Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

RMFW Conference News – Save $, Get Published, Learn Craft, Marketing and more

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Register before July 31 and save $50!

Hurry, save $50! Registration is open for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2019 Colorado Gold Conference. It will be held this year at the Renaissance Stapleton Hotel in Denver at 3801 Quebec Street. The conference features New York Times best-selling authors, acquiring agents and editors, and a wealth of intensive craft and marketing classes and workshops.  If you haven’t yet registered, get to it—you’ll be so glad you did! One reason: the conference price goes up by $50 on July 31. Beat that date and save.

You can browse the speakers and workshops here.

If you’re already registered, welcome! This year’s conference has a powerful lineup of literary agents and editors who are actively acquiring all genres of commercial fiction. It will be hard to choose from the lively variety of workshops, master classes and services this year! Read on so you can get the most from the conference, whether this is your first conference or the next of many.

Conquer that “Lost-in-the-Crowd” feeling

This year’s conference is chock-full of new features. The number of master classes has increased, and the workshops offer an impressive array of craft and marketing topics. As the conference has expanded its offerings, it can be a lot to absorb.

Whether you’re a newbie this year or, like me, have attended two decades of conferences, there’s an easy way to stay on top of things. Here are two opportunities for you to get your bearings and prepare for a stress-free conference that delivers just what you need/want to get out of it.

Kevin Wolf’s First-Timer’s Meeting

If you’re a first-timer, let me congratulate you! You’re in for a great time! I’ll never forget the excitement and sweet rush of information and help I received at my first conference. If you have identified yourself as a first timer, you may have received or will soon receive a welcome letter from Kevin inviting you to this meeting. I thought I’d add it here, too, as a reminder to take full advantage of it.  Here you’ll meet the RMFW president and conference chairs. You’ll also get a wealth of information you’ll want to know. How to find your way around. Book sales. Workshops. Where and when to purchase recordings of the workshops you attended or couldn’t attend due to your schedule. (My tip: order Sunday morning to avoid the delay of having them shipped.)

This is your chance to dispel any new-experience jitters and sail through your conference schedule with confidence and new friends.

Join the fun on Friday at noon in the Vail meeting room, Atrium level.

Terri Benson’s Conference Survival Secrets

Here you’ll learn about the new programs and services being offered: Master classes. Schedule changes. Good places to meet people. Special invitations for solo diners at the Friday dinner. Last-minute schedule changes. Terri will be ready to answer all your questions about editor/agent protocol, how to prep for appointments, how to pace yourself—all to help make your conference experience all it can be. Be there Friday at 1 p.m. in the Vail room, Atrium level.

ASK ME volunteers will wear gold armbands and answer your questions during conference. Yes, I’m one of them!

Gold armbands and the “Ask Me” Crew

 Should you find yourself lost or in need of information, look for RMFW members wearing gold armbands. It’s not a fashion statement—the bands identify friendly volunteers who will help you find your way around, more easily network and make new friends, and take advantage of all that this nationally respected conference has to offer.

Feel free to ask them questions: Where are the editor/agent meetings held? What time does the book sale begin? Where is the book store? Where do I go to buy an extra meal ticket for the Saturday dinner? Where can I grab a sandwich?

They’re called the ASK ME crew, and you can meet them at Kevin Wolf’s 12:00 noon Friday meeting for first-time attendees and at Terri Benson’s Conference Survival Secrets one o’clock Friday session. Both of these sessions are in the Vail meeting room, Atrium level. That way, you’ll be able to recognize them as they circulate during the workshops.

Terri Benson will present a workshop for both new and experienced conference attendees. It’s called Conference Survival Secrets, and you’ll have a chance to meet some ASK ME volunteers there, as well.

The ASK ME crew will circulate throughout the conference.

Get ready to place your bid in the Silent Auction!

 Intake volunteers have received an exciting variety of donated items. All Silent Auction proceeds benefit the 2020 Colorado Gold Scholarship Fund. If you wish to bid on an item, locate the bid sheet for that item. The auction display area will be across from the conference registration desk, near the escalators. Then check back from time to time to see if you need to raise your bid. Bidding closes at the start of the Saturday evening banquet. Auction winners will be announced prior to the keynote address, and must claim their items that evening.

