Category Archives: Marketing books

Twitter Mystification

Half my day was absorbed in the Twitter/Facebook Time Suck. Work started at 7 a.m. and went through until 12:30, when I had to leave to meet some friends for a prearranged get-together. Got home around 4:30.

At that point, I had to undo a mess the lawn guy had made in the garden when he repaired (thank goodness!!) the sprinkling system. This unplanned chore took until almost dark

What was on the schedule today? To begin creating covers for 15 new books. These need to be done by this time tomorrow night (it’s almost 8 p.m. now). I should start on that right now but am simply too tired to move. How exactly I’m going to get to twice as many covers as I planned to create tomorrow escapes my comprehension.

So basically what happened is that all of my productive time today was sucked away in Twitter. The outcome, to the extent that one can identify an outcome, was 22 incoming messages informing me of “favorites,” “retweets,” “direct messages” (most of them advertising the sender’s product or site), and new followers. That’s probably more than I’ve ever gotten in a single day. They really liked this little squib I posted, about reviews for the first three Fire-Rider bookoids :

5-star reviews LoRes

I’m having a very difficult time figuring out how social media are supposed to work, REALLY, as marketing tools. Or if they do. The fundamental problem behind that issue is that I don’t understand social media at all.


  • Why would anyone other than a kid spend time on something like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Periscope? Who other than a teenager or a nine-year-old has the time to diddle away on this stuff?
  • What are they seeking?
  • Who are these people? Are they in fact adults? Or are most of them teenagers and children?
  • What kind of people are they?
    • What do they do in their lives?
    • How do they have time to waste on social media?
  • What do social media provide that more focused, less trivial media do not provide?
  • What is one trying to accomplish when one engages a social medium?
    • Evidently it’s not a direct sale.
    • I understand the principle that the point is to lure people to your website. I don’t understand how that would happen, though, because going to other users’ websites is not something I ordinarily do myself — at least, not often.
  • How does one focus and deliver a message on, say, Twitter? Or any of them, really?
  • How does one avoid getting lost or drowned out in all that static?
  • Which one or two platforms works best for marketing books?

It’s all one huge mystification.

The Writing Life: Never Rains but It Pours

Have you ever noticed that weeks and even months can go by without much  happening, and then all of a sudden everything pops at once? It’s been like that around here.

Last week what should come in the door but…well…not one, not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE editing projects! I haven’t seen a lonely scribbler all summer long, and now here’s a mob of them at my door, just as I’m trying to crank 87 gerjillion Camptown Races Press books for the holiday season!

Speaking of the which, we’re about to promulgate our first Hallowe’en Treat: Janet and the Djinn, a whimsical story of a despairing jilted wife who answers a Craig’s List ad and gets a much more spirited romp than she expected. If you’d like an advance copy, come on over to Camptown Ladies Talk and grab one TODAY, before it hits Amazon. Sign up for the newsletter there (the form’s at the top of the page) and we’ll send you a .mobi or a PDF version ASAP.

Craig's List Janet LoResAdvance copy NOW!
Camptown Ladies Talk

So, back to the issue at hand: five freaking editorial projects when we’re trying to crank eight books this month, one of which I STILL HAVE TO FINISH WRITING!

Lordie! I haven’t been able to get to my own stuff in weeks. But I really couldn’t turn them down. We need the money to keep the business going. Not only do I have to cover the regular overhead — the Cox bill, the web hosting bill, the web wrangler’s bill, the association dues, the paper, the ink, the you-name-it — I now have four (maybe five, soon!) writers to pay. Pay for three of these projects, taken together, will keep us going another two months past the date I figured we’d go broke if we’re not turning a profit.


But last week I tried a plan that shows some serious promise: divide up the day in chunks, and devote each chunk to one (count it, 1) specific task. Don’t do anything else during that period, no matter how tempting or urgent it seems to be. Okay.

So, Friday went like this:

Three hours: Post Bobbi and the Biker. Publicize: Build widgets, manage Twitter and post tweets there, write blog posts, plan marketing campaign.
Three hours: Edit copy
Three hours: Write scene for The Taming of Bonnie (Ouija Lover II)

Et voilà! There’s a nine-hour day, right there.

I ended up spending another three hours cleaning up some very messy computer files and backing them up to a gigantic flash drive and then to the iMac. That was quite a job, but it’s going to make life a lot easier.

Saturday was blown away with a three-hour meeting of a writer’s group I habituate — plus the two hours it takes to get there and back. When I got home, I discovered the power had gone out while I was gone, and it had knocked the wireless off the air. Try as I might, I could NOT get the wireless back online. I called my son, who was pissed that I bothered him on the weekend and not very friendly about the prospect of having to help me fix it. Continued to struggle with it. Went to bed with no wireless Internet access.

Naturally. Just as I needed to push HARD to publicize our first Racy Book for Racy Readers.

Sunday morning I managed to get the system back online and then fly out the door to choir. Singing occupied the rest of the morning.

I fell in the choir loft when one of my platform sandals came loose and dropped off my foot. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt, other than a few mild aches, but it was embarrassing and disturbing. Got home and had a drink with lunch. And then another. And then didn’t feel a whole lot like writing or editing. Blew off the afternoon with a nap and reading someone else’s naughty book.

So spent all of Sunday evening, way into the night, editing copy.

