Predators Abound—How Writers Can Be Savvy in Social Media, Marketing and Promotion

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of dfbphotos

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of dfbphotos

We’ve been talking a lot about the new publishing paradigm and all the options writers have. Being the WANA Mama, I feel it’s my duty to feed you guys the grow-up stuff. So, if you want a fluffy kitten hug? This is the wrong place. There are plenty of people who offer a magic algorithm or promotion package or SEO package “guaranteed” to launch a writer to fame and fortune. Yet, these can be misleading and take our focus away from activities that have a better chance of translating into long-term success.

Hoo-Doo Voo-Doo for Sale

What many of you might not know is I sometimes help small businesses. I recently started doing some work for my brother’s company. Why did I step in? Because he (like many others) paid thousands of dollars for a Mega-PR-Expert…who then did NOTHING.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Juha-Matti Herrala.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Juha-Matti Herrala.

My brother hired this well-known PR expert to create his social media and help with promotions, and *crickets chirping*. The few things she “created”? My brother could have done for free and far better. When she generated a LinkedIn account for his business, she didn’t even load the current logo and the information she did fill out was incorrect and outdated.

This is a person who’d been written up in major magazines here in Texas. My brother felt he was making a sound decision hiring her (and, from outside indications, it was a good decision).

So what went wrong? No idea.

All I can think of is this person was more focused on clients with deeper pockets, but it’s still enough to make me see red. You take money, you need to do what you promised…not ignore e-mails for seven months after doing a half@$$ job. All of us appreciate that timelines sometimes need to be moved, but communicate that and follow through.

***I’ve been guilty. When we had a sudden death in the fall, I had people expecting edits. But I knew in my mental state they’d either get, “Wow, this is perfect!” or I’d crush their will to ever write again. It was better to just say, “Forgive me. I need to delay this until my head’s screwed on straight.***

Anyway, the little advice this “expert” gave my brother was precisely what I preach against non-stop. Automation. Posting to Facebook from Twitter, etc. You should have seen my brother’s face when I said, “So you’re basically spamming people.” And, no he hadn’t read my book. He’s my little brother and probably wanted to do this without Big Sister’s help.

That was until he had a train wreck on his hands, which I am, in my limited free time, undoing gratis. *head desk* And now that he’s seen the WANA way, he’s enjoying social media a lot more and his small business platform is growing healthier by the day.

It’s SEO Not Magic

One thing many “consultants” have tried to sell my brother, many other small businesses and authors is a promise of SEO, that they can go into a web site and do all kinds of complicated technical things that will help dominate a search. I won’t say SEO isn’t important, but when we tool our SEO to the latest algorithm, we set ourselves up to have to do this over and over and over (which can become a money-eating black hole if we don’t happen to be SEO gurus).

Original image via NASA Blueshift courtesy of Flickr Commons

Original image via NASA Blueshift courtesy of Flickr Commons

Algorithms were initially thought to measure human behavior and preferences. But, the problem is that humans are super clever. They start juking the algorithm to gain advantage. Spammers do this all the time. But search engine companies and places like Amazon actively look for this behavior. They have teams of computer geeks who are on the hunt for those “gaming the system.” So does Facebook.

When enough people begin “gaming the system” and gain marked advantage? The computer people change the algorithm and *POOF*. Start over. To rely on SEO gaming is a formula to pull your hair out or go broke trying to keep up.

This was what drove me to create ways of building platforms that were not reliant on technology or algorithmic alchemy (that and I am lazy and not made of money). WANA methods work on any social media site. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, doesn’t matter. If these social sites go away (*cough* MySpace) and a new social site becomes hot? Your WANA platform will remain in tact and continue to grow.

You can dominate any search for your name, book, topic all on your own and with minimal effort. But, I am not in the business of doing your social media. I have zero interest in running other people’s social media. I don’t charge consulting fees to get “friends” for people or “maximize SEO” so I have a vested interest in making people self-sufficient.

Does this mean PR people and promotions are a waste of time? No. I believe they are PR people not magicians. We need to give them something to work with. Yet, writer beware. Know that much of what some companies sell for big bucks are things you can do yourself and for free (and do a lot better).

