Friday, November 14, 2014

The Right Way To Do Social Media

I've made lists before on how to get more followers on twitter and things like that, but everything boils down to one simple rule really: BE SOCIAL.

I know it sounds simplistic, but this seems to go over some authors' heads.

When you pay for an advertisement or book tour, you watch your sales while its running. You weigh the numbers against each other (the costs versus the downloads), take some time thinking about it, and decide whether it was worth it.

Social media isn't like that.

First of all, you're never going to know how many books social media has sold for you. You have no way to track it.

Secondly, everyone else is there to get to know people. Most of my friends outside of being an author do not purchase my books. I don't even ask them to. I tell them I'm an author and they let me know immediately (usually) that they don't like ebooks or that they don't read very much or that they'll read my books if I give them to them for free. So what would ever make me think that I could go on social media, shout at a bunch of strangers "BUY MY BOOK!" and get a better reaction?

Even if you sell zero books through social media, it's still worth it. By keeping up with other authors and readers, you find out about trends in the marketplace and news happening in publishing, which can help you sell your books. Opportunities come up for you, like blog interviews and guest posts that wouldn't otherwise be there.

But you have to not be searching for those things. You have to be just enjoying yourself on there.

Authors think they are so different than actors, comedians, and musicians, just because we don't sit in front of people and perform.  But we're not really that different. We're also in the entertainment business. Even if you write serious books with deep philosophical ideas in them, you want to do so in a way that will keep people's attention. You want to reach them at their level and make them feel something.

In the same way, you should be entertaining on social media. And you should give us a glimpse of yourself.

Yes, there is so much talk about not posting things online because the internet is forever, but you can't let people get to know you, unless you are willing to risk that. It's like falling in love. Your heart might get destroyed. In fact, most relationships end that way. But if you don't allow yourself the possibility to get hurt, you'll never get to know anyone.

Being a robot online will get you are far as being a robot in a relationship-nowhere.

And really, I've never seen someone's books sales hurt over going viral. Usually their book sales improve.

This came up because I got really irritated with a guy online. He was telling everyone to follow him and like him online, so on and so forth. So I agreed to it and he made it clear that he wasn't going to follow or like the people who follow and like him.

Immediately, I wanted to undo everything I'd just done. Because, like most people, I am on social media to socialize. If he doesn't want to like and follow people back, then he's just there to sell books and not to talk to anyone, so why should I even bother to talk to him at all? He doesn't care about me or want to get to know me.

What does it really hurt to follow people back and like them, too? Why is it upsetting to engage in conversation with them? Because you don't have time? Then delete all your social media accounts now. If you don't have time for social media, then you shouldn't be on it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Published Short Stories

It's been awhile since I last blogged, but I am still here, popping in and out of social media websites at random sometimes.

There's a few things I wanted to tell you about. Basically, a couple of my short stories got published last month. One, in an anthology, and the other as contribution to. another author's novel. I thought that maybe you would like to know about them.

The first short story I wrote was part of a bullying anthology. We were all told to write a story about bullying and since I can't write anything without including a bit of fantasy or science fiction, there's a bit of that sprinkled in there. I titled my story "The Magic Pen" and you can purchase the entire book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Authors-Against-Bullying-Isabella-Tredway-ebook/dp/B00O2BTXPQ/

I only had a week to write my short story and I had to really push myself to finish it, but I wanted to write it because it was important to me. I grew-up bullied all my life in public school. (It finally stopped in 11th grade when I started homeschool.)

This story is especially important to me because for the first time ever, I included details that were real to me in my life. Like being so scared of going to school and seeing my bullies that I'd have panic attacks on the drive over every day. I'd get depression and be unable to hear anything the teachers were saying because I was too focused on what my classmates were going to do to me next. My grades suffered as a result.

