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Laura Pauling | Tag Archive | social media
Tag Archives | social media

The power of FREE – does it work?

For years, businesses have always offered freebies to lure you in, sample their product, and hopefully buy more. But does it work for authors? Or are we undervaluing our work and our art?

The Indelible authors have proven over and over again that going free works. Some of us have seen tremendous benefits and other just fantastic benefits. But either way, the power of free brought more visibility to our books, which then resulted in more sales for the paid books. And often, going free with the first book in a series, not only brought short term results but long term results too.

And I’m not talking about using Kindle Select but the authors working to go free on Amazon long term.

My short story The Almost Assassin finally went free a couple days ago! Yay! Click through the below picture for Amazon or click on the link to Smashwords on the sidebar.

A teen attempts to follow in the family business but a beautiful “spy” may be be his downfall making him The Almost Assassin.

In this short story, you’ll experience Malcolm’s point of view leading up to his first date with Savvy – the date that ended in disaster! You’ll also find a longer sample of A Spy Like Me.

If you’re looking for some great reads here are some freebies from the Indelible authors:

Short Stories:

Mind Games by Susan Kaye Quinn
Before by Jessie Harrell
Unspeakable by S.R. Johannes

Novellas:

Day Of Sacrifice by S.W. Benefiel (First of a six part series)
Blood and Snow by Rashelle Workman (free for a limited time)

Novels:

Ethereal by Addison Moore
Bound by C.K. Bryant
Clockwise by Elle Strauss
Anathema by Megg Jensen
Sleepers by Megg Jensen
Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick
Running Wide Open by Lisa Nowak
Beautiful Demons by Sarra Cannon
Watched by Cindy M. Hogan
Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
The Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching
Exiled by Rashelle Workman
How To Date An Alien by Magan Vernon
Loramendi’s Story by Angela Carlie

Grasping at Eternity (Karen Hooper is offering her book free in exchange for honest reviews!)

I’ve seen lots of debate about FREE books. Of course, going free doesn’t always work. It helps to have a network in place to help spread the word through Twitter and Facebook. It helps to have the series completed or near completed. And it helps if you start with a professional product and well written story.

So what do you think about all the free books? 

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Getting sucked into social media? When to say no. When to say yes.

Knowing my book would be out in the big wide world caused me to really analyze and think about what I was doing. What worked? What was effective? There seems to be two different ways of thinking and of course everything in between.

On one side, there is the author who spends maybe 50% of her time promoting. The writer feels the pressure to join the latest thing (Pinterest anyone?) and to be current with all things social media.

On the other side, there is the author who chooses here and there what to join. I’m not saying one way is more right than the other. It’s a personal decision.

Before I decided to self publish, before I took this on as a business, I might have jumped on any one of the social media wagons. Because finding success in blogging and watching my numbers grow gave me that feeling of moving forward.

I thought for sure once I was on the publishing path, I’d feel the desire to promote more. But it’s almost had the opposite effect. I’ve realized that writing is king. And now that also means formatting, organizing blog series, writing guest blog posts. But I still want to spend as much time writing too. So I went down to blogging two days a week. I had to be selective.

I joined Google + but so far not really getting into it. I don’t see a lot of interaction. It’s like a different Google reader.

I created a Facebook Fan page.

But that’s it. I haven’t joined Triberr or Pinterest. Not because I don’t want to. I just don’t have time. Maybe after this first book is out? Maybe?

One thing I see to be true. Promotion doesn’t mean much without great product. And I’ve seen authors shoot through the charts and barely touch social media. So though I want to do my share of it and be available, I will be putting much more focus on the writing.

What do you think? Has your opinion on social media evolved at all?

photo credit

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How do you use Facebook? And is it effective?

Thoughts about social media have been rumbling through my head lately. How much is necessary? Which ones are most effective? Do we do them just because we’re told we should? There’s a list now of what? Like 50?

Here’s Sierra Godfrey and a bit about what she thinks.

But of all the social media outlets I use, Facebook has been the most troubling.

