Social Media

#Truestory.  Social media is the leading way to get yourself out there. Whether you are an Instagram god/dess, a “like” grabber on Facebook, or Tweet master social media is hands down going to take up as much of your time as a book signing, or writing your next piece.

Social media.jpeg

But #letsbehonest in what works and what doesn’t. Keep in ind you are now a business entity.  Which means new etiquette.

Rule #1: You’ll need to lead a double life…or in the very least get split personality.

tenor

Everyone tries to separate their work from their home life.  Follow the same rule in your social media; it is after all where you work.  Readers will follow like minds, or they will stray away from those who hold strong opinions.  Your author/book page should be Sweden.  Neutral to whatever debate the world is in; no matter how strongly you personally feel about the subject.  It’s a public space. Yelling from every corner of your page that cherry pie is the authority over vanilla cake – and there is no ‘if’s, and’s, or but’s about it – will not sit right with everyone in this world.  Earth has over seven billion people living on it, and among those billions of people you are bound to come across a vanilla lover or a pecan pie supporter or two.

On that note…you are your own person, and you most certainly are allowed to have opinions.  Make yourself your own wall to post your rants and standings on.  Something to share with your friends.

#2 A thing called Too Much Information

This goes along with your double life.  Over sharing on your author/book page, and (vice versa) oversharing bookish things on your personal.

Chances are your best friend, grandma, third grade boyfriend/girlfriend, and the bag boy at your local market are not just your personal social media friends, they also follow your page.  Why bombard them with things twice over?  I’ll be honest in saying I completely do this…share everything that I posted on ACNBooks to my personal wall even though I know fully well my personal audience is also tuned into ACNBooks. A tidbit here and a tidbit there can generate followers through shared “likes”, but which page would I rather collect the likes and shares from?  Mine or ACN’s?  ACN’s likes and shares will draw in new followers.  My personal page will draw in cute emojis from my mom.  Or, more than likely, get me or my page hidden by my biggest supporters, I know I would hide me. It’s annoying, something I need to give up for lent…maybe there’s a 12 step program …

And that goes for the vice versa.  While posting pictures from your personal life once in a while will give your audience a glimpse into the life of M.K.F. Sharing too much personal stuff can have the same effect.  Your audience will realize that it’s the Marie show on every channel. Yup, nope, don’t care for that show…it’s always on re-runs.

#3 Lost in a sea of advertisements

Are you part of groups such as; ‘We love authors’, ‘Kindle Books’, ‘Book Club’, etc etc?  I know I am…and I know I’ve started leaving these groups.  Let me tell you why they are an AMAZING idea with horrible outcomes.

You get lost.

Completely lost.

Readers tend to hide or ignore these groups.

When asked how many avid readers use social media groups to find new books every single one of them said yes.  When asked what type of group; every single one of them said groups that do not allow authors to advertise, or ones that only allow authors to advertise once a week.  Why?  Well because the groups that allow authors to go on and on about their new 5 star novel found on Amazon are too much.  It’s the used car dealership of online advertising, always on no matter what channel you go to.  It completely fills their feed every 3 seconds a new novel is born.  With that math, your book is lost in a sea of others screaming to be heard, and you may sink below the volume before your potential reader spends her average 15 seconds scrolling down any given page.

#4 Not everyone is a potential friend

While you can’t control who follows you on Twitter or Instagram (for the most part), you can pick and choose who gets to be part of your inner circle on your personal FB account.  At least twice a week I get friend requests from total strangers.  Most of the time generated from a signing I’ve done, or something ACNBooks has posted or #hashtagged.  Be wary of letting these people into your inner circle – not that they are bad people – but more like they are your audience.  Last time I checked audience members weren’t privy to anything unscripted when it came to a look behind the scenes.

But don’t just ignore or deny their request either.  Ignoring will leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.  What I have is a very nicely scripted response to un-known friend requests saved on both my phone and laptop for when the occasion arises:

“Thank you very much for your interest in M.K.F, however the page you have sent the request to is meant solely for personal friends and family of the science fiction author.  So not to bore you with pictures of fuzzy kittens with unamused faces why don’t you hit that like button on ACNBooks!  M.K.F. posts more frequently on that page than her personal one.  You can also keep up to date on all ACNBooks news while you’re there! Here let us help you with a link below to all the places we would love to see you in!

https://www.facebook.com/ACNbooks/

https://www.instagram.com/mkf_acnbooks/

https://twitter.com/ACNbooks

#5 The #hashtagegame

#hashtags are probably my weakest skill in the social media game.  But I have some rules that I try to stick to when playing the #hashtag game.

