Tag Archive | social media

Why you Must Monitor Comments to your Posts on Social Media Sites

hesaidwhatLet’s start with this provocative statement. THERE ARE CRAZY PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD. No, really. There are. And there is no better way to see them than on the internet.

I’ve never met a medium that allows virtual strangers to post things that should a) never be mentioned in public b) can be so viciously mean that you would never say these things live to someone’s face or c) show their absolute ignorance and insensitivity on a topic.

I read comments and look at what people post all the time and I’m floored that the majority of the world really does think differently than I do. (I’m not claiming to be the “be all, end all” but I think I’m sort of normal). But, it scares me that there’s so many people that do not share my same values and beliefs. And you never quite know who they are. Most seem like regular people who we stand next to in line, live next door to and we never know what really lies in their souls.

But the ones that post, we do. So, when you post you must monitor the comments that might come in. Thankfully, most of the time the comments to my posts that take a strange turn are just plain odd. Google+ is my biggest issue. I’ll do a post about writing, about anything, and the comments I get have nothing to do with anything. Here are some recent examples.

Post: “”Writer’s Block… It’s okay to take a break… Really.” Let’s chat at my blog: https://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/writers-block-its-okay-to-take-a-break-really/
#writersblock #gardening #creativity 

Comment: “if wont know m man i was his wife at one time he is a woman beaterand he get off on ithechace woman dos dope rock ciccan is his couse”

WHAT? What in the world is this person thinking? Why would they post this and take the time to comment on my post? I have since deleted the comment. I don’t even know if it’s spam or if this person is just highly under the influence or simply can’t spell and has issues.

POST: A video post about a little boy buying food for a homeless man at Waffle House: What we can learn from a 5 Year Old – Be kind, not everyone has what we have and it only takes a little.”

Comment: “Sorry, Good Luck.” 

WHY is this man sorry? Why say this? It’s not even relevant.

POST: “Why I Wrote a Horror Anthology.” It’s time to get all those short stories together and out of your computer… https://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/why-i-wrote-a-horror-anthology/

COMMENT: The Ricket Row of any anthology of any horror and of deciding, which to publish from my own personal collection or anthology is a horror of its own and can be quite pathetically disturbing in its own nature, and as to why, perhaps some would never disguise that true reason.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Is he trying to show his erudition and be esoteric? I think he’s trying to engage me in a conversation about his own personal experiences but it’s so hard to figure out what he wants me to respond to.

POST: I will never let age be a factor in getting in the way of my dreams…#perseverance #dreaming
90This was a photo of a man in his 90’s writing his first best seller.

Comment. (There are two separate ones from the same guy.) “Zack the ru .U” and “Download google play”

WHY would he take the time to comment on this? Why? Even if he were bored, what is the point? Not to mention that nearly 40% of the posts will have a reply comment of “Hi, Ur Beutifil, Hi Friend, Ur Hair is nice, I want to %^&% you.” Delete, delete, delete (well, I keep the “hi’s” but I don’t respond hi back or like it.)

So, go through your social media now and again and make sure that nothing in there is irrelevant, too ridiculous or offensively blasphemous so that when people do go and comment, they don’t see these things in the thread. I’m all for free speech, but not on my dime.

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And the Winners of my Social Media Contest Are…

What a fun contest that was! For the past month, I asked readers to upload a photo of themselves with my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU and put it on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the Hashtag #xanaduquest. Then, on 2/21 I randomly chose five winners to receive a signed hardcopy of the sequel, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, which is launching next week on 2/28. For just a bit more fun, I uploaded a bunch of the contestant’s photos to my webpage for a super cool “Fan Shout-Out.” I won’t lie… I clicked on my own webpage a few times a week just to look at it. 🙂 I still have it up, so feel free to check it out here at http://www.elysesalpeter.com

So, the winners, chosen by a third-party, and in no particular order are….

collageinstagram

Congratulations! If the lovely winners will please contact me via my contact page here: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact-me.html and give me your address, I will mail you a copy of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB. Anyone else that wants to get on my newsletter for new releases can fill out their information here as well.

kelsey covers

If you’d like to purchase THE HUNT FOR XANADU, I’ve dropped the price to $2.99 and you can get it here:

US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

The book is also available around the globe and in ibooks, too.

