Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Thoughts on Social Media Marketing for Authors

Check all the social media sites this great book is on.

Social media marketing is crammed full of potential for authors wanting to get their books/projects noticed. BUT, to manage social media properly takes so damn much time! Especially if you don’t develop an operational plan.

So, in order to use social media marketing effectively, you must plan out how you are going to use it while incorporating as many time saving tricks as you can muster, make a commitment of the necessary time and strip down naked (in other words lose all inhibitions to using social media) and jump in 🙂

Tonight, Darcie Carsner Torres, a professional writer and editor with over 20 years of experience, who provides editing and critiquing services through CanAm Author Services, and editing and ghostwriting services through Pen & Pestle is going to shed some helpful light on this topic for us.

This by Darcie as published in Wordpreneur:


Lessons in Social Media Marketing for Authors


I thought I knew a lot about social media. I really did. When I started a few years back, I thought, how hard can this be? Post something now and again that sounds cool and intellectual and “experty”… and BAM… you’ve got yourself a marketing campaign.




Here’s what I’ve learned after a little over two years dabbling in the art and science of social media for authors.

Lessons in Twitter

Check your stupid inbox and direct mentions! It took me forever to realize that there is great stuff in there. Also, some spam, but digging through that is worth the real nuggets. There is also an etiquette that I have a tendency to ignore – actually thanking the people who follow you. Directly. By name. Personally. I’m not rude out of ungratefulness, but rather out of ignorance and lack of time. My New Year’s resolution is to start remembering to give thanks to the people who might actually listen and read from time to time. Finally — don’t Tweet indiscriminately. Promiscuous Tweeting may get you caught with your pants down if you don’t read what’s at the end of those links.


The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that Facebook is worse than a crack addiction. Half the reason I get behind on writing and marketing is because I get busy messing around on this silly site. The wealth of information on publishing, writing and design is mind-boggling! And I’m easily distracted… squirrel!… by the politics and humor. Second, Facebook is busy developing capabilities and changes faster than I can keep up with them. The marketing potential for authors is overwhelming. In my experience, authors haven’t even BEGUN to tap this potential.

Time & Consistency

Managing your social media is time consuming if you want to do it right. Social media managers such as Hootsuite and Social Oomph can help out a lot. Yet, there’s still so much you need to do. You have to go and add relevant people to follow and Like, thank people personally, publish all of your events and the reminders that go with them, post/Tweet original content (not just re-Tweet and Share), answer messages… get the picture? More than once over the past year my social media has gone very quiet. I don’t mean to; I simply forget. If you use a social media management program, you forget when your pre-programmed announcements end. I originally thought, “Hey, I can do three months of this stuff at once and be done!”

Not so.

You really should be going into your social media every week whether you have the time to do it or not. But keep in mind it’s all very addicting. Keep it consistent — don’t try to set a goal of five or more Tweets per day unless you’re willing to give up having a real life. You need to have something at least once per day, ideally, so that you pop up in your follower’s stream, but try to be realistic about what you can and can’t do.


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Intense Publishing Intrigue – Fighting for Privacy, Free Expression AND Profitability

Fighting for privacy, free expression and profitability all at the same time is, indeed, intense intrigue. It would turn my hair gray then take it away.

But, these big issues are facing the online social media sites/businesses every day — and how they are handled by the individual sites should determine their success or failure — Especially if they go public — It’s all related to trust of the users.

An example: Can we rely on these sites to publish our content (even unpopular) and protect our privacy; doing all this while still making a profit even if their sponsors are the target of the content? 

Twitter’s top legal beagle, Alexander Macgillivray, a young (40-year-old), Princeton and Harvard trained attorney and seasoned corporate lawyer, will demonstrate tonight how Twitter handles these online publishing problems:

Twitter’s Free Speech Defender  (The New York Times by )

Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter’s chief lawyer, says that fighting for free speech is more than a good idea. He thinks it is a competitive advantage for his company.

That conviction explains why he spends so much of Twitter’s time and money going toe to toe with officers and apparatchiks both here and abroad. Last week, his legal team was fighting a court order to extract an Occupy Wall Street protester’s Twitter posts. The week before, the team wrestled with Indian government officials seeking to take down missives they considered inflammatory. Last year, Mr. Macgillivray challenged the Justice Department in its hunt for WikiLeaks supporters who used Twitter to communicate.