Knowledge is Power

If we are educated about what we can easily (and cheaply) do on our own, then we can 1) weed out people who just want to dazzle us with tech-speak and overwhelm us enough to shove cash in their faces 2) we can hold these companies accountable 3) we can gain a better idea of what we can’t do and can spend any promotion budget more wisely.

We can build a Twitter presence, but can we get an interview on NPR? Do we even need an interview on NPR?

Promotion Devoid of Connection is Pointless

One big complaint from authors is they feel their book isn’t doing well because of a lack of promotion. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Promotion (alone) never worked all that well.

Screen Shot 2012-05-04 at 11.05.40 AM

Back when I began as a newbie writer, I had a conversation with one of the head editors for one of The Big Six. She was very honest about the ROI (Return on Investment) regarding promotion and advertising. She said the major houses did it, but ads had no impact on sales. She relayed a story about how her house had taken out a full-page ad for one of their business authors in The Wall Street Journal on the day the paper was most widely read.

Though the ad cost a small fortune, it didn’t make a dent in sales.

Today, the situation is far graver. We are inundated with advertising and most people just tune it out and have learned to un-see. In the Digital Age, the architecture of the human brain has changed to keep up with all the influx. This is why my newest book teaches how to be seen. What does a modern human brain ignore? What does it notice?

Would I love for you to buy my book? Sure. But I give away a lot of information for free so peruse the blog archives. My motive is to help writers. Simple.

Effort Devoid of Action = Failure

We could have the greatest SEO, but people have to be compelled to search in the first place. Even if people stumble across our site, they have to be compelled to click, to pursue and then to BUY. We can create the world’s most elaborate and expensive advertising campaign, but if this campaign doesn’t translate into action/sales it’s a failure.

I love it when PR people tout the awesomeness of Facebook ads. Yet, you should see their faces when my first question is, “Okay, what was the last thing you purchased solely because of a random ad in your FB sidebar?”

Can SEO work? Can ads and promotion create sales? YES…just not alone. Which is a bummer because it would be lovely to pay for some ads and then let the money hit like a tsunami. My goal here isn’t to discourage you, but to empower you. I am taking a wild guess here, but I imagine most of you aren’t trust fund babies writing for fun in between trips to The Riviera.

And if you are, will you adopt me? :D

WANA—Empowering Authors of the Digital Age

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Francis, the WANA Mascot

I understand most writers have limited time and income and I actually DO care about your success. I want you to use your resources in the best possible ways that can yield the greatest returns. Hire PR people, but know the best way to harness their resources. Spot an ally from a shill. Have realistic expectations from your publisher. Yes, they can promote, but there are activities we must do on our end to make those promotions effective.

Predators abound in the new paradigm. It is vital to be educated, which is why we are having WANACon (a virtual conference as close to the real conference experience without a holo-deck). WANACon will have top industry professionals from all forms of publishing. I also recruited agents and editors who are savvy to the new paradigm and who put authors FIRST. WANACon is here to keep you at the cutting edge of the changes at a price that’s affordable and all recordings are included with conference fee. Right now we have Early Bird Pricing. SIGN UP HERE.

TSA pat-downs are extra.

What are your thoughts? Have you been overwhelmed with the idea of having to promote? Unclear about what to ask or expect? Have you run the hamster-wheel of promotion only to end up half-dead?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less)

Announcements: I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!

Also, this Saturday, I have a new class, Many Roads to Rome—Which Publishing Path is Best? Use WANA15 for 15% off.

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  1. #1 by belleconsult on January 20, 2014 - 11:18 am

    I totally agree about the SEO especially! I love hummingbird I call it common sense SEO!

