Friday, January 11, 2013

Writing & Marketing Tweets from January 10, 2013, plus comments from author Mark Wilson

Please welcome my friend Mark Wilson @MarkWilsonBooks to Tabor Lane. 

Mark is the author of BOBBY’S BOY and PADDY’S DADDY. He describes his books as “Character-driven stories with more heart than a butcher's window.”

I met Mark on Twitter. I read his bio and discovered he lives in Edinburgh. I sent him a DM and asked if he would answer some questions about the city. (The first 100 pages of THE LAST MACKLENNA take place there.)  Since then, Mark has fed me Scottish words and phrases to use in the story and even sent a video so I could hear his accent. Watch this:

What I’ve discovered about men from Scotland is that they have very colorful language. I’ve given the trait to Elliott Fraser, the hero in the story! Bless his heart.

I asked Mark for some comments on writing and/or marketing and here's what he had to say.


Are Indie-Authors the Whores of Social Media?

I’m beginning to think we are you know.

Since the very day I stepped into the world of self-publishing/e-publishing/Indie-publishing, whatever, and published my short-story collection “Paddy’s Daddy”, followed by my full length novel “Bobby’s Boy”, I’ve had my metaphorical arse in the air on twitter (along with every other indie-author) in an effort to attract readers. Mostly I attract other authors, trying to attract readers.

Tweet, retweet, reply; lather, rinse repeat; has become the currency of the indie author. We (the authors) have become the modern day equivalent of the ancient tradition where the poor soul would sit outside the temple reciting “Alms for the blind?” Either that or we’re the tweet equivalent of fluorescent-wearing chuggers on the high street, chasing some poor bastard down the road for a couple of quid royalty, only when we catch them, they’re one of us, and so we gather number. The twitter-sphere is saturated with link-posting authors, in the desperate and futile act of pimping their books, ultimately to each other.

I’ll retweet your brains out if you retweet me first.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Indie publishing should have empowered us, instead we chase readers and each other in circles. We sit with a wee sign up saying “buy a book from X, his writing’s great, just ask him, he’s over there. Oh, and he’ll tell you the same about my book, so come back here when you’ve seen him. What’s that? You’re a writer? well, c’mere and I’ll retweet you then, but back of the queue first.

I’m not against a bit of mutual promotion, but it’s so constant, so ubiquitous, so time-consuming and soul destroying and so unimaginative.

Link after link, after link. “My book’s free, mine’s only 99 cents, mines is a series, etc”. It’s become such a clich├ęd strategy, but it seems that we are all stuck in the cycle because the pioneers of self-publishing, or dickhead profiteers like John Locke, say it’s how it’s done. Guys like Steven Lewis (@Rule17) are a rare and welcome exception, offering much in the way of valid, constructive and useful advice on self-publishing.

I say no.

I say rediscover the creative spark that so easily comes when you write and apply it to your promo on twitter or any other social media. No more links (save for the one in your profile. That’s plenty). Instead, let’s have honest to goodness thoughts about life, books, movies, music, the news, whatever floats your boat. People know you’re an author, its’ right there in your profile, if they like you they’ll go check out your website anyway.

Engage with your “followers”. Retweet away ‘til your hearts’ content, but pass on fun things people say or do. Post ridiculous pics of yourself, have a conversation, by Christ have some fun! Stop self-promoting under the umbrella of promoting others. We’re not buying each others’ books, but we’re tweeting and retweeting the same tired links around each other. Put those creative thoughts out there in conversation. Engage your followers and they just might become readers.

I’m in the process of launching my third book. This last year I’ve done Speeches at a variety of venues on a range of topics including writing. I’ve been on blog tours, promo interviews, been in several newspapers several times. I’ve handed out flyers and dozens of other strategies. None of this makes much difference.

Here’s what I’ve found makes a significant and recurring difference in sales: Keep writing quality stories, get them edited well and get a professional cover. Give your reader value.

Target the right categories and readers. Do your research on keywords and phrases and place your book in the right shop window.

Don’t rely on social media. Less than 0.01% of this you pester will actually click on your link to your book. Only a small fraction of those will actually buy.

Look at the long game. Your book, if it’s well written, will be there forever, build momentum based on real readers feedback and reviews an your developing skill as a writer. Don’t expect continued and sustained sales from the tweet retweet jerk-circle. It’s a self-limiting and ultimately self-sabotaging type of promotion.

Please fellow writers; let’s stop being the biggest spam source in the whole twitter-sphere. Rely on your blogs, websites and most of all, novels to do the selling and just enjoy the social media for what it was intended. Being sociable.

Or maybe I’m missing something and the “feeling like a social media hoor” phase I’m going through will pass.

Either way please do buy my book……*cough* here’s the link:


If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
  1. 5 ways to make your book relevant to the media
  2. A Behind-The-Scenes Look At How Twitter Search Works
  3. 10 Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice via @jeffgoins Excellent post!
  4. Stop Saying “Literally” by Liz Bureman Have you heard people misuse the word “literally”?
  5. Why Some Blog Writers Become Incredibly Popular and You Can, Too.
  6. State Of Self-Publishing And 5 Things To Get Sorted For 2013 @thecreativepenn
  7. How to Get Noticed on Twitter — 15 Tips for Writers
  8. Show, Don’t Tell—But How? @livewritethrive
  9. More on Promo and Approaching Promo in 2013 via @elizabethscraig Excellent post!
  10. 7 Ways to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business via @jeffbullas
  11. Why Every Author Must Be On Goodreads In 2013 (Infographic)  via @JonathanGunson RT @thecreativepenn RT @bookgal
  12. Dusting off the Past To Find Inspiration See what gems you can find to rejuvenate your writing @ScribblingTaryn
  13. How To Get More Retweets [INFOGRAPHIC] Fridays between noon-2:00 will get most RTs
  14. Why You Should Pitch a Single Book @RachelleGardner Sell them on a single book!
  15. Forcing Readers To Like Characters You want the reader to enjoy your characters. So make them interesting
  16. A Man’s Eye View of Self Publishing with Luke Young Suggestions for getting the word out about free promotions
  17. Warning: Your Grammar Mistakes are Killing your Traffic Someone forgot to proof read. Click!
  18. Notes from Tabor Lane: Writing & Marketing Tweets from January 9, 2013 

I’m always looking for great content to share. If you have a writing and/or marketing blog, or have a favorite that you visit often, please leave a link in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by.

Happy writing & running, Kathy

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