Wednesday Writing Tip – Engage

Navigating social media as an author can be tricky. If you’ve not already accumulated a good friend-base on any given platform, starting up new ones with the sole purpose of selling your books is hit and miss. So, why does this marketing strategy work for some, and not for others? I think Bobbi Holmes nailed it today. Before I go on, and add to what she’s already said, read her post FOLLOW ME, I’LL FOLLOW BACK – IS THAT TWITTER? 

Did you finish reading it? Good. Plan on reading it later? Okay, I’ll summarize: Bobbi, like myself, is a writer (check her out, she’s awesome). And also like myself, she’s been trying to navigate the Twitter scene for several years, trying multiple ways to make a place for herself and her readers. She’s recently cleaned up her follow list in order to see what she wants to see in her feed, and be more able to properly engage with her followers. Makes sense, right?

I agree 100% with Bobbi that engagement is key. And I’ll break down each site I  use to explain why and how this works for me:

FACEBOOK

Admittedly one of the most popular user-friendly social media outlets where real online friendships can be formed and kept, Facebook leads the charge for me in my marketing endeavors. Not necessarily because I want it too, though. I despise how our Timeline feeds are adjusted by the automated FB bots, not by ourselves, which limits what our own friends, family and followers actually see in their feeds. Marketing on FB is harder, with stricter rules, and harsh consequences (I doubt there’s an author on FB who hasn’t heard of another that was locked out of their account due to breaking or abusing FB’s posting guidelines). Not to mention there is absolutely ZERO Customer Support. Those with business pages, like myself, are now forced to pay for posts if we want more than a teeny percent of our followers to see our posts. But the numbers don’t lie, and compared to all of my other social media platforms, FB takes the lead with engagement and actual marketing success. Plus, FB is full of real people, who truly want to interact with friends, family coworkers and their favorite actors, singers, and yes…authors. I’ve met many amazing people via my FB author page. Engaging with my readers is very easy to do here. A warning about FB – it’s a massive time-suck for writers (pfft, for everyone, right?) and is why I now schedule my FB visits and even removed the app from my phone. A year ago.

My Recent FB Stats: Author Page Likes – 2,441. Post Reach for this week – 1,090 (Best individual post reach today – 123). Post Engagement – 72 (Best individual post engagement – 18). Reach this week is down 58%, Engagement is down 44%, Page Likes are down 25%.

TWITTER

Unlike many others, I don’t go to Twitter specifically for news, but news spreads like wildfire on this platform. Which means there is no shortage of celebrity drama. But it’s a fabulous place to find all sorts of discussions about current events – be them about the latest controversial Kardashian selfie, or the current US political debate. There’s what I’ll call an ‘epidemic’ of auto-following here and a never-ending race to get the most followers, even if this means you have to follow thousands of strangers to make that happen. There’s a lot of spamming, which makes the occasional marketing post get lost almost instantly. And the place can be overwhelming. But there are real people on Twitter too, and often times those readers of mine that don’t FB, find me on Twitter. It’s easy to share content on Twitter, a simple RT, which means that if a post is favored, the ability for reach can skyrocket. But, as Bobbi mentioned in her post, there’s little follow-through without consistent engagement, which is really hard to achieve when the Twitter Timeline flies faster than Superman. This is when ‘Lists’ come in handy. Engaging with my own readers is possible, but difficult. Engaging with other authors is no problem at all, because there’s a trillion of us on Twitter. A warning about Twitter – once you tweet it, you can’t delete it. I mean, you can delete the original post, but unless you did it instantly, and only have five followers, if it’s at all juicy, or controversial, chances are it’s already been RT’d by the time you say, ‘Crap’ and possibly even shared on other platforms. In other words – don’t drink and Tweet, people.

My Recent Twitter Stats: Followers – 10.8k. Following – 9,947. Recent Tweet Impressions – 5,710. Mentions – 7. Tweets Linking back to my page – 16. Profile visits, Mentions and Impressions are all down 20+ percent this week.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a photo sharing site mainly designed to filter traffic back to business websites that sell a product or link to a blog or website article. Think DIY, How To’s, funny memes and Etsy listings, recipes, stores, just to name a few. I am a Pinterest addict. There’s something cathartic about pinning hundreds of hair styles I don’t know how to do, clothing styles that won’t support my bust, and meals I’ll mostly drool over because I don’t often have the right ingredients to make them.

