Changes or Opportunities?


What are you doing to counter and grow from the ongoing changes in the marketing of books?

I don’t look at the changes as something to counter, but opportunities to reach an ever-increasing audience with excellent books. I am becoming more savvy about social media, because effective marketing by publishers is becoming more reliant on this new phenomena. I am working more directly with marketing people than in the past.

As you know from reading this blog and keeping up  with industry news, few authors have the luxury today of holing up at home, churning out books, without ever interacting with fans. Today, fans expect to find their favorite authors on the Internet. For example, authors should consider becoming active on Twitter. By active, I mean offer a status update at least once or twice a day. Be sure to interact with your fans on Twitter. There are free programs that will schedule Twitter updates like buffer or hootsuite, but don’t rely on them to do all the work for you. Visit your account and talk to people as well. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @Tamela_Murray.

On Facebook, authors also need a fan page and a personal page. Some authors say, “Oh, I’ve been meaning to switch over to an author page only.” No, don’t close out your personal page because you won’t be able to keep up with your friends. Instead, have two pages. I don’t say my way is perfect but here is what I do: I have a personal page where I offer updates about watching amusing television programs and the birds in my back yard, for instance. You will find writing-related articles and tips and tricks on my business page.  I try not to overlap posts. I recommend that authors maintain two pages as well. Is it a lot of work? Yes, but checking in once or twice every business day is not that difficult. You can take off on weekends. The goal here is to have a pleasant relationship with your fans. They want to get to know you. After all, isn’t reaching people the point of being a writer?

Your turn:

What is the most challenging aspect of cultivating an Internet presence?

What is your favorite venue: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or something else? Why?

Do you enjoy social media? Why or why not?

Will you share your tips on social media?


30 Responses to Changes or Opportunities?

  1. Avatar
    Ron Estrada February 7, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    This is one of my favorite subjects. I use them all frequently, but have recently discovered Google+ and found it to be the easiest as far as interacting with others. The video “Hang Outs” are incredible and so easy to use. I use Hootsuite to keep my twitter and facebook updated, but I do have to visit my facebook page as well to reply to people. Blogs are a huge part of this as well. It’s important to reply to those who reply on your blog. We should also make every effort to keep up with new social media venues. I downloaded an app for “The Vine” a couple days ago. Think twitter with 6 second videos. You record (from iPhone only at the moment) directly from your phone to the site, so it’s painfully easy to do. I don’t know if it will take off but I’ll be ready when it does!

  2. Avatar
    Jackie Layton February 7, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    Ron, my son enjoys using The Vine. He’s in college, and I think it’s pretty popular with his friends.

    Tamela, do you think an author page is necessary if I’m not published? I’m on FB daily, I blog and tweet, and I enjoy Pinterest. One day I hope to have an author page on FB, but it seems like I should wait.


    • Avatar
      Laura Christianson February 7, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Jackie – If you are planning to get published in the future, or plan to approach writing as a business, I recommend a Facebook brand page. If you’re writing as a hobbyist, you can get away with using your personal profile.

    • Avatar
      Jan Thompson February 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      I agree with Laura regarding a professional FB page for writer. Better get the username reserved ASAP. I had no idea how many Jan Thompsons there are on FB and on Google. Some of them are even writers, though in different genres.

      I am still kicking myself when I missed the opportunity to reserve my name on FB when they first allowed usernames a few years ago. Now I have to tag on suffixes just to have a unique author page. Learn from my mistake — book your FB page usernames before you have to resort to pet names, etc.

      FB pops up new pages all the time, and pretty soon you’ll run out of usernames to use. It’s pretty common for writers to tag on “writer” or “author” at the end of their names (or in front) just for branding purposes, and to differentiate from personal FB pages. As far as running out of usernames, same situation is with Twitter and Pinterest. Unless you have a seriously unusual name, it’s hard to get your own names anymore on any of the platforms.

      While we can parse the etymology of “writer” vs “author” I would suggest looking 5 years into your future. Do you plan to be a published author then? In that case, don’t be afraid to create an FB page with your being an “author” in mind.

