aliciareneekline.com

Official Website for Contemporary Romance Author Alicia Renee Kline

End of Summer Blow-Out Sale

SUmmer Blowout Sale1Who doesn’t like a free or sale priced book?  Anyone?

As most of you know, I set Intoxicated to permafree at all retailers back in May.  I’m always looking to get the word out to new readers, so when my author friend Zoey Derrick came up with the idea for a group of us to help promote our freebies and rock-bottom sale priced books, I was totally on board.  I am so excited for my book to be included in this list of fabulous reads.

This event will take place between September 1 – 7, just in time for you to start reading over the Labor Day Weekend.  Because, face it, not all of us are party animals.

But wait, there’s more!  We’ll also be having giveaways and other fun stuff all week long.

There’s a Rafflecopter going up with some great prizes, plus some flash giveaways over on Facebook.

Rafflecopter Link

Facebook Event Link

For the complete list of authors and books participating, please check out http://zoeyderrick.net/summer-blow-out.

Join us and get to filling up your Kindle for those cold months ahead.  I know I will be! 🙂

summer blow-out! (3)

Give Me a Boost

Some of you have noticed that I took a short break from blogging, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I’ve been slacking off on this side of the keyboard.  I’ve been busy working on preparing my upcoming release for preorder and early review.  Now that the sales links are up and the ARCs have been emailed, it’s back to normal for me.

One of the last posts that I published before my mini-absence was entitled “Help Wanted”.  Unlike most of my contributions to this site, I opted not to share this particular post with my author/blogger friends during Monday Blogs.  Reason being:  it felt a bit too self-promotional, even though I’m really being quietly promotional every time I share because all of my books are prominently displayed on my website.

Anyway, the point of this post was drumming up interest for people to review my new book prior to its release.  I already had a couple of bloggers and readers in my back pocket, as well as my traditional marketing plan mapped out.  But for this novel, I also wanted to offer the option to review to those who had never heard of me before.  In essence, Monday Blogs wasn’t exactly the best platform for this to happen, so I wasn’t shooting myself in the foot by not sharing there.

Instead, I turned to my Facebook author page.  I posted the blog link (which I hardly ever do because most of my readers never read and/or care about my blog) and boosted the post.

This was my first experience with boosting posts, and it was a worthy experiment to throw $5 at.  I certainly wouldn’t do it on a regular basis, but I’d probably do it again under similar circumstances.  It’s worthwhile if you’ve got something important going on; not so much if you’re ranting about your kids forgetting their lunch money.

Keep in mind that my following on Facebook is anemic compared to that on Twitter, but there’s not much overlap.  Twitter is where I connect mostly with bloggers and authors, and Facebook is more for readers.

Here’s what happened:

I boosted my post for one day only, to fans and friends of fans.  At that time, my likes totaled 259 or so, if I’m remembering correctly.

A total of 1,357 people were reached.  55 of those were organic and 1,302 were paid.  I received a few new likes.  One person out there hid all of my posts.

But more importantly, I connected with 5 people that likely never would have been introduced to my work had I not boosted this post.  These are new-to-me readers.  At $1 per pop, that’s not a horrible return on investment in my opinion.

Of course, I also had takers who had already connected with me, sometimes across multiple platforms.  Boosting my Facebook post helped me reach them, too, because we all know that only a very small percentage of your existing fans usually see your content there (sigh).

By far, Facebook was the most successful outlet for me getting my message across.  I also posted this offer on Twitter and Tsu.  I got one hit from Tsu, where I have a supremely tiny following – but they see everything; none on Twitter, where I have the most presence.  But Twitter was not all for naught – one of my blogger friends retweeted one of my teasers and within seconds, I had a message from someone else that they wanted to read my stuff.  So they ended up with an ARC.

As much as I despise Facebook in general, even I have to admit that it does serve its purpose once in a while.

Taking it Personally

I’ve spoken here a couple of different times about my hate/hate relationship with Facebook.  The only reason I have a personal profile there is because I need to have one in order to have an author page.  I don’t post personal pictures or status updates.  If something really exciting is going on with my page, I will share it with my friends.  I don’t think it makes much of a difference, but at least they can tell I’m alive.  I do admit to scrolling through my news feed to see what’s going on with other people, but I don’t like or comment as just plain old me.  My author self does all liking and commenting, which isn’t a whole lot anyway.

