Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!


"I have a perfect cure for a sore throat.... cut it"
- Alfred Hitchcock

Just for today, Devdan Manor is $.99. Download now.

They raced from the theatre into what looked like an enclosed courtyard. The door slammed behind them. Cyl needed to see. He opened the door. Instead of a dying theatre, thick fog and a forest full of dark twisted trees spread out before them. Shadows bloomed like tall weeds. Each shaped like a demon—the ones that couldn’t pass as human. Some stood as tall as the trees. Other were no taller than his knee. They dominated this dark forest. White fog weaved between them. The trees’ twisted limbs swayed. They reached for the shadows. One appeared before Cyl. Too close. Tortured faces and arms reached through the shadowy body. Trapped souls. The mouths hung open in agony. The eye sockets were curled with glee. 

My publisher, Aubey LLC, and I got some good news yesterday. 
"Thank you for your submissions for the 2015 Midwinter Meeting Pop Top Stage.
We would be delighted to host Auden Johnson with her love for Dark Fantasy in combination with horror. We feel that is of interest to our audience. With that said, as she was interested/available for panel discussions, we are interested in having her present on a Dark Fantasy vs. Science Fiction panel.
We foresee the panel talking about the differences in general and from a development perspective in writing those novels. At this point we are looking at 4 potential presenters for the session. We would like to host the session on Saturday, January 31 3:00pm-4:00pm. Per the submission, that was her second choice time slot.
I will have more details regarding the session and information needed in a memo shortly. Please respond to this email as you have received the information and confirm that Auden is still available and interested in our proposal."
This is for the American Library Association's (ALA) Midwinter Meeting. It's like a smaller version of BEA for library professionals.  In the past, my publisher submitted several speaking request for me. She was turned down every time. This request for ALA was like "why not?" We really didn't expect it to be accepted.

Don't give up!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nerd-tastic

Marvel broke the internet this week. Yesterday, during #MarvelEvent, they announced a glorious list of movies including Guardians of the Galaxy 2,  Black Panther and Captain America 3: Civil War. I've been waiting for them to start Civil War. They have all the characters in play, except Spider-man. Marvel will work it out.


"Marvel Debuts New Phase 3 Movies, Including Avengers: Infinity War!!!
"Phase 3 has been announced, and it's everything — everything you could want. Captain Marvel! Black Panther! Inhumans! And most incredibly, a two-part Avengers: Infinity War!!! We've got all the details right here!"(from io9)

Before that, we got the official trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. And it's freaking epic! 
That movie better have a Coulson reveal or I'mma be mad.

And then, they released a sneak peek of Age of Ultron during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I have class on Tuesdays now, so I missed it. All I can say is, thank God for Youtube.



Well played Marvel. You just owned DC.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Movie Review: Ouija


You know those movies you enjoy on Netflix, but wouldn't pay to see in theaters? That's Ouija. It wasn't terrible. It had an interesting story line and decent scares. Something was missing that would've made it fit for theaters.

I'm reluctant to call it a B-movie. It wasn't that self-aware. B-movies know that they're B-movies. This was a horror movie that wanted to be taken seriously. It came off more like a teen scream without the gore. It was so predictable. The twist wasn't even original.

The characters were bland. I mean, they had the perfect teenage life. I wish my teenage years were like that. Close group of friends. Four were in these perfect relationships. Ouija didn't even have the token monitory friend. They tried to go Goth with one of the characters, but she looked like everyone else by the middle of the movie.

They were all the same. They lived in big houses and drove expensive cars. Well...one character rode a bike everywhere while the others drove. Another worked at a diner. I was more interested in them, but the movie focused on the lives of the rich characters.

Ouija tried to add some family drama, but they forgot about it halfway through. I couldn't relate to the characters. I've read some YA books where I've related to the characters despite the age gap.

