Monday, July 9, 2018

Hello Out There?

Q: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Newsletters…what social media do you use and how do you use it? Any advice for those in a quandary?

- from Susan

My answer is I have no advice. I have no data that’s any use, no anecdotes that would steer anyone in the right direction, and no reports from other authors that I can cite. 

As for newsletters, Louise Penny has the newsletter to end all newsletters, one I always read because it sounds like Louise, warm, honest, and personal. Does it sell her books or does it just remind us that Louise and her books are something special? Hank Phillippi Ryan has recently pumped up her newsletter, which is attractive and modern, and is a frank selling tool. She obviously puts it out to keep her latest book title top of mind. She gives away lots of content – free books, chapters, etc. – to build buzz, and I’m guessing it’s successful. Honestly, those are the only two newsletters that stand out to me, and both are from writers who are already prominent and award winners.

Facebook constantly pokes me to advertise my posts about books. I have tried it several times at modest amounts and gotten a few page visits and likes but no engagement. When I did it to promote participation in a book giveaway, it didn’t add a single name to the list. Maybe it works wizards for other people, but I’m not impressed.

When I have a new book coming out, I do guest blog posts on sites where I’ve been invited. No “blog tours” per se, but some drop by posts in blogs owned by people I am proud to call professional friends. In fact, there’s one up today I hope you’ll visit:       I thinkpeople read those and I thinkthey may get my name and the fact that I write books out a little further into the world. They cement my appreciation for the blog hosts for sure!

Sorry, I can’t be of more help. I’ll read my fellow Minds’ posts all week because they may be a lot better prepared to answer this week’s question. (Schedule’s on my web site: In the meantime, I’m off to do four live book events this week. Personal, one-on-one conversations with readers are one thing I know works!


RJ Harlick said...

I agree with you, Susan, that face-to-face interaction with readers is far more effective than social media. The only downside, is the reach is much less than social media. So a nice balance of both is likely best.

Susan C Shea said...

Robin, I know. Look at Cara Black's and Louise Penny's and Hank Phillippi Ryan's travel schedules. They (and their willing publishers) obviously believe in live events as selling tools, but for the rest of us, that can't be the only way to reach people.

Lyda McPherson said...

Hello Susan: I would love to jump in with an urban myth for writers that provides THE ANSWER however... I met you at an event at the Avid Reader in Davis. Catriona McPherson was interviewing James Ziskin. I had already met Terry Shames at the 2017 CCWC and she introduced us. Since returning home from Davis I have ordered Terry's latest. Your Dressed for Death in Burgundy has joined the party on my Kindle, along with two from James. I am the proof that the face-to-face interaction is what draws me in every time. Also, Cara Black was our guest speaker at the July Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles chapter meeting July 1st. We read to connect. We write to connect.

Susan C Shea said...

Lyda, What great insight you have about this face to face (or as more hip people than I would say, f2f) aspect of interesting readers in our work. Thank you. Yes, I remember meeting you at Avid Reader, and there's another strong contender for what really works: the kinds of bookstores that invite authors and readers to connect. "We read to connect. We write to connect." - Perfect! By the way, I'm doing 4 events with Cara this week!

Lyda McPherson said...

Susan, best of luck. If your schedule permits, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the best and worst aspects of the events. This whole topic bears some study. Have a good week.