by Camela Thompson
I honestly wasn't sure where I stood on social media as an author before last week. I have been on Facebook for years to stay connected to friends and family. Obviously, there was a perceived benefit on a personal level. I like sharing photos and seeing what other people are up to. After using social media in the traditional sense for so many years, it was hard for me to understand how a small business or an author with zero connections would even get started.
I'm sure I've made some mistakes, but I researched before joining. I knew to keep my profile picture consistent, develop a tag line and description, never blast direct messages, and not talk too much about my book. After months of usage, I could attribute one sale to my new Twitter account, but most of my early sales were a result of my personal Facebook friends. Not a very strong argument for dedicating hours to social media, is it?
Everything changed when I decided to put my book on sale.
My publisher makes it easy for their authors to network. We have a private page where we can announce sales and new launches with requests for social media shares. When authors interact with me on Twitter or retweet my posts, I try to return the favor. I have a modest network, but there are several people I have met online who are really cool. When I had my own sale to promote, the first day I relied on paid and free promotion services. I managed to crawl up to the number 11 spot in my categories on Amazon (so cool!). It motivated me to ask my publisher network and Twitter friends to spread the word about my sale. I was surprised by the number of people who helped. My twitter notifications blew up. My sales were boosted, too. All of those months building relationships paid off.
Social Media does not work if you join and only expect to post promotional material about your book. Use it to network and connect to your reader base. Participate in things like #MondayBlogs, #WWWBlogs, and other chat events on Twitter. Read other people's posts and learn what works for them. Find book clubs on Facebook for your genre and participate in conversations about books that aren't your own. Author takeovers on Facebook are a lot of fun. Attend a couple and take notes - which posts get the most interaction? The goal is to form each post with a call to action or question to get more opportunity for reader interaction.
These things may not lead to immediate sales, but being kind to others and talking about similar interests lead to good things.
Have you had positive interactions with readers or authors on social media? Are there things you appreciate or wish people did less as it pertains to authors?
Because it is the season for holiday cheer, I am sharing information on a bunch of other giveaways, a grand prize, and a chance to win an original signed sketch of Sean Howard from All the Pretty Bones. Even Santa would be impressed by all of the gift giving to be had in this post!
As you may have seen on this blog or in Facebook author take overs, I like to draw my characters by hand. I would like to give you the opportunity to win a signed original sketch of Sean Howard from All the Pretty Bones.
For the original signed drawing of Sean Howard, enter here:
Haven't met Sean Howard yet? All the Pretty Bones is on sale for only $0.99 through the evening of 12/18! Click here to check it out on Amazon.
There is a giant giveaway going on right now! Authors, publishers, and book bloggers have signed up to give their readers free stuff. Click here or on the banner at the top of this post to get a list and links to all of the participants.
In addition to the individual giveaways, there is a grand prize you can enter here:
Thank you for stopping by my website today! There are some great prizes out there, so be sure to share them with your friends. Good luck!
by Camela Thompson
A book that is predominately a thriller with paranormal content and elements of romance has a target demographic of women in their mid-20's to late-40's. When I heard that my 90-year-old grandfather was going to read my book, I'll be honest: I was worried. He doesn't like movies or television shows that are violent or have sexual content. He doesn't even tolerate strong language. How could he possibly like a thriller with vampires and sex? When my mom called me with updates, I would yell "make him skip chapters 46 and 47!" I could just picture him getting to that part of my book and throwing it down in disgust.
He kept reading. He read ALL of the book. And he actually liked it.
Photo on the right was taken by Cecillia B Photography - we won't talk about how many years lapsed between them
I'll never forget the first time I saw him after he finished my book. He picked it up and started quoting his favorite lines. I nearly fell over.
I'm not delusional. I know a lot of this has to do with him being proud of the accomplishment rather than actual enjoyment of the content. Except... this is the same man who wanted to know why I didn't get an A if I came home with an A-. If he didn't like it, he'd still be proud of me. But I would know about it.
When I asked if my grandfather would like to beta read for book two, he signed up. Getting the first third of the book back was exciting. Grandpa is a grammar ninja and has a knack for remembering the rules that escape me. What impacted me even more was that he was willing to support me as a writer.
In an author chat, a person posed the question: "Who would you want to read your book?" Some people chose a famous author, but many listed family members who were either unwilling or unable to read their book. I feel so lucky to have a grandfather who is willing to wade into the paranormal to support his granddaughter's writing.