Thanks to everyone that entered – it was so much fun and I really appreciate all of you. Catch you next week at the launch and happy reading!

Social Media – It’s Not A One Size Fits All World

one sizeYou see a lot of people on social media posting the same thing over and over, across multiple platforms. It could be book links, or promotional blogs, or here’s what I made for dinner, or the same rant about the world. You know, the tweeter who only posts his books and then on google+ does the same thing. The FB friend who only posts photos of her daughter and discusses her beauty over and over. There are definitely people that after awhile when I see their posts, I cringe, because I know what’s coming. You don’t want to become that poster.

The fact is, social media is not a “one size fits all” world. People go to social media for different things, the same way readers love different genres, and magazines are niche. Here’s a quick synopsis of some of the social media outlets and what their participants are looking for.

Twitter: A great place for small little 140 character tweets. You can do a book promo, ask a quick question, do a cute game – but people want something quick, fast and then… you’re outta there. I will tell you – consensus is if you only post book promo tweets you are assured of getting blocked fast. Do two to four a day, but no more and spend more time interacting with people or doing different kinds of posts. And be nice on twitter – I can’t tell you how many people think this anonymous world gives people the right to be mean. Arguing with people on a public forum like twitter is never a good way to make friends.

Facebook: To me this is a more personal place where it’s totally acceptable to talk about your family, what you ate, things you did, ask questions, polls, play games. People expect it. Just mix it up. And, if you expect anyone to see your posts and comment on them, you have to interact with people. There is no way around it. You don’t comment or like any of your friend’s posts, Facebook will shove you down in analytics and folks won’t see your post for hours.

Instagram: This is really Facebook, but in pictures. People don’t really want to talk on there – they just want to post photos. Comments are ok, but liking their pictures is what people are going for – to show you enjoyed their photo post.

Google+: My newest obsession. This is different – people want to read a bit more content and it’s appropriate to give them a bit more – not an entire novel’s worth, but definitely leave more than you would on a tweet. Photos are great on here, but explanations of why that photo is there, or why you are sharing a particular link, is even better. Add hashtags so that google analytics can pick you up. This is a great link on How to Make an Awesome Google Post: http://dustn.tv/perfect-post

In every one of these mediums above, conversations are key. Answer people’s questions, comment on blogs. In every one of these, continuous and sole self promo to excess is bad. Unless you are on a “Facebook brag group” no one, including your good family and friends, wants to see a book promo post over and over. I heard this cool ratio to do FOUR fun tweets/posts to every ONE promo post. You still need to promote your books, but it shouldn’t be every single post.

Love to hear what you think!

Virtual Friends… Are they Real Friends? You Bet!

Like to Read? Join a virtual book club.

Like to Read? Join a virtual book club.

One of the most amazing things to come out of this explosion of social media is the friendships that you can make. We teach our children that you have to be careful on the internet. That these “friends” they meet on chat, gaming or fan boards may not be who they think they are. They could be trolls, adults posing as kids, or just completely different personas. How you can’t give out personal information or passwords and that you must be very careful.

All of that is true. But we’re not 12 year old kids. We’re adults and we are on platforms where it becomes very easy to interact with a host of people based on our interests. While true that your first encounter with a virtual person may be fraught with the unknown, one of the wonderful things about social media is that you can regularly interact with these people and filter out the ones who are not who they say they are (or who you simply find you don’t bond with or share their values)

I’m on special Facebook groups filled with individuals who are on there based on our shared interests. Right off the bat I have something in common with these people and I’d call many of them friends. And some of them really good friends. These are people that if I’m frustrated or bored or just want to chat, I feel very comfortable simply IMing them and saying hello. If I need advice, I just do another message and lo and behold, they respond. We regularly play FB games as well and do the little chat sections there too. These people live all over the country – heck, some on the other side of the world, but I can call them friends.

