Tag Archives: Twitter

Where I hangout when I want to be #social; #MFRWauthors

Until I became a professional writer ( and by that I mean, one who writes full time and actually gets paid! Yippie!) the biggest social media presence I had was on Facebook, and then it was only because my daughter was away at college and on it, and I wanted to ensure she was okay. And of course by okay I mean that I stalked her posts! She knows this so I’m not worried she’ll be mad at me.

But when my first book was contracted, the publisher suggested – heavily and often! – that all their authors needed to have a very visible social media presence to garner sales and book promo, since they did relatively little in the way of book promotion. It was all on my back. If I wanted my books to sell, I had to get the word out there, so I became a social media junkie.

I joined Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Google+, LInkedIn, and of course I made my own Facebook author page in addition to my personal page I use for friends and family. In addition to Instagram and Snapchat. Oh, and how could I forget? My own website that I use for announcements and blogging 4-5 times per week.

And with the arrival of Tribber, well, I’m there, too.

Keeping these sites updated takes a lot of time… a lot of  time. Let’s read that again so you get it: A LOT OF TIME.

Time I could spending, well, writing!

One of these days I’m going to be rich and successful enough to hire a publicist and let her take care of all the updating. Ahhh….. to dream.

Here’s where you can find me most of the time when I should be writing books and not updating you on my life:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

and since this is week 15 of the #MFRWauthors 52 week blog challenge, click on some of the names below and see how they’re faring with all this social media stuff.


 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research

Social Media, Rules….

Magnified illustration with the word Social Media on white background.

 

And I don’t mean it like “rules for behavior.” No, I mean social media RULES the universe these days.

Let me ‘splain it you, Lucy…..

A little over a year ago I was an unknown, about-to-be-first-time-published author who had 15 Twitter followers on a good day. They were all friends and family who knew me and thought it was cute we were Tweeting one another inane things. My publisher recommended I increase my online presence to find more new readers for my books and to help promote those books through the free marketing Twitter encompasses with every tweet you send. I said, “okay” because, really, what was I going to say, NO? They were the experts. I was just a little unknown romance writer looking- hoping-praying- someone ( anyone) would buy a book from me.

I asked my daughter – the techy maven – how to go about finding new followers and she gave me a sage bit of advice. In order to get more followers, you have to…wait for it.…follow more people.

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Really? Could it be that easy?
Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, it is that easy.

I found people who liked the same things I did: writers, romance readers and writers, and book lovers, and started following them, retweeting posts I liked, and interacting with complete strangers. In one month I increased my followers from 15 to 150.

When my book came out, I started tweeting about it, using those infamous and oh-so-beneficial-hashtags, and my following soared to 300.

With the next book, I did the same thing, finding trending hashtags that compared to what I was sharing and hastag-jumped onto those tweets. This brought me even more followers. At one point I was tweeting all my new followers every time I got one, thanking them for joining and following me. This got old pretty quickly when I spent almost an hour of each day doing it, so I stopped. I thought I might lose some followers by not pointing them out, and I did lose a few. But in the world of twitter math, for every 2-3 followers I lost, 10 more came on board. Today, I woke up to 811 followers.

 

Folks, I don’t even know 811 people!!!

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Now that I’m with a new publisher, I’ll be following more authors, and in turn, will increase my own followers even more. You can take everything I just wrote and apply it to Facebook, Google, and Pinterest as well. The more social media sights you troll on, the more “people” you will “meet.”

So, this is what I mean when I say Social Media rules. Because  it does. Really. Go ahead and Tweet this and you’ll see what  I mean!

And if you want to find me on Social Media, here’s where I am…ALL THE TIME!!! le Sigh!

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.

Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

the end

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not anymore. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

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My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

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All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better. They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…the end5

As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

 Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally – come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

the end 4

My fourth book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS was released on March 11. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart-stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Release-Eve thoughts….

Tomorrow, Skater’s Waltz is released into the world. Last week I admitted how fretful – well, terrified really – I am about this for a  number of reasons. I’ve had a few days to sit back and, while biting my nails, reflect on this. So here goes.

I am a truly private person. I know that sounds ridiculous since I have this blog, Facebook account, Twitter handle, am a Pinterest follower am LinkedIn, and Google plus-ed, but it’s true. As much as is “out there” in the cyber-verse about me, I keep a great deal of my emotions, thoughts ( yes, believe it!), and musings locked in my head. So when I tell you I’m terrified of this book failing, it is a huge admission for me to give a voice to.

