My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: ma100 on December 29, 2013, 04:34:26 AM

Title: Networking and publicity
Post by: ma100 on December 29, 2013, 04:34:26 AM
The more I read on the internet, the more I feel networking, publicity schemes and book tours are more important than getting writing time. So how the flippin' heck do writers get time to concentrate if they have to check all these social sites, emails or go somewhere each day? ???
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 2par on December 29, 2013, 04:39:52 AM
They don't sleep except for little naps on the train.

And how does S.King get to go to the Red Sox games?
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Wolfe on December 29, 2013, 05:01:43 AM
Your number one job as a writer is to write. Don't let the actions of others fool you. We hire assistants, when we reach a certain level in our careers, to do all the things you mentioned. And, sadly, some also hire assistants to do some of the writing.

But that's another topic.

Write first. Without a book, there's no point of signings, tours, and all the other glorious things you get to do as a writer trying to promote your book. Yeah . . . glorious.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: ma100 on December 29, 2013, 05:19:29 AM
Sounds pretty scary to me, mixing with strangers and actually having to open your mouth. I know I'd be a stuttering wreck. :'(

Thanks Wolfe, like all things, I thought the finished product was the important thing, but I see so much self promotion going on I really wonder if this is going to scupper any chances I may have because I'm not good at mixing.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: wanderer on December 29, 2013, 05:28:43 AM
I know a little about web marketing and SEO. ;)  For some reason, artists (writers, musicians, painters, etc.) think they need Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc. Probably the result of people hawking their wares to buy. All you need is a basic website to promote your work. Stay away from any "free" sites and anything else that makes you look like an amateur.

As Wolf mentioned, I'd concentrate on writing first, then look at online marketing. Otherwise you're wasting a lot of your time. Social media is fun, but not a marketing tool. I'm sure you will get opposite opinions.  ;)  ::)
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Gyppo on December 29, 2013, 07:50:36 AM
The man who wrote the stories containing Hannibal Lecter is famous for not doing signings, interviews, etc.  He shuns personal publicity, which may be why I can't recall his name without needing to go on line and look it up.  You know, in some ways that's the ultimate accolade.  I remember the books, and the characters, but not the author's name.

=====

I've been to quite a few talks by authors over the years.  Some are slick hustlers, promoting their latest and greatest with all the finesse of an Arab street  trader or a Gypsy Flower Seller.  You get the feeling they could sell porcelain bathroom fittings with equal enthusiasm.

Some deliver a standard sounding speech, but start to come alive when answering questions. (Hardly surprising really.  If someone's read your books and knows your characters you have mutual - albeit imaginary - friends to talk about.)

Some of the very best are - and this should surprise very few of us - essentially quiet and shy people.  They invite the audience down to the front if they're scattered around a hall, then sit on the edge of the stage, feet dangling, and speak to you quietly as if it's an impromptu gathering of friends.  Sometimes they look quite surprised at the answers a good question draws from them.

And some, like many other craftsmen who 'talk' with their fingers and hands - painters, sculptors, jewellers, etc - are never going to take to public speaking.  It can be learned, but if you're not happy doing it then it shows.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Lin on December 29, 2013, 07:58:14 AM
I try to have a schedule.  I fix all my networking within a two hour period.  I write, take a break, write an e-mail or two, then spend another three hours writing, then I do the housework.   You do get time and there are more hours in the day than you realise.  BUT I have a lot of time on my hands, no kids to worry about any more, no grandchildren and a husband who works all day. I have time to write on MWC.

I feel sorry for those people who have to work full time and really want to spend time writing.  They usually manage it, but it is important to set some time each day apart for writing and as Wolfe says, writing must come first above social networking.

I think it's just a case of organising yourself and working smart. I had an idea for a new book and knew when I should start to write it. I started in September with serious writing and have just about finished the whole story.  It's just a case of timing it all with the time of year and holiday periods.

Keeeep writing!

Lin

Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: protekme on December 29, 2013, 02:37:49 PM
Sounds pretty scary to me, mixing with strangers and actually having to open your mouth. I know I'd be a stuttering wreck. :'(

Thanks Wolfe, like all things, I thought the finished product was the important thing, but I see so much self promotion going on I really wonder if this is going to scupper any chances I may have because I'm not good at mixing.

