Social Media

E.L. James event backfires when ‘Grey’ critics air grievances using #AskELJames

30 June 2015

From The Los Angeles Times:

E.L. James was thrown a curve ball on Monday when critics of her “Fifty Shades of Grey” erotica series crashed her social media event, using the hashtag #AskELJames to challenge the author for writing books they allege perpetuate rape culture and sanction domestic violence.

The social media event was planned after the release of “Grey,” a follow-up to her novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” that retells the story from Christian Grey’s point of view.

A sampling of the backlash:

. . . .

Link to the rest at The Los Angeles Times and thanks to Shelly and several others for the tip.

Estelle Maskame: how social media made me a publishing sensation

25 June 2015

From The Guardian:

I’ve always loved the satisfaction of having people read a story I wrote. All throughout school, there was nothing I enjoyed more than my teachers reading stories I’d scribbled down on scraps of paper, but by the age of 11, I was writing full-length novels alone in my room, storing them on my laptop, where no one else ever laid eyes on them. Yet I felt I was missing out on that excitement of hearing someone’s feedback, of finding out that someone had enjoyed what I’d written. It didn’t feel the same without sharing.

Eventually I decided that I needed a way to show my work to people. I’d left primary school and wasn’t comfortable enough to show it to any teachers at my new academy yet, and I was too embarrassed to show my parents and friends. One night, I did some research online and came across some writing websites where people could post their work and give each other feedback. At first, I was slightly apprehensive. There were a lot of people on these websites, of all different ages and nationalities, and I wasn’t sure if these strangers would like my writing or not. I was worried any negative comments would discourage me, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway, and at the age of thirteen, back in 2010, I started posting my writing online.

. . . .

When I finished the first novel I’d ever written, I started posting DIMILY (which stands for Did I Mention I Love You), and these same readers started reading my new work.

At the same time, I started to become really active on Twitter @EstelleMaskamebecause for a lot of teenagers the internet can be a safe haven, and I probably spent more time talking to people online than I did talking to people in real life. And so during 2012, a year after DIMILY had been online, I decided to ask some of these Twitter friends to read my work. I’d never synced Twitter and my writing until then, but I gradually began to realise that using social media to promote my work could potentially be extremely beneficial.

These couple of friends agreed to read my work, and they loved it. All it took was for them to tweet about DIMILY a few times, and then I had people asking, “What’s DIMILY? Where can I read it?” I jumped at the chance to send these curious people the link, and they’d read it and tweet about it too.

. . . .

Around the same time, I discovered Wattpad. It’s the largest online writing community by far and it was absolutely daunting at first, but I posted what was written of DIMILY so far. I let my readers on Twitter know that I’d moved websites, so I instantly had readers who bumped up the read count from the moment I posted it. Wattpad has millions of users and the hits started racking up quickly. I posted my work on Wattpad but promoted it on Twitter, directing people back to Wattpad.

Before I knew it, I had people tweeting me asking when I’d be posting the next chapter, people discussing the latest chapter with each other and others simply freaking out. I’d let people know what date and time the next chapter would be posted, and in the lead-up to it I’d post sneak peeks and hints about the chapter to get them excited. The hour before I was due to post a chapter, my mentions on Twitter were always full of people waiting and counting down, so the moment a chapter went up, everyone was reading it at the exact same time. Everyone would live-tweet their reactions while reading and would often discuss the chapter for hours after it was posted.

This grew into what we called “update nights”, which really helped to motivate and inspire me to keep going.

. . . .

Using social media to promote my work means that I’ve got a close connection with my readers, especially now, because they’ve been with me since the early days. In a way, we’re all in this together, and ever since the start, I’ve always loved going on Twitter to interact with them. They love the books so much that they even help me promote it. Twitter also has an amazing community of other aspiring writers and book bloggers. It’s incredible the way people across social media can interact simply because of our love for writing and reading.

So I ended up with four million hits on Wattpad.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

Here’s a link to Estelle Maskame’s book

How to Work with Influencers to Drive Book Discovery

22 June 2015

From Digital Book World:

Ask authors and publishers about the biggest challenge they face, and chances are the top answer you’ll get is book discovery.

Yes, it’s been the No. 1 issue in the industry for years, but it’s getting increasingly difficult. Millions of books are now published every year. Mass media, already the preserve of the rarified best-selling book and author, is scaling back its book coverage. Doom and gloom reports are coming from all sides.

But from our vantage point, the book industry is alive and kicking. Every month on Goodreads, our members discover another 14 million books they want to read and write one million book reviews. The excitement about books in our community of 40 million readers is palpable.

