So…my weekend, or The Benefit of taking a Master class
- Sep 22, 2017
- Social Media
There really should be something done about lousy internet in hotels and conferences! I was at a fabulous conference this weekend and couldn’t blog about it because it took FOREVER to get connected to WiFi. Oh well…better late than never.
Friday night I took a master class with marketing guru Jane Friedman. It quite literally changed the way I view all the social media stuff I have to do as a writer who wants to get her book in front of strangers.
For two hours she spoke about all the ways a writer can engage readers and get them to — not only visit their websites — but purchase their work.
First things first. Your website. You’re reading this so obviously you stopped here! But how did you find out about the website? Did you see a Twitter mention of it? Catch it in a newsfeed roll on my Facebook Author page? Or do you Follow me on WordPress? Since I don’t have a newsletter (a major faux pas in Jane’s opinion), I don’t have a one-on-one way to let people know about new content on my site. I’ve debated for several years about having one because it’s just one more thing I have to do, but she says the benefits are worth it.
Next. The website content, itself. I don’t update my website frequently except for the blogs. My banner, headers, widgets, etc., are all pretty stagnant. And that’s the kind of traffic you never want: stagnant. You want your website to be fluid, moving, and new. So, Saturday morning between the hours of 1 am and 4 am (since I never sleep. Damn this menopause insomnia!) I updated my website. I added a new category, changed the banner and some of the graphics, and posted new info on the pages.
Last. Your work. Or in my case, my books. It’s inconceivable to me that I never thought of this, but nowhere on my website was there a page for a reader to purchase my books. Not even a direct link except if I was blogging about the book. So, ta-da- new page. MY BOOKS lists all my work from newest to oldest, the covers, and all the buy links across the e-book network and traditional publishers. Whew! That was a ton of work but I think it’ll be so worth it in the end, especially when I start to see an uptick in sales.
Jane spoke of several other ways to drive traffic to your work that I’ll be discussing tomorrow. Today I wanted to focus on the website itself.Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law. Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s. In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance. In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title. A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
@Emma: It was a delightful Tweet; perfect, in being much too short.Your Tweets should be precise, witty and pithy. Try not to use all 140 characters. Leave room for your followers to RT and add comments. A Twitter feed is a public “micro-blog,” not a private text machine. Using #toomanymakebelievehashtags and text abbreviations make your Tweets about as entertaining as Mary Bennet’s singing at the piano. Unless you’re Mrs. Elton, your Tweets (as an author) should be free of strong opinions, controversial topics, and politics. And remember the golden rule of social media: There will always be haters. You can choose to engage with them. Or not.
You take delight in vexing me,@LizzysDad. You have no compassion on my poor nerves. You mistake me, @MrsBennet. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends.Mr. and Mrs. Bennet know to seek out accomplices on social media. Note that they don’t start Tweet shout-outs to each other with their Twitter handles. Their Tweets will be seen by all their followers and not just each other. @Kristan_Higgins and @JillShalvis do this with panache. Use HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule your Tweets. You can send the same Tweet up to three times a day and not worry about becoming as repetitive as Miss Bates. Be aware of current events. Un-schedule Tweets that contain calls to buy your book or sign up for your newsletter when a tragedy or disaster strikes. There are no tricks to gaining new followers. Engagement is key. If you schedule tweets, you still need to make time to be on Twitter live and in person; Follow, Reply and RT the posts of your author-friends. Engage your followers. Ask questions about their favorite books, movies and televisions shows and Reply. Check out @EntangledPub for a great examples of how it’s done. Sarah Vance-Tompkins (@SarahVTompkins) is a social media consultant for small businesses. She earned an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California and worked in feature film development. Prior to her attempts at writing fiction, she has been paid to write everything from obituaries to the directions for use on bottles of personal lubricant. She is a member of the Los Angeles Romance Authors and CRW-Online. She welcomes your questions and comments.Sarahevance@gmail.com
- Share news on all social media outlets. By SHARE, I mean, click that button. It’s very easy to do.
- Like each other’s posts- sometimes it’s the little things
- Read each other’s books-sometimes it’s the big things. I get a thrill out of just knowing someone is reading my book. Like the content or not, at least they put forth the effort.
- Post reviews- this should actually be Number #1
- Include excerpts by other authors at the back of your books- I recently did this with an author friend, since we both write romantic suspense.
- Attend local author events even if you’re not signing. For example, book signings, writer conferences, and library events- BE PRESENT!
- Beta read
- At book signing’s, with each book purchase, give the buyer additional swag from your author friends
- Combine advertising dollars, nationally and/or locally for traditional advertising, like Romantic Times or a local publication.
- For more expensive swag items split the cost with various authors, like mugs or cloth bags
- Host authors on your blog
- Host brainstorming sessions
- Volunteer within your RWA chapter
- Like author pages on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, etc….
- Write novellas together and/or package books together
- Visit and comment on blog posts
- Share your experiences when you try something new, like a Bookbub ad or a new blogger
- Develop and submit RWA Conference workshops together
- Post photos from author events – show readers your camaraderie
- Video blogging