Friday, April 13, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

     Building an audience is so important to a writer nowadays.  This is true not just for those who self-publish, but also for those who want to go the traditional route.  Agents and publishers look to see if an author (especially a yet unpublished author) has a following.  So authors have to spend a good deal of time and energy doing self-promotion long before the book is ready to be sent to an agent or publisher.  So writers tweet, blog, gather Facebook friends, link into LinkedIn and add themselves to Google+.  Often I feel I'm devoting so much time to networking that it's hard to find the energy and creativity to work on the books.  There is a good side to it though.  I really do enjoy interacting with other writers.  I read and comment on five writing / publishing focused blogs and I connect with other writers on Twitter.  I find that interaction encouraging, inspiring, energizing and supportive.

      My experience on Facebook has not been as positive.  I keep showing up, writing my own posts, commenting on others' posts and sharing.  But it feels like a waste of time and energy.  My friends and family, for various reasons, don't do Facebook.  Since FB requires one to have friends in order to grow friends, I feel that I'm having a conversation with myself in a big empty meadow.  Even the birds aren't listening.

     Recently I read about a great idea on a Books and Such post that I follow.  A writer who has written a book about the Titanic started a FB group for people who want to go on a virtual tour of the Titanic.  She connected this to her book by having her main character be the Tour Guide.  Brilliant idea!  I thought, "Maybe that's a way I could grow friends on FB; start a group."  At first, I wasn't sure what kind of group would work for me.  One of my books is about a multiple personality.  The other is about a teenage fairy.  I knew I didn't want to start a multiple personality group, so it seemed that starting a group related to the YA fantasy would be the best route.  Still, I was a little stymied in terms of what kind of group to have.  Then a series of things led to a perfect creative storm.

     A few days ago I watched a supernatural genre t.v. show that my sister loves.  The episode was about banshees and since I write a blog called "Whispers of a Banshee Weaver," my sister thought I might enjoy the episode.  The episode was entertaining but it perpetuated a modern day misconception that banshees are evil and murderous.  With this in mind, when I sat down to write my Banshee blog, I protested this continued defamation of banshees and asked readers to use social media to get the word out that banshees are compassionate and noble, not vicious.

     After finishing the blog, I went to the grocery store.  On the way, it hit me.  I now had my group idea.  An activist group to stop banshee bashing.  I played around with some names and realized as I was doing this that one name created a perfect acronymn: Society of Banshee Supporters --SOBS.  I then promoted it on Twitter and asked for RTs.  I wrote a short new blog on the group and posted it on FB.  Immediately (within minutes) traffic to the blog went up 14%.  Wow!  I didn't expect that much of an impact that quickly. Of course, I was delighted.  Sometimes a little creativity pays off.

     Unfortunately, I found that I couldn't form the group on FB because of the Catch 22: I had to have interested friends on FB to start the group.  So that felt like a dead end.  In response, I asked people who visited the blog to go to my FB page (under the name Christine Dorman) and "friend" me so that we can start the group there.  It remains to be seen what will happen there.

What marketing strategies or platform building have worked effectively for you?

Have you found FB to be a helpful tool?

What's your preferred social medium?


  1. Hi, Chris, (via Rachelle--flashback comment)
    What are you under, on FB?
    I find social media daunting/frustrating. I've lost steam for my blog( But recently two people told me they like reading it. So maybe I'll try and get back into the saddle. It just seems that often, with the challenges of life and the challenges of writing (revision), the blog has to take a back seat.
    I'm thinking I might start a/an FB page for my book. It would be easier to post a sentence or two on FB every couple of days, than to compose a literary/profound page or half page for the blog. Less intimidating. The FB posts could link to the blog. On the other hand, who has time to read their FB friends'stuff these days, let alone various other FB pages?
    Your friend's Titanic idea is interesting.
    One of these days I'll get the hang of Flickr, or another photo site. Flickr has a group that posts pix of ancient Egypt temples. If I could get my act together and post with them, that might generate interest in my novel, which is set partially in ancient Egypt.

    1. Hi Marion,

      Thank you for visiting my blogs and commenting on them. I'm sorry for the delay in responding. I went into hibernation yesterday and didn't even look at my email.

      I agree that all the work and energy one has to put into social media can be exhausting -- especially since it seems that, every other week, there is a new social media site to add to the list. However, I now am involved with a community of writers on Twitter and I actually get energy from that interaction. There is a great deal of support, affirmation and commiseration. I feel the same way about the community of writers who follow and comment on Rachelle Gardner's blog. (And isn't she great? I don't know how she can work as a full time agent and do an informative, thought-provoking blog every day).

      Your idea about starting a FB page for your book sounds like a good one. When you have it up, just let me know. I'd be interested in reading it. A book set partially in ancient Egypt--sounds intriguing.

      Good luck with Flickr. That's one I haven't even tried. If you can get the pix on your site, I'm sure it would add interest.
      Good luck with your novel. I would love to hear more about it.


  2. I can read. Really! I guess I just didn't read to the end of this blog post!
    Love your SOBS idea. Heading over to your Banshee site. I'll be your friend--I think! I might discover I don't like banshees!

    1. LOL!

      Thank you. I thought SOBS was a fun idea. I hope you enjoyed the Whispers of a Banshee Weaver site. It's not completely focused on banshees. It's dedicated to fantasy and my Celtic heritage.

