Tag s | Social Media

But I Don’t Like Social Media!

Today we have a guest post from Steve Laube Agency client Afton Rorvik. Her book, Storm Sisters released Fall, 2014 from Worthy Publishing. She has a growing relationship with social media that she wanted to share. My guess is that today’s post will resonate with many readers of this blog.

Dan Balow

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I must confess something.

I have held a grudge against social media. I resented her demands on my time. I railed against her quirks. I spoke ill of her in public places and on the phone with my agent and publisher. I did not welcome her as a newcomer to my writing neighborhood.

But things feel a bit less strained between us these days.

Why?

I have decided to embrace this new relationship, viewing social media more as a friend than a foe.

So, just as I would invest time in getting to know a new friend, I spend time every day learning more about my new pal: social media (SM). I think of her as a gal-pal. Silly, I know.

My friend SM, I think, comes from Italy. We have a bit of a language barrier.

She talks often of hashtags, tweeps, retweets, gravatars, etc. I have had to pull out a reference book or two in order to understand her. Lately, I’ve been using this one a lot: Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Book by Frances Caballo

We have also had to work through some boundary issues. SM likes to hang out a lot—always seems to want to chat. Just as in any healthy relationship, I’ve had to set some boundaries. And try to keep them.

As much as I enjoy all that SM has to say and the information she leads me to, I have started telling her when I have time to chat rather than letting her suck me in at any and all random moments. I know it is a bit rude of me, but I always keep my eye on the clock while I am conversing with SM. A 30-minute conversation works best for me. Sometimes, though, I do grab a cup of coffee and allow myself a long, lingering afternoon conversation.

Now when I do sit down to chat with SM, I enjoy our time together more. I save up tidbits to share with her and look forward to what she has to say. I focus on her instead of half-hearing what she says as I try to focus on writing tasks. Thank you, Frances Caballo, author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Sill Have Time to Write, for your words of wisdom in this department.

Finally, by viewing SM as a friend, I think of my time with her more as a conversation. I would never sit down to lunch with a friend and tell her all the details of my week complete with 24 photos for each day. I would ask questions, pause to consider her words, and respond with honest words from my heart. Often the specific details of my life would fade into the background. In fact, some of our time together might involve my simply listening and encouraging.

So, I recently told SM I wanted to keep working on our relationship, something along the lines of, “I’m in it for the long haul with you. Let’s keep at it.” She assured me that she has no plans to disappear on me.

Funny, sounds a lot like a Storm Sister.

Afton Rorvik is the author of Storm Sisters: Friends through All Seasons, a book that tells her story of learning to connect with flesh-and-blood women during the storms of life. Visit her website at http://aftonrorvik.com (there are social media links there, as they have become friends)

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Are You Being Too Transparent?

Have you seen the show Blue Bloods? Great show—I mean, how can it not be with Tom Selleck? Do I hear an amen??—that focuses on solid family connections and deals with tough, current issues. The most recent episode made me sit back and go, “Wow. I needed that reminder.” So …

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It’s Not Who You Know

From the third season of the 90’s sitcom Seinfeld, this classic interchange: Car Rental Agent: I’m sorry, we have no mid-size available at the moment.  Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation? Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars. Jerry: But …

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My Amazing Fake Day

I’ve been intrigued by some blogs and articles about how Facebook makes people depressed because everyone else’s lives seem so perfect. I hope that no one thinks the sum of my life is reflected in two recent Facebook posts that my uncle killed a bear on our family farm in Southern Virginia and here in Northern Virginia, we are host a family of walking stick bugs. I took great comfort in the support from my friends through social media, and our blog readers, after the Navy Yard shootings. So yes, everyone knows my life isn’t perfect. But what if I could have an amazing fake workday just to post on Facebook? Here’s mine, a mixture of truth and fantasy:

4 AM: Rise to read and ponder passages of my Schofield Bible, followed by prayer.

5 AM: Polish furniture, remembering the Benedictine rule to dedicate each task to God.

6 AM: Eat breakfast with Hubby before he goes to work. Afterwards, meditate upon a maxim of St. Teresa of Avila. Today’s Maxim: Never mention anything concerning thyself which men account praiseworthy, such as learning, goodness, birth, unless with a hope of going good thereby, and then let it be done with humility, remembering that these are gifts of God.

6:30 AM: Continue reading Tozer: Mystery of the Holy Spirit.

7 AM – Noon: Catch up on business emails, blogs, and calls, including fielding several contracts with healthy offers for clients. Take a break to touch base with both daughters, Hubby, Momma and Daddy, and mother-in-law. On some days, this time slot may also include church work.

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Blogging Success

Last week, I had a lot of fun reading the responses to my post on men versus women getting ready for travel. I appreciate my husband’s sense of humor in not minding that I posted it, and in reality, I give him credit for taking care of our little family all the time.

In response to that post, I received a private email asking how we built our successful blog. Obviously, ours is only one of many popular blogs written by agents, but this is a great question so I’ll share a few tips I have learned from writing for this blog, reading other blogs, and reading articles about blogs.

1.) Focus. What is your blog about? As readers know, ours is about publishing and we rarely veer off topic. I follow other blogs on publishing, of course, along with theology, Christian living, uncluttering, organization, and other topics of interest to me. I know that each post will relate to the promised topic. Does that mean each and every article is of intense interest, helpfulness, and importance to my life? No. But I appreciate that each blog stays on topic.

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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.

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A Few Tips on Social Media

This may seem like an interruption to my series on writing proposals, but it is not. I plan to address the Marketing section of a proposal in the near future. However, before writers can think about marketing in general, they need to understand social media because an author who has mastered social media will be more attractive to a publisher. They want to partner with savvy authors. Thomas Umstattd addressed some of these in a blog in February called “Seven Ways Agents Measure Social Media.”  So the tips below may be a quick review for many, but it bears repeating since it has become such an important piece of the marketing puzzle.

Google

Find out how you look on Google. Do a Google search on your name on a regular basis to see what appears. You won’t be able to control everything that comes up under your name, but work with your webmaster to be sure your web site appears at the top. This is especially helpful if you had to purchase a domain that’s not entirely obvious such as, “ImaWriterWrites” because your name alone was already taken. A regular search will also help you identify anything slanderous, libelous, or (more likely) just plain inaccurate so you can take action to have those links removed. Searching your name should also reveal if there is another author with a name similar to yours. If you find this is true, I recommend simply mentioning the fact in your proposal to make the agent aware so the two of you can decide whether or not to choose a pen name.

It’s a good idea to set up Google Alerts on your name (instructions here). Google will send you an email anytime a new page on the Internet mentions you or your books.

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News You Can Use – April 24, 2012

How to Pay a Ghost – Great post on how ghostwriting works.

A Noah’s Ark for Books! – Brewster Kahle is storing a copy of every book ever published. Spending millions on storage and scanning. Fascinating.

Search Google by Reading Level – Refine your searches! Who knew Google could do this too?

Yet Another Supreme Court Case Concerning Book Sales – This time dealing with the “grey” market of reselling used books.

BookTango – A new social reading site. Check it out!

The Dirty Secret of Overnight Success – I love this article. Read it and then get back to work.

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