This year’s items include such treasures as:

  • Critique of your query or manuscript pages from one of five agents/editors
  • Writer’s goodie bags
  • Gift Baskets in themes for Gardening, Wine and Books, Tea/Relaxation, Spices, and More!
  • Auction items continue to arrive, so be sure to check the display area for updates.

Coming in my August blog…more Conference 411! Info on the new conference app, tips and more.

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Filed under get published, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, self publishing novels, Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, Writing Conferences

Ireland Writer Tours 2016

As I mentioned earlier, I will be teaching in a unique setting this August when I team up with multi-published YA/Middle Grade author Dianne Salerni to present the “Secrets to Publishing Success” conference. It will include private consultations and writing classes, with plenty of time for brainstorming plotting ideas.

Dunguire Castle Small

Ireland Writer Tours combines the excitement of touring the Emerald Isle with the inspiration and help of a personal writer’s conference

These surprisingly affordable tours are a heady combination of writing workshops and visiting fascinating attractions in Ireland — a fourteenth century abbey, haunted castles, stone circles, mysterious lakes — it sounds too good to be true, but it is! I’m excited to see all these inspirational sights and share my secrets about publishing and marketing. Something I love even more than writing is inspiring other writers to follow their hearts to create successful, award-winning stories.

This tour has been described as the perfect holiday or birthday gift. I first learned of it through Pam Nowak and Susan Spann. Pam attended the tour last year, and all of my writer cells screamed for me to attend with her, but I couldn’t. I so wanted to stow away in her suitcase. She was generous about sharing, though, and I saw photos of her touring days.  Pam will be presenting a June conference on Craft, Career and Publishing.

Susan, a publishing attorney, presented last year and posted several pictures that made me drool. You can see her post at http://www.susanspann.com/looking-for-a-writing-retreat-try-ireland-this-summer/

And here’s a general post from the tour organizers at http://www.theroadlesstraveledireland.com

This is heaven-on-earth for writers. Come on and join me for the writing, the sights, and the inspiration!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under get published, Ireland Writing Retreat, self publishing novels, Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Retreats

Self-publishing-Courage on Steroids!

Fran commented on my previous post, sharing that she, too, had taken the self-publishing path.

What kind of fears do we suffer when we take this big step in our careers? We don’t have the shelter of a big New York publishing house — we lack the stamp of approval that comes from a big publisher’s editor.

I’ve come to realize there *are* traits and talents we *do* possess, though. With traditional publishing, I assumed I would get publicity, but in hindsight, I see that I did the lion’s share of promotion– a massive amount of publicity and advertising. Being our book’s best advocate is challenging, and yes, exhausting!  I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about it.  What have I missed? What can be done more thoroughly? How can I best reach the readers who will love my book?

Doubts needle at the oddest times.  What if my book is given a scathing review? What if my friends read it and–after all my excited conversations about writing, they read it, grimace and think, “So this is what she’s so excited about?”  We don’t have an editor or an agent reassuring us along the way.  We are, from the beginning, in charge of nurturing our Positive Mental Attitude (PMA), and funding all of our promotional activities.

It’s daunting, but we’re not in this alone.  There are hundreds of thousands like us.  Networking helps. Let’s keep clutching our COURAGE cards and following our dreams!  Go ye forth. Believe. Promote. And write more wonderful books!  –Janet

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Resources for marketing your books

Social Media Marketing - are you making full use of this new communications network?

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers recently presented a timely panel about marketing in the age of social media.  The panel members, published authors and good writer friends, included mystery authors Beth Groundwater, Patricia Stoltey and fantasy writer/Internet guru Ron Heimbecher.

Drop by Patricia Stoltey’s blog to see a list of excellent resources for social media marketing.  I’ll add another reference book here:

Secrets of Social Media Marketing, How to Ue Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-charge your business by Paul Gillin, Quill Driver Books.

What is the single most effective promotional activity you’ve done to promote your novels?

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Writers, heed the “Law of the Little Shovel”

A focused, concentrated effort will reap the best promotional benefits

A focused, concentrated effort will reap the most promotional benefits

Seth Godin wrote in his blog of “The Law of the Little Shovel.”  It makes so much sense, I thought I’d expand on this concept as it applies to pre-published and published authors.