Facebook’s main problems, in my opinion, are two things: privacy and accounts. Facebook forces anyone who wants to have a public face (by public I mean published author, celebrity, or anyone else in the public, accessible domain) and still interact with people on a personal level to have Fan pages, which are clunky to use and administrate. Worse, if you want to interact with a certain set of people, like say colleagues and coworkers, and also keep a separate set of people like your drinking buddies, you can’t.

Facebook will probably be the first to tell you that they aren’t built for people with public and private lives–like authors–and yet authors and businesses use it. They have to. Well, MySpace certainly isn’t doing anyone any favors! It’s against Facebook’s user policy to have two accounts, so you can’t even try to keep separate circles through accounts. It’s a huge failing in my opinion, and why I no longer use Facebook for my writing social media.

Recently I read this article by Andrew Keen about Facebook’s “creepy” mode of revenue, which consists of sharing our personal data to advertisers. Keen argues passionately that “the impact of Facebook on our privacy is deeply worrying…Many other people are now worrying about Facebook’s cult of radical transparency and its willful disregard for privacy.”

Later, she goes on to say:

This is certainly something to think about–and if I’m honest, it’s been simmering at the back of my mind for some time. It’s why I refuse to “allow” any apps to access my private information for any reason on Facebook, ever. It’s why I no longer use  Facebook as part of my public online footprint–Sierra Godfrey the writer. It just doesn’t afford me the kind of inner and outer sharing I’d prefer. For my private use of Facebook, I don’t engage in any apps that access my info, and I have delisted myself from public view. But is Facebook ever really private?

Read the full article at her blog.

How do you use Facebook? It seems if you want be an author on FB then you have to let it all hang out. No privacy. Or do fan pages solve that problem?

How effective are FB fan pages?

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Only a small percentage of authors sell through. What’s the solution?

In the past few days I’ve read some wonderful posts.

Elana Johnson has proven once again why she’s so well liked in the blogging world. In this post, she talks about being a midlist hardcover author and trying to fit in on the other side of the fence. No whining. No complaining. Just brutal humbling honesty.

That’s what we’re looking for in a blog, in a writer, in an author. Emotion. Exactly what we’re looking for when we’re reading a book as Wendy P Miller points out.

And in another post Elana talks about defining success and how it use to be all about blog numbers for her. But not anymore.

Jody Hedlund posted about the identity crisis that most authors endure after their first book is released. Again, no whining, no complaining. Just honesty.

Angela Ackerman guest posted at Janice Hardy’s blog talking about blogging through the hard times, picking yourself up, and moving forward. Through the rejections, the almosts, the frustrating times. And we’ve all been there. We can relate. Connect.

And my new traditionally published blogging hero is Nova Ren Suma. She seems to have reinvented her blog, taking hold of the reigns with an incredible series of inspirational posts from other authors. And she has new series coming in 2012. She’s making a real effort to reach out and make a difference. And reach potential readers. Very smart.

Maybe some of these posts will extend past the writing bubble and reach non-writing readers. Maybe not. I like these authors, these bloggers. I’ll read their books. I’ll buy their books.

So why I am bringing all this up?

Because these authors are active in social media in a terrific kind of way.

Because I see tweets from industry professionals about how traditional publishers need to combat the 99-cent book. Really? I mean really? Low priced ebooks are not the enemy. (Or they shouldn’t be.) I’ve seen it suggested that the big publishers should brand the front of their books so readers know the difference. (Sounds like a dystopian novel to me.)

Most readers don’t care. And if they do – they’ll find out before purchasing.

Readers want excellent writing. A powerful story. An entertaining story. You’ve got that and you won’t have to worry about putting a logo on the front of a book in order to sell through.

Even then sometimes there’s nothing we can do. It’s out of our control.

Be likeable. Be honest. Create fans of you. Not just your books.

Write the best you can.

Promote and market wisely. (Look to the posts and blogs I mentioned.)

Write the next book and make it even better.

So honestly. Do you think branding the front of a book with a publisher’s logo will make the difference? What would help more authors sell through their advance? Because I’d love to see that happen.

This post by Angie Frazer is a must read. How do these midlist authors get noticed?


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Ammi Joan Paquette talks craft, social media and branding.

Let’s welcome Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette. If you missed my review on her debut middle grade, NOWHERE GIRL, you can read it here. She’s here to answer the three biggest questions on writers’ minds today: craft, social media, and branding.

1. In your experience, what are the best ways for writers to improve their writing as they travel the road to publication? What worked for you?

My top suggestions are:

Read widely. I firmly believe that reading excellent published books builds up your internal database—whether or not you’re focusing consciously on structure and tone and language and voice while you’re writing, all that wealth of accumulated input is flowing through your mind, and is bound to contribute to your growth as a writer, resulting in strong output.

Write often. As an author, I’m a big-time revision fiend, and I hate to give up on a project that I’ve invested a lot of time into. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But on the flipside, there’s something about opening a fresh document and launching into a completely new project that flexes muscles you didn’t know you had developed. All the ways you’ve learned and grown in your writing flows unconsciously into this new project. There’s nothing like it. So I’m not saying to stop revising those old trunk novels, but at the same time, do keep an eye to the new, because sometimes what you’ll find there might just surprise you.

Network. We are blessed with such a wide and warm and varied writing community—whether in person or online, be sure to avail yourself of the great wealth of writers who are walking on the same path.

2. I see that you have an author website, but you don’t blog or tweet (that I know of). What are your thoughts on social media and today’s traditionally published author? Do you like your clients to be active in social media?

It seems clear that social media is becoming more and more of a staple for author promotion nowadays. While it’s hard to measure actual results from these publicity methods, it’s undeniable that any time you are getting out there and raising your profile, it can only be a positive thing. (Well, perhaps with a few celebrity exceptions… J) Most importantly, though, I believe every author needs to find what works best for them. Yes, promotion is important—maybe even vital to today’s published author. But how you accomplish this, the methods you choose to use, has to feel authentic and workable for your personality, your schedule, and your abilities. Trying to do something because you’ve been told to, or because it’s “the thing to do” can never produce the desired results because your actions aren’t coming from that place that defines you as a person.

So yes, I encourage my authors to be active in social media and promotion—to the extent of their interest and comfort level. And sure, there are times when you want to stretch and challenge yourself outside of that magic zone; but still, within that stretching, there is the ring of truth in your own heart that says, “This is something I feel strongly about doing—it’s not easy, but I want to be here doing it.”

To me it’s above all about authenticity and being who you are as a person and as an author.

But beyond all of that, I sincerely believe that the most important thing authors can do with their time is to keep writing. This is what got you onto the bookshelf to begin with: your ability to write heartfelt, moving, beautiful words. And promotion can be a mega time-eating monster with no beginning and no end. So I would encourage authors to cherish your alone time so you can keep producing those works of art which are, in the end, the one thing that will last and the only thing that really matters.

3. Congratulations on all your book deals. You write picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Lately, writers seem to be under a lot of pressure to brand, brand, brand. What are your thoughts on the importance of writers branding themselves and their writing? How important do you feel it is for aspiring writers to think about this?

Branding can be a terrific thing for a certain type of author whose writing style lends itself to cultivating one strong literary form with a specific core readership. And… then there’s the rest of us. J I do believe that publishing as a whole is moving away from the Name Brand Author being the norm, and are beginning to embrace the fact that many authors like to write in a wide range of genres and for a wide variety of age groups. Once again, there’s no “one size fits all” model for authors nowadays, and I’m a big believer in authors following their heart and their passion as the means to producing their best and strongest work.

Check out Joan’s previous work.

THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING FAIRIES.

With the THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO FINDING MERMAIDS out in spring 2012.

And in the summer of 2013 look for PARADOX – Four teenagers. A spaceship. A desolate planet. And one dark force that will stop at nothing to possess them.

Thanks Joan for being honest with us today! Good luck with all your coming releases!

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