Blog/site issues…

Okay, just so ya know.  Had my blog/website moved to a new hosting service over the past day or so.  If you’re seeing flubs with things missing and then reappearing, it’s from that.

A few things, I’m afraid–mostly a few comments that were made–have been lost, I think.  There were only five or six, but I don’t have any way to retrieve them, I don’t think.  They were made during the transfer process and insanity ensued. I’m sorry!

The good news…I was able to reactivate my old spam blocker, which was much more effective than the one I’ve been using.  That means, hopefully, the issue with some comments being caught & held in the mod queue won’t happen quite as often-the exception is comments that contain two or more links.  Those are always caught in the mod queue and Nicole or I clear them once we make sure they aren’t spam.

Keep in mind that sometimes there are just hangups.  I don’t know why-I do know sometimes it’s slower to load and it will take a while for a comment to show.  I’m not tech-savvy enough to know the reason behind it.

I think with the change back to Akismet for spam, it will smooth things out a lot though.

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I broke my website… err, my blog

Apologies folks.  There are some technical difficulties going on.  The problem starts with the letter S… and ends with the letter H and there’s an HILO in there, too.

I don’t know why you can’t see the blog normally, although you CAN see if I post individual links, I think.  My awesome weblady is working on fixing what I broke.  Me?  I’m going to go hide in the the corner.

 

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Writes and Wrongs

Okay, so if you’ve been reading my blog, my twitter feed or even my facebook rants, you know how certain…ah… things annoy me.

And now I’ve found a positive outlet to vent those annoyances. This is good, right?

You know all those annoying BUY MY BOOK spam crap things some of us just hate?

I’ve found a place to talk about them-yep, somebody who will let me talk about it outside of my blog.  O.o

(Don’t worry, I’m not just going to rant…and actually, since it’s not ‘my’ place…er, blog…site, I’ll keep the outright rants to a minimum.  I also plan to talk about things that I think work in a positive way, too).

Writes and Wrongs…over at the RT website.

Future topics will be things like twitter, facebook, etc, etc…

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Thursday Tips…Bookbloggers & Readers

Thursday Tips-geared toward the newly contracted/newly published author.  If you’ve got comments or Qs, feel free to leave them in comments.

Book bloggers…they are your friends

Besides librarians and booksellers, another group of people you don’t want to neglect or abuse?

Bookbloggers.

This doesn’t mean going and totally schmoozing it with them.  While some may be totally into that, chances are it will annoy others.

Just talk with them.

When I say talk, I don’t mean hit their blog with

Hi, I’m Shiloh Walker and I write erotic and paranormal romance, with some romantic suspense thrown in and I see that you like Lora Leigh, JR Ward and Linda Howard.  Because of that, I think you should give MY work a try.  If you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you a copy for review.

Folks…this isn’t talking.  This is basically invading a blog, and most authors who use this spiel almost always do it where there’s already a conversation going on.  So not only to do they intrude on an active conversation, they are doing to pimp their own work, and coincidentally, they are throwing around big names in hopes of catching interest.

Does it work?  Well, you might grab a little bit of interest.  But you’ll also annoy a number of readers—you’ll alienate them.  If you’ve alienated them, they are less likely to try your work, whether or not they say anything at the present time.

On the other hand, if you actually just talk…well, you can build up some friendship, or at least friendly relationships and that will do you a heck of a lot more good than the bit of interest you might gather from heavy-handed promo.  Because when you leave a good impression, people remember you, they talk about you and not in a—holy crap, did you see how she just totally interrupted us to pimp her shit-how rude!—sort of way

When I say TALK, I mean… TALK.

Something like…

Oh, man…. Linda Howard?  I love Linda Howard.  One of my favorites from her is Son of the Morning.  That woman can write.

Readers tend to get aggravated when an author invades on conversations just to promo-whore her stuff.  So despite what you might hear from some sources, I really don’t think it’s going to do you any favors to try that route.

Here’s an example:  If you were having conversation with a friend at the bookstore and somebody suggested a book they liked, or a book they’d loved by an author you were discussing, chances are you wouldn’t mind.  This might even be something you have done.

But lets say this person more or less shoves her book at you…

Oh, wow.  I see you’re looking at the latest Lora Leigh.  Wow.  I write just like her, or so people have told me.  I think you should try my stuff.

Folks, this isn’t a good sales pitch.  It’s heavy-handed, it’s awkard.  Some authors can work this sort of thing into a conversation.  Others?  Can’t.  Many of the ones I see online?  They can’t.  They are the ones who intrude on messages boards at Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, all in the name of pimping their stuff.

When authors use this sort of tactic, it brings about…an awkwardness, we’ll say.  Some people may be unsure what to say, period.  Some aren’t going to say anything for fear of hurting the author’s feelings.  Some just don’t like conflict.  And…um, well others just might tell you off to your face.  But it puts a strain on what had been a pleasant, open conversation and they can no longer freely discuss things.  This isn’t going to help endear you to them, and again, despite what some people think, I really don’t believe it does a big promo boost either.

