Monday, July 30, 2012

Tweeting Isn't Just for the Birds Anymore

Good Morning. Yeah, I'm liking this title phrase. Two weeks in a row.

(And just so you know this is a long post. It is aimed at newbies and not meant to offend those of you who already know how to do all this. It is only my opinion and what I did. You can take from it what you wish. Also if you have some other great tips, ideas, or information, please feel free to write them in the comments.)

Well, as I said, I was going to share the secret of my success in getting to #1 on the Kindle. First, it was only #1 on the Kindle Free list. I made it to #16 in the Advice>Self-Help>Love and Romance category, and #49 in the Genre Fiction> Romance> Contemporary category. (Which blew my mind all kinds of ways. I was even higher in rank than a few best-selling NYT authors for awhile.)

But all that didn't last. As I mentioned before, I didn't have any reviews, so when it came off of *free* status, the book died. My ranking went from #1 to 274 to 20,745, down to 35,337, to 78,229 within a matter of HOURS. Shocking. However, as soon as the lovely Cindy F. (whoever she is, bless you) wrote a review and posted it (the next day) my ranking shot back up to mid 30k where it's been hovering for the last week.

Lesson #1 -- Before you start your book launch always have at least one review waiting in the wings. Preferably a 4 or 5 star. (I started this launch as a FREE promotion, but you don't have to do free, and on Wednesday I'll tell you why.)

Now, some people are not on Twitter. I know I balked at it for YEARS before I finally succumbed to the madness. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did, it became a lot easier to use. Also, the key to Twitter is not just using it for promotion. You have to play nice, and be respectful to your following. There are a few "rules" you have to learn, how to use a #hashtag properly, how to shorten your links. (I use but there are a few others out there.) how to RT (retweet -- which I'm still not sure how to do with edits -- it's a learning curve). But all in all, I would say it's a nice place to hang out and talk to people using 140 characters or less.

Lesson #2 -- Join Twitter. Find your blog friends. Find people you want to be friends with. It's all about following. The more the merrier. Usually, if you follow someone, they'll follow you back. (Just be careful. There're a lot of spam Twits floating around too.)

Once you get the hang of Twitter, (took me about a month, seriously, I'm a slow technological learner) then you need to download Tweetdeck. (Okay, I don't know what these apps are actually called -- Twitter feed in real time with columns so you can see who said what as it appears) There's also Hootsuite and one more that I can't remember the name. I use Tweetdeck because it's simple. Like me. It gives me 3 columns -- one for feed, one for interactions, one for scheduling Tweets. Yeah, because that's what you want to use -- the scheduler.

Lesson #3 -- Download Tweetdeck.

Okay, so now you've joined Twitter, downloaded Tweetdeck, looked it over, played around on both. Here's the fun part. Scheduling your Tweets.

I'm going to use my book REMEMBERING YOU as an example (because why would I use anyone else's?)

As I said before (somewhere) this uploading to *free* was an experiment. Because I published this under Robynne Rand, a lot of people didn't know it was me -- Anne Gallagher. So basically I was a newbie author. I decided to offer it free just to see what would happen with a new cover and new edits. I also decided to promote it on Twitter first before I announced it on my blog -- also to see what would happen.

I basically had 4 lines from my book that I pre-scheduled to show up on my Twitter feed (using Tweetdeck) every hour on the hour. If I had just Tweeted:

Remembering You is out now. Free for two days. Get it while it's hot.

What do you think would happen? Nothing. So here are my tag lines and my Tweets.

Optimism was so ugly when it kicked your ass. REMEMBERING YOU #romance #beachread #free

Pete will always wonder if I'm sleeping with Tony no matter how much I deny it. REMEMBERING YOU #romance #free

Missing her parents was something Genna had done for so long it defined her soul. REMEMBERING YOU #romance #free #beachread

Love is a gift from the angels. They smack you upside the head. Pay attention. REMEMBERING YOU #free #romance #beachread

Okay, see the use of my taglines, my #hashtags, the word free and my Amazon tag. Everything is there. No one has to click anywhere other than Amazon to see the book. Then it becomes their decision if they want to download it.

Lesson #4 -- Find some good lines from the book and schedule them with the appropriate hastags and shortened link to Amazon.

So, after scheduling my Tweets for 12 hours, (I did this in shifts) I sat back and watched. I have a few friends on Twitter, and they also helped by Re-Tweeting to their followers. THAT my friends is key. Retweets. I didn't ask them to, as a matter of fact, no one in my circle knew what I was doing. They just did. And that helps. It's like the chain game -- if you like something and tell two friends, they'll tell two friends etc. and so on. It's all about word of mouth.

Now because I did my first free day on a Sunday, I knew there would be people out and about on Twitter. And because I scheduled my tweets every hour on the hour round the clock, I also knew I would hit all time zones. And once an hour for a Tweet is plenty. There's one girl I know who's promoting her book every 15 minutes with a barrage of scheduled Tweets. She doesn't interact, only promotes. Let me tell you how annoying that is. In between my scheduled promo tweets, I also Retweeted articles I liked, put up tweets for other books I reviewed, and talked with a few of my friends. Yes, the first day was almost non-stop on the computer. But this is how I wanted to do it.

