Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

Do fiction readers have better social skills?

These guys must have recently read some good fiction novels!(Photo courtesy pixabay.com)

These guys must have recently read some good fiction novels!(Photo courtesy pixabay.com)

I read a fascinating research report from The Wall Street Journal on March 8th. According to a study published by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, reading fiction can  improve one’s social skills or social cognition.

The Harvard University study involved 16 women and 10 men ages 19 to 26. They underwent MRI scans of their brains while reading excerpts from novels and magazines.

The fiction readers showed enhanced activities in regions associated with reading about people, and such enhanced activity was linked to higher scores on social cognition assessments.

This could explain why I love my fans, my book club discussion groups and writer conferences–because the people are so interesting.

You can read more about the study at http://science.sciencemag.org/content/342/6156/377

Leave a comment

March 14, 2016 · 9:58 am

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?


Filed under get published, Social Media Marketing, success techniques, Twitter

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life

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.


Filed under Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life

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


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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life

Twitter-Social Media Mktg Tool or Time-waster?

Twitter - now 7 million strong!

Twitter - now 7 million strong!

I first heard about Twitter at a one-night class I took last year on blogging. The instructor mentioned it as a final comment. He introduced Twitter briefly as the newest social media communication phenomenon, and showed us the “Tweet” (message) he had posted before he came to teach the class that evening. His Tweet said: “Leaving to teach a blogging class at ACC.

I looked at my table partner, and the expression on her face – a look she might give her little brother if he took the toilet seat cover off and put it on his head – made me laugh out loud.

I was the only one who laughed. The rest of the students just wore a similar expression that seemed to say, “Who on earth cares if this man is leaving to teach a class on blogging?” Yes, our society is shamelessly focused on such trivial topics as Paris Hilton’s dog and the late blonde bombshell Anna Nicole’s baby, but have we stooped so low that we’ll find this mundane fact interesting?

The instructor only had time to explain that we could use it to promote our business or product, and that was the end of it.

Fast forward several months. I’m investigating low-cost ways to promote my novels, my freelance writing and my small business’s products. I buy Paul Gillin’s Secrets of Social Media Marketing and Andy Wibbels’ Blog Wild, a Guide for Small Business Blogging. Twitter appears in twenty separate locations of the Secrets book, along with this sidebar testimonial to Twitter’s utility:

“Twitter’s Quirky Appeal Lara Fitton is a Twitter master, an independent consultant whose two young children create some lifestyle choices. She wants to work, but she needs to do that mainly from home. Twitter has become Fitton’s business network and support group. She has collected an entourrage of more than 3,500 followers…established relationships that have led to new business, speaking invitations, and personal friendships.”

I searched for Lara Fitton on Twitter, and there she was, wearing a garish green bow digitally pasted on her head. One of her Tweets (messages) reads:

Twitter has surpassed Google in growth

Twitter has surpassed Google in growth

Down by the corner of the street,

Where the three roads meet,

And the feet Of the people as they pass

Go “Tweet-tweet-tweet.”

Okay, so now I’m the one wearing the astonished expression, and someone, somewhere must be laughing at me. Am I so out of the current stream that I can’t tread water, let alone swim? Is this what’s called marketing? This is how you get business and speaking engagements, writing little ditties and Tweeting about preschoolers and museums, and Pooh falling on the acorn?

“I just don’t get it!”

Economical Marketing Strategy - Tweet Rewards

Economical Marketing Strategy - Tweet Rewards

This seems to be a common reaction to Twitter, and it’s what’s keeping many of us from tapping into its resources. It’s weird. It’s boring. So what if seven million people are signed up there? Just because they apparently have endless amounts of free time to chat, chat and natter, doesn’t mean I do.  How can they find these mundane postings interesting?

Coming next – I learn why, and how.  Meanwhile – do you Tweet?  Your comments are most welcome!  How’s it working for you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media Marketing, success techniques, The Writing Life

Are you a Tweeter?

twitterI’m writing an article about Twitter for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ monthly newsletter.  Exploring Twitter is a bit like following Alice down the rabbit hole – things keep getting more and more interesting!  There are Grouptweets and Splitweets, Tweetstats and Tweeples and dozens more sites that play on the Twitter name and offer information about some aspect of this messaging firm.

Out of eighty authors I surveyed, though, only four of them were familiar with its functions or, in some cases, even its existence.

Do you Tweet?  Why do you Tweet, and what’s the major benefit of Tweeting for you?  Thanks in advance for sharing!


Filed under The Writing Life