      Hopefully, you will discover you like banshees. They just have gotten a bad rap. That's why SOBS needs to promote a more positive--and more accurate picture of banshees.

  3. Me again!
    Houston, we have a problem.
    There are 6 Christine Dormans on FB!

    1. Marion,

      Thank you for alerting me to this problem. The FB page name has been changed to Christine Dorman (SOBS) and I've linked it with my Twitter account. My Twitter handle is @looneyfilberts. Hopefully, this will make it easy to get to the FB page.

      Have great weekend. Blessings!

  4. Hi Chris,

    Found my way here from your post at Rachelle Gardner's blog, and just wanted to thank you for your comment over there, and for your insight here.

    You make an excellent point about the need for being creative in our approach to finding our audience as well as in our creative work itself. It sounds like you have a good sound approach to marketing; I hope it soon pays off in the publication of your book(s)!

    All best wishes,
    Pat Walsh


    1. Hi Pat!

      Thank you for your comments as well, and thanks for checking out my blog.

      The idea for SOBS had its roots in something I read on a Books and Such blog in which a writer shared about starting a Titanic-themed Facebook group in order to promote her book. That's part of what I love about Rachelle Gardner's blog and some of the other blogs I try to read regularly. It's great to connect with other writers, learn from them and share with them.

      As you may know by now, I visited your blog as well and really enjoyed it, especially your post about publishing.

      I hope to continue to connect with you.



  5. Hi CHristine, I also followed you here from Rachelle Gardner's blog. Your fake agent reject letter was brilliant,10 times more hilarious than anything else. I knew a Christine Dorman oens ago in BC, where I grew up. Unless you have a cousn named Nola, I doubt you're the same girl. I like your writing and look forward to your comments each time I visit Rachelle's blog. Now I may I hang out here too.

    Jennifer Major

    1. Hi Jenny!

      Thank you for following me here. I enjoy your comments on Rachelle's and Wendy's blogs too.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the rejection letter. It was fun to write. Yours was great too. A little more creative than mine, I think. I loved the last part about the Skype conversation going viral.

      I'm definitely not the same Christine Dorman. Unfortunately I have never lived in Canada. My sister and brother-in-law live in New Brunswick for half the year, but I'm a Florida native. If Peter Jackson ever does acquire the rights to my book (ha!), I will follow my sister's example and become at least a part-time Canadian resident.

      Please do hang out here. I'm happy for your company.

      I look forward to seeing you at Rachelle's as well.


  6. They live in NB??? I live in NB!! I live just outside Fredericton in a town called New Maryland. It was settled by people from Maryland who sided with the Brits in the late 1700's.

    Between you and me, I wasn't as enamored with Bill's fake letter as everyone else was. I thought yours was far more brilliant. If Peter Jackson makes you rich, come up and visit, I'll happily clean the house for you!

    See you on the blogs!


    1. Hi Jenny,

      Yes, for part of the year (usually May--November). My sister doesn't like the darkness in the winter, so they live in Florida for the other half of the year. They live about an hour outside of Fredricton and go there whenever they need to go to "the big city" for something. I don't remember at this moment the name of the town they live in, but their address is Salmon River. How cool that you live in NB too! It's a surprising world. Recently, I re-connected with someone I had known when I was younger. To our amazement, we discovered that we both teach at the same college, just on different campuses! Thank heaven for the Internet.

      Thanks for the compliment. I did like Bill's fake letter, and yours as well. Actually I was a little hesitant about submitting mine because everyone else had been so creative. I'm glad that you enjoyed it. It was fun to write.



  7. Hello? Have you read end of the Books&Such blog from yesterday yet? You might want to scoot on over.

    1. Whoa! I've been out all day, so I haven't even seen the computer until now. Thanks for the heads up. I'm intrigued and have to go check it out.

      Thanks again!

    2. You won!!!!! COOL!!! You earned it.
      Salmon River is right on the Bay of Fundy, very nice place to live.
      I'd be happy if you found me on FB, 'Jennifer Zarifeh Major'. I'd be just as happy to have NOT set up my blog account under JennyM. I cannot remember why I did that. Because, umm, I don't like 'Jenny'. Sometimes I feel like the redheaded, female Forrest Gump, minus the money.

      Enjoy your new books!

  8. Thank you! I really didn't expect to win, but I enjoyed it.

    I will look for you on FB. I'd be glad if you'd look for me too under Christine Dorman (SOBS).

    So what do you like to be called? Jennifer? Jen? You have a cool middle name. By the way, I'm a redhead too, so the similarities continue. We must have been meant to meet.


  9. Hi, the middle name is actually my maiden name. It makes it easier for the relatives to find each other on Facebook. Seriously! But thank you, it has a fairly nice meaning too, it means "beautiful" in Arabic.
    I prefer "Jennifer", and redheads rock!!


  11. Thank you for keeping after me. The new post is written and published. And just to make sure you don't misunderstand, the smiley face is FOR you. It is not supposed to BE you, even though it has red hair. I couldn't find a smiley, so I drew one (great artist that I am). And since you and I both are redheads, I thought Smiley should be a redhead too.

    I'm glad the temps have cool down up your way.

    Have a great Monday, Jennifer (even though you didn't invite Monday!)