On Twitter I get to interact with peeps on a whole different level. It’s usually funny little quips and comments back and forth. It’s very hard to be “intimate” in 140 characters, so you glean from a person just enough based on what they share. But after a few dozen interactions over months, you start to know people and can chat with them. That’s where specialized lists on twitter come in. You can select a smaller group of people and just visit those lists to see what they’re up to.

You see, each of us seeks things we might be missing in other areas of our lives. It’s why we have friends in the first place. We might have the one friend that likes to go out and party, we have the friend we can have private conversations with, the friend that likes to cook, the one that will let you cry on her shoulder and never judges. The friend that gives you the attention to simply speak to them about your feelings and they don’t walk away or do something else – the ones that make you feel valued and worthy and that what you have to say is important enough to give you the attention you deserve to simply listen. At least virtually. 🙂 Now, with social media, you have outlets for all these things.

So for people frustrated that they are not being heard in their personal lives, seek out new friends online. There is absolutely no reason in this day and age to remain sitting in your house alone with no one to talk to. While real life interaction is always preferred, this is a very fine second option. Find a like-minded Facebook group, go find a cool hangout on Google+, play games on FB, interact on Twitter. Respond to people. If you’re an author and want advice, there are literally thousands of authors on FB in groups – groups to tweet, groups for blogs, groups for advice. Do you love a certain writer? There are groups to obsessively drool over them. Do you like to cook? Are gluten-free? Groups for those. Just be aware, though. I’ve found on some groups the “flavor” of the people wasn’t to my personal liking. I’ve actually left some groups because they were filled with people with a different value system than I had. Or they were angry people, or complainers. You see, a virtual group really is like real life cliques. They morph into their own category of people and you could choose to remain with them or leave. The great thing about social media is it’s a simple “stop notifications” button, leave group or just delete and you’re done and ready to find another group that better fits your needs.

Yes, you need to be careful, yes you must remember that sometimes people are not how they appear, but after a while, just like in real life, you will be able to recognize the real friends you are making. So your lesson for today is go out right now, type in your hobby in a search button and find a new friend. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Love to hear your thoughts.

Public Versus Private – How Much is Too Much?

publicThis is one of those conundrums indie authors face. How much of yourself do you keep personal and how much do you allow to be public? When you are publishing books without the backing of a big house and you are doing all the social media yourself, you need to continually find ways to be in the public’s eye and brand yourself. This means, in my opinion, you need to use your real name (or the name on the cover of your books). The reason for this is that you must make it easy for readers to find you, no matter what social media platform you are on.

The question is, how much is public versus private? I have a FB page, Twitter, WordPress Blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, Linkedin, etc., and all of them have my real name. Each of these mediums also has a bio about me and while I try to keep them consistent, I also try to switch them up based on the particular medium I’m in. Twitter has me as an author, black belt and gastronaut (shock food fan), while other sites I chat up my gardening skills and others I talk about my pet ferret. On LinkedIn I actually downplay my writing and concentrate on my sales day job because I do have to make a living.

So, the question is, how much information is okay to share? I’ve heard readers don’t want to see you just preaching to them to buy your book. Nowadays with the ease of the internet and free knowledge about everything under the sun, they personally want to KNOW you. They want to see what you like, how you think and sometimes, just want to chat. I know that when I reach out to an author, and sometimes “famous ones,” that I get a real kick when they write me back. I’ve had personal conversations with a few “famous” thriller authors on FB and on twitter – not to mention probably a thousand other amazing indie writers on both mediums. I love learning a bit more about them, knowing what makes them tick and why they write what they write. Sometimes people have bought my books just because they know me personally or know me via my virtual persona.

