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:

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.


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.