Up until June of this year, I didn’t even have an author page, because my disgust with Facebook was so strong.  Then I took part in a really awesome Facebook party with other authors and I changed my tune a bit.  Since I had so much fun hosting that event for my allotted hour and I met so many cool reader types during it (who asked me if I had an author page they could like), I decided to bite the bullet and create a page.

Since then, I’ve been fairly good about posting updates and content that I don’t share on Twitter – my social media drug of choice – or Google Plus, which I dabble in from time to time.  After all, there are at least a few people who follow/like/whatever me all three places and I don’t want to bore them to death.  I’ve also been rather lucky at growing my audience.  When I first started out, I doubted I would ever reach that 100 likes milestone that Facebook dangles before you.   But I bested that number two times over plus some, mainly because of a new release/giveaway promotion in July and just a plain old giveaway that I took part in with about 100 different indie authors.

Most of those people who liked my page have stayed around.  Judging from my stats related to reach, most of those people don’t ever see a single word I post.  Considering that I’ve found documentation that a common visibility percentage is between 2-6, I’m still kicking ass in that department.  But then we get into the bane of my existence:  the unlike.  Over the past week, that nasty occurrence has reared its ugly head more than once.

My gut instinct is to immediately ask “What did I do wrong?”

I’ve been around on Twitter long enough to not be bothered by an unfollow or ten after I tweet something.  And I certainly understand a drop off of followers after a giveaway ends and a winner is announced.  If you look at the majority of Twitter accounts of people who seem to do nothing on the site but enter contests, you notice that they have only a handful of followers themselves, but are following just under that magic number of 2,000.  It makes sense that they’d pack up and run because they are on to the next contest entry.

I had to do a little digging, but I did come up with evidence that there is a Facebook liking limit as well.  The exact terms of it appear to be very vague and confusing, or maybe that was just me because I was nursing a headache when I read them.  But it appears that some contest enterers frequently hit this Facebook liking threshold and have to clean up shop.

I’ve told myself that this is likely what has happened in my case, but there’s something about Facebook’s terminology that makes it seem more personal.  It hurts way more to be “unliked” then it does “unfollowed”.  After all, do I  really  want someone tracking all my movements like that action on Twitter implies?  Not particularly.  But let’s face it:  everyone wants to be liked.

So for you that use Facebook:  are you very selective with your likes?  Or do you like any old thing that tickles your fancy at the moment – from a toothpaste company to a band – and then deal with the consequences later?  And what makes your list as grounds for an unlike?

 

 

 

 

Bait and Switch

I enjoy free publicity.  I’m sure most authors would agree with me on that aspect of things – that’s why we contact local media, insert book links on our email taglines, sign up for contests, participate in giveaways, etc.  Every little bit helps, right?

In addition to the free stuff, I also dabble in the paid marketing.  It’s no secret that I work with a tour company to promote my books upon release and to pimp them out to bloggers for reviews.  They do legwork for me that I either don’t have the time, talent or courage to do on my own.

You’d think that free and paid would be opposites, sort of like the colors black and white.  But more and more, I’m noticing that the lines are blurring and what starts off as free doesn’t always end up being no charge.

Case in point, there are several websites around that offer to promote self-published books and authors.  Some of them are little more than directories of authors who all have the same dream:  to get noticed.  Some of them offer places to feature excerpts or a little insight into your novel; others provide a place for readers to post reviews and recommend your work to friends.  In my formative years (read early 2013), I signed up for a couple of them, figuring it couldn’t hurt.  It also didn’t help one bit, as I realized that  readers  aren’t the ones trolling those sites.  Authors are, and we’re preaching to the choir.

A number of these sites are free.  Or at least they were.  But I’m noticing what I feel is an alarming trend:  more and more of them are beginning to charge fees.  Or sites that do offer free services are now touting upgrades for a monetary cost.  And spamming my inbox with messages announcing the great results I can obtain if only I pay their low monthly/quarterly/annual fee.  I won’t name names, because the point here is not to badmouth any specific group or site.   But  I’ve seen several, so you’ve likely run across some of the same ones.

Is it because they’ve upped their game, or because they think they’ve found a cash cow?