The Law of the Little Shovel, and I’m quoting Seth:  If you want to dig a big hole, you need to stay in one place.  If you walk around town with a little shovel, you’ll just end up digging thousands of little holes, not one big one.  Call on one person ten times and you might make the sale. Call on ten people once each and you will likely get ten rejections.

I see this principle working with novel promotion and literary brand development. We receive so much advice from well-meaning writers that we can get carried away, digging thousands of little holes, holes without depth or substance because we’re trying to accomplish the work of several experienced staffers at a public relations firm.

Does any of this advice sound familiar?

● You must have a website. Develop a presence there and on social media sites.  Do this before you’re published so you’ll have a platform in place when you sell your first novel.

● Get 500 friends on MySpace/Facebook/Twitter so you have a platform.

● Develop a media kit with bio, photos, and a list of local media.

● When your book releases, do a multi-city book tour. Schedule a string of signings, save money by driving and staying at relatives’ and friends’ homes to contain costs.

● Develop a fun contest on your website to build traffic.

● Blog every day and become known as an expert.

● Volunteer frequently. Serve on boards. Be visible.

● Offer e-zine articles for free.  It gives great exposure and will help you build traffic on your website.

Remember the Law of the Little Shovel, and resist the urge to dig a thousand shallow holes.  Focus on what you can do, and do it well. Nurture your talent and keep writing your first priority.

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What’s in it for me? Etiquette and marketing savvy provide the answer

"Look at me!  Look at me!" - clip art courtesy of discoveryschool.com

"Look at me! Look at me!" - clip art courtesy of discoveryschool.com

In a discussion about what is an appropriate or inappropriate post on a networking site, someone posed this question: Is there a source somewhere that lists social networking etiquette?

We all have “friends,” don’t we, who are like the kid at the back of the classroom, raising her hand, waving it furiously. “I have something to say,” she says, all smiles. “And it’s all about ME.”

On Twitter, LinkedIn and similar sites, multiply that overly eager kid by ten thousand. “Buy my book!” “Hire me as your consultant!” “Buy my shoes!” “Buy my service!” “Look! Look! Look!”

They’re even in our writer’s groups. (Note: If you recently announced your latest book release, I’m not talking about you. I’m discussing those people who keep their hands up ALL THE TIME and don’t ever get off the topic of themselves.)

Social media marketing (SMM) is different from traditional advertising, but some of the same rules apply. Be it reading an ad, watching a commercial, or listening to a pitch on the radio, or reading blogs or Tweets or profiles, we’re still people, and we still ask ourselves that age-old question,”What’s in it for me?”

People need to be engaged, that’s the hot social marketing term. Grandma’s engaged when she signs onto Facebook and sees updated photos of her grandchildren and what they’re up to. But once we get past our immediate circle of family and friends, there needs to be more effort than simply, “I’m here. Look at me!”

“What’s in it for me?” It’s not that we’re mean-spirited or terribly selfish, but our hours are finite, and we can’t endlessly pay attention, just because. We have problems to solve. New ideas and information to learn. We’re searching for ways to thrive, ways to cope, ways to be entertained, educated, enlightened, inspired, helped.

When using Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites in your social media marketing efforts, it’s vital that you engage the people there. If your messages consist of “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!” (in whatever form you’d imagine – look at my resume services, my shoes, my books, my blogs), your efforts will be transparent and ineffective. It’s all about engaging us. This is accomplished by offering useful information, earning the right to be looked upon as an expert in your field, or simply helping or entertaining people.

So until an SMM etiquette book is published, remember that age-old adage that all good advertising copywriters keep in mind: “What’s in it for those who read this?” Know the answer to that question, and your tweets, blogs and profiles will gain the attention they deserve.

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Top Ten Tips for Twitter

Compliments of Sate of Washington’s CTED

Compliments of State of Washington’s CTED

I had to share this.  ColoradoBiz’s on-line editor, Mary Butler, created these tips.  I’ve been Tweeting for 57 days now, and these tips ring true.  Love #2. and 10.  If you use Twitter, do you have some tips you’d like to add?  Please share in comments.