-Don’t always assume the most popular # will get you the most likes.  Just like joining certain Social Media groups the larger the number of times a hashtag has been used, the more likely your picture or post will get lost in a sea of others using it. The most popular hashtags out there right now are #love, #nofilter, and #thankyou. That doesn’t mean wipe them off your list of usable ones.  It means pair them with something that has a few hundred or thousand, that way you’ll be seen somewhere.  I tend to use: #readmore #readinglist #onemorechapter #characterswelove #bookworm #amreading #amwriting #shouldbewriting the most.  These ones tend to generate the most reactions as well.

-Create a hashtag to be your signature.  We use #ACNBooks and #ACNgivesback a ton, it’s called branding.  Now, 9 months into our journey #ACNBooks is used more frequently, by more strangers (yay we have friends, not just staff!!)

-Don’t be too obscure or cryptic in creating a hashtag.  Think simple.  Something people will remember and not too long. #reallylonghashtagsaretoohardforpeopletodecipher.  Really cryptic hashtags never get remembered or associated with its intended audience.

-Keep in mind:

Twitter doesn’t want posts to be all about the tag. #Incorporate them in your #tweet. And while we’re tweeting can I give my personal advice? You’re an author; it’s annoying af to c ur tweets whn they look like this.  Oh, your message won’t fit in the character limit if you don’t abbreviate? Hmmmm you’re a writer! Get creative with words! But you’re also a professional, use your words!

Instagram loves a good hashtag, 30 of the little # symbols when advertising.  Just don’t overdo it on every single post or it becomes as annoying to read as that UR you are using on twitter.

Facebook is all meh on the hashtag situation.  They’ll incorporate them when they remember there is something else in the world to do besides sharing feelings.

#6 Timing is everything

200_dThere is such a thing as too many posts and on the other end there is such a thing as not enough.  So how do you decide what is right for you.  For the most part I post for ACNBooks once a day, the same thing on every social media site ACNBooks has.  Indie Beginning might ignore you for a day or two and then go a mile a minute catching you up on everything in the world of podcasting and I.T. (yes, our Geeks – their word not mine – like to share, in small doses from the safety of their cubicle, no actual peopling necessary).

So it depends on your target audience.

But let’s be honest once again; 30 posts a day will land you on a spam list.  It’s like a hit list for businesses (and yes I know you are an author, but author is just a fancy word for small business owner).

Here’s a sweet little suggestion from me to you.  Use a generator.  No, it doesn’t write witty and interesting posts for you, it just times them out.  Facebook has this (there is also Hootsuite and Flacone.io to name a couple others).  Every Sunday morning I sip coffee and write about a bazillion thoughts and then Facebook will ask me if I want to publish this right away or schedule it.  Schedule please.  I tend to schedule things in the following:

Monday-something cute or funny to get you through your day.

Tuesday-advertisement

Wednesday-let’s learn something new together

Thursday-what does ACNBooks have going on over the weekend?  Where can you find us?

Friday-I’ll send you a link to something new on ACNBooks.com

Saturday & Sunday-free for all (I like to play games with my readers/followers, but be ready to commit your entire weekend to that.  They really REALLY like to play along).

Now that those are scheduled it doesn’t mean you can’t post more if something comes up. Nor does it mean you can’t have an “oh, shit” moment and decide a post needs to be deleted.  But added bonus, my social media pages are linked so whatever goes on one automatically gets copied to the rest.  Easy peasy, all done!

#7 If it’s on the internet it must be true!

lincoln.jpgResearch, research, research.  Just because at first glance it causes a reaction, that doesn’t mean that it’s the entire story. Just because it sounds right, doesn’t mean it is.  Just because you found it on Google doesn’t make it so.  Verifying (double checking) is as important to you as ‘measure twice, cut once’ is to a carpenter.

If you are called out, be humble.  Accept the mistake, don’t start WWIII over a mis-credited quote (FYI-Anon is a person…it by no means is an abbreviation for Anonymous).

#8 Play Nice

Social Media is just that; social.  Encourage readers to participate in games and discussions. Play with other businesses and pages.  You’ll find new followers in the oddest places such as them watching you play back and forth with another entrepreneur.  I know confusing right? Here’s my example: Indie Beginnings is an ACNBooks production Podcast. We are very close to the hosts of this show (by close I mean VERY close, we share an office, and a last name.  Can’t get much closer to someone than marrying them.) Indie Beginning has its own social media which we constantly share, or go back and forth liking each other.  ACN’s audience started migrating to like Indie Beginning and ACN gained new followers loyal to Indie Beginning.