I get it, really I do.  People see an opportunity to make money and they grab it and run.  If authors are flocking to your site when things are free, perhaps a good portion of them will pay if you ask them to.  I don’t blame anybody because I’d like to turn a profit as a result of this endeavor, too.  And these sites may offer legitimate services to authors that may work.  But because I’m not yet independently wealthy, I have to decide where to spend my money.  I’ve been burnt before, and I am less apt to believe glowing reviews (even from people who I’m familiar with).  I need to feel that there’s going to be a good chance of me personally getting results.  If it doesn’t feel like a worthwhile expenditure, no amount of hype will get me to change my mind.

Of course, even the big names aren’t exempt.  We extoll the virtues of being on Twitter, having a Facebook fan page, or being a Goodreads author.  The free aspect of social media works great for most of us, but you can spend money here, too.  I won’t go into things like buying 15,000 followers for $35; I’m talking about sanctioned spending where the money goes straight to one of the three entities.  In fact, during the creation of my Facebook fan page I felt like someone at their corporate office was reaching through my laptop screen, trying to convince me to pay for likes or promoting posts.  I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I thought about it, and even checked into the pricing.  I still haven’t completely ruled it out.

For every cautious author like myself, there’s probably one or more that will throw money at these outfits like change into a wishing well.  This makes me sad, the feeling that there are those of us out there who want this dream so badly they lose sight of the work involved.  There’s more to becoming known, respected and successful than simply writing a check or draining your Paypal account.

 

 

 

Logging Out…

If you’ve followed my Twitter feed or my blog for the last few weeks, you know I’ve been debating getting rid of my personal Facebook account.  Yesterday, I officially pulled the plug.  Mind you, I didn’t delete the thing entirely – I merely deactivated it – but I don’t plan on coming back.

I was only on Facebook as a normal person, not an author.  I never created a fan page for myself or my book.  I don’t ever anticipate doing either.  If you haven’t noticed, I’m not huge on the self-promotion.   I felt guilty when I liked my own blog posts or linked to a website where some bonus material was featured during my blog tour.  I’d much rather have someone else like my latest post or link to my website or book; when it comes from me, it feels dirty.  I am all about the soft sell.

Yet every time I logged on to Facebook people were self-promoting, even when they didn’t have an actual product to pitch.  I felt hit over the head with people’s opinions about politics and religion – two of the things I agree that you shouldn’t discuss on a public forum unless you have a professional reason for doing so.  I saw post after post of people trying to convince themselves that they were the best parent ever and had the most amazing family and / or significant other.  Add to the mix the people who still act like they’re sixteen even though they are in their mid-thirties and it left me feeling like I was in high school again.  And the endless game posts and the e-cards that might be funny the first ten times you see them.  We can’t forget those.

Needless to say, by the end of my daily visit to Facebook I was positive I was the world’s worst mother, wondering if I was one of the “fake people” who constantly got called out in cryptic messages and was pretty sure some people thought I was going to hell.

That’s supposed to be fun?

Akin to some people having a cigarette during a night out at the bar or biting your nails, Facebook was a habit for me that wasn’t necessarily positive in nature.  But I did it anyway.  I checked it first thing in the morning – always after Twitter – and sometimes during the day when I got bored.  What I saw there began to wear on me more and more until I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to remove myself completely.  It wasn’t enough to simply ignore people or in extreme instances unfriend them.  I needed it gone.

So I posted one final message about how I was logging off for good and I deactivated my account.  There was a sense of relief that washed over me as I filled out the exit survey and the app closed itself out one final time.  Then I deleted it from my phone.

I obviously haven’t disappeared from the internet or social media; I’ve simply chosen to focus my efforts elsewhere.  I realize that by excluding myself from a major platform that I might be missing out on opportunities to spread my shiny, happy message of self-publishing, but to be honest I wasn’t doing it there anyway.  My heart just wasn’t in Facebook and it never really was.

After the fact, I realized that my private message from Parabelle with the smiley face was gone.  I know I could log back in and print it out or something, but I won’t.  It’s pretty much permanently engraved in my memory, and enough people saw it to know that it really existed.  I vowed that I would never delete it, and I didn’t.  It’s still floating around out there on some server somewhere.  That’s good enough for me.

In the end, all of our interactions on Facebook are relegated to the same fate: floating around in cyberspace, never truly gone.  Our rants, our raves, everything is out there somewhere for everyone to see.  I think a lot of people forget that.  Once it’s posted, you can never truly take it back.

I’m good with how I presented myself on Facebook.  I don’t think the impression that I left behind there was negative.  It was my intro to social media:  the good, the bad and the ugly.  I learned quite a bit there.

I learned who I wanted to be on Twitter and my blog.