https://www.facebook.com/groups/1921200231485411/ The Left-Handed Typist: March 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019

How I Use My Social Media

This post was made possible Eliza and viewers like you. (If you didn't read that in a PBS voice, try  again.) Truly, though, Eliza sent me this blog post request if you will, and I'm very grateful because I needed a topic to write on this week!


Eliza asked what my mission was for each of my social media accounts and how I balanced life and book content. Those are both really great questions, so I'm going to go through the main social media mediums.

Keep in mind, though, that even though there are differences between each of these sites ... You could make any of them fit your purposes. The main factor is where your audience is and if you're engaging them.

However, I do tend to treat each of the social media differently with my kind of content, so I'm going to tell you what I use, why I got it, and what I post.


Facebook

I've had Facebook the longest, but the reason I got it was to make my author Facebook page. There, I share my blog posts, some occasional writing updates, sales of mine and friends, and some witty writing-related things. The writing memes and such I'm getting better at sharing. But despite all the algorithms being against us and whatnot, I still get a decent amount of blog views from Facebook, so I'm going to keep at it for now.

As far as posting on my actual profile ... I really don't do that a whole lot. I'm trying to get better at sharing bits of life there! But it's one of the places that I've friended the most writers and get a good picture of what someone's life is like. (Provide they post, unlike me. :P)

I do enjoy being a part of Facebook groups and have several of my own groups as well. Facebook parties are also completely one-of-a-kind and can be successful as well. So those two things alone make Facebook pretty invaluable. Plus, it still tends to be the most universal social media.


Instagram

I had several friends tell me I should get an Instagram, and I resisted for a while. Because 1) I don't consider myself a good photographer, and 2) I hardly used my personal Facebook as it was. Well ... I love Instagram. xD

I have my author profile that has turned into mostly a bookstagram and a place for me to keep up with a bunch of other writers and friends. It's also the only place I've messed with the "stories" feature at all. (I love them!!!) For whatever reason, I don't like them on Facebook, and I rarely cross-post from Instagram to Facebook.

I also use way more hashtags on Instagram than I would anywhere else. I used to think they were obnoxious, but on Instagram at least, they really do work well to categorize things. Provided you're using established ones and not hashtagging randomly just for the fun of it. (It's a skill ... that I'm still developing.)

Just this year, I started a second Instagram account for more personal things. I want my author profile to stay pretty, so I don't post everything that comes to mind on there. My personal profile is more for my health journey and my day-to-day life.

Obviously, many people don't categorize their social media quite that much, but I've found that it works best for me. I'm posting more on Instagram in general ... but perhaps less on each individual profile than I otherwise would have. Even for that, there seems to be more community on Instagram that doesn't rely on you knowing the person first.

Twitter

I am super inconsistent on my Twitter usage. I will cross-post here from both Instagram and Goodreads sometimes. I try to share some of my blog posts, witty writing things that come to mind, writing updates, retweet meaningful/funny things ... I still keep it mostly writers-life themed, and I don't share pictures hardly at all.

I have a similar following on Twitter than Instagram, but less interraction overall. If I were more frequent and a little more witty about what I did ... I think I would do well. Some people have made very good niches there. But it's about how relatable and shareable things are to do well. People have to relate.


Pinterest

I love Pinterest, but I don't use it nearly as much as I used to. I have it primarily to make WIP aesthetics. I also use it for personality typing graphics and other random interests of mine. 

However, I do have multiple boards that have writing-related articles and information on them so that other people can be benefitted by my profile as well. Apparently, by pinning for the sake of other people and pinning blog posts and whatnot, some people generate a lot of traffic from Pinterest. I've never been quite dedicated enough for that, but have seen tiny results off the tiny things I've done.


YouTube

While I do have a YouTube, I don't use it a whole lot. I used to do a lot of video interviews, some bookish reveals or hauls, and one or two topical videos. However, I find that it's much faster for me to stage a photo than to stage a video. My house has horrible lighting and a video requires my face. Yeah, no thanks. xD Some people really love the vlogging and do well with it. So maybe this is a medium you would like. I always think I'll use it more, but it's something I never get around to.