      So, unashamedly — writers need to have thick skin sometimes, eh? — since I hope to be published some day, my username on FB is “JanThompsonAuthor.” It’s just idling there right now, not much going on, and I have not told my friends/family about it yet since I’m busy working on my MSS (everybody will ask me when I’m going to finish my series/whatnots, so I don’t need more pressure LOL). But I wanted to be sure I have the FB page reserved for WHEN I’m published. Hopefully my FB page won’t sit there for another 10 years LOL…

      • Avatar
        Jenni Brummett February 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

        Thanks for this great insight Jan.

      • Avatar
        Jackie Layton February 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm #


        Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

        I understand about the pressure of family and friends adding to the pressure of trying to get published.

        I think that’s been part of the reason I’ve held back.

        Thanks again.

      • Avatar
        Jan Thompson February 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

        Jackie – You can create the FB author page with the username you want, and leave it “unpublished” i.e. no one in the world can see it but you until you’re good and ready. FB will not “publish” the author page (i.e. show to the public) until you hit the “Publish Your Page” button.

        And even after that, you can hit “unpublish” again by going to “Edit Page” then click on “Manage Permissions” and click “Unpublish,” and FB will close your author page to the world. So you can go back and forth. HTH.

      • Avatar
        Laura Christianson February 8, 2013 at 9:36 am #

        Excellent point, Jan. While social networks don’t take kindly to us “squatting” on usernames, they don’t give us much of an option.

        Facebook allows your to change your username once, in case of a misspelling or change of business name, but after that, you’re stuck. Even if you delete your Facebook page, I’ve heard that they keep the former username on file for a while (I don’t know how long). So if you try to reclaim the same username after deleting your account, you’re out of luck.

  3. Avatar
    Diana Harkness February 7, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    I have three businesses if you count writing (and I do). I use Facebook pages for all of them. I have only 1 twitter account which I use mostly for writing. I have two blogs, one for my primary business, one for writing, and I post to the latter most frequently. I share my blogs with twitter and facebook. The blog is for essays, twitter for snippets (tweets), and facebook for longer snippets (up to a paragraph) and for posting videos, etc.

    • Avatar
      Diana Harkness February 7, 2013 at 5:34 am #

      And of course that didn’t really respond to your questions because I’m busy updating Facebook. Social media takes a lot of time but I try to keep up to date at least 2 times/day. I schedule it for an hour starting at 7am and then whenever I have time. I link my facebook pages to twitter and when I go on vacation I schedule tweets. I think I am using Hootsuite and perhaps something else, but I can’t remember. I blog using Microsoft Essentials Writer and then post it using that same app. I could use Word, but Writer is just so easy. I add pictures using Wikimedia Commons. I stay away from Pinterist because all of this takes too much time already. I wish I could get rid of social media (except for the blog) because it’s more of a time waster than anything else. But if it’s what I need to do to sell my books then that’s what I’ll do. No one said I had to like it.

  4. Avatar
    Lisa February 7, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    I can’t say I love social media. Sometimes, I let it stress me out. That being said, it has been invaluable for making connections and sharing my work. I am very thankful for it. I make it a priority to keep learning and keep putting myself out there. (My favorite is pinterest, I actually met one of my biggest writing supporters through it 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Meghan Carver February 7, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    I do like social media. It’s true what so many say — it’s a fairly comfortable way for introverts to put themselves out there. As much as I like Pinterest, I think I prefer Facebook. It’s easy to upload photos, and it allows for more conversation than Twitter. Plus, it doesn’t seem to be loaded with self-promotion as much as Twitter. The challenge is to be able to log out and get back to work.

  6. Avatar
    Jeanne T February 7, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Tamela, I love your mindset that you opened the post with. We don’t counter what’s happening, but look at how to use the opportunities today’s market provides.

    I do enjoy social media, but I find it hard not to spend too much time on there. 🙂 I primarily use Facebook and Twitter, and I just launched a blog. The reason I haven’t done it sooner is I know it will take time to manage it well. But it’s worth it, and I’m looking forward to connecting with people there.

