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Social Media: A Distraction

This is a topic that’s been well re-hashed but it’s not something that particularly bothered me. For the most part facebook and twitter was something I could regularly come and go from without much of a problem, but lately I’ve noticed a bit of a change.

I’ve noticed that writing at home five days a week often leaves my extroverted nature feeling a little lonely. Normally when I had this problem I would go write in my favourite cafe for a few hours and be amongst the people there even if I didn’t interact massively (It was almost guaranteed someone I knew would be there or appear after a few hours) I would usually feel a little better.

Since I moved house and out of the immediate vicinity of Bath I’ve not found anywhere quite like my old cafe and as such I often spend all week writing at home (It’s also a lot cheaper). This has led to me seeking some sort of social support from facebook and twitter and while this sort of works, this actually mostly makes me feel lonelier in the long run.

I may post something and get a few comments relatively quickly that I can reply to and feel a brief spark of connection with someone, but it doesn’t last long as people have things to do. And even worse, posting something and having it slip into the oblivion of facebooks ‘what we think you really want to see’ algorithim (it happens a lot more than you’d think). As a result I find myself reaching even more for my phone or tablet to check facebook in a cycle of feeling lonely, reach out on social media, feel even worse, try again. Rinse and Repeat and get so little work done you also feel bad about that.

While I say this, I also have to admit facebook and twitter can be amazing. Facebooks groups, especially are great for finding people like you to talk to and get advice from and I can’t count the number of awesome people I’ve found through retweets on twitter. They can be great, but they need to be approached with caution.

Promoting a self published book

Once a book is completely finished with cover, formatting and all the uploading to all the various sites is done, the real hard work begins.

Most writers will agree, writing they can do. Selling themselves and making their name into a brand that people trust to write well is entirely another matter, especially in this shifting age of ebook self publishing and reduced numbers of paper sales. So far my approach has been these things.

  • Social networking
  • Pricing
  • Blog reviews
  • Giveaways
  • Blogging

I think Social networking has become a big part of promoting anything these days and to a large degree goes without saying. Also covered which ones of those I’m using in a recent blog here.

Pricing

A lot of traditional publishers have adopted a model of pricing where they price their ebooks above or the same as their paperbacks, in a few cases even as much as their hardbacks. ebook readers are savy though. They know that it doesn’t cost the publisher or author anything to sell them an ebook. There is no printing, storage or anything like that. There are a lot of readers that refuse to pay more than $3-4 for a ebook. There are even some readers who won’t pay more than $1

Pricing the book right is, therefore, imperative. Most authors are pricing full length novels of 5ok+ words at $2.99 with shorter novella’s and poetry being around $1.99 and short stories being $.99

Blog reviews

This has been one of the most time consuming for me but potentially the most rewarding (assuming you’ve written a good book). I’ve found there are several ways to go about getting these.

Trading with other authors by giving each other free copies of your book in return for theirs. This works well if you are happy to read anything you are given and can do a good review. Has the potential to mean people give good reviews when they don’t want to, however, out of fear of getting a bad one back. It can also lead to good opportunities of working with other authors though and is sometimes the most rewarding way of working and helping other authors.

Searching for book reviews of the same genre can also be effective but can be time consuming, as it’s usually best to take a good look at the blog and check if they accept self published ebooks and are right for your book etc. Blog reviews are one of the best types of reviews you can get these days, however, so the time investment is completely worth it. Their reviews will stay on the internet forever (most of the time) and will continue to drive traffic to your books long after you have moved on to other books.

Giveaways

While lots of giveaways can be expensive they are a great way to get people to take notice of your reviews from blogs as well as your own blog. Everyone likes something they can get free. If your blog is well designed and interesting those new viewers can sometimes turn into long term fans.

Blogging

This one kinda goes without saying too. The best direct way you can get your own brand and name out there is to write things for people to see. Blogs can be the quickest most cost effective way of doing just that.

You do have to make sure your writing is good though. It’s difficult to get people to come back if you are not helping or your posts are full of spelling mistakes and grammar errors.

While all of the above is useful to get sales, the best way to promote yourself is to write good books and to keep writing. If you write well and have patience and perseverance you maximise your chances of having other people talk about your work and spread the word.

Social Network Sites

I’ve been very distracted the last few weeks with creating and maintaining all the social network sites there are on the web.

Now I knew about twitter and facebook. I’ve been on both of those for years now but I do have a new facebook fanpage here

I’ve also set up author pages on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

These are both great for many reasons. The most useful feature is the forums they both have. Forums are a great way to communicate with any fans and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in there. They also both show the Nielson rating for the books I have their as well as my Amazon ratings.

My favourite new websites though are Goodreads and Shelfari and I seriously encourage anyone that reads to go sign up at both of those.

Goodreads has all sorts of useful things including a very easy to use book review system, an ebookstore, quizes, author event trackers, Q &A sessions with authors and my personal favourite, book giveaways.

Shelfari seems to be the more social one of the two and includes a section for each book with all sorts of trivia and other fun things like that. Slightly more for the reader and a little less for the author but still fun nonetheless. It’s also a subsidiary of Amazon.com so it imports amazon’s book ratings to let you know what people thought of the books.

Through Shelfari I’ve manged to meet another indie film company similar to Flight and we are swapping advice and helping each other out etc so It’s done some good already.

I’m also looking into myspace but as I’m not so great with html that one is taking a bit longer.

If anyone knows of any other good social sites they like let me know. I absolutely love using them and getting to know new people.

Social Network: A Review

Social Network is a movie about Facebook and it’s founders Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and the Napster co-founder Sean Parker. The film is mostly fictional but it follows the creation of facebook, as well as the two law suits levied at Zuckerberg, from Eduardo for cutting his shares, and the Winklevoss twins for stealing their idea.

The film is fairly linear in story, as most adaptations of true events are. The makers did manage to spice things up a bit, however, by having the film cut between the past, and present day court proceedings in both cases.

While the actual truth is not closely followed, I felt they did manage to capture the ups and downs of a creatives life very well and how easily trusts can be broken over large sums of money.  They also managed to show the very rapid growth of the company as well as the impact that it had on the founders.

I couldn’t help but feel very sorry for both Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin when the film came to its closing section. Both of them had made big mistakes and mostly just because everything was moving too fast for them to really keep up. I also absolutely loved the final spoken line of the film where one of the legal juniors tells Zuckerberg that ‘You’re not an asshole, you’re just trying so hard to be’ which does to some degree some up the films idea of what happened to him.

I also really liked the musical score for the film. It was very well done and there was the odd one or two scenes where the music set the scene so perfectly that I fell in love with the scene for no other reason.

The only thing I’d add to that is to stress that it’s a Hollywood film so most of it was exaggerated and a chunk was also completely fabricated. Taken as fictional though its a pretty cool movie.