When you can’t be everywhere

As authors, we often hear about the importance of social media. We’re supposed to establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tsu, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, and other sites I probably have never heard of. Overwhelmed yet? I am. The idea of being in all these places is daunting, especially if you’re new to social media and are still trying to find your way around.

In addition to being told we need to have a profile set up on all the platforms listed above, we’re also told we’re supposed to have a snazzy website. We’re instructed to blog X number of times every week and to engage with other bloggers. We have to Tweet X number of times per day, but not too many Tweets about our books, or we’ll run the risk of being labeled “spammers.” YA authors are encouraged to be active on Wattpad. And in addition to all the social media sites, we’re also told we need to set up profiles (and engage) on reader-oriented sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing. Oh, and while we’re at it, there are also a whole host of writer-oriented sites and author databases we need to visit so we can register our author profiles.

And, as if all this Tweeting, blogging, Pinning, and profiling isn’t enough? We have to do it well. We can’t just set up a profile and abandon it, right? No! We have to be everywhere, all the time, because if we don’t do it perfectly, no one will know we exist and they won’t buy our books!!!

The idea of doing all these things every single day is exhausting. I’ve seen a few authors who seem to juggle all this social media stuff, but I can’t do it. Not if I want to pay my bills, feed my kids, and still have time to write.

So what is an author to do?

If we can’t be everywhere at once (and let’s face it, few of us can), we need to pick a place to be.

An author platform is a cool thing to have. I think every author needs SOME sort of author platform. In my humble opinion, here are the places we need to be and the stuff we should have.

  1. A website/blog – If a reader (or agent or publisher) Googles you, they should be able to find all your stuff in one place – books, social media links, blog. Everything they need to know about you, including how to contact you, should be in this one, easy-to-access place. Your website doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, but if you’re a published author, you should have something set up. 
  2. An Amazon Author page – This is really important. Amazon doesn’t link all your books together under your name. You have to do this on your own. To do so, you need to register with Author Central. You’ll add your bio, author picture, and “claim” your books. You can also link up your blog and Twitter feed, if you choose to do so. Once your Amazon Author page is set up, you don’t need to revisit it unless you’ve published a new book or changed your bio. Trust me – whatever hassle you endure setting up your author page is worth it.
  3. A Goodreads profile – For me, becoming a “Goodreads Author” was not the easiest process. Your Goodreads author profile isn’t nearly as important as setting up your Amazon Author page, but it’s still worth doing. Once you’ve accomplished this task, you don’t ever need to return to Goodreads again. Not unless you have to change your profile. Some authors use Goodreads to do giveaways, join review groups, etc, but you don’t need to do this if you don’t want to. Just be sure to set up your page. You’ll be glad you did.
  4. A Twitter account and/or Facebook page – Ideally, you’ll have both, but you don’t have to. Heck, you don’t have to do any of this stuff, but it’s a good idea. Readers will expect to be able to connect with  you somewhere in cyber space. Facebook and Twitter are excellent places to connect with other authors and make some friends. If you’re too overwhelmed to do both, I’d recommend Facebook, but that’s just my personal preference. 

In my opinion, everything else is cool, but optional. I’m signed up and registered in lots of places, and I’ll be darned if I can remember where. On Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr, my attendance is sporadic. On some of the other sites, I’ve forgotten my password because I haven’t been there in so long. 

I signed up for Authorsdb several months ago. I didn’t go back to the site until recently, and since I hadn’t been there for so long, all my information was outdated. Really outdated. I know there are other sites I’ve signed up for that are probably even more outdated than this one, but I can’t remember where.

Personally, I think it’s better to have no profile on a site than an outdated one. Don’t sign up for more sites than you can keep up with. If you really, really, really don’t want a Twitter account, don’t get one! If you don’t want to be on Pinterest, don’t do it.

You can’t be everywhere, but be somewhere. It’s up to you where you want to be.

That Last Summer Giveaway

Last week, That Last Summer by Susan M. Toy was given the Five Star Treatment, and rightfully so. This novella is a beautifully written coming of age story. I had the pleasure of reading it a few months back, and as you can probably guess, I rated it five stars.

I’m happy to report I won a copy of That Last Summer in a giveaway offered on the Five Star Treatment post! Since I’ve already read and reviewed the book, Susan asked me if I’d like to give my copy to one of my readers.

So, here’s the deal: Leave a comment on this post, and your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a free ebook copy of That Last Summer. I will announce the winner one week from today.

Good luck, everyone, and happy reading!

(To find out more about That Last Summer, and to read my review of the book, please click HERE.)

Don’t hit that button…

I’ve been working on a blog post off and on for hours. Not this one, but a different one. A really rambling, ranting one that seemed like a good idea when I started it, but turned out not to be such a great idea after all. Actually, the concept behind the blog post isn’t such a bad idea – it’s my delivery that needs some work. I’ll probably rewrite my post later when my mind is more settled.