The same happened between ACNBbooks and Burialgrounds.coffee (one of our sponsors, and dearest of friends).  We played together on their opening night and in return people flocked to Burial Grounds Coffee Co. and coffee fans from all over clicked ACNBooks to see what we were all about.

Our total views and engagements charts skyrocketed almost instantly.

All because we were playful.

 

 

#9 And Finally…

HAVE FUN! If you enjoy it, it shows.  If you have fun, it shows.  Nothing should ever be serious all the time. If you tend to write posts like an owner’s manual, guess how they’ll read to a viewer…like an owner’s manual.  If it’s written like the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, then Adam and Barbara are just going to toss it aside and summon Beetlejuice instead (because let’s face it, that guy is a lot more fun than scrolling through stereo instructions).  Encourage participation.  Social Media is just that…SOCIAL.

I have yet to figure out anything in the world of Pinterest (besides pinning some amazing recipes or some really cool shelves that will never get built).  Nor has ACNBooks ventured into the world of Tumbler or Snapchat so if you have experience we would love to hear about it!

Harvey meets Dorothy

Just a quick note on Harvey and then it’s back to work for us!

For those of you who don’t know our favorite person Dorothy; here’s Dorothy summed up in two pictures:

Born in the 1920’s Dorothy has lived through so many experiences; from depressions, civil right, cold wars, world wars, to babies, weddings, deaths, and blizzards.

A quick visit to Dorothy would be an afternoon going through pictures and hearing stories (our favorite is how as a little girl she and her siblings would sell cloth to the men building roads in Syracuse. an nickle for dry and a dime for wet.)

Her story is still being written…

At 94, Dorothy traveled (not flew…traveled) from our neighborhood in New York to Texas so she could be closer to her family (who are each just as special to us as she is).

At 94, she met Hurricane Harvey, and got to have a National Guard chauffeur when leaving her new home.

Today, she’s still smiling, still LIVING life, still being adventurous, and still being the voice of calm in chaos for everyone around.

We all should grow up to be Dorothy!

Our fans rock!

I woke up the other day to have an email containing this:

“Brought A Charming Nightmare on our honeymoon.  She really enjoys mornings sipping coffee from our ocean view balcony! With love from Lares Puerto Rico.”

This made my morning!  Our fans are amazing people, and seeing as how ACN takes you through time and space I thought it might be fun to see where you bring Catch & Aylin.  Send your pictures of ACN sight seeing in your neighborhood!

Send to: mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com and title it “Where in the World is ACN Books” put the picture of your digital or hard copy of A Charming Nightmare right in the body of the email with your location, lets see if we can go around the world in 80 days!

 

So far here are some of our favorites:

wedding flowers

A bridesmaid bouquet made solely out of the pages of ACN in a recent Harry Potter/Magic the Gathering themed wedding in Utica, NY.

chelsea

Our friends in Sidney, NY excited to begin their journey…

Jenny

Furry fans in Denver, CO reading to mom.

 

Where will you bring ACN?

What I’ve learned along the way

I recently did an guest blog at booksandbeyondreviews.com which talked about being an indie author.  This articles success made me realize that a lot of people are leaning towards the indie approach versus the traditional.  Let me share some of the things from this post that I learned.  As I try new things I’ll share, what works, what fails, and you can feel free to do the same!

https://booksandbeyondreviews.com/2017/05/15/guest-post-marie-kammerer-franke/

We’ve all been there; lovingly turning our stories into print, cringing at the words we just wrote and holding down the backspace key for hours. You love it, it has a name, it’s a member of your family and now you are staring at the send button wondering what form of rejection your child is going to receive this time around.

Or, at least, that’s how I felt.  Hell, if I’m completely honest with you I couldn’t hit send.  Not the first time. It took a very dear friend to look over my shoulder and say “whatcha doin’?” and in the time it took me to turn around to mouth a syllable she had reached over my shoulder and hit that damn button for me.

And then we waited…
And waited….
And waited…
And then it came; “Thank you for your recent submission, we feel that your work is not the right fit for us, but we wish you well blah blah blah yadda yada yadda…”

That wasn’t so bad, they were polite in their mass-generated rejection.  Let’s try that again!

The more I hit send the more brazen agencies became:
“We feel that your novel is not suited for us, we feel that it is too ‘girly’ to be classified as true science fiction…”
“Thank you for your submission, if you could change A,B,C to this, that, and the other thing we would be happy to reconsider your work.”
“We would love to take on your story, it will be a challenge for us to market as is, please change blah blah blah and resubmit.”

This went on for a year.
It wears on you.  No matter how much you adore your baby, you start questioning it, I started considering their suggestions.  So, I took about 4 months away from my child.

