Authors and Social Media

Author´s and social media – One can´t really live without the other.

When an author starts out the first thing they need is to become a public figure. And what better way to become a name ( with or without a face) than on social media? There is no better way because, believe it or not… Social media is where half of the magic happens. Social media is, also, where an unimaginable amount of people spend a lot of their time.

And when an author is great at mingling with the common foot folk then social media is a blessing.

But have you ever stopped to think for a second about what exactly happens behind the scene´s? Does an author have to use all social media available for exposure? What does an author have to do in order to become known? Question after question….

The ugly truth is- Author´s cannot avoid social media. It´s nearly impossible. If they do try to avoid any social platform then there´s a high chance no one besides family and friends will ever get to read an author´s work.

Here are a few of the many places where author´s can hang out:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Personal Blog

Pinterest

Youtube

Meetup

etc.

There isn´t really an end to the profitable social media list. With time, each social media site will celebrate their highs and suffer from lows but that still doesn´t change the fact that they´re still necessary. Author´s need to be where the crowd is, right?

But, where, exactly, is the crowd?

I don´t have an aswer for that question. Rumor has it that it completely depends on the genre. Some say it´s better for a paranormal author to spend all their free time on Facebook, and others say Twitter is the place to be for romance writers.

Many authors swear on Instagram being fully Fantasy, Young Adult/New Adult…..

But that´s just absurd because

  1. There hasn´t been an actual study done on the topic.
  2. Social Media platforms are not bound to genres / books. They´re for everyone.

No one and nothing can support that rumor because it´s different for everyone. Every author, every reader has their own thoughts on what works where.

There´s no true formula on which social platform´s the best.

There are a few author superheroes that make us believe they have it all figured out, though. Maybe they do know a few tricks on how to work social platforms. Maybe they develop 8 arms when the moon hits it´s peak. ( Okay, okay. That was unnecessary. But I often can´t help what pops into my mind.)

Unless an author has a wonderful team of minions who´re willing to help, there´s no way an author is able to be everywhere, at the same time. Aside from the miracle worker authors- I´ve noticed not all authors use every platform available. They use what works for them the most.

Some authors focus on Facebook and Twitter. Some work the Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest mill.

Some even go through the efforts over at Youtube and upload book trailers, reading sessions, etc. Writers have become creative in alot of ways and it´s often really cool to witness.

My verdict on what social media is the best for authors is:

Everywhere! Meaning: Every platform is a good place for a writer because it doesn´t depend on where the most people are- It depends on which platform an author feels most comfortable with.

If Facebook works for an author- great.

Twitter? Sure!

Instagram? I´m on board with that.

The key isn´t to chase after the crowd. Author´s aren´t door to door salesmen. The key is getting the crowd´s attention.

Which brings me to my next point:

When a writer has their prefered social media platform where they´ve already grown roots.. It´s not wise to think all the work is done. Especially when the love gushing over a certain book has died down ( a painful fact author´s have to come to terms with ).

When the hype is gone, the fan base will cool down. Only a selected few hardcore book activists will stay. What then? Is it time for an author to move on and write something new? Perhaps it´s a better idea to stick with one book and find other ways to promote it? Maybe find more hardcore book activists?

This is where social media can be an author´s best friend.

Social-Media

 

Every platform is filled with book lovers from all corners of the book world. But what a few aren´t aware of is that Facebook and Co. are also filled with book clubs, book / author groups that offer wonderful extra´s for author´s and readers. Book people like to hide in groups where they can share their latest reads with fellow readers.

Let´s say the hype for an author´s book has died down. Comments slow down. Likes vanish. All the people who have been super supportive have disappeared into thin air. ( Don´t believe it doesn´t happen. It does. Every. Damn. Time. ) It´s a crucial moment. Even devastating because an author depends on likes, follows, shares, etc. Once the interaction slows or stops it can make authors doubt themselves and their abilities.

When that happens it´s time to take the next step. It doesn´t matter which step. It´s the action that matters. Preferably immediately.  If an author doesn´t take matters into their own hands then no one else will.

No matter how many blogs support a writer with posts and graphic quotes or honorable mentions…. Blogs and fans don´t own the author´s work, therefore, their hands are tied.

Of course, there are author´s who depend on blogs and fans to do all the dirty work promotion but that´s a different bedtime story for another night.

Author´s who want exposure and want their names to stay in people´s minds need to stay in the picture.

You cannot imagine how often I´ve seen certain books on social media. Sometimes it´s annoying when I see the same book over and over again ( especially after I´ve read it ) But that´s not the point. It´s the fact that the book is still around… even a year after publication date. Why is that?

Because author´s use their tools. They don´t fully rely on others to get the job done. They´re always on the look-out for new groups and games they can participate in so they can introduce their book to new readers. They collide with other authors.

They make it look like they never sleep.

It all ALWAYS boils down to the same point. Work the self-marketing mill as if it were your religion.

