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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Connecting with Readers in Virtuality by Lynda K. Scott

In today's world, we communicate with people we've never met in 'real' life. We may have never been close enough to shake their hands or hug them. Yet, they are our 'friends'. They are vital parts of our virtual world. 

Our real world and our virtual world are pretty much indistinguishable. My writing career is conducted in a fairly solitary manner--I sit in my office, write on my PC, and if I need to contact my agent or publishers, I'll send an email. I've never actually met any of them face to face (though I hope to do so). 
 
I have a newsletter list, a presence on a variety of social media, blogs…My readers are in front of their computers/tablets/smart phones reading my blogs (or any of my Virtuality promotional efforts) while on the other end, I might be running to the grocery store, playing with my alien kitten (Wookie) or watching my favorite hockey team. That delay doesn't make the post/email/what-have-you any less valid. Not today. 

This is our virtual world. This is our real world.  
We have to learn to use it. To command it.
To make it help us as we attempt to promote our work.  
How do we do that?  

In the real world, we have author signings or appearances. But in the virtual world, we have other resources. Many of them are just as great as the old smile-and-sign at the author's table. I'll list a few of these with what I consider to be salient points.  

The one thing I want to point out is that you are not promoting just your books. You are promoting YOU, the AUTHOR. In other words, you are bringing your pseudonym, and your author's personality, to life in this Virtuality world we inhabit. 

Virtuality Promotions:

            1. Website & Domain

-You must have a website in this Virtuality world. If you don't have a website yet, reserve your domain name (before someone else does). 

- Having your own website will give you a 'professional' email address, ie happyauthor.com, not happyauthor@snappytrails.com 

            2. Blogs

-You can use a blog for a web site (Try to get a domain name for it--you always want to bring your name forward). 

-Regularly post to your blog. Readers like routines and they'll appreciate the way you reach out to them on a regular basis. This also keeps your name in front of them and helps build your author-reader relationship. 

-Guest on other blogs (See Blog Tours. Also see my **NOTE under Blog Tours.) 

- Get your blog syndicated in as many places as you can, ie Facebook, Amazon (Author page), etc.

            3. Free reads

Doing free reads on your website or blog, or even free e-reads on Kindle, may help promote you and your books. The consensus, on how helpful it is, is still out but I often give away a copy of one of my releases on a blog. Again, this helps build name recognition, not just for your book but for YOU.

4. On-line chats

-Be prepared. Have your blurbs, links, etc, typed out so you can quickly copy and paste. Be friendly and responsive, and even if only a few people show up, be engaging. Draw them out. 

-Consider doing a chat on yahoo because those on digest will see all the excerpts. 

-Many publishers, review sites, and other authors have chats, so find out if they'll let you guest. See my **NOTE under Blog Tours.

5. On-line book-related communities. I'm just going to list a few of the more reader oriented ones:
Goodreads - This appears to be the most popular and largest. (7.3 million members) As an author, you can list your books on your page, so people can find them.  

Shelfari  - Add “book extras” on Shelfari.com that will appear inside the Kindle versions of your books and on your Amazon book buy page. 

http://www.nothingbinding.com/  - You can promote your books; connect with fellow authors, avid readers and book buyers. 

AuthorsDen   - You can reach readers by sharing your bio, books, blogs, events, stories, articles, poetry, newsletters, etc. Readers can discover, interact, track and enjoy!  

Yahoo Groups - There are yahoo groups for authors and for readers. For promotional purposes, aim at reaching the reader loops…unless your book is intended for authors. 

            6. Blog Tours

-A blog tour gets you out in front of a new audience as you guest blog at other authors sites, and promote your book to their followers. Other blogs, like one of mine, is designed to feature book reviews and guests. Blogs come in all shapes and specifics.

**NOTE: Do make sure the host site (subject) is something you want associated with you and your writing, ie an inspirational writer probably won't be interested in hosting an erotic writer or vice versa. There are exceptions but do make sure.

- Ask if they have guidelines and try to follow them as close as possible. 