    • Avatar
      Jenni Brummett February 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      You launched your blog? Great! Now I need to know how to get there. 🙂

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    Jennifer Major February 7, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    The challenge of having an internet presence is to be present other places as well.
    The time and activity vacuum is a known entity, so managing oneself involves discipline.
    My favoUrite is Facebook, simply because I have family and friends all over the world and this enables me to stay in touch.

    Okay, this may sound umm, interesting. But since malware invaded my FB page in December I’ve deactivated it and opened a new one. I have been praying about activating my old one, simply because I miss alot of those people! And I’ve done a few preventative things on the computers.

    I prayed specifically this morning that God would speak clearly to me about keeping the newer, but less *populated* FB account as an author page and go back to my old digs.

    Sooooooo, Tamela, ka-boom!!
    You got to be the voice of God this morning.

    As my youngest used to say before he got the grammar figured out…”whaddya that think?”

  8. Avatar
    Laura Christianson February 7, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    The most challenging aspects of cultivating an Internet presence: understanding who your audience is, knowing how best you can help them, and sticking with your strategy over the long haul. I’ll be addressing this topic in depth at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March during the Internet Marketing Major Morning Track. If you plan to attend the conference, I hope you’ll come and join me!

    • Avatar
      Jenni Brummett February 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      I’ll be there Laura. Hope to meet you.

      • Avatar
        Laura Christianson February 8, 2013 at 9:37 am #

        Jenni – Come and sit at the table I’ll be hosting every day during lunch and dinner! Would love to meet you.

  9. Avatar
    Julie Surface Johnson February 7, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    I like LinkedIn for the reason that I write for a niche market and through my 1000+ contacts, LinkedIn says I am reaching over 8 million like-minded people. LinkedIn also offers groups where you can interact with professionals, solving problems together and getting to know one another.

  10. Avatar
    Jan Thompson February 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    “What is the most challenging aspect of cultivating an Internet presence?”

    To me, it’s TIME. On the one hand, writers have to build their social media presence for branding and platforming. OTOH, spare time is so scarce in my life that I just need all the free time I can get to work on my novel. OTOH I do understand the need for marketing.

    I’m sure the juggling will be more magnified once I start getting published (one can always pray and hope for success), so I’m trying to manage my schedule now to prepare for the eventuality.

    One thing I’m using is a timer. I have a 99.99-minute timer. Within that time, I need to do everything I need to do that day to maintain my writer social media presence — Website, Blog, FB, Twitter, Pinterest. When time’s up I have to put on a new hat. It’s OK now because I have nothing much to say yet — no published books to speak of. But I expect to be running out of time later on LOL.

    Thank you, Tamela, for the timely article!!!

  11. Avatar
    Jenni Brummett February 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Having a Pinterest story board for my MS, Soul Salvage, is a great visual way to inspire my writing.

    • Avatar
      Lisa February 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

      I have a secret board for me MS too 🙂

  12. Avatar
    Jackie Layton February 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    I want to thank everybody who encouraged me to make a Facebook Author page.

    I took the plunge.

    Thanks for the push I needed.

    I hope you all have a great weekend.

  13. Avatar
    J.D February 8, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    To be honest, thinking about all this made me exhausted. I understand social media is part of the modern game now, and every author needs to do some form of it. I really do. But I think I’m going to go real old school and write such a fantastical and memorable story it will be marketed by word of mouth. What a time saver that will be. Phew.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray February 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      J.D., word of mouth is still a big part of the picture!

      • Avatar
        J.D February 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

        Word of mouth vs. word by fingers. Aren’t they really both the same, only the latter reaches a broader audience faster? Hmm….that’s helpful indeed. Thanks for the response, Ms. Hancock Murray, and for the post.
        My issue is that I’m defensive of words. They are powerful, influential, sacred and precious. I don’t speak just to hear myself talk or type just so others can read my words. It’s about making words matter and there are so many tweets, posts, blogs, sites and so forth bombarding us with wasted words. Just sayin. I’m trying to figure out the balance and find the right social networking niche to level the scales of a tipping author. I’ll get there 🙂

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