Also, I really did have a counselor who would force me to see him all the time and lecture me because I wasn't as pretty as the other girls or as tough as them. He'd tell me it was "my fault" I was bullied all the time (pretty girls who don't stare at the ground and look into people's eyes don't get bullied. To this day, I still try to force myself to stare into people's eyes when they are intimidating me because of his constant lectures) and he'd criticize me about my grades.

I also really had a friend who wore Marilyn Manson t-shirts and used to scare me all the time with her voodoo dolls and knives, but she also used to constantly stick up for me as well. So we had the weirdest friendship ever. I was terrified of her and I admired her all at the same time.

Her brother really was one of my bullies. He called me cuss words and she would scream at him back. Although I never thought he was attractive like my main character seems to think about her bully.

The reason I am saying all this is because it was a really liberating experience to include some of my real life experiences in a story. It felt nice to change parts of the story and rearrange things so that my school counselor got fired, instead of continuing to insult kids long after I was gone as I know that he did.

I don't really think about how I was bullied back then often. I just think about it when I consider this current generation and what they may or may not be going through in school. I would like it so we could have a world where kids felt safe enough to be able to focus on their school work and didn't have to have panic attacks every Monday on the drive over. But if there are kids going through that, I don't want them to feel alone.

I hope my story might help some kids that are struggling. I want them to accept who they are and not think that bullying is their fault. It doesn't matter if they don't know how to fight back or how to do their make-up right. They shouldn't be picked on anyway.

So that's why I decided to submit that story for the anthology. It was compiled by an author named Bree Vanderland who feels very strongly about bullying as well. She has several books up for sale on Amazon.

---

The other short story that I wrote was for a contest for one of T.J. Loveless' books. If you don't know who T.J. Loveless is, she's one of the best authors I've ever met. She writes well and is one of the few authors I can say that I trust.

She's been writing this book series called The Fortune Cookie Diaries. It's hilarious and one of the main characters named Miracai (who is my favorite) is an absolute riot. He's a unicorn that farts rainbows. That's all I am going to say.

Anyway, she held a contest for anyone who wanted to contribute to the series to write a short story about a brand new character that hadn't been introduced yet. She included my short story and one other story in her third book. (The books count down backwards, so it says "Book Four".)

Here's the link to it, but I highly recommend you starting at the beginning of the series.

http://www.amazon.com/Unlucky-Number-Fortune-Cookie-Diaries-ebook/dp/B00MSXXG6C/

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While all this is happening, I am still slowly, but surely pecking away at the keys, trying to finish rewriting my God of Light duology. I'm still going to need critique partners to look it over one last time, but I am really excited about the direction it's going. It's turning out much better than when the books first started.

It's taking a long time, but I am choosing quality over quantity right now. If I wasn't, I could have had the books out six months ago.

Also, my downloads and sales are slowly increasing, which is exciting as well.

I've been experimenting (and submitting) some short horror stories to magazines on the side and I'll let you guys know if anything happens with any of those things.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Nowhere To Run" By Jeanne Bannon





What’s a girl to do when she falls in love with the man whose mission it is to bring her down?

With the murder of her only sister, Sara, just a few months past, Lily Valier—a woman of beauty and substance—tops the sheriff’s list of suspects in small town Maine, and for a very good reason. Dear old Dad had willed his fortune to Sara and only Sara, leaving Lily to fend for herself. However, with no murder weapon or witnesses, the evidence against Lily is only circumstantial.

Enter P.I. Aiden O’Rourke, black-haired and blue-eyed, charged with gaining Lily’s trust and learning her secrets, all to finally get the goods on her. Things move fast and feelings run deep, yet when Lily discovers the truth about Aiden, everything begins to come apart.

Aiden’s torn. Despite his feelings for her, Lily is the most logical suspect, with a great big fat motive. Except something’s not quite right. Aiden trusts his instincts and they’re screaming at him to have a look at a former suspect with far more to hide than first appeared. With little left to lose, Lily decides to stand her ground, and staying put has its consequences when the murder weapon finally turns up—and it’s Lily’s gun.