“We value the reputation we have for defending and respecting the user’s voice,” Mr. Macgillivray said in an interview here at Twitter headquarters. “We think it’s important to our company and the way users think about whether to use Twitter, as compared to other services.”

It doesn’t always work. And it sometimes collides awkwardly with another imperative Twitter faces: to turn its fire hose of public opinion into a profitable business. That imperative will become far more acute if the company goes public, and Twitter confronts pressures to make money fast and play nice with the governments of countries in which it operates; most Twitter users live outside the United States and the company is already opening offices overseas.

That transformation makes his job all the more delicate. At a time when Internet companies control so much of what we can say and do online, can Twitter stand up for privacy, free expression and profitability all at the same time?

“They are going to have to monetize the data that they have and they can’t rock the boat maybe,” said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington. “I don’t predict Twitter is going to lose its way, but it’s a moment to watch.”

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What Could Make Your Book Go Viral?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make all your books go viral on the internet? To have a secret formula, so to speak.

Well, tonight I have a little research that just might give us all more insight into arriving at this secret formula … and have a little fun along the way.

Sam Leith writes this in the Financial Times:

What does it all meme? 

From Star Wars Kid to Maru the cat, what causes videos to go viral? And what does the success of the ephemera that washes across the internet say about us?
'Disaster Girl'
Have you met Maru? No? Maru is a cat. A cute cat. Is there anything special about Maru, apart from the cuteness, which, if we’re honest, he has in common with quite a few other cats?

He lives in Japan. He’s a straight-haired Scottish Fold, four years old, slightly rotund (his name means “round” in Japanese). Otherwise? Well, there’s this thing he does where he jumps into an empty cardboard box. He jumps into all sorts of cardboard boxes. And out. Sometimes he climbs in a bin. Just for fun!

And Maru is famous. At the time of writing, YouTube videos of Maru have been viewed 100m times. He’s the subject of a recent hardback book, I Am Maru. It consists of 95 glossy pages of photographs of Maru being a cat. In August, three weeks before its publication date, it was the number one cat book on Amazon UK.

Maru is just a cat. But he’s also more than just a cat. Maru is a bellwether of the state of the culture. Maru is a meme.

If you have an email inbox you will, even if the term is unfamiliar, have come across what it denotes: the viral ephemera that washes across the internet, proliferates on Facebook walls and trends on Twitter. The internet is the most potent medium of mass communication in human history but we use it to exchange videos of cats jumping through cardboard boxes, old Rick Astley songs and pictures of a rabbit with a pancake balanced on its head.

The success of these memes prompts certain questions. Not least, what’s wrong with us? But also, what do they tell us about our relationships with each other? And what is it that makes certain memes catch fire?

Maru the cat

Maru the cat

“That’s the million-dollar question,” says Don Caldwell, a reporter for the website Know Your Meme. “There’s not an easy answer. I see them as filling ecological niches. There’s the funny niche, the weird niche and the cuteness niche: Maru the cat has filled that section of the internet pretty well for himself.

“The success of a meme is like the reproductive success of an organism,” he adds. “They have to be really well suited to their environment, and the environment of a meme is the cultural zeitgeist.”

The word “meme” was originally minted in the analogue age by the scientist Richard Dawkins. In The Selfish Gene (1976), he proposed that natural selection could work on ideas (which would flourish or fail with us as their ecosystem) as well as genetic material, and chose the term as a counterpart to “gene”: a meme as a unit of cultural transmission. Essentially, this means a contagious idea. The term is broad. Limericks can be a meme. The late 18th-century epidemic of copycat suicides by men in yellow trousers after the publication of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is a meme. Rioting is a meme. So memes, in this extended sense, existed before the internet and continue to exist outside it.

Latin tags and rhetorical commonplaces were memes; “Kilroy was here” was a meme; chain letters, before the arrival of the internet, were memes that behaved in a recognisably viral way. There were fax memes and email memes, such as the smutty private email sent by one Claire Swire that ended up being viewed by millions in 2000.

But internet culture, and the exceptional speed and ease of transmission online, represents a step-change. Early geneticists were attracted to fruit flies as research subjects because their extreme fecundity and short lifecycles meant many generations could be studied in a space of months. When it comes to memes, the internet is an immense colony of fruit flies living in fast-forward – with all the experimental data widely and instantly available.

Looking at this data, the one distinguishing feature would seem to be downright frivolity. Memes support the idea that the online world has blurred the distinction between work and play – that media has given way to social media. A giant culture of messing about has found its perfect technology. It’s no coincidence that the biennial convention on internet meme culture, held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2008, is called ROFLCon, after the common online acronym for “Rolling On the Floor Laughing”.

In line with the evolutionary analogy, the memes that live longest tend to be those that are most adaptable. If the defining art form of the first part of the 20th century was collage, from the constellations of fragments in modernist poetry to the collided images of the plastic arts, that of the digital age is surely the remix or the mash-up. Video clips are spliced together; sound is sampled and repurposed; public domain images are overdubbed with catchphrases. Downfall, a German film made in 2004 showing the last days of Hitler, is appropriated to have the Führer ranting about Oasis splitting up; a sample of Gregg Wallace from Masterchef provides the hook for a techno track (“I like the base, base, biscuit base”). The term “exploitable” is, in this context, often used as a noun by those who make memes and describe their behaviour.

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Freedom of Expression in Social Media? Yes, But Consequences Abound!

Social Media Job Fatalities?

Do prospective employers have the right to read your thoughts published on social media sites (and other online venues) and then judge you as fit or unfit for employment?

This somehow smacks of  intrusion of privacy, to me … Or, akin to reading someone’s private mail and then using it against them.

Would you even want to work for a company that used such practices?

I have to admit that when you publish something on these public, interactive sites that it’s out there for all to see … But, is this kind of exchange something that should be used to judge your abilities to perform a certain position that might not have anything  to do with what you are saying?

Sounds like political headhunting to me … and there’s a high probability you would be better off without such a company.

Here  is an interesting article by Norah Olson Bluvshtein of Fredrikson & Byron PA, a member of Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC):

More risks to job applicants with questionable social media history

Have you seen the recent New York Times article, Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle?  If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth reading.  I also thought it was quite timely as it hit on many of the same themes and topics we’ve been discussing lately.  As the title of the article suggests, it talks about how a person’s social media history can be an impediment to getting a job and how companies are increasingly requiring job applicants to pass a “social media background check.”  Here are a few highlights from the article that I found particularly interesting.    

  • One of the companies featured in the article, Social Intelligence, is a “year-old start-up” that conducts social media background checks for employers. According to the NY Times, the company “assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.”  Now, for regular readers of netWORKed, Social Intelligence’s activities should ring some bells—see my post A Helpful Reminder on Social Media and Background Checks, reminding readers that companies that do background checks for other companies, even when the background check is a social media background check, are subject to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  (Perhaps the NY Times had read my post too!  The article specifically notes that the Federal Trade Commission had raised some concerns about Social Intelligence but determined that the Company is indeed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.)
  • Less than a third of the data included in Social Intelligence’s reports comes from the big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Social Intelligence’s chief executive, Max Drucker, told the NY Times that “much of the negative information about job candidates comes from deep Web searches that find comments on blogs and posts on smaller social sites, like Tumblr, the blogging site, as well as Yahoo user groups, e-commerce sites, bulletin boards and even Craigslist.”

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Some Conclusions to ‘Who Controls Social Media?’

One week ago I posted “Who Controls Social Media?” on my Writers Welcome Blog. Today, on this blog, I am giving some answers to this question. Answers provided by Facebook responses to Matt Kinsman’s original article in FOLIO magazine For Publishers, Who Are the Gatekeepers of Social Media?

Some interesting answers with conclusions in line with my own that I provided on my Writers Welcome Blog post.

Follow-up article by Matt Kinsman, executive editor at FOLIO magazine:

So Who Should Control Social Media?

Most Say Edit. Many FOLIO: readers seem to favor edit. What’s your take?

A recent MPA (Magazine Publishers of America) panel debated who should be in control of social media at magazine publishers-edit, sales, marketing or even IT, which may ultimately bear the costs of social media. It’s a similar dispute to the way various magazine departments squabbled over prime Web site territory 10 years ago when they realized that yes, this Internet thing does have legs on the business side.

I pulled some of the Facebook responses to FOLIO:’s article about who ultimately should be the gatekeeper of social media, and listed them below. Considering the audience, it’s not surprising that most seem to feel edit should be in charge. However, several people noted that social media can’t belong to just one group, and should be divvied up across the organization (often out of necessity, given the resources in the current publishing climate).

Social media is integral for most publishers and everybody needs to be onboard (as one MPA panelist said, “Nobody goes around bragging that they don’t know Microsoft World”). So what do you think? Does edit rule? Should sales and marketing get their say? Or does social media require its own dedicated crop of specialists?

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