Social Networking - does it really work?

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and promoting your book on the Internet
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Quill
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Quill » July 17th, 2010, 12:14 am

What did you like about Fire in Fiction, Margo? I flipped through it in Barnes & Noble after having been wowed by Writing the Breakout Novel, and it didn't catch fire in my hands. I'm planning to buy a couple writing books soon and had thought that would be one.

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Susan Quinn
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Susan Quinn » July 17th, 2010, 12:18 am

<does the Maassketeer salute>,
LOL!! Ok, yeah, I'm going to have to check out the Handbook as well. :)
Susan Kaye Quinn (young adult and middle grade author)
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Margo
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Margo » July 17th, 2010, 12:36 am

Quill wrote:What did you like about Fire in Fiction, Margo? I flipped through it in Barnes & Noble after having been wowed by Writing the Breakout Novel, and it didn't catch fire in my hands. I'm planning to buy a couple writing books soon and had thought that would be one.
FIF is a lot like the Workbook, but it covers some different issues with more explanation. It also revisits some of the Workbook topics in greater depth. A great deal of what was in his High Tension Workshop (which was pure gold but he doesn't offer anymore) went into FIF. I specifically recall great sections on setting. They get to the meat of what people mean when they say your setting should be a character. I also recall a lot of great exercises for character development. I'd flip through it to see what my margin notes say, but I loaned it to a friend who doesn't want to give it back. That's my second wayward copy.

If you're going to buy more than one book, I would also recommend Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. He covers the three-act structure really well and has some fabulous explanations on how to think about and really stick the first and second plot point. He also has great exercises for everything he discusses in the book.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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AnimaDictio
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by AnimaDictio » July 17th, 2010, 6:34 am

Problem being, electronic communication encourages some people to say things they know would be destructive if said face to face. There is a sense that the rules are different for electronic communication, especially with people one has never met in real life.
That is a problem. A character flaw, I'd say. People don't trust the Golden Rule, I suppose. Or they don't trust the rewards of love. Or they don't believe in ultimate and eternal justice. Maybe people like that don't deserve to sell many books. :)

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Quill
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Quill » July 18th, 2010, 2:32 pm

Margo wrote:
Quill wrote:What did you like about Fire in Fiction, Margo? I flipped through it in Barnes & Noble after having been wowed by Writing the Breakout Novel, and it didn't catch fire in my hands. I'm planning to buy a couple writing books soon and had thought that would be one.
FIF is a lot like the Workbook, but it covers some different issues with more explanation. It also revisits some of the Workbook topics in greater depth. A great deal of what was in his High Tension Workshop (which was pure gold but he doesn't offer anymore) went into FIF. I specifically recall great sections on setting. They get to the meat of what people mean when they say your setting should be a character. I also recall a lot of great exercises for character development. I'd flip through it to see what my margin notes say, but I loaned it to a friend who doesn't want to give it back. That's my second wayward copy.

If you're going to buy more than one book, I would also recommend Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. He covers the three-act structure really well and has some fabulous explanations on how to think about and really stick the first and second plot point. He also has great exercises for everything he discusses in the book.
Thanks, Margo. I just read on Amazon the fifteen page excerpt from Plot and Structure and found it excellent. It's on my to-buy list with Fire in Fiction, from which I also read excerpts; yep, the Maass salute is warranted. Any other must-haves you would recommend, if one was to buy a third book? (I already have some of the older classics, but maybe not one you favor).

Back on the subject of social networking (vs. promotion) and benefits thereof, here's an interesting quote from the Introduction of Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass:
[Upon the publishing of their debut novel] Storytellers [as compared to Status Seekers] have a more realistic grasp of retail realities. They may promote, but locally and not for long. They'll put up a website, maybe, then it's back to work on the next book. That's smart. The truth, at least for newer authors anyway, is that the best promotion is between the covers of the last book.

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maybegenius
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by maybegenius » July 18th, 2010, 8:39 pm

These sites might prove useful to those who are interested in social media!

http://socialmouths.com/blog/2010/07/13 ... ss-online/
aka S.E. Sinkhorn, or Steph

My Blog | My Twitter | YA!Flash Tumblr

Represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary

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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Margo » July 18th, 2010, 11:52 pm

Quill wrote:Any other must-haves you would recommend, if one was to buy a third book? (I already have some of the older classics, but maybe not one you favor).
Unfortunately, no. The others I have been reading lately have been big disappointments. I do recall thinking highly of Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages, which is often recommended in writing classes and groups, but it's been so long I can't really remember what was great about it. If I recall, he was the first industry professional out there to break the news (mass media style) that we really only get about five pages to prove ourselves. If we haven't convinced them we can write in five pages (no matter how many pages they let us submit with the query), most agents/editors stop reading.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Quill
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Quill » July 19th, 2010, 12:14 am

I suspect it's more like one page.