I fail all the time. It’s true. I fail at weight loss, I fail to keep up with my exercise regimen, I fail people…enough about that one. So, you can see, failure is familiar to me and I usually don’t dwell on it, just get back on my proverbial horse and push on.

But this… this is soooooo different in every aspect. This book represents everything about me. My hopes, my dreams, my thoughts, my words, my loves. To have it fail – and by fail I mean, no one likes it, derides it, and makes fun of it – would, quite simply, be devastating.

I know I shouldn’t dwell on failure, because it can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Obviously, someone liked it because it’s being published. So there’s that. People will say “don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine.” And that’s nice to hear. But it’s so easy for someone else to say. Unless you have been in this position, as any writer has, it is impossible to empathize with what this feels like in your heart, soul and mind. As a writer, you put yourself out there on a ledge by asking people to read what you have to say. You love what you’ve written. It represents something that came from deep inside you, something that you gave your all to in order to bring forth. Discovering that people don’t like it, or worse – think it’s silly or stupid, or (the ultimate worst) badly written, is heartstoppingly traumatizing. I can hear how dramatic this sounds but believe me, from a writer’s viewpoint, it’s true.

As for the rest, I guess tomorrow will tell. I’ve done everything I could to promote it, market it, spread the word, and try to drum up some excitement from the people I know. I guess, as always, time will tell.

For now though, I’m going to go have a cookie…or several. And then try to exercise.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women

In a relationship? That’s fodder for a great story…really!

It’s kinda difficult to be in a relationship with yourself. Usually, you need 2 or more in the relationship to define it as such. Now before you get on Twitter and tell me the most important relationship is with yourself, hear me out.

I write romantic stories about men and women who find each other, suffer through hardships, and wind up living their happily ever after.  I was asked once, how do I think up the people I write about?  Well, here’s my dirty little secret concerning my writing: I don’t make my characters up completely from my imagination. I actually incorporate nuances, characteristics, speaking patterns, etc, from people I know, have met, or have seen.  I’m a huge observer. Part of my scientific educational background is in observation and methodology.  In lay terms, I’m a watcher. Voyeur is too skanky a word to use because there’s nothing sexually based about my people watching. And the people I watch the most are couples.

When I’m out at a restaurant, I’ll discreetly glance around me and see who’s together, what they’re doing, how they’re acting towards one another. I may see an older man and woman holding hands across a table, waiting for their drinks to arrive. Or, I may observe a younger couple each glancing down at their cell phones and not at each other as they wait for theirs. I’ve seen couples seated at a square table for four sitting opposite one another or next to each other. If they’re seated in a booth, same thing. Either across the table, or together in the same seat, the guy’s arm draped around the girl.

All of these behaviors tell me something about the relationship that I can use for my own characterizations.

Ever go shopping with your significant other? It’s a trip, that’s for sure. In malls, I make it a strategic habit to watch men and women shop together. Body language is a huge component of my writing, especially in a non-love scene. You can learn so much about a character by how one non-verbally responds to the other. Next time you’re in a shopping mall, check out the couples you see milling about. Are they holding hands? Arms draped over shoulders as they amble along? Are they talking? Is one person the main talker, with the partner nodding every so often giving the illusion of listening? Or is it a real dialogue where the two of them are responding verbally to one another? In a store, does the partner simply wait in a chair while the other shops or do they shop together, giving opinions, etc? Are opinions valued or poo-pooed away? Are complements given? Watch a man’s face the next time you see his woman modeling something sexy for him in a store and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I was at a professional baseball game once and “listened” to a couple seated in front of me. They were on a first date – how do I know? The girl mentioned it as she and the guy were talking. She had never been to a pro-game before and he was explaining who was who on the home team.  Remember I said body language is key? Well, he was leaning into her as he spoke, and she to him as she listened, their shoulders touching often. He didn’t need to raise his voice to be heard because the noise level was good – not overbearing as it can be – so there was no reason for him to be so close to her just to be heard. They maintained eye contact throughout speaking. At one point during the game the home boys earned three runs on a single pitch. The entire stadium was on it’s feet, including the first daters. He grabbed her and hugged her in his exuberance and I swear I could see her fall in love with him before my eyes. The stadium could have been empty except for the two of them at that moment. I used that scene in an upcoming book of mine, First Impressions,  and I was giddy when I was writing it because I’d actually seen it played out in front of me.

If you’re a writer, your every  day experiences, the people you meet – even the people you know – are all fodder for you to use when you create your characters. Of course you never want to copycat a real person into a character – you’re setting yourself up for some serious legal action if you do! But there’s nothing wrong with a little cut and paste between people you know or have interacted with and your characters.

