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.

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?

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.

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!

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.

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?

A whole lot of networking … too little socializing!

It doesn’t take much to find a friend nowadays. One mouse click and you’re someone’s Friend. Or not. One mouse click and you’re in someone’s Circle of trust. Or not. One mouse click and you’re Following someone like a devoted puppy. Or not.

It doesn’t take much to find a friend nowadays. One mouse click and you’re someone’s Friend. Or not. One mouse click and you’re in someone’s Circle of trust. Or not. One mouse click and you’re Following someone like a devoted puppy. Or not.

“Social” networking is mostly illusion. Have you ever taken a pre-schooler to the park and noticed that after five minutes of play with a child they’ve never seen before, they refer to that child as “my friend”? Yeah, social networking is like that. Cute, isn’t it?

If you’re a writer and read many industry blogs, you’re probably familiar with the use-social-media-to-build-your-platform message. I’d already started blogging when I first read that, but I took their advice to heart and joined Twitter. The advice said that I needed to have at least 1,000 followers before my book release date.

So, for the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter, which is why I’m focusing on that today. Yes, I tweet links to all my blog posts and, more recently, some book promotion, but I also retweet at least three times as many links by others as well as RTing their quotes, witticisms, and announcements. I try to have fun. I try to start or join in conversations. Months ago, I hit 1,000 followers and kept going.

I’m now at the point where I can avoid Twitter for a week and still gain 20-30 new followers. It has nothing to do with my brilliant skills at tweeting. It has nothing to do with me at all. I expect at least half those people immediately punt me to a list they never check. They aren’t interested in seeing any of my tweets … in interacting with me at all. I’m just a number they hope will follow them back and increase their counts—and, of course, read their brilliant tweets and buy their products. That’s social networking for you.

Until recently, tweeting links to my blog posts always generated a fair amount of blog hits, but even so, I have a feeling most of those hits were from people who read my posts anyway. The biz blogs led me to believe being on Twitter would be a big help to book sales, but I question that now. I can’t track all sales, of course, so I could be wrong. Still I wonder if the effort put forth on Twitter equals the benefit gained. (I could write a whole post on this, and I may, but for now, back to the social side.)

In my experience, except for blogging, there’s very little socializing in social media. No matter how many new followers I gain, interaction seems to come only from the same small group. “Coincidently” that group contains the same few who interact with me here on this blog—most of them since the early days. And most of those, I’ve also corresponded with by email. We might have even shared a thing or two about our non-writing lives. If they lived near me, I’d invite them over for lunch. Friends.

I’m open to new friendships, of course, I just won’t be as naïve as a four-year-old in recognizing them. I’m extremely thankful for those I do call friends. That’s why I’m rethinking how much of my time and energy I devote to my social networking “friends.” I think I’ve been short-changing my real friends—and that’s just not nice.

When your writing is like chocolate …

That post title is a bit of a cheat because I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. I know. It’s hard to believe a woman said that—and a writer even! But if the title had read “When your writing is like potato chips and yellow mustard …” maybe only one of you would have known what I meant.

That post title is a bit of a cheat because I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. I know. It’s hard to believe a woman said that—and a writer even! But if the title had read “When your writing is like potato chips and yellow mustard …” maybe only one of you would have known what I meant.

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw this tweet from me last week: I feel great. Changed POV and tense and managed to add 1,700 words so far today. Then I spread writing fairy dust all around and went back to writing. On that day, writing was like chocolate … or chips and mustard.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably expecting me to add a BUT to that statement as in that was then, this is now. Surprise! I’m still excited about what I’m writing. And get this … I’ll be happy even if I end up changing the POV and tense again. (A real possibility because I found out today that what I’m proposing to do is not the norm.)

What I’m really thrilled about is making the decision to write this particular book. I’ve committed. The two other books I’d started will have to wait their turn. I had doubts about writing this book and I entertained them. I was up and down, back and forth, until I decided the easiest thing to do would be quit writing altogether.

Silly me.

That problem was I’d forgotten to take off my marketing hat. From now, when I open that file, I’m a writer. A WRITER! Marketing be damned.