Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 2)

Even God created man to be noticed, he told himself.

This is the second post in a thread on author marketing metrics, specifically about some fascinating advice I got through a Facebook group (that spawned these posts). Part 1 provided a cantankerous but realistic intro to the subject of author marketing metrics.

What follows is someone’s sincere advice broken down one item at a time because it makes it easier to isolate assumptions and test rigorously.

The key to using Twitter is to get noticed. – Read no further if getting noticed is your endgame. You want to get noticed to sell books? That I get. You want to get noticed to schedule more signings? That I get. You want to get noticed for the sake of getting noticed? Do something stupid on Youtube. It’s easier and might be fun.

My point is getting noticed whiteout a reason to get noticed is (to me) foolish. You waste time and money. Using myself as an example, I’m not on Twitter to get noticed. But I never joined any social network to get noticed.

So first, figure out why you want to get noticed. What’s your endgame?
Continue reading “Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 2)”

Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 1)

Tanri bile farkedilmek için insani yaratmis, kendini anlatmis

Have you written a book? Do you market it?

Extremely important question that, “Do you market it?”, because if you market it then you want to know which marketing is effective (yes, we’re back to the ROI discussions).

Knowing which marketing is effective involves numbers. Not “Look what I can do!” but “This number tells us something. We may not like what it tells us but it’s telling us something we can use to do better.”

You may be spending money on things but that’s not marketing. Example: My tweets. I tweet for fun. It’s a relaxation for me, something to do when I need a break from writing, and it probably shows. I long ago gave up believing I would sell books via Twitter. A few here and there, sure, but to make that a profit center?

I don’t have that kind of time.

More correctly, the time necessary to turn Twitter into a profit center takes too much time away from my writing. I want to improve my writing. I can be a crappy author and a great social marketer, a mediocre author and a mediocre social marketer, a dynamite author and a crappy social marketer.

I’ll take Door #3, Monty! And I must be doing something right because Mary Elizabeth Jackson said in Writers’ Corner Live’s interview with Sergio Troncoso “Joseph’s a great author. You have to look him up” (it’s up around 30m49s) and she talks to lots of authors so she should know!

Caveat Emptor Continue reading “Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 1)”

Social Media Demands

In all things, only what brings you joy

Another author recently wrote me “I am struggling, not without hope, to get over being overwhelmed by social media demands. A great tool, but where do you find the time to work on your writing?”

The answer to this question has long intrigued me. Especially when several people comment on my social expertise.

My first thought is, Moi? Surely you jest.

Several authors tell me they put as much time into their social marketing as they do in their writing. I’ve read some of their work.

I totally agree they put as much if not more time into their social marketing as they do in their writing. It shows. I want to ask “Do you want to be liked or do you want people to like your work?”

I mean, you can drown in the crap that’s out there now. One fellow asked me to write a review of his book. I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. I declined and politely suggested he get an editor to go review it. He already had an editor. Two, in fact, and a story coach and a publisher.

Really? And your book still sucks this much? Amazing.

For myself, craft is everything. I want my writing to stop people in their tracks. I want their world to go away and my world to take precedence. Could be why reviews of my work include statements about missing bus stops, staying up through the night reading, things like that. One person, at a recent reading, commented that my subject matter was painful but the writing pulled them right into the story. Yes!

So social marketing comes second or third or forty-fifth to me. I don’t do it every day.

I also have another rule for social marketing; enjoy it. If you’re going to do it, enjoy it. Make it pleasurable. Do it to give yourself and others a smile.

Here’s what I suggested when asked:
I only go social when I need a break from my writing. To me, developing my craft and producing product (stories, et cetera) is everything. I believe that producing quality work causes everything else to happen, so developing my craft comes first.
Sometimes I need a break. Maybe I’m stuck on a plot point, maybe a character isn’t behaving, maybe I’m just tired of developing a storyline. Okay, go online and say hello to a few folks.
I also have a core belief that we’re here to help each other succeed, that a success for any one of us is a success for all of us, so I trumpet others’ successes as much if not more than my own.
So work on your craft first. Go social when you need a break, need to warm up, something like that.

Behavioral economists reading this will go all blathery about altruism, freeloaders, cheaters, et cetera.

Don’t waste your time. I wrote that I do it when I need a break and because I enjoy seeing people succeed; a rising tide kind of thing and maybe they’ll remember me when… So much for altruism. I’m not looking for reciprocity. So much for freeloaders and cheaters. Besides, I reward people who help me – I promote them through my mailing lists – so freeloaders and cheaters die off quickly.

May not be the best strategy. Works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you.

Rita Mae Brown’s “Starting from Scratch”

A Writer’s Mechanic’s Manual for Any Car on the Road

Okay, first thing and before anything else, Get This Book!

I don’t care where you are in your writing career, Rita Mae Brown’s Starting from Scratch will give you a chuckle (several hundred, probably) and clarify things that were not only muddy, but had been pushed aside because they were just too damn hard to figure out.

Worry no more, Rita’s got you covered.

I didn’t know who Rita Mae Brown was until a friend suggested I give her a read. This was back in the early-mid 1980s. He thought she was brilliant and hilarious.

That didn’t tempt me.

Then he told me she could benchpress 225#.

Yes, I was that much of an assh?le (may still be) that that caught my interest.

But I didn’t pick up one of her books (that I remember) until my first go-round as a writer. That book being Starting from Scratch.

Reading the book recently, it’s obvious I had read it at least once before; there were highlights in it. There were highlights of concepts I remember, if not exact phrasings. Truth be told, I was probably unprepared for the book when I first read it (my copy was published in Feb 1988). I’m glad I kept it around.

Starting from Scratch is a mechanic’s manual of the English language. Brown explains the purpose of first v third person POV with duh! level examples and lots of them. Ditto subjunctive case (trust me, you need to read this section). Ditto strong v weak verbs (another must read). Imagine someone showing you a crescent wrench and a 9/16″ box-end, showing you they can do the same thing, then demonstrating why one works better on these types of nuts, the other works better on those types of nuts.

Her Exercises chapter…remember what I wrote above about being impressed by her bench? Here’s your cardio and resistance training in one incredible package.

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Con Notes Part 3 – Swag

Not stolen, not poo, and make sure it delivers an ROI

The word swag has an interesting etymology; it’s a mafia term for stolen loot.

Do you offer swag at your author signings and such? Do you think of yourself as a fence for stolen goods?

I’m more familiar with the term tchotchkes than “swag”. Swag may be a neologism or an industryism, and it’s all the same thing; trinkets to get people to your table. If you’ve ever gone to an industry (not book industry) show and heard somebody say, “You have to go to X’s booth. They have great…” then you’ve heard a comment about trinkets, tchotchkes, swag. The word “tchotchkes” is Yiddish and can mean “an attractive, unconventional woman” or “an inexpensive showy trinket”.

So why not just call them “trinkets”? Perhaps because of tchotchkes’s other, slang usage, often by eastern European grandmothers and to describe those incredible newborn poos in diapers. Cute, maybe once, but really you just want to get rid of it.

There was a woman who called herself “The Queen of Swag”. She was on a panel about self-marketing. I’d previously seen her table.

Yes, swag she had. Flyers, notebooks, coffee cups, pens, pencils, stickynotes, bookmarks, candy, spinners, tops, dolls, keychains, flashlights, shopping bags, tshirts, necklaces and the list goes on.

I have no idea what her book was or what it was about because I didn’t see it on her table. Maybe it was a book on swag?
Continue reading “Con Notes Part 3 – Swag”