  2. #2 by Heather Wright on January 20, 2014 - 11:30 am

    Had to share this great blog post (not mine) written for authors who use non-WANA methods to promote their work. Maybe a PR person told them that these were the ways to be successful. Love your blog. I’m going to check out WANACon, the moment I click Post Comment. Here’s the link: http://thelightofasteria.blogspot.ca/2014/01/10-ways-to-piss-off-potential-readers.html

  3. #5 by Sue Shanahan on January 20, 2014 - 11:30 am

    I am so grateful for your blog. Your WANA conference sounds awesome but I’m not sure it’s for me. I am a children’s picture book author/illustrator, plus my blog is a regular feature in the Huffington Post. At this juncture I’m doing no plans for novel writing. I’ve read your new book and love it. Would I get value from attending the conference?

    • #6 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2014 - 11:31 am

      I have a former MG-children’s editor from Little Brown who will be there. Aside from that? Your call. We have a lot of fun :D.

    • #7 by belleconsult on January 20, 2014 - 11:34 am

      I highly recommend WANAcon. You may just get a new idea of where you WANA go ;)

  4. #8 by Trishia Jacobs on January 20, 2014 - 11:42 am

    Hello, Kristen. I’m a new reader of your blog. I can’t even remember now how I found you (!) but thank you so much for that anecdote about the full page Wall Street Journal ad fiasco. I felt like such a failure after my hubby doled out a thousand bucks to help me advertise my online business in a national magazine that is “the Bible” for my field. I had the same results. I don’t feel like such a dunce any more:)

    • #9 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2014 - 11:44 am

      Unfortunately as we shift into a new paradigm, we are learning a lot of lessons the hard way. Ads aren’t the magic they were 30 years ago. They began losing power with the rise of the Internet and have just devolved since. We can make ads work, but there is some groundwork that has to come first. So happy to meet you!

  5. #10 by Heather on January 20, 2014 - 11:53 am

    I’m still waiting for you to put your book on Kobo to buy it. Honestly, it’s the only thing holding me back from purchasing it. Do you have a Amazon rights only agreement?

    • #11 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2014 - 11:57 am

      No, it’s also on Nook and iBooks. I just give the Amazon link because that’s where a lot of people go. Will look into Kobo. Thanks!

      • #12 by Heather on January 20, 2014 - 11:58 am

        Yay! Kobo was available in Canada when Kindle wasn’t, so now I’m dedicated to it. It’s also recognized around the world, like in the UK.

      • #13 by Ernesto San Giacomo on January 22, 2014 - 1:01 pm

        I’ve had a good experience with smashwords (so far). I still maintain separate Amazon and B&N accounts. However, formatting can be tiresome, and if you start with smashwords, then formatting for Nooks & Kindles is a snap. Kobo and other formatting types are available there as well.
        WANA con looks really enticing. I had an “OMG!” moment when I saw that Ackerman & Puglisi will be present. Their “Emotion Thesaurus” is glued to my desk.:-)

  6. #14 by cynthiagrstacey on January 20, 2014 - 11:57 am

    Reblogged this on Cynthia Stacey and commented:
    Great post by Kristen Lamb. Author of Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a digital World

  7. #15 by k2globalcommunicationsllc on January 20, 2014 - 11:59 am

    I wish to thank you. When the economy lost its footing in 2001 anyone with a computer started calling themselves Public Relations ‘Guru’, this has done great damage to our profession. I am always appreciative when the snake oil salesman are called out. Again, thank you. Greg Kelly

    • #16 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2014 - 12:04 pm

      I know. It’s why I cringe when people call me a social media guru. Granted, it’s a sweet thought but every yahoo with a Twitter account calls themselves an “expert.” Takes time, investment and results to earn those titles. Titles alone these days are a BAD guide. Thanks for commenting!

  8. #17 by cynthiagrstacey on January 20, 2014 - 11:59 am

    Great post Kristen. I am always eager to read/learn everything about promotion etc. I wish I had learned all of this before I published my first book. Hopefully I get it right the next time around.

  9. #18 by MishaBurnett on January 20, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    There is a scene in Donald Westlake’s “Adios Scheherazade” is which the narrator, who is an aspiring writer, admits that he has no idea what’s been done in the magazines for which he is trying to write because he doesn’t read any of “those kinds” of magazines.

