Tag Archives: Twitter

Promotion: The dirty word of writing.

With the launch of Out of Time less than two months away, I’m throwing myself into the process of making certain readers know about the book. In other words, promotion.

Promotion. It’s not a four-letter word, but it might as well be. As writers, we want readers to read our books, but we would rather stay away from the actual hawking of said books. But if we don’t hawk the books, they don’t get read, and to get the books read, we have to sell them.

Hence, promotion.

I’ve never yet gotten a real handle on the promotion thing. I would love to be one of those writers who writes only and hires someone to do all the dirty work for her. Tweeting and Facebooking and advertising…everything short of standing on the corner of Main and Broad yelling, “Buy my book! You’ll love it!”

But that’s not really possible, is it? I have to promote my book, but why can’t I have fun with it? So I’ve decided on June 15, I’m going to host a big party here, complete with party favors (i.e. e-giveaways) and a grand door prize of a Kindle Fire. Please spread the word. Invite your friends. And here’s your invitation:img_3990

One last note, I’m running a campaign on Thunderclap to promote the launch party, too. If you’d like to support the campaign, here’s a link: Help Me Launch Out of Time. Remember, I’m promoting the launch party, which will hopefully promote the book, but no purchase is necessary to participate! Just come and join the fun, and maybe take home some goodies!

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Filed under Out of Time, Writing

New Year: My Love/Hate/Like/Respect Relationship with Social Media

I was first introduced to social media at my 20th high school reunion. “Are you on Facebook?” is the second most important question I remember being asked.

“Are you pregnant?” is the first most important.

I wasn’t.

In fact, my daughter who was just over a year old was with my two boys at my parents’ that night. My father called me about two hours into the event to tell me she was running a fever. Happy to get away from schoolmates I’d never really fit in with but still longed to impress, I fled the scene in the ill-fitting dress that had led to pregnancy question.

The next week I looked up Facebook, started a profile, friended every old Facebook_like_thumbschoolmate I could find and posted a flattering picture of myself, very obviously NOT pregnant. Facebook was a lot of fun!

I’ve had a hilly relationship with social media since then. When I started publishing romance novels, it was useful for getting the word out. Hey, look what I did! But I can’t honestly say it’s resulted in a spike in sales at any point beyond release days. And to be honest, constantly posting and tweeting saps any creative energy I might have, cutting dramatically into my writing time.

I’ve used social media, especially Facebook, to brag about my kids, to post funny pictures, to share articles about politics, education, writing, child-rearing, etc. I’ve been guilty about bragging about the places I travel to, special achievements, and wonderful experiences.

Last October, I read an article about the darker side of social media. People who post the good stuff and leave out the bad. A mother who posted pictures of her beautiful children, loving husband and perfect home–found dead of a drug overdose. Another mother who posted loving comments about her toddler’s accomplishments and growth–discovered disposing of the child’s body. Teens who maintain two profiles. One that shows a perfect life, the other full of angst and worry that they’ll be found out to be much more normal and less…perfect.

Is this what social media turns us into? Is it really just another way of keeping up with—or besting—your friends and neighbors? Since reading these articles, I’ve been more thoughtful about what I post to the point of almost posting nothing. What if something I post makes someone else out there feel unworthy or like a failure? That’s not what I want.

Facebook currently has a feature letting me know what my “memories” are from that date in the past. Sometimes I force myself to look. They are mostly drivel and nine-tenths of the rest are not worth sharing with the world or even good friends. The only truly worthwhile ones are pictures of my kids, and maybe I should never have posted those anyway.

Which has led me to my New Year’s resolution. I’m going to use social media and the Internet in a more thoughtful way. I’ve been going over and over what this means and I’m still not totally clear about it. I know it means to think twice before posting, to consider carefully what the effects of my posts might be. I don’t think I’ll stop using social media, because I do like and enjoy it for the most part, but I will respect it more.

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Let’s be honest: We can’t blame E.L. James.