-Whatever you do, make your content both informative and entertaining. It should not be just a blurb and jpg with “Buy my book!” It is not just an infomercial. It is a way to connect with readers in the Virtuality world. 

- Offer a giveaway. Yes, it sounds like bribery but it draws readers in to see an unfamiliar author. They see your name, eventually they'll remember it. That's what counts 

            7. Social Media
 
- Social media, ie Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc is a great way to promote your name and your books. But they're huge time sinks so be careful. Stay away from Farmville!

There are many other ways to connect with Virtuality. Unfortunately, I've run out of space. I hope the few ways I've listed are helpful to you all.

Thanks for having me here today! 

MORE ABOUT LYNDA K. SCOTT-
She isn't really an alien or from another planet. If she was, she and her alien kitten, Wookie, would be headed to Alpha Centuri or Deneb to play tourist and write about what they find. Lynda is actually a 'ridge runner' from Kentucky, who likes to tell tales that entertain and amaze. Wookie, however, is an alien kitten.

Where to find Lynda on the web: 
WEBSITE      MY SPACE      TWITTER     FACEBOOK    LINKED IN
To join her newsletter, send a blank email HERE

Book Blurbs

Magical Mayhem is the first of many anthologies to come from new tween/teen publisher Ambush Books. This anthology truly has something for everyone featuring short tales that will twist your brain and wrap around your soul. "Heart of A Dragon" a heart-warming YA adventure by Lynda K. Scott. Magical Mayhem is the perfect bedtime companion for a cold autumn’s night. 

Heartstone - Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves? After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.

Altered Destiny - Stranded on an alternate Earth, architect and Jill-of-all-trades, Liane Gautier-MacGregor must find her way back to her homeworld before she's enslaved...or falls in love with a man who is the exact duplicate of her ex-husband. Devyn MacGregor's alter ego as the Reiver Lord is the only way he can fight the Qui'arel and their nefarious Bride Bounty, a tax paid with human females...until he meets the oddly familiar woman who claims he is her husband. And who sets in motion the rebellion that will either free his countrymen or destroy them. 

Great Escapes: Valentine's Day - The heartbroken and lovelorn come to Great Escapes B&B in search of a relaxing getaway, only to embark on a weekend of sexual self-discovery, courtesy of the inn's resident ghosts, who bring to life each guest's deepest desires. In Great Escapes: Valentine's Day, Rose's best friend gives her a weekend stay, where an invisible lover helps her to rediscover her sexuality. But will she open her eyes enough to see who is right next door? 

7 comments:

Nancy Lee Badger also writes as Nancy Lennea said...

The virtual world surrounding book promotions (mine) drive me nuts! How much is too much? It is give and take, and I try to mix it up. Thanks for the insight!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Nancy, I think we all worry about how much to do. I try not to worry but I do try to hit announcement groups and make sure I've touched the items on my post when I have a new release. Mostly, I think we have to promote ourselves in direct or indirect interactions on a regular basis. We're selling ourselves
(in between releases), our personality. I think this connection helps provide an on-going promotion effort so that when the new release is out, you're not frazzled (or annoying) by yelling "Buy my book!"

Thanks for the opportunity to be here, I would have popped in earlier but my Internet went down and I had to wait for the repair woman to arrive. That's a big drawback for Internet marketing but what cab you do?

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Lynda,

You provide excellent, helpful info here. Everyone tells me to set up a website and a blog because it's the way to go for professional writers--I agree--now to take your good advice!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Jacqueline! I'm glad you found it useful!

Samantha MacDouglas said...

Lynda,

Thank you for the great information! Social media can be so overwhelming in the beginning.

Lisa Kessler said...

Great Blog Lynda!!! :)

Great points to remember...

Lisa :)

Lynda K. Scott said...

Thanks Samantha and Lisa,

I'm working on another blog that will go into social media. I think the date will be early November. Social media is an area where I think we can make the most of our on-line presence...as long as we steer clear of Farmville ;-)