Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: social networking

Is #SocialMedia Really Good for #BookPromotion?


I’ve certainly gone out of my way over the last 5 years to figure out what might be called “Rational-Book-Promotion”

If I’d done every technique that’s been touted to give me millions of paying customers, I’d be dead from overwork—and I may not have any more sales than I do now

Plus, I’m a firm believer in giving my book away (as well as offering it for sale)—many are the folk who can get on-line but not buy stuff

One of the most rational posts I’ve done about advice for writers is Bad Advice for Writers = Most Advice for Writers.

And, one of the most honest posts I’ve done about book promotion is Authentic Book Promotion ~ Does It Sell?

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“There are many things an author can do to increase the likelihood that their book will sell.

“None of those actions will guarantee sales…

“Some writers think landing a traditional publishing deal will assure book sales.

“Not so…

“Perhaps, if you’re an extremely famous person, your book will sell—perhaps…”

And, one of the most penetrating posts I’ve done about authors and social media is Selling Your Soul With Social Media.

I quote a writer named Leo Babauta:

“Converting visitors into buyers is a soul-less use of your creative energy. Reject it, out of hand.”

“I find more value in creating something of value. I find influence a better metric than sales or traffic or reader numbers.”

“When everyone yells ‘Look at me!’, become quiet.”

“When others try to pull visitors to their sites, let people find you themselves.”

“When others brag of their success, let others laud you instead.”

Advice like that may take longer to “work” but the results will be solid and sound, you will still be yourself, and your conscience will be clear

Plus, concerning social media, it may not have the impact so many “experts” claim it does.

I direct you to an article entitled Majority of Links on Social Media are being Shared Without Users Actually Reading Them.

It deals with a study by Columbia University and the French National Institute.

The study is about sharing links to news stories; but, personally, I feel, if a user shares news links without reading what’s linked to; and, the practice is widespread; we might be able to get a hint about what folks who share writer’s links are doing, too

So, one finding from the study is that:

“…only two out of five people will click through and read the story from links on social media.

“The other three will share the story to their friends and followers without having ever read the story.”

One of the study’s co-authors said:

“This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

So, if this study was well-conducted with a significant base of data; and, if we can assume the activities portrayed actually do apply to social media links from writers, what kind of method is there for writers to generate a following (that doesn’t cost more than an internet connection and some time) that can be done rationally, sanely, and productively?

If you’re really serious about “getting the word out”, go read all my posts about Wattpad; then, give it an honest try—I’d say, about 5 months should show you what I’m talking about………

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Revisiting The #SocialEra


Doing Social Media or being present on a Social Network can be part of the #SocialEra.

Or, not

#SocialEra is the digital way to refer to some core ideas from Nilofer Merchant—“the Jane Bond of Innovation”.

I first wrote about Nilofer in my post, #SocialEra ~ The New Model for Book Promotion.

Two other posts about her ideas are:

The #SocialEra Is Much More Than Just “Social Media” . . .

How Do Writers Find Their “Voice”?

And, in an interview with Nilofer on Forbes, about her book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, the interviewer introduces herself with:

“I’ll admit it: I hate business books…There’s only so much ‘seamless leveraging of synergistic core competencies while maintaining brand integrity and mindshare in the value system of the new economy’ that I can take before the urge to set the book on fire becomes too great, and I risk violating deeply-held principles I have about book-burning.”

Then, before the interview-proper, she goes on to rave about Nilfoer’s book

Yes, Nilofer Merchant’s book can be called a “business book” and she is an Innovator who’s almost always talking about businesses.

So, some of you who are writers might wonder at my giving her so much space here (including videos in those past posts).

Well, I’m a writer and I can’t count the times I’ve learned something about how to write by paying attention to singers, painters, salespeople, religious figures, drunks in bars, and certain business people

Getting back to #SocialEra as it relates to Social Media (and “most” writers find “some” need to engage with Social Media), Nilofer has an article on her site called, IN A FRAGMENTED WORLD, GO DEEP, where she begins talking about using Twitter, then says:

“For an introvert like me, actually, it’s draining. It is the opposite of grounded connection. Online, I am never alone with my thoughts for a decent stretch of time. Even when I have an empty calendar, I can have activity going on because I allow Twitter to be in the background. At first, it was like music — nicely humming away but not distracting — but now I’m realizing it’s like a dinner party with each person getting louder and louder as the wine flows.”

A bit later in the article, she says:

“…you could do the opposite. You could go deep. You could be that voice that everyone listens to because when it speaks, it is so deep and rich that it’s worth slowing down to listen to. Sort of a Morgan Freeman voice, in the times of Justin Bieber bop. Maybe it will allow the light of an idea to be seen more clearly.”