What happens to love, when trust is betrayed? 

Excerpt

The ghosts of those we love never leave us. They live on in our hearts but break them too, Lily thought as she flipped the sign on the door of the Higgstown Diner from “Open” to “Closed.” Then she sank wearily onto a stool at the counter, finally at the end of the workday. Now she could let loose the heaviness weighing her down. Hot tears stung her eyes and she let them. It was OK. There was no one around to witness her breakdown. She rested her head in her hands and heaved with sobs.

“Sara, please talk to me. Give me a sign you’re still around,” Lily said to the air. “I miss you so much.” More tears washed down her cheeks. It had been three months since her sister’s death, and there was still no escaping Sara’s ghost. Even the chipped Arborite counter where she now sat, with the wonky red upholstered stool that swiveled just a little too much to the right, brought back memories. Lily could see her older sister as plainly as if she were standing in front of her now, black hair piled high in a bun and that blue eye shadow she was so fond of. Lily smiled through her tears.

Sara had been a whiz at the grill, whipping up orders faster than Lily ever could. God, how long had the diner been a part of their lives? More than twenty-five years, she guessed. They were just kids when their mother, Nancy, bought the place—Lily, seven, and Sara, twelve.

A creak came from the back of the diner. Lily lifted her head to listen. Another small groan of the floorboards. Could Sara be giving her a sign?

“Sara?” Lily slid off the stool.

A tall, dark figure loomed in the doorway.

Lily froze, her heart near exploding. “What do you want?” she choked out in a thin voice.

He stepped nearer. “Open the register.” His voice was a deep whisper.

A balaclava hid his face; the seams of a dark gray coat strained over a thickly muscled physique. He aimed the gun in his right hand at her chest.

Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.

“I said, open the register.”

The man moved close enough for Lily to catch his scent—a mix of sweat and cheap aftershave. He shoved her forward, snapping her from her stupor, and followed as she made her way behind the counter to the cash register.

A glowing red light caught her attention. She hadn’t turned off the coffee maker! In one quick movement, Lily grabbed the pot’s plastic handle and launched the scorching brew at the woolen knit of the intruder’s balaclava. The gun landed with a thud between his booted feet as he clawed at the steaming mask plastered to his face.

Now was her chance. Lily shouldered past him to the front door. Her fingers, thick and clumsy with panic, fumbled as she tried in vain to turn the two deadbolt locks. She ordered herself to calm down. Take a breath. C’mon, you can do this, she told herself, but her heart jackhammered in her chest, and her ears pulsed with the rush of blood behind them.

Suddenly, a face appeared on the other side of the glass front door of the diner, sending Lily backward, nearly tripping over her own feet.

The stranger on the other side of the door took her in. A look of confusion flickered across his face. Then, as if coming back to himself, he yelled, “Hurry. Unlock the door!” The cold night air whipped his dark hair wildly around his face. His pale blue eyes locked on hers.

Panic had hijacked her brain. She didn’t know what to do. He could be an accomplice.



Bio
Jeanne Bannon has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years, first as a freelance journalist, then as an in-house editor for LexisNexis Canada. She currently works as a freelance editor and writer and is represented by Karen Thomas of the Serendipity Literary Agency.

Jeanne’s debut novel, Invisible, is a young adult paranormal romance, published by Solstice Publishing and has recently been optioned for film. Invisible is an Amazon bestseller both domestically and internationally and continues to receive wonderful reviews.

On October 3rd, 2014, Nowhere to Run, Jeanne’s latest novel, is set to be released by Etopia Press. Nowhere to Run tells the story of Lily Valier, a woman of substance and beauty, and her dilemma when she falls in love with a man whose mission it is to bring her down.

Currently, Jeanne is finishing up work on her third novel, Dark Angel, a paranormal thriller.
When not reading or writing, Jeanne enjoys spending time with her daughters, Nina and Sara and her husband, David. She’s also the proud mother of two fur babies, a cuddly and affectionate Boston Terrier named Lila and Spencer, a rambunctious tabby, who can be a very bad boy.

