Are You a Facebook Flop?

Facebook F+

Facebook F+

 

If you’re not a Facebook superstar, fear not! You likely have other strengths.

In the scheme of marketing things, my Facebook fan page is NOT growing in leaps and bounds. I opened it, because it was one of the many things marketing experts tell authors we must do to sell more books! Well…I think my personal page was a help in letting my friends know that I did in fact finally finish and publish my novel, SECRET AGENT OF GOD. Much to my surprise, many of my friends purchased the book. I rather expected to give copies away to my nearest and dearest, but they beat me to it. Now if I had thousands of ‘friends’ I can see where this might be a place where people sell tons of books. But does anyone really have thousands of friends?

I actually personally know all the people on my Facebook page and I hang in there because among my small group of good people, I might actually lose touch with some of them if I was not there. Time zone differences and my multiple moves have made Facebook necessary.

As far as fan pages go, I think the successful folks in this arena truly love Facebook and are not like me, suspicious by nature and private to a fault. They like sharing. They like getting personal with just about everybody.

In my Facebook beginnings, five years ago, I was so paranoid I refused friends I didn’t know especially well and deleted people who didn’t communicate with me regularly. Suffice to say, I did not really get it. Most of my very best friends refuse to join Facebook at all. Many of us feel forced to take part.

But to the Facebook lovers, maintaining their pages is not work. To them, it’s fun. Now the new push is to start your own Facebook group. I participate in a few of the groups, but do I want to be responsible for one? Not really. Time is the real factor here. None of us has an infinite amount, so where do you spend yours?

This makes me wonder, is Facebook really for everyone? More importantly, if I feel this strongly about it, Is it even where my fiction audience lives?

I have developed a twitter addiction. Of my 3,113 followers, 80% come from Twitter. Approximately 16% come from WordPress and about 4% come from Facebook. Which means, this is already where I spend my time. Why turn myself inside out trying to be someone else?

While some people may handle both Facebook and Twitter well, most tend to fall into one camp or the other.

Writers love Twitter because we can show off how well we write flash fiction and catch phrases. It’s like Facebook for nerds. I’m sure I’ll catch hell for saying that, but I find a real discrepancy in content between the two sites. Facebook on any given day is ripe with messages about friendship, moms, sisters, confidence boosters, pictures and films about cats, dogs and babies. On Twitter I find news, poetry, art, and quotes from the great thinkers, writers, and historians of our time.

Twitter is not as much of a popularity contest as Facebook. A business person may have as large a following as a celebrity. So, do you spend the bulk of your time Facebooking, WordPressing, Tweeting or Instagraming? Do the math. There’s strength and truth in numbers.

And if you’re feeling charitable, please “Like” my page!

Looking for a fast-paced, thriller with a touch of romance? Uncover the SECRET!

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

Bored!

The name game. What’s in a name? Well, we’ll see! I just changed the name of my blog and my twitter page. I’m a little bored with my current set up so I’m changing things up.

Lately, I’ve held my breath,

waiting for a gust of fresh air about book promotion and my writing life…

and I then I started turning blue…

wow! That sucked.

I knew I needed a new focus!

I think we can all agree that no one cares to hear any more advice about writing. Writers aren’t really experts on writing anyway. We know what is working for us and that’s about it. Here’s what I’ve learned in eight years of trying to become a professional writer…read more…write more…edit everything twenty-five times before you publish it and then hire an editor…done! That’s all I know! So I will continue to post short solitary fiction that doesn’t fit “Seeing Scarlet” and the odd poem here and there (see The Authors Spouse).

As regards book marketing…three months in and I’ve already had it. I wasn’t cut out for this BS! Buy my book, don’t buy my book, whatever! I wrote it for readers but so did a few million other authors who are selling on Amazon’s site. It’s a fast read. Many folks seem surprised by how much they enjoy it and that there’s humor in the book. Maybe the title scares them a bit. I know eventually word will get out. Meanwhile, I’m working on the sequel to “Secret Agent of God” and writing some more shorts of “Seeing Scarlet”:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332370

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341537

Book Sales:

I have experimented with different promos and what have you. Here’s what I found: twitter and Facebook ads will get you more followers, but do those translate into book sales? I’m not sure. You need to focus your energy on finding people who read, plain and simple. I leave my business cards with my book links in libraries and at restaurants I frequent, everywhere that I can:

Business cards

Business cards

If someone asks me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer, and eventually give them my card.

I post flyers on community selling boards. You have to do this often since most remove them weekly.

People who read buy books. You need a presence on book reading sites.