On the other hand, if you can just talk to readers and bloggers about the common ground we’ve got?  Which is a love of books?  That can do you a world of good.  If you can be genuine.  I never set out to build a huge network of bookblogger friends.  I was just talking to people about books, because…well, I kind of love to talk to people about books.

I don’t really talk about mine—I feel weird talking about my books.  If somebody asks questions, yeah, I’ll answer.  But when I’m at a book blogger’s blog, a reader’s blog?  I’m there to talk books.  If I’m at another author’s blog, I’m either there as a guest… I don’t mean a guest blogger-those are different rules, I mean as in a guest in their house…or as a friend.  It does us well to remember courtesy.

However, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t help get my name out.  People ended up at my blog because they saw me talking at other blogs.  I’ve had people tell me they bought my books just because they saw me recommending other people’s books—and no, this isn’t why I do it.  If you can’t be honest when you’re out there in blogland, don’t bother because, people?  Readers aren’t stupid and when you’re putting on a front, it comes through a lot more clear than people tend to realize.

Just remember that readers and bookbloggers… They are people…treat them with courtesy and respect, and they’ll give it back.

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Social Media… UR DOING IT WRONG

Dear Authors: (Some of you, at least)

humorous pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Let me explain…

First, the definition of social, from M-W.com

Main Entry: 1so·cial
Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin socialis, from socius companion, ally, associate; akin to Old English secg man, companion, Latin sequi to follow — more at sue
Date: 14th century

1 : involving allies or confederates <the Social War between the Athenians and their allies>
2 a : marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one’s friends or associates <leads a very full social life> b : sociable c : of, relating to, or designed for sociability <a social club>
3 : of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society <social institutions>
4 a : tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others of one’s kind : gregarious b : living and breeding in more or less organized communities <social insects> c of a plant : tending to grow in groups or masses so as to form a pure stand

Social… involving allies.

Pleasant compansionship with friends.

Associates.

Sociability.

Club.

Relating to the human society.

Interaction.

Interaction… yes, let’s bold that last bit.

Actually, let’s BOLD, UNDERLINE and REPEAT…

Interaction

Dear Authors… if you’re not actually interacting out there on the social media platforms of twitter, goodreads, facebook, myspace, whatever fricking else there is…if all you’re doing is spamming the people you’re ‘friends’ with recommendations of your own books, you are doing it wrong.

And yeah, I can actually say this with some level of authority.

I’m not new to the internet and I’m not new to interacting with online readers.

Started out in epublishing and like  a lot of authors who started out in e, or digital publishing as everybody is calling in now, my ‘platform’ was interacting with readers, mainly through yahoo loops.

The one thing that annoyed the snot of me as a reader and a writer was the author who could not stop talking about her own books.  And guess what… it didn’t just annoy me.  It also annoyed readers-and no, not talking based on assumption, but on conversations I’ve had.  These are the authors who when they came on the loops, oddly enough, they could stop conversations.  Not because they were so witty or because everybody was awed and amazed by them, but because they could manage to silence fun conversations.   They would chatter endlessly about themselves, only themselves and always themselves but never with anybody.  It was a one-person love fest.

And it was boring.

In short…

Social Media is not about you.

Is it about promo?  Well, if you’re an author. Sure.

But there’s clever promo…which will win you readers.  It’s also fun.  It’s just talking, really.  Social media is just a conversation-you talk about books, life, gripe about losing weight (yes, I do that… a lot…) music.  It’s just a conversation.  It’s easy… and yes, it’s promo.  It’s clever, subtle promo, sure.  But it’s the only kind that I can actually tolerate for myself because I don’t have to stand out there and talk about me, myself and I-because that bores the hell out of me.

Social media isn’t about me.  It’s about us-so it has to involve others.  It has to be subtle for it to work.  So there’s subtle, clever promo…and there’s this kind of promo.

Seem it extreme?  Well, I’m sorry, but it’s not.  Not really. I hate to tell you this, when you use social media to spam people but never really interact with us?  Us meaning readers, writers…all of us, the people who make up the up the social part of social media?  You’re not getting it.  All you’re doing is beating us over the head with your books.  Does that mean you won’t get a few hits?  Of course not.  Sure you’ll get a few hits.