But as for marketing, I love my Bookish board. And I have an inspiration board for each of my book series. All authors should do this. Why? Even if you are like me, and your most popular pin of the week is a piece of jewelry that has nothing to do with anything you write, your readers can get an inside glimpse of your fictional worlds, which makes them connected to your work in a unique way. Plus, a lot of people are visual. Book covers are a wonderful thing to Pin, and many readers do this themselves. It’s a fun thing to find new pins of your books uploaded onto Pinterest by your readers. It’s marketing without having to do all the work yourself. But…a word of caution…Pinterest can take over your life. Pin carefully.

My Recent Pinterest Stats: Followers – 2.4k. Following – 1.3k. Profile Likes – 15.6k. Average Daily Impressions – 9,559 – up 39%. Average Daily Views – 5,708 – up 12%. Average Monthly Viewers – 128k – up 2%. Activity via Pinterest to my website – 157 Daily Impressions and 131 Daily Views.

INSTAGRAM

Like Pinterest, Instagram is a photo sharing site, but more personal. It’s like a public version of your home photo album. Anyone from your neighbor’s hair dresser, to your mum’s dog, to Taylor Swift, can upload shots of their personal experiences here…all with the help of beautiful editing filters. I enjoy Instagram more for myself and my family, then for anything else, but readers do find me here. It’s easy to hashtag on Instagram, and the more creative the tags, the more fun. Whether it’s pictures of lunch, the dog sleeping on the couch, the child jumping off a cliff into the ocean, the local science fair, stumbling into a celebrity at the SDCC, or the cover of your newest book, people will see these photos and if they like them, they’re more likely to engage than on a place like Pinterest. A warning about Instagram – I know personally there is a rise in online bullying between kids on Instagram, which sucks. Also, unless your profile is private so only your approved followers can view it, keep in mind that your pictures are out there. In other words – keep your clothes on. Please.

FPetcoPark

My Recent Instagram Stats: I don’t have many numbers because there’s not much available to share. Followers – 1181. Following – 1295. Most recent post – 54 likes, 3 engagements. Most popular photos seem to be of my meat-free meals, or my kids doing strange things, like trying to taste the air. 😉


 

Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc…I’m on, but not active on a marketing standpoint. I know some who have great stats from these places, though.

If I was to take all four of my main social media platforms above, and pick the one with the best statistics, that would be Pinterest, no question. But when it comes to selling books and engaging with readers, FB is #1 and Twitter takes the #2 spot. These are the places I’m most active on, author-wise, so this makes sense. But I think these two places make it easier to converse with anyone, to engage with freedom, and to share the info your readers need to grab up your stories.

If selling a book was my only priority for every hour of the day, then I suppose you would find me hanging out on FB all day long. But since I have over 42.2k pins on my Pinterest account, it’s safe to say that I’ve other interests outside of writing. Like the perfect tiny tattoo that I will one day proudly display. The perfect beach I will one day lay on. The perfect ratatouille recipe to go with the perfect vegan brownies or protein bites. The perfect homeschool activity for a rainy day. The perfect midi ring set. The perfect derping dog face. The perfect fairy garden. And all of those things definitely share space with the perfect face for Riley, Piper, and A’ris.

PinterestProteinBites

It really comes down to which platform you feel comfortable being yourself on. And that’s what I think we need to be, in order to get that engagement – be ourselves. Be you. Share your work, but show off your humor, your fears, and your interests too. Because writers are real people too, and readers want to know about that.

Thanks, Bobbi, for your post today. It sure got me thinking again about how I approach my platforms and readers. I’ll be doing better, I hope, at practicing the art of engagement, and focusing less on the number game. *wink*


 

So, what are YOUR favorite social media platforms, and why? I’m interested in this!

 

It’s ‘The Dry Lands’ Launch Party Time!

Who’s ready to have fun and win some signed print copies of ‘The Dry Lands’?! Play as many games as you can today to increase your chances of winning! Winners will be chosen randomly later this evening.

Game 1 of 5

Our first game today will be an easy one: a ‘Caption This’ photo. If you share this post on your media networks for your friends, please use the hashtag #HutchnAris okay? Leave one comment HERE for the photo! Have fun and be creative!

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Welcome to the Family Releases!

Welcome to the tour for Welcome To The Family! A debut vampire novel by Caroline F Levy, it’s out now at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Moon Rose Publishing. Why not check out a little more about the book below?

Blurb

“Do you believe in things that go bump in the night?”

At only a few hours old, Angela is left on the steps of St Paul’s church. Alone in the world, the only link she has to her past is a pink blanket bearing an emblem with two crossed swords and a snake.

A troubled childhood spent in orphanages leads to Angela attempting to rebuild her shattered life as an adult. Meeting the priest who found her eighteen years previously, she gets a job and a boyfriend, and settles into her new life.