Thanks, the other two books will feed me well, I'm sure, going into my winter writing season.

Having read my own collection a couple times, and gleaned all worthwhile titles from my local libraries (which contain very few recent additions), I'm ready for some new perspectives.

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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Margo » July 19th, 2010, 10:53 am

Quill wrote:I suspect it's more like one page.
I suspect you're right. The First Five Pages came out in 1999. The surge in home computers didn't really start until the 90's. Then it took time for everyone to get hooked up with the internet. Then the huge success stories of writers like Rowling and Meyers hit the public at large. I just read an article recently that indicated 80% of Americans have considered writing a novel. Only about 6 million try it. (I wondered if that was in a lifetime or each year). And only a fraction actually ever finish a single book, let alone the multiple attempts that go into actually developing professional quality work, but we still have agents fielding 8k or 15k or 22k (the highest number I've seen so far) queries a year. It would be ridiculous to expect them to read all 10 pages or all 3 chapters if they know you're not ready yet from the first 2-3 pages. And it really is easier to tell than people would like to think it is.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » July 19th, 2010, 8:44 pm

It's funny, I just put up a blogpost today reviewing Lukeman's The First Five Pages and his A Dash of Style. And how the latter is the more interesting book...

This whole internet thing sure does make the world shrink, sometimes.
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

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Susan Quinn
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Susan Quinn » July 20th, 2010, 9:35 pm

I think there is a difference between social networking and book promotion, not least because you don't really want to mix the two. One spot I just found that's great for book promotion is Jacketflap - for kidlit only. But it does a great job of pulling together all the disparate information about your book: reviews, blog postings, video trailer, as well as buy links. It's a "social networking" spot as well, but it has fantastic SEO, and gets your book out there where people can see it.

And I love the comment about how the best thing for "young" writers (young in craft, as Ink points out) is to work on your next book, after a reasonable attempt at letting people know your book is out there. For most authors, their best book is ahead of them, and they should be spending their time striving toward that.
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Mira
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Mira » July 21st, 2010, 5:33 pm

Susan, re. the difference between book promotion and social networking - absolutely!

And I guess that's another one of my gripes about social networking. I think it distracts from a much more powerful form of promotion - advertising.

I do think social networking can work, if the person is very personable and skilled, it can create buzz. But what an inefficent and hit or miss way to promote a book!

I just don't trust this big social networking push. This thread has been really interesting to me, but I am definitely coming down more and more on the 'con' side....

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artzicarol
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by artzicarol » August 6th, 2010, 5:53 pm

Very cool subject! I've been thinking a lot about this too, lately.

Right on--I agree with maybegeinus:
"Don't use it because you want to sell books - use it because you want to meet people. That's how it works"

And I agree with Quill, that blogging is very time-consuming--even tho I do it myself. Whew! I try to limit my posts to once, maybe twice a week, because confound it, I'm not getting as much writing done while I'm out being Ms. Social Butterfly. It's quite frustrating! I used to whip out a book rough draft in about 3 months, and my last one is staaaaallliiiing. So badly. I'm losing my momentum (not entirely due to social butterflying;it IS summer, after all).

Yep, to what Margo said: "Facebook/MySpace/Twitter I can't stand."
I haven't seen many useful comments in a Twitter post, and in fact--I've been WAY turned off by agents by what they're twirping about. I realize their personal life is NOT how they represent you as an author, but still…sometimes I'm relieved when the rejection comes.

Margo, LOL--the "Maassketeer salute"--very clever! Funny, too.

Susan Quinn--gee, thanks for the info on JacketFlap! I'm always concerned about saying ANYthing about my books, for fear of people feeling like I'm using them or their blogsite or whatever. I like keeping my social networking as SOCIAL, making friends; I enjoy helping people and doing the "pay it forward" kinda thing.

Yes indeed, it's all in the difference between book promotion and social networking.
I HAVE simplified my social networking, however--by signing up for email subscriptions, and limiting my multitudinous blog checkin'. Too much hopping around. I think this Forum is a cool place to concentrate the social networking though! Good support and fun ideas. I will have to get more involved. In between writing, that is. ;o)

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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by Margo » August 6th, 2010, 7:02 pm

artzicarol wrote:Margo, LOL--the "Maassketeer salute"--very clever! Funny, too.
Unfortunately, I can't take credit. For anyone who hasn't seen it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDwEjI2mCCE
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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artzicarol
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Re: Social Networking - does it really work?

Post by artzicarol » August 6th, 2010, 11:46 pm

Har, the Maasketeer vid--I see! Now I am enlightened. ;o)

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