Think that relates to writers and writing?

Sure, going deep with writing probably won’t help a writer become an overnight 50-Shades-of-Excitement success; but, it might help a writer’s work remain valuable far beyond their lifetime

And, in an article where she talks about the sacrifices necessary to accomplish something you’ve never done before, HOW TO TACKLE THE NEW THING, she says:

“…the gap between strategy and execution is a persistent one. It happens in organizations, it happens in our lives. In my 1st book (do you know about it? Published in 2010, it’s called The New How), I describe this gap as an ‘Air Sandwich’ – the persistent void between the big idea and the execution. I called it the Air Sandwich because all the stuff that matters — the thing that makes it complete — is missing. To fill it is about making the necessary tradeoffs, making tough decisions, and aligning resources. This is what I’m doing — though more slowly than I wish.”

Finally, I’ll share another video of Nilofer:

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The #SocialEra Is Much More Than Just “Social Media” . . .


[ this post is directed to writers but it can help Anyone who needs to overhaul their ideas about “business”…]

Regular readers have become aware of my difficulties with Social Media as a means of helping folks find my books

This blog is my main Author Platform and, as far as “doing social media”, I’m down to Google Plus; and, it never helps as much as attracting people through simple Internet searches

Some people Love using social media and I’ve worked to provide information here to help them —> past posts on social media, social networking, and author platform. [ You’ll see this post at all those links since I’m tagging it with all those terms :-)  Just scroll a bit to see all the other posts ]

However, there are issues and considerations far beyond posting updates on Facebook or Twitter for a self-published author like me (not to mention the issues and considerations of the harried authors who traditionally publish).

There are more books then ever before in human history and more of them will be completely forgotten then ever before, in spite of the long-term memory of the ‘Net

But there’s a woman referred to as the “The Jane Bond of Innovation”—Nilofer Merchant—and I posted a video of her talking about businesses going beyond just social media in the post, #SocialEra ~ The New Model for Book Promotion.

I focused that post on book promotion but Nilofer is proposing ideas for any business (and, yes, these days, sorry but, authors have to think about business).

So, to give you a hint for how to approach her ideas for business from the perspective of an author, hold on to your image of traditional publishing versus self-publishing and check out this quote:

“These organizations don’t operate like the powerful ‘800-pound gorillas’ of yesteryear—but instead act more like a herd of 800 gazelles, moving together across a savannah, outrunning the competition.”

And, even though she uses the word competition, her ideas are nowhere near the cut-throat competitiveness of the Traditional 800-pound-gorilla Publishers

I recently read Nilofer’s book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, and will share some of my favorite quotes:

[You can almost always plug in the word “author” for “company” and “reader” for “customer” and “book” for “product” and “publishing” for “manufacturing”…]

“…communities ‘made up of singularly unique individuals’ create value.”

“You no longer need to have a budget to deliver value.”

“Social purpose is a fundamental way to create value in the Social Era.”

“When a clear purpose is coupled with shared power, people can self-organize to reach a goal.”

“However much I’d like them to be, these ideas are not 100 percent neat and tidy; they are certainly not a formulaic or even a prescriptive set of ideas.”

“Connected people with shared interests and goals…create ‘virtuous circles’ that can produce returns for any company that serves their needs.”

“…a person or team anywhere in the world can create scale without being big.”

“…what makes a company great: customer insights and the ability to serve those via its own unique strategy (what only it can uniquely do through a combination of talent, culture, and purpose).”

“Social gives companies more control to operationally adjust their offers and create zealots by better collecting and amplifying even weak signals.”

“…platforms exist to allow community to fund expansion. When no one funds you, you know there’s no market for your idea. This changes more than the economic source. When a community invests in an idea, it also co-owns its success. In other words, it’s not just socially funded; it’s socially meaningful. And when products are crowdfunded, the ‘return’ is not just financial. When people are emotionally invested, they also want to contribute to the value equation.”

“When companies figure out how to shape their design, production, and manufacturing cycle from rigid planning and production systems to unique customer-driven experiences, they’ll design a way to respond in smaller bursts of more profitable cycles.”

“Organizations can be in a constant conversation to learn what is working and what is not, and adapt on the fly.”

“What is interesting about this approach is that no company has to get it right the first time; it just has to know how to learn and discover what works for growth. A firm that waits until it gets it right will actually be at a disadvantage.”

“The Social Era rewards those that can bring together a herd of gazelles by which they can be fast, fluid, and flexible. What we reward in the Social Era is being connected to customer insights and acting with relevance in what we produce and deliver.”

That last quote could be misinterpreted as authors communicating with their “herd” of readers and swiftly producing a series of formulaic genre books.

