Fill-Me-In Friday - Best Writing Links of the Week

 

Fave photo of the weekTaking kidlet on a miniature train ride in Fort Worth yesterday. Kidlet declared, "It's just like the Dinosaur train! But no dinosaurs." :)

Alright, we've made it to Friday, everyone. Congrats. :) And since I had to skip last Friday's round-up, we have an extra long one today. Hope you find something worth reading.

 

On Writing/Publishing: 

 

On Social Media/Marketing:

 

For Gits and Shiggles:

 

What You May Have Missed Here: 

 

So that's what I have for the week. How was your week? What are you reading?

Your Facebook Page May Be Blocking Your Fans

Keep Out

Photo by Zach Klein (flickr cc)

I didn't plan on posting today, but I wanted to do a quick PSA about something I found out today. So on occasion I've had a friend or two say they couldn't reach my Facebook author page. I tried to send a few different versions of links to those people, but no matter what I tried, they couldn't get to it. Even if they searched for me, my name didn't come up.

Then yesterday I did a post on Facebook vs. Twitter: Where The Readers Are and I had more people have the same issue. So I put a call out on Twitter this morning to see who could access the link and who couldn't. Well, turns out, it was blocking anyone from outside the U.S.  Uh-oh.

So I did some research and discovered that Facebook apparently has a setting that defaults to only allowing people in your home country to view your page. It blocks EVERYONE else.  !!!  I was shocked to find this out. I've had this page for at least two years and had no idea. I always wondered why my FB page grew so much more slowly than Twitter. I figured it's because I'm on Twitter more. But now I realize I was unintentionally locking out a whole lot of people. *sigh*

Therefore, I wanted to let everyone know about this setting so that you can check your own page and fix it if you're set on the same default.

To fix this, go to your Facebook PAGE (This is not for profiles but for fan pages.) Click on the Admin Panel, then Manage Permissions. Then make sure there are no countries listed in your "Countries Restrictions" box. And select the button that says "Hide this page from viewers in this country." If you have no countries selected then that will mean it's open to all.

If you need more visual directions, here's another blog post with pics.

Grr. Kind of frustrating that I'm just figuring this out now, but hopefully you can save yourself the trouble.

And for anyone out there who has tried to access my page and had issues, everything should be fixed now. You can follow me here. : )

Am I the only one who wasn't aware of this?

3 Reasons Why Coercing Readers Into Newsletter Subscriptions Is a Bad Idea

Image via opensourcewayWhen it comes to marketing our books, all of us want a captive audience. We want to know how to find the readers who love our books and the readers who COULD love our books. And we want to be able to reach out to these people so we can connect with them, build relationships, and at some point let them know when we have something new out. And one of the traditional ways of doing that for authors is the newsletter. 

Talk to any marketing expert and they'll mention the importance of building your "list". The list being that group of people who have voluntarily signed up to listen to you. And this list is so important because a) This is your captive audience and b) It's something that can't be taken away like Facebook or Twitter (Remember MySpace? If you'd built all your following there, you'd be in trouble now.)

So that's why you'll see so many writers running contests that give you points or require you to sign up for their newsletter or blog in order to enter. You can give away a Kindle and get that ever-precious list to grow to hundreds, thousands! Whee!

Yeah. And guess how many of those people ACTUALLY give a flip about the kind of books you write? Exactly. They wanted to win the contest and jumped through your hoop, but they are not your target audience. But, but, but... you say. But they COULD become my readers when they see my kickass newsletter in their inbox. But they know my name now and name awareness is everything. But, but, but...

Here's the thing...

This is what typically happens when I've signed up for a newsletter in the past just to enter a contest or get something:

  • I see it in my inbox, don't recognize the author, I delete it.

Everyone gets enough email, and we're accustomed to deleting spam and advertisements without even opening them. Newsletters are great when it's someone I'm truly interested in. But if I'm not a fan already, no newsletter has ever converted me into one.

  • After I delete it a few times, I start to get annoyed and I unsubscribe.

So now, not only am I not interested, I kind of have a bad taste in my mouth. I feel like I was coerced into this subscription and now I have to waste my time to unsubscribe.