Until she meets Jack.

Drawn to her new boss, she throws herself into work, feeling an unusual bond with people she hasn’t known very long.

Angela becomes embroiled in this new life, feeling a change within herself. A change which isn’t altogether human. Within this change she finds a terrifying secret…a secret which involves her past, her present, and definitely her future…

Welcome To The Family

Trailer

Author Bio

Caroline F Levy

I was born in Chatham, Kent in 1970. I now live in Yorkshire with my daughter and our five mad cats.

My first memories of any book would have been my mother reading The Enormous Turnip. It must have driven her mad, as it was always our first choice when asked what we should read tonight.

I grew up with the classics; Little Women, The Railway Children, but it would have been The House That Died and Bluebeard that I remember wanting to read.

I can remember writing a verse for the school song, and being chosen as a winner for what was then 3rd year juniors. I stopped reading so much in my late teens to my mid twenties. Life seemed to always be too busy for that pile of books I so wanted to read. It was when I went into hospital to have my daughter, that I had time to read again–and thankfully I haven’t stopped since.

However, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I realised I wanted to write. I have spent a few years trying to complete an online creative writer’s course; without much success, but it led me to what I am writing now. So never give up if you really want to write!

I am very influenced by Fantasy fiction / Horror, most of the books I read are in this genre. I have many Authors I like to follow; Anne Rice was very influential in the beginning. I also discovered Laurel K Hamilton and many, many more. I could go on about different Authors I like to read. However, I will say that this year I have also discovered there are literally, well, probably thousands of very talented Indie Authors out there. And a very welcoming and friendly bunch they are too, but I digress–yes, I get very excited about the subject of books!

I have finished my first novel called Welcome To The Family, which will be published April 29th 2013. I also have other novels in the pipeline, Nikki’s Revenge and Protecting The Family, due out later in the year.

Author Links

Blog

Facebook

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Goodreads

Book Links

Moon Rose Publishing

Amazon

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Smashwords

Coming Out of the Networking Shell

I’m a creature of habit.

 

 

It’s no secret – I just like to figure something out and use it to the best of my ability before moving on to something new. Which is probably why I’ve relied on the same social networking sites over the last few years. It’s just…easy. Welp, no more easy – time to come out of my shell, so to speak, and find out what other networking avenues are out there. Take a walk down Google+ street, then pause at the corner of Twitter and WordPress before turning right down LinkedIn. Sure, Facebook will mostly be my home for now, but it’s time to refinance the house, or take out a second mortgage – heck, why not find a second home while I’m at it? I’ve always wanted a place on the water – near the beach or on a lake. I’m not picky.

 

 

So…now I will be found on as many networking platforms I can manage. Which means Hootesuite is my new best friend. If I wasn’t married – I’d propose.

 

 

Here’s to white picket fences, 2.5 kids and a dog for the social networking neighborhood I strive to live in.

 

 

Happy reading (and networking real estate hunting)!

Are you ready for ‘Hell’s Gift’?

The lovely Kristie Haigwood is here today! As one of my writer besties, I’m super excited to announce her upcoming release of ‘Hell’s Gift’!

 

Welcome to the blog today Kristie! Our readers are in for a treat. Yes, I know you have a new release this week – but we want to know more about you too. You’ve chosen an interesting genre to write in…can you tell us why you like it so much?

I’ve always been fascinated with paranormal and suspense. It was actually what I started out reading as a young teen. Christopher Pike was my role model back then. As I got older, I suppose I grew curious as to what all the buzz was about in Romance. Still a young teen, I snuck historical romance novels in with my teen reads at the library. I know now that the librarian didn’t give a rat’s behind what I was reading, but at the time I felt so embarrassed, like I was reading porn or something. LOL. Wow! I fell in love, literally, with every handsome rogue, rebel, knight in shining armor, prince, bad-boy next door and I wanted more! I eventually graduated to Nora Roberts and then on to J. R. Ward and Laurell K. Hamilton. There is just something about a love story that pulls at my heart-strings. So, I put my 3 favorite genres together and make stories how I want them to be.

 

So, is it safe to say you might have a bit of a hopeless romantic inside you?

I confess. I am completely hopeless.

 

LOL How do you think your feelings on love translate into your stories?

The way I feel about love is in every one of my novels. I guess that could be considered multiple personalities, because I have around 75 characters now, and I am apart of all of them.

 

That’s a lot of personalities to keep track of. 🙂 Since this is the month of love, it’s only fair I ask – do you believe in spending money on Valentine’s Day?

