing, My Books, Publish, Social Media, Writing

Just say no more!

Publishing The Brevity of Roses was the fulfillment of a dream … and then it became a nightmare. It’s been nine months since publication day, so I’ve had time to gain a new perspective on what I did wrong. One thing I’ve learned is that marketing advice—like writing advice—should never be swallowed whole.

Those of you still looking forward to publication are probably working to “establish an online presence” because that’s usually #1 on the advice lists. If you, like me, are not a social butterfly, you’ve probably discovered that being a social media butterfly is no easier. Well, maybe a little easier because you don’t have to worry about your hair and clothes—unless you go all out and do video interviews. In any case, it takes a lot of your time.

While I should have been putting all my time and energy into writing another book, I spent gobs of it on Twitter. Gobs. What did I accomplish? I amassed almost 1,700 followers! YAY—um, no. Most of those followers are other authors hoping to sell me their books. Yes, I have a few friends there. That’s good. That’s also maybe 2% of my “followers”. I don’t think Twitter has helped me sell many books.

I also created a Facebook Author Page. I’ve never really done anything with it. Who am I supposed to connect with there? My target readers? Nope. Haven’t seen any. Mostly it’s authors supporting other authors. That’s wonderful, of course, but I already have that here on my blog.

And I joined SheWrites, Women On the Verge, Google+ and LinkedIn because I was advised to get my name out there. Be visible is the command. And what about Tumblr? Hey, there must be a way to use Pinterest as an author. What next? What next? What next?

How much of the last nine months did I spend writing my next book? Not a lot. Here’s what I’ve learned: I put the cart before the horse. Maybe when I have three or four or five books published (and another nearly ready) THEN I should spend a big chunk of my time “socializing” as an author.

Until then, I’ve picked the single online place where I’m comfortable, which is right here, and I’m letting the rest languish. I’m the real me here. And just being me feels great.

If you’re an author, have you found significant time spent on social media to be a benefit or a drain?

Contest, My Books, Social Media, Writing

Have you entered the Invisibility Cloak Contest?

Let’s shake up the mid-season blahs with a contest! Do you recognize this book cover? Unfortunately not a lot of people do. If you’re a new author, particularly a non-genre fiction writer not backed by a publicity department, it’s hard to get your target readers to notice your book. Maybe you didn’t realize that. Today, I’m asking you to help make The Brevity of Roses more visible.

(If you want to know more about the book or read the first two chapters free, just click the cover image, one of the red title links, or the tab at the top of the page.)

You probably reach more people online than you realize. Certainly, you each connect to people I don’t know. Some of those people would love reading my novel—if only they knew it existed. I want to tell them. How can you help, you ask? Promote my contest.

I’m giving someone a chance to read The Brevity of Roses absolutely FREE by giving away an autographed print copy! I need your help to get the word out about my giveaway. First, you may enter the contest yourself. Then, do your best to get as many other people as possible to enter. You can do that by announcing the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, or anywhere else you can.

How do you enter? It’s simple. Just leave a comment on this post. Want to increase your chances? Get one extra entry for each place you mention this contest, but you’ll have to let me know where I can see your comment, tweet, status update, etc. and give you credit. For instance, if you leave a comment here, Tweet about the contest three times during its run, mention it on your blog once, and post a link in your Facebook status once, that’s SIX contest entries for you.

The contest will run for 10 days. Random.org will select the winner at 7am PST on Wednesday, January 26,2012. Good luck to all!

C’mon, help me lift this cloak of invisibility off The Brevity of Roses!

Blog Stuff, My Books, Questions, Social Media, Writing

Has my blog passed its Use By date?

Today, I’m questioning the continued existence of this blog. It’s reached the point where I can no longer deny that visitor stats are in decline. Ignoring the ludicrous bump they took after being Freshly Pressed in March (and the overflow to the following month) and the mysterious slight rise in October, my visitor counts have decreased since 2010.

I have no reliable way to know how many people might read my posts in email or a blog reader, so I tell myself that I still have tons of interested readers, they just don’t come online to be counted. But am I fooling myself?

It’s been a weird year on this blog, for many reasons. I admit my posts have deteriorated from hopeful excitement leading up to the publishing of The Brevity of Roses, to disappointment, grumbling, whining, and bewilderment. Hmmm … sounds like a good way to send readers scrambling, doesn’t it?

  • Novel thought—maybe I should work harder to write quality posts.
  • Maybe I should post less frequently. I, too, get overwhelmed trying to keep up with some bloggers.
  • Maybe it’s not my particular blog. (I’m grasping here.) Maybe blogs are passé. Maybe everyone has moved on to something else. Something shinier. If so, I didn’t get that memo.
  • Maybe it’s cyclical. Many of my earlier followers have gone on to be serious writers, and some of them serious bloggers. They have their hands full with their own followers. Others are still working toward publication and they want blogs with helpful writing advice, which they’re increasingly hard-pressed to find here.
  • Maybe that’s the thing— I’m comparing apples and oranges again. I blog, but I’m not a Blogger. I don’t have any clout—or should I say Klout? I’m not destined to have a big following. I shouldn’t expect a growing readership.  Accept that. Be thankful for the readers I have (and I am). Move on.

Many I know have quit blogging, or greatly curtailed it, so apparently they don’t miss it. But I believe I would. And since I’ve already concluded that I’m a bust at Twitter and Google+, my blog is my only real “public” presence. Still, I’d hate to be the last to realize it’s time to mark this blog expired and remove it from the shelf.

*sigh*

I’m stubborn. I’ll probably be the last blogger standing. But maybe some changes are due around here.

Any suggestions?

Books, Family, Reader, Reading, Real Life, Social Media, Travel, Writing

Welcome to the Jumble

In other words, welcome to the inside of my head. (That reads as a total non sequitur if you didn’t read the title of this post.) Anyway, I’m blogging today about a few little things rolling around in my mind.

Yesterday, I downloaded my first library book to my Kindle. It was almost as exciting as getting my first library card eons ago. The print book has been on my request list for two months and I estimated it would have taken another two months before I got to the top of the waiting list. As soon as I found out Amazon had worked things out with Overdrive to allow downloads to Kindle, I added it to my library’s eBook waiting list and five days later, I got notice it was available to download.

My youngest son and his wife bought tickets for my husband and I to fly to visit them in the exotic locale of Lincoln, Nebraska. My son warned us there isn’t a lot to do there, but we don’t mind. It will be the first time we’ve seen them at their home in Lincoln, and we’ll be happy just to sit and talk. He said we might go apple picking, and I realized later, he’s the only son I ever picked apples with and that was thirty years ago.

I don’t know what to think about the new Facebook. I don’t really understand the Subscriptions thing. The Lists, I get because it’s like Google+ circles. When I post a status update, I can choose which of my lists it goes to, but what if I reply to a friend’s status? Do all my Lists see that? People are posting all sorts of scary messages about the increased privacy invasion with the new Facebook, so I’m a little paranoid now. Some people are complaining about the new Ticker, but I don’t even see it on my Home or Wall. If all my friends and family would move to Google+, I’d just forget about Facebook. Well … I do  like to play Gardens of Time or Bejeweled Blitz when I need to veg.

All right, except for this short story I’m struggling with, those are about the most interesting marbles rolling around in my brain today. What’s in yours?