Friday, October 17, 2014

Social Media Woes and Friday's Writing Links

I was a bad boy this week and didn't get around to posting on Wednesday, so today you get both a post and this week's writing links.  Enjoy!

It may seem like an odd time to worry about whether I’m following the New Year’s resolutions I made back in January, but one of those resolutions has been nagging at me lately. Ten months ago, I promised myself I’d do better on social media than I had the previous year. Considering how much I sucked at it before, you’d think just getting better would be a slam dunk. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.

Okay, I admit I’ve gotten a little better. I’m finally remembering to tweet or Google+ the link whenever I post on my blog, and I am interacting more on Facebook (only because I now have a smartphone), but I’m still pretty bad about the whole social media thing. I have a Pinterest account for collecting pictures of castles and old buildings that help inspire the stories I write, but I’ve done very little pinning myself. I haven’t added social media links to my website yet. Heck, I haven’t even gotten around to adding the name of my website to my blog banner. Lowers head in shame

I was reminded of this abysmal state of affairs during Melissa Maygrove’s recent FollowFest. It’s a great way to connect with other writers through social media, and I made lots of new friends when I participated last year. This year, however, life got in the way and I didn’t join in. My loss.

Half my problem with social media stems from not really knowing what I’m doing and half comes from approaching it haphazardly. What’s particularly vexing about my situation is that I now have a smart phone and can tweet and post from anywhere—assuming I remember to do it. And that’s the real problem. Social media isn’t a habit for me yet, and I rarely think about it until I get a notification that someone else has posted.

So now it’s time for drastic action. Instead of playing Candy Crush whenever I have a few minutes of free time during the day (for example, during commercial breaks when my wife and I watch our one hour of TV a night*), I intend to check out my social media apps. It may be a small step, but I have to start somewhere or I’ll never get better with this stuff.


So do you guys have any tips on how to get my social media act together? What are your secrets? C'mon, spill 'em.

* BTW, just in case you’re wondering why I don’t interact with my wife during commercials instead of playing Candy Crush, you should know that she brings up her Candy Crush app less than a microsecond after a commercial appears on the television. :)

Now for the links...

Choosing the Right Social Media Site for You and Your Readers

Why Cinematic Technique Is Essential for Novelists

The Key To Making A Character Multidimensional: Pairs of Opposites

The Problems of First Person Narrative

In other news, Thanmir War by Loni Townsend is on sale today for $0.99.  Go check it out!


  1. The reason why you don't talk to your wife is hilarious.
    I tend to forget Google+. Two out of three isn't bad though.

    1. Since you spend so much time on your blog and answering comments, I think you can be forgiven for this.

  2. Thanks for the shout out!

    My facebook page has absolutely no momentum. At most, only 25 people see any of my posts. I have better luck with my personal page, to which I typically share personal stuff. Go figure.

    I'm still floundering when it comes to the marketing aspect of being social. I rarely talk about my writing or my books, unless I can think up something witty to say. Or, in today's case, I am trying to garner opinions and feedback.

    I think these Friday link posts are excellent opportunities for you to use Twitter. Get Hootsuite or something and schedule them to go out like one a day. Then you have your Friday post where people can get them all in one go. It'll give the rest of us something to retweet. :)

    1. Thanks for the ideas, Loni, especially the one where I tweet out one writing link every day. Great idea!

  3. Hmm ... I just posted, and it didn't show up. Stupid iPad.

    Anyway, I'm on FB a lot because that's where my friends are. I post on Twitter and it automatically posts on FB too, but my real conversations take place mostly on FB. Easier to follow discussion threads there. My blog posts automatically post on Google+, Goodreads, and on my Amazon author page. Goodreads reviews automatically post on Twitter and FB. Lets me be kind of present without having to invest too much time.

    The real key to social media is finding one you like and participating there. We need to be writing and not spending all our time on social media. And it's very easy for social media to become a major time suck.

  4. Facebooks fan pages are something you kind of have to have if you're published. It's one way people can connect with you there. But Facebook only shows your posts to about 25% of the fans, and usually the ones who "like" and "comment" a lot. You know, preaching to the choir ... instead of reaching out to the newcomers. Unless you pay them. (And I think the likes you get after you pay them are fake. Many of the profiles are VERY suspicious.)

    Twitter -- you kind of have to be in the mood for twitter. Tweet chats are probably the best. Find some Tweet chats on topics that interest you and participate to interact with new people. I sometimes participate in #KidLitChat, #YALitChat and #MGLitChat.

    Blogging -- I can't get around to people's blogs all the time. But I try to visit people at least once a week in my spare moments.

  5. Just remember: It's better to have a few apps you enjoy than a half dozen you have no will to update. Also, not everything has to be book-related. If you want to tweet interesting facts about castles, that can help drive interaction, too. Maybe you can find hashtags for people with similar interests, and then stir interest for your books. :)

  6. Hi Ken:
    I actually manage social media for my sister, who is a graphic designer. Here's my advice.
    1. I agree with what's been said before, find two or three platforms that you enjoy working in.
    2. Definitely use google + google rewards folks who use google + by having their pages rank higher in searches.
    3. Use a social media tool like Hootsuite (free) to organize and schedule posts in advance. The free product allows you to have up to five social media sites including your blog and google +. That way you spend 15 - 20 minutes a day scheduling stuff in advance rather than having to remember to post things on the fly. Of course as you run across things you can post them, but scheduling allows you to always have content going out even when you're on vacation.
    4. Think about who your audience is and content that would be appealing to them. Posts on social media should be 80% content, 20% tooting your own horn. If your audience is other writers, the Friday links are great. If your audience is readers who love fantasy, then links to author pages or fantasy news is more appropriate. Or maybe both, because fantasy writers tend to be interested in other authors and fantasy news.
    5. Use search terms and hashtags. I noticed your post above doesn't have search terms (unless I missed it). When you post on blog spot, there's a box that allows you to enter search terms, you should use it to help direct folks to your blog. "Writing, writing advice, how to write, XYZ author" are all things folks search on the internet. When you post to Facebook and twitter use hashtags, it helps people locate your post. #iamwriting or #writing are big ones.
    6. This is a bit of pain, but post different things to different social media outlets. (It will be easier if you use a manager app like Hootsuite) You want people to follow all of your social media feeds, so if everything is the same all the time, then they will only follow one. Maybe you only put the individual Friday Links out on twitter after you've posted to your blog. Maybe Throw Back Thursday is Facebook only.
    6. Have a separate feed for your writing platform. It's easy to set up separate Facebook pages and twitter feeds. This way, you can keep your personal life separate.
    7. Engage with others on social media. Follow people who are interesting to you. Start conversations, comment and promote their Facebook and blog posts and tweets that are relevant to you and your platform. This is not hours, again 15-20 minutes a day.

    I hope this helps demystify social media. It shouldn't be a huge effort and it should be fun and stress free.
    Let me know if you have any questions.

  7. Too funny. I don't do much s. media either. First thing in the AM I give it a go and the rest of the day I don't think about it. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  8. Thanks for the mention. (You can still hop the links if you want. ;)

    I struggle with social media, too. I've been ditching my responsibilities lately to write, and now I feel bad. I'm discovering that doing SM stuff once in a while doesn't really work. I need to go back to doing a little bit every day, or almost every day. *shakes head* It's all such a balancing act.