Friday, December 27, 2013

The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media

Marketing.  It used to be such a benign, friendly term, a necessary program used by people to spread the word about products.  Then over time, as technology exploded and the world turned global, and metadata became a word we actually understood, marketing became a four-letter word.  Well, it’s still nine.  But when marketing morphed into social media, I used a lot more four letter words.


Suddenly, social media was everywhere, and for writers it was both good and bad. Thanks to social media authors could connect with readers in various arenas.  For some it was addicting, for others an absolute chore.  But for most, if not all, establishing a social presence while maintaining a writing career became the ultimate challenge.  I mean, when an author markets more than she writes, why does she need social media? 


I’ve read the industry blogs, consulted with marketing gurus, and still social media was not my friend.  But in October, Colorado Romance Writers offered a social media program that they touted as different.  And me skeptical, but desperate enough to try one more thing, I traveled the 160-mile round trip to northern Colorado to meet workshop presenter, Amy Denim.  In Ms. Denim’s hour-and-a-half class, she gave me and a room full of socially back-assword writers, hope.  That’s why I’m so pleased to introduce The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media.  ~ Donnell


If you’re spending more time on Facebook, tweeting, pinning and blogging than on writing your book, let The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media help break that cycle.  In this book you'll learn:
·        How to choose the right social media platforms to use for you and how to use them successfully
·        What social media networks work well together
·        Tools to make using social media easier and faster
·        What to post that will interest your readers and fans
·        And most importantly, how to be present engaging social media topics in only a few 5-15 minute breaks a day.
"- a must read for writers." ~Jennifer Maitlen, author of Rachel's Redemption. "
“-an effective tool for writers who want to spend more time writing and less on social media." ~ Larie Brannick, author of Her Desert Treasure, coming in April 2014  

The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media is common sense actually, but compiled in one convenient handout, Amy Denim helps writers research and choose the best media avenues that work for them.  Check out this book, and stay tuned as Amy returns in January to discuss The Author Business Plan.      


Five Scribe Readers:  Leave your e-mail address and your comment to win a free consultation on YOUR Business Plan from Marketing guru Amy Denim.  Also, Amy wants to know:  What's your favorite or least favorite social media site to use?  

As time allows, Amy will get back to you.  We’ll draw the winner on January 2nd.    How’s that for a great start for 2014? 
Happy New Year!
~ Donnell


Karalee Long said...

Hi, Donnell. I haven't read The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media yet but am planning to. I really need something like it to help me navigate the mine fields of social media. As for which one is my favorite and which one I dislike the most, at this point I have to say none of them is my favorite. But the one I'm most interested in is Facebook.

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

This is great. I have to say that social media propelled Be Mine This Christmas Night to #1 on the Kindle Holiday list. But which one? I don't know.

My least fav is Twitter b/c I don't know the whole hash tag thing or all the language and it feels very impersonal to me. FB seems more personal, but not everyone sees the posts.

Perfect timing on this. Can't wait to read more.
You have my email :)

Amy Denim said...

LA, Congrats on the success of Be Mine This Christmas!

Hashtags are one of the most commonly asked questions I get about using Twitter. They're used for a couple of main reasons, to be able to follow a conversation, find trends, and to make a comment.

One of my favorite trends is authors getting together on Twitter to write. We all meet up using #1K1hr or #amwriting. When I see or use those I know I can find some like minded people talking about getting some words down on the page.

The main thing to know about using hashtag is that you can only use letters and number, no spaces and no punctuation.

Hope that helps! (and hope to see you on Twitter (tweet me at @AmyDenim)

Kristina Serrano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristina Serrano said...

My favorite social media account to use would be Twitter. It's easy to build an audience and even easier to chat with fellow writers!

I've found that I've been enjoying the networking process, but blogging is definitely most difficult to me.

I'm not a published author yet, but I am all too aware of the importance of establishing a solid platform early, and have found, as the post says, that I'm spending more time on social media than actually partaking in my passion of writing! This is definitely a book I need to read!

Krysten said...

I would say my favorite is Facebook. I haven't used Twitter as much.

H. S. Stavropoulos said...

Great timing as I'm very confused about social media. I barely got on to FaceBook when every one moved over to Twitter. Yikes!! By the time I figure it out everyone will be on some other social media. The learning curve is so steep and every one has no idea if any or even which one works but they feel that it's necessary for promote one's self as an author.

I worry more about learning how and which one to do than actually using them effectively. Can't wait to read the book.

As for my favourite? It's the one that gets me on the best seller list!!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

I enjoy Twitter and Pinterest, but struggle with Facebook. Looking forward to reading The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media.

Amy Denim said...

Hey Kristina,
I too am a Twitter fan. I love the instant gratification of getting to talk to someone right then and there. For your blog, I recommend doing something I call the Coffee Break Blog every once in a while. Example: Find a video on YouTube for music you like to write to, post it on your blog and tell your readers this is your writing jam, but that you could use more suggestions. Ask them to leave a comment on songs they are addicted to right now. See, quick and easy, shouldn't take you more than a 5-10 minute coffee break to get it posted.
There's a template on my blog for this and a few other Coffee Break blog ideas at Good luck!

