- 50 Tension Techniques
- About Kristi Holl
- De-Stressing the Writing Life
- More Writer’s First Aid
- Time Management for Writers book list
- Writing Mysteries for Young People
- I’ve Moved! Come Join Me!
- How to Take Charge of Your Writing Life
- Three Reasons Your Writing Life Isn’t Working–and What To Do
- What’s Hindering You?
- Putting Your Writing First by Using Accountability
- Internet-Based ADD: Do You Have It?
- Habits: Anchors for the Writer’s Life
- What Fear is Holding You Back?
- Advanced Fiction Writing Blog
- Books and Writing
- Chip MacGregor.com
- Christian Writer’s Den
- CRITIQUES by Kristi
- Editorial Anonymous
- Institute of Children’s Literature
- Kristi’s Website
- Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
- Sharing with Writers and Readers
- So You Want to Be Published
- The Working Writer’s Coach
- The Writing Life
- Writing Fiction Right
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- Artist's Way
- book marketing
- book releases
- career planning
- Christian writing
- critique groups
- Editors and Predators
- emotional balance
- figures of speech
- finding time
- finish line
- getting started
- Julia Cameron
- learning disability
- making money
- More Writer's First Aid
- New Year's resolutions
- novel writing
- picture books
- psychology of writing
- rough draft
- social networking
- time management
- toxic behavior
- Walking on Alligators
- word count
- work in progress
- Writer Beware
- writer homes
- Writer Magazine
- Writer's Digest
- Writer's First Aid
- writers block
- writers magazines
- writing advice
- writing anxiety
- writing books
- writing challenges
- writing classes
- writing coach
- writing conferences
- writing contests
- writing course
- writing habits
- writing information
- writing inspiration
- writing life
- writing more
- writing mysteries
- Writing Mysteries for Young People
- writing output
- writing phases
- writing process
- writing schedule
- writing space
July 27, 2012
First, thank you to everyone who posted to the discussion this week on “Social Networking Burnout, OR How Much Marketing is Enough?”
So many great suggestions were given, and I learned a lot from you.
Before you jump into the deep end of marketing and drown, I want to insert a voice of reason. Please read the following two articles.
The first one will help you stay sane and not fry your brain cells online. The second one will be a nurturing–and honest–assessment of social networking (the kind where you actually talk to people, like at conferences.)
Both articles, if taken seriously, can either prevent you from going insane with all this (if you haven’t jumped into it yet) OR help you regain your sanity if you’re already part of the social networking whirlwind.
First, read Michael Hyatt’s article “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (And What We Can Do About It).” It’s both a podcast (if you want to listen) and an article (if you’d rather read it). Michael Hyatt is author of the bestselling marketing book Platform. His article is a summary and response to the five-webpage Newsweek article called “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?” [If you have time to read the Newsweek article too, it's good. Very chilling about the effects on children.]
Second, you’ll love “The Day Networking Died” by Emily Freeman. I could feel my high blood pressure dropping as I read the post. If social networking leaves you feeling a bit panicky, you’ll feel better after reading this!
July 24, 2012
According to an article in Writer’s Digest three summers ago (“The Must-Have Online Marketing Plan” by M.J. Rose), “Ultimately, no matter what you do, careers are made on the book, not on the marketing.”
That’s very true. Just as true is this statement from the same article: “Someone–either you or your publisher–is going to have to get the word out about the book.”
More and more often, that “someone” is the author. That article was written three years ago…but the dilemma of “how much marketing is enough?” has still not been resolved.
Today’s Publishing Reality
More and more, today’s author is expected to do his part in the marketing. Marketing plans must be part of your query or proposal now–no matter how much you’ve been published.
It can include (but not be limited to) creating a website, writing a blog, making video trailers, doing blog tours, getting your book reviewed online, writing a newsletter…AND being active on Facebook and Pinterest and Goodreads.
Why Social Networking?
Until I heard several speakers at a leadership conference a few years ago, I’d avoided most social networking because of the time it took. I was very “hit and miss” with Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn until I discovered SocialOomph.com, which let me schedule posts and tweets for a week at a time.
According to those market gurus, a high percentage of people check Facebook accounts four times more often than their email. (I’m sure it’s much, much more often now.) Social networking appears to be the new way to connect with people–including your readers (now called your “tribe,” a term I heartily dislike.)