The scares were okay. The story wasn't. I wanted more ghosts, more hauntings. They had a few make-you-jump moments. Those type of scares are shallow. They're good for a laugh, but they don't stick with you. I need some that'll get under your skin. The scares in Ouija were too quick. They happened in a couple of seconds and then we moved on.


The climax was rushed. It left me unfulfilled. They tried to do an open ending and it fell flat. It's as if the writers were afraid of boring moments so they upped the story's pace making it move too fast. The characters did some research into the haunted house's past. I wanted more on that. The house had a creepy history yet the writers left us hanging.

It bugged the crap out of me that the teenager's parents just disappeared. The kids were being tormented by ghosts, wandering around an empty house..dying and the parents vanished. We didn't get the sense that the kids had bad relationships with their parents. The movie just ignored them for some characters and sent them out of town for the others.

The trailer is misleading. A few scenes from the trailer weren't in the movie.

If you're looking for a Halloween movie, this is not the one. It's not even a good time killer. It wasn't a terrible movie. I just wish I didn't have to pay $14 to see it. I'm trying to figure out why the people behind Ouija thought they could get away with releasing a movie like this in October.

***
Shadows under the Light, Book 2 of The Jura Series is coming out tomorrow! It'll be available on Amazon. Promotion for the first book, Visible Through Darkness, went pretty well considering I focused on Tumblr and Instagram, two networks I've only been on for like a month, if that. 

They once moved forward together with hope. Now, shadows have infested their light.

Food and water are scarce. Jade and Serin travel across a dying land, Jura, searching for a home where they will be accepted. They need to stay vigilant. Everything and everyone wants them dead. Jurians blame the two for the desolation of Jura. No place to rest. Jade and Serin don’t know much about their powers or their families. This journey, their wish, seems impossible. Their bond deepens as they find safety in each other. Their desperate search for water leads them deep underground. Finally, a safe community. Can they rest? The enemy follows their every movement. An ally watches from a distance. After an impossible journey, a home and rest...for now.
 
Add to Goodreads

Friday, October 24, 2014

Adventures in Instagram


Having trouble mastering Instagram? It's a whole different animal. When I start a new social media, I observe, understand the landscape, while I dip my toe in. I could not get the hang of Instagram. Probably because when you see social media tip for authors, Instagram usually isn't included. I always come across blogging, Twitter and Facebook tips. I had to research Instagram best practices. Here are some links that got me started. Hope they help you as well.

Instagram For Authors – Using The Popular Picture App To Gain More Readers
"Think about who else would follow a book blogger on Instagram besides another author? That’s right, readers! You can look at a bloggers follower list and follow people you think might be interested in your books, I’ve made a few sales and gained some great, interactive followers through this method, including people who not only buy my book, but go on to find me on Facebook and twitter and follow/like me on those sites as well."
Instagram Best Practices for Brands
 "Create a theme for your content and be consistent. Constant product placement is not a theme."
26 Tips for Using Instagram for Business
"Kay Tan put together a list of 20 apps that will enhance your photo-sharing experiences. There are apps that let users print images, search tags and keywords, subscribe to Instagram profiles via email, download all Instagram photos in a single archive folder, plus many more.

Use these apps to make Instagram a significant part of your social media marketing strategy."
Authors to Follow
Ten Authors and Publishers to Follow on Instagram

Hashtags
#TagsForLikes

I looked at other authors on Instagram and made a list of common hashtags. 
#booknerdigans
#booklover/ #booklove
#bibliophile
#bookgiveaway
#freebooks
#ilovebooks
#booknerd
#epicreads
#fangirl/ #fanboy
#read/ #reading
#bookstagram
#ilovereading
#bookaholic
#bookquotes

You can apply this method to your other interests. For instance, you like nature photography. You search for "nature" and make a note of the other hashtags that goes with each image. 

So far, I'm getting some good engagement despite being such a newb. They're in the single digits and I'm real happy for those engagements this early on. For those who've been on social media long know when you start a new network, you can go for months feeling like your're talking to yourself.

...

