Social Media, Book Signings & Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons

Original image via Rosaura Ochoa via Flikr Creative Commons

One of my AWESOME on-line pals posted something troublesome on my Facebook page. Apparently there is a recent article in a major writing magazine that declares social media does not sell books and, in a nutshell, isn’t worth the effort.I’ll warn you guys ahead of time that I went hunting for the article—at the last remaining Barnes & Noble within a 25 mile radius of my home—and couldn’t find said article (and have asked Kim to get me the specific issue). But, since this type of commentary is prevalent enough in the blogosphere, I feel I can address the overall thesis accurately enough.

Social Media Was NEVER About Selling Books Directly—Who KNEW?

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of Zoetnet.

I’ve been saying this for about ten years, because the idea of using social circles for sales is NOT new…

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Asclepia

Waddesdon Manor Gardens, Buckinghamshire

Waddesdon Manor Gardens, Buckinghamshire Link here.

If I should

lay me head on your lap,

my fears on your back,

my dreams on your head,

my hopes on your heart,

Would you bear them with me

or turn away

for a lighter burden?

Forgotten Poem

 

"Still-Life in Praise of the Pickled Herring "by Joseph de Bray (1656(

“Still-Life in Praise of the Pickled Herring “by Joseph de Bray (1656) Link here.

Every word I write

fails to move You

Every line I create

fails to persuade You,

Every verse I create

fails to amuse You,

 

Still I write,

believing in the faint hope

that these words

will one day

morph into a beautiful poem,

that will find a home

in  the rhythm Your heart.

 

 

Chaotic Love

Statute of Venus Giving Arms to Aeneas, New York, NY

Statute of Venus Giving Arms to Aeneas, New York, NY

Love has Her defenses

of that you can be sure,

against the forceful way of War

Love will always endure.

But what happens,

when Love’s gentle touch

desires to get entangled

in the rough hands of War?

Pure Chaos.

Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Rise of the Machines Human Authors in a Digital World, social media authors, Kristen Lamb, WANA, Rise of the Machines

When I began writing I was SO SURE agents would be fighting over my manuscript. Yeah. But after almost thirteen years in the industry, a lot of bloody noses, and even more lessons in humility, I hope that these tips will help you. Self-publishing is AWESOME, and it’s a better fit for certain personalities and even content (um, social media?), but we must be educated before we publish.

Mistake #1 Publishing Before We Are Ready

The problem with the ease of self-publishing is that it is, well, too easy. When we are new, frankly, most of us are too dumb to know what we don’t know. Just because we made As in English, does not automatically qualify us to write a work spanning 60,000-100,000 words. I cannot count how many writers I’ve met who refuse to read fiction, refuse to read craft books, and who only go to pitch agents…

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Chronicles of a Indie Publicist: The Top 10 Marketing Mistakes of the Self-Published Author

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The Problem

As a person who has worked in book (specifically eBook) marketing for a while, I’m starting to notice a startling disconnect.

Self-publishing authors are repeating the same marketing mistakes over and over again.

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Every day I come across authors who overload their social media profiles, spam their followers, and then complain about the results. I come across authors who refuse to invest more than a few dollars in a eBook, but complain about exposure.(Consider that a traditional publisher has to spend thousands to market one book!)

This needs to stop.

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Everyone involved in the self-publishing industry deserves better.

Getting to a Solution

Part of the solution involves two factors: time and education.

The first part of the puzzle is time. As I mentioned in another post, the self-publishing industry is still developing. It takes time for an industry to get its footing and gain acceptance in a society.

The other half of this puzzle is education.This is where I see the strongest disconnect and coincidentally the strongest opportunity for a solution. In my view, eBook marketing, self publishing, and indie publishing are not receiving the same level of detail and research as other forms of products. Ebook publishing and marketing is treated like a hobby or “get rich quick scheme” rather than a business. This view hurts everyone-readers, prospective authors, and the industry as a whole.

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To help spark the conversation, I wanted to start a series of blog posts on addressing some of the marketing errors that I have come across.You can see those errors below. I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I would like to spark the conversation so we can get better answers. Right now, the self-publishing industry is full of information, but short of implementation.

Let’s change that.

Errors in Planning

1. Not checking out the market or competition

2. Not creating a goal for their marketing efforts

3. Not spending enough money for their marketing efforts

Errors in Implementation

4. Not engaging in social media

5. Engaging in too many social media accounts

6. Spamming their followers

Errors in Follow-up

7. Not keeping track of their marketing efforts

8. Not updating their marketing plans on a basis

9. Not seeking to learn more about the business of publishing

10. Not improving with the next book

Photo Credits (Courtesy of Flickr/PhotoPin)

Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/soamplified/5633265669/

Photo 2: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/5888585442/

Photo 3: https://www.flickr.com/photos/inoxkrow/150080109/

Photo 4: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hadock/12137501845/

Review: The Shredded Chef: 114 Recipes for Getting Ripped and Healthy

The Shredded Chef: 114 Recipes for Getting Ripped and Healthy
The Shredded Chef: 114 Recipes for Getting Ripped and Healthy by Michael Matthews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pros: Nice photography, easy recipes, Ingredients involved more natural ingredients than I expected

Cons: Navigating the Table of Contents

“The Shredded Chef”, to me, is similar in appearance and presentation to one of the glossy photographed books from Rodale (Like Men’s Health or The Abs Diet). Because of that, I wasn’t really holding my breath. While I liked reading books like “The Abs Diet Cookbook”, I have grown a little impatient with books like this. In my case, I get only a few recipes out of them. The rest of the recipes involve ingredients that I have never heard of, cost too much to get, or involve cooking techniques that are above my head.