One final caveat: friends, loved ones, and family – please do not now LOOK for yourself in my characters when you read my books! You will never recognize yourselves if I’ve “used” you.

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Filed under Dialogue, Characters

I need more time and less interruptions…

I never seem to have enough time in a day to write the way I want to write.  Make that, write the volume I want to write.

When I’m in the zone, I can sit at my laptop in my writing loft for the entire day and not do anything else but compose. If I am uninterrupted by phone calls, tweets and email announcements, I can pretty much chug along for the whole day. The longest I’ve ever gone is a solid 12 hours with a bathroom break every 2 hours to rid myself of the Diet Mountain Dew I imbibed like it was water.

Kinesiologists will tell you I am probably doing severe  damage to my legs, spinal cord, and butt from sitting in a dependent position all day, and there’s probably some truth to that. When I do get up I tend to be uberstiff and need to stretch all my long muscles to keep them from cramping.

But after I see the volume I’ve typed – the page count that’s been birthed – I know I can live with some muscle cramps if it means I am producing good work.

I hate to be interrupted.

I. Hate. It.

Especially when I am going along a great clip and the dialogue is flowing like pearls from my lips – yes, I speak aloud my dialogue when I write to make sure it sounds correct and like english – the descriptions are all dead on and the exposition isn’t filled with purple prose and platitudes. The plot is moving forward, the characters are growing appropriately and learning from scene to scene.  It feels good, this sense of accomplishment I get when the pages are racking up. I feel like I am putting together a coherent story  that can be followed by the reader, and – hopefully – liked.

But then reality sets in.

The door bell rings and it’s the hot UPS guy with a delivery. The phone pings and it’s a caller I have to talk to, not a telemarketer I can ignore. Dinner time rolls around and I have to cook for the family, not make reservations again for takeout or going out.

Twenty-four hours seems like a lot of time to a writer, but consider the time used in sleeping, eating, working ( if writing is not your means of support) family obligations, and anything else that can literally remove you from your word program. After all that, 24 hours isn’t so much.

If I get a solid hour or two on a working day, at least it’s something. On my days off, I strive for much more.

Sometimes I hit that goal, most times, not.

So, since I can’t wring out more than 24 hours in any given day, let’s try this instead: I won’t answer the phone – in fact I’ll put my cell to silent and then just check on it periodically. I’ll get all the chores of daily life done first and then devote the rest of my freedom to writing. I won’t answer emails, troll Facebook, or update my Twitter feed while I am writing. I will let it all go sideways, and straighten it out when I am done creating.

Sound like a plan?
Yeah, a really hard one to carryout…..sigh….

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges

Branding and Marketing for Authors

At RWA 2014, one of the signature breakfast speakers this year was the marvelous Cindy Ratzlaff of Brand New, Brand You. She discussed – in vivid detail – her Social Book Marketing Strategy. Of course, I’m not going to go into extensive detail and list everything she said – you should click on the above link to get her full strategy – but I will hit the high points that resonated with me.

The most important aspect of this strategy is recognizing that you, the author, are the BRAND. You want to promote YOU. You are the creator of your books, but by promoting yourself as a brand, you capture reader and follower loyalty and get recognized by your name. Name recognition, like word of mouth, is a powerful product motivator for people to purchase what you are selling – namely, your books.

By utilizing FACEBOOK as a marketing tool you can develop what Cindy calls  “your ideal Tribe,” or the people who want to follow you.  Right now I have a regular Facebook page. I have “friends,” personal photos, etc, all the things you are supposed to have on the site to be socially connected with your friends and family. But, if you are a professional author and your name is your brand, you should have a professional Facebook page, devoted to you, the brand. Using myself, I would have a secondary page titled Peggy Jaeger, Author. On this page I would have all the information regarding my books – the ones that are currently out and in print and the ones that are coming up for publication ( Dearest God, are you listening to this?) Links to my blog, and my other sites would also be on this page so that anyone can find me and find out about me, the brand of Peggy Jaeger, Author. Apparently, Facebook is the number 1 social networking site, still. But your branding advertising isn’t isolated to just this site. Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ even using You Tube, are all ways you can promote your brand.

Cindy’s lecture was fascinating. She described the scope and power the internet has in promoting yourself in ways that I don’t think I ever even considered, much less knew I could do.

Like everything else that I attended  at RWA 2014, Cindy Ratzlaff’s session will stick in my mind for years to come.

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Filed under Editors