Links:


Twitter: @JeanneBannon




Friday, September 19, 2014

Win A New Kindle Or $229! Month Long Giveaway!

For the next month, I'm participating in a Kindle giveaway. There are lots of ways to enter, including one free entry. Look at the rafflecopter below!

229 giveaway  
It’s time for the next $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader.
We are giving away 2 great prizes both valued at $229.
Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!
 
The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below.
The 2nd is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Win a Kindle Fire HDX 7", Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only) The price of this Kindle recently dropped to $199. The winner will still receive a prize valued at $229.
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
Each of these bloggers/authors paid to help sponsor this giveaway.   Sponsor List I Am A Reader Feed Your Reader Inspired Kathy Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance Bella Street Time Travel Romance Bette Lee Crosby BookBunnyPR SA Larsen Kindle and Me Alecia Stone Dana Masting Cynthia Luhrs Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek Jennifer Laurens Author Simple Wyrdings A Leisure Moment: A Casual Conversation about our Love for Literature Artist/Author BT A&E KIRK, YA Paranormal Authors MoreThanaReview Author Claudia Burgoa Laurie Treacy, Author Talia Jager, Author Author Zoe Forward Helen Smith (author) MyLadyWeb: Women's History & Women Authors Mini Myths: Be Patient Pandora! / Play Nice, Hercules! Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Author - Cindy A Christiansen Felicia Starr - Author C.M. Brown Librarian Lavender Romance Under Fire Megan Crane LeahSay's Views Laurie Here - Contemporary Fiction and MORE Author Kimber Shook MamaNYC Melissa McClone, Author Crystal's Tiny Treasures Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author Page Flipperz Ya Sarah Ballance C Family of 6 Danyelle Ferguson, Author YA Author Fabio Bueno Lori's Reading Corner Books are my life BookHounds Author Inger Iversen E.B. Black
Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only), $229 Amazon.com Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 10/27/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 15, 2014

Authors Anonymous Review


"Authors Anonymous" is a mockumentary about an author group and how they handle it when one of their members gets a book deal.

It got terrible reviews on rotten tomatoes. In my opinion, it's because "Authors Anonymous" is not a movie that people outside of the writing community are going to understand. They might on a superficial level understand the things that the writers are experiencing and doing, but we've all been in similar situations or seen people in similar situations. Ironically, it would be nice to have an author group that I could have watched it with and discussed it afterwards.

I thought it was one of the best representations of writers in movies. Of course, it was mocking us and it's going to make you cringe several times while you are watching it (because it's showing the worst side of writers) and maybe even shout about how it's wrong (about things like self-publishing), but that's because the jokes are written by someone who's been through all of it before. So they know how to hit really close to home.

It showed how narcissistic, yet insecure we all are. The constant rejection we face. And even how sometimes, when we're doing really poorly, we'll cling to any little inkling of success like we're dying and it's a lifeboat.

I was happy to see that the cast included several familiar actors and actresses. They played their parts well.

If you saw the movie, what did you think of it?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Am Thankful For Kindle Unlimited

When I released Medusa's Desire, it was with the eagerness and excitement of a newly published author. I wanted to try every marketing trick because it was all new and shiny.

Book Tour? YES!

Offering a free copy of my novel to any book blogger or reader who wanted to review it? YES!

Contests on my blog? OF COURSE!

Author Interviews? THROW THEM AT ME!

Guest Posts? ANYWHERE I CAN!

And the evidence of this is available when you google "Medusa's Desire" and get several pages of blog posts related to my book.

A short time later, I released Pandora's Mistake. I wanted a free book to do my advertising for me and I have to admit that it gave me pretty good results, so I thought,"Hey! I don't need to market anymore. My free book will do my marketing for me."