How nice it would be to sell books (online or from the shelves) and not have to face all the promotion around it.

My friends and acquaintances don't understand this aversion of mine for Twitter, Face book, Blog, etc. because I'm a talking machine with them.

Let's join forces, Ma. May be we could double up on a tour some day.  ;D
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Gyppo on December 29, 2013, 03:40:50 PM
Let's join forces, Ma. May be we could double up on a tour some day.  ;D

You'd probably end up talking to each other and not the audience.  I've seen this happen when authors share a billing.  Sometimes it works really well, like a couple acting up a bit in public in order to be deliberately overheard by an obviously interested listener.  Other times it's just a sickening and non-productive love-in ;-(

If it sparks reactions and recollections like the 'conversations' on here it can work well.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: bri h on December 29, 2013, 04:26:09 PM
Robert Harris, Gyp?
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: midnight candle on December 29, 2013, 06:38:29 PM
Thomas Harris Gyppo
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Gyppo on December 29, 2013, 07:38:00 PM
Cheers, Brian and Midnight.  I know why I hesitated now ;-)

Robert Harris wrote Pompeii.  (An excellent book by the way, and far more captivating than the blurb alone might lead you to believe.)

Thomas Harris created 'Hannibal.'

Then there was John Harris, who wrote The Mercenaries, a flying story set between the two World Wars.  (Another one worth looking at.)

And I think that is enough of a diversion from Ma's thread here.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: bri h on December 29, 2013, 07:42:19 PM
Cheers, Brian and Midnight.  I know why I hesitated now ;-)

Robert Harris wrote Pompeii.  (An excellent book by the way, and far more captivating than the blurb might lead you to believe.

Thomas Harris created 'Hannibal.'

Anita Harris was on Junior Showtime. A relation maybe? I'd love her to be invited to dinner with Hannibal.  ;D
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: G. London on December 29, 2013, 09:01:49 PM
There is no doubt we are in the apex of social media. There is also no doubt about its power in the business world. It can't be ignored. Social media has the power to viraly spread a creative work that is truly great, or widely false-positive propagandize a work that is not. 

I think every aspiring young aspiring writer in college right now (And most everyone under 30) is fluent in social media, and understands the impact it can have on a career. Any career.

From a purely business point of view it can't be overlooked, no matter who does the grunt work.

If your not at the level to hire an assistant, you may try posting an ad at a local university for IT students. Many times IT students will work for cash per hour on a project basis.

Of course great compelling writing is always first and foremost.


Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: wanderer on December 29, 2013, 09:06:13 PM
Quote
Many times IT students will work for cash per hour on a project basis.

However they are limited with marketing, business, advertising skills. I have hired them before and they are great at doing what you tell them or what you want. Need to keep a rein on them though.  ;)
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Joe Mynhardt on December 30, 2013, 12:38:11 AM
My goal is to write first, then go online, then take a break. I repeat that step over and over until I go to bed. Somewhere in-between I'll probably go to work,
do some dishes etc.  :D
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 2par on December 30, 2013, 01:04:16 AM
I'm the kind of person that has to do all the necessary things before doing the things I like.
For instance, when going shopping, I deny myself a nice lunch until I've accomplished all I need to get and do.
If I have to cook dinner, I first have to clean up the kitchen and get out everything I'll need for dinner, etc.

The first thing I do in the morning is check my e-mail because my daughter might have imploded during the night and I want to get her husband's hollering at me out of the way. Then I check the Words with Friends game, lest everyone think I don't want anyone to think I don't want to play with them, then I check my Family Site to see what all my children and sister in law are up to and I make the proper and expected comments. Then I check the Writer's Circle to make sure I didn't miss anything. Then I'm hungry so go fix breakfast, after cleaning up whatever mess Rod's made. Then, I decide to write. But, the cats have to be fed, let in or let out or need to be petted "right now", THEN...I decide I simply MUST write but I'm too tired by then so I go lie down and pretty soon the day is gone and I have to get dinner started.

