Monday, January 04, 2016

Speaking of ineffective promotion, here's an example, PLUS how to fix--UPDATED

Saturday night I checked my twitter feed and found this


Because I'm me, my first reaction was to block him, my second was to tweet back and say "this is blindingly ineffective, go away."

My third was to check his twitter feed to see if he was doing this to a lot of people (yes, he was) and only the fourth was to think "hey, I bet we could all learn something here."

I chose Door #4, so here we are.


Trying to get attention for your work is hard. You know it, or you're learning it. I know it for an ironclad fact. Remember, I started in book publicity, the most thankless job in publishing, and even now a decent chunk of my day is spent talking/thinking/planning publicity/marketing/buzz-building.

The very first thing to remember is this: you must make your pitch relevant to your audience.

In the above tweet, it's all about the writer. "I'm trying to get it popular"
So what.

In fact, so fucking what. Do I care? No, I do not.
And the honest to garamond truth, dear readers, is NO ONE ELSE cares either. I'm just the only one who will say it this directly.

What do I care about? ME.
Yes, I care about my clients, and my blog readers, and several very nice cats I visit, and a few other things in this world, but mostly I care about me.


So, knowing that, what do you say if you want my attention for your work?

How about you think about what benefit I would get from it?

Consider this tweet: Hey @Janet_Reid, when you need a laugh after digging in your queries all day, check this out (link)

Consider this tweet: Hey @Janet_Reid, you're up at 2am, do you need a quick comic break? Check this out (link)

It's almost as easy to spam that kind of comment as the original. The big difference? This one is about ME, not you.

The question you always have to ask is this: why should someone care?
The answer is NEVER: because I want you to; because I need you to; because it's the right thing to do.

If that offends your sense of how the world should work, too bad.
It's how the world DOES work, and publicity and marketing isn't about ideals, it's about results.
The sooner you embrace that (however woefully) the better your promotion practices will be.

Any questions? 


In what can only be described as ironic serendipity, here's why you want to get your promotional tweets right!

This tweet showed up in my feed on Monday morning.


Had I clicked on the tweet that prompted this post, and liked what I saw, maybe I would have given Holly a link or a mention of this author.

As it is, I didn't do anything other than use it as a lesson in how to do things wrong.

There's a reason for getting things right other than just not annoying people. 


Any questions?

74 comments:

Lisa Bodenheim said...

yawn....no one here yet?

Well, after a read through I had to look up garamond to remember where I've heard that word.

Thank you for going in the 4th door. Yes, your examples are helpful.

nightsmusic said...

That's barely worse than the authors who follow me and their first tweet is always, "I wrote a book, you should read it." I'm not popular and don't have a ton of followers so I know you're not following me for the interaction. You're following me like you are the other 500+ authors you managed to dig up on twitter in order to spam us all with your message. My reaction? "Please, go away." *shakes head*

Lucie Witt said...

**waves at Lisa**

These examples are helpful, even though this kind of promotion brings out every single one of my woodland creature anxieties.

Kitty said...

Think I'll try to find the guy's cartoon.

Colin Smith said...

At first, Janet's tip seems a lot like work. You mean I have to Tweet people individually and personally? I can't just blast/spam a bunch of folks with the nifty app I just bought? But think about how Twitter works. I Tweet Janet with my funny cartoon. Amazingly, she agrees it is side-splittingly hilarious and re-Tweets the link to her thousands of followers. After her clients pick themselves up off the floor and wipe the tears from their eyes, they re-Tweet to their thousands of followers, one of whom happens to be J.K. Rowling, who re-Tweets it to her millions of followers. Out of all these re-Tweets, if a hundred, or even ten Tweet recipients check out your blog and maybe buy your book, the effort of targeting that one Tweet to one person suddenly becomes effort well expended.

That's why they call it social networking, I guess. :)

Ellipsis Flood said...

This... doesn't even say what it's about. I know, this is Twitter, but brevity is bliss.

@janet_reid Check out my cartoon please if you get a chance. I'm trying to get it popular. youtube.com/watch?v=123456... Thanks.

Currently there are 15 characters left.
"I'm trying to get it popular. " - 31 characters
" please if you get a chance" - 27 characters

@janet_reid Check out my cartoon. youtube.com/watch?v=123456... Thanks.

We now have 73 characters left to both make it about Janet and tell her what it's about.

Colin Smith said...

