Putting the S in Social Media

Putting the S into Social MediWhen I decided to publish my first book, Trinity, as an ebook I spent a lot of time working out how to do it myself. Thankfully, there were a lot of tools, books and resources available that allowed me to do this without too much difficulty. What I hadn’t counted on was the amount of work needed to promote the book and drive sales after I got it up on Amazon.

We all know social media is a great way to generate interest and awareness but the level of complexity can sometimes be so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to start. Social media has exploded around us whilst we slept quietly in our beds.

Every week there seems to be some new app, plugin, widget, website or platform that we have to come to grips with. When once all we had to contend with was Goggle, Facebook and Twitter (as if that wasn’t enough!) now we must understand LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, You Tube, Vimeo, Google+, Neo, Foursquare, Reddit, MySpace, Flicker, Friendster, Yelp, Gypsii, Songbird…

So I went to a course to help make some sense of it – or at least get a better handle on all things social. A few key themes emerged:

  • Don’t even think about social until you’ve worked out the strategy – what do you really want to achieve? Is it referrals or sales, retention, awareness, reputation?
  • It’s got to be sustainable – make sure you continue to invest time and effort once you’ve set your social media programme up.
  • Your website should be the centrepiece of your strategy – you own it and control it. Love it and nurture it and it will pay dividends
  • Content is king. If you don’t have good strong content people won’t engage with your website or blog. But there are ways to borrow and generate content that can make this part easier. You just need to know how. Evergreen content (content that doesn’t have a use by date) is best.
  • Start small – dip your toe into the social media pool rather than dive in.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t wait until everything is perfect – experiment and learn what works best for you and your audience.
  • Write for your audience not yourself to promote engagement and emotional connection.
  • Measure everything you can – there’s no point creating an online presence and not measure if it’s working. 

The main message I took away from the course was just give it a go. If you want to find out more about the course I went to click here.

Life Tips

I have never been one for seeking out self help tips or life advice but a while ago I came across lifehack.org – a website and blog that provides tips on increasing productivity and getting things done. Now I’m addicted. Every morning I check through the latest offering of cool tips, ideas, thought starters and motivational quotes whilst eating my cereal. I always find something that lifts my spirits or gives me a renewed sense of purpose to start my day with.

Recently I was reading 10 Quotes from Warren Buffett That Will Teach You How To Be A Successful Person. Being one of the richest men in the world, I was naturally curious to find out what Warren could teach me. At the same time I was a little sceptical about how I could possibly be able to relate to anything he has done. To my surprise, his quotes were very down to earth and I could easily apply them to my own life and circumstances. One in particular resonated well with me:

I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.

OK, so I really don’t think I’m going to be rich. But the meaning behind this is about believing in yourself or as they paraphrase it in the lifehack blog:

Be Certain Of Your Success, Even When No One Else Is

If you’d like to read the other nine tips from Warren Buffett, click here.

New Year’s Resolutions Blues

After a night out under the Sydney Harbour Bridge watching the fireworks and celebrating the beginning of a new year, I sat down and typed up my new year’s resolutions for 2014. At the time I was filled with a great sense of promise and expectation that this year would be different.

Keenly aware of the pact I was making with myself, I composed my list. It wasn’t very long. After years of rarely achieving any of my new year’s resolutions, I have now embraced the mantra ‘less is more’.

At the top of the list was ‘Write something everyday’ followed by: exercise more, cut down on carbs, sugar and coffee, work smarter not harder and book that overseas trip I had been promising myself…

It’s now 1 June and, yep, you guessed it, I haven’t achieved any of my goals. I’m not particularly upset about that as all of the my resolutions are the same as last year. Except one. Write something everyday.

Who would have thought that it could be so hard? All I had to do was get home from work, prepare and cook the dinner, clean up, put the washing on, hang it out to dry and sit down at my computer, ready to write. Simple! In theory.

In practice, I find it very difficult to write anything worthwhile at the end of a long day. My brain is too overloaded with the doings of my job, my energy levels are low and my husband expects me to give him a bit of attention. So after five months of trying I have given up in defeat. I just can’t do it.

Looking back I realise that the only reason it was on my list was because I read somewhere that to be a good writer and stay connected to your story you need to write every day.

Is that true? Perhaps for some but not for me. After much trial I’ve found the best time to write is on the weekends when I’m rested, my mind has stopped worrying about work and I can focus just on writing. Plus I think about my story every day, refining the plot, solving problems, identifying new avenues to explore and improve, researching online and making notes. Often it is simply taking in my surroundings and observing the people and places around me and how I can use them in my writing. That’s how I stay connected. Then when I do sit down to write I know what I’m going to do.

So now I don’t fret so much about how much I write and when I write. Instead I worry about what I write.

 

 

 

Authors : how to get the right reviews

As an aspiring indie author I found this blog invaluable. There is so much information available it is hard to know which advice to follow. Rachel Abbott has done a terrific job of distilling how to get quality reviews.

Reviews – the good, the bad and the scams!

I recently wrote a guest post called Indie Authors—Getting Those All-Important Reviews for Mystery Writing is Murder. Reviews are important for both readers and authors, but it is so very important that they are genuine – which is why I devoted a whole post to how to get those all important real ones and I’ve decided to bring it forward in my schedule on this blog, as it is a topic that is quite hot at the moment due to the number of scams that are sadly around. If you’ve read it on Mystery Writing is Murder this is a similar post, but with maybe a few extra angles.

As an author, I love getting a review. It’s a sign (usually) that somebody has read my book, because although I know how many thousands have bought it, I don’t know…

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Mombassa Moment of Madness

New Year’s Eve 2013 in Sydney was a spectacular affair. And Reg Mombassa did Sydney proud.
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It wasn’t a moment of madness so much as a stunning conflagration that at its culmination simply took your breath away. It was so incredible I’m sure you could see it from outer space! I was the guest of Sydney City Council at the Illuminate party in Dawes Point in Hickson Reserve near the southern pylon of the Harbour Bridge. I was in one of the best seats on the harbour foreshore to see the fireworks on the Opera House, up the harbour and on the bridge.

The theme this year was Shine and Sydney was ready to do that just. By 12.30pm it was all over and now at 7am on the first day of 2014 Sydney is back to normal. Scrubbed clean by the hordes of hard workers who remove the mess left by 1.6 million party goers.

With out a doubt these fireworks were the best ever. Thanks to Reg Mobassa and the Foti Brothers Sydney truly shined!