But it also means you’re going to annoy people.  You’re going to have people who just delete your messages without reading them, or if they are fed up like me?  They delete you and they might even go that extra step like me, mentally placing your name on Never To Be Bought List Simply Because You Annoy The Snot Out Of Me.  Yes.  I freely admit-if you hit me with book recs of your books on Goodreads, I delete you and yes, I do tend to keep track of the people who repeatedly spam me and I don’t buy their books. My TBB list is endless-if there’s a way to cull it down?  Why not?  This is one way to do it without me feeling guilty about giving a book a chance.  If you hit my inbox on facebook with messages about your latest and greatest, I remove you from my friends list.  There is no point in keeping you on my list, because you’re not there to interact.   You’re there to spam and I get enough spam in my email-I don’t need it on social media.

Want to get the best out of social media? Interact.  If you can’t invest the time to do that, then you’re not getting the benefit out of it anyway, because we really, really don’t react to that above selling tactic. We like being talked to-not hit over the head with a sledgehammer.

And yes… I realize this post is lacking in some subtlty itself, but sometimes, you just got to go with it.  Subtlty is a nice tactic for promo.  But when it comes to being deluged with BUY MY BOOK spam, subtle doesn’t seem to work.

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Thursday Tips…Booksellers & Librarians

Thursdays Tips-geared toward the newly pubbed/newly contracted author.  Got any Qs/comments?  Feel free to mention in comments.

Booksellers

I’ve been published since 2003, in print since 2004, but it didn’t dawn on me that I could really help my career if I would do this little thing called networking with booksellers and librarians.

Yes…librarians, people.  Never, ever neglect librarians in this business.  I can’t tell you how often I grit my teeth in sheer frustration when I see an author getting irritated because somebody picked up their book in a library, or worse, I see them snubbing a librarian.

You got any idea how many books libraries buy every year?  The numbers are amazing-thousands, thousands, thousands…and not only do they buy books, when a reader is looking to try a new author, they often look to the library.  If they find you through the library and they get hooked, many then go on to buy the rest of your books.  Love your librarians…they are our friends.

Back to networking.

If you’re anything like me, that might sound either really scary, or really technical…or both.

But it’s not.  Not really.

Basically, all it involves is talking to them.  And that’ so damn easy, because think about… you love books.  They love books.  You’ve got one huge area of common ground, right?

You don’t even have to make this huge buy my book pitch, and since they get a lot of those, chances are if you just come across as a person instead of a walking sales ad, you might make a better impression anyway.

Talk about books, talk about favorite authors.  Ask if it would be okay to get a business card.  Why ask this?

Because one of the reasons you want to network with booksellers and librarians is so you can build a mailing list.

Now you can buy mailing lists, yes.  It’s something I’ve considered and may do at some point.  But over the past two years or so, I’ve started building my own and if I had started in 2004, it would be a pretty impressive list.  And all it takes is collecting a card when you meet booksellers/librarians at events.  Ask if you can have a card, and if they give you one, make sure it’s okay to add them to your mailing list.

Most of them are probably already aware of why you’re asking and most of them are probably delighted to get the promo-they like it, because their readers like it.  The readers like it because the ideal way to use a mailing list is to mail out things like bookmarks and postcards…keeping people informed about upcoming books.

Now this is slower, a little more time-consuming.  If you’d rather not do it that way, you can skip through and either buy/rent mailing lists or use the services provided by places like Romantic Times.

Mailing lists/services:

  • Pat Rouse (Pat doesn’t have a website, but if anybody in interested, let me know and I’ll see if I can hook you up with her.)
  • Romantic Times-Bookstores that Care (scroll down)

image via Dreamstime Free

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My do’s and don’t’s

So I’ve got some do’s & dont’s.  These are mine… just mine.  But I wanted to throw them out there.

DO:

  • remember your readers are entitled to an opinion…whether they liked your books or not.
  • remember your readers might not have liked one book… that doesn’t mean they won’t like another book.
  • remember to have a sense of humor.  makes this business a lot easier.
  • remember that book isn’t your baby.  really. and even if you have to think it is?  Well…I’ve got kids, and mine, much as I love them, they have flaws.  So…if you do have to look at your book as your baby, remember it’s probably going to have flaws.  Be prepared to fix them-not defend them to your dying breath.  Your kids deserve that devotion.  The book doesn’t.  Books deserve professional attention, not fire-breathing dragon-mama behavior.
  • remember that your setting a professional image. With every fricking thing you do or tweet or facebook or say or blog.  And it’s really, really easy to say things that can be taken the wrong way… especially online.

DON’T:

  • confuse what you write with who you are.  Writing erotica is all well good and good.  Doesn’t mean everything you say or do has to be related to sex.  Believe it or not, that turns readers and potentials agents and editors off.  Some good advice I heard on twitter?  If you wouldn’t say it a stranger on a bus?  Don’t say it to your readers.
  • expect everybody to love everything you write.  It will not happen.  You cannot please everybody.  Be prepared for that.
  • try to please to everybody.  You’ll wear yourself and just be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
  • say anything you’re not willing to own.
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GoodReads & Bad Promo… a mini rant

So I’m on GoodReads.  But I don’t do much there-just keep my profile up, approve the friend requests & add in new books I buy when I remember.  If I was any sort of organized, I could probably organize my books, the books I want, the books I’ve read through there a lot better.  That’s a ramble for another today, though. Today isn’t about rambles.  It’s about ranting.