Amy Denim said...

Hi H.S.,
You (and authors with fears like yours) are the reason I wrote this book! Social media is big scary monster to so many people because it is can be overwhelming. Here's the key point to my Coffee Break Mentality. Pick ONE. Yep, that's right. Pick one social media platform that you like (or don't hate) to use and be really good on it. That will build you way more social recognition (which leads to discoverability by readers) than trying to be all over the place, letting that stress you out, and not really building up your platform at all. If you're already on Facebook, stick with it. (and friend me!)
Feel better?

Amy Denim said...

If you are already doing Twitter and Pinterest you don't have to be on Facebook too. I swear! (see my comment to H.S.) But if you really want to here's a tip. Your profile (which is where you can friend people) is for making new friends and interacting with them. The people you PERSONALLY interact with the the ones most likely to buy your book. Your fan page (the one you want people to like) is for news about your author career.
And stick with a 10-1 rule for promo. 10 fun posts with interesting content (like pictures and stuff) to 1 promo post.
Hope that helps!

Kristina Serrano said...

Thanks for the advice, Amy! I'll definitely try that. I'm now following you on Twitter and am following your blog. :)

Debbie Herbert said...

I so need this! I spend too much time on social media, and still feel like I'm missing something. My favorite is TWITTER and blogging is my least favorite social media activity.

Debbie Herbert

Cher Gorman said...

I have tried just about every kind of social media to increase book sales but alas none have made the difference. I am on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, I have a web site... I just released what I think is my best book to date and the reviews have been wonderful. But the book is not selling. I don't know if it is because of the holiday season...who knows.

I think the reason a book sells is because it resonates with readers and they tell their friends and family who in turn tell their friends and so on. Why does one book resonate and not another? I have no idea. If I knew the answer I'd be rich. Jennifer Probst book The Marriage Bargain is a prime example. Readers went crazy over that book and she ended up on the NYT list and got a print deal with Simon and Schuster.

I'm going to check out The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media.

Happy New Year!

Cheryl G

Cynthia D'Alba said...

The problem I see with Facebook is that as soon as I (or anyone) THINKS they've figured it out, FB changes. Seems like nothing works more than once! I love the 140 character format for Twitter but I found myself chatting more with other authors than readers and fans. And now we "hear" that Instagram is the latest "it" social media and heaven help me if I can figure how how to use it for marketing! :)

There's a lot of "noise" from authors waving their hands and jumping in the air to be noticed.

Your book sounds like awesomesauce.

Jill James said...

After I post this comment off to find the book. My favorite social media used to be Twitter, but with more and more followers it got overwhelming. Now I enjoy the interaction on Facebook much more. If I could leave Candy Crush Saga alone that would be great too. :) LOL

Amy Denim said...

Deb, (hello in Twitterland!)
Too much time on social media, not enough time to write. It's the cry of many an author these days. I started out that way too. Built up a great presence on social media, and didn't finish a whole manuscript. Oops. That's when I came up with the Coffee Break mentality. It's all about taking social media coffee breaks. A couple of focused fifteen minute breaks spent on your platforms will do more for you than "phaffing about" (means something like wasting time in British English) on the internet all day. Hopefully I can help you do that with this book!

Amy Denim said...

Hey Cher,
I wish I could tell you there's one magical social media bean to increase book sales! You're totally right on about a book needing to resonate. A great book (and then another and then another) will sell more books than anything you do on social media.
That being said, it sounds to me like maybe focusing your social media to one or two platforms (and sticking to them) would make you less stressed and probably more effective in getting your message out.
Hope that helps. :)

Amy Denim said...

Aww, aren't you sweet. I love being saucy!
Ah, Facebook. Yep they keep changing, and we keep trying to keep up with them. Can't be helped. Just keep personally interacting with people there and it won't matter anyway.
@Twitter - writers are readers too!
Oh, no. Instagram is the next big thing? But what about Vine, or GetGlue, or wait, I thought Pinterest was the next big thing. *snort*
The thing is you're right. Instagram (and all those other social media platforms I listed above) are the next big thing, and next week there will be another one and another and another.
But I relieve you of the next big thing stress here and now. You don't have to be on all of them. I swear.

Amy Denim said...

Thanks so much for buying the book! Be sure to let me know how you like it. :)
If you follow more than about 10 people on Twitter that feed is totally overwhelming. I use (and recommend) Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, or Janetter)! Makes everything better.
But if you like Facebook better, than use that one. You don't need to be on both if you don't want to. But, Jill...delete Candy Crush Saga now. It's evil. :)

Mimi Foster said...

I have learned to use FB to my advantage, and it was quite instrumental in getting me to Bestseller status. Trying to learn Google+, but haven't really got the rhythm of it yet. LOVE Pinterest but try to avoid it because it becomes a time suck to me :) My least favorite is Twitter, but that's mostly because of user error. I'll go get a copy of your book now. Thank you!, or follow me on Twitter @DowntownMimi

Maggi Landry said...

