Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How To Use Social Media: An Author's Perspective

As an author I am always trying to find new ways to connect with readers and other writers. Social media has been a godsend for those of us in the book-making community, much as it has been for the rest of the business world.

The obvious benefits of social media for an author are:
  • Relationship building
  • Free advertising
  • A World Without Borders
  • Unlimited access to going through the same trials and tribulations
I have often linked posts to my Facebook or Twitter accounts because those seemed, to me, to have the most recognizable benefits from an advertising perspective. What many writers, and business people in general, fail to recognize is that the best form of advertising is relationship building, connecting with your audience, and actually getting to know one another.

When your audience cares about you, who you are as a person, they are much more likely to be interested in whatever it is you do - and if you are a writer - they will be that much more interested in your novel and that much more likely to pick it up or purchase it.

To that end, Instagram and Snapchat are perfect windows into your life.  They say a picture tells a thousand words.  So from that logic one photo on these accounts is saying about 8 times as much as a Twitter character count. While Facebook allows users to share posts up to 63,206 characters, most of that will be hidden unless you click to open more, and let us be honest, with Facebook's terrible algorithms there is a good chance that most of your audience will never see it anyway. One way to increase the amount of people who might be able to see it?

Include a picture.

So, if pictures are still king when it comes to communicating, Instagram and Snapchat should be leveraged. I know, I know: 

But I am a writer - how do words apply for a person like me? 

Listen up you clod.

You can take pictures of your words.  Or books.  There are entire communities of people on Instagram that search for pictures of words, poetry, quotes, books.  These communities are using relevant hashtags in order to find the items they want, hashtags like (and I didn't use commas so you can cut and paste these hashtags for writing and reading straight into your posts): 

#writers #readers #bookstagram #writerscommunity #poets #quoteoftheday #writersofig #poetsofig #igreads #poetrycommunity #author #poem #qotd #prose #booklove #yalit #booknerd #wordporn

That is just a few! Also, they are the most popular hashtags for writers and the most popular hashtags for readers. For an example check this out at my Instagram:

I literally wrote something I thought up, on a coffee stained napkin.  No one cares.  They care about the words.  Those are the type of people you want to attract, become friends with, and ultimatly -hopefully - convert to readers.

Now Snapchat is a little more difficult.  This community is developed purely by people who are interested in looking into your life.  My best advice for this is the following:

  • Be yourself
  • Do not be all business, let them see your day to day
  • Use the video feature, people want to hear your voice
  • Do NOT make massive stories.  People will get bored (no one's life is that interesting that we need a 100-photo flip book). Or worse, people will unfollow -which in case you missed the point of this blog, is completely counterproductive. Five photos and videos a day should be your max.
What is great about this forum is that Snapchat has enabled users to simply scan a user's photo in order to add them.  My Snapchat @ndenmon looks like this (sorry for the growl I was pretending to be Sirius Black from Harry Potter when he was in the newspaper as a wanted murder:

Nicholas Denmon

So add me and let's get to knowing each other!

Oh, and in case you were wondering what Sirius Black looked like - it was this photo from the movie. Let me know what you think of my impression - but only let me know by Snap-chatting me. See what I did there?

Sirius Black:

TTFN Denmonites!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Top 5 Ask Me Anything: London Book Fair, Authors, Novels, Food, Travel

As promised, I have accumulated the top 5 questions from my valued readers.  In the "Ask Me Anything" challenge, some of you came up with really interesting questions that made me blush. I am happy to say, those are not in the top 5 most asked questions, so I dodged a bullet.  That is the number 1 reason I issue the challenge, then give a quick turn around on the time frame.

I limit your ability to organize!  It's a self-preservation thing.

Without further ado, here are the questions and answers in order of least to most asked.

5) When did you first become fascinated by the mafia?  This question was first asked by a lady from Oklahoma, and then we had several more issue a variation of the same question from Oregon, Mississippi, and New Zealand.

I first became fascinated by the mafia through movies and family stories.  My family is from the New York area with historical roots in Palermo, Sicily. There are no shortages of tales about run-ins with mafia members, friends who were