Social media is a warped place but it CAN be very useful for authors if they use their platforms well.

Get to know your social platforms. Learn to use them.

 

NOTE: This doesn´t just apply to authors. This article can be very helpful for book bloggers as well.

 

 

Book Editing Ignored

I´m in no way a writer. I have never studied anything that comes close to literature, nor have I spent my free time trying to be overly intelligent in any way. I write about books because it´s a great thing to do that doesn´t require any qualifications at all. Anyone can blog ( apparently…* giggle * ). But not everyone can edit a book.

Self-publishing might have alot of perks but it does have one major downside: Self-publishing writers have to edit their stories themselves before they put them up for sale

read the pro´s and con´s for self-publishing here.

 

And it often shows.

Many self-published authors fail to see the importance of a proper, professional book polish. Why?

Well, money is an issue. Some authors can´t afford a professional editor. Some authors are too cheap to invest in a professional. Some think it´s not important at all. Some believe they can polish their book themselves. For whatever reason… it´s wrong not to have a book looked over by someone who can work book magic.

Here´s how it usually works with self-published authors who want to sell their books. They often chose a path that´s more convenient for themselves ( mentally and financially) and depend on other sources:

Step 1 ) Author writes a great story

Step 2 ) Author wants to publish said story but wants it polished before they hit the upload button.

Step 3 ) Author checks out pricing for editors and has a near death experience because they find out how much editors cost

Step 4 ) Author becomes frustrated and searches the internet for someone who´ll edit for pennies or who´ll edit for free ( because they want their books on the market ASAP).

Step 5 ) Author tries to edit without help, becomes impatient then hits a fan/ blogger up who gladly offer their non-existing services as an editor ( Or, blogger / fan offers to edit ).

Step 6 ) Impatient author blindly trusts the so-called- professionals and hits the publish button.

Step 7 ) Author waits for a miracle to happen.

Might I add that not all sel-published authors go down that road but many do. I´ve seen it happen. Not only once, but hundreds of times throughout a 7 year blogging career.

Ever wonder why the book you spent money on had tons of typos and mistakes? Yeah.

I´m not criticizing self-published authors for wanting to save money. In fact, I understand why. Professional editors are expensive. I´m only criticizing the fact that I´m paying for books that are poorly edited. Because, at the end of the day, it´s my money I´m spending.

And when I´m distracted by more than 10 editorial issues while reading a story then I´ll become an unhappy reader. An unhappy reader who´ll write a review and gladly point out the mistakes.

But most self-published authors don´t realize the importance of a readers opinion ( should a reader ever publish their opinions ). Most self-published writers have their focus on making money and maybe make a living off of writing. That´s the dream and it will unfortunately stay a dream.

I´m sad to say- That´s not how it works. Yet, I do know how it works….

Crappy edited story = High risk of receiving negative feedback

Negative feedback influences sales.

My best advice for newbie writers, or self-published authors who rather not invest money: INVEST money in a professional editor ( or someone who has years of experience in editing). And if you can´t invest then start saving money. It´ll hurt, for sure, to spend all that money on someone who „only“ polishes a book, but in the endgame… it´s worth it. The money invested will be well spent, because there´s nothing worse than having people notice unwanted issues.

No one ever said that self-publishing would be cheap. An author has to invest anyways because every stinking detail that´s connected to self-publishing costs money. Print, paper quality, book cover, print size, ink, etc etc… Why not save up for someone who can help to fulfill a dream?

As for the bloggers who offer their editorial service… They fascinate me. Not only do they write reviews, they also host blog tours, manage book signings, work as PA´s for authors AND they have the ability to edit a book. All for free.

Those bloggers who do want money for their non-professional work aren´t doing self-publishing authors any favors. They´re not doing me any favors either because I demand a better edited book if I´m supposed to pay $12- $16 for a paperback.

The struggle is real and I see it. But what about a readers struggle? Reading can be an expensive hobby, especially for avid readers. Alot of readers have a book spending budget and when they purchase a 350 page book for $12.00 and get a poorly edited story then that´s just rude. That´s called ripping someone off.

Bottom line is: No one can polish a book better than a professional editor or someone who has years of experience in editing and knows their way around the profession. Multitasking bloggers don´t have that know-how. Fans don´t either.

Authors should shine through their work. Not look like fools who want to make a quick buck.

Next up: Weird Book Heros

Why Book Reviews Aren´t What They Should Be

I think it’s safe to say that alot of people know what book reviews are, so no use to give a deeper explanation for that term.

But what is a review for?

Well, to keep this simple- reviews are there for indecisive people who search for a good book to read( and to help authors with sales ).Or, sometimes not help them ( depending on the reviews content). Either way- reviews are important. ( read 5 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important )

But, did you know reviews can also be corrupt? Oh, yes. Quite so.

There are 2 major types of reviews.