Depends. I think that it’s the thought that counts. I would much rather have a bundle of wildflowers picked from the side of the road than a dozen costly roses sent to me from a florist or bought from a store. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice gesture, but not what I have to have, or even want for that matter. Valentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. To me, it’s just another day. I don’t believe people should show each other they care on national holidays. I think they should show it every day. So, I guess the answer to your question is no.

 

Totally agree! I love me some wildflowers. Just for fun – if you took any male character from your first book and any female character from your last – who would you pair up for some romance, and why?

Wow! That’s a tough one. I’m not personally a jealous person, but thinking about pairing up a girl and guy character that already have mates makes me nervous. I fear my characters might choke me in my sleep. Oh no! Oh, all right, I’ll pick two. Hmm… let’s see; my first novel was Eternal Island, even though it wasn’t my first published. I guess I will pick Jonah, because he is footloose and care-free. He loves women; all women, and he often speaks before he thinks, but he has such a big heart. The idea of love scares the crap out of him, but he loves anyway. The girl I would pick from Hell’s Gift is Josselyn. I can’t imagine she would be able to put up with Jonah and his flirting, but she has a soft spot for rowdy boys and I think they would make a cute couple.

 

They sound fabulous together! Are they your favorite characters?

I don’t have favorite characters. I couldn’t pick a favorite character any easier than I could pick a favorite child of mine. They are all my favorite, but each of them have very unique personalities. They are all my babies.

 

Awwww. I applaud you! If you could turn any of your books into a movie, which would it be?

I will have to say my Eternal Series needs to be a movie or TV series, because it is original and there is not really anything else like it out there. BUT…I can see Hell’s Gift totally blowing up the box office, too. It’s my favorite so far.

 

I would love to see your name in the credits of a movie. Would you play an extra? LOL

NO! I have stage fright, but I would totally love to help pick the cast!=D

 

Who is your favorite Author, Kristie? Yes, this is a tough question to ask, but your readers want to know who inspires you!

Not a tough question at all. J. R. Ward is my favorite author, but I have too many to count that inspire me; they are all Indie authors.

 

I love my Indies too. So, Kristie. What can we look forward to from you for the rest of 2013…tease us a little with your writing schedule!

Ewww weee, I will be busy this year. ‘Hell’s Gift’ is coming out this week, 02/15/13. ‘Eternal Immortality’, co-authored with Ella Medler, will be out late April, with the 3rd in that series, ‘Eternal Inception’, coming out in August. I have a young adult novel in the works, titled ‘The Last Assignment’, and it will be out in October. Then Book 3 in the ‘Save My Soul’ series, ‘Good Side of Sin’ will follow in December. Whew!

 

That is one full year! What will you be reading in your downtime?

My TBR list is embarrassingly large, because last year was so busy as well, but I have about 20 on my kindle just waiting to be read and reviewed, all authors are Indie.

 

Sounds an awful lot like my Kindle. Before we leave, if someone approached you on the street and asked what the most challenging thing about being an Indie Publisher has been – what you would you tell them?

Marketing – getting my name out there. It’s extremely difficult to fight your way to the top when so many other great writers are trying to do the same thing. I almost want to do something to make national news so I can shout to the cameras, ‘I write awesome books! Go buy them!’ LOL

 

LOL If you do, please promise me you will tell me ahead of time so I can DVR that! It’s been lovely to have you here today, Kristie – I wish you the best of luck with your new release!

Thank you so much for having me, Trish. You know I will be shouting the names of your books, too.

 

So, yes, we love Kristie, but enough about HER – what about Hell’s Gift?!

Hell's Gift coverDepression consumes the guardian angel, Rhyan, after his human charge chooses her soulmate over him. Filled with anger and despair, he lashes out. And when his hate-filled words land him neck-deep in Hell, he realizes he’s gone too far. He expects trouble, but not to discover his own soulmate in the fiery depths. Abigail is there with good reason, but she’s done her time, and in order to save them both, Rhyan must strike a deal with the Devil. The stakes are higher than ever before, with his soul, his friends and even the fate of Heaven and Earth in jeopardy. If he fails, Rhyan stands to lose more than he ever feared. Will true love be denied? It will take everything he’s got to break down the traps Lucifer puts in his way. New lines are drawn and old scores are settled, and Rhyan is in for the fight of his life. With Abigail as the prize, and humanity in the balance, he will stop at nothing to claim…Hell’s Gift.

 

Seriously – I can’t wait! Be SURE to keep an eye out on Kristie’s Amazon page later this week and grab up your copy of Hell’s Gift! Thank you so much for being here today Kristie!