Newbie April posted a question at the end of yesterday's article. At the risk of my re-acquired freedom, I'm going to re-post it as an OT thing, though it's still on the topic of promotion, so it's not that OT:

"How necessary is it that my Web site is my name? Like JaneSmith.com or whatever?"

April says she tried to use her name, but it's been taken. She's currently using a phrase, but wonders if the fact she can't use her name is hurting her chances of getting noticed.

My response is based on what Janet has said about writer email addresses: your name is ideal, but otherwise keep it professional. If your web address is www.hotlips.com, you might attract the wrong kind of attention. If you write thrillers and your address is www.KaleIsCoolio.com, you will at least confuse. Something like www.MyNameBooks.com or www.MyNameWriter.com is likely to be more to the point. As far as getting noticed, I think it matters more that you do things like putting your URL in your email signature, or getting your URL added to writer website searches (there are places out there that will do this for free--at least there were when I was looking for ways to promote my blog some years ago).

That's my take. :)

S.P. Bowers said...

Caring about themselves is exactly what the original tweeter did, so why should they be offended that the recipient cares about themselves, too?

Beth said...

I also had an example of bad promotion in my inbox this morning. I'm a librarian, and it's not unusual for authors to email me, recommending their book. My job does not involve buying books, so this is never going to end the way the author would like, but it's still a good learning experience. Today's email opened with the line,

"I'm wanted , I'm a French author, introduce my book for your library."

Translation software run amok, I think. I'm not sure whether or not the author is a fugitive. My takeaway: never trust translation software. Always have a native speaker read your message before hitting "send."

Audrey Shaffer said...

To piggyback on Colin's comment, that's why I advise all writers to buy their domain name as quickly as possible. Even if you aren't going to use it for years, you will own your name, or something close to it. Once you own it, nobody else can get it.

At $8-12 per year, it's an affordable expense to protect your future promotions. When you start your blog, you can forward your domain name to the blog until you need a website. Then, simply stating your name is promotion. Easy peasy!

And Janet pointed out the biggest thing to remember in marketing...it's all about the reader, it's not about you. Remember that, and you won't make dumb mistakes that turn you into a bad example on the Shark's blog.

Amanda Capper said...

Good lesson to remember.

There is a world that revolves around me but it's my family's - mom and sister. I am their sun, and I'd be space junk without them.

As for Mr. Pickle, I can't be bothered to look up his cartoon. Berkley Breathed is the only comic/artist in my world right now, no room for any others because I believe the comparison would suffer.

Maybe if he'd said something funny, I'd be more likely to click.

Susan Bonifant said...

From my file of things I learned slowly, but finally:

It's much like asking for a job. You don't spend your resume real estate talking about what you are seeking. You tell the employer how you will meet his or her needs.

Also, Janet Reid used the F word to make her point today. I love when that happens.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I get very annoyed with this kind of thing on Twitter, but I am terrible at the whole Twitter thing. Is Twitter even effective for promotion?

I suppose it could be. If Brandon Sanderson or Patrick Rothfuss announce a new book via their Twitter, I go snatch it right up. Anything Janet says to read, I take a gander at that, but she is a known, reliable entity. I follow agents I am querying because lots of them will tweet where they are in their stack now and then. But I only follow and pay attention to these people's tweets because I already knew who they are via other means.

Others I follow because they follow me or I found them here on this blog. I block those who spam me with shameless self-promotion. I rarely tweet- usually pictures of pugs or the tweet that goes out when I publish a new blog post. There's a setting on Word Press that makes that happen so I turned it on. So basically I think I get a failing grade in the Twitter.

I do want to be better at this promotion thing so I can do my part when the time comes, but when I think about the marketing, promotion, business part of selling my writing I get this strange buzzing in my head that seems to block all cognitive thought.

This is part of the reason I am pursuing an agent because if an agent with giant pearly whites tells me to do something, I will do it despite the infernal buzzing. I do have a Twitter account, a blog, a static website address where blog lives, and all because a shark/agent told me I needed these things in advance of my book's eventual launch into the public arena. I need coffee. Being back at my dread day job is no fun, no fun.

Robert Ceres said...

Colin and April, A lot of times you can fool around with the domain name to get a workable and memorable web site: Jane_Smith.com, JaneSmith.US, JaneJSmith.com...

Janet Reid said...

yes indeed,
yes, Twitter can be an effective promo tool!

It just takes more work than a single tweet!

Donnaeve said...