However, it’s possible for an author to work with readers and still produce unique and valuable literature; and, if you visit Nilofer’s site or read her book, you’ll see that she’s far from proposing we suck up to enervated consumers

Here’s a link to a Webinar of Nilofer talking about The Social Rules: Communication That Will Change Your Company.

And, here’s a short video with her talking about some of the human barriers to innovation:


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Letter from A Neglected Writer


The letter I’m sharing today is constructed from a composite of people I’ve known.

To Whom It May Concern

I’m very grateful to Mr. Zoltai for letting me share my situation in his blog.

I’m hoping some of his readers will share their knowledge and experience in the comments.

I’ll begin with a statement that takes a degree of courage to reveal—I want to be a writer.

I can, obviously, write words and sentences—perhaps even a decent paragraph or two.

But, I want to be a writer of stories and books.

A couple of my friends say I tell good stories.

They look like I’m affecting them when I share tales from my grandfather or things my mother’s done—things I feel many people would appreciate or even learn from.

I don’t want to write just biographical pieces, though.

I would hope I could use my imagination and stretch the adventures my grandfather incited, imaginatively expand on my mothers unusual experiences—create other characters, based somewhat on other members of my family and some created from whole cloth…

I feel I have a few plot situations that would bring these characters to life on the page.

I’ve begun some experiments lately where I imagine some challenge, like dealing with a power outage, and try writing out what some of these potential characters might do (I usually have to invent a few more characters to finish the scene).

So, I guess I can write and I know enough to know that I’d need to find an editor to make sure things are done in a way most people could relate to them.

My problem comes when I think about publishing and promoting books.

Yes, I need to take the time to write and rewrite enough till the story is alive then let the editor, hopefully, help make it better (yes, I do have the fear an editor would savagely attack my writing…).

But, even if I took the years it seems necessary to perhaps have a traditional publisher create my books, I know enough to feel the dread of somehow promoting the books, since even folks like Harper Collins or Penguin make authors do social media and such…

So, what am I hoping the readers of this blog can do for me?

First, share their experiences, not only with publishing and promotion, but also with how they get raw plot ideas to work with characters and how they get characters to create their own plots…

I admit I’m basically introverted—it took me three days to finish this letter—but I’ve heard many (most?) writers are very internal creatures.

I just begin to quiver inside when I imagine working with an editor.

And, I almost want to cry when I imagine the strain from working hard at socializing on the internet.

I have 1500 pages of material that might be able to be sculpted into a story, if a rough sculpture can then have additional stone applied to smooth out its arcs and curves…

You might ask why I don’t just use the Internet to learn what I should do.

I’ve tried but become confused and disheartened by the conflicting hype.

Perhaps you, the reader of this blog, could share your experience with me?

Perhaps you could address some of my fears?

Perhaps you could throw some light on the process of the writer after they feel brave enough to contact an editor?

More—perhaps you could guide me to those on the Internet who aren’t slaves to the Internet?

~~~ N.W.

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Google Plus and The Author Platform


For folks new to this blog, I’m a self-published author who’s a maverick when it comes to promoting my work.

The most obvious example is in the side-bar—my novel is for sale but I still give it away :-)

I’ve written here, many times, about how I’ve dealt with the need to let folks know about my work—here are just a few:

Do Pre-Publication Promotion And Sanity Go Together ?

How Can Authors Find Readers?

Social Networking and Insanity . . .

For Writers Who Don’t Think They Can “Do The Business Side” of Self-Publishing

The Author’s Platform ~ Community of Interest

Do you have a Google account?

If not, I’d advise you get one—the email is cool and, as they say, you can “Talk, chat, share, schedule, store, organize, collaborate, discover, and create.”

So, CopyBlogger, “the most popular content marketing and writing blog on the planet”, has an article called, Seven Ways Writers Can Build Online Authority with Google+

Here are those seven ways:

1. Beef up your Google+ audience (faster than Twitter)

2. Target traffic to your blog with Circles

3. Hustle Hangouts

4. Maximize the life of your content

5. Attack a narrow topic

6. Create a community

7. Park all your content on Google+ (don’t do this one)

Now, just a few brief excerpts from that article:

“When it comes to improved search rankings, building an audience on Google+ might just be the smartest thing you can do as a content creator.”

“So, what’s the moral of the story for you — the writer? Why should you care? Well, if you are a content creator who cares about:

  • Your reputation
  • Your work
  • Establishing online authority
  • Building an audience (which tends to happen faster on G+ than other social sites)
  • Driving more traffic to your website or blog
  • Growing your email newsletter subscriber list
  • And boosting sales and opportunities

“Then you need a Google+ account.”

Also, that article has Many interesting comments :-)
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