Looking at our data, the key change authors and publishers need to embrace—and it’s a change that’s both an opportunity and a challenge—is that the book discovery landscape is fracturing.

If you’re just focused on getting a review in the New York Times or on NPR (still very worthy goals for many titles), then you’re missing out on a wealth of new ways to help your book break out. As the number of media outlets covering books becomes more and more limited, the smartest authors and publishers are now looking to build relationships with what we call “mini influencers.”

. . . .

Here at Goodreads, the three types of mini influencers we see having an impact on book discovery are:

  • notable readers
  • authors
  • influential readers

. . . .

Fans are also looking to their favorite authors to shape trends and ideas in their genres of choice. This goes beyond the well-established tradition of book blurbs. More and more authors are starting to realize the opportunity to maintain an ongoing relationship with their fans by sharing regular book recommendations. Gretchin Rubin does this very effectively with her three monthly picks; Ryan Holiday has attracted a following of 40,000 for his monthly reading recommendation email; and Daniel Pink features interviews with authors of new books in his irregular emails to 83,000 fans.

Of course, readers want to hear great fiction recommendations, too. Patrick Rothfuss writes hugely popular reviews on Goodreads that his 58,000 followers love to read. As an example of how his reviews work both as a way of introducing a new book to readers and of reinforcing Rothfuss’s relationship with his fans, check out his well-liked review of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

. . . .

Influential readers are ground zero for building awareness and anticipation for key titles. They differ from what I’ve called notable readers in that you and I won’t have heard of the majority of them and probably never will. But they are influencers in their respective genres, and are incredibly focused on the types of books they love, which makes them powerful rallying-points for certain audiences that publishers otherwise might struggle to reach.

Book bloggers, BookTubers (many of whom cross-post on Goodreads) and popular Goodreads reviewers are often the first spark in igniting conversation around a book. When they really love a certain title, they practically hand-sell it to their friends, who in turn rave about it to their own friends.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

I’m somebody now: Facebook Verified Pages

7 June 2015

From Indies Unlimited:

One of my favorite misquotes is from Steve Martin’s movie The Jerk. The phone book delivery person stops by and hands Martin’s character a copy, and Martin goes off in raptures (here comes the misquote – ready?): “The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here! I’m somebody now!”

You too, dear author, can be an official somebody. All you have to do is set up a page for your author business on Facebook, and then fill out a form on this page to tell them that, yes, you are really you. But basically, all you have to do is make sure you’re logged into Facebook, go to that page, fill out their form, and hit submit. Once Facebook has verified that you are who you say you are, they will reward you with a blue check mark next to the name of your page.

One of the pieces of information they’ll request from you is a document that proves you really are who you say you are. Your driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport will work. If you’re looking for verification for a corporation, then Facebook will also accept a copy of your articles of incorporation.

. . . .

And you want that verified page. No, really, you do. Because for right now, anyway, Facebook appears to be boosting organic reach for verified pages. Since I was awarded the coveted blue check mark for my author page, Facebook has been showing my posts to far more people. In some cases, I’m getting hundreds of impressions on a post that would have gotten me only 15 or 20 in my pre-verified days.

Link to the rest at Indies Unlimited and thanks to Russell for the tip.

Using Author Pen Names on Facebook – and Getting Locked Out!

30 May 2015

From author Shoshanna Evers:

Boy do I have a story to tell – and fortunately, the solution that finally worked to get my Facebook access back after they locked my access to both my profile and Page due to my not using my “real name.” 

(Shoshanna Evers has been my pen name since 2009, which makes it legally my real name in 46 states just by the fact that I use it everywhere – and I have an Idaho-state DBA (doing business as) Shoshanna Evers).

I had a Shoshanna Evers profile from 2010 that was converted into a “Like Page” when I couldn’t add more friends. For a couple years I just had that Page, and no profile attached.

Then, FB made me create a profile to attach to the Page. So I created a Shoshanna Evers profile. I hid the profile in searches so only my Like Page would come up (I don’t want to have to double post in two places on FB), I didn’t add any friends to it, and only used it to interact in my Street Team FB Group and during FB events like book release parties.

. . . .

On May 21st 2015 (as I write this is the 28th, and the problem just got resolved a few hours ago), I participated in a FB party using my Shoshanna Evers profile. I’ve done that before. This time, I decided to message the 4 winners to make sure they knew to email me for their prizes. BAD MOVE!! That flagged FB, because I was messaging people who weren’t my “friends.”