Dear GoodReads Authors:

  • If you are recommending your own books to me, please stop.  It’s annoying.  And no, I’m not the only one who thinks so… ask the readers… they get annoyed, too.  Many of them go and unfriend when happens too often.
  • ©Disney|UP

  • If you are friending me just to pimp your books?  Don’t bother. Because I will not buy you.  There is such a thing as subtly.  Use a dictionary and look it up.
  • If you send me a message asking me to recommend your books to my friends-after all, ‘I’m self-published and I am my own marketing and publicity team’, not only will I not check your book out, your name now goes on my list of authors I’m not very likely to buy… yes, I realize self-pubbed authors have to handle marketing & publicity on their own.  That’s a hard gig.  That’s why I’m not a fan of going that route-it’s too much hard work.  But you signed up for it.  You do that hard work.  Don’t try to enlist me.  And when you try to enlist others, whether readers or authors through such hard-sell tactics, you actually do more harm than good… you might get a few who do that, but true word of mouth does you a lot more good than… “please oh please oh please buy my book’ (That tactic didn’t work for Doug the dog in UP when he was trying to talk the bird into his prisoner.  It’s not going to work for you either.)
  • Stop bleating about how wonderful your books are.  We all want to think our books are awesome.  We really, really do.  But if you can’t actually interact with people withoutsinging your own praises?  You’ve lost people before you’ve really even had a chance to hook them.
  • And if you’re wondering who this is directed to…well, I’m not naming names-that’s not cool, it’s not professional, but for crying out loud, if you’re one of bajillion that keep recommending your own books to me????  Or you friended me just to pimp your books??? Or you’re one of the numerous self-pubbed authors who messaged me thinking you could get me to recommend your books to others???? Yes.  I’m sorry, I don’t want to be harsh, but yep, it’s directed toward you.

Subtly… it can do you a world of good.

And on occasion, so can sending out a good, old-fashioned, smack-them-over-the-message like this.  When you annoy readers, you lose readers.

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The Missing’s release… Q/A stuff, interview stuff, promo…

The Missing is due out in a month.

Unlike what happened in March when Broken came out, I’m attempted to line things up in advance this time.  I’ve already got a couple of guest blogs lined up.

Would like to line up a few more things so if you’re a blogger who by chance does Q & A or interviews and would like that sort of thing… *G*  shoot me an email.  Shilohwalker(at)gmail.com.  PLEASE PUT THE MISSING in the subject line, otherwise my spam filter is more likely to eat it.

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New blog, new look…new contest

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Contest is closed…winners to be posted next week!

Okay, so I was going to start the contest for The Missing today, but I decided to wait until next week.  Instead, lets launch my new blog with a contest.

This is what’s left of my RT swag… it includes…

  • An Audiobook of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Bad Moon Rising
  • Cat Adam’s Magic’s Design
  • A sleep shirt with Breeds Rule on it, courtesy of Lora Leigh
  • A Manga sampler from Shojo Beat
  • A book cover that reads “This is not a trashy vampire romance novel” (I really wanted to keep that one)
  • Various bookmarks, pens, etc
  • The RT 2010 tote courtesy of Shayla Black and Sylvia Day

And because I read it and loved it and want everybody else to read it and love it, I’m also including an unsigned copy of Dreamveil by Lynn Viehl, which incidentally, releases today.

Dreamveil by Lynn Veil

AKA the Queen of Weird & Awesome

Rowan Dietrich grew up on the streets. Now she’s out to start anew, find a job-and keep her identity as a Kyndred secret, as well as her ability to “dreamveil” herself into the object of others’ desires.

But Rowan isn’t using her gift when world-class chef Jean-Marc Dansant is stricken by her beauty and strength. And when dark secrets from her past threaten her new life and love, Rowan realizes she can’t run forever…

I’m also going to toss in a book or two from my available backlist, although I’m not sure what…namely because I’m not sure what’s on my shelves just yet.

How do you enter?

That’s easy. You can take a look at my printlist tab up there, or here’s a quick link to it and tell which of my available backlist titles from that backlist you’d be interested in reading. FYI, titles that will not be included… The Missing and Broken. Sorry, those are my newest/upcoming releases, so they aren’t included-I do a lot of contests geared around new releases. Hope you understand.

Please, as always, make sure you’ve read my disclaimer. Open across the globe, although international winners, I will ship via slower methods, one entry per household, and please, please, please do not post to sweepstakes sites-if the contest gets posted to sweepstakes sites, I do reserve the right to end the contest without drawing a winner/awarding the prize (and likely will.)

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