    I think that a lot of people approach social media in the same way. They’ve heard that you need a Twitter account for advertising, but they don’t actually use Twitter (or Facebook or Linked-in or Pintrest or whatever.)

    Instead, I try to do my promotion and advertising in the same markets that I use to find what I want to buy. I get daily e-mails from a couple of different sites with deals on e-books and I often buy from those, so that’s where I do my advertising. I use Twitter to interact with other writers and readers, but I can’t recall ever buying a book based on a robo-promo message, and I tend to drop those writers who used canned messages too often. So I don’t promote my books that way.

    Why should I pay someone to do “market research” for me? I’m a reader, and the books I write are the kind of books that I want to read–I can’t do my own market research on myself.

  10. #19 by k2globalcommunicationsllc on January 20, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    P.S. We do not work with writers as clients.😊

  11. #20 by Tamara LeBlanc on January 20, 2014 - 12:17 pm

    WOW, Algorithms, SEO, Gaming the system…Knowledge really IS power. I’m not super savvy so these references were all new to me. But brushing up on them with you on my side is uber helpful!
    And, yes, I’m very worried about promotion. It can feel very daunting, especially when there are people out there like the PR hac your brother hired. So sorry he had to deal with that, but I’m sure he’s thrilled he’s got the WANA mama looking out for him :)
    Thank you for the wisdom you give us to gain the upper hand in this industry.
    Fascinating post, Kristen!!
    Have a great week!
    Tamara

  12. #21 by adstarrling on January 20, 2014 - 12:18 pm

    Thanks for a great post as always. Marketing/Promotion/Novel publicity has been weighing heavily on my mind for the last 4 months. With self-publishing having opened the doors to so many authors (not all of whom are ready to have their work out there yet), it’s getting harder to get your voice heard among the masses. I kept hearing several well established, self-published authors advocating not doing any marketing/publicity/promotion and just concentrating on writing and putting good quality work out there. Then I realized what they meant was don’t spend time and money doing that stuff until you have at least 3 books under your belt. Which is kinda where I am, hence why I’ve been giving it so much thought. Last year, I did two blog tours, KDP Select, Goodreads giveaways, bloggers competitions, and paid for advertising on several digital sites. Couldn’t get into the big players like BookBub. I know what worked and what didn’t.

    This year, I’m planning well ahead. I have the second edition of my first novel out in February, a reprint of the second one in the series also out in Feb-March, and the third will be released in May-June (although it should be ready by March, but I’m deliberately delaying its release). My marketing/promotion/novel publicity this year will consist of a combination of Netgalley, Wattpad, Author Marketing Club tools, review requests, Goodreads giveaways (I think ebooks only this year as posting paperbacks were quite expensive last year), possibly KDP Select, possibly a blog tour (though a review one only, and for just two weeks), specific digital advertising, possibly a Fiverr promotion, IPR License, trying to get an agent to sell translation rights (and other rights), and hiring a UK publicist (I’m liaising with one at the moment). And try to get into BookBub!

    But my biggest take home message from last year was this: don’t stop writing. I ended up lagging behind on the actual writing because I spent too much time trying to promote. It’s a fine line and not everyone does it well. And I think it comes with experience, and trial & error. My other take home message: be savvy with your money!

  13. #22 by angelapenadahle on January 20, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    I love how honest this is. Keep it up. :)

  14. #23 by bardotbarbiturate on January 20, 2014 - 12:36 pm

    Although I’m still at the research and random scribblings stage, I have considered the marketing side of things as I’m going to be self publishing. Firstly, the story centres around a strange object that the main character has discovered. I want to actually get the object made up and have a photo of it incorporated into the cover. The person I want to make it posts photographs of all of their work on a number of social media sites along with a little history of it. In addition to having an amazing piece of their art, it would also create awareness of the book with their followers. Secondly, I’ve decided I’ll get a few copies printed and leave them dotted around the country at select BookCrossing zones. It’s going to add a little extra to my initial outlay and there’s no guarantee that people will read it or even review it but I think it’s worth a shot. As this will be my first book I’m going to focus more on letting people know I’m here, rather than trying to make a large return on it. Both would be nice but I’m not expecting the latter.