So don’t ever message someone who isn’t a “friend” from your profile, because that will get you flagged! Good to know, right? Fortunately I have made all the mistakes this week so you don’t have to! 😉

The next day when I went to log in, I got a message saying my account access has been locked until I “verify my identity.”

Silly me, at first I was happy. Yay, they’re going to give me a blue check mark just like Twitter did, right? NOPE. I sent them what I had sent Twitter – a pic of a contract that showed I was (legal/birth name) writing as Shoshanna Evers along with my driver’s license showing I am my legal name.

Denied. So I end up going back and forth, sending a total of eleven documents (including my Idaho DBA, a royalty statement, a screen shot of my access into my own official website, a screen shot of a Tweet to FB from my Verified Twitter account, etc) all verifying that I am really Shoshanna Evers, and that it’s really me running the profile and Page – unlike, for example, the Shoshanna Evers page that I *don’t* run, which I also linked to.

Every step of the way, a new person contacted me to tell me no. It took me a very long time to realize that no one was actually looking at my past emails or documents – each time they denied me and said I have to verify my legal name is Shoshanna Evers.

. . . .

Then, some jerk at FB closed my support ticket (and I’m thinking, “hey, we’re not done here!”) and worst of all, changed my Shoshanna Evers profile name to my married name. I couldn’t even get into my account to deactivate it! He totally doxed me and put my married, private name out to all the FB groups I am a part of. I got a screen shot and a confused email from another author asking why my name had changed, but she couldn’t click it because the profile was gone. Fun, right?

Link to the rest at The Writer’s Challenge and thanks to PD for the tip.

Here’s a link to Shoshanna Evers’ books

B&N Partners With Bublish for a Free Two Month Trial Through Nook Press

29 May 2015

From Ink, Bits & Pixels:

Here’s a freebie for those authors who still have an active Nook Press account.

I just came away from the Bublish table in the innovation zone here at BEA 2015. It hasn’t been widely announced, but Bublish was pleased to share the news that they had signed a promotional deal with Barnes & Noble. Authors who distribute books through Nook Press can now sign up for a two month free trial of Bubish’s platform (everyone else can get a one month free trial).

Bublish offers an author-centric marketing platform, with a free tier and a paid tier which costs $99 a year. The free tier is fairly basic, and the paid tier enables authors to set up author profiles and create “book bubbles” for each of their titles.

A book bubble is Bublish’s name the the promotional page for a book. Authors make each book bubble by uploading an excerpt of their book, adding links to where it can be bought, and (if they like) expanding on the excerpt with a background explanation.

The book bubbles are designed to be shared on twitter by the author and their fans.

. . . .

In a way, Bublish combines elements of an author’s site with easily shareable links, a clean layout, and analytics.

Link to the rest at Ink, Bits & Pixels

Publishers stress authenticity is key to social media success

18 May 2015

From The Bookseller:

Publishers should help authors to identify their digital skills, but social media is “not the most important thing”, writers and industry insiders have told The Bookseller.

Authors should feel comfortable with any digital activity they are asked to undertake, using tweeting, blogging and other online platforms to build an audience, rather than explicitly becoming a tool to sell books.

Kristen Harrison, founder and publisher of creative agency The Curved House, said it was “important to have presence and visibility, either driven by the publisher or the author or both, but people put a lot of emphasis on promotion, which is the number one way to demotivate an author and turn readers off”.

She added: “A lot of authors feel a huge amount of pressure to get online to publicise their books and support their publisher’s work. They should be using it to grow their audience. That is much more organic. I think it should be used as an extension of themselves and their work. It has to be really comfortable for them. You can push the boundaries a bit, but ultimately an author needs to be comfortable with what they are doing and saying online. The worst thing is for authors to think they should be doing things a certain way, or to be on a certain platform.”

. . . .

“You can tell pretty quickly whether someone is a natural at something like Twitter or not. If you feel you can deliver [on Twitter] with encouragement and help, that’s great, but if not I don’t think you need to be on it. I don’t think it’s good to say to an author: ‘You have to be on Twitter.’”

Link to the rest at The Bookseller and thanks to Diana for the tip.

JK Rowling speaks out over Twitter abuse that crossed ‘personal line’

11 May 2015

From The Guardian:

JK Rowling has spoken out about the vitriolic online abuse she has been subjected to following the general election, allegedly from Scottish National party supporters.

. . . .

Rowling said she believed in “standing up to bullies” and said that she spoke out after the attacks had crossed her “personal line”.

Several Twitter users have been blocked by the site after abusing Rowling, who has donated money to the Labour party and gave £1m to the No campaign against independence for Scotland.