I clicked to check out all those buried links and it's so much fun to read posts/comments from years ago! I saw one from Loretta Ross - and I'm thinking to myself, "huh, I bet she wasn't even a client then!"

Great advice as always. I like the idea of twenty mins a day, to quickly do some social media. Maybe break it up into four segments of five minutes so it's not a 20 min dump at one time. That would be my plan anyway.

And I LOL'ed (as I usually do) when QOTKU dropped the f bomb. I don't know why it's so funny to me - but I think it's b/c it's a rarity. Which also is a tiny lesson in of itself. Less is more - remember that one?

DLM said...

I have not promoted a published novel on Twitter, but have definitely instituted a dedicated practice, when I log on lately, of unfollowing people who have nothing whatever to say - only Tweeting promo after promo after promo. Yawn ... life's too short to waste what time I spend on Twitter having to wade through that to find my friends there.

I *have* found, though, that the entire face of my blog stats has changed since I started using Twitter to share posts. Indeed, I haven't even done that in weeks, if not months, but the proportion of bot hits to actual humans remains clearly improved over pre-Twitter usage. If I were on there more, my traffic overall would undoubtedly be higher, so when I get closer to publishing the WIP, I'll hop to it accordingly.

Jenny C said...

I will remember this information with the hope that I'll need it someday. Thank you!

Right now I tweet to promote books by my writing friends and authors whose books I read and enjoyed. Usually I say things like: Check out this great review or I mention something I liked about the book - heists! Liars! What's not to love!

What are some other ways to help out writing friends get noticed without being annoying?

And if you follow me on Twitter, be warned that someone i know is publishing a book this month and I will be inundating my followers with promotions! You may as well well just give in and buy his book on January 12th so you can join my promotional frenzy. :) It's called THE DRIFTER.

Sherry Howard said...

The rare use of profanity is extremely effective in writing. Duly noted.

Theresa said...

April, what Colin and others have pointed out is good advice. If your name is already taken, then use your name and make it unique by adding something book related: April Smith Author, April Smith Stories. The key is to make it easy for someone searching for you online to find you.

I wasn't sure about Twitter when I first started using it, but over a couple of years I have found a lot of people with shared interests. Like Jenny C, I make sure to promote their projects.

DLM said...

Note to self - find out whether Jenny C. likes histfic, and see if I can make friends with her before the WIP is published. Palace intrigue, assassination - what's not to love!? :)

Colin Smith said...

Diane: I would wager a goodly number of us Shark Tank occupants will glady shell out money for your novel when it's published, regardless of genre, simply because we think you're the bee's knees. :)

Likewise, I'm not particularly into Westerns and stories of Bronco riding ladies, but I know of one novel of that kind I'll be looking for when it sees the light of day.

And it's not simply because I like you and Julie as people (as much as one can like someone they only know online), but you both have demoed your writing chops not only here, but on your blogs too. I know with both books I'll at least enjoy the writing, and that counts for a lot. :)

Colin Smith said...

Which reminds me--

Donna: Don't forget to let us all know when your debut will be hitting the shelves. It'll be this year, won't it?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thanks, Janet. You are forever my queen. No matter how the election goes.

Now I just need someone who is someone to tweet about my book once I finish my latest R&R, get an agent and a book deal and all that jazz. Easy peasy.

Do keep us in the loop, Donna. I won't shamelessly promote myself but for you, I will. I will mention you on my blog, tweet about your book, and break knee caps of those who ... Well, maybe not that last one

Amanda Capper said...

Love Brad Parks. I'm in the acknowledgements of his latest book, The Fraud. And there was my mother telling me being a groupie would never get me anywhere.

Not so fussy on Paris.

Colin Smith said...

Amanda: Wow! And you have the current sub-head on this blog. How cool are you? :) Congrats on the sub-head, btw. Forgot to mention that yesterday.

Karen McCoy said...

The PA Pickle? Perhaps they should rename themselves to the PR Pickle. And then read this blog. Twice.

Now looking up Brad Parks...the magic of social media has many dimensions!

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Never is the answer. That cuts.

I get lots of group emails, mostly for party planning. I hate the group email. Any kind of mass mailing really, even if it is for a good party.

I'm happy QOTKU chose to use this as a lesson and not delete it right away. These recent posts on promotion have been extremely informative. There is so much to know beyond writing the story and querying.

I don't tweet much. I do have an automatic feed that posts my blog to twitter but I turn it off every so often and select which posts I want to tweet. Once I tweeted directly to Christopher Moore, after reading Sacré Bleu and told him he did not kill the color blue. That was the last line in his book. He favorited my tweet and then retweeted it to his 25k followers. I nearly fainted.