Pricing: I did some pricing strategy research recently. So many authors are giving their books away or selling their e-books below $2.99 or for $.99 that if you do try to sell your fiction at a higher price you may suffer from lagging sales. My best sales price so far has been  a .99 promo for the e-book but if I always make it .99 then I’m forced to make it free for promotions. Amazon promotes books that are under $2.99 or .99 and take part in the kindle countdown deals, so there you have it. Why not allow Amazon to do what they do best, which is promote stuff like books.

Thoughts on free: I’m a hold out on free. If you want to read my free works please click over to the short story tab or read this blog. There’s something discouraging about busting your butt to write a good novel and then giving your book away. I give my book away to family, my best friends, the library, for fundraisers, etc. So, I’ll let you know how this works out, but for now my e-book is $2.99 and the paperback is $9.95 or $8.95 for prime members. I will occasionally run a .99 promo. The e-book cost less than a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk or a fancy coffee, and I promise it’s worth it, so that’s that. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Agent-God-Eileen-Slovak/dp/1492868191/ref=sr_1_1/178-9819668-1912011?ie=UTF8&qid=1397322662&sr=8-1&keywords=eileen+slovak

Book promotion in general. I come from a sales and marketing background and I would still much rather promote someone else’s work on twitter, my author page or my blog than my own. If I’ve read the book and liked it I may put a review up there as well. I don’t write bad reviews because I have no interest in hurting a fellow writers feelings in a public way. I leave that to the haters. If I have read a sample of your book and didn’t care for it I won’t read any more of it. If you asked for feedback, I will be honest in a private message. If you can’t handle my honest opinion please don’t ask me. I’m one person with one opinion. If you don’t like my opinion, ask someone else.

About Facebook, I keep my personal Facebook page for family and close friends and my Facebook Author page for writing stuff. Please don’t be offended if I divert you to my public page. This way I don’t bore my family and friends with too much book stuff and I don’t have to bore you with pictures of my kids playing sports and my cat.

OK, sometimes Licorice appears in both places. She’s my first ‘Beta reader’ or ‘Beta listener’ since I’m pretty sure she can’t read, although, I strongly suspect she might be trying to figure out how to use the toilet and turn door knobs and is smarter than some humans.

Licorice

Licorice

Since Facebook is really not my thing, I prefer to put a variety of other authors book links on my author page for my fans because how often can I talk about my book without being a total bore and most of them have already read it. I read a post by another writer complaining about authors posting their book links, looking for likes on their pages. I guess if you are famous I can see where that might bug you. I’m not famous but I have some followers who read. If you need some help, send me message, a link or whatever. Some nice writers helped me when I was a flailing newbie and I’m happy to help others in any way that I can.

On my Facebook author page, https://www.facebook.com/authoreileenslovak I will also be adding some pictures and quiz type things about my book, “Secret Agent of God” since it is about Maryland and several readers have begun asking things like, “Is this character based on this person or that person” and “which little Bay front home was Gram’s?” Things like that. I thought it would be a fun exercise and like I said, when I’m not writing, I’m bored.

My favorite medium is twitter. https://twitter.com/EileenSlovak I do follow back unless you are crazy, perverted, naked, racist, bigoted, or exclusively only selling followers. I consider twitter a place where writers like me with ADD and OCD can connect with my audience and with like minded people who also have short attention spans. I love that on twitter I can show off my writing prowess with ‘quippy’ catchy phrases in 140 characters or less. If that audience is 3 people, so be it. If it’s one person, well it’s that much more intimate now isn’t it? Actually, I have a great following on twitter, so join me and if I like your tweets, I’ll share them. Incidentally, I’m trying to get these hash tags off the ground: #Janice #SAOG.

So, my future promotional energy, which is waning as we speak, will go in this new direction. Because I’d rather be writing than doing anything else and for Indies this is a challenge!

So what do I really want to blog about? Being a female writer over 40 with kids who run rings around me and about things I laugh about with my girlfriends. What else occupies my mind? Sometimes I have bizarre thoughts that I’d like to share. I truly miss having fun. To those of you who stuck it out through my boring phase, thank you and wake up!!! Things are going get spicier around here. I’m turning this thing around, putting it in reverse and spinning a few wild donuts in parking lot near you! Come along for the ride, which, I’m just saying, could get wild at times.

Next blog topic: Are you overwhelmed by all of the options in toilet paper?

Thanks for reading and keep writing (and reading!)

 

Book Marketing Blunders

How a fellow blogger solved the mystery of my lagging Euro sales.