The first day I gave away 1074 copies.

Lesson #5 -- Schedule Tweets 24 hours. One an hour is fine. But remember to also have fun. Share. Invite. ReTweet. Promote others.

So the next day, Monday, I announced it on my blog. I also did the same 24 hour scheduling, but as the day drew to a close and I knew the free promo would be ending, I wrote a few other Tweets to schedule.

Only a few hours left for #free REMEMBERING YOU #romance #beachread

Only an hour left to get REMEMBERING YOU #free #romance #beachread

Only a half hour left to Pacific Standard Time REMEMBERING YOU is #free until then. #romance #beachread

At the close of the adventure I gave away 1411 books. During the course of those two days I watched my ranking rise to hit #1 and stay there for two whole days. Did it do any good? I don't know. Would I do it again? Probably not. And I'll tell you why -- But I'll save that for Wednesday's post.

So to recap book promotion using Twitter -- Write a good book. Get a good cover. Join Twitter. Download Tweetdeck (or another scheduling app). Find some great taglines. Use your hashtags wisely. Schedule your Tweets one an hour. Have fun. Promote others.

Anything I've missed? Please feel free to let me know in the comments. Any Questions? Please by all means ask. If I can't answer them, I'm sure someone else can.

(And I'm sorry, I didn't give you the links for anything because my computer was acting up at the time of this writing and I was afraid I was going to lose the whole article. You can find them just by Googling.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm at Susan's Today and Quick Notes

Today is a quick one.


I'm over at Susan Swiderski's today dishing dirt on me, Anne Gallagher, and the other me, Robynne Rand in a surprising interview. Surprising because the questions she asked me were not the typical interview questions. But that's Susan. Always getting to the heart of the matter. You should stop by. And no it's not a plug for anything, but I reveal some interesting answers.


If you haven't read what happened to Roni Loren (formerly of *Ficiton Groupie*) about her use of pictures from the Web, you should. It's a scary thought. My advice -- be careful out there.


I've finally gotten a start on LADY CADORET'S LONGING (novella) and if you want to read the first couple of pages, I put them up on my Anne Gallagher blog. I also wrote the next three chapters and let me tell you what, if you don't cry when you read them, well, then you're not human.


Next Monday, I'll share my secret to success in getting to #1 on the Kindle with REMEMBERING YOU. It's not really a secret, people do it all the time, but I'll tell you how I did it.


And lastly, I know I promised interviews and fun stuff, but I'm still in the throes of cleaning the old house and haven't gotten into the fast pace of blogging just quite yet. I went over there last Friday and weed-whacked and let me tell you what, I better churn out some more books pretty quick because I'll be damned if I have to do that again. Two hours, used the whole roll of string, and was in bed the whole next day. I'm getting too old for that crap.

Anyway, hope you'll stop by Susan's. Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reviews -- Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

Good Morning. I used to know a man, a college professor, who read book reviews every morning while he drank his coffee. I asked him once if he would ever read all those books. He said, "No, I don't generally read ANY of these books." And I asked, "Then why do you read the reviews?" His answer, "So I'm informed. When I'm out with friends and the discussion of books comes up, which it always invariably does, I can report what I've read and I don't feel stupid."

Once upon a time, in this man's world, that was the sentiment. EVERYONE read book reviews. If you made it to the TIMES, you were golden. Nowadays, even the TIMES won't necessarily warrant a best-seller list.

In today's world, one book review is worth a thousand of your friends talking about your book. In today's world, a good book review and a half dozen sales in one day on Amazon will shoot you up to #10 in a best-seller rank. Sometimes even allow you to get to #1.

However, in today's world, even if you wrote the best book in the whole world, and sold a zillion copies, if you don't have a review on Amazon, you end up languishing in publishing hell. Amazon has changed their algorithms yet again, and for all my ranking of #1 Sunday and Monday with the free promotion of REMEMBERING YOU, because I don't have any reviews, no matter how many copies I sell per day, I have no rank on any list. It's all gone. (As of this posting, I do have one review. And my rank has gone up.)

Before Amazon offered the KDP Select program, people who sold merely 5 copies a day of any book they had could shoot up the best seller lists like nobody's business. I did. I maintained several top ten lists for quite a few weeks, depending on how many copies were sold, and who else had copies sold on the same day.
Heady stuff for a newbie pub like me. Especially with no reviews.

However, with the advent of the KDP Select program all that changed. You could now offer books for free, and in a market filled with authors vying for all the attention they could muster for their books, free became the new black. People were downloading faster than you could say 50 Shades.

But in that gluttony, having a free book out there also brought the attention of those less-than-5 star reviews. Mean reviews, stupid reviews, I-hated-this-book reviews. (Amazon has since changed their view on book reviews and has been taking down the mean spirited ones.)

All that said, this monster called Amazon rules our world, whether we like it or not. It's the biggest and fastest way to get a book out there. More people use Amazon for books (reading or publishing) than any other venue out there.