 

Why Coercion Doesn't Work

1. Email is a higher level commitment these days.

If I sign up for a blog, it's easy enough to scroll through my blog reader and skim past posts that don't interest me. But you do have a chance of catching my eye and maybe getting a new fan if you write something interesting. But if subscribing to a blog is like smiling at a guy across the room to let him know you could be interested, signing up for an email newsletter is like giving him your phone number and agreeing to a date. It's a bigger commitment. You don't want to date everyone. You hand pick those people.

2. It doesn't foster true connection with your readers or potential readers

When we sign up for something just to be entered for a contest, it's pretty clinical. Okay, what do I have to jump through to win this thing? Sign up for newsletter--check. Tweet the contest--check. This isn't introducing you to new readers necessarily. It's not giving them a reason of WHY they should WANT to follow you and get that pretty newsletter.

3. Newsletters are typically very fan-focused so play to a different audience than the group you coerced.

There are exceptions, but in general, newsletters are set up to play to that captive audience--your current fans. But if I'm not already a reader of your books, what do I care about exclusive excerpts or the cupcake recipe your character used? *delete* This goes deeper into what you should put in a newsletter. I personally think author newsletters are meant for current fans and blogs/twitter/facebook are better for attracting new people to try your books. But feel free to disagree with me on that one.

 

Can you tell I got one too many newsletters in my inbox this week? ;) I think newsletters are a fantastic feature to have added to your website. Many readers are NOT daily blog readers and like having a newsletter come to them to remind them that you have a new book out. However, I think newsletter sign-up should be truly voluntary. It's called "opting in" for a reason. And it's fine if you offer some freebie for signing up--an exclusive chapter, a free ebook, whatever. But have it be something that encourages interest in your books, something that plays to your target audience.

Don't just build a list to build a list; make it a meaningful one. One hundred true fan subscribers are better than a thousand people who really just wanted to win a gift card and have no real interest in you or your books.

So what do you think? Anyone else get annoyed by the newsletter thing? What newsletters do you love to get and look forward to reading? What audience do you think an author newsletter should be targeted toward--current fans or potential readers?

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

School bus

Kidlet goes back to school next week!

 So this week has continued to be crazy and my current WIP has changed a few times over again. Let's not even talk about deadlines. But I'm not going to complain because deadlines mean I have book contracts and that is always a good thing. :)

But can I say I'm SO happy kidlet goes back to school next week. He only goes for half a day in the afternoons so I'm not going to be getting much more time than I get now with him in daycare in the mornings, but afternoon time is so much more productive for me writing wise. AND a bus will pick up kidlet instead of me having to play taxi. So yay for that.

Oh, and for those of you who remember me asking about other programs to use to organize and save links like Delicious, I think I've found one that works for me. Zootool allows me to save a link with one click of a bookmark button and I can organize them into "packs" which is similar to when Delicious still had "stacks" (the feature I was missing in the new design). So then I can just make a pack for each week and save things throughout the week for this Friday post. :)

Now, on to the links...

On Writing/Publishing:

  

On Social Media/Promotion: 

 

Other Awesome Stuff:

  • Natalie Bahm: BIG News - My agency-mate Natalie is self-pubbing her first novel and ALL proceeds are going to help a family with a very sick child. How amazing is Natalie? She's going to stop by the blog next month to talk more about it, but go check out what she's doing and spread the word.
  • Dogshaming - This was making the rounds on Twitter this week, but in case you missed it, go check it out. HILARIOUS. 

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

  

That's all I've got this week. Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! 

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

  

 Fave photo of the week: My haul from RWA *pets*

How is it the end of the week already? Wow. All right, so those who may new to the blog, on Fridays I do a links round up of the best writing and publishing posts (along with a few fun posts thrown in) of the week. Since I was at RWA last week, I skipped a week, so this list will be a bit chunky. :) 

On Writing/Publishing:

 

On Social Media/Blogging/Promotion:

 

For Gits and Shiggles: 

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

All right, that's what I have this week. Now I'm off to hopefully write two winning book proposals. I hope y'all have a great weekend! :)

Follow At Your Own Risk: Why My Social Media Shouldn't Have To Be G-Rated

funny dog pictures - that was SO NOT G rated
see more dog and puppy pictures

Yesterday, the lovely Jody Hedlund--one of my favorite bloggers--did a post on her 10 Social Media Pet Peeves. Now, Jody and I almost always agree. We've seem to have followed a similar blogging journey along the same timeline and often I find myself nodding along with her posts. And this post was no exception...for nine of those ten points. But number 4 gave me pause and thusly, inspired this post.