Conclusion

I felt like that was a lot ... but it should be pretty obvious that I use Facebook and Instagram the most! There are others like Goodreads and Snapchat that can be used beneficially as well. Even though I have accounts with those, I use them more for my own amusement than for the benefit of my endeavors.

It really comes down to what you're comfortable with and what you're looking for. There's probably a social media out there for you. ;) It is smart to have a reason for getting another account, though, instead of having one of everything just because.

As far as the life and bookish balance ... I try to stay personable in everything I post, but also keep a professional/consistent look to things like my Instagram. I think everyone has to find their own balance for how much they post about their books, books their reading, their daily life ... how vulnerable they are. All of that is dictated by my own inclinations and comfort level to a large degree. But getting outside of your comfort zone a little is often a good thing as well.

I'd also encourage consistency! Not just with posting, but also with things like your handles. I'm @abitheauthor basically everywhere. It keeps my life simple. Or at least as simple as having a dozen social media accounts can be!
Let me know where I can follow you! What social media is your favorite and why?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

How to Make an Author's Day

Hey, everyone! Now that I've used my one unexcused absence for the year over a particularly hectic weekend ... I thought I'd come back with something a little more lighthearted! Let's take a look at how to make an author's day.


Making an author's day is a lot simpler than you might think! This isn't an exhaustive list, I'm sure. But each one of these tasks is guaranteed to make an author's day!


  • read the book *gasp*
  • review it (especially on Amazon)
  • ask your library to stock it
  • take pictures of the prettiness
  • share said pictures (tag the author and use hashtags!)
  • lend your copy to friends
  • better yet, buy them their own copy
  • recommend the book (in person or on Goodreads)
  • participate in release prep
  • talk about the book on social media
  • share its pretty cover
  • blog post about the book
  • interview the author
  • share when it's on sale
  • join in book-related events
  • message the author to say you loved it
  • share your favorite quotes or scenes (no spoilers!)
  • be ready to recommend the book at all times
  • make the book your new go-to birthday gift
  • hoard multiple copies just because

I die a little bit (of happiness, of course) anytime someone tells me they've done one of these. Just ugh. So amazing. And then there's the unexpected like a reader having a dream about your characters or having their perspective changed by reading the book. Guys. This is why we do what we do. Not for our glory, but for Jesus's. We have the power to make a difference!
I've gotten better about reviewing, so next I want to start asking our library to get books I love! What would you add to this list?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How Cynicism Helped Me

While I'm not always super proud that I'm a cynic, I realized the other day that it does make me a better writer and editor. Who knew I could find a positive, right? All you cynics out there, take heart. Those of you who are blessed with a sunnier outlook, prepare to glean from the dark side. ;)


I'll be the first to admit that approaching people or the world at large with a cynical mind isn't always a good thing. However, approaching books with a cynical mind is surprisingly helpful.

When it comes right down to it, I think this is simply because being a cynic means I'm hard to please. That's it. I have extraordinarily high standards.

In the life of my own writing, this means that I will do whatever it takes. While writing the sequel to Martin Hospitality, that has meant experiencing burnout, restarting, rewriting ... and taking years longer than I wanted to.

Those are all things I'm willing to do in order to get a good book on the other end. Quality really matters to me. In case you couldn't tell by my previous two blog posts ... xD This makes me very hard on myself and my writing. While it's not always a super fun process, I come out the other side better for it ... eventually. Or at least, my book does.

At the same time, enjoying my own work is the best. If I can reach a point where I am pleased, then chances are I'm going to please the majority of my target audience as well. Because I'm way more particular than most people. Some of that comes with being the creator, and some of that comes with my personality.

Of course there are downsides like self-doubt. This is why Hailey Rose is the best critique partner, you guys. I would die without her reassurance. A need for the manuscript to be sheer perfection can also make me lose my mind, so that's fun. Yet overall, I think it works out. 