1. Thou shall not be boring.

2. Thou shall not spam thy neighbor, nor his wife, nor his cattle, nor his cattle’s wife. I don’t think, therefore I spam.

3. Thou shall not curse, swear or use four-letter words.

4. Thou shall not have a bio that bears false witness or is void of your personal worth.

5. Thou shall not use the Twitter default avatar.

6. Thou shall not use the default Twitter background.

7. Thou shall not use long URLs without first converting them to Tiny URLs or Snurls.

8. Thou shall not tweet while driving (waiting at stoplights is fine).

9. Thou shall not indiscriminately block others.

10. Thou shall not use acronyms, SMS, abbreviations or anything not understandable to thy neighbor’s good looking but slightly technically challenged wife.

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How to tap Twitter’s strengths

Twitter - when the info pipe is spewing data at 500 gallons a second, one must avoid drowning.

Twitter - when the info pipe is spewing data at 500 gallons a second, one must avoid drowning.

Today let’s look at how some authors use Twitter, and what features they value.  I surveyed writers from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and asked them how they use this fast-growing medium.

RMFW’s “Twitter” stars – survey results
Note:  “Tweets” means # of messages sent per day.
Christine Duncan.
Tweeting: 6 months.  Tweets per day: 2-3.  Followers: 130.  Tool or Time-waster: Tool.
Kelley Pounds
Tweeting: 7 months.  Tweets per day: 2-3.  Followers: 358.  Tool or Time-waster: Tool.
Diana Rowe
Tweeting: 4 months.  Tweets per day: 1-2.  Followers: 150.  Tool or Time-waster: Tool
Karen Duvall
Tweeting:   2 months.  Tweets per day: 5-10     Followers: 80     Tool or Time-waster:

Kelley Pounds discussed branding in my survey and explained the need for a focus.  If you profile yourself as a writer and get followers interested in your name or genre and Tweet about that regularly, you’re building your audience based on that.  If you suddenly start Tweeting about things unrelated to what your followers expect, you begin to lose followers because you are undermining your brand. Kelley Twitters as kellscreations and Tweets about her art and jewelry.

Since Diana Rowe writes travel articles, she wants potential editors or PR people to find her. Diana likes the ease of a short, 140-character post – she calls it her “Star Ship Enterprise Captain’s Log” She finds tips from other well-traveled journalists.  “It fuels ideas for more articles,” she says.

Christine Duncan tweets to increase traffic for her two blogs.“It helps you connect not just to readers but to agents, publicists and small publishers, so it’s a worthy writing business tool,” she said.  “I’ve learned about blog book touring, other social networks and some publicity ops, all because I use Twitter.”

Karen Duvall has gathered many followers in a short time, no surprise since, in addition to writing fantastic novels, she’s adept at all things cyber, computer and social.  Karen focuses on editors and publishers, since four publishers are considering her agented novel, Knight’s Curse, now. She follows editor Colleen Lindsey, noting her comments about books, submissions and personal interests.  Commenting on Twitter’s time-wasting potential, Karen said, “It would be easy to abuse, but I haven’t had that problem. As for it being a tool, yes!  Heather Osborn of Tor announced last week she had a slot open in her schedule for paranormal romance and a bunch of Tweeting writers were able to send her their manuscripts.  (Osborn) received 35 and read 8 over the weekend.  Networking is important in this business.  You snooze, you lose.”

How to tap Twitter’s strengths

This is my Twitter avatar (photo ID) that accompanies each of my Tweets (messages). Be sure to submit a square photo, or the results can be less than desired.   Include a photo.

This is my Twitter avatar (photo ID) that accompanies each of my Tweets (messages). Be sure to submit a square photo, or the results can be less than desired.

Free info flows as easily as wine at an RMFW conference, but when the info pipe is spewing data at 500 gallons a second, one must avoid drowning.

Rather than accumulating many followers, I suggest you be selective.  Pick a handful of industry pros to follow, and after your feet are wet, add a few more.