Here's her number four:

Pet Peeve #4: When followers use graphic pictures. This applies mostly to Pinterest. Soon after I joined, I quickly realized I couldn’t auto follow back. I was getting some very steamy pictures in my nice “happy” homepage stream. My laptop sits on the kitchen table in plain view of my kids, and I don’t want to have to worry about what they happen to see as I browse my SM sites. Even if a writer’s brand is erotic, I still think it’s wise to be sensitive to the fact that many of us are Moms with kids running around us.

I was with her until the "even if a writer's brand is erotic" part. :)

See, here's the deal. Your "brand" as a writer should be closely aligned with your style of books. If you're writing children's books, then you're not going to be talking about politics and sex on your blog. If you're a Christian writer, you're not going to be blogging about how drunk you got last night.

I write erotic romances that have explicit sex scenes in them. Kink is part of my books. People who read them know that and like those kinds of stories (or else they wouldn't be reading them.) So my readers aren't going to get offended if I post Boyfriends of the Week or shirtless men on my Pinterest (or even sexier stuff on Tumblr). In fact, not only are they not offended, but those boyfriends are the posts that get the most hits by far. So obviously, a big portion of people who follow me are into it.

But I know I also have a portion of followers who are writers who started following me when I was running Fiction Groupie. They are here for the writing posts and aren't necessarily interested in reading my books. That's fine. I even have a separate RSS feed for those who want only writing posts and no mancandy in their inbox so that they don't have to worry about it.

But if you go follow me on Pinterest or Tumblr without looking at the types of things I post, then that is on you. If I have a board named MELT INTO YOU Inspiration, which is a book about a BDSM menage relationship, you can probably guess the photos aren't always going to be G-rated. Hell, my book covers aren't even G-rated. If you choose to follow, that is at your own risk.

I make no secrets about the kinds of books I write. Look at the tagline up at the top of the blog. I'm not going to apologize for posting things in line with my brand. In fact, next week I'm starting a series in prep for STILL INTO YOU's release that is going to be about fun ways to spice up your marriage or relationship. These posts are going to be tasteful, but they're not going to be G-rated. They shouldn't have to be.

Yes, I know people have kids around their computers. I have a four year old. I get it. But it is not MY responsibility to cater this blog (or any of my other social media sites) to keep things away from your child's eyes. That's like saying I shouldn't write erotic romances because a child might pick up their mom's book. My only responsibility is keeping it from my kid's view. I know which sites not to click on if he's sitting next to me. 

My brand is sexy romance. It shouldn't be a surprise if I sometimes post about sexy things. Just like if a Christian writer is posting about a bible passage or their religious journey. If I'm following them and not of that faith or whatever, I have no right to get offended. Their brand is clear. If I chose to follow the person, that was at my own risk.

And if someone is posting stuff you don't want to read or see, don't follow them. I've unfollowed a fellow erotic writer for being unnecessarily graphic and cursing nonstop (and believe me, I'm not easily offended.) But it was too much for me and I was getting nothing from their feed. I've also unfollowed people who spout off poitical stuff that ticks me off. I don't need that stress in my day. Was what those people were posting wrong? No. It just wasn't for me. They have the right to make their image and brand whatever they want them to be. I have the right not to buy into it.

For my own blog, I have lines. I don't post nude mancandy pics since I prefer photos that leave something to the imagination. I occasionally curse, but usually keep it at a PG-13 level or ** out the words. I try to keep everything tasteful and classy even when I am talking about a racy topic. Why? Because that's what I want my place on the web to be like. The way I discuss things on here is how I would discuss things in person.

Jody responded to my comment on her blog with, "Obviously, if we're trying to reach our target audience, then we'll try to brand our Pinterest boards to our books. That makes sense. Nevertheless, I do try to be sensitive to the fact that I have numerous followers from all spectrums of life."

I see where she's coming from (and of course I still heart Jody), but I also know that trying to please and cater to "everyone" is an impossible task. Try doing that with your novel and see how well that goes.

Different people want different things. A fellow writer is going to want something different from me than a pure reader will. A romance reader will want something different from me than a suspense reader. You can run the risk of becoming too generic or safe in your brand. That's what was happening with me at Fiction Groupie. I felt restricted because I only posted about writing. I was afraid to post romance-y stuff because some people would've been turned off. So it boxed me in to only talking about writing. That's something I love to do, but it was becoming a very one-dimensional version of me. And where does that leave the readers who could give a crap about how-to writing posts?