This book was a little different.

“The Shredded Chef” was a collection of recipes that was almost felt heaven-sent. The ingredients involved simple, (mostly) natural ingredients that I could easily found around the house or for a few bucks. The instructions were very simple to follow. There was also a lot of variety, especially in the meat dishes, which will go a long way in “Paleo-in-transition” home.Speaking of Paleo, a lot of the recipes were Paleo (Steak & Sweet Potato Salad, Classic Cobb Salad, and Sweet Potato & Sausage Fritatta) or Paleo-like (Sweet Potato Muffins).

As a result, I have a lot of recipes along with some almost-recipes awaiting Paleo modification (if possible).

The only problem that I encountered with this book was navigation. The Table of Contents does not list individual page numbers with recipes, so you have to dig around to find the recipe you want. (The author does provide an online website to help with this.)

In short, I recommend this book especially for the “musclehead” who wants a new collection of recipes as well as the skinny kid who is looking for quick meals and muscle mass.Everyone, though, will find a quick and healthier recipe in this book.

I will definitely be purchasing additional books from the author.

Note: This book was received free as part of a Google+ contest. The review was completed because I simply like the book!

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Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published by Jennifer Basye Sander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pros: Excellent, insightful detail, excellent information, excellent presentation, Unique perspective

Cons: None

Let me start with this… This is one of the best books that I have ever read on the publishing industry.

I have read many books on the publishing industry (both traditional and self-publishing). Most of them are helpful; however they often regurgitate most of the same information that can easily be found on the Internet. This book was a little bit different. Written by two insiders of the publishing industry (Sheree Bykofsky and Jennifer Basye Sander), it provides a unique and user-friendly look into a side that most authors and readers rarely consider, the agent. Readers, for example, will get insight into the submission process, contracts, negotiation,and royalties. Both authors use their vast experience with the publishing world to give their take on small things such as the appropriate time and manner to follow up with an editor. These are things that aren’t really discussed in most publishing books, sadly.

Another great thing about this book is the comprehensive view of the publishing process. Bykofsky and Sander show in various chapters all of the necessary steps it takes to get a book from a query to a completed manuscript on a bookshelf. After reading this, readers (including me) will be humbled by the huge machinery that goes into publishing, distributing, marketing, and selling a book.

This was an incredible book that I recommend every current or prospective author (traditionally published or not) read because it conveys a sense of the immensity of the task behind publishing a book. The book is focused on traditional publishing, except for 1 or 2 chapters, but every chapter offers something to every author. Knowing this before you get into the publishing game will become a huge advantage.

I will definitely be adding this to my reference shelf

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Review: The Four Day Meditation Solution – Use the Power of Meditation to Transform Your Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary … In Just Four Days

 

meditation

The Four Day Meditation Solution – Use the Power of Meditation to Transform Your Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary … In Just Four Days by Jennifer Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pros: Very easy to understand, Author’s enthusiasm, Variety of meditation techniques,

Cons: Not as straightforward as I thought

I am an infrequent meditator. For some days of the week, I remember to meditate day and night. On other days of the week I forget (or choose to forget) to meditate. I chose this book because I wanted to find a solution that would help me better integrate meditation into my daily life. Going by the title, I decided that I could try four days to see if I could do just that.

In some ways the book helped me accomplish this and some ways it didn’t. Compared to other meditation books I’ve read, the Four Day Solution was more user-friendly and more enthusiastic about meditation. This, in turn, fueled my interest in making the attempt to practice meditation on a regular basis. This book also addresses common meditation issues that I have encountered (such as drowsiness and boredom) with straightforward solutions, in most cases. The author also provides a variety of techniques, which I welcomed because I tend to stick to the same meditation technique. (I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing!)

The problem occurs when I tried to implement that motivation. Although the book is broken down into separate activities for each of the four days, I was a little confused. I didn’t know if I was practicing one particular meditation for 20 mintues each day or trying a different one each day. Was I practicing these meditations once per day or twice? When do I advance into other meditation techniques? Can I combine meditation techniques? As a beginning meditator, I was looking for a more structured program to guide me into integrating the practice of meditation in my life. The author does provide some help in this area but not enough in my view.

In short, this book is a great motivation aid and down-to-earth guide to re-igniting or starting a meditation practice with a wide variety of techniques to get started. If you are already a meditator, peruse this book for additional techniques that might complement your practice. If you want to start a meditation practice, choose a technique and start it for four days and see how you feel. Use some of the author’s advice on how to deal with roadblocks as you meditate.

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