 

We all need a little help now and again especially at book marketing. I freely admit to being a novice. I literally learn everything the hard way because it just suits my personality. My novel SECRET AGENT OF GOD has only been ‘out on the street’ since the end of January, but since then, I have learned an enormous amount about book marketing ─ mostly the hard way. If you are like me, you know how difficult it is to know where to invest your energy and marketing efforts. There are so many avenues promising to promote your book. I find it yet another mountain I now need to climb.

On the upside, every road I take leads to another discovery, so as with the writing journey and the publishing journey, I remain optimistic about this one.

I go with my old standby of reading what all of you have to say and then finding the consistencies there. Then again, what works for me may not work for someone else. I am extremely fortunate that some successful writers, marketers, tweeters and bloggers have discovered me and for whatever reason, have not given up on me when I certainly would have. I am simply not that techno savvy.

  • What is working so far? I added an Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/eileenslovak
  • I joined AuthorsDen.com: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=181819
  • I have put more effort into LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/eileen-slovak/70/7ab/abb/ but could still use some tips on navigating the site. I don’t find it as user-friendly as other sites. I did discover the “The Writers Network” there and found some great new contacts.
  • I have put more effort into content on my Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/authoreileenslovak and I try to learn from those who do the job way better than I do like https://www.facebook.com/MelissaFosterAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/blakely.bennett.
  • Recently, I was fortunate enough to stumble into the Facebook of Shah Fazli who interviews people on his site, http://shahsight.blogspot.de/2014/04/eileen-mcguire-slovak.html . We had a date set and I was promoting the event or so I thought. I failed to understand the ‘invite’ button is there for a reason. I get it NOW. It was still a great experience and if you are an author or an artist, I recommend you get on Shah’s calendar and look for other sites like his. Those of you who grew up with Facebook, and to whom social media is second nature, are laughing your butts off at people like me who only joined for the first time in 2009. I had to ask my niece “What’s a status?” Since then, I have come a long way.
  • I have also found some terrific groups within Facebook, like “Writers Group” and “Review Seekers” among others. Balancing all of it and narrowing it down time wise is the greatest challenge. You have to decide where to focus your efforts.
  • I registered for a few Book Fairs for this May and June: www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org and http://frederickbookfestival.com/ and http://t.co/3HWSen2nye
  • Despite my raging commitment issues, I have continued to blog, somewhat sporadically but with a measure of consistency. Blogging helps me feel as though I have some control over my destiny and some voice out there in the blog-o-sphere. Through blogging, I have discovered some amazing writers and supporters and it is where I feel the most present in my marketing efforts. It took some time to get to a point where I did not fear it. I still hide a bit. The quality blogs and the effort the writers put into them is so tremendous that I am always amazed when someone follows mine. One such superior blogger was the person who solved this Euro sales dilemma of mine, which I promise I am getting around to explaining.
  • I have become obsessed with twitter thanks to folks like @seumasgallacher, @DaniseCodekas, @ProofreadJulia, @SinnaptixEdits and so many more.
  • I have also tested out twitter and Facebook ads. Both seem to bring new followers but do they really add any book sales? It is hard to say. I do like the great reporting that each site offers once the ad has run. Maybe this is just because I am an ex-sales, marketing and inventory management geek. Charts, graphs and data thrill me to no end.
  • As I was perusing all of this wonderful charted information from twitter, I made a few discoveries. I have a great European following but sad Euro sales. I had a chat with an ad exec from twitter about it and he mentioned that it might be a good idea for me to focus my ads on English-speaking countries since my book is only available in English. I actually laughed aloud at what an idiot I was, marketing my book to whole world when it was only available in English. I still like to tweet the links to the e-book with the idea that kindle converts to other languages but one I must become more aware of my audience.

Now here is where it all comes together…I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a blogger who posts articles about authors. In truth, he found me. I printed out the article requirements over a month ago, and have had it in my “to do” pile on my desk since then. As much as I wanted to do it, I had too many other things to do. That and I get self-conscious talking about myself as the article required. The page finally made it to the top of the pile and I followed all the directions for how to create the post, pictures links, etc. I sent it off certain I had done everything correctly.

The blog is by a UK blogger. I forgot to send the UK link to my book. Go ahead and say it, “Duh!” I really loathe that expression but it is fitting sometimes.

This was when the light bulb finally flicked on. I have completely neglected promoting that UK book link or any of the other links. Sales 101.

So I would like to thank http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/ first for following me, second for not giving up on me while I stumbled around with social media, third, for helping me discover the answer to my UK sales problem and finally, for the post that will run tomorrow on his blog.

Thanks everyone for reading and Cheers!