I gave all that extra effort up and my days went like this:

Social Media. Social Media. Write. Rewrite.

I thought that all I needed to do was get to know people on social media and then maybe if they enjoyed my posts online, they might try reading my book.

Soon, it turned into a routine. Social Media is fun, so I go on there and call it "work" even though I'm usually just using it to entertain myself. I checked my downloads and sales on Amazon. They were pretty much the same every month. I grew complacent because I knew what to expect.

Then Kindle Unlimited was released and the days kept rolling by with zero sales. I was in denial. The sales are just slow right now. They'll speed up eventually. They always speed up.

But they didn't speed up and near the end of the month, I only had one sale. I realized in horror that things weren't going to pick up.

I thought,"Oh my God! This is the end. I tried to be a self-published author and failed. Kindle Unlimited has defeated me."

It felt like my heart was being crushed. This was my dream. I honestly don't know who I am to some degree without it.

So I mentally slapped myself and said,"Hell, no! You get up and you fix this!"

So I googled everything I could about Kindle Unlimited. I wasn't selling many books on Barnes and Noble, Itunes, etc., so I decided it was worth a try. Nothing can hurt when your sales are basically zero.

And so far, it's brought me back to the sales that I had before. That should be great, right?

Except it's not good enough for me anymore. Kindle Unlimited showed me that everything could be taken away from me with one simple change. I have to work hard to finish my manuscripts, but also work hard to promote each book I release.

Everything's new and shiny again! It's time to have fun promoting my books!

Friday, September 5, 2014

What To Do If You Make A Fool Of Yourself On Social Media

Things go viral unexpectedly and some of those things are humiliating. I think, as authors, we are always terrified of saying something stupid or making a typo (it happens to me all the time and it's no big deal) and looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of people because of it. Most of us are authors, rather than actors, because we don't like to be the center of attention. We prefer our characters to be. So being in front of all those people on social media is unnerving.

I will admit that this is even difficult for me. My books aren't me, so if you hate them, we can still be friends. But if I post something and you declare that everything I say is stupid and how could someone so horrible be allowed to live, then it's probably not going to lead to a deep friendship.

While, so far, I haven't had anything humiliating go viral, I have angered people with things I've posted and even had people threaten me because of it. Trust me, anything can anger people. I've even had someone rant about my cat pictures. In the past, as a regular person (and not an author), I've been flamed, bullied, stalked, and had my picture posted other places with rude comments. But I got over it every single time.

It's the internet and those things happen. Here's what to do if you find yourself in the situation:

STEP 1:

BREATH AND STEP AWAY.

Here's the great thing about the internet. You can shut it off and never log on to it. If your life lands on the news, you'll have reporters stalking you and harassing you. But when you anger the internet? All that you have to do usually is shut it off.

So take a moment to breathe. You're emotional right now and of all times in your life, you need to be in the most control of yourself right now. If you need to scream or cry, do it to people you know in person, but online, you must think before you type or say anything to fix this.

Making a fool of yourself online is actually the best place you can make a fool of yourself. I know people scare people by saying things like,"The internet is forever." But in real life, when you say something stupid, you're usually stuck trying to fix it right away and stuttering through the whole thing and failing to make anything better. And it's not like that person is going to change their mind about you later. You messed up their opinion of you forever as well.

When you mess up online, you can step away while you are still emotional to think before you type. If need be, type your whole message, with emotions in it and all, up first, and then delete it and write something else that you think will calm the situation down.

The fact that it's typing instead of speaking makes it easier to deal with at your own pace.

STEP 2:

DELETE AND IGNORE.


Even if what you said is getting passed around, deleting it will make it so that less people will see it because they can't find it at the original source.

It might feel like the whole world knows about it, but I guarantee you that there are still people out there who have no idea what is happening.

I know people worry that it will make you seem remorseful about what you posted and like you back down on your opinions, but that isn't true. Think of the last celebrity or CEO who said something that offended you. They probably took those words down and apologized. If so, did you believe the apology? Probably not.