LynnRodz said...

Hmm, so it's about others and not me. People say I'm too self centered, but enough about them.

Funny thing is, I was about to tweet you a great shark photo today, now I'll have to wait so it doesn't seem like...on second thought, I might just go ahead and send it.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

When I first started my Elka Almanac twitter account I DMed people who followed me back with an invitation look at my blog. I dunno if they unfollowed me on that basis, because I don't do any of those Twitter follower/unfollower third party metrics. Some of them stuck around, and I don't do it anymore because I know better now.

Beth: I don't know, "I am wanted" is a great hook. I work at a library, and when people try to start those conversations with me, I tend to go the "You wrote a book? That's awesome, congratulations! Unfortunately, I'm not the decision maker on this. You contact the director via ____ and then she'll tell me to order it!" Though really, a lot of the time (well, "a lot", 5 or so in my ten years there), an author will walk in with a book to hand us to put on the shelves.

DLM: I also unfollow people whose feed is nothing but "BUY MY BOOK." It puts me in mind of this episode of The Critic (anybody else remember that show?).

Janet Reid said...

Jenny Chou, Anything you do/say/tweet/comment/post to buzz about The Drifer is Aok with me!! I love that book too. I think everyone should read it!

brianrschwarz said...

Originally, I was going to say off-topic alert here, but after reading the blog post I now realize how ON topic this comment is -

For some reason, when I look at the twitter icon on the left bar of the blog, the "follow Janet Reid" is in French. The French word for follow is "Suivre", which looks an awful lot like the english word "Survive" when my eyes attempt to convert a French word on a mostly English page (with some spattering in Carkoonian) back to English, so I always read this as Survive @Janet_Reid. And, quite frankly, this is hilarious.

Clearly, our now bloodied and limb-less video promoter, was unaware of this.

In this example, the goal - which seems logical - is to reach the largest audience possible in the shortest amount of time. The thinking is clearly that this is effective promotion. Like Janet mentioned last week, this method is focused on the short game. How can I get a million hits in two hours? Blindly email a million people, I guess!

Wrong. Terrible plan. Short gains are not effective. If they were, everyone would be wealthy and famous.

Instead, a focus on the long game of promotion is a focus on the small gains that build effectively. Sure it may take more time to customize a tweet, but the goal is making the strongest single connection with another human being that you can make and building on that connection. Then those connections promote for you.

My rule of thumb is always this - if it takes you very little time to do it, then everyone is probably doing it. And most people stink at promotion. So do the things that are time-consuming and personal, the things that other writers don't feel like doing because it's "too much work" and watch the results.

My point? Tweeting @Janet_Reid requires chainmail.

Dave Rudden said...

I learn so much from this blog. It seems that once again my strategy needs to change. I have spent months running up and down the streets yelling "PAY ATTENTION TO ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" I see now that this may not have been the best promotional idea.

Lucie Witt said...

Reading the comments and looking at my bookshelf. Realizing over the past two years most of the new authors whose books have found a warm, cozy home on my shelf I discovered through twitter.

Not one of them sent me a promo tweet, though. Most were just authentically themselves, I thought they were cool/funny/smart people, and I decided to check out their books.

That said, someone I think is cool/smart/funny on Twitter would definitely get special consideration if they sent me a tweet akin to Janet's revised tweet above.

Everyone else's promo tweets generally get ignored. I never follow back writers who only tweet promotional stuff, no matter how much I might actually like the author.

Jenz said...

In regard to April's question about URLs, I think the advice about using your name is really trying to tell you to use a site that is actually yours, not just something like Facebook or Twitter. And like Colin said, it should be professional.

But there could be a bigger problem if someone else owns the URL of your name. My name is extremely common. All the URLs for it were bought up years ago. When I searched for it on Goodreads, pages worth of results turned up. Really, I think I'd be a fool to try to publish under that name. So I use my married name instead. Some authors use their middle name, and I know of an author who uses his mother's maiden name.

I'm not saying you can't use your name if you want, but you should check around and see if there's anyone else already publishing with that name.

Tip: if you do a domain name search through a host or domain registrar, and you don't buy it right away, someone else will. Vultures watch for that and buy up names that people are searching in the hopes of getting you to pay them extra to get it back. Don't search if you aren't ready to buy, and once you find it, buy it.

DLM said...