I have a private family Facebook account, although I have my doubts anymore about just how private anything is online. And I have a writer’s Facebook account and what they used to call a “fan page.” I finally set up my LinkedIn account, my Amazon author page, and Pinterest account. I tried Goodreads three times and got kicked off each time…more rejection to deal with! Ha ha.
The Times, They Are a-Changin’…Again!
We writers feel the pressure to learn and use all the marketing and networking opportunities, but is there no limit? How much time do YOU devote to marketing (daily or weekly)? How do you decide which sites to try, and which ones to leave until later?
If you have time, leave a comment below about your own social networking and marketing experiences. Which avenues have worked best for you? Which ones do you actually enjoy? How do you keep from using more time than you intended? (I literally missed a meal the first time I got on Pinterest! My eyes were nearly bloodshot when I logged off.)
Before you begin using images off the Internet for your blog or even repinning on Pinterest, read this scary article by a blogger who was sued for using such pictures.
What are the pluses and minuses you’ve encountered? Looking forward to your ideas!
[NOTE LATER: Please read the comments below by some much published authors. They make some good points!]
June 6, 2012
However, let’s not overlook one very critical factor. As one marketing guru said, “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.” Don’t let this happen to you!
I’ve read some good marketing books lately. I’ve tried–like all writers these days–to make the change from publisher advertising to the much more do-it-yourself marketing that is required.
The Cart and the Horse
But remember! Writing (plus studying and practicing to write even better) comes first. That’s your horse, and it is most important. Do NOT lose sight of that fact. Marketing is your cart. It won’t go far with a lame horse. [More about that in a moment.] But while you’re learning to write better, you can begin your own marketing if you want to. There are great resources to help you do that.
Helpful books on the new marketing?
- Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is full of practical, hands-on tips for building a platform.
- I also enjoyed Self-Promotion for Introverts: the Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead by Nancy Ancowitz.
- Another one is Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed and the Underconnected by Devora Zack.
Remember from our previous discussion that an introvert gets recharged in solitude and starts to feel drained after being around people too long. It has nothing to do with your social skills. Depending on which study you read, introverts comprise 40-55% of the population.
Put on the Brakes!
With all the concentration these days on building a platform and social networking, it’s easy to overlook one critical factor. It will make you or break you as a writer.
The first 25 pages of Hyatt’s book deals with this issue. It is about creating a compelling product. In our case, that means a book or story or play. As Hyatt says, “There is no sense in wasting your valuable time and resources trying to build a buzz about a ho-hum product…The purpose of marketing is to prime the pump. But if people don’t want to use your product and–more importantly–if they won’t recommend it to their friends, you’re hosed. You can’t spend enough money or be clever enough to overcome a lack of word-of-mouth marketing. It just won’t work.”
To get noticed in today’s over-crowded publishing world, it is rarely okay to just be “good enough.”
Good enough is the kind of writing we do on a tight deadline, writing that we sense isn’t the best we can do, but it’s good enough to meet the requirement. It’s also the kind of writing we do when we get in a hurry to publish. It’s the kind of writing we do when we sense something is “off” somewhere, but we just don’t feel like making the effort to figure out what’s wrong, study and learn how to fix it, and then do one more in-depth revision. We hope no one will notice and we send it off to an agent or publisher because it’s “good enough.”
“Good enough” writing won’t get you very far, and rarely will you be able to break in to publishing and establish a career that way. Hyatt says you have one choice: to produce a “wow” experience for your reader. What’s that?
- Disappointing: the experience did not meet their expectations
- Good: the experience met their expectations
- Wow: the experience exceeded their expectations
The second category–the good category–is what we used to call mid-list authors. They weren’t the J.K. Rowlings of the world, but they had slow, steady sales over a number of years. The mid-list author has largely disappeared from many publishing lists.
That is discouraging to me too, but we need to let that spur us on to better writing instead. If we work hard, study and apply what we learn–and take our time doing it–we can go from being “good enough” writers to excellent writers.
The Bottom Line
Your platform is what generates the necessary word-of-mouth advertising for your book. It gets people talking–and recommending–your book to others. That’s what generates sales. HOWEVER, what people say about your book in all this word-of-mouth advertising has to be good. As Michael Hyatt pointed out, a good platform that creates bad word-of-mouth advertising will just kill a bad or so-so product faster.
So, yes, work on your platform. Choose methods that fit your particular personality. But don’t launch your book too soon–not submitting to an agent or editor, nor self-publishing. Be sure you have a superior book–one that has been rewritten, and critiqued, and rewritten again and again.