As a blogger, I feel pressured to blog more than once a week. After multiple reblogs, I feel like I should post something original. Which led to the aforementioned rambling post I almost published.

Thank goodness I didn’t.

Rambling rants are never a good idea, even if they might seem to be at the time. It’s great to be fired up and passionate about a topic. Sometimes that passion leads to a great blog post. Sometimes it leads to something that’s argumentative. Other times (like in the case of my rambling post), it leads to something that is disjointed, nonsensical, and borderline snotty.

I’ve seen authors almost ruin their careers over a blog post. I can think of at least two authors who ended up shutting down their entire blog and pulling their books off Amazon all because of a blog post that probably seemed like a good idea when they posted it, but ended up being a complete disaster.

If you’re feeling fired up, it might be a good idea to cool down before you hit that “publish” button. Sarcastic or ranting posts don’t always come across the way we intend. A bad post can alienate readers. It can destroy our online presence.

So, before you hit the publish button, re-read your post. Set it aside for a day or two. Do you still want to post it? Does it need a little tweaking? Does your online attitude need a slight adjustment before you share that post with the world?

Blog carefully, everyone. And have a great week!

Bare Earth

Tricia Drammeh, Author:

Calling all poetry lovers. Jane Dougherty’s blog is a treasure trove of poetry, short stories, and excerpts from her novels. If you haven’t subscribed to her blog, it’s an absolute must.

Originally posted on Jane Dougherty Writes:

Painting by Nikolai Astrup

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Bare earth,
not so bare,
bespecked with green life.
Sprouts shooting skyward,
unfolding to catch the speckled rain
spit-spatting on last years leaves.
Green grows,
unfolds and unfurls
beneath a cloud-flecked sky,
dappled light and shade.
No pixie dust scattered,
no sleight of hand,
wind, rain and the glorious sun
coax and shape,
tossing their magic in the damp breeze,
and suddenly,
the not so bare earth
is resplendent
in spring jewels.

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…Authors… just a wee WURD about getting negative reviews…

Tricia Drammeh, Author:

Wise advice from Seumas Gallacher.

Originally posted on Seumas Gallacher:

…if yeez are like me, fellow Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, yeez’ll remember well the first ever ‘bad’ review for any of yer masterpieces… the pink cloud of having finished the first novel was still my principal means of transportation when the thunderbolt struck… a flurry of ‘nice’ supportive reviews had already landed on the Great God Amazon pages… there I was, this  ol’ Jurassic, now a Proper Published Scribbler, getting real reviews from real people… the universe was beautifully smudgy round the edges, like when the dentist gives you a tad too much of the laughing gas… then in came the party-spoiler with a stab to the literary heart… ouch!…and ouch! again… a thousand times ouch!…

sad

…the initial reaction of course, is hurt… followed by a modicum of resentment… oh. alright, a ton of resentment, bordering on outright hatred… but, sensibility settled in… the guy had…

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A big thank-you to Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Tricia Drammeh, Author:

So many authors and bloggers owe Chris the Story Reading Ape bunches of bananas of gratitude. Not only does he introduce us to interesting and informative new blogs, he also gives many blogs a boost. Thank you, Chris, for everything you do. And thank you, Julie, for this excellent tribute to the Story Reading Ape.

Originally posted on Julie Lawford:

Every time my blog goes bonkers, it’s because Chris Graham over at The Story Reading Ape’s Blog, has re-blogged one of my posts. I thought it was time I said thank you.

I’d been at it all daytsra-white-bg on Sunday, essentially trying to write a blog post but in reality, procrastinating like mad. Eventually the post emerged, a quirky list of… yes… what I’d been doing instead of writing a blog post. I uploaded said musings, shut down my PC and came down to the kitchen to make my tea.

As I messed around with ingredients – salmon baked in a tinfoil parcel, watercress sauce, broccoli and rice, since you ask – I could hear in the next room, my iPad dinging merrily away as my WordPress App announced a succession of readers liking or commenting on my blog. That’s nice, I thought. I have to say, it…

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Guest Post: Multi-touch iBooks and ‘The Sword of Air’ by R.J. Madigan

Tricia Drammeh, Author:

This is some fascinating information for authors. R.J. Madigan talks about iBooks. If you don’t know what an iBook is, read on…

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

I was so intrigued by R.J. Madigan’s experimentation with new innovations in iBook formatting that I requested a Guest Post about the subject for my own blog as I believe this will be of interest to many of my readers, as well.

The Sword of Air – Punk publishing at it’s best, pushing the medium
to create something new

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Visibility is the indie author’s enemy and with new titles being published every day it is getting harder and harder to stand out in such a crowded market place. This is why I decided to publish my first Young Adult Fantasy novel The Sword of Air as an iBook. With world-building creative options like music HD video, 3D modelling and photography to colour my story I was able to create a book unlike anything else on the market.

View the book trailer here.