Colin my virtual friend, thank you!

Angie, I once tweeted a YouTube of LeVar Burton reading Twas the Night Before Christmas on Reading Rainbow, and when he retweeted it, my blog traffic went WILD. It was such fun.

And speaking of shilling for other folks - have y'all ever just spent half an hour getting lost in Angie's paintings? Because you should. I am in awe of visual artists, and she has become one of my favorites; her eye for a moment is stunning.

Jennifer D, I do hate those auto-DMs. I don't necessarily unfollow automatically, but I have on occasion, and that sort of thing does tell me: this may not be a person wanting to talk with people, just a shilling account hoping to ensnare me. I tend to eliminate Twitter users if I have to scroll more than three crooks of my mousewheel to find anything they actually have had to SAY. For those with a lot of retweets - it depends on what they're retweeting, but generally the same criterion applies. No human communication? No follow.

Brian, if we all survive Janet Reid, we will be lucky little chumsters! As you say, tweeting her requires chainmail - but chain mail is best left unsent. :)

Dave, be careful the attention you get does not come in the form of a funny coat with extra-long sleeves that buckle in the back ...

Deep River said...

Makes an impact, doesn't? Sort of like flypaper for eyeballs.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I said I want to be popular too, but that was when I was in high school and needed a date for the dance. Didn't get one, didn't go. Cartoon that !

nightsmusic said...

HAH! Chumsters. My word for the day :)

John Frain said...

Wow, serendipity in a post about serendipity.

It's almost like you planned irony!

Adib Khorram said...

Today's topic reminded me of a quote from J. Michael Straczynski:

"The universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: Energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest."

Also, I think "honest to garamond" may be my new go-to exclamation.

Beth said...

Jennifer, you're right that "I am wanted" is a great hook, if it's true. I don't think it is in this author's case, and I don't think that it's what the author intended to say. I'm not sure what she did mean, though. Perhaps, "I am an in-demand writer"?

If someone walks into the library, I will do what you do and direct them to the appropriate staff. In the case of unsolicited emails, I just hit delete. Most of the time, when these emails come in, they spam the entire staff, which I can tell from the "To" line with 30+ email addresses in it.

Deep River said...

If you're a writer blessed with a name so popular you share it with legions of others, there are alternatives to using your own name for your domain.

You could use your protagonist's name, if he or she plays a reprising role, like SherlockHolmes.com.

If you're writing SF or Fantasy, maybe the unique world you’ve created will suit, such as MiddleEarth.com

I'm not that knowledgeable about crime fiction, but a domain name and website built around your fictional detective agency might be fun. Think SherlockHolmes.com with excerpts from the journals of Dr. Watson; perhaps the excerpts end with links to buy The Hound of The Baskervilles or A Study in Scarlet. And maybe there is a crime blotter with hints and clues from your WIP.

Initially, your web presence must help the agents you query find you. In the long run, you’ll want your fans to find you. A domain name is primarily a mnemonic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your name, it merely must be succinct and memorable.

Amanda Capper said...

Colin, LOL. Cool? Me? Um...sure...you betcha.

John, she did that! She planned irony! In awe.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

I used to be a twitter queen until I realized I was spending hours every day tweeting when I could be writing. I was much beloved for my pithy comments, but pithy comments aren't worth nearly as much as a person might believe.

Now I tweet enough to stay viable if not vibrant.

A while back I was stalking, er, researching Bob Mecoy. I ran across a story about a woman who was on social media and kind of became a celebrity. If I recall correctly she was a very wealthy man's daughter who was on the run. Her father was pressuring her into marrying someone she didn't want. Anyway, people got really interested in her story. A writer wanted to interview her, but they had to arrange a clandestine meeting in an unknown location. Apparently Mr. Mecoy was working with her on a book deal.

I wish I could remember where I found the story. It was one of those social media things that went viral and stayed viral for quite a while.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, most of us aren't on the run from a wealthy, controlling father. Perspective is everything.

Grayl has the most remarkable girlfriend. She bright, funny, drop dead gorgeous and absolutely adores Grayl. There isn't anything she would do for him. Grayl, obviously, thinks she's the greatest gal on earth.

Grayl's wife has a different opinion of the girlfriend.

Perspective.

A person can use social media effectively. If someone follows me on twitter, I will often follow back, but certainly not always. The minute they start spamming my private messages, we are over.