Tomorrow, 10/25, is the last day to get Visible Through Darkness for free. For the first time, I'm having success with book quotes and image quotes! Since the ebook's free for five days, I didn't want to keep sharing the Amazon link and the book cover over and over. Instead, I created a few image quotes. I'm sharing different ones across different social social networks--Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

Here are a few:






I've never tried this before. People are engaging with the posts. I won't know how it effects the promotion until Sunday. I make a point to not look at how many people download the book until the promotion is over.

Another interesting thing. Visible through Darkness has had a 6 digit ranking in Paid in Kindle Store since its release. It's free and the book gets two digit rankings in two other categories! The same thing happened to Devdan Manor. It actually made it to the Top 10 in Ghosts & Haunted Houses. The rankings didn't last once the promotion was over, though. Still, this feels real nice. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Are Reviews Still Important?


I came across a thought-provoking post through Google+. Author, Anne Allen, said we shouldn't stress about reviews because word-of-mouth is all that matters. Most readers don't pay attention to reviews. We, as authors, put too much importance on them. She's talking about reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Not book blogs.

"There was a time when one review—the kind written in the New York Times Book Review or The New Yorker—could make or break a book.
But these days, book discovery happens in hundreds of ways, online and off, and studies show reviews aren't high on the list.
I think many readers have figured out they're better off not reading them at all.
As author Barbara Morgenroth said on The Passive Voice earlier this week,
"The flavor has been chewed out of the review gum. Reviews are like freebies/free days–they don’t work like they used to. Abuse will kill off almost everything."
I fear she's right. In a study reported by Smashwords' Mark Coker two years ago, only 7% of readers reported they browsed and read online reviews before they bought a book. And I think the number has only diminished with the abuse." (Do Authors Obsess Too Much About Book Reviews?)
Allen makes some good points in the post. Paying for reviews is pointless. It does nothing for sales. On the other hand, I read reviews before I buy almost anything, especially books. I don't pay attention to star ratings. I care about why the reader did or didn't like the book.

For instance, several four star reviews for this book called the main character Barbie. I don't like female protagonists like that. I lost interested in that book.

I was looking at a jacket on Amazon. The reviews consistently said the jacket ran small. I ordered it in a size larger. It fits perfectly.

Some people, including me, while in the bookstore, look up a title on Goodreads and read the reviews before buying it.

If I come across anything on Amazon that doesn't have a review, I think twice about buying it. People love taking to the internet to rant or rave about something. If no one reviewed a product, I see it as they felt nothing for it. If I love or hate a book, I'll write about it on Goodreads or here. If the book does nothing for me, I don't finish it. I don't talk about it.

I do agree with Allen's point that word-of-mouth sells books. The problem is, how do we generate word-of-mouth.

I've been studying book marketing and promotion for years. As I've mentioned before, I'm getting my Masters in Publishing at NYU where I've taken a Social Media Marketing class and a Brand Development class. I've applied what I learned to my own marketing and promotion and nothing's working. I believe part of the reason is the books either have no reviews or the bad ones outweigh the good ones.

When I did a Goodreads giveaway for The Sciell, 400+ people added the book to their shelves. The reviews started coming in. They were consistently 3 stars. People started taking my book off their shelves.

It's true you have trolls on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes and Noble who abuse the system. Reviews of this one book on B&N.com weren't people talking about the story. It was just a general discussion about the series. People will give books 1 star reviews on Amazon if it arrived damaged or late or they had problems downloading it.

However, reviews show word-of-mouth. I don't think we've reached a point where readers don't care about reviews on those sites. The retailer, Kobo, no longer has reviews on its site. If Amazon changes the review section, people will be pissed.

Allen offers an alternative. I like the "tell a friend" option. If you love a book, tell someone about it. She also suggests:
"Before a book comes out, or after a "soft launch," offer it to selected fans and a few reviewers you've established a friendship with. Always write a warm, personal email, not a mass mailing, ever. (Asking for a review is like querying an agent. A mass-mailing gets an automatic "no.")"
I do not agree with this. I'm about to release my 7th book next week. I've been promoting my books and brand for years now. It's a daily thing. Yet, I don't have fan for my books (at least none that I can reach out to). My sales have been flat for months. I'm still trying to reach the right audience. I don't have review friends.