I try to steer clear of discussing religion, politics, sex and personal finances. I also don’t list my home address or personal phone numbers and while I may discuss my family, I try to keep most private information private. Seriously, there are some things people don’t need to know. But besides those small things, everything else should be fine. Think of every post passing “the mom test.” If you won’t get a call from your mother about your post, then you should be fine!

Love to hear your thoughts on this. And for those interested in joining my email newsletter list, please sign up here. I will be offering a free short story in the next few days and information about the new book release of FLYING TO THE FIRE – book #2 in my YA Deaf thriller series. http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact.html

I also am doing a Goodreads Giveaway of my Buddhist themed thriller, THE HUNT FOR XANADU. Please consider entering or putting my novel on your shelf. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/96220-the-hunt-for-xanadu

Twitter: Why it Does More Than Simply Sell Books

Come follow me @elysesalpeter

Come follow me @elysesalpeter

Today’s blog is about the power of twitter. Many writer’s only media platforms include using Twitter and Facebook to promote their books. I never see them talking to people, just at people, and I think that’s a huge mistake and missed opportunity. These same authors get frustrated when they don’t get a lot of sales with this strategy and they come to the conclusion that “twitter really doesn’t help with book sales, at all.” I tend to agree, to a point. I believe twitter offers writers amazing exposure and I believe it holds the key to so much more that they haven’t even explored yet. Here’s some interesting things I do with twitter that have nothing to do with me just posting a “read my book” link.

#1) WRITING GAMES: On Fridays there is this awesome cool hashtag called #FP, which stands for Friday Phrases. What you do is simply type that hashtag in the tweet and WRITE a short story all in that same tweet. It is so much fun and offers a lovely way to get the creative juices flowing. And you’ll read other great entries and you can comment on them, building some cool relationships. Authors love nothing more than feedback and they appreciate it so much when you comment. Here are the two I offered this week:

#FP The child pulled her Grandpa along. “Just a little further Papa.” She led him to an open grave. He shook at her next words. “We’re home.”

“What’re you chewing?” I asked my 3 yr old.” “Orange gummies.” He licked his lips. “Mommy!” My 10 yr old cried. “Where’s my goldfish?” #FP

What’s great is that if people following the thread like it, they comment, you get retweeted and you might gain some new followers, too! Super fun. If you’d like to learn more about Friday Phrases, click here: http://fridayphrases.com/

#2) REVIEWS: This is harder, and more time consuming, but I look at all the threads and see the reviews that bloggers do. If I think they tend to review books like mine, I’ll start my research. I will follow them, then go to their webpages and start the process of writing them an email to see if they’d like to review one of my books. While time-consuming, it’s a great way to reach people I never would have met before and get an honest review from someone validated.

#3) FOOD: I love to talk about food. I wanted to do something different once for the holidays and the most amazing thing happened when I posted “Help, I need suggestions.” There are people from ALL OVER THE GLOBE on twitter and one woman told me her grandma’s recipe for a holiday dish called “Lobio,” which is Georgian Green Beans in Walnut Sauce. I made it for Passover and it was SO GOOD. Here’s the recipe to serve 6:

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh green beans cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 pound light-skinned walnuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt

Directions

1. Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the green beans, return to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to set the color and stop the cooking. Reserve.
2. Place the walnuts and garlic into the bowl of a food processor and puree to a paste. Transfer to a medium-size bowl. Add the onion, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, paprika, and vegetable stock and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Reserve.
3. Arrange the green beans on a serving platter. Drizzle decoratively with the walnut sauce and garnish with additional paprika for color.

#4) SLANG: In one of my books, there is an older gentlemen from the UK. I have been researching British slang and including it in the book. I then appealed to my #UK tweeps and started asking questions such as “Can my character say Gawd Blimey and Bloody Hell?” Or “What does Stone the Crows” mean? I can’t tell you how many people chimed in with what are BETTER ways to say what I’m trying to get across. How some of my phrases were just regional or simply not used any longer. What an amazing resource these people were and I never would have gotten these honest answers in a quicker fashion. I can read as many internet British Slang sites as I want, but when I have someone living there, right now, telling me “how it really is” – that is invaluable.

