Introducing another fantastic columnist to the Write Sex Right blog; each month Renee Rose will share her take on writing, marketing and spanking.
At Eroticon USA, Juicy Jincey, the lesbian pornographer, talked about making herself an icon. One of the things she touched on was the importance of authenticity in social marketing. It rang true for me, as I definitely think I connect more with the authors and bloggers who are clearly being “themselves” and less with the more glossed over, professional ones where you can’t get a real read on them.
Social media and marketing for authors is one way we sell books–getting our names out there, making the rounds, tweeting, blog posting, Facebooking. It can also be personally rewarding. We meet real friends and make genuine connections online, we support each other, and we express our true selves (which, as erotic authors, we may not be able to do elsewhere).
But it can turn into a timesuck, keeping us from the writing that pays the bills, distracting us from our home and family time.
Obviously, like anything, it’s about balance. But how do you decide where to place your energy and when to pull back? When do you take shortcuts and when do you give it your full, undivided attention?
I’m okay with shortcuts on Twitter. I feel like it suits the nature of Twitter– you’re just broadcasting to a moment in time, hoping someone picks up your tweet. Sort of like scattering seeds in the garden, it’s important to overplant, knowing many of the seeds will not take. For that reason, I use automated services like Bufferapp to tweet my books throughout the day, and Triberr to share my blog posts. I also have Facebook automatically tweet my posts, but I do not do the reverse.
But what about book launches? How do you get out everywhere at once to drive those initial sales which set the Amazon recommendations necessary for selling a lot of books?
I had five books release in three months in 2014. Obviously, that’s nuts. The last one was The Bossman, the book that won the Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author contest. It came out the week I returned home from attending Eroticon 2014 in Bristol. It was also the week of my birthday, I had jet-lag, and was catching up with my children, clients and life after being away.
I’d made some fabulous connections in Bristol, and both Kay Jaybee and KD Grace were sweet enough to invite me to guest blog on their sites. I whipped out guest posts and sent them off, while I hopped the on hamster wheel and ran all over social media land, tweeting, blog posting, Google Plus-ing, Reddit-ing, Facebooking, then raced back at night to pop on and respond to any comments on their blogs.
When a couple weeks passed and I caught my breath, I looked back and realized I had not been “present” at all with my hostesses or their blogs. They were so generous to open their blogs to me, and I did a drive-by.
Big picture, no harm done. But authentic? Not really.
Lily Harlem then invited me to post on the Brit Babes site and requested something that would promote conversation.
Aha! What a concept. Actually engaging with my audience in an authentic way! I wrote a post on Spirituality and the Sexual Kink and genuine conversation did result. It made me realize that getting on the hamster wheel of promo posting does not really encourage genuine encounters with anyone.
Recently, a fellow spanking romance author and friend Celeste Jones opted for a “staycation” blog tour for her latest release. I thought it made perfect sense. She knew she would be welcome on the other spanking authors’ blogs, but she also knows that we have essentially the same audience. She saved us all the effort and inauthenticity and just posted the excerpts on her own blog. I thought it was brilliant.
But we can’t always stay home or we’ll never meet anyone new. So what’s the answer? Here’s my latest rule:
If it feels good, do it. If it feels like rolling a stone uphill, skip it.
No one wants to read something you threw together because you had to, so don’t bother.
[Tweet “Wait till you actually have something to share, and when you do, really be there to engage.”]
If you’re not feeling it, schedule those auto-tweets on Bufferapp or Hoot Suite and mail it in! 🙂
Find Renee Rose online:
Thanks for this post, I’m still trying to figure this stuff out. This was really helpful. I need to set up twitter and learn how to make it auto post.
Thanks Rayanna. Holler if you have trouble. Anyone on the Spanking Fiction FB group can help you out (or message me). 🙂
“If it feels good, do it.” I think those are words to live by! As always, you make these things sound so simple. I agree, I like the authentic posts and sort of feel like I am putting out a bunch of stuff no one wants to read when I am all promo and no personality.
Yes, and sometimes you’re too trained to be “personality”! That’s when I think it’s better to just skip it.
Maybe I am allowed to add something from a (male) readers POV. The bogposts I have been calling Look who we have here today! X is here to tell us about her new book Y. Three lines and this is the blurb.
I don’t read them. I think few people do. It’s like the first obligatory comment: Thank you for having me today!
The interviews how the book was made, was is hard to write, did you write it against a deadline and worked until late, are the characters special to you and why? Those are the stories that make me go to amazon.
The dillema is clear. The solution also. Stay close at heart.
Thank you for a wonderful column,
Of course you’re allowed to add a comment. You reinforce my sense, which is that readers don’t connect to blather…
loved this post! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Katherine! 🙂
Glad my laziness could inspire you. 🙂
I like Han’s point about sharing the process of writing the book or other aspects that make it more personal and the readers can feel some connection with the author. Maybe it’s just me (see lazy comment above) but I have trouble keeping all the authors straight in my mind. I assume this is because so few have photos up (and I don’t either) so I can’t picture the person in my mind when I’m thinking about them or what they wrote. Therefore, some sort of personal (though not TMI) sharing makes it easier to connect.
Your laziness is stunningly inspiring…
Yep -if it feels good, do it, if not skip it. When I invite people onto my blog, I do it with the ‘it’s not big deal if you don’t feel like posting’ and I am easier to say no thanks these days. I think it’s just what you said: be comfortable with what feels right and follow your instincts.
But I also have a question: how do you say no if someone asks to come onto your blog but it might not fit for you or your blog?
Ooh, you would drop a tough one on me, wouldn’t you? Um…I think it’s fine to refer them onto a better choice for them…
Thanks hun- great post! (As was the one at my place) xxx
I have no idea why your name is crossed out above. I will try to fix it– LOL!! sorry!
I find myself always wishing there were more hours in the day. I started writing because I love it. When all the other stuff gets too much I pull back now a bit too. It’s easy to get lost in it all and forget why we’re here in the first place.That being said, sometimes I could pull my finger out and get a bit more organised lol
I get lost really easily! I swear authorship and social marketing have made me incredibly ADD!!
I love the interaction and support in our writing community, Renee. It can be distracting, but at the same time it adds texture to our mostly solo life.
Great idea of the “staycation” blog tour 😉
Yes, absolutely! I have made some incredible friends and feel very supported. We are blessed by social media in that way!!