People sing the praise of email marketing. I've subscribed to some authors' newsletters. I enjoy their free content and ignore emails about their books. I do not discover books through an email from an author, unless it's like some big name author.

This post turned out longer than I expected.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes and Noble?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Eye-Catching Halloween Orange


I'm attracted to orange more during October. Doesn't happen any other time. Whenever I see that Halloween color, I make a bee-line for it or I, at least, give it a second or third look.

How can authors take advantage of that? I mentioned in the post When To Release a Book, that you don't just publish a book when it's done. You have to think when's the best time to get the most sales.

I learned recently that if a book has a green cover, the best month to publish it is in March. The book's content doesn't have to be St. Patrick's Day related. Similarly, white and pink book covers are good for a February release date.

A book with Halloween orange in the cover is good for an October release date. Or, if you're releasing a book this month, throw a little orange in it. The whole point of a cover is to entice people into picking up/clicking on your book. If your book's not horror, don't Halloween it out. People will get real mad. You can add orange to a cover without it looking like a horror read.

I tried to do this with the new cover for Visible Through Darkness.


The only reason I gave that portal a pumpkin color was because I'm trying to cash in on orange's popularity. I also learned that shade of blue in the title is a good pairing for Halloween orange. I actually tried a bright green for the font color for "Darkness", but I started having R.L. Stine Goosebumps flashbacks. This book is dark, but it's not that horrory.

You can find that color orange by Googleing "halloween orange html code." You'll get a bunch of shades of orange. You'll need to try them out to see which one works for you.

These are the types of things you have to consider when designing a book cover.
...

Visible Through Darkness will be free 10/21-10/25 in preparation for the release of Book 2, Shadows under the Light, the conclusion of The Jura Series. I'll release that next Tuesday, 10/28.

I mentioned in the last post that I'd tweak the book's description.

Here's the old one:

What if you were the only one? How strong would you be?

Ethics, morals, compassion— what if they didn’t exist? What if the world treated those words as curses? Laws mean nothing. Commitment means nothing. Jade Greer’s parents taught her the old, moral, ways. She still clings to their teachings. The world rejects her. She has suffered. But, her storm is over. Or, is it? An unusual call leads her to Serin, a prisoner trapped in darkness for twenty years. Saving him leads Jade to a world for beings with power. A world her parents were once a part of.


Here's the new one:


What if you were the only one? How strong would you be?

Jade Greer’s parents taught her the old, moral, ways. She still clings to their teachings ten years after their deaths. She's become an outcast. The vulgar world rejects her, abuses her. She has suffered. But, her storm is over. Or, is it? An unusual call leads her to Serin, a prisoner trapped in darkness for twenty years. Saving him leads Jade to a world for beings with power. A world that may hold the acceptance she has never known. A world her parents were once a part of. Jura is dying. Jade and Serin have no homes to go back to. They move forward with hope because they're no longer alone.


I didn't just redesign the cover and tweak to book's copy. I added some fun things inside the book. You'll have to download it to see.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Making of a Cover

Sometimes a book needs a makeover.  It's easy to change a cover and add some bonus content for ebooks. With Amazon, the update goes live in a couple a hours.

This month, I'm releasing the novella Shadows under the Light (working title) Part 2 of Visible Through Darkness. The cover for the first book needs a fresh look. And, it was a pain. I never had this trouble before. Creating book covers is hard in general. This one was something special.

Here's the original cover:


Not bad. It doesn't say anything about the story, though. Visible Through Darkness is about loneliness, self-discovery, companionship with a fantasy world and some powers thrown in. I wanted the cover to reflect the characters' journey while still having that fantasy feel.