When I went back to it, I fell in love all over again.  With it just the way it was.
 
And that is all it took for me to become an indie writer.
 
An Indie write is someone who is in control of every single thing having to do with the piece you created.  You are your books sole advocate, the only person who has any right to change, decide, suggest, ‘yay or nay’ anything having to do with your novel.  No agent asking for more innuendos, no editors highlighted re-writes, no lawyers, publicists, designers, advertisers, accountants, or loan officers.  Those are all hats you wear now as a single parent to your epic story.
 

This is how I did it, a sliver into one indie writer’s mind..

 

#1 Introduce yourself to the neighborhood
 
I tell people to become a drug dealer using free samples; give them a little bit and before the release they’ll be at your door twitchy, itchy, licking their lips, wanting more.  In that same breath I remind them that not everyone is their target audience.  I write science fiction/fantasy with a side of chick flick lit.  I’m not going to ask someone who solely reads Christian fiction if they want a hit off what I’m dealing.  Not at first at least. 
 
Remember that friend who hit ‘send’ for me?  She’s not only the only person in the world who can get away with such an action, but she’s also an amazing artist who owns a shop (mortalthreads.com) that is dedicated to everything fandom.  Months after my whole ‘I’m going to be a strong independent woman, you will not change my book!’ declaration she asked me if I wanted a spot on her website.  Never in a million years would I have imagined as a writer would come in the form of a clothing store!  But think about it…science fiction-fandom…chick flick lit-nerd girls!  Okie dokie, I’m right at home, let’s do this!  Each week Mortal Threads brought you an excerpt from A Charming Nightmare via Mortal Reads.  All in prelude of the book’s grand release.
 
Not everyone has a Mortal Threads at their fingertips (I licked it, it’s MINE), but you have everything you need to build a name on your phone.  Social Media is full of a plethora of people waiting to get their hands on stuff.  Writer’s Digest is another avenue to tap into; several times a year they hold writing competitions, if you place in their contests your writing gets displayed on their site, their magazine, and numerous other sites.  Google it, go ahead, here I’ll give you something to cut and paste…I promise you will not be disappointed.
 
How to promote your book before it’s published
 
#2 Don’t be afraid of the words Self-Publishing
 
Don’t be afraid when I use the term self-publishing, I know we all have visions of Xeroxed papers stapled together to be sold as our life’s work dancing around in our heads when someone suggests self-publishing.  I know, that’s exactly what I thought;  the folded sheets of copier paper, unprofessional 3 ring approach for binding, missing cover art.
 
Self-publishing has grown out of its baby babble into something overwhelming in choices.  I used Create Space (owned by Amazon).  Even before I uploaded my work into its system the choices took days for me to go through.  They cover you, literally, cover to cover. You can choose page colors, fonts, page sizes, numbers, cover art, gloss, matt. Once choices are made Create Space tells you to order a copy, a proof.  This is hands down a must, order it, and read every individual word.  Why?  I looked it over on the website.  I’ve read it a hundred times already.  Once you click the done icon you’ll get approved within 24 hours. You can make changes from there, but once you choose to go live Amazon can take 6-8 weeks to make changes and then those changes are considered a new edition of the book.  One that you’ll have to add into Goodreads and any other book groups you belong to including your copyrights.  This is how I ended up having a sentence that will forever read ‘I looked over to the person closet to me’ instead of ‘I looked over to the person closest to me.’
 
I didn’t touch on what I am sure is a vast wealth in cover art only because I didn’t use it.  Mortal Threads designed my cover using the Create Space specifications (again MT is mine…back off!)
 
The finished product was something that looked ‘store bought’, not handmade!
 
#3 It’s all about the Benjamins
 
Truth, it is all about the Benjamins.  While Create Space is free and they’ll help in getting the product out there once you hit ‘go live’ (they’ll make it appear on Kindle, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Audio Books, make it accessible to library databases, and even give schools the opportunity to get it) you still have to decide on a price, and most of all YOU have to purchase your own books from them.  Don’t go beyond your means expecting to get rich instantly.  Not even J.K. Rowling was J.K. Rowling overnight.  Under no circumstance should a loan payment come out of your need to publish, nor should the opening of a new Master Card.  Instead I talked to my own Benjamin about Benjamins and together we set up an accounting system that would completely separate ACN from our personal finances, including a money max that we both could easily afford.  Remember, every penny invested has to be accounted for; you now have another thing to write down on your taxes.
 