    I’ve never clicked on an ad link or a recommended page and I don’t think anyone I know is in the habit of doing so either. I’m not going to go nuts all over the internet with it because in general people don’t seem inclined to take much notice.

    Those are my intentions at the moment but they are subject to change.

    • #24 by abdul j. on January 20, 2014 - 6:22 pm

      Hi. Random advice from a fellow writer who tends to love scribbling and heavy research also: try not to dwell in that stage too long. It’s way too fun and time-consuming and potentially unproductive if you let yourself indulge in it too much lol. I found that I can always fill my leftover time with that stuff as I go along writing so just be weary of that.

      Hope that doesnt sound rude. Your post just reminded me of myself and I thought I’d share what I learnt very recently lol. But then again, it’s all a fun process anyway if you’re in no rush :)

      • #25 by bardotbarbiturate on January 21, 2014 - 6:47 am

        Would have loved not to dwell in that stage but unfortunately my epilepsy has had other ideas. It’s been very cranky for a year or so, it definitely wasn’t fun, very time-consuming and massively unproductive. I had to give up my job at the end of 2012 to sort the whole sorry mess out. I got into some very negative thought patterns last year which weren’t going to end anywhere good. I knew for my own sake that I had to take my mind offline. I’d already decided that my main character was going to make jewellery for a living and although I’d read websites and forums, it didn’t really give much of an insight. I decided to have a go myself, I needed to do something that kept me focused and didn’t require any thought. Before I knew it I was so wrapped up in jewellery making that I was no longer consumed by how things were going wrong. I purposely avoided trying to write anything because as well as requiring thought, if it didn’t go as I wanted it to, the frustration of it would have put more pressure on my already fragile state of mind. It’s not an exaggeration to say that research saved my life and it taught me things about jewellery making that I would most likely never have learnt solely from other peoples’ experiences.

        It doesn’t sound remotely rude, it’s sage advice :) I’ve definitely been in a rush although that’s been to get my brain back in order. I only finished tweaking my medication yesterday, it’s been a long and laborious task. Now that I’m at a point where I can focus my attention on things other than my health I can get down to the nitty gritty. Let the writing commence!

  15. #26 by Dee Connell on January 20, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    I’m a new reader (and blogger) and this has been so helpful! Thank you!

  16. #27 by sknicholls on January 20, 2014 - 12:43 pm

    I had good luck with Ereader News Today and am working on BookBub now. Exposure is key, but I haven’t committed myself to the twitter scene…It seems so much like spam and I hate that myself..I have a dozen FB groups I promo in weekly. What appalls me are the review sites charging a small fortune to review your books and then promising to put you in their newsletters….for exposure. Kirkus, Awesome Indies and Reader’s Favorite brand your book as a worthy read…then if others happen across your page…I don’t even know if I would trust Publisher’s Weekly from all I have heard about how they promote the big guys and tear down the little ones. It’s hell to be a short person.

  17. #28 by eviljwinter on January 20, 2014 - 12:45 pm

    Sometimes you have to watch out for well-meaning, but misguided, writers with some success. One such gent, who shall remain nameless as I’m pretty friendly with him, had me on Tweetadder for about six months. My sales, currently among the most anemic on Amazon, plummeted. Since dumping Tweetadder and making sparing use of automation (Hootsuite so a running gag can be posted daily), sales are back up to merely comatose. Now I just have to get them off the ventilator. :-)

  18. #29 by Parlor of Horror on January 20, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    When I do a search for something, I already know what I’m looking for. It actually annoys me when something unrelated or semi-related comes up instead. I have never clicked on ANY ad on the internet to purchase something or watch the ads before YouTube vids. I don’t know anybody that does. So why are we constantly bombarded with ads on the internet? When I go to a site and I have to wait for 50 ads to load, and words are shifting positions as the ads are loading, I just click off the site. It is not an enjoyable experience.