I rarely have an idea of exactly what I want the cover to look like before going into the project. I start by searching through iStockphoto, 123rf and Shutterstock to see if an image speaks to me. iStock and Shutterstock are on the expensive side. They have a nicer collection of images. 123rf sometimes has the same images. They cost a lot less. It's my go-to for stock photos because it's cheaper.

At first, I wanted a ghost-like female figure walking through a dark landscape. Three problems. That image is sooooo overused. That type of cover doesn't fit my brand. The only badass female stock photos I found were like this:

I mean come on! Why does she have to be half naked? This image would have been perfect. Fantasy female stock photos usually show women in full armor or half naked. Neither of which worked for my story. I went between Shutterstock and 123rf looking for fantasy females and female warriors. The photos were all terrible. I see now why people use models for book covers.

Anyway, had to go in another direction. I created something I liked. Didn't love. Couldn't figure out why.


I talked to my publisher at Aubey LLC about what I wanted the cover to say. She gave me some awesome ideas. Sometimes it helps to talk it out. I was so stuck and more than a little frustrated.

Here's the final cover.


I won't put it on Goodreads or Amazon yet. I want to do all the updates for Visible Through Darkness at once. The repackaged version will have bonus content, probably a sample of Shadows under the Light and Chains of the Sciell. Still working this out. I'm thinking of having the bonus material available for a limited time. I'll also tweak the book's description.

That cover gave me an idea for Shadows under the Light.


Look out for it by the end of this month! I'll have a free promotion for the repackaged Visible Through Darkness soon!
...
How do you know if your book needs a makeover?

My rule is if I'm even considering changes, then it needs to be change. That goes for writing as well. I rely heavily on instincts. You know, there are some things about your story you'll never change no matter what anyone says. You feel that needs to be there or that character/place needs to be named that.

Social media helps too. The cover for Devdan Manor got some favorites on Twitter. That hadn't happened before.

Going to trade shows (observing how people react to your cover) is good too, but they're expensive. I know The Sciell's cover works because it caught people eye as they passed our booth. Many people stopped to ask about it.

Update: Shadows under the Light is now available.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mythical Creature: Dog- Demon

Here's a bloody ceremony and a vengeful beasty. I was surprised the Dog-Demon has such a dark story. They're the main characters in one of my favorite animes. Sesshomaru is still my favorite character even though the anime has been over for years.

The Inugami (dog god) can be conjured through a cruel ceremony. A common pet dog must be buried up to his neck, only the head remains free. Then, a bowl with food or water must be placed close to the dog, but at an unreachable distance. Several days after that, when the dog is about to die, his head must be severed and buried beneath a noisy street. After a certain time, the head and body must be placed in a shrine. Now, the person can conjure an Inugami. The creators of this dog spirit are called Inugami-tsukai (dog-god users).

Another legend states that an old woman, who desired revenge, buried her treasured dog in the ground with only its head sticking out. She said "If you have a soul, do my will and I will worship you as a god." She then cut the dog's head off with a bamboo saw, releasing the dog's spirit as an Inugami. The spirit did as she wished. In return for its painful death, it haunted the old woman.

Inugami are a form of Shikigami that usually takes the form of a dog. But the spirit is such a high form of shikigami that those who possess it run the risk of being controlled by it instead. Inugami are used for criminal activities--- murdering, kidnapping and mutilation. The evoker can order their Inugami to possess and manipulate people. The victim is often forced to kill themselve or other people, or to act like a lunatic. Since the Inugami´s soul is blinded by its desire for revenge and it's unstoppable rage, the demon dog can quickly escape the master´s control and kill his own evoker.



An Inugami's original body stays behind when it leaves to follow its masters wishes. The buried corpse slowly withers and rots, and if the Inugami returns after the body is no longer habitable, it may take control of its master's body, making it even more powerful. Possession by an Inugami is said to cure sickness. However, it also results in the possessed behaving like a dog.