While looking up Mr. Mecoy this morning, trying to find that story about the woman on the run, I ran across his name in another thread. This person had queried 2,200 of the top literary and talent agents twice. That's 4,400 emails. He got 27 responses. Only one positive one.

He's done with agents. When Chinese archaeologists in the future dig up his manuscript and realize how gorgeous it is, they will wonder why no one recognized the brilliance. Brilliant Writer made a list of all the reasons it wasn't recognized. Mr. Mecoy was one of those 2,200 reasons.

I didn't even realize there were that many literary and talent agents in the world.

I've been pondering publication and promotion, thanks again, Janet. I'm trying to come up with a strategy similar to the open house campaign. I'm still working on it. Spamming twitter will not be on the list.

John Frain said...

Amanda,

There are days (say, those ending in y) when I'm quite sure the Queen could plan spontaneity, irony or even serendipity. Today mighta been one a them.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Colin and April, as others have pointed out, it's pretty easy to play with your own name. I despise clever names for blogs and twitter accounts when I'm looking for someone. I really want to check out Jane Eyre's new book. Yeah, I so would have guess @AwesomeWriter is her.

There's a reason I am Julie.M.Weathers here. I forgot my danged password and couldn't get into my JulieWeathers account. I had to make a new one. The same for the Julie_Weathers, Julie.Weathers, and the Julie-Weathers accounts. It only took losing multiple passwords and not being able to recover them via email to get me in the habit of writing down passwords.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: Blogs and websites I can give a pass on because if you Google the author, you'll normally find their blog/website no matter what the URL is, and chances are they have the URL in their books and emails. With Twitter, however, I completely agree. If I'm trying to find Joe Schmoe on Twitter, it's great if his Twitter handle is @JoeSchmoe or @JoeSchmoeWrites, not @TheDude. Not helpful. :)

BJ Muntain said...

The original fellow is going to get himself blocked by the very folks he's trying to get help from.

One thing to note: There's a difference between personalizing a promotional tweet, and tweeting something that the tweetee will act on.

The original fellow's tweet is an example of the first that didn't work so well. Remember: If your tweet has @name at the beginning of it, ONLY the person with @name will see it (and anyone following the two of you, though I doubt many are following the pickle)

Holly's tweet is an example of the second. She's going to reach a lot more people with that tweet than if she were to tweet personally to anyone who might be interested. But her tweet is subtly promising something (promotion, at least, if the cartoon is good enough) and any cartoonists out there who see this will be very interested.

The best way Twitter can be used for promotion is as a means to get 'word of mouth' (see Janet's link above). That does NOT mean tweeting "Tell your friends about me!" It means creating social contacts through Twitter, and then, if they like you, they might check your book, and/or they might boost the signal. If *someone else* talks about your book on Twitter, that's 'word of mouth'.

For instance, Holly's tweet that Janet posted? I do follow Holly, but I hadn't seen that tweet. I saw it on Janet's blog, and sent Holly a link to my friends' comic. Not only an effective tweet, but an example of 'word of mouth'.

Also, to April, our new Reider:

It sounds like someone's squatting on your name. That's a despicable practice where people buy up domain names they think they'll be able to sell for a bunch of bucks. If you have a common name, they'll do that. If you have a name that could be a misspelled common word (like, say, muntain as a misspelled version of 'mountain'), they'll buy that, too. (Big companies will buy misspellings, so if a possible buyer misspells the URL typing it in, they'll still get to their site).

As others have suggested, a lot of authors add 'books', or 'author' to their name. If you look at Twitter, you'll see a number of folks who do this. You can be creative, yet still have your name, and have it look professional. I'd avoid underscores in a domain name, though. They're harder for someone to remember and type in, and they may cause some problems technically.

Completely off topic to Amanda: I KNOW. Breathed has been my favourite comic author for decades, and I'm so happy that he's started Bloom County again on Facebook!

nightsmusic said...

@BJ, He's also on the GoComics site so every morning in my daily comics ration email, I get Opus! YAY! A Wish For Wings That Work is one of my favorite Christmas stories :)

Jenny C said...

DLM- I do like historical fiction, and I enjoy palace intrigue and assassinations almost as much as thieves and liars. I also like being part of Janet's group of blog commentators so I will be thrilled when one of us publishes a book and I can tweet about it. Consider me a friend already. :)

Kara Ringenbach said...

I don't sympathize with, but do feel sorry for, this little pickle. But, it did give a good lesson. Thanks Janet.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

I went back to read April's comment from yesterday. First off, welcome.

