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Guest Post and GIVEAWAY by Lauren Carr: The Key Word in Social Media is SOCIAL

Monday, April 2, 2018

The first time I heard the word social media, I got sick to my stomach. When I found out what it was, and that this was the new wave in book promotion that was sure to open doors of discovery for indie authors, I had flashbacks of sitting alone at the lunch table in high school. Across the room, all the popular kids were whispering about that strange girl in literature class who didn’t write a love story for the term assignment like all the other girls. Instead, she wrote a murder mystery about a body found in a gym locker.
Some of us never get over being the social misfit during those formative years.
By nature, most writers are introverts. It’s hard enough to pack up our books in the trunk of our car, get out of our bathrobe and slippers, brush our teeth and hair, and venture forth into the outside world to sell books to total strangers. I’ve had authors tell me that appearing at events is harder than writing the book!
Good News:  Technology has made it possible for us to sell books without ever having to get out of our bathrobe and slippers. Hey, we can even sell books while having a bad hair day and morning breath.
Bad News: All we have to do is get popular.
I’ll wait until your flashback has subsided before continuing.
Social media truly has opened doors for authors who otherwise would be terrible at public appearances.
Several years ago, I met an author at a book event. Painfully shy, she sat in the corner and hardly spoke to anyone. When I learned she was a mystery writer, I struck up a conversation. To my surprise, I discovered that this quiet, socially backward woman was a best-selling mystery author.  Her books had made best sellers lists—thanks to social media. Behind the cover of the computer screen, she shines and sparkles.
Her story inspiring me, I decided I had to face my fears. After all, this isn’t high school anymore.
I started on Facebook. From there I went to Linked-In, Goodreads, Google-Plus, and then the biggie Twitter. I have accounts with the other sites, but I hang out more on Twitter and Facebook than the others because (Surprise!) I have friends there that I actually hang out with, even though I have never met them in person. They love me even when I have bad hair days. How do they know? I tell them. When you’re a middle-aged mystery writer, you are who you are. I’m too old to put up a fake profile picture of a bathing beauty. Instead, my profile picture is me and Sterling (he’s the handsome guy with the big ears). A delightful mixture of readers and writers, my friends list grows daily. Have I seen an increase in book sales? Yes. I also see a decrease in sales when I’m not on social media. Is my success purely due to social media? Not strictly.
Social media is best used as a tool in promotion. Don’t go onto Twitter with the intention of poaching followers to bombard with sales pitches for your books in order to make you a best-selling author. Most likely, you’ll lose a thousand followers as quickly as you’ve made them.
I use social media in conjunction with virtual blog tours through iRead Book Tours. With every stop of the tour, I use social media to promote my reviews, guest blog posts, and interviews.
Remember the word social. The rules of basic social media etiquette aren’t that hard. Even when not using media for promotion, these rules can help you to become more popular in cyberspace.
1.            Complete your profile...completely. Include the basics: name, e-mail, url(s), accomplishments, publications, professional experience, etc.
If you’re using Facebook for book promotion, you may want to look into setting up a separate fan page or a separate site for your career. This way your personal friends will not be bombarded with notifications about Lauren Carr getting yet another good review for her book and your fans won’t see that video that your son clandestinely took of you drooling while you were sleeping.
2.            Don't be a pest. This means you should not continuously blast your friends every five to ten minutes 24/7 with ways they can benefit you. Reserve sending out e-mail blasts for really big news: Major book awards, major book deal, finally made the NY Times Best seller’s list. In fact...
3.            Find ways to give more than you take. Isn’t that the point of being friends? Over coffee in the morning, I go through my social media routine which consists more of sharing my fellow authors’ books than pitching mine. If you want your network to grow over time, then you need to offer value to your potential audience.
I never shoot my new friends and followers a direct message with a sales pitch to buy my books. Nothing screams newbie to social media like a direct message pitching your book! Rather, I give my new friends and followers an opportunity to sell theirs by sharing their posts about their books to my friends and followers. With over 38,000 followers on Twitter, all it takes from me is a push of a button to help a fellow author. That doesn’t cost me anything.  Like my mother always said, “You make friends by being a friend.” In return, word has quickly spread on Twitter. Every week I get tagged by followers for the highest volume of retweets. I get an average of a hundred new followers a week—all for retweeting while drinking my coffee.
4.            Listen to others. Social media is most effective when you're building relationships. Relationships are formed through the sharing of information. This means you should absorb as much or more than you put out into the world. When you have friendship with other authors, and they have a blog tour stop, share the link on YOUR Facebook page and pass it along in your other social media. If you do this, they are more likely to do likewise for you. That’s friendship.
5.            Don't post when you're overly emotional, especially if you're angry or depressed. That doesn't mean you should hide your emotions, but it does mean you should give yourself a little time to simmer down before posting—to protect yourself. Also, it's never a good idea to post when drunk. Remember: What goes on the Internet stays there forever.
6.            Be accountable. Some people get a little crazy online because of the perceived anonymity. But if you're a writer trying to build your social network, you don't have the option of being anonymous. In fact, that's exactly the opposite of what you're trying to do. So be an upstanding and accountable member of your social networks and respect the toes of others online.
7.            Keep Sex, Religion, and Politics Out of Your Social Media! Notice that I’m making this a separate item all by itself. It used to be under items 5 and 6, but over the last couple of years, I have found that it needs to be addressed in no uncertain terms.
Our country is divided. That means that despite what you may think based on how your friends feel about liberals or conservatives, gay marriage, or our president—whatever—half of the country disagrees with you. That means half of the people on social media disagree with you. That doesn’t make them stupid or racist or socialist or whatever. That means they are potential readers who disagree with you on these issues, which are totally separate from your sci-fi or romance books. So, you need to ask yourself, are these issues important enough to you to cut your potential reading audience and book royalties in half by ranting about political issues on your social media and calling everyone who disagrees with you a deplorable bigot or corrupt socialist?
Not me.
If you want to rant to your political opponents on social media without taking a hit on your book sales, set up a completely separate social media account under a different name.
Really, it all comes down to this final rule...
8.            Follow the golden rule. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. In short, be nice—
As I tell my son, “Mind your manners.” Make friends, treat them like friends, and then you’ll have friends applauding you across cyberspace when you get a good book review—even if you do have chocolate stains on your bathrobe while posting the news. They may even buy your book.

Book Details:

Book Title: ICE by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, 380 pages
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Cozy
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: February 26, 2018
Tour dates: April 2 to 30, 2018
Content Rating: PG (It's a murder mystery and there is mild violence. Very mild swearing no F-bombs. No on-stage sex scenes.)

Book Description:

The clues for a close-to-the-heart missing person’s case heat up when Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on the cold case.

When Sandy Lipton and her unborn child disappear, the court of public opinion finds young Chris Matheson guilty. Decades later, the retired FBI agent returns home to discover that the cloud of suspicion cast over him and his family has never lifted. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on this cold case to uncover what had happened to Sandy and her baby and the clues are getting hot!

To read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Watch the Book Trailer:

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 5, 2018

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ


  1. Hello, Krystal! Thank you so much for inviting me to your wonderful blog! I look forward to meeting your followers here on social media!