Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Marketing Your Indie Pub

I’ve learned so much from this experience with my new independently-published GRIME BEAT. Today, I’m delighted to be visiting with Sandra Ardoin on her Seriously Write blog, sharing some of the things I’ve learned and others that I’ve gleaned from those with even more experience. I hope you’ll say hi if you stop by to visit!


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Twitter-ing: 4 Ways to Make it Easy

Twitter Hashtags by Marji LaineSocial media can be an enigma for writers. We have to be on it, but often have no idea what we’re doing there. The social world can be forgiving of a newbie – thank goodness! But Tweeting on Twitter doesn’t have to be confusing Continue reading


Four Marketing Ideas for Authors

My experience with The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt set my mind whirling about marketing. What a brilliant concept! Starting the story off in the blogs stirred up all kinds of buzz! But there was so much more to this idea! Continue reading


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You’ll See, or Hear, the Truth to My Claim

I’m so flattered that Lena Nelson Dooley asked me to join her on her internet radio show! I’m so excited and you’ll get a chance to hear for yourself just how much of a hick I am when you listen to the recording!

Did I ever tell you about my trip to Mexico a couple of decades ago? Oh, that’s a story!

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Celebration and Social Media

Usually my Wednesday’s post is about Writing and Publishing and all that goes with it, particularly Social Media. But I’m still giddy over the fact that there’s a book cover with my name on it! (Seriously giddy – you know that uninhibited look in a child’s face when they’re seeing Christmas presents? That’s me all over the place. Just one overgrown, middle-aged toddler with sparkles in her eyes.) Continue reading


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Blogging – What’s the Point?

I’ve been hearing lately that blogging has little effect on a writer’s career. Really? Because when I started this journey, the first few media gurus I encountered insisted that a regular blog was essential.

Hmm.

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Likers, Lurkers, Twits, and Tribes

Social Media has been considered the best friend of every aspiring author. I have to admit, I jumped in with both feet. And, in all honesty, I really enjoy keeping my blog. I like posting and I love interacting with the folks that respond.

I’m told, though my blog isn’t old enough to show it, that after a while, steady blogs

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Twitter Hashtags – 2 Suggestions

Twitter hashtags can help collect follows and followers. Tweet and retweet wisely.Twitter is a great tool for writers and a great place to connect with people who share like interests. I’ve chatted about how it needs to be more social than billboard-ish. I’ve even mentioned how hashtags can be used to promote your tweets.

But I’m going to share about them again. Mostly because I keep seeing them misused. I did plenty of misusing myself when I first started, so the message remains needed. Lately, I’ve seen some very clever twitter buds who would use the hashtags as the punchline of what they were saying.

Clever yes; useful no. Unless you think #mycatthrewuponme has a good following. I read a blog the other day about marketing and one of the quotes has a direct correlation to the use of hashtags on Twitter. (I SO wish I could remember where I got this note. Please leave me a comment if you know who said it so I can properly quote and credit the saying.) Find out where your audience is, then go stand in front of them.

1. First Suggestion: Find Your Audience.

That’s what hashtags are all about. #mycattrewuponme is a lousy use of space because no one will be watching that grouping of words. No one uses the hashtag, so why would anyone watch for the words to come across? Spelling it out: no audience. On the other hand, #Catjokes works! Hot hashtags include #avengers, #castle, #psych; all have quite a following of people who watch for the posts with those words and comment/share what they see.

Let’s say you aren’t a writer. How about you’re a camera nut and you want to see what other photographers are saying or thinking, or you want to find some informative blogs about becoming a professional. #photo #photographer #photography. You can do a search on Twitter and find all the recent tweets that people have made using the hashtags. Watching them and interacting with the tweeters places you within a loosely defined group of people who like photography. (BTW, #cameranut is a strikeout.)

The same can be said of any number of hobbies: #scrapbook #NASCAR #Olympics #Labradors #homeschool are a few of mine. Those are the places where I find folks to connect with who are interested in things that I’m interested in. In fact, I love being on Twitter during a NASCAR race because everyone comments on what they’re seeing. Even some of the things the drivers are saying to their crews get tweeted by their teams. What a fun idea!