Second, if you start tweeting, facebooking, and blogging under your name and are active, those are the things that are going to come up first in a search engine as opposed to a dead site. So, don't be afraid to use a variation of your name and make it sing. Janet is Janet_Reid on twitter because some other n'er do well has JanetReid.

Stuff happens.

Activity will bring you to the top with your new version of your name.

I changed the name of my fantasy because someone self pubbed a very badly written erotic science fiction with the same name. There are times you want to distance yourself from a name, but usually given names aren't it.

Pam Powell said...

Schadenfreude (Miriam-Webster) enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.
From the German Schaden = damage + Freude = joy

Schadenfreude (Woodland Creatures) Hurrah! This time it was somebody else besides myself who screwed up!

Thanks, Pickle. You made my day! (Don't worry. My time will come yet ... again ... and again ... and again!)

Susan said...

I've been working on my main WIP today in a flood of welcomed motivation after a few weeks away, so I haven't read through all the comments here--forgive me if I repeat something.

I just want to point out that Twitter--all social media, really--is meant to connect us to each other. In a more professional light, this is technologically-enhanced networking. Promotion through social media is an offshoot of that; it has its place, but it should always be natural, personable, and most of all, sincere.

At least, I should add, that's how it used to be. I don't know exactly when that changed to become the news aggregate and paid promotions forum it is today. In the early days of Twitter--at its best, way back in 2007/2008--it used to be about holding real conversations, respectful debates, and building relationships. Some of my strongest relationships were forged here--over a dozen of us formed a local writing group after "meeting" on Twitter, friends who were formerly strangers and situated across the country (and across the pond) have taken our friendships offline, bridging the divide and making the world seem that much smaller (and that much more special). In recent years, I've become a part of the Lyme and chronic illness community, using Twitter and social media to help each other through what too-often is a misunderstood and isolating way of life. The common denominator through all of these examples? Connecting. Building relationships. Growing support.

The same is to be said for promotion--if you view social media promotion as another means of connecting, you have a much better chance of return. If I know you, that's an immediate follow-back. If I don't know you, but you start a conversation with me, it's a follow-back. If you follow me and start bombarding me with links to your product...No.

I want to see everyone succeed, but I become emotionally invested in the people I'm able to interact and form genuine relationships with, including bigger-name authors. The more that relationship is nurtured, the more likely you'll have my loyalty and support (and my money, when your book is published).

Life's too short for clickholes.

I wrote an article for CVS' Reinventing Beauty Magazine a number of years ago extolling the virtues of a social media community. It's here ( My Virtual Front Porch) on page 98 if anyone is interested in reading. Twitter really did use to be a front porch where everyone could gather and get to know each other. Now, it's more like a block party where friends of friends of friends all show up and you don't know anyone. There's a lot of noise, and it can seem overwhelming.

But standing on a keg and shouting your name isn't the way to introduce yourself. If anything, you're just blocking the way to the beer.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Thanks to the Shark's prompting yesterday, I just bought myself today. Bought the domains of my name. No use in putting off what you can do today :D

Poor Pickle; not recognizing that is no way to make acquaintances or friends who may be interested in your work. And in the end, that is what you want to shine - your life's work, because you believe that it will entertain/help/inform others. Like Shark says, produce GOOD writing. EVEN IN PROMOTIONS.

Though it is somewhat of a dance trying not to come across as all car salesman promote-y when trying to get attention for your work. I have a friend who makes me cringe when they send out mass emails - it sounds so much UNLIKE them. Do you want me to click on your link because you think I will like it or do you want me to do it out of pity or anger? Yikes...

However, I also think being famous rather than infamous is a good life goal to have LOL

SiSi said...

This is another good reminder of the difference between the creative and business side of writing. On the creative side, the story is the focus and you write everything based on what will work best for the story. On the business side, the audience is the focus and you write everything based on what will work best for the audience.

Panda in Chief said...

I usually err on the side of trying to be less annoying when twittering. Yes, I post when I have a new cartoon up on my blog, but also try to retweet interesting things that might be interesting to any of the people following me. Lots of panda news or pictures, things to interest of other writers, friends books coming out, etc. Trying to follow the 20/80 rule, although maybe I do the 10/90, where only 10% of what I post is about me.

Today's post was most interesting because of the comics connection, and I did go check out Holly's tweet, and tweeted back after checking out her agency website. (I have learned a little bit over the years, thank goodness.) Maybe she will visit the pandas, maybe it will be her taste in comics humor, or maybe not.
I'll let you know if anything comes of it.
:o)

Amanda Capper said...