Today I’m going to try the three/three/three schedule again. It’s already almost 7 a.m. and I haven’t had anything to eat or walked the dogs, but hope to squeeze those things in before sitting down to work. Started around 5 and I’ve updated the Twitter buzz, posted the FREE ADVANCECOPY OFFER(!!!!!) at Camptown Ladies Talk and here, answered comments at Funny about Money, built widgets here and at Ladies Talk, reviewed copy I wrote on Friday, checked a subcontractor’s edits and sent her work, with a bill, to the Chinese academic client, worked briefly on the Mongolian expat client’s work, fielded e-mail, and…not gotten a heck of a lot else done.

It’s starting to rain: that gets me out of having to walk the dogs — they hate rain. Thank goodness!

And so, to post this, plug it on Twitter, and slap up a post at Funny about Money. Then: breakfast. Then: real work.


Tweeting to the Choir

Have you, truthfully, ever been able to see the sense of Twitter as a marketing device? It’s unclear to me that it’s as effective as people claim.

Consistent tweeting adds up to an unholy time-suck — in the most vivid sense of the word: time sucked down the drain and wasted, washed out to sea. I’m willing to try it if it will help me link with people who might enjoy reading Camptown Races books and consequently might buy them. But Twitter crawls with independent publishers who “follow” each other and then post nothing but ads for their self-published bookoids.

Few of the tweeters I’ve followed seem ever to have heard of the “Give, Give, Give, Right-Hook” concept of social media marketing. Obsessively posting images of your latest Kindle book cover — over and over and over — does nothing to help your cause. It gives the reader no information, other than that you publish things in a given genre.

I’m left with questions:

If you don’t read, review, and tweet other writers’ books, why should other writers buy and read yours?
How many Twitter customers can be expected to bite on one’s advertisements?
Is building a readership of people who compete directly with you a wise use of Twitter?
What can one learn from this experience?

If you want me to care about you as an author, you need to persuade me that you’re a human being, not a marketing bot.

If you want me to buy, read, and review your book, you might consider buying and reading my book. And use Twitter to let me know about it. Use Twitter to let others know if you did or didn’t like my book. And why.

But figuring out how to make it work that way is a challenge. Maybe, one suspects, an insurmountable challenge.

Recently it dawned on me that rather than following people who are like oneself, the trick is to follow those who fit some other model. The Internet swims with lists of “Top NN People to Follow on Twitter.” I stumbled on one listing people and sites in the book industry. They’re not up-and-coming publishing companies or writers. They’ve arrived.

And what do you find when you read their tweets? Rarely do they flog their books on Twitter. Instead, they comment briefly about issues or post links to interesting articles or notices.

Clearly, if you want people to read you, you should bestir yourself to write something worth reading. In admanese, we might say something like “Don’t sell them; tell them.”





woo Hoo! Twitter Site ESTABLISHED!

Well, maybe not “established” in the Grand Sense, but certainly founded, started, more than a twinkle in its mommy’s eye.

I’m delighted to say I finally figured out how to create a Twitter page for the Camptown Ladies, those chatty souls who soon will be talking up a storm about some very lively novelettes. Their Twitter handle is @RacyLadies, and their profile page there is at

Please do check them out, and follow them on Twitter!

For reasons I can’t fully explain, this whole process of launching our enterprise on social media has given me the whim-whams in the big way. It’s been irrationally stressful. But why?

Primarily, I suppose, it’s that I’ve become exponentially less techie than I was when I was a young thing. Believe it or not, back in AOL days, when IBM and Xerox dominated the PC market, I was an early adopter of everything. I learned every piece of software that was even remotely relevant to my work or my interests — in EXTREME believe-it-or-not, once I even interviewed for a job as a software reviewer.

Over time, though, my interests shifted away from things technological. Even though I developed the first online courses in my campus’s College of Liberal Arts, the teaching demands and then the editing work absorbed so much time and attention that I grew increasingly disconnected from things high-tech. And as you know, once disconnected from this stuff, it’s almost impossible to reconnect.

Then we have the fact that when it comes to things “social,” I am not good. The very phrase “social media” makes me wince. It’s not so much that I don’t like people as that they tend not to like me. That’s been true since I was a small child. And though adults have developed ways to hide their mean thoughts, the fact still remains that few of them seem to think other than mean thoughts about me. I’ve never learned why or what I do to alienate people, but one thing’s clear: I wasn’t born to live in polite society. So I’m really, really put off at the prospect of having to jump into anything dubbed “social.”

Oh well. The Twitter thing is up, and in just a few hours the girls have already got sixteen followers!!

Tomorrow I’ll work on building them a Facebook page, and I see we now finally have something called a Goodreads Author Page. So the other thing I’ll have to do tomorrow is figure out what that is and how to make it work.

And THEN and then and then… By the first part of next week (sooner if possible), we’ll have a BIG GIVEAWAY CONTEST to choose stage names — noms de blog? — for the Racy Ladies. I figure to run this through Camptown Ladies Talk, and to offer the first-prize winner a choice of 1 PG-13-rated Fire-Rider story, or our first X-rated Camptown Races Press book, or a hard copy of How I Lost 30 Pounds in Four Months. If we have a second and a third prize, I think those folks will get our choice of a free book.

Maybe I can get my hands on an Amazon gift card, too.

LOL! The belly has been so upset over the past few weeks, I’ve made an appointment with my old high-powered gastroenterologist, thinking something real was wrong.

But no. Now that the worst of all that is done — or at least launched to sea — suddenly I feel fine. It must have been stress.

Oh, how I wish I could farm the marketing out to some stronger soul! Maybe after I’ve become a rich old porn queen, I’ll be able to afford a real, live marketing agent!