I'm so sorry I missed the October workshop, sounds great and I'll be reading the Coffee Break Guide for sure.
So far I've tried FB, Goodreads, Tumblr and I've just gotten on Twitter. I think I see the most possibilities with Twitter once I figure out how to use it. I will humbly admit to being a social media dunce but I'm finding I will have to learn to use it as my publisher's promotions aren't as effective as I would like. As a YA author finding the right social media is very challenging.

Mimi Foster said...

And here's what I REALLY want to know - I have a great FB following. When you max out, how do you convert to actually having a viable fan page that works so you aren't limited to 5,000?

Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Candy Crush is AWFUL, but I love it. However I refuse to pay a cent to them for my addiction. I just wait for the lives to life again.

Amy, I think FB profile is fun, (My page is fairly static) more fun that Twitter (I think I said that earlier) but the reach of Twitter with Triberr is astounding. Although I'm not sure how to measure the real metrics of Triberr.

I use Hootsuite and have to find a way to schedule time...maybe every Sunday.

I have posts I reuse with changes and that saves time. But I do understand the 10/1 rule...even if I don't ALWAYS adhere to it.

Hugs again,
LA of the scribes

Kim Paluch said...

I get bogged down in too much social in my social media mix. Having a guide would be good. :)

Amy Denim said...

Hey Mimi,
Congrats on your successes with the Thunder on the Mountain series! So you've utilized the heck out of your Facebook profile page. You're right it's time to start pushing people to your author fan page. Start by inviting people you have had actual personal interactions with to like your page. Make sure it's people you really know, because you're going to ask them to help you later. Now you need to start putting special content on your fan page. Run a contest to giveaway a few copies of your book, get their e-copies authorgraphed or a special meet the author tea party at the Bed and Breakfast tea room. Now ask your friends to share your posts. Make sure you review Facebook's rules for contests, but the whole point it to get more likes on your page. Continue to post exclusive posts, like cover reveals, release dates and sneak peek excerpts ONLY on your fan page. Still use your profile to interact with people and let them know there's special content on your fan page. That should get you starting to build up your audience. Hope that helps!

Amy Denim said...

Ah, the lament of so many authors on social media. So many platforms, so little time! One of the strategies in the Coffee Break Guide is to choose one primary platform and be really good at that. Then later spread out to one more and only when you feel really strong using those two play around with maybe one or two more. Don't spread yourself too thin trying to be everywhere. Be great where you're already are. Good luck!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Amy, thanks for being our guest this week. I don't think anyone noticed :) invaluable advice. Authorgraph. I don't quite get it. Is this another good way of social networking?

Secretariat said...

I will definitely pick up the book. I am an absolute luddite when it comes to social media, so any ideas are greatly appreciated.
~ Kerry

Carly Carson said...

I like Pinterest, but I do it for fun, not for selling books. I've finally figured out FB. The problem there is I built up likes recently, but FB doesn't show my posts to anyone so I can't figure out the point of that. I interact on my Profile page, but the fan page seems dead. Who am I talking to if only 12 people see the post? Even if you pay to boost, that's a one shot deal so is it cost effective? I don't know. I will try your book when I get home from vacation since I don't have my Nook here. (PS: As a mother of teens, instagram is the rage, but it may only be in that age group.)

Linda Lovely said...

Thanks, Amy (and Donnell)-- I also need to read your book, Amy! I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Goodreads and what feels like a hundred writing group loops. By the time I read everything in my inbox half the day's gone. I've done giveaways and advertised ebook titles free for selected time periods. Still I don't feel as if I've used any of the social media successfully. Now I have a new audiobook and am clueless how to reach this market. Any suggestions welcome.

Amy Denim said...

Hey Carly,
You're right, my teenager loves Instagram. I'm not saying people should or shouldn't be on it. It's all about choosing the right social media for you and your platform. If you write YA I'd recommend Tumblr, Instagram and Vine as great places to interact with that crowd.
It takes a while to build up a fan page. Check out my comment to Mimi for tips on building up your fan page following. But you're right, with less than 20 fans a lot of people aren't seeing what you've got to offer. Anything you post on your fan page you should share onto your profile.
There are always lots and lots of Facebook questions from authors since it is a very popular platform for authors I'm Quick Break Guide to Facebook for Writers to be released in February!

Amy Denim said...

Lovely Linda,
Sounds like you're on social media overload. I love that you've claimed your real estate on so many platforms, but, dudette, turn off the email notifactions. Pick a couple platforms you actually like to spend time on and then spend your valuable time on that instead of going through a mountain of email everyday. You'll build up a lot more notice than trying to spread yourself so thin.
You're doing the right thing with the giveaways of your books. Since you're on so many author loops why don't you try asking people on those loops if they'd like a free copy of your new audiobook in exchange for an honest review. We all know reviews are king in the book sales game. The more you can get the better your sales will be. Then you can also give a happy shout out on your other social media (like Facebook and Twitter.)
Hope that helps!

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DebStover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Herbert said...

Was the winner drawn for this book?

Donnell Ann Bell said...

We did a Random Drawing and drew JILL JAMES as the winner of Amy Denim's Drawing. Jill, Amy will be contacting you shortly!

Thanks everyone!