Sales of printed books are falling every…

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Missed Opportunities

Last week, I discovered a broken link on my blog. This might not sound like a big deal to you, and in reality, it probably isn’t – unless my broken link directed a potential reader away from my blog. A broken link can cost you a book sale. It can cost you the opportunity to connect with readers and other authors.

I don’t want my blog and website visitors to encounter broken links and pages that lead to nowhere, nor do I want to send them on a treasure hunt to find the buying links for my books. I want to make things as easy to navigate as possible. I’ve blogged about creating a Reader Friendly Blog in the past, so I probably need to practice what I preach, but when you’re juggling multiple social media sites, sometimes things fall through the cracks.

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On certain websites, a slight change in the page name can change the URL. So, if you’ve shared a link to that particular page, it’s no longer valid once you’ve made that change. If you make changes to the name of your Facebook page or Twitter handle, the link changes and you’ll need to update this on your website and social media pages. You’ll also need to update the media kit you send to bloggers when you’re interviewed or featured.

Here’s another thing to look out for: Sometimes, when copying a URL, letters or slashes can get deleted or changed, resulting in a “link” that leads to nowhere. It’s always a good idea to double check your links just in case.

I’m not the only person who might have missed some opportunities due to broken links. Here are some examples of things I’ve stumbled across recently:

No contact information on an author blog. Authors should have an email address posted on their site or at least a contact form. Sure, I can search for them on Facebook and try to send them a private message, but does the author really want to make their readers (or potential agents, publishers, film makers who want to offer them a multi-million dollar deal) work that hard to find them?

No buying links on an author’s website. While visiting an author’s blog/website, I liked what I saw and wanted to learn more about their books. Only two of their three books were listed on their “books” page, and there were no buying links. I looked around from page to page, and all down the side panel. No buying links anywhere.

Incorrect or incomplete links. An author was offering a free book on Kindle, so I clicked the Amazon link provided on their Facebook post. The author didn’t set this up properly, and the link went to Amazon’s home page.

Broken links on a Facebook Page. I found an author on Facebook who I really liked. One of their posts caught my eye, so I clicked on the link to their website because I wanted to learn more about them. I guess it was an old website or something, because the link gave me a 404 error message.

Twitter Validation Service. I wanted to follow an author, but couldn’t because they use a verification/validation service. I suppose I could have filled out all the stuff they wanted me to fill out, and given this service access to my Twitter account, but… wait! No way. Sorry, but I don’t do Twitter validation services. Of course, each author must make his or her own choice when it comes to using or not using such services. I’ve decided to avoid validation services, even if it means having to miss out on Tweets from some of my friends and favorite authors.

When it comes to missing or broken links, I suppose it isn’t a huge deal. If I’m really interested in a book or a website, I’ll try to find it. (Well, unless I get distracted by something else during my search.) A broken link isn’t the end of the world, and forgetting to update your site when you release a new book is probably not going to affect your sales significantly. If you choose to use a validation service, does it really matter if it drives away a few potential followers? That’s for you to decide.

I hate the idea that people have to work extra hard to find something they’re looking for, especially when the solution to this problem is as easy as me double checking my website and links periodically just to make sure everything is working the way it should.

While a broken link certainly won’t chase away your friends or fans, it might prevent potential readers from discovering your book. Regularly check your links and sites. Make sure buying links are clearly displayed and that there’s an easy way for people to contact you if they need to. Don’t miss out on any opportunities!

…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways To Kill Your Writing… PART FIVE…

Tricia Drammeh, Author:

It’s part five of Susan Toy’s feature on Seumas’s blog. I love #13! Print it out. Post it on your wall. This is fantastic, amazing, and helpful advice.

Originally posted on Seumas Gallacher:

…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART FIVE :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

 Part 5 

  1. Stop reading

 And this is related to Way #3 – Copy others and don’t search for and develop your own voice.

Do not stop reading for fear you’ll copy others.

Continue reading and read widely and deeply, and well outside your genre or style, so that you may learn how to write well. Read bad writing as well as the award-winning books, so you may learn…

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…Susan Toy outlines 10 Ways to Kill Your Writing…Part Two…

Tricia Drammeh, Author:

Here’s Part Two of Susan Toy’s feature on Seumas Gallacher’s blog. “Ten Ways to Kill Your Writing” continues.

Originally posted on Seumas Gallacher:

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…I’m delighted to run a five-days consecutive series of posts from my terrific pal, Author, Susan Toy, for every author to enjoy and prob’ly learn lots from… here’s PART TWO :

10 Ways to Kill Your Writing

This 5-part article is from a talk I gave at the Calgary Public Library Writers’ Weekend Feb. 4, 2012.

Thanks to all of you for reading this series that is very kindly being hosted by the ONE, the ONLY, SEUMAS GALLACHER!

Part 2

  1. Copy others and don’t search for and develop your own voice

When I first began writing creatively, I had already enjoyed a long career in bookselling and as a sales rep for publishers. During that time, I got to meet everyone – and I mean everyone!

Gail Bowen was one author I worked with who became a friend and I wanted to be just like her – writing mysteries…

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