Find some groups who will respond to the book you’re writing. Is it historical? Try a hashtag for the era like #Civalwar, #Regency, or #Medeival. Does it interest a special group of people like #Trekkies or #military? Try to find some hook, some common category that people who will like your book might congregate near. I have a problem with this because mine’s contemporary romance/suspense. The hashtags of romance and suspense are used a LOT, along with Christian and fiction. I’m still working on it though and hope to come up with some ideas.

#faithdrivenfiction is a great tagline, but on twitter, it’s where the crickets convene. And it goes back to my point about not using a hashtag as a punchline. #slickerthansnot might be the perfect ending for your tweet, but it won’t get you any extra views. If you want to be seen, usually the point of twitter, then use hashtags that people look at.

And if you’re wanting to connect with other writers, (I use these hashtags when I’m posting about anything to do with the life of a writer) you could use #amwriting #writetip #pubtip #writer. You could also use special group hashtags, like #mywana or #ACFW, but only if you’re a member of the groups.

2. Second Suggestion: Visit the Hashtag BEFORE Using!

You will get fussed at for using #hashtags incorrectly. Yes, I’ve been there!

Having seen the label #wordmongering, I assumed it was another general writing group and used the hashtag on a blog article that I wrote about writing. Sure, they want to read it, right? … Um … notsomuch. See, #wordmongering is a challenge group of writers who use the hashtag to encourage each other to keep writing through half-hour sprints. I received a very nice note from the gal who created the hashtag and an invitation to do some word mongering, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. But I don’t post my blog ads there!

Oh and I must share a great article – short and sweet – about gaining followers on Twitter. http://aheartforgod.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-ways-to-get-more-followers-on.html I swear the image looks like a magazine cover and I was totally inspired! So cool!

Your turn! What are some hashtags you’ve used or some that you watch?


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Careful Facebooking – 3 Things You Should Know

Neighborhood kidsIf Twitter is a cocktail party (see my posting) then Facebook is the front yard, or the grocery store, or the church foyer. For Twitter, I step in, make a statement. I might comment on something someone else says or retweet it. I’ll hit a few links and possibly share them. Then I’ll move on.

On Facebook, I don’t just post. I stop by and engage with others who are online. Unworried about hogging the feed, I’ll chat in messaging or just comment back and forth on different posts or pictures.

And I find I check back in several times a day.

But care is needed with Facebooking. Had to chat with my Precious Redhead about this the other day. Anticipation, celebration, and depression can cause faux pas posting, danger, and trouble.

1. Anticipatory posts are those items that you’re going to do! Can’t wait! Gonna have so much fun! But a teenage girl doesn’t need to tell the world that she’s going to be in such-in-such a place at such-in-such a time. It’s just plain dangerous. And while posts like that will 90% of the time result in nothing, those types have ended in kidnapping and various other forms of stalking trouble.

Anticipatory posts are also trouble for travelers. “Can’t wait to spend the weekend on the coast. It’s going to feel good to get out of the house.” I know these types of posts are only supposed to go out to your friends and possibly your friends’ friends, but what if your friend’s friend is a thief? It’s like putting up a sign in your front yard.

Empty House
Valuables
Come One, Come All

That doesn’t mean you can’t revel in the enthusiasm after you travel. Or do the check-ins. Lurkers can’t act ahead of time when you’re already there. And check-ins can be fun. We were at dinner with my brother and his family a few months ago. My sis-in-law checked in at the place and immediatedly got an instant message from an old high school buddy who also was there.

2. Another thing to beware of is Celebratory Excitement. At our wedding rehearsal, one of my sweet hubby’s roommates (socially … uh … challenged, but very sweet) came to the dinner with a paper pinned to his back stating the salary of the job he had just secured. Oh yeah. That really happened. And he sincerely had no clue.

But I’ve seen the same type of effects from my dear son (is it a guy thing?) who will post his reactions to things without thinking how obnoxious he sounds. In his jubilation or victory or whatever, he just hits the post button.