Find RMFW Tweets from those members listed earlier and/or  Shannon Baker, Chris Goff or me – and see who they’re following. Borrow from their follow list at will.  I’ve been following Maria Schneider, a freelance writer and former editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, and consider her a good addition. Feel free to lift Maria’s name from my list.

Maria Schneider compiled a list of 25 Good Twitter Follows for Writers. Browse it at http://tinyurl.com/7swo3a and start following.

Include a photo.

This powerful feature helps your followers feel as if they know you.

Next:  More tips on how you can harness the power of this fast-growing medium.

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Twitter – Social Media Marketing Tool, or Time-waster?

Don't be fooled when visiting Twitter.  It's much more than chat.

Don't be fooled when visiting Twitter. It's much more than chat.

by Janet Lane
Today we look at the strengths of the mini-message networking site, Twitter.  First a news flash regarding Twitter’s phenomenal growth: since last month’s numbers, Twitter has grown from 6 million unique visitors in the US to 7 million.

Why Twitter is good

● A feeling of connectedness and immediacy. A professional on a business trip was snowed in at an airport, Tweeted about it and within ten minutes had four offers of places to stay. Think of reaching millions with your emergency, instantly.

● Quick, easy postings. No need to write a lengthy post every day. Each post is 140 characters or less.  This small bullet paragraph is 135 characters, for example.

● Quick and easy responses.  Responses may come within seconds instead of hours or days.

●Filter through the noise. Say there’s a craft book you’re considering. Get several responses  about it and reach a quicker, more informed purchasing decision.

● Find groups.  Using the hashmark search, http://search.twitter.com , you can standard search for Tweets with the words editor, author, marketing in the Tweet itself, or for discussions of trending topics like #editor, #author, #marketing, precede your search with a #.

● Learn from the Twitter Giants at http://wefollow.com  There, you’ll see that cnnbrk is the #1 Tweeter at 523,000 followers and  BarackObama is #2 at 465,000.  Find areas of  interest, such as authors, media, etc. and follow the “influencers,” as they’re called.

To fellow Tweeters:  Who’s your best “follow,” and why?

Like what you see?  Please credit me.  Thanks.

Next:  How to tap Twitter’s strenth, and what you absolutely should NOT forget to include in your profile.

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Twitter – Social Media Marketing Tool, or Time-waster?

twitterandbird1

Twitter-will this birdy's air stream help you fly?

Part 2 of the Twitter series by Janet Lane

(See prior post for part 1)

My survey
I surveyed eighty members of RMFW, asking (1) How long have you been Tweeting? (2) how many tweets do you generate per day? (3) How many Followers do you have? (4) Do you Tweet for just your novel writing, or do you have multiple brands/objectives? (5) What have you found to be the most helpful aspect of Tweeting? (6) Your final answer: Is Twitter a  /__/ time-waster or /__/ worthy promotional tool?

Survey says …
Out of eight author/writers, I heard from only four who have harnessed Twitter’s power to network and accomplish specific promotional goals.

The responses from non-Tweeters ranged from “never heard of it” to deep concerns that it would be a terrible time-waster.  One especially incredulous statement: “As an introvert, I’m just appalled.  Who needs to be in touch with people every moment of the day?”

What Twitter is
http://twitter.com  Twitter is an on-line networking group of over seven million people. Messages (tweets) are limited to just 140 keystrokes, so it’s what Associated Press writer Michael Liedtke calls “a potluck of pithy self-expression simmering with whimsy, narcissism, voyeurism, hucksterism, tedium, and sometimes useful information.”

Why Twitter is bad
The brevity of just 140 keystrokes severely limits your messages. The messages may never surpass mind-numbing chatter. It can be a huge time-waster, with no useful outcome. It can be a distraction from your more meaningful work and promotional activities. If you’re successful at building an interesting collection of people to Follow, you’ll never have sufficient time to listen to all of them. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you may send out a Tweet and receive absolutely no response. It’s hard to find people that you should be following. You may get obsessed with Twitter and become effectively chained to your computer or phone.  There may be negative Tweets about you or your company that may devastate.

Coming next – why Twitter is good, and how some writers have tapped this latest promotional tool’s strengths to promote their brand.

Like what you see?  Please credit me.  Thanks.

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