Archive | May 2015

Social Media, Book Signings & Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales

Well written, factual, and thought provoking. Sparks a great conversation about social media usage myths. 🙂

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons

One of my AWESOME on-line pals posted something troublesome on my Facebook page. Apparently there is a recent article in a major writing magazine that declares social media does not sell books and, in a nutshell, isn’t worth the effort.I’ll warn you guys ahead of time that I went hunting for the article—at the last remaining Barnes & Noble within a 25 mile radius of my home—and couldn’t find said article (and have asked Kim to get me the specific issue). But, since this type of commentary is prevalent enough in the blogosphere, I feel I can address the overall thesis accurately enough.

Social Media Was NEVER About Selling Books Directly—Who KNEW?

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet. Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

I’ve been saying this for about ten years, because the idea of using social circles for sales is NOT new…

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I’m Just Being Honest

This is a post that comes from an honest, candid spot deep within me.

When I was seven, my second grade teacher unwittingly entered me into a writing contest. She knew that I loved to write and I loved to draw. I was constantly making up stories about talking cheetahs, hamsters that could ride mini skateboards and birds that spied on children. This particular book that I decided to write about featured a human protagonist, who could also be described as an antagonist because the other main character and him had differing goals. The human character, a nameless hunter and poacher of exotic animals had been hunting the other main character, a female cheetah in order to shoot her and steal her gorgeous fur coat. The cheetah escapes the first murder attempt and during the night while the man sleeps, she watches him, considering him . . .  and his life.

Well, I loved that story and I won’t spoil the ending for you, because darn it I’m going to rewrite it and reclaim what is mine!

My memory is kind of hazy, but to make a long story short, I won the contest, was cameoed on the local TV news, and traumatized for the rest of my life (joke). They (these strange people dressed in pretty dresses and expensive suits and ties) took my book whom I dedicated to my mother and gave me a crappy black and white copy to keep as a memento. Yeah, I got a trophy, which my younger sister broke one day out of little-sister-maliciousness, a few years later, but it’s not enough! I miss that book!

I miss laying on the plush carpet of my bedroom writing for hours or getting lost in a book under the covers of my bed with the use of a flashlight so my mom or dad wouldn’t know and make me go to sleep.

I miss the freedom! I miss the seclusion! I miss the lack of pressure!

Mini rant over.

Full blown vent fest beginning in 3 . . . 2. . . 1 . . .

Which brings me to the steak and potato topic of today:

I hate social media.

Oh yes I do.

Why? Because I would rather be writing half the time I’m posting stuff on Facebook.

I’d rather be creating characters and interviewing these imaginary people close to my heart than tweeting.

Darn it, I want to be like Emily Dickinson!

But, Monique. Whoa. Hey now. Stop. Just stop. Just noooo, you may warn.

I know what you’re saying and I know you mean well. I know about Emily Dickinson and how she was described as a recluse and obsessed with death, which isn’t actually true. As she grew older, she began to shut herself away from most of the world because she most likely grew tired of the way the world was changing – and not for the better.

And I’m getting tired of it too. Social media, ironically isn’t all that social. For years, I avoided Facebook at all cost because I knew that my small group of friends were the people that really mattered and that I looked forward to seeing them face to face for dinner, for a movie, for a play date at the park, or just to sit side by side chatting away over a cup of tea about the latest book or about nothing significant at all.

People in this generation have become addicted to posting selfies, posting every little thing (often trivial) moments about and in their lives from what they ate to what they don’t want to eat; nude shots, mug shots, etc. We’ve become like the characters in the Wizard of Oz: the lion without courage; the tin man with no heart; and the scarecrow without a brain.

I fear that with all of this self-centeredness this is a sign that the world has lost not only their minds and their hearts, but also their souls. Or maybe it’s not a sign. Maybe it’s already happened and most of us are too late to do a damn thing about it.

I’m just being honest.

So, I will utilize social media to wake people up, to make them smile, make them wonder, reflect, and ponder. I will use social media to make real connections and bring people to revelations about their world and about themselves. I will use social media to close gaps and cross lines that divide people.

And in order for these hopes to come true, interaction is key.

So sometimes if I go AWOL, it’s not because I’m mad at you, darlings. Just know that I’m separating myself from the madness of the modern world and getting back to what readers love: the production of a new book they don’t want to put down until the last, fulfilling page.

I’m just being honest.

Expanding Distribution of your Novel

Another wonderfully informative read from Julie! 🙂

Julie Stock - My Writing Life

amazon-logo_blackThis weekend saw the end of the first three months of my debut being on sale on Amazon. I signed up to the exclusive KDP Select programme, partly because it was the easiest thing to do in the first instance and also because the thought of trying to get my head round uploading to other sites at that point in time filled me with dread!

By the time the end of my first three months was in sight though, I felt ready to think about expanding the distribution of my novel to other online sites. I have learnt a lot about it during those three months, mainly through the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and its members, and I decided not to sign up for another three months of KDP so that I could dip my toe in the waters elsewhere.

There are an awful lot of other online retailers but the main ones…

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Grammar Ninja or Grammar Nazis?

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According to the Urban Dictionary, a grammar Nazis is someone who knows the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re”. Wikihow supplies a more detailed definition: one who secretly eyes the usage of language at any given moment and are prepared to tell you about it.

And worse? According to knowyourmeme.com, a grammar Nazis refers to someone who habitually corrects grammar and/or spelling mistakes made by others in conversation both on and off.

Word purists and protectors have gotten a bad rap and have been slapped with the name of the most hated groups in the world: the Nazis. I won’t linger long on that murderous part of history and if you feel so inclined, have at it on your keyboard, search, and learn all you can because the purpose of this post isn’t to linger on, well, . . . that.

So, now for some Hip Hop-esque entertainment. Drop a beat!

I’ve been called a Grammar Nazis, but in reality I’m a Grammar Ninja.

Lean in closer, give me your ear, Ima gonna lay some combo conventions on ya.

More than a pretty face, I’ve mastered the skill of lyrical espionage.

Looking for Nicki Minja? Better go elsewhere, dear.

Why? I’ve got style, finesse, and can conjugate verbs with the best of the best.

My spoken stealth attacks sneak upon like silent thunder. I spit metaphors and similes so vivid and sweet that you don’t have to wonder. Jedi mind tricks? Please! We’re past that realm! We’re off to explore different dimensions – Dr. Who, my copilot is at the helm.

Look elsewhere for twerkin’ or other sexual innuendos, I don’t bend over and touch my toes – I’m more than a big rear and can stimulate minds fully clothed.

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick, reminisce over the use of vatoc or rhapsodic.

Words are my playground, figurative language is my sword, endless images pile up like gold in Smaug’s dragon hoard.

Have little patience for those who don’t appreciate the difference between to and too.

I chuckle over homophones like ewe and you.

Sometimes I’m taken off guard by the proper use of lie and lay,

But, I don’t let that get in my way, it’s time for revision, and I jump back into the fray.

Grammar Ninja, not Grammar Nazis. Please, oh please, get it right.

Anything else is unacceptable and trite.