A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend a conference for writers in Vancouver, British Columbia. The event took place at a perfect time for me in my writing journey and spurred me on to step up my Internet activities specifically around my writing life.
Already I’d spent a few years writing a blog on blogger.com which was called Beader Girl Jewels and celebrated my life both creative and personal. After attending the Vancouver conference I mentioned above, though, I stepped up my social media footprint to start a new writing blog (On Becoming a Wordsmith), get active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and build my list. I even joined Pinterest when it became a thing. The promise was that all of this activity would help me get known for my writing.
Today I’d like to spend some time telling just what I’ve learned about the value and uses of the various social media platforms I’ve used.
Twitter: In the beginning this was really useful. I went on the Twitter Feed and narrowed my search for sites to follow according to my writing and marketing needs. I was interested in seeing sites which taught me about these topics and I learned a lot. At this stage I would run down the Twitter feed and see what people were publishing. Then I’d follow the sites that interested me and I found some fabulous people and information this way. As the years went on and I built my list and my needs changed so did the time I spent reading the Twitter feed. Now my Twitter time is spent liking and retweeting friends’ stuff as well as checking out new people whose work I want to follow. I rarely take any time to just run down the Twitter feed.
Pinterest: I do a little here but have certainly not used it to its potential. I’ve enjoyed seeing amazing libraries and books pictures but, truthfully, most of the emails Pinterest sends me do not catch my attention. My current goal is to create my own Pinterest poster about my Loyalist books and see if I can get some traction in book sales that way. Always looking for new and interesting ways to market.
LinkedIn: In the beginning I used LinkedIn’s groups to connect to a lot of writing/book related groups. I joined quite a few of them and used them to gain a wider market for my regular blog posts. It was fun and instructive to connect with other writers. One problem began to occur, though. Many of the groups did not want me to post links to my latest blog posts even though those posts had loads of pertinent information for other writers. One even told me I could not use any links in my posts. Gradually I realized I didn’t have time to tailor my group submissions and I opted out of several. The thing that I learned is that a writer’s needs change along the way, going from specific writing questions, to publishing, to marketing, and a LinkedIn member needs to keep abreast of help groups for whatever is the particular need at a specific time. I realized I had to use my social media time as it best helped me. Now I am a member of two marketing type groups and that’s all.
Facebook: My most useful SM time has been spent on Facebook. I have a personal page which helps me keep up to date with family and friends as well as a number of writing friends. Then I have my writer’s page at ElaineCouglerAuthor which is more tuned to the writing world which is so important to me. If you haven’t liked my page, come visit me. Here I post my weekly blog post and any other interesting writing-related things I find along the way. I am most appreciative of those who share and like my articles on this page. I have also done some Facebook advertising which worked pretty well although it takes a few months to actually see the results in sales. You can hone your marketing reach for these ads in several ways which all makes knowing exactly who your audience is absolutely crucial. The FB stats on this are good and the procedure itself is well-documented and easy to follow. Also my audience for my books coincides with the main audience for FaceBook which works out well for me.
I do find sometimes that the world works in mysterious ways. Today as I was writing this blog post, I received a newsletter in my InBox from The Writer Magazine with an article by fellow Canadian Brent van Staalduinen entitled “Stepping away from social media (and back into what matters.)” Interesting because I felt it was kind of serendipitous. How did The Writer Magazine pick that moment to send me that article? Anyhow, I hope you’ll click on the link and read what Brent says.
Over the years I’ve really learned to limit my time on social media. The writing and the marketing are what matter the most to me. Every person on social media must decide where to spend time to get the most value. I think that we must also consider which platforms are the most pleasurable for us. I am much more likely to prepare articles to post in places that are fun. Aren’t you?
A final note to consider when deciding how much social media to do is its effect on getting your message out. I often get comments about my high level of visibility as I market my work. A lot of that is because of my social media time. One final thing I really try to do is make a FB event out of most of my speaking and workshop events. Even if people can’t get to these events they see the notice and are reminded about my writing life. Many people do come because of those ads as well. Life is good for me as long as I don’t let social media take over!
“Elaine, I enjoyed reading your story about growing up in Oxford County. (My Story, My Song) As I read along I kept saying to myself …yes, I remember that. I knew/ know some of the people you mentioned as well. Your river story reminded me of our three season farm ponds which were so massive we felt sorry for the poor kids in town who had to skate in a circle and could only change direction when the whistle blew. I was not impressed with that when I first skated in an arena and yes I also started out with second hand black skates.” Bernice
“Elaine, I just finished your book, The Loyalist’s Daughter. It was a great read and is hard to imagine how someone can put together such a book. Well done!”
Terry and Sally
“We both loved The Loyalist’s Daughter. So happy we have a ‘signed’ copy. Thanks for doing that.” Carol and Dennis.
“What a remarkable book! I just finished yesterday….It is one of those books that, at the end of each chapter, the urge is to ‘just read one more chapter’ before turning out the light….I had no idea what is involved in organizing such a fund raising venture and ventures across Canada and you explained it so well….[This] book that you wrote on his life and huge contributions needed to be written….Thanks for putting your writing skills to work into the life of Ron Calhoun.” John Snoddy
“Just finished your first book in your Loyalist trilogy – really, really enjoyed it. Those folks sure were hardy types in those days – I don’t think I could even survive a walk to the outhouse – hahaha. Looking forward to reading the next one.” Lisa Hutchison
“I loved the book. [The Man Behind the Marathons] So glad for the way you set it up. It kept me reading. And then the section on Ron came just as I was about headed to Google to see what led Ron to be the guy he was. The quality of the paper was a real asset. Top quality for a top quality story about a top quality guy. Congratulations. I felt your heart in every page. Thanks for letting me have an early look at the book. Very cherished.” Sue Hilborn
“Just finished your book. [The Man Behind the Marathons] It is great – so many interesting things about Terry and Steve (whom I had forgotten about). Ron’s story is, if possible, even more interesting. I can see why you were drawn into his life as a suitable subject for your first nonfiction. I did wonder how Ron’s one set of clothes washed by his mother every night were dry for school the next morning . . . and which race your ‘young daughter’ beat you in.” Wayne C.
“Just finished all three and enjoyed the stories as they were woven into the history of that area. Congratulations!” Lorrie Miller on Facebook, reacting to The Loyalist Legacy‘s Chill With a Book Award.
“It was a pleasure to be at the LWS meeting last night. Great information shared. Love your books and writing style. I will give them as gifts. They bring this time in history to life in a way that one will never forget. Thank you!” Rosemary
“Elaine Cougler has written a page-turning novel of the American Revolution through the eyes of a conflicted loyalist soldier and his indomitable wife. You’ll feel the hardship of homesteading, the fear of the enemy, the blows of battle, and the pain of separation. You’ll be transported through history. This is not just a novel written about another time, it seems written in another time.” Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans, Stephen Leacock medal winner
“I bought all three books at Probus club meeting in London. I loved the stories. I am now a student reading more about the war of 1812. Thank you for your stories. Love your writing style.” Gwen Moore
“I was delighted with the way you handled the Norwich Rebellion in the last Loyalist book, Elaine, and have heard many positive comments about it.” Marie A.
“I’m an impatient reader. If my interest isn’t piqued right from the get-go, I simply don’t continue reading the book. Both of the Loyalist books drew me in immediately!” Elaine B
“The Loyalist’s Luck is one of the best sequels I’ve read in a long time. It picks up right where The Loyalist’s Wife left off and takes the reader to Canada with a group of Loyalists escaping the American Revolution.” Denise F