Then, the whole thing starts again. Of course, I have to ramble on here and bother y'all instead of writing. ...sigh
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: ma100 on December 30, 2013, 04:44:04 AM
Many say social media is very important and I can imagine if you know the ropes it can be used as a tool. But, I had a Facebook page and most of the time I got messages from nude or scantily clad asian men wanting to be my friend. It put me off my cornflakes so I deleted it.  ::)

Twitter, I just can't understand at all.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Lin on December 30, 2013, 06:04:26 AM
I think you have see over the top of all that trash and whenever I get someone wanting to 'friend' me I always check their own Facebook page before accepting their request.  I only accept other writers and people I know.  Usually if someone has only half a dozen 'friends' then I don't join their page unless they can prove to me they are a writer.  You have to be selective and when you are, Facebook works a treat. If you have an author page, as I do now, and one for your personal friends, then that works well.

Last week I found a friend I haven't see in ten years.  We lost each other's contact adresses.  As a result of Facebook we are now back together again.

If it's not Facebook it will be something else in 2014 and onwards.  So it's important to go with the flow.

Happy New Year.

Lin  :D

Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Jo Bannister on December 30, 2013, 07:16:08 AM
I wonder if all this self-promotion actually achieves much?  I know it's never sold me a book.  Frankly, I'm not nearly as interested in writers (self-absorbed bunch of navel-gazers!) as in what they write - any more than I'm interested in the guy who makes my Weetabix or designed my car.  And I speak as a writer who knows she's not a bit interesting herself.  Reading about me is more likely to put people off buying my books than make them buy more. 

Besides, the business of writers is to write.  It's the bit I can do that nobody else in the chain can.  If publicity drove sales, don't you think publishers would be keener on doing it?  Instead of which, the publicity budget for the average mid-list book is negligible.  If it comes to a choice between writing and self-promo, I know which I'd rather spend my time on.  It won't make me famous, but at least I've something to show for it besides a ton of e-friends I wouldn't know if I met them in Tesco's.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Lin on December 30, 2013, 07:27:41 AM
Hi Jo

I have to admit I have sold books as a result of 'friends' on my page.  In fact,  quite a lot of them have bought my book. I also got a number of people who wrote to me to say how much they had enjoyed it - all through Facebook.  So I think it does work. It's especially useful as I am an RNA member and I do happen to know many of the members and we stick together on Facebook and help each other. I think networking is so important.

I don't think this is about real friends at all.  I think it's more about people getting to know you are an author and your book exists and where they can buy it.  If you want to sell lots of copies of your novel, I think you have to promote. My book is available in nine countries on Amazon. So putting in links is important too.

Lin

PS Just to let you know I edited 50 pages this morning!
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: MansuEdwards on December 30, 2013, 07:47:59 AM
Agree with Wolfe. You have to focus on Writing. While you do that build a web presence, so people know who you are and having a coege student run your social media platforms is a good idea which someone suggested. I advise you to embrace social media.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: protekme on December 30, 2013, 12:58:44 PM
I wonder if all this self-promotion actually achieves much?  I know it's never sold me a book.  Frankly, I'm not nearly as interested in writers (self-absorbed bunch of navel-gazers!) as in what they write - any more than I'm interested in the guy who makes my Weetabix or designed my car.  And I speak as a writer who knows she's not a bit interesting herself.  Reading about me is more likely to put people off buying my books than make them buy more. 

Besides, the business of writers is to write.  It's the bit I can do that nobody else in the chain can.  If publicity drove sales, don't you think publishers would be keener on doing it?  Instead of which, the publicity budget for the average mid-list book is negligible.  If it comes to a choice between writing and self-promo, I know which I'd rather spend my time on.  It won't make me famous, but at least I've something to show for it besides a ton of e-friends I wouldn't know if I met them in Tesco's.

 And I speak as a writer who knows she's not a bit interesting herself.  Reading about me is more likely to put people off buying my books than make them buy more.  

 ;D ;D ;D That made me laugh so much because it's exactly how I feel. It's better to be quiet when we have nothing interesting to say than open our mouth and prove it. I don't doubt the benefits of that type of media for writers who are good at it and enjoy it. I'm a moron in that field, and I might never publish because I'm not cut in for it. A Web presence is a lot of work, and my plate is already full just studying how to put my book online, or trying to find someone to do it for me, or find an agent to take me in (even this scares me because agents expect the writer to participate).