Those high standards don't go away when I edit. I will search how many different ways you spelled the same word and if that was really the color of eyes the preacher had fifteen chapters ago. In other words, I put your book through the same fine-toothed-comb approach!
Lots of people simply don't have the same obsession with getting every detail identically aligned. While that may be perfectionism speaking, my cynicism won't let things slide, even if it's not my manuscript. If I see a problem and I'm being paid to point out problems ... I have to say something.

Along the same lines, I play devil's advocate really well. Reading with that challenging voice in my head helps me catch things, especially in other people's writing, that could come off the wrong way. Unfortunately, it's harder to do this in my own manuscripts.

Editing is really good for me, though, because when I work with other people, it's my job to find the positives as well.

While being cynical can be a fault, it's good for me to step back and view cynicism itself in a positive light, as contrary as that sounds. Cynicism has equipped me to do my calling well. God obviously knew what He was doing. ;)
Do you consider yourself an optimist, realist, or pessimist? Have you ever considered how your personality plays into what you do?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Why I Market My Books

Something I've noticed (especially in the self-published community) is that sometimes people self-publish a book ... and that's it. They talk about their writing, it hits the shelves. Done deal. I would argue that should not be the case for several reasons we're going to talk about.


In last week's post, I wrote about Why Self-Publishing Shouldn't Equal DIY. I asked why after so much work writing would we sell ourselves short with a half-decent book. Today I'm asking why after so much work publishing would we sell ourselves short by letting our nice book die on the shelf.

Publication is just the beginning in so many ways. I don't say that to discourage you. Publication (indie or not) is a huge feat.

However, just like I talked about last week, I think we owe ourselves some more hard work. If you're someone who publishes for just your family or friends, then my approach won't apply to you as much. But if you're someone who publishes because you enjoy utilizing your God-given talent of writing then, again, don't leave your book to die on the shelf! It's downright disrespectful of your own hard work thus far.

It's for this same reason that I can't fathom being a writer who never publishes. It's not all about making money and believing every human, puppy, and goldfish should read what you write. But if it's a talent, we should be sharing it and using it for the glory of God.

When I say we shouldn't leave our books to die, I don't mean we have to be pushy salespeople (heaven forbid) or marketing pros. I know I'm certainly not well-versed in marketing tactics and strategies.

All I mean is, we should put some energy into spreading the word. It's that simple. Just like I said last week, simple doesn't necessarily mean easy. It will take time.

I think it's worth it to sit next to a stranger and have them ask if you're the local writer. It's worth it to have an older woman at your church ask you for a signed book every time a new family member is in town. It's worth it to make new friends who have similar experiences. And it is definitely worth it to have people say your book has made a difference in their life.

All of those above examples have happened to me recently. Let me remind you that it's been two years since I published the book in those examples. Those events are only possible because I do some basic marketing. Things like run giveaways and sales, share blog posts, and use social media.

Every little bit counts. There's nothing wrong with being content with where you're at, but I'd encourage you to make sure there's no fear holding you back, either.

Share things about your books on social media at least every once in a while. That way, when you announce a sale, you have several dozen people hurry to get it! Do blog tours for new releases and birthdays. Exposure is the key

If our ultimate goal is to bring glory to God, we want a quality product. That's what last week's post was all about. Once we make it that far, reaching as many people as possible is part of doing our best for Him. So make those connections, write those posts, and have those book signings. Tell people what you're up to in the writing world when they ask what's new.

As someone who'd like to be traditionally published one day, I've heard from the Harper-Collins acquisitions editor herself that people are impressed when they see how much hard work self-published authors put into selling copies. They know it's hard work, but the time is well spent because it also shows that they care about their book.

 Why be a storyteller if you have no one to tell a story to?
Marketing is largely outside of my comfort zone, you guys, but I view it as a necessary part of publishing! What ways do you like to market? Have you ever given thought to why you market?