So, E.L. James decides to try to do what many authors do. In an attempt at promoting her new book Grey, James went live on Twitter, allowing other Tweeters to ask her questions using #AskELJames. What ensued was…troubling. Tweeters used the opportunity to criticize James’s writing and to accuse her of everything from glorifying abuse to setting back women’s rights a good fifty years.

Now, I’m not a fan of 50 Shades. I read the first one, or at least started it, after hearing a great deal of buzz about it. I ended up skipping through a good bit of it, and when I reached the end, I was actually disappointed to learn that there were two sequels. I’m no fan of E.L. James, but I don’t blame her, and I certainly would never have participated in the monstrous activity that took place on Twitter.

E.L. James is a writer. Maybe not a great one, but she did write, as of last count, four enormously popular books. Is it her fault that a publisher chose to publish her books, a gazillion people chose to buy and read them, and a movie producer chose to make a movie—which another gazillion people went to see? Not really.

So who is there left to blame if the author is out of bounds? The publisher for pulling 50 Shades out of the slush pile and giving it the type of promotion that most authors can only dream of? Maybe, but publishers are, in the end, just salesmen. They see a need in the market and they try to be the first to fill it.

The troubling thing about the whole 50 Shades phenomenon is that, at the end of the day, there was a market for the book. In spite of its disturbing thematic material. In spite of its sub-par writing. In spite of the fact that “those type” of books (which have been around for many, many years) were once hidden at the back of the bookstore, not prominently displayed at the front door to greet me and my children when we go in looking for summer reading.

So don’t blame E.L. James for writing what a large part of our society now wants to read. Writers write. Publishers publish. Readers buy the books.

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Did you ever hear of best laid plans?

It’s either a case of best laid plans or not planning well at all, but when I decided to launch Close Up Magic on the first of June, complete with a three-week whirlwind book tour two days later, I completely didn’t take into account that this would be one of my craziest weeks ever.

In addition to trying to keep up with my regular craziness, I have to add in the last week of school for my kids, packing up the school library in preparation to move it, and my daughter being out of school. Long story short, I’m not going to be physically able to do everything I should to promote my book tour. I still plan on tweeting about it and posting it on Facebook, but posting on here everyday? Not going to happen. That’s why I’ve put up the menu on the right side of your screen under the pretty book cover image. If you check there every day, you’ll be able to see where I am, and I will also magically transform each of those blog names into a link to my post!

And why is this important? Because commenters on each post are eligible to win a $5 Amazon gift card–one at every stop! And at the end of the tour, I’ll be giving away a Magic Basket–that’s right, a basket full of magic and books about magic! You don’t want to miss out on that, do you?

Plus, I’m revealing a little bit about me and Close Up Magic at every stop. What makes magicians sexy? Why do I enjoy magic? Who do I have a secret crush on? (Got your attention there!) I’m not going to tell you which post that’s in, either! You’ll have to pay attention.

In the meantime, how about checking out my post on Deal Sharing Aunt?

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Filed under Blog Tour, Close Up Magic

Join me June 1 for the Close Up Magic Release Day celebration!: What’s magic to YOU?

Join me June 1 for Close Up Magic’s official release day celebration! It’ll be magic and books and magic books and…LAS VEGAS!!!…all day long. I’ll be posting pictures of me in magical Las Vegas locations all day on June 1. You’ll be able to find me on Facebook, Twitter and right here! Best of all, I want you to be part of the action. I’ve got a list of locations I want to visit in Las Vegas, but I want you to help me out. What about Vegas is magic to YOU? Is it the magicians? The casinos? The over-the-top architecture of places of like Caesar’s Palace and The Venetian? Leave me your suggestions of the best places to use as a backdrop for a picture of me holding Close Up Magic and I’ll do my very best to get there. Plus, if you suggest a place for me to go, I’ll enter you to win a $20 Amazon gift card that you can magically transform into merchandise from Amazon!