I have come to a standstill with my next book because of it, and I'm afraid to cool off and kill the spark. I did not consider publishing when I started this venture anyway. I only wanted to write my story. The idea came to me later when suggested by others. Seeing the result,    ;D I now wish I could publish, but not at the price it's asking me in time and effort. I'm waiting for a miracle. ;D ;D Perhaps one day I'll self-publish a few books just for me, to feel that I did not do all that work for nothing.

As they say in England: Pity!!!
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 510bhan on December 30, 2013, 01:28:27 PM
I wonder if all this self-promotion actually achieves much?  I know it's never sold me a book.  Frankly, I'm not nearly as interested in writers (self-absorbed bunch of navel-gazers!) as in what they write - any more than I'm interested in the guy who makes my Weetabix or designed my car.  And I speak as a writer who knows she's not a bit interesting herself.  Reading about me is more likely to put people off buying my books than make them buy more. 

Besides, the business of writers is to write.  It's the bit I can do that nobody else in the chain can.  If publicity drove sales, don't you think publishers would be keener on doing it?  Instead of which, the publicity budget for the average mid-list book is negligible.  If it comes to a choice between writing and self-promo, I know which I'd rather spend my time on.  It won't make me famous, but at least I've something to show for it besides a ton of e-friends I wouldn't know if I met them in Tesco's.

Hmmm . . . take note, this lady writes fiction. ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D I won't tell any secrets. J/K :D
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: protekme on December 30, 2013, 02:05:11 PM
Hmmm . . . take note, this lady writes fiction. ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D I won't tell any secrets. J/K :D

And darn good ones too. She does not need the web to say something any longer--interesting or not.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 510bhan on December 30, 2013, 02:20:29 PM
 ;D ;D ;D ;D Agreed. ;)
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Wolfe on December 30, 2013, 11:32:59 PM
Many say social media is very important and I can imagine if you know the ropes it can be used as a tool. But, I had a Facebook page and most of the time I got messages from nude or scantily clad asian men wanting to be my friend. It put me off my cornflakes so I deleted it.  ::)

Twitter, I just can't understand at all.

Most agents and editors want you to do the social media thing. It's a necessary evil in order to reach the younger, more tech-savvy, readers. But, I can tell you right now, you need none of it. At a minimum, I recommend a homepage so fans can get updates on your projects or to sing your praises.

Other than that, the only thing required is for you to write.

Cormac McCarthy does none of it. In fact, his 'homepage' is ran by his fans more or less. His lack of media interest hasn't hurt his career. In fact, it's added something of a mystique to him.

But the bottom line is the bottom line. Write and write well. The rest means nothing if you can't string a story or two sentences together to save your life.

All that said, let me say this: The most fanatical of fans are created if you connect with them. When you create that level of loyalty, they'll buy your work no matter what.

On the opposite end, Chuck Palahniuk has the most fanatical fans I've ever seen outside of J.K. The website is called The Cult for a reason. Between his lessons in fiction writing, his review of fan-fiction, and general and electronic outreach, you'd be hard-pressed to find more loyal fans.

It doesn't hurt that he's a really cool guy too.

Again, regardless, do what makes you feel comfortable. But always make your writing come first if you want a career in the business.

A platform ain't shit if your writing is too.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Jo Bannister on December 31, 2013, 04:03:07 PM
What kind comments from Sio and Pro!  (Does that sound like a double-act in the making?)  And, as so often, Wolfe's take is hard to argue with. 

I'm sure that, done well by someone who's good at it, it's another tool in the kitbag.  And good luck to those who can make it work for them.  Just, don't believe the old newspaper adage, All publicity is good publicity.  It ain't.  And, like elections, it's not the first returns that count, it's who forms the government.  It could be a while yet before we know for sure how much networking is a positive thing and when, or if, it becomes self-defeating. 
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: bri h on December 31, 2013, 04:48:17 PM
Hey Jo. Interesting thread. Didn't the guy who wrote 'Wool,' use the net to totally promote his book(s)? HNY.xbx
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: thatollie on December 31, 2013, 07:34:28 PM
I think every aspiring young aspiring writer in college right now (And most everyone under 30) is fluent in social media, and understands the impact it can have on a career. Any career.