#5) INTERVIEWS: I had an author interview right on twitter! How crazy is that? #writerskaboodle will help you do an author interview and for 1/2 hour straight people come on, along with the moderator, and ask questions about you and your books. What a great way to answer your reader’s questions, live, via tweets.

#6) COMMUNITY: That’s right. Community – this wonderful world is all about people engaging with each other. This morning I posted about how I had no idea what to post for my blog today. Within minutes, people from all over the globe offered suggestions and I realized, “OMG, twitter really isn’t all about selling my books,” it’s about building a community of like-minded friends who can all engage and help each other.

So, my advice to writers is get out of the mindset that you are only using twitter to hustle your books. Have fun with it. Engage your followers. Ask questions that you really want the answers to. You will be surprised at how much more you get out of this wonderful resource.

If any of you use twitter differently, I’d love to know! And please come on over and follow me at http://www.twitter.com/elysesalpeter

Twitter – does it help book sales? I’m on the fence…

twitterLet’s talk twitter. I’ve been told that in order for twitter to be effective, you need to post often. You need to be specific about your posts, the links, the #hashtags, you need to create conversations, you need to gain followers, you need to respond to questions, you need to provide relevant content and direction. But at the end of the day, all authors want to know is… will twitter help me effectively sell books?

I’m undecided on this. I’ve been steadily building my twitter platform and now have over 16K followers. What that means is that at any given moment, if any of my tweeps (my affectionate term for followers) are actively on twitter at that time, they’ll see a tweet I’ve posted AT THAT TIME. It’s just a momentary snapshot. If everyone has thousands of twitter followers, how in the world is my little tweet effective for anything?

That said, I regularly tweet authors, book promoters, reviewers and any other relevant content that catches my eye that I think other people will be interested in hearing about. I try to join in conversations and as a result, when I do have an announcement about a book, I see my tweets “retweeted” into the hundreds of thousands. Sort of a “thank you” from other folks for helping them out as well. Ten years ago, this type of “helping and sharing” on social media, from virtual strangers, just wasn’t heard of, so to me, what a great way to reach a massive amount of people I never would have “met” in my current circles. (and it wasn’t heard of, because twitter hadn’t even been invented yet, having only come on board in 2006).

So you’d think I’d get more sales from all these tweets and retweets, right? Again, I’m undecided. And because I don’t necessarily, at least right now, think Twitter helps with book sales, I use twitter differently. For me, it’s a “means to an ends.” I search and voyeur twitter voraciously. I find people who are book reviewers in my category, and then I go to their web pages and query them to see if they’d like to review my books. One of my novels has a deaf main lead, so I go to deaf sites, then find their Facebook pages, like them on FB, then post on their page and THEN I look to see what other relevant companies I should also be following. I go back and forth and it can take an enormous amount of time. But, it’s opened up a lot of avenues for me. Using this technique, my books promotionally are on other people’s blogs that I never would have gotten on before, I’ve gotten interviewed by bloggers I never would have met, been included on various websites, and I’ve gotten followers interested in my work. I use twitter to help me find other avenues of promotion, not just to tweet. That’s almost secondary. (which is a strange thing to say… tweeting is secondary…hmmm)

One thing to note. I find myself caught up in social media so much that it can take hours out of my day. And those hours are cutting into my writing time. My hope is that by steadily building up my marketing platform while I’m getting new books out into market, that eventually this “means to an ends” will become a “sales to an end.”

We’ll see about that. But, in the meantime, if you’d like to follow me on twitter, please come on over at http://www.twitter.com/elysesalpeter. And, send me a tweet and let me know you saw me here – I’ll definitely respond! 🙂