And in doing so, book reviews are king if you want to get anywhere in publishing. Of course, there's a problem with all 5 star reviews (see Anne R. Allen's post). But one or two 2 stars in a pool of 4 and 5 stars isn't such a bad thing. I should know, I have my fair share across the board.

And I know how exciting and exhilerating it is to offer up your first book into this self-publishing world. Some of you have networks and friends and have all kinds of blogposts and hops and tours lined up. You have no problems getting reviews.

However this lesson is for those of you like me, who don't have that kind of network. Before you upload anything to anywhere, have a couple of reviews in place, ready to go before your launch. I know, I should have, but I didn't. (I tend to go off half-cocked when I'm excited.)

Ask your mother, your friends, your Aunt Alice, the librarian in your hometown. And you know, those people who say those reviews don't count? Well, guess what, they do now. If you want to get anywhere on Amazon, you need a review. And hey, just one counts too. It's all about the rank. No, it's not about sales, it's about your ranking. And one review, even a 3 star will get you ranking on some list.

Tell me -- Do you write reviews of books you like? How about books you don't? Do you write reviews for friends? If not to any of those questions, why not?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thanks for Making Remembering You #1

Boy Howdy, I'll tell you what, it was so cool to see my book at #1 on Monday. I want to thank each and every one of you who downloaded a copy. I didn't know it was going to happen that way, the Amazon algorhythms are such crazy things, I don't know what I expected but it certainly wasn't #1.

Best Sellers in Love and Romance

Top 100 Free
Auto-delivered wirelessly
Remembering You - a novel
I took notes while I was in the throes of this process so I'm hoping to have some hard data on promotion and marketing for you as soon as the dust settles. I think by mid-September I should be able to report on what I found. (God, I feel like some kind of analytic professional or something. Funny, I'm just a writer.)

Anyway, it's great to be back on the blogs. I didn't know I would miss you as much as I did. I always say that though, and I do mean it. When I was moving and packing, I was sweating and swearing, wondering when I would be done with it. I didn't really think I wanted to come back until the summer was over, but now, being in my new office, and being able to sit down in the early mornings and read what you guys have been doing without me (Boy, I'll tell you, that Hookers and Hangers blogfest really threw me for a loop) I knew I needed to get back here.

And you know, for it only having been a month gone, it somehow feels like eons. Truly. You guys have become such a part of my life, a lifeline really to my sanity, I don't know what I'd do without you. You keep me grounded to the part of me that is a writer. I've said it before, it's like being back in college. I could always find interesting people to talk with and discuss aspects of writing that I could never do in my "real" life. So thanks for always being there, and welcoming me back after I've been gone.

I really wish I could have a cocktail party and invite you all over. What a blast that would be.

Anyway, now that I'm back, I'm going to try and keep my act together. I've got some really great interviews lined up and some interesting questions to pose.  Hope you'll come by.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Well, I'm Back

I know, it's not September, but things got a little wonky here in NC and well, I decided to come back to the blogosphere a little early. Okay a lot early. I've been cruising around the blogs for the last week or so and I've found I miss it too much to stay away any longer.

I'm still not done moving. Now it's just all the flotsam and jetsam that floats around the house after all the big stuff has been cleared out. An old stack of magazines, the last of the plants, what remains in the cabinets over the fridge. You know. Once it's all out, then I get to clean. Fun times.

My ex- has left us again so it's just me and the Monster now. I told him there's no coming back this time. I'm used to his going and coming and going, he's done it for years. But the Monster is taking it hard this time. She wasn't old enough to remember his leaving the last time, so now, this really hurts. I've tried to explain it to her -- Mommy and Daddy just don't get along -- but she wants real reasons and I'm not sure she's ready to hear the truth about her father just yet. She's only 7.

In any case, his departure put the kibosh on our trip to the beach. Um yeah, another reason to despise him. Not only did he ruin my summer, he ruined Monster's as well. The pool is set up and she's been swimming happily for awhile now, but it's not the same as the beach. I'm hoping Divine Intervention (or a winning lottery ticket) will give me the funds necessary for a long weekend at Myrtle Beach. Going to Rhode Island is just not in the cards this year.

I haven't been writing. Well, because I've been moving, but being around the blogosphere has started the itch again. I guess I think checking in with you guys will somehow get me motivated. I've got some big things to finish and some smaller things to start and I figured that if I'm around you, it will give me the schedule I need. I keep telling the Monster that my sitting at the computer all day is WORK (I'm not just playing at this writing thing -- why don't people understand that) so if I go back to WORK, maybe the creative juices will start flowing again.

However, I did accomplish one thing while I've been away. I've a new cover for REMEMBERING YOU. I know, what is it with me and this cover? As we all know, self-publishing allows you to change what you don't like about your book. So, voila, the new cover.

And just for fun, I'm giving this particular edition away for FREE at Amazon TODAY (until midnight Pacific Standard time). So I hope you'll all pick up a copy and Tweet about it. It's also gone through another round of edits and I'm hoping this will garner me a few reviews. (Not bad ones though, please.) Here's the link REMEMBERING YOU. This is also somewhat of an experiment so I hope to have some data for you on a few issues with marketing and promotion for you in September.

So tell me, what have you been doing? How are you? How's your summer going? Tell me all.