I'm not fluent in social media and I'm under thirty by, at least, nearly as much as I think I am.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: wanderer on December 31, 2013, 07:39:41 PM
It can actually have a negative influence on a career.  ;) ;)
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: ritawriting on December 31, 2013, 11:16:30 PM
The more I read the more contradictions and dilemmas I find everywhere about marketing including social media. Maybe it is whatever it is. I am discovering I have to trust my way of doing things but also continue to challenge myself the push the edges of my comfort zone to include things that I would prefer to avoid. But I have also learnt that I can walk around in circles, no make that "run around in circles" if I push myself too far out of my comfort zone and my brain starts to sizzle, and not in a good way. Smells like burning rubber.  :o
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 2par on December 31, 2013, 11:43:24 PM
If one has a family member who can be unstable at times on your FB page, would you be ostracized by possible business associates or would they just think it interesting?
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Wolfe on January 01, 2014, 12:19:18 AM
If one has a family member who can be unstable at times on your FB page, would you be ostracized by possible business associates or would they just think it interesting?

I wouldn't call that a positive, but the business is more interested in you, and your work, than the antics of an unstable so-and-so. But, if you're in doubt, there's block and delete.

I'd rather have an unhappy family member than an unhappy career. Truth of the matter is, someone in your family is going to hate you because you're a writer. Successful or otherwise. Know this now, so you'll expect their hands out, and their venom, later.

You're lazy, get a real job, anybody can write. And when you're successful? Can I borrow some money? Will you sign my copy so I can sell it on Ebay? You're just a stingy ass who thinks you're better than us now.

Of course . . . that may be my family. Your experience may differ.  ::)  For your sake, I hope so.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 2par on January 01, 2014, 12:29:48 AM
Thank you for your response.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Gyppo on January 01, 2014, 07:07:23 AM
You're just a stingy ass who thinks you're better than us now.

Do you know what really pisses me off about people with this attitude?  That these people dare to presume they know what I'm thinking.  They generally have no idea what I'm thinking.

I must admit it tends to trigger a 'Sod you then' response my mind.  If their friendship was that fragile to start with is it worth mending?

I'm reminded of the saying 'If you lend a man a tenner and never see him again it was well worth it.'  Sad, but true.

Gyppo
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Wolfe on January 01, 2014, 07:26:08 AM
Well, on the plus side, all these family antics give me great material for books. If I need an asshole of a character, I just reach for the family album and pick. Sad, but true.

If nothing else, a dramatic life tends to help one write dramatic fiction.

But, to bring the the thread back on topic, I wouldn't dare to air that laundry on FaceBook or Twitter. Like anyone needs to give that level of stupid a valid reason to sue you.

So here's to hoping for a calm, and drama-free, year.  I have plenty of material for a lifetime. :)
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Jo Bannister on January 01, 2014, 09:27:11 AM
Wolfe - repeat after me: Friends (and that includes MWC friends) are God's apology for family.  Or, as I like to say: It's better to light a flame-thrower than to curse the darkness.

Hi Brian - Quite possibly.  I haven't read it.  If it was marketed primarily on-line, I'd be unlikely to come across it.  This is one of the downsides of authors doing promo.  Of course they tell you their books are good!  I would, you would.  But do you buy a used car simply because the guy selling it says it's good?  Or do you look to a reputable publication for an independent assessment?  This is why I don't think networking is a fraction as valuable to book-selling as newspaper and trade reviews.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: bri h on January 01, 2014, 02:08:36 PM
Thanks for the reply Jo. I wouldn't know about the benefits of FB for publication, I'm so far removed from you all. By the time I'm ready to publish anything, I think FB and Twitter will be 'old-technology.' ha ha. HNY to you. B
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: Wolfe on January 01, 2014, 04:37:43 PM
Wolfe - repeat after me: Friends (and that includes MWC friends) are God's apology for family.  Or, as I like to say: It's better to light a flame-thrower than to curse the darkness.

(laugh) I'll have to remember that one.  :D
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: 2par on January 02, 2014, 03:47:24 AM
Jo, I love that about friends. Thanks.
Title: Re: Networking and publicity
Post by: JewelAS53 on January 05, 2014, 01:37:49 AM
So here's to hoping for a calm, and drama-free, year.  I have plenty of material for a lifetime. :)
You and me both, Wolfe. To all of the above.