U is for Using Social Media as an Author

22-Better-Grades-Social-Media-00I’m a moderately technical person. My brain works in a technical way- seeking to understand underlying principles and piece things together in a logical manner- and I’ve never had a problem grasping anything technological. Hell, my husband is a network engineer, and I’ve spent my entire career working with technology companies. But social media leaves me feeling more than a little perplexed from time to time, and, stubborn as I am, I am determined to conquer it. Why? Because as an author, it’s a necessary part of my platform. Ignoring it won’t make it less important, less relevant, less needed.

Other than WordPress, though (which has been amazing), I have not seen any significant success in any of the channels I’ve used so far. Below are my experiences with each. Oh, and yes, this is also a veiled shameless plug for my sites, so feel free to Like/Follow/Share or whatever the relevant actions involved are. I always Like/Follow/Share back 🙂

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Facebook

Link: The House of Crimson and Clover Fan Page

I started my Facebook fan page about two months before the release of St. Charles at Dusk, my first book. I thought releasing it early would help generate some hype, and it did…of course, it was all friends and family. I think I had around 100 “likes” when the book launched. Many of them were initially very excited, and I thought I was going to sell as many books as I had “likes,” but initial sales were very low. I learned quickly that support and excitement does not translate equally to purchasing power. Not a huge deal (no one is under any obligation to buy my book, no matter how well they know me), but it was my first wake-up call as an author.

I ran some contests to generate more page traffic. Did book giveaways, etc.

Some of the folks who were initially my biggest cheerleaders have died off. A few of them are cheering stronger than ever, and I will probably leave everything I own to them in my will.

I try to post a variety of stuff on the site, and only put up “buy my book” type posts when there is a good reason to (price drop, change in format, etc).

I imagine that when The Storm and the Darkness finally comes out, the activity will pick up again. To be fair, it’s been two years since my last book was published and updates about the current book may be less than thrilling at this point.

Also- I am currently running a sweepstakes where I will be giving away up to 40 free copies of my book. Nothing fancy to enter, just have to be a fan and click the Sweepstakes” button on the top menu.

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Twitter

Link: @thewritersarah

Of all the social media platforms, I find this one to be, by far, the most confusing. I’m by no means an idiot. I understand the hashtags (although, we never called them that, way to make shit up Twitter) and the use of “@” to draw attention to someone individually. I get the concept of being interactive and spending time building relationships. I just don’t understand how to USE Twitter in a meaningful way that actually keeps people interested, brings in new readers, and does so in a not-so-obnoxious way.

So far my tweets have either been WordPress reposts, tweets about the Spartacus finale (HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, PLEASE TELL ME I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO WATCHED THIS GLORIOUS GIFT OF A SHOW), and updates on my writing progress. I get some favorites and retweets, but I’m still not sure I am doing it right. It seems like “doing it right” will require a huge time investment that I don’t know if I can make.

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Goodreads

Link: Sarah M. Cradit Author Page

Awhile ago, I created my author page and linked my WordPress to it so anyone who ventured over there would be able to keep up with my updates and would know where to find me. So far, I am not sure how to tell whether this has been successful (my stats don’t show any clicks directly from Goodreads to my blog), but its a pretty nifty feeling either way to have your own author page on the largest social media site for readers.

Once my next book is released, I am going to start utilizing the contest and giveaways features and see how they pan out.

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Pinterest

Link: House of Crimson and Clover

I don’t have much to say here. My experience with this platform is very new. I’d resisted the wave of women flocking there when it launched, because I could see how addicting it could be. But when it occurred to me that I might be able to leverage it for my writing, the metaphorical light came on, and I created a page.

So far, I don’t know how to tell if its had any traffic, or being used by anyone other than me. But I do rather like being able to and see all my images from the series in one place so I guess even if no one else uses it, at least I have it for me.

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OTHERS

While I use LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, and Flickr, I’ve not determined yet if they can or should be used for this part of my career. I do try to share my links to StumbleUpon, but haven’t received more than one or two hits from that.

The most important thing I’ve learned (and I learned this not just from my own pages but from observing those of others) is that you can’t make every post a pitch or an attempt at a sale. People need to get to know the real you. They want to know about those long nights you stayed up writing, and they want to know what you’re reading, and what you thought of the last episode of Game of Thrones. If they connect with you, they are more likely to want to connect with your books. Anne Rice’s Facebook page is a perfect example, although it may also be a terrible example in that she did not have to build her fanbase using it. Her posts, however, reveal herself as a real person fans can connect with.

Any other experiences, tips, or general social media woes to share?

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A to Z Blogging Challenge: Week 3 Recap

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9In case you missed any of my A to Z Challenge posts from Week 3, here you go!

And here are the posts from A-L:

P is for Pinterest (House of Crimson and Clover Has a Board!)

I never really got into the whole Pinterest craze until I realized how much fun it would be to have a place where I could pin images related to the House of Crimson and Clover series. So the series now has a Pinterest site!

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Examples of things that I’m including there:

  • Promotional images
  • Family tree snapshots
  • Pictures of places in and around New Orleans where important things happen in the books
  • Mementos from my research trip to New Orleans
  • Anything else related to the series that pops up

I’ll continue adding to it as the stories continue to develop and grow. Maybe scrapbooking is fun, after all!

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