Deleting isn't about apologizing. It's about calming everyone down. It makes it harder for people who are dwelling on the issue to come back and comment on it. While it's still up, people can keep replying to the original post and each other. It keeps getting worse.

A lot of times they are waiting for a reaction from you, so if you say nothing, then they'll quickly run out of things to say as well.

You can't control what people pass around, but you can control what is and isn't posted on your accounts. So surround yourself with positivity by focusing on the positive things, instead of the way people are tearing you down.

Because a lot of times when you try to defend your actions, you wind up looking more stupid to people and making them mock you more. The goal is not to win the argument. It's to make everyone forget, so you can be in peace. You likely can't win the argument. But you can make people forget that they were arguing with you in the first place.

All this reminds me of the time that I saw an author respond to a book review, flaming the person and insisting that they take the review down. At first, it was just an argument between the two of them. But she kept coming back, kept trying to defend her book and how the review was unfair.

Instead of winning people over, more people heard about the fight and started to join in, mocking her as well. If she had just shut up and deleted the first comment, it wouldn't have escalated to the point it did.

STEP 3:

APOLOGIZE.

If you hurt someone's feelings, sometimes the best thing to do is apologize, even if you feel like right now that you weren't in the wrong. Try to see it from their point of view and own up to what you might or might not have done.

You don't even have to retract what you said completely when you apologize. Even just wording the same thing in a nicer tone and apologizing if your tone came off poorly can sometimes calm people down.

It's humiliating, but sometimes we just have to own up to things and try to make people feel better. Your goal is to sell more books and that means meeting people at their level.

And it means more if you apologize to the person through a message rather than publicly. Doing so publicly makes it seem like you are just trying to win people back over. Unless you offend a large group of people, then this rule doesn't apply. But if it's a single individual and they are posting what you did everywhere, then go to them privately and see if you can calm them down.

STEP 4:

MAKE IT INTO A JOKE.


If you're the butt of a joke, sometimes it can help to go along with it. Mocking yourself shows that you have a good sense of humor and also makes people feel closer to you. Because you haven't made enemies out of them, you've joined in on the fun.

And they start to get to know you more for your awesome personality and not just whatever stupid thing you may have said.

But you should probably wait to do this until a significant time has passed and not when it's still fresh in people's minds.


STEP 5:

REMEMBER THAT SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MAKE IDIOTS OF THEMSELVES.


Famous people make idiots of themselves online all the time. How many celebrities have gotten into twitter fights and it been all over the news? Think of CEOs who have said controversial things and people have boycotted their companies.

Eventually, everyone forgets about it and moves on. The companies and celebrities rarely lose their jobs over it, so you'll likely be fine, too.

And the best way for this to happen is for you to stop dwelling on it and stop beating yourself up over it. If you stop talking about it online and instead talk about other things, people will get to know you for those other things. You'll stop being just the person who made a stupid mistake, you'll become more than that.

The only reason people are replying and getting angry at what you are saying is because it's relevant to them. Relevance is actually a good thing. It means people find you important.

Do you know how many people say horrible stuff on twitter and facebook every day and no one cares?

If they care about you, it means you are special and are given an opportunity to either sell a product or even deliver a message if you want to about something that's important to you. Because people listen to what you have to say.

It hurts, but it's also a gift.

Because sometimes you can take the lemons of life and make lemonade out of them. This is one of those instances. So don't be afraid of it. Embrace it.

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I just want you to know that sometimes, even when you are not making a fool out of yourself, you might get into arguments with people online. That's okay. Just breathe and take breaks if you need to, like I said in step one.

Don't worry about whether or not you win an argument. Almost no one wins arguments online, we just make one another angry.

But it's part of openly expressing yourself. Everything is an opinion. Even this blog post is an opinion. And if you have an opinion, there is someone out there who disagrees with you.