  19. #30 by Sandra Wagner-Wright on January 20, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    Reading today’s blog reminded me how much your earlier book, “We are not Alone”, influenced me. My then “communications” person encouraged me to automate, but it didn’t feel right. On the other hand, the idea that anyone cared if I got stuck in a traffic jam seemed equally bizarre. “Wana” explained things clearly, succinctly, and efficiently. The book encouraged me to try — and I found out social media is fun. The “communications” person is long gone from my life.

  20. #31 by Eleanor Anders on January 20, 2014 - 1:40 pm

    An excellent and informative post . . . Thank you!

  21. #32 by annerallen on January 20, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    Thanks for this. I’ve just had a discussion on Google+ with people who advise new authors to pay somebody to Tweet spam all day. I had to walk away. No way could they hear me. I might go back and link to this post. This is what’s true: “Promotion Devoid of Connection is Pointless” Without connection, it’s all just noise.

  22. #33 by June Lorraine on January 20, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Simply put – a great post
    June Lorraine

  23. #34 by sweetyshinde on January 20, 2014 - 2:57 pm

    How do Indies differ from self-publishing?
    The sub-editor at a publishing house told me to procure celebrity chief guests and journalists for book reviews. I thought that was their job. Or isn’t it?

    • #35 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2014 - 3:04 pm

      That’s a whole other post. But, the short answers are: True indie publishers have a staff and represent multiple authors at every stage of development. They bear the costs of production (either in part or in full depending on the publisher). When you self-publish, you are financially responsible for hiring (and paying) editors, interior designers, formatters, cover designers, securing ISBNs etc. You bear the entire cost of production, the responsibility for distribution (I.e. uploading all the various formats to iBooks, Amazon, Nook, etc.). You also handle any and all promotion alone.

      Book reviews are great but big sales come from regular people who aren’t actively searching out book reviews to guide their choices. Also, when many reviews can be purchased, and with the growing abundance of trolls (those posting hateful reviews for spite and likely haven’t read the book) and sock-puppets (fake reviews), the power of book reviews is diminishing. Are good reviews great? Yes. Do they hold the same weight as 10 years ago? I imagine not.

  24. #36 by dunjav2013 on January 20, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    Reblogged this on dunjav.

  25. #37 by laurieboris on January 20, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    Great info here, Kristen. Thank you. I’m learning, sometimes the hard way, but I’m learning. :D

  26. #38 by Susan Shay on January 20, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    I vote for the holo-deck. :) Until it’s available, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  27. #39 by Kerry Ascione on January 20, 2014 - 4:22 pm

    Ha! I too have a little brother with his own business http://www.denicolalandscaping.com who is always hiring new start-ups to for his SEO. They charge him a fortune and really don’t seem to do very much. Then, they seem to fall off the planet themselves. Go figure. I just ventured into social media marketing myself and I’d love to help my brother out too! But first, I have to help myself. Thanks for your advice, I’ll look through your archives, and maybe even buy your book!!!

    • #40 by abdul j. on January 20, 2014 - 6:29 pm

      It’s because of the trend-like nature of SEO tweaks themselves lol. A company learns how to optimise things, and then all the algorithms change and everything becomes irrelevant and they have to drop off the radar for their companies or get fired or learn the new tricks to cheat the new system. It’s an endless cycle that’s only ever getting more and more sophisticated.

      (Obviously that doesnt go for all companies, but the general point stands and helps to explain why your money and focus is usually best served elsewhere.)

    • #41 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 20, 2014 - 8:09 pm

      Actually my tactics work great for any small business. Maybe you guys could share a copy and tell me of your success!