You want all that hard work of platform building to pay off in fabulous “you gotta buy this book” word-of-mouth advertising.
November 30, 2011
For the past two days (plus today) I have been answering questions in the Writer’s Retreat Workshop on “Destressing the Writing Life.” You still have time to post a question today–or just pop by to read some of the discussion threads.
This subject isn’t just about destressing during the holidays. Frankly, we lead such busy lives these days that there are precious few “slower” months in the calendar year. You need to know how to destress your writing life every day.
In the workshop we’ve talked about such things as:
- stress caused by the flood of information on writing, publishing and marketing
- stress caused by the new social marketing–and how much is worthwhile
- setting goals that motivate without stressing you out
- handling multiple deadlines more easily
- critique groups–and how to benefit from them without adding stress to your writing life
- scheduling your writing day when juggling things like chores and a day job
- unexpected stress that comes with success
Check It Out!
If you have other questions on this topic that you’d like to see discussed, post them at the Writer’s Retreat Workshop before the day is out–and I’ll meet you there!
May 27, 2011
Some terrific reading is waiting for you this weekend! The articles below from around the Web will give you writing and marketing help, help you see through the current publishing confusion, and even show you ways to get your kids to read through the summer.
“Is Publishing Turning into the Wild West?” The publishing world has changed radically in the last couple of years, thanks to those pesky e-books. Do the old rules still apply? Does chaos rule? Or are there ways to survive and thrive in the new environment? [Terrific article here by Randy Ingermanson, plus interesting comments.]
“A Dozen Ways to Get Your Child to Read Over the Summer and Have Fun Doing It!” Every year student assessments show that when kids take a break from school over the summer and they don’t read or have any reading instruction during that time, their reading skills are adversely affected. But this doesn’t HAVE to happen. Encouraging children to read during the summer will not only sustain their current reading achievement, it will also contribute to their success in reading proficiency. [Here you'll find suggestions for early primary grades, middle grades, and teens.]
“6 Query Tips from a Publishing Insider” To help you write a query letter (or submission letter) so that an agent will give your manuscript the time of day here are the top 3 Do’s and Don’ts from our head Acquisitions Editor. [The first tip was even a surprise to me, although just last week I sent a proposal to a publisher and got an email suggesting that I add more marketing stuff-even though this publisher has published nine of my previous books! She said there was also talk of adding a marketing clause in new author contracts.]
“Twitter-patted” Twittering gave the world a fast way to communicate and also a new tool for marketing. Marketing with only a few words takes planning and focus. [Read this article for a brilliant way to plan and write your Tweets while you are working on your book/story/article/ebook to be released later.]
“Ways to Improve Your Writing Style” Newer authors struggle with writing technique, and long time writers still find elements in writing that are their nemesis. Being aware of problem areas in your writing can help you move ahead as a writer when you focus on them and find ways to improve those techniques. Here are a few tips on become a better writer. [Gail Gaymer Martin's blog posts are meaty and almost a mini-workshop. Don't stop with this post, but go through her whole Writing Fiction Right blog site.]
“Tidbits” from Writer Beware! This article is FULL of information and links to longer articles, discussing topics like the new trend of agents-turned-publishers and how to interpret the numbers when you read that print-on-demand epublishing is out-stripping sales of paper books.
October 4, 2010
Much of the success of social networking depends on people reading your words and then spreading the word. There are ways to make this easier.
Sharing Made Easy
For example, in the past week I had several people ask about how to add this blog to their feed, so I moved the RSS feed button up higher on the left. (And “hello” to the over 40,000 subscribers who already have done this.)
I also want to take this time to thank all of you who spread this blog on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites. I appreciate your support! To make this easier, I also added “sharing” buttons on the left. If you click on the + sign “Share” button, you’ll find nearly 300 places to share the blog. HINT: To share a specific blog post, you have to click on the title of that article first, then click the correct share button.
If you want this code so you can add these social networking buttons to your blog or website, go here for a variety of button choices. It took me less than two minutes to add–very simple.
Social networking is here to stay. (See some articles below.) Many of us were skeptical of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon and more. What I once viewed as a major time waster has morphed into something writers can really use–and use well for free–to promote and sell their writing.
One caution: limit your online marketing time or it will take over your life. Do your writing first, or you’ll find the social networking has displaced your writing time.
Some articles on social networking:
What about you? Do you use social networking yet? Is it for fun, family connections, to promote your writing–or all of the above? Share your thoughts!