So this is me and this is my brand. If you only want writer me, you have the option to just follow those posts. If you want to follow me on Pinterest, cherry pick the boards that appeal to you. If you want to follow me on Tumblr, read the 18+ and NSFW warning at the top. If you want to follow G-Rated mom me, follow my group mommy blog Peanut Butter on the Keyboard. If you want to follow me on Twitter, you'll get a little bit of it all. But I'm not going to apologize for what I post. You've been warned. Follow at your own risk. (But I do hope you still follow.) ;)

So what are your thoughts? Do you think we should keep everything PG even if our books are not? Has anyone ever surprised with something you didn't want in your feed? Do the mancandy posts make you happy or make you nervous to view my blog?

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week


 

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho


  Need to catch up? Since I skipped last weeks links post, I have a biggie for y'all today. Hope you enjoy!

On Writing:

 

On Publishing:

 

On Social Media/Promotion:

 

Because It Was Interesting:

 

What You May Have Missed Here: 

 

So that's what I've got this week, what were some of your favorite links of the week? Hope you all have a great weekend!

Fill Me In Friday - Best Writing Links of the Week

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho
  

 

 

Had a busy week? Need to catch up on all the great bloggy stuff you missed? Well, that's what I do here every Friday. : ) Best links served up fresh!

(Sorry, sometimes I have the unfortunate need to sound like a midnight infomercial.)

 


 

On Writing and Publishing:

25 Reasons That Writers Are Bug-F**k Nuts - Chuck Wendig (who always manages to make me actually LOL)

7 Free E-Books for Writers | Jane Friedman

Susan Kaye Quinn, Young Adult Author: How Many Book Sales Equals "Success"?

The self-epublishing bubble | Ewan Morrison | Books | guardian.co.uk

Doubt Demons | GENREALITY

How to Return to Writing After a Long Break | Nathan Bransford, Author

Scrivener: 3 Reasons You Should Use It For Your Book | The Creative Penn

Reader Shaming | Smart Bitches, Trashy Books 

Why I Stopped Looking At The Numbers | SHELLI JOHNSON

Let's Talk About Rejection - Elana Johnson

R-E-S-P-E-C-T isn’t FREE!!! « Kristen Lamb's Blog

 

On Social Media and Platform Building:

The art of being an introvert creative (forced to cope with social media) | Justine Musk

Maria Zannini: Who's Reading Your Blog?

The Mysterious Facebook Author Page | Katie Ganshert

My Name Is Not Bob: 25 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic

AuthorCulture: Is Your Author Photo Sending the Right Message?

10 Ways to Improve Your “Likability Quotient” « Kristen Lamb's Blog

13 Steps to Being the Worst Blogger on the Planet : @ProBlogger

Why Your Google+ Profile Matters - GalleyCat

Anne R. Allen's Blog: How to Blog Part III: What Should You Blog About?

The Bookshelf Muse: Creating An Author Platform That Sticks

Write Tip: How Not To Use The 9 Free Ways To Market Your Book | Bryan Thomas Sch...

 

For Gits and Shiggles:

Lady Boner Killer - Autocorrects and Texting Fails: AutoCoWrecks.com

“Where’s Your Mother?” … and 13 Other Things I Think When My Kid’s Having a Tantrum

Social Media Explained – Possibly by a Dog [Infographic] - SocialTimes.com

Want A More Intense, Intimate & Fulfilling Sex Life? [EXPERT] | Ande Lyons  <--Proof that reading erotic romance is good for your health. :)

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

Made of Win Monday: Shows That Bring You Back

 

 

Boyfriend of the Week: Jude Law

 

 

5 Muse Abusers: How To Protect Your Creative Flow

The Hubs:

So I made the joke that I was answering no more interview questions this month and hubs was taking over the duties. Well, two lovely bloggers took me up on that.  So check out my hubby's first interview at Amy Beth's Blog where somehow air guitars, 600 dollar phone calls, yoga, and Katy Perry are mentioned. Oh, and it's hubs' birthday too, so go give him some comment love. ;) 

All right, that's what I've got from the last two weeks. What are some of your favorite links recently?

 

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