  28. #42 by michelleleaman on January 20, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    Hi Kristen,
    I have just started to blog and my goal at this stage is to just put myself out there a little and develop my writing skills. I agree with what have written here in that having someone “click” on your web page/blog is just one step in the transaction process – what ever it is that the host is trying to communicate or sell. I would rather build my audience for the long term and know I have genuine supporters. Human connection through social media seems to be about a fine balance. :)

  29. #43 by Alice on January 20, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    I know what you mean about “being taken for a ride.” I engaged the so-called “Gorilla” program offered through web.com where I have my website. It was supposed to get my site more exposure. But you know what? They didn’t do didlisquat! Nada! When I complained to them, it seems that somehow I got lost in the shuffle. They did refund me part of what I had paid them – fortunately I hadn’t paid them much – but not all. I can easily picture their marketing room as being staffed by a bunch of young adults sitting around stroking each others libidos and picking their zits rather than actually doing anyone any good. Yet they continue to send me marketing emails every day. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  30. #44 by Kathy Reinhart on January 20, 2014 - 5:29 pm

    Great article (this not being the first) and a lot of useful information. Will definitely reblog… Thanks!

  31. #45 by Kathy Reinhart on January 20, 2014 - 5:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Ink Drop Interviews Presents… and commented:
    Kristen Lamb offers a lot of useful advice on her blog. This particular article will help guide the misguided through SEO. To get a full understanding, I highly recommend checking out her newest book!

  32. #46 by John Baker on January 20, 2014 - 5:33 pm

    I enjoyed your comments about SEO. I get about one, “your SEO,” sucks spam every other day. Maybe it does suck, and if I was blogging for money, I might be concerned, but I’m not so I ignore such pleas. I summed up my feelings about getting hits in Playing the Blog Hit Game a few years ago and it still holds for my traffic anyway. Cheers.

  33. #47 by jbiggar2013 on January 20, 2014 - 5:58 pm

    I’ve learned so much from your posts Kristen, thank you for all that you do. Just signed up for WANACon 2014, so excited, my first conference :)

  34. #49 by jbiggar2013 on January 20, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Reblogged this on jbiggarblog and commented:
    Kristen Lamb shows us the importance of using Social Media by not getting rooked with so called publicity

  35. #50 by Middlemay Farm on January 20, 2014 - 6:02 pm

    When people read my book and rave about it but not enough people even know it exists, it’s very disappointing. I’m totally not a expert marketer–so maybe I need to plunk down the cash and buy your book!

  36. #51 by Ernesto San Giacomo on January 20, 2014 - 6:06 pm

    If you want more blog traffic, the secret seems to be….write interesting posts with substance :-)
    Since there are “vanity publishers”, is it any wonder that there are “vanity SEO consultants”?
    I’m still muddling my way through platform building. I just posted about things I’ve noticed so far called “The Blog, The Tweet, and The Facebook Page”
    Tell me if you agree Kristin et al http://ernsangia.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/the-blog-the-tweet-and-the-facebook-page/

  37. #52 by Raani York on January 20, 2014 - 6:42 pm

    This is a fantastic blog post and I will try to follow your advice and rules and come back to read more when I need it! I think this is more than just “quite important”… Thanks for sharing so much of your knowledge!!

  38. #53 by Kerwyn Hodge on January 20, 2014 - 7:21 pm

    Like you, Kristen, I always believe the goal is engagement, not simply page rank on SERPs. Granted, the latter should help the former, but focusing exclusively on SEO means you constantly have to change tactics when the search engines change their algorithms. That’s way too much work! I’m ambitiously lazy, as one of my mentors loves saying. I don’t mind putting in work, but I don’t want to be tied to a desk in order to get things done. And, as belleconsult mentioned, the new algorithms are much more organic in their approach to finding relevant content. Which means our first goal is to produce quality stuff, things that make people want to engage. Then we can worry about the sale.

  39. #54 by Elle Carter Neal on January 21, 2014 - 12:16 am

    Spotted your ad for ROTM on Facebook today ;-) Too bad I already have a copy :-P

    (So I think that proves your theory: I bought your book (and will buy more of your books in future) because of your blog posts and your genuine-ness on here and FB, etc., not because I saw it advertised…)

    xox

  40. #55 by ashokbhatia on January 21, 2014 - 2:00 am

    An eye opener!

  41. #56 by Sinistra Inksteyne on January 21, 2014 - 2:52 am

    I’m waiting for my copy of Rise of the Machines to arrive. I’m not good at waiting :-(
    It turns out there are some downsides to living on an island at the edge of the world!