BJ, I KNOW! And what is it about woodland creatures that seem to appeal to us so much? Bloom County and this blog are full of them.

Donnaeve said...

Will have to read all the comments later as I just got in from Raleigh for the day - but wanted to shout out to Colin/E.M. (because there's something about spotting one's name in a comment) and say (or yell)

NOVEMBER 1 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

whoop!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yay! Donna. So excited for you. I can't wait to read your book.

Amanda Capper said...

O yay nov 1...in my calendar Donna. Id like mine signed!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

11/1/16
11/1/16
11/1/16
11/1/16
Donna's day.
Can't wait.

kdjames.com said...

Donna, I've made a note in my calendar!

Twitter used to be a lot more fun. Now it's mostly rage and promo, and I spend less time there (more time writing, yay!). Janet was actually one of the first people to talk to me on twitter when I joined. Someone retweeted something of hers and I thought she was funny, so I followed and tweeted to her. It was late at night and she was still in the office, drinking scotch and having an impromptu dance party. Or so she said. I suspect she was actually just taking a quick break from crushing hopes and dreams, as sharks do.

For me, twitter is a way to connect with people I like, to push back the dark edges of a solitary profession. Most of them are writers, some are imaginary internet friends, all of them are smart and funny. And news. Twitter is a terrific source of news and opinion, especially news organizations based outside of the US.

And it's great for book promo, as long as that promo comes from someone whose taste is similar to mine and is anyone other than the author.

Karen McCoy said...

Hooray for THE DRIFTER! It already has 2 holds in my library system.

Jearl Rugh said...

Wow, it's all about "you," or "me," depending upon your POV. Thanks Janet, I need to revisit at my tweets and make sure they're about the reader not the writer.

Colin Smith said...

Yay! Thanks, Donna. Duly noted: Nov 1. :)

Look, you already have buyers for your novel when it comes out. You must be a genius at book promotion...

DeadSpiderEye said...

A slight coincidence here, for me at least, is that I used to draw cartoons. It's the toughest job ever grief-wise, you just will not believe how much of the brown stuff gets thrown your way. If you're gonna do it, be a complete bar-steward, it's the only way you'll get through the day without a litre of gin inside you. On the plus side: scribble scribble, scratch, ink, splot! job done, ooh look money, I'm of to get some more gin.

SiSi said...

Congratulations Donna! How exciting to have a date set! It's on my calendar.

The Drifter release is also on my calendar.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Congratulations, Donna! November 1st - that's so exciting!

I, too, wondered about the French twitter button, but wasn't game to ask :)

But I *will* ask what is probably a stupid question (but I don't know how to work out the answer!): Seeing as twitter's the topic and bots have been mentioned: How do you know if the twitter account that follows you is a real person or a bot? And another related question: What should you do about the bot followers: Block them? Report them? Ignore them? What is best?

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

I wrote another comment and when I tried to prove I'm not a robot my browser crashed. I'll take this as a sign. Back to work, grind grind.

But gee, Diane, I'm blushing.

John Frain said...

Donna,

Woot woot! Wow, that's gotta be the greatest feeling ever. Well, it'll be supplanted by the feeling that rolls in on November 1, but so far it's gotta feel good.

It's almost light, time to crash, so I'll have to congratulate you in a new post that you'll actually read.

Dixie Dupree. Love the name. I can already picture her and I haven't even read the first sentence. Yet.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Donna,

A belated congratulations. What great news!

Re bots. I don't automatically block them. Done well, they are amusing. I thought about setting one up with Inara from Firefly once. Every time someone mentioned Firefly or Serenity, they would get a quote from Inara.

I have a few bots following me that I find amusing. I have a Jayne bot, Inigo Montoyo bot, and a Star Wars bot following me. Or did. I haven't checked lately to see if I get "I do not think that means what you think it means" when I type inconceivable.

roadkills-r-us said...

Since you asked, I have a question!

I have a new book, and I want it to get popular. Should I send you a tweet about that at 2AM or 5:34AM, which is when your email showed up in my inbox? I'm thinking I should just have the book delivered to your door at 2AM. That way you can read it. If you like it, it helps keep you awake until 5:34AM when you send emails. If it's boring, you get some much needed shark sleep.

That was the takeaway, right?

-Anxious in Austin

P.S. I remembered how much you like Italics, so I threw some in!