Image Source: Inuyasha_sitting_by_AlliCat1996
Families that keep Inugami in their household are called Inugami-mochi (meaning "Those who have a dog-god as a pet"). It's tradition within these households that family members always marry members from other Inugami-mochi only.
The Onmyouji Chronicles: Inugami and Shikigami

Monday, October 6, 2014

Movie Review: #Annabelle

The first horror movie of October and it was...decent. It wasn't the worst horror movie I'd ever seen. I've seen some bad ones. It wasn't nearly as good as The Conjuring. I'm still trying to figure out why Annabelle came out on the same day as Gone Girl.

Annabelle leaned heavily on some haunted house tropes. That wasn't a bad thing. Nothing wrong with a trope if it's done right.

We had the usual stay-at-home mom and loving husband who's never around because of work. All the scares happen to the woman and her newborn baby. We get that annoying scene where the woman tells her husband everything and he suggests she talk to someone. Then he disappears again. This woman was terrified. She was haunted daily. Where the hell was her husband?! I felt so bad for her. The husband didn't do much.
The movie had the classic doors closing by themselves, machines turning themselves on. I never get tired of those, unless they're happening in my apartment.

Annabelle suffered from a slow middle. It had a great opening. The climax was awesome. The middle was boring. It had some good creepy moments. Annabelle took a while to get to the point. The mother and child had a bunch of small hauntings for too long. We needed another big scare in the middle.

When that movie got going, it was awesome! It was good at making you jump.

[Spoiler Alert]

Annabelle showed the demon behind the hauntings. I'm a bit weary when serious horror movies show the demons. Most of the time, revealing the monster lets all the air out of the suspense build-up. Remember that red-faced monster from Insidious?
The demon in Annabelle wasn't nearly as bad. The way they used it was awesome. I have to hand it to the movie. The demon's scenes were well played. Some of the best moments in the movie.

[End of spoiler]

In what world is a doll like Annabelle a collector's item? That has to be the ugliest doll ever. Maybe I'm bias because I saw it in The Conjuring first and it was already evil.
If I had that damn doll in my room as I kid, I'd have nightmares about it every night. I like how the movie took advantage of that feeling of revulsion. They relied on the doll's creep-factor. It didn't act like most haunted toys.

Going into this movie, I was bit concerned about how they were going to connect it with The Conjuring. From the trailer. I knew this wasn't a movie version of the nurses' story. Ed and Loraine Warren weren't in it. I liked the story anyway. I'm also wondering why they decided to do it this way. The more obvious Annabelle movie would've been the story that made the doll famous.
It would've been more fun if this movie and The Conjuring kept Annabelle looking like the original. You can really mess people up turning a sweet looking doll like that into something terrifying. That's what horror is all about.

Annabelle is for those who don't normally watch horror movies. You have horror lightweights in the audience screaming unnecessarily and then giggling and chatting about the scares. It was so annoying.

I don't mind people interacting with action movies. I don't like when people make noise during horror movies. It ruins the atmosphere. I was surprised to see a bunch of children in the theater. Annabelle's rated R.

This movie wasn't nearly enough of a horror fix for the Month of Horror. I don't know if I'll be getting that good movie this year. Next up will be Ouija. It's supernatural horror, so I will be on that one. The trailer looks scary.

But, when I see horror movies with high school or college students,  I'm imaging 2 hours of sex, a little drug use and people being really, really, really stupid. It's already starting pretty bad. How many Ouija-board-gone-bad stories are there? These children decided to use one. I'll give Ouija a try. It looks like it has some good scares and they created a believable reason for someone to use a Ouija board.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mythical Creature: Raccoon-Dog

Other cultures have different types of shapeshifting animals while we seem to focus on wolves. I'm real tired of werewolves. Unless it's Underworld, then I love lycans.

Raccoon-dog or tanuki is another popular creature in anime. In most shows, it's there to be adorable. It is so useless. The tanuki is a reminder that not all creatures in my world building have to be vicious or even scary looking. They can simply be pets or harmless tricksters.