  42. #58 by glamfacez1 on January 21, 2014 - 3:43 am

    This is so real because it happened to me recently.Thanks Kristen.Just starting in the blogging world this post is an eye opener.

  43. #59 by Gina X. Grant on January 21, 2014 - 9:08 am

    Wow! That takes the pressure off. I have a background in market but sadly the class of ’78 didn’t get a lot of internet marketing training. Who knew? Thanks! (Also posted a link on my blog.)

  44. #60 by Sid Johnson on January 21, 2014 - 11:34 am

    Very sober article. I was always a little suspect about The Wall Street Journal. Good tip. I think you explained it well that there is no secret magical formula for using SEO.

  45. #61 by Megan Elise Granger on January 21, 2014 - 3:02 pm

    I truly enjoy your bluntness and I feel like strong voices with strong messages like yours are vital for writers, like myself, to hear. I agree with your emphasis on action. You can want something so badly, but if you cannot will yourself to do it, it will never happen. And that is in regards to pretty much anything–beyond trying to sell your writing.
    But, action can truly be one of the hardest things to do. I, myself, am a new writer and for so long I’ve had all these stories floating around my head, but now I’m finally willing myself to tell them. And it can feel like so much to take on at once, which is intimidating. I find myself worried about the writing end, the publishing end, and the advertising end all at once. It’s hard to know where to start and where to go from there and where it will all end up. And I also find myself jumping from story to story because I let it build up for so long. But, with your advice in mind, I’ll just keep pushing through as hard as I can.

    Thanks for your care and concern for us wee writers :)

    • #62 by Author Kristen Lamb on January 21, 2014 - 4:00 pm

      If you are afraid, that probably means you’re doing something right ;). Fabulous to meet you!

  46. #63 by Megan Elise Granger on January 21, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    Reblogged this on As Told By MEGranger and commented:
    Read a very helpful post by Kristen Lamb today for writers at all levels. She is the author of Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World.

  47. #64 by Katherine Peach on January 21, 2014 - 6:12 pm

    I always get pulled so many different ways about where to spend your time (tweets, Linkedin groups, create a newsletter?) that it can feel like sending your voice to slip into the ether. Thanks for the breakdown and I am really intrigued about your book. Trying to build my own platform and not fall into the black hole of analytics stalking.

  48. #65 by Kylie Betzner on January 22, 2014 - 9:00 am

    What an eye opener! I think I’m going to have to buy your book, Kristen, and read more on this subject.

  49. #66 by Effin Artist on January 22, 2014 - 10:15 am

    Enjoyed the frank approach. I’ve had my share of discussions with experts and my experience mirrors your brother’s. It seems they take for granted that we want to write, not advertise, and play on it. If folks are like me they have avoided even peering under this rock, hoping for the better angels to somehow make it happen. But finally when it came time to write the promotion page for book proposal, I knew I had to get educated. Under the rock wasn’t so bad. I at least have a credible page now. Thanks your advice.

  50. #67 by Steph Riggs on January 25, 2014 - 12:40 pm

    Social media marketing has great impact for getting more visitors and enhancing the scope of your sales. Those people who are still doing SEO only and not paying attention towards social media, its time to think about social media networks and update people whats happening in your industry. Often people prefer to share interesting or important news with friends through social media and social media marketing is all about writing such contents which people like. Your post is pretty helpful for writers to write quality contents and share it on post it on social media so that maximum people read it and like what you say.

  51. #68 by Linda Williams Stirling on January 30, 2014 - 11:22 pm

    I have to say, Kristen, it’s because of your blog and all the information you share that I dared to start venturing into the world of Social Media. Your thoughts and advice are so down-to-earth and practical. I love every new post. Thank you.

  52. #69 by George on February 10, 2014 - 1:00 pm

    Great post. Writers should read this to know how to use social media to their advantage.

  53. #70 by Kristen Steele on February 20, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    When it comes to marketing your book, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, or even two or three baskets! All online marketing tactics work together. And I agree about automating social media- people want to know the author, not a robot!

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