I will be posting on my blog all day, but here’s a list of other places where you can find me on June 1:
Twitter
Michelle Garren Flye Facebook Fan Page
Close Up Magic Facebook Fan Page

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Taking the Magic on the Road: Publicity Whirlwind Begins

Okay, today I’m going to do my vanishing act again, but not before I say a few things:

1. I’m over at Nancy Lee Badger’s blog today being interviewed about Close Up Magic, why I write and what I’ll be doing next. Check it out and say hello!: Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Michelle Garren Flye.

2. You’ve probably noticed I’ve been conspicuously absent from here. That’s partly because I’ve been so busy writing guest blogs and interviews for next month’s release of Close Up Magic. I’ve also been having a great deal of fun over on Twitter making friends with some pretty interesting people who are making careers out being magicians. I’ve even started a little thing I call “Magic Hour” at four o’clock a few days a week. I haven’t actually established a schedule for it yet. It’s when I think I’ve got time to come up with some good tweets about and retweets from my magician friends. And also, I’ll admit, a fun way to promote my book.

3. If you haven’t read my interview with magician and filmmaker R. Paul Wilson yet, you’ll want to. I “met” him on Twitter, saw his fantastic short film “The Magic Box” and heard about his latest project “Our Magic” all on Twitter. You can find the interview here: R. Paul Wilson Interview.

4. I also had a bit of fun making a new video for Close Up Magic on Vine. Check it out here: Close Up Magic Vine Promo. Vine, I’ve found, is fun and nerve-wracking and not for those with control issues.

5. Finally, I miss my musing mornings over here, but I’ve resigned myself to having most of my fun elsewhere for a while. And it is fun. I enjoy talking to other people about magic and romance and writing. And with a little luck, it’ll mean more people finding my books and liking them. So I’ll work hard on keeping this page up-to-date on where I am and when, and you guys come join me when you can!

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“What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?”

In the course of Googling something else the other night, I ran across an article on a blog that intrigued me. The blogger devoted his entire time to tearing down a very successful author, whose name I shall not mention. In a nutshell, the blogger said she loved this particular author UNTIL she started following him on social media where said author made a number of missteps. Her main complaint, however, was that he never offered anything to the aspiring writers who clustered about him waiting for a morsel of genius to fall on them.

Instead, the author in question would fill his Twitter feed with his daily word counts, bits from his new books, or his favorite quotes from his old books. Why doesn’t the author just be himself? the blogger asked.

(Ahem. Possibly because he might not be his actual self. Lord knows, if I ever get to the point he’s at, I’m going to hire someone to handle social media for me. It’s part of the job of being a writer, but if you can afford to pay someone else to do it for you so you can keep doing what you really enjoy doing—writing—well, who can blame you…much?)

But I digress. This article got me thinking. Have I ever gotten any actually useful advice from a successful published author? I’ve seen several speak. Some tell stories about how they became successful. Sometimes you can glean some bit of something useful out of that, but for the most part, you’re left wondering, Why couldn’t that happen to me? Every now and then, though, somebody says something that sticks with you, that really helps.

Unfortunately, I honestly can’t remember who said the most useful writing tip I ever got from a published writer. I think it was a man, and I believe it was while I was in college. Other than that, I’m at a loss. At any rate, what he said was, “Tell you readers your secrets.”

That startled me. My secrets. He was talking about writing fiction. Novels. Not true stuff. Why would I tell my secrets? Real stuff. But I’ve found over the years that he was right. If you mix a little bit of reality into your fiction, it makes it live and breathe in a way that purely made up stuff could never do. And the great thing is, you don’t have to tell your reader what bits are true. You just write from the heart, mix in things that are true with things that you wish could be true or you fear ever coming true and what results is so much more than fiction.

Here’s a bit of writing advice from me, a published, if not yet successful, author. Don’t expect too much from your heroes. No matter how successful they are, they’re caught up in a balancing act, just like the rest of us. They may not have to make ends meet financially (well, the top 1% don’t, anyway), but they are trying to balance marketing and social media and family with what they really probably still want to do—writing. So don’t expect too much, but listen when you’re lucky enough to hear one speak. They might just give you that tidbit you’ve been waiting for.

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