Do you have a book related moment you shared with family members that strengthened your bond?
by Camela Thompson
I apologize if this post rambles, but I'm a little heartbroken. It has been a hard week for our family. My mom spent Thanksgiving morning at the vet, and learned their 9-year-old Bernese mountain dog had a mass in his spleen the size of a soft ball. Bogey was a sweet big boy, and had issues off and on for years with wobblers. The day after Bogey was gone, Champ's left rear leg began dragging while he walked. He had started standing on the tops of his feet several months ago, but this was different. The degenerative myelopathy progressed quickly over the weekend, and he was shutting down. On December 2nd we had to say goodbye to him.
This was taken over a month ago. Degenerative myelopathy and other neurological
conditions can cause dogs to roll their feet over and not recognize when
they are standing on the tops of them.
My husband is still surprised he is gone. This had been coming on for months, and I had taken him to the vet the week before knowing something was more wrong. My husband is an optimist and this was his first dog. Champ was also perky and aware until that last day. He was interested in food, wanted to be with the family, and still enjoyed his car rides. When a dog is near the end, they typically avoid food and family, and begin to separate themselves from their family. Not Champ.
December 1 - Demanding a Biscuit
The single fear that haunted me the most over the last few months was that I wouldn't know when it was time. I was scared that I would hold on to Champ and let my adoration for him blind me to excessive pain. I didn't have to worry. Champ made it really clear when it was finally time, giving me that look as Lance tried to help him balance in the back yard. My dog was frustrated and uncomfortable, and he hated people hovering over him during his most private moments. More than that, he just didn't feel good. His organs were starting to shut down.
The end was peaceful. The vet was compassionate and went to great lengths to make sure Champ wasn't nervous, letting him stay with us in the car until the sedatives kicked in. He was happy and relaxed.
I miss him. He was so good at communicating - he would herd Lance into the kitchen when it was biscuit time (which was all the time if you asked Champ), let us know when it was meal time beginning at least thirty minutes before meal time, and he demanded car rides on Saturdays. I'm not sure how he always knew when it was Saturday - even when we were off work on Friday - but if he hadn't had his car ride by Sunday he would stand by the leash and stomp his foot while glaring at us. Champ wasn't perfect, but he tried to be. He didn't care for strangers or children, but was excellent with my nephew. He was wonderful with other animals and did a great job raising Bogey and tolerating our tyrant, Annie.
The holidays are a rough time of year for many of us. I was posting pictures of Champ and Bogey on Facebook, and saw that other friends were doing the same for husbands, friends, and siblings they had lost around this time of year. At first I felt a little guilty. How could I memorialize my dog while others have more significant losses to cope with? Then I realized that pain is pain. It's not the same, and that's okay. Holidays are a time to remember family and spend time with those who are still here. Please take a little extra time with yours - four-legged or otherwise.
by Camela Thompson
When I knew my first book was nearing its publication date, I made a decision to host a party to celebrate publishing a book rather than a traditional reading. A very small part of my motivation might have been my reluctance to talk to book stores about my first book without the ability to offer numerous reviews, but I could have gotten around that by doing the reading at a bar or coffee shop. I wanted to celebrate the achievement with my friends. For me, it was about the book, but the focus was on the accomplishment. The result was a great time, but I did learn a few lessons.
My favorite picture with my wonderful editor (and talented author) Patricia D. Eddy and the hilarious
Booktrope author of Zues is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, Michael G Munz
Scope Out the Location Before Hosting
We rented a room at a restaurant sight unseen. It turned out pretty well, but I didn't realize it wasn't wheel chair accessible until fifteen minutes before go time. The room was long and narrow and it made it a little difficult to walk around and socialize, but it worked out.
Order Lots of Books
I had forty people scheduled to attend, and we had about that many people pass through the event. Twenty books was not enough and I sold out quickly. It's a great problem to have, but there were a few more sales that could have been had if there were more books on hand. It was also a good thing my husband and I went into this expecting to spend way more than we could possibly generate in sales.
An Open Tab Means Less or No Profit
We decided to host the party at a restaurant that is known for catering to people with allergies. They specialize in Italian food and we decided to order primarily pizza, salads, and sides. We went into it knowing that we would spend far more than we would make, but we wanted a party.
If you want to make a profit, hold your launch in a bar or coffee shop and do not open a tab. The tab will get you more attendees - which is good! - but it will eat into your profit margin until there is none.
Bring Migraine Meds
Bring all the medications, actually. Publishing a book is very stressful even if it is exciting, and stress can trigger health issues. There's also Murphy's Law to consider. If you bring your medications, you probably won't need them.
Next time I will host a traditional reading, but I have zero regrets about this party. It was a tremendously good time and it was so great to see my friends. The amount of support everyone offered was amazing and I left feeling inspired to keep going. It was a truly wonderful experience.
Have you attended or hosted a launch party? What did you like or not like about the event?
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.