The writer was called a “traitor to Scotland”, “Blairite scum” and “an arch-unionist propagandist, feeding a river of hatred”.

. . . .

“I feel no responsibility to hush up that kind of behaviour to protect the image of any political party.

“It isn’t always fun being a famous woman on Twitter and I believe in standing up to bullies.”

. . . .

After being told by some abusers that she should leave Scotland, Rowling received scores of offers from fans around the world to live with them.

She retweeted a succession of pictures from Canada, Spain, Peru, Italy, and Maui, joking: “I’ve got to be honest, if I’m leaving Scotland, the climate is something I probably wouldn’t want to replicate first!”

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Julia for the tip.

Writers, Start Building Your Brand Early!

1 May 2015

From author Steven Ramirez:

One of the great challenges for an indie author is dividing time between actual writing and marketing. And I would argue that the same goes for writers who are as yet unpublished. Sometimes, I like to think about giants like Joyce, Fitzgerald and Nabokov. How did those guys do it? Most likely, not at all—or very little. The work spoke for itself. But, hey, we’re talking about us. What are we supposed to do?

If I had to pick one person from history to travel forward in time and demonstrate how it’s done, it would have to be Mark Twain. That guy knew brand, and I’m sure he would do very well using Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Can you imagine? Here are a few of his most famous quotes. And look—they fit so nicely into 140 characters!

All right, then, I’ll go to hell.
I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Truman Capote was another famous author who truly understood brand. How about this tweetable quote:

Fame is only good for one thing—they will cash your check in a small town.

. . . .

I’ve met many writers over the years, and I will tell you that most are not comfortable in the spotlight. They are card-carrying introverts who love working behind the scenes, writing great stories which—if they’re lucky—get turned into movies.

If you ask my wife, she will tell you that I am an extrovert. I like being out and about, meeting people and engaging in interesting discussions. That’s just me. But I don’t think I would be comfortable being on the talk show circuit, delivering pithy one-liners in front of a studio audience. I’m better in small groups.

Which leads me to Brand. Many of the more seasoned authors out there know all about this. But there are those like you who are just getting started—who want to understand what it takes to not only write well but market well. As an aside, I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m happy to share what I know.

. . . .

How about James Patterson? You have only to utter his name, and book titles and scenes play out in your head. Never mind that he has a writer factory churning out books, he definitely gets brand, my friend.

When you do it right, here is what happens. Not only is your name recognizable but the name itself becomes embedded in the culture on a global scale. Kind of like Kleenex. How many people say, “Can you hand me a tissue?” More often it’s, “Have you got a Kleenex?” The same can be said for Xerox and Coke.

. . . .

Getting back to authors. When you think of horror, what is the first name that comes to mind? Stephen King, right? Of course. He has spent decades building his brand. His name is synonymous with horror.

. . . .

So what does building your brand mean? For me, it’s awareness. I try to be thoughtful about everything I post. I don’t always succeed. But being aware is important because what gets out into the Internet stays forever. So no drunk tweeting, no profanity and no mean-spirited troll attacks on others. A good general rule is to always take the high road.

Linking your digital assets is important as well. There should be a synergy among the various digital destinations you have out there. Make sure your bio and headshot are uniform across the various social media sites.

. . . .

Don’t create a Twitter account, leave the default image and expect to get followers. I mean, seriously? Who in the world is going to follow an egg?

Link to the rest at Glass Highway and thanks to Julia for the tip.

Here’s a link to Steven Ramirez’s books

Facebook Tweaks News Feed Algorithm

25 April 2015

From Tech Times:

With news like mobilegeddon, Facebook has been able to fly relatively under the radar with some changes that it recently made to its News Feed algorithm.

Despite this, some are now labeling Facebook’s new changes “Contentgeddon.” These changes essentially target the relevance of certain posts by publishers and content providers, basically meaning that posts from these companies likely won’t be seen by as many people.

“The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you. This means we need to give you the right mix of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses and community organizations you are connected to,” said Facebook in a blog post.

. . . .

Spam on Facebook is an issue, and users spend far too much time scrolling through content in order to get to something that interests them.

For this reason, users will likely see far more posts that interest them on their news feeds and far fewer posts that are not of any interest to them. This is certainly a good thing for users.

There are three main changes that will take place on the News Feed. The first is that users might now see a post more than once, but only if they don’t have much content to see on the News Feed. The second change aims to avoid users not seeing important updates from their friends and family. Last but not least, users will see fewer posts about their friends liking or commenting on particular content.

Link to the rest at Tech Times

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