I didn't even know raccoon dogs were actual animals!
They're adorable..and a little creepy. Those eyes are demony. I can use them in a story. 

The tanuki has a long history in Japanese legend and folklore.

The fox-like animal appears often as shapeshifters with supernatural powers and mischievous tendencies. They can pass off leaves and pebbles as notes and coins to fool unsuspecting humans. They kidnap brides and impersonate them to attend wedding feasts. 

Tanuki used to be seen as malevolent. They assumed human form, haunted and possessed people, and were considered omens of misfortune. Many centuries later, they evolved into tricksters, aiming their magic and belly-drum music at travelers. Today, the tanuki are cheerful, lovable, and benevolent beings who bring prosperity and business success. Ceramic statues of tanuki are found everywhere in modern Japan, especially outside bars and restaurants.

The Tanuki is commonly depicted with a big tummy, a straw hat, a bewildered facial expression and a giant testicles- which has been known to turn into a parachute. (I kid you not). Tanuki are also portrayed as cute and lovable characters in modern cartoons and movies.


Compared with kitsune (foxes), which are the epitome of shape-changing animals, there is the saying that "the fox has seven disguises, the tanuki has eight." The tanuki is thus superior to the fox in its disguises. However, unlike the fox, which changes its form to tempt people, tanuki shapeshifts to fool people. There is also the theory that tanuki simply like to change their form.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Tanuki

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Know Where Your Audience Lives

Just because someone says you should be on that social network, doesn't mean it's right for you. I'm talking about you Facebook. Social media is not a one-size fits all approach. That bugs me, sometime. You can't say, do this on Twitter and it will guarantee you 100 retweets.

I've been rethinking my social media plan. I'm on Twitter, Facebook. Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+. I don't need to be on that many. Most publishers say you should find one or two social networks that work and stick with them. I enjoy social media so I go a little bananas.

I've taken a couple of classes/sat through some panels/read articles on using social media to market books. Some authors/publishers swear by a site. I try their advice and nothing happens, particularity with Goodreads and Facebook.

I've heard case studies of authors with tragic Facebook engagement. They'd share a certain kind of post and their engagement shoots up. I try that kind of post and I get crickets. I sat through a penal where an author lived on Goodreads, saying it was the reason for their high book sales. I like Goodreads. It works great when you're announcing a temporarily free book. But, it doesn't help with book sales, at least for me it doesn't. 400+ people have added The Sciell to their shelf. That's awesome. I'm still blown away. That also has done nothing for sales.

I'm on Pinterest. But that's more for fun.

Each book has a different audience. How you approach social media depends on your audience and which network you're on. I heard people on Facebook loved photos of animals. I shared pictures of my dog Oreo and that got no engagement. I've tried Facebook to talk anime to reach other Otakus. I find the best places to talk anime are Tumblr and Pinterest. The right content plus the wrong social network equals a waste of time.
Image Credt: Blach
I had assumed my audience was 25+ since my characters are in that age range. Turns out, everyone who lined up for my book at BEA were younger than I was. So, I got on Tumblr. The engagement on that site is so much better than Facebook. I only have 17 followers, but because the way Tumblr is designed, I can get 45 people to engage in a post. I've been hearing a lot about Instagram. I resisted it because I'd have to pull back from another social network to do it.

Funny enough, I've been adjusting my social media plan without noticing. I don't spend as much time on Facebook and Goodreads, focusing more on Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and now Instagram. Pinterest-- I use simply to organize my world building pictures. It's kinda silly I haven't gotten on Instagram sooner. I already take a lot of pictures.

On another note, my short stories/novellas always end on the second act. I never had any plans to write a part two for any of them. Since Chain of the Sciell will be coming out later than expected, Part 2 of Visible Through Darkness will be out sometime this month. Now, I have to solve the who cares problem. I released Visible Through Darkness almost a year ago. Even I barely remember the story. Despite that, I feel Part 2 of that book is the way to go. Look out for a giveaway!