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A large part of my campaign to achieve the best publicity possible for IN RETROSPECT has been exploring Twitter and facebook. Like most of you, I’ve had facebook and Twitter accounts for a while, but I’ve never gotten the results you often hear about. I decided I was ready to spend some bucks to be educated.

As it happens, while scoping out publicists in general, I spoke with Julie Schoerke at JKSCommunication. As well as giving me a few goods tips. Julie pointed me to Grace Wright, who is the social media guru at JKS. The cost for an hour with Grace was forty bucks. My price range. Here is some of the Wisdom of Grace (with her permission).

Twitter

I learned from Grace that the goal for my use of social media is to get people to know about IN RETROSPECT and share what they know about the book with their followers. That’s different from the goal of “lots of followers,” which is what I’d thought it was about.

Grace explained that one of my intermediate goals is to identify people who have similar interests to me and who are interested in books like mine. This means seeking out other authors with similar books (and whose readers follow them on Twitter). She recommended that I send such authors a direct message after following them and say that we’ve written similar books and might be able to cross promote.

Because IN RETROSPECT is plotted as a mystery but has an undeniable science fiction setting, this means I can turn what I’d previously thought of as a problem (how to promote a cross-genre book) into an asset, because I have double the potential allies.

Short aside: Five Star, my publisher, is bringing IN RETROSPECT out initially in hard cover, with the focus primarily on library sales. A lot of my future success will depend on those library sales. When I spoke with Julie, she recommended that I identify and follow all the librarians I possibly could, and identify those who championed science fiction and those who went in for mysteries. I’m using Listorious to do this.

Grace next suggested that I seek out already existing fan groups for TV shows and movies that were similar to my book. A quick look at my webpage for the book, especially Mike’s illustrations, made her think of Firefly and its mix of post-apocalyptic universe and adventure. Clairvoyant that she is, she asked if I was familiar with Firefly, which, needless to say, I am. She suggested that I work up a list of hashtag topics, such as #firefly, and use them in appropriate tweets to attract fans of such existing groups.

We also talked about the annoying question of what exactly I should be tweeting. One of my main complaints about what I read on social media is the extremely thin content. And I’m not a fan of writers who talk about how they write. Grace recommended that I stick with retweets of cool stuff, updates on my book and the books of others, and updates on the incredible artwork Mike is creating for the book. When I get closer to the release date, she recommended that I run contests and quizzes with free giveaways as prizes and announce them on Twitter.

Twitter tools that work to achieve the goal:

  • Retweet things you find cool, things about the publishing world and other authors.
  • To maximize the power of the retweet, use RT @ rather than the retweet button. This way the retweet shows up on twitter page of the person you are retweeting and is seen by their followers.
  • Create public lists, such as “my favorite authors” to attract readers who like those authors too. I’m thinking Ursula K. LeGuin, Asimov (Robot novel mysteries!), and Rex Stout for starters….
  • Use Follow Fridays – #FF – as a way to appreciate people following and retweeting you. Yes, it’s only used on Fridays. (I asked so that you wouldn’t have to.)

Grace’s bottom line for all social media was that it’s about give and take; promoting each other. The trap is thinking that a high number of follows leads to automatically success.

Next up: facebook.   Prioress Shield sm

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