1 )reviews

2 ) do-me-a-favor-reviews / help-me-climb-the-ladder-to-success-reviews

Confusing? It shouldn’t be. An author usually has a goal, and that is to make a living off of writing and that’s perfectly fine. If it were up to me I’d wish everyone the success they want. Unfortunately, the road to that success can be a rocky one. There’s so much to do to get „out there”. Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn’t cut it anymore.

 Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn't cut it anymore

Authors/ writers depend on one major thing- positive feedback. The more positive feedback they get the better their chances are for more exposure. Word can spread really fast and that helps loads.

(Uugh…this is boring……* head against table * )

I like to say I’m a skilled book ninja. I have my eyes and ears all over the place, especially in the indie-author community. When blogging I keep an eye on all sorts of stuff, such as: new book releases, blog tours, author streetteams, yada yada yada, AND reviews. Yes. I read reviews, too. And due to my ninja observation skills I know who’s besties with who and who’s fan #1. If you take a closer look I’m sure you’ll notice, too. 

Can anyone remember the shitstorm Amazon caused with their taking down reviews from certain books? Yes. That was a thing and it pissed so many people off. I would know. I witnessed it, first hand. Amazon never took any of my reviews down ( Thank God ) but they did with other bloggers and fans. And guess what? Bravo! It was about time. Not that I´m pointing fingers at anyone in particular. I´m sure many deleted Amazon reviews were wrongly accused of diabolical review-washing. But the majority? Serves them right. 

I’m positive that won’t win me any plus points. But I don’t really care. When I hunt for books I’m just an ordinary reader. And when I notice someone is just doing an author a favor my blood pressure rises. How am I to trust these people who devote their lives to these authors? Their judgement is clouded in so many ways that their reviews aren’t trustworthy anymore.

Sure, I’m all for supporting my favorite authors. But stay realistic. Stay professional.

I’ve seen people befriend authors ( mainly through Facebook ) and get really REALLY tight with them ( again…that’s fine. Anything that floats their boats). And then I’ve seen those authors publish book after book after book and each book got the same LOVE as the ones before, by the same people. An author can write 12 books ( each with different stories ) in a year and still, they’d get 12 outstanding reviews from the same blogs who are oh-so-tight with them. Something is totally fishy there. There is no way a person will LOVE everything an author writes. No-ho! 

It’s impossible. There always a slower book in-between great books. A story that, in truth, deserved 3 stars because it was, in fact, slower, or a bit more softer, or just not someone´s cup of tea. Any normal thinking person would rate the slower book with 3 stars ( or less) because that’s how they actually felt about the story, no matter how much they loved the authors other books. But, nooooooo.Some bloggers / fans feel so much loyalty towards an author that they feel compelled to give the slower book 5 stars.

Why does that happen? Do readers/ bloggers think their friendship will go down the drain if they’re honest? Or does it have anything to do with stupidity? I. Don’t. Know! You tell me. But something is definitely not right there.

I’m not sure if that can be considered as healthy behavior.

Would you like to know what helps me pick a book? I skip all the 5 star reviews and jumped right to the 3 or fewer ones. I’m not saying that all high rated reviews are full of shit, but can you blame me for doubting them? Reading a 3 star review will not convince me NOT to buy a book because tastes are different. It’s as simple as that.

I know I shouldn’t waste my time breaking my little head over the review matter, because it’s really not worth it. Reviews are… subjective. I’ve wasted so much energy trying to figure out why bloggers aren’t fully honest with their thoughts regarding a book * sigh *. But you’ve got to see my point of view, here- I want to read a book and the only way not to dive blind into a story is to read reviews and see how others judged a book. And people who do authors those stupid favors ( because they want recognition or what not) aren’t helping me, or any other book nerd out there.

That’s basically why I was happy about the Amazon clean-out.

The book universe is sometimes a dark place. Bloggers doing authors favors because they’re afraid to jeopardize their friendship is not okay. 

There was a time, way back in the early blogging days, when bloggers helped authors get reviews by doing so called blog tours for their favorite writers. Blog tours are nothing other than a virtual book promotion where often free copies of a story were/are offered. The only thing wrong with those blog tours were / are… a reviewer CANNOT publish a review with less than 3 stars, depsite what their true thoughts of said book were/are. Anything to avoid a bad review. So, a reviewer either lies or they don´t review at all and risk a potential shout out from the blog tour hosts. I call that…. corrupt. And wrong.
Another observation I made:
Authors releasing new books and bluntly asking for 5 star reviews. Because a 4 star review isn´t going to make sales. * holding breath * The same authors then wonder why hardly any people leave reviews.  That screams desperate.

This is also the main reason why I believe honesty is the best policy. State your real opinions instead of doing favors. 

And for the authors who are hungry for fame….. The big shot writers often have alot of negative reviews along with the 5 stars. That´s definitely something to think about.

It´s amazing to watch authors and their devoted fans go to such extremes. But it´s less amazing when you spot the lie.

I feel cheated on. Ripped off.