This type of posting can look bad. Not the celebration itself. By all means share it. There’s enough conflict and sadness in the world. Spread the smiles. But at least read your post before hitting the button. Are you giving an “in your face” type of message? It’s something to watch out for. Because folks look at your facebook. No really. Future employers, agents, editors, and people in authority over you will look through your timeline carefully to get a feel for what kind of person you are. Arrogant posts can make a difference.

3. And in the same vein are the Emotional, Moody Posts. “I hate my life. What’s the use? I can’t do anything right.” Makes me think of the mother in Bye Bye Birdie. “I’ll just go stick my head in the oven.”

Everyone feels this way sometimes. Emotions, by their very nature, are fickle and then add a shot of hormones. Yikes! But posts like these, while journal-worthy, aren’t Facebook-worthy unless you’re feeling suicidal. (Then by all means post and let your friends get you help! Don’t try to swim that lake alone.)

Posts like these scream at needing attention. And again, future employers will look. Do you really want to look so high-maintenance?

The trick is to be true to yourself while being aware of who might be watching.

Your turn: Any other tips and tidbits of which to be careful when Facebooking?


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Facebook: Profiles vs. Pages and the ART of Giving Back

The Facebook situation is fun if your just doing the social thing, but for writers and business folks, Facebook provides opportunity to share a message. And used well, it can stir a great following for that message.

But first and foremost, Facebook is social.

Profiles

That’s why anyone using it must have a profile. (Only one to a customer, please.) The profile is the social face of the person. And that section has benefits and rules connected to it.

For instance, on a profile, a person “friends” other people. You friend them and they accept you. So you have a little community of happily cohabitating friends that connect with others as well as each other. When you take a picture of one of these friends, you can “tag” them in it and a notice goes up on their board that you did. They stop whatever they are doing and run over to your wall to check out the picture you took of them.

Cute. Studly. What’s that thing hanging out of your nose?

Anyway. I digress. The point is, you can make a status report or post a note or photo and tag your friends to inform then that it is there and includes them. They’ll come look. No really. They will.

Pages

Pages are different. Being for businesses, nobody can friend them. Sad and lonely place to be. They can be liked though and a whole lot more than just the profiles. See profiles can only add 5,000 friends, but page likes go up and and up. I’m not even sure they have a limit. So as your business grows, so can your outreach.

In the “voice” of your page, you can post on your own page. You can “like” other people’s pages. You can even post on those pages you’ve liked. However, you can’t friend anyone. So you can’t post to anyone’s profile, even if they like your page. You can’t comment on any profile at all.

One is the loneliest number …

There are benefits to pages though. A page establishes a writer as professional. Once published, those books can become part of the timeline and also tabs on the front page. Second, pages offer statistics that you can’t get with your profile. I can see at a glance how many people have liked me, how many have visited my page, and how many have liked or commented on anything I’ve said.

The other stat that I’ve recently noticed makes it clear that Facebook isn’t showing all of my page postings to all of those who liked my page. For instance, the last post on my page was an announcement of yesterday’s blog. Only 20 people saw it. Not that 20 people visited the link. The post only showed up on the feeds of 20 of those who have liked my page. The other 147 went along without knowing that I posted anything.

*Sniff*

Typing on a computer keyboardSo here is some Über-important things you can do, for me and any of your Facebook paging buddies.

  • Like their page. A page-owner can only invite you once. If you choose not to like their page, you withhold essential encouragement for no good reason. Liking doesn’t hurt. Doesn’t cost. Doesn’t fill your feed with spam. It just encourages your friend.
  • Like any posts that you see from their page. Again, unless it disagrees with your moral fiber – and I totally get that and won’t chat about politics for that very reason! Yikes! – there’s no good reason to deny your friend the little click of a mouse key. And what do they get when you like a post. BIG! It doubles the amount of people who see the post, giving them a better chance of getting out their message.
  • Really want to be a good friend? Share their posts. Sharing the ones they post from their profile is fun, but it doesn’t help their business. Sharing posts from their page means SO MUCH! When a page owner has their posts shared, Facebook decides they deserve more attention and shares their following posts with more people.

Didn’t realize you had such power at the tips of your fingers did you? Use the power for good, Luke!

By the way, you can find me at http://www.facebook.com/MarjiLaine