#4 Your eyes ARE bigger than your stomach
 
I say this because you will want to purchase 10,000 copies of your own book…don’t (instead purchase 10,000 copies of mine, someone should benefit from your gluttony) Don’t say you won’t want to over order, I know you will, and I’ll prove it. 
“I’ll buy a copy, can I get it directly from you?  Will you sign it if I do?”
You’ll hear this from mom & dad, grandma, friends, cousins, your next door neighbor, the mailman, the checkout person at the grocery store.  In your head you’ll start a list ‘I bet Sally will want one, then there’s Uncle Don, my 10th grade English teacher, my co-workers, so and so, whoosy-whats-it. Before your first page is printed mentally have sold a thousand copies.  So you’ll buy a thousand copies at around $7.00 each and with a shipping rate of $25.00 per 50, anyone want to do that math?  It’s not common core so we should be able to see its $7,500 before tax.  But that’s ok, its easy money, Beth from accounting wants two, the barista at Starbucks wanted one-
But do they? 
Do they really? 
I ordered a book proof, and walked around with that proof proudly within reach for a month before the final product came out.  I showed and bragged and sold about 3000 copies in that time.  Do you know how many followed through when the shipment arrived?  13 Yup, you heard me right, 13 out of 3000 excited promises.  Luckily, I had bought 50, and 10 of those 50 I had other plans for.
 
#5 In a writer’s world free works both ways
 
So after your guaranteed sales from grandma, mom and dad, and your BFF, have a plan.  My plan was to do a giveaway or two.  Everyone loves free stuff right??? I did an Amazon giveaway. On an Amazon Giveaway you can set up requirements, I was new to twitter so I made it a requirement to follow me on twitter.  After 3 weeks I had 321 new followers, which may seem like nothing to you, but I created my twitter account the same day the Amazon Giveaway started so I would call it my free for their free.  An Amazon Giveaway is also your bank accounts cheat, you buy what you want to giveaway-5 Kindle copies of A Charming Nightmare-and in return Amazon gives you the royalties on 5 Kindle copies of A Charming Nightmare sold.
My Amazon Giveaway cost me $24.98-$17.24=$7.74
 

I also became a Goodreads author and did a Goodreads Giveaway.  5 signed 1st editions of A Charming Nightmare.  3 weeks.  900 people wanted a free book, surprise surprise, and what was my free?  Well, if you win a Goodreads Giveaway you HAVE TO review the book you won!  And here’s a bonus free, you as the author write up their ‘Congratulations you won’ message.  I simply added; ‘if you enjoy A Charming Nightmare feel free to write a review on Amazon as well!’ Amazon is a ratings run website, the more reviews and stars you get from verified Amazon customers the lower in ranking you get, the lower in rankings the closer to the top of their search engine you go!  On the day of its release ACN was ranked as 469,003 out of over 1 million, now, 2 months into its release, some sales, even more Kindle sales, and two reviews ACN has jumped to 21,157th in the science-fiction category.  Again, not even Stephen King was Stephen King when he started.

 

My next adventure in giving things away is going to be a Free on Kindle week.  A couple of other indie authors I’ve talked to said it is hands down the way to go (just don’t think about the lost sales when you see your download numbers).  One of them did 7 days free on Kindle, his books went from 50 downloads in 8 months to 152,265 in 7 days.  That was 2 months ago, as of today he had 3,200 in verified Kindle book sales, and a 30% increase in physical books sales.  A far cry from where he was a year ago!  Andy will tell you though, it is initially a kick in an author’s self-esteem to see how many people only want your book when you’re giving it away.
  
That is a very small list of commandments.  I know, it doesn’t even cover all the hats an indie author wears, but in essence you’re my competition!  Why would I tell you all my secrets?

 

May the fourth be with you…

 

 

 

I have been a busy busy lady the passed couple of weeks, between interviews, guest spots, signing, and mom duties life seems to have gotten away from me lately!

But don’t you fret, there are 3 days I will never ever forget: Halloween, Cinco De Mayo, and May 4th…

 

I am one with the fourth and the fourth is with me…

#maythefourthbewithyou #Iseewhatyoudidthere #agalaxyfarfaraway

 

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If A Charming Nightmare has taught me anything its how intimidating the idea of putting yourself out there can be! I know what’s it’s like to talk yourself into hitting the send button, and how bad the sting of that first, second, or millionth rejection or critique can be.  So let’s make this a space for you hit send to!  A place to dip your toe in the pool and test the waters of getting yourself out there.

Email me at mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com or FB, Twitter, and Instagram with your piece Whether it be in writing, pictures, thoughts and ideas, anything you adore and feel as though we all should read, or see!  I love the collective collaboration that a simple statement can bring.