Friday, May 27, 2016

Kicking and Screaming into the Social Media Mosh Pit

Do you use social media to market your books, and if so, do you think it’s made a difference?

by Paul D. Marks

Yes. And Oh yes.

Facebook:

I went kicking and screaming onto Facebook a few years ago. Publicist and friend Diana James “gently” suggested that I should go on Facebook.

“I don’t want to see pictures of what people had for breakfast…or worse,” I said.

So, after much cajoling from Diana I took the dreaded step and signed onto FB. At first I didn’t know what to do, how to use it. I was an evil lurker. Of course, since I had few FB friends I didn’t have much to lurk at. So I’d check in every few days or so, still not knowing what to do, but gaining a few friends here, a few friends there.

And eventually I started posting. Don’t remember what those early posts were. But not too long after I started on Facebook I began to find my way. I began to post things that meant something to me or that I related to. Things like pix of my breakfast: cereal can be fun and entertaining pop art. And pix of my scars – want to see them? Just kidding.

Actually, I started posting things about noir and film noir and putting up “Film Noir Alerts” when I knew a noir movie was coming on television. Also stuff about mystery and noir writing, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, et al. And I started posting about Los Angeles and LA history, something I’m very much into on many levels. I began to be known as the LA Guy or the Noir Guy. People I’d never met in person would come up to me at conferences and other events and say, “You’re the Noir Guy”. I had to plead guilty.

And then when White Heat came out I put up some posts about that. And other people shared them. And I think it did help get the book known, get reviews and make sales. But the key is, as everyone says, not to only push your books. People get majorly turned off by that. Be a friend. Be part of the community. Comment and share other people’s posts. Participate.

Twitter:

Twitter’s another ballgame altogether. A ballgame where it’s impossible to see the ball and more impossible to know the rules. Like: Don’t use more than three hashtags. Fine. Uh, now what the hell is a hashtag? And where do I find the hashtags that apply to what I’m posting? Can I make up my own hashtags? Would you like some ketchup with your hashtags?

Twitter, to me, was a mess when I first signed up. Tweets would fly by faster than a speeding bullet. I couldn’t figure out how to use it. How do I make – uh, get – friends? I mean followers. Who/how do I follow someone? How to do I participate in a conversation? And HOW THE HELL do I say anything in 140 characters? And DOUBLE HOW THE HELL do I say anything at all when I’m retweeting and now I have 3 characters left to add my own comment to? It’s enough to make you batty.

And then I heard the bugle. The cavalry was on the way led by Captain Tweetdeck and Colonel Hootsuite. Oh no, more things to worry about. But no, these were good things. And the light shined down.

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are “social media management systems” – say that five times with a mouth full of cereal. They help you organize Twitter, the tweets, the followers, everything. So I signed up for both and magically Twitter became manageable. And I began to use it.

You can create lists and put different people or groups (like magazines, writers, friends, publishers, etc.) on different lists and then put them in different columns.  These columns allow you to see things more clearly and at a more even and manageable pace. And it makes all the difference in the world (at least to me) in terms of being able to use Twitter (though you can manage other programs on these systems as well).

A small part of my Hootsuite Dashboard.

I find that Tweetdeck is good for some things and Hootsuite for others. So I use both. But it’s too much of a “lesson” to go into here and explain the intricacies of each. Suffice to say, they both make Twitter much more user friendly and once you get the hang of them you’ll be able to use Twitter to much better advantage. But like with FB or any social media, you shouldn’t use it only to promote your books. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some promotion. Just have fun with it.

In closing – other social media & tying it up:

There’s about 33 million different social media. I’m also on Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest, and use them to varying degrees. For a while I had been doing a fair amount on Tumbler, but nothing there lately. It’s not that I don’t like it, it just comes down to the time spent and it adds up. Some other social media that I signed up for I really never did much with. There’s just so many to choose from. But you have to pick two or three, maybe a couple more. Because you just can’t focus on all these things. It’s too hard to follow people and too hard to keep up with your own accounts and you’ll never have time to write.

Have FB and Twitter made me a NY Times Bestseller? No. But they have definitely helped get me more readers and connect with people with similar interests, which is more than I could have done by going on a cross country booking signing tour …and it costs a lot less. And I figure now there’s not a state in the country that I couldn’t have lunch with someone if I happened to be passing through – and if I do I’ll be sure to post the photo of the meal. Hell, there’s several countries on different continents that I could have lunch with someone I know from social media.

So yes, in answer to the question today – yes yes yes. Social media is great. I’m a total convert. So, uh, here’s what I had for breakfast.



***


www.PaulDMarks.com

27 comments:

RJ Harlick said...

You're more intrepid than I, Paul. I've just stuck to Facebook and haven't dared venture into the realm of Twitter, etc. I worry if I did, I'd spend all my time online and little on what I'd rather do, writing. Good Post.

GBPool said...

What would we do without your headsup on the latest Noir film on TV? And your posts about vintage Los Angeles? And they add to the fact your books treat LA like a lady, even when she can be a bad girl. Thanks for letting us know social media isn't a social disease.

Alan Orloff said...

You're as creative with your food as you are with your writing! Bon appetite! I mean, good writing!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, RJ. And it’s true, social media can be like quicksand, but at least it’s fun quicksand. And if you do ever decide to check out Twitter look into Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. They’ll make it so much easer to use.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Gayle. LA can definitely be a bad girl, and one you love to hate and hate to love. But she can also be a fun bad girl… And glad you enjoy the noir and LA posts. I enjoy doing them.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Alan. Well, you know what they say, "Creative with food, creative with writing." Well, maybe "they" don't say that, but it sounds good. :)

Art Taylor said...

Great post, Paul! And I'll admit I still love your film noir updates! ...in addition to everything else too. :)

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Art. I'm starting to charge for the Film Noir Updates in 2017 ;)

sarahmchen.com said...

Great post, Paul, and I totally related. Like you, I signed onto FB kicking and screaming about 4 years ago. Now I can't imagine an author life w/o it. I signed onto Twitter only last year as well as Instagram. You're way ahead of me with Tumblr, Pinterest, Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck (I don't know if I even got those names right). I bow down to you, Noir Guy!

Meredith Cole said...

I always enjoy your posts, Paul!

Ellen Byron said...

Fun! I really can't get a handle on Twitter, even with Hootsuite, but I love Facebook, particularly because I hear about people's lives, not just their books. I don't do anything else, although I started Pinterest and Tumblr accounts that I never use. For cozy writers, Pinterest might come in handy. But who has the time????

And your breakfast looks delicious.

Susan C Shea said...

Love your take on it, Paul. I liked Tweetdeck but it and my Apple IO don't like each other. I need to install Hootsuite or I shall indeed drown in the tide of Tweets. I hadn't thought of doing a FB lunch tour, but now that you mention it...

Susan C Shea said...

How does OS turn into IO? I don't know that either.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Sarah. You humble me :) . Ah Instagram, I still don’t fully get yet. I think you start on these things and they seem unfathomable and then one day you just get them. But re: Twitter, really check out Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, they will make it much more manageble and if you have questions feel free to send me an e-mail. I’m no expert but I might be able to help. And I’m also putting together an event for MWA in the fall that will probably cover these things.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Meredith!

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Ellen. And I think you’re right about having the time. Re: Hootsuite, feel free to send me an e-mail and I’ll help if I can. And, oh yes, breakfast was fab.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks Susan. I don’t know about Tweetdeck and Apple, but maybe Hootsuite would work better on that system. Because those things really can help sort it all out. And will your lunch tour be BYOB? :)

D. J. Adamson Author said...

I am so happy you use social media. Because we both do, we have become friends. I, too, hated it, but I am getting use to using it without becoming too addicted. :)

RM Greenaway said...

Thank you for the useful tips! Now I'll share this on Twitter and maybe get you some more followers :)

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks Diann, (D.J.). I’m glad we’ve become friends too. But social media can be addicting… Sometimes I have to force myself to get off it and do something else :)

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, RM. Hopefully we’ll both get more followers.

Dhiya L said...

Wow really superb content. Definitely it will be useful for capturing whatever we want. And please let people to know like these type of techniques.

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Nancy Silverman said...

Thank you, Paul. I enjoyed this post, even enjoyed the photo of you're breakfast. You are proof positive our generation needn't fear social media. Rock on.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thank you, Dhiya. I appreciate your comment.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Nancy. It was a blue plate special breakfast. And as to fearing (or not) social media, if Mick and Keith and Paul and Bob can still be out there rockin’, so can we!

Sally Richards said...

Great blog! Now it is time to expand it into a book....

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Sally. I like that idea about the book!