Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Social Media For Writers

One of the hot topics in the writing world is how to use social media to promote our writing, and I thought I'd weigh in with my own personal experiences. I'm not going to discuss the types of social media and what days of the week or times of the day to use them - that's a discussion in its own right. Instead, I'm talking about social media and how I believe buy-my-book promotions don't work.

On Facebook and Twitter, I've tried varying strategies from paid Facebook promotions to tweeting links and sharing picture teasers. I've spent time re-tweeting others or sharing links for other books. What I found was that promotion volume did not increase or guarantee sales. A tweet being re-tweeted two-dozen times made no impact on sales. Even if I paid to promote a Facebook post, I'd be lucky to see one sale. Buy-my-book promotion on social media doesn't always equal sales.

Why? I'll answer that question using Twitter. I follow several thousand people. So many, I don't even bother to check my feed. It's impossible to keep up. On top of that, all those people are also re-tweeting others. So, my feed has twenty to thirty tweets added every few seconds. I do have a few lists, which contain members of my writing group, writers I know, and a few people I want to follow. They are usually the only tweets I check.

It's not just about time. When you constantly bombard me with buy-my-book promotions, I switch off. If you're constantly re-tweeting, I don't have the time to scroll through your feed to learn about your books. In all the time I've been on Twitter, I've bought no more than a handful of books that I noticed via a promotion tweet. Even then, it was usually because the book was free that day.

If direct promotion doesn't work, what does? The answer is in the name - it's called social media for a reason. When I follow someone on Twitter or Facebook, I'm following a person not their books. I want to interact with them. I want to know why they write and what draws them to their genre. Here's the thing - I'm more likely to buy your book if a connection is established. I'm not saying you have to interact at depth and with every person, and posting a few book-related posts each day is okay - you do need to have something there for an interested reader to find. What I am saying is be a person first.

I'd like to share a personal example of how social interaction can be the key to finding new readers. A couple of weeks ago, one of my local Facebook friends sent me a link to a lady selling handmade Star Wars and Star Trek jewellery on Etsy. Being a huge fan, I immediately liked the sellers page and commented on the necklace I loved. What I wasn't expecting was a message from the seller via Facebook a few days ago, telling me she'd read both my books and had left a review on Kobo. Dawn's review starts with, 'I stumbled across Ellie when she 'liked' a piece of jewellery I had made and placed in my shop. Looked her up, saw she wrote books and I bought this collection...'

Social interaction was the key. I'm 99.9 per cent sure Dawn would never have come across or read my books without the connection made via social media, and I never seen her jewellery. It was also rewarding talking to Dawn via Facebook messenger; I hope I've not just found another reader, but also made a new friend. Though I know Dawn is not expecting it, I'd like to give her and her beautiful creations a shout-out. Below are my favourite designs.

I know that using social media is not always as simple as I've discussed. I'm constantly learning, adapting, and trying new methods to see what works and what doesn't. But I'm also reminding myself on a daily basis to be a person first. 

What are your experiences with social media? Do you agree or disagree with anything I've said? 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Science Fiction Thrills and Scary Chills

Can you believe the A to Z Challenge has reached the letter S already? Time really does speed by at a frightening pace when you're having so much fun. Given it's letter S day, I thought it appropriate to share a new science fiction serial that launched this week and a spooky re-release.

Milo James Fowler, along with Every Day Publishing, launched an exciting new episodic work of fiction, Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Space-Time Conundrum.

Captain Quasar is out of time.

Pursued by vengeful Goobalob toll collectors, savage Arachnoid bounty hunters, and formidable Amazonians, Captain Bartholomew Quasar must do whatever he can to keep the crew of the Effervescent Magnitude out of harm's way. All in a day's work—except time is not on his side.

Torn from the present to relive his past, he vows to keep mistakes from occurring the second time around. But is he doomed to repeat the past? Or can he erase his regrets?

Villains will be vanquished. Lives will be lost. Bonds will be betrayed. Heroes will be heroic. Join the crew of the Effervescent Magnitude for a hilarious time-travel space adventure the likes of which you've never seen!

Want to read 80 episodes of rollicking space opera over 16 weeks, and receive an eBook at the end? Full details here.

About the Author:

Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day, speculative fictioneer by night, and an active SFWA member. When he's not grading papers, he's imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities.

In the past 5 years, his short fiction has appeared in more than 100 publications, including AE SciFiCosmosDaily Science FictionNatureShimmer, and theWastelands 2 anthology. His novel Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Space-Time Displacement Conundrum will be available later this year. His novels After the Sky,BackTracker, Westward Tally Ho!Those Who Wait, and Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque are currently out on submission.

Fellow Untethered Realms author, Cherie Reich has re-published and extended her chilling The Nightmare Collection. Not only does the re-release have a stunning new cover, it also features a nail-biting new story. 

A legend awakens...

A monster hunts us. After hibernating for a decade, it's ravenous. We long to stop this nightmare, but the end of the road is far. There is no waking up once a legend sets its sights on you.

Disappearances every ten or so years make little impact on the small town of New Haven, Virginia. Hikers get lost. Hunters lose the trail. Even when a body is discovered, the inhabitants' memories last about as long as the newspaper articles.

No one connects the cases. No one notices the disappearances go back beyond Civil War times. No one believes a legendary monster roams the forests in Southwestern Virginia.

I don't either until the truck breaks down on an old mountain trail. Cell phones won't work in this neck of the woods. It's amazing how much a person can see by starlight alone. So what if we can't feel our fingers or toes as we hike toward the main road. How many more miles left to go?


Hear that noise?

The collection includes the novelette Once upon a December Nightmare, the novella Nightmare Ever After, and the short story "Good Nightmare, Scary Monster."

Ebook available on Amazon for only $0.99 until April 30th. Print edition also available.

About the Author:

Cherie Reich has more books than she can ever read and more ideas than she can ever write, but that doesn't stop this bookworm from trying, even if it means trying to curb her TV addiction. She is a speculative fiction writer and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the paranormal horror collection Once upon a Nightmare and the fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles and The Fate ChallengesReborn is her debut novel. She is the vice president of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Congratulations, Milo and Cherie. To exciting releases in the same week. What more could readers ask for?

Friday, 10 April 2015

Dragon of the Stars by Alex J. Cavanaugh

April 7th saw the release of Dragon of the Stars by bestselling and much-loved CassaStar author, Alex J. Cavanaugh. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book, no doubt the same for countless other readers.

Dragon of the Stars
By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
What Are the Kargrandes?

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?
One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?


About the Author:
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.
You can Alex here: website / IWSG / Twitter 

Congratulations, Alex! I've already started reading Dragon of the Stars and I'm loving it. Space opera and science fiction at its best.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A is for A to Z Blogging Challenge

I'm keeping this post short and sweet, because today is the start of the A to Z Blogging Challenge (and Camp NaNoWriMo for some writers). I know visitng even a few of the bloggers taking part can be a mammoth task.

I'm not personally taking part with this blog, However, I will be as part of my writing group, Untethered Realms. I'll be contributing the entries for letters D and V. I hope to see you there.

Thank you to the A to Z hosts and their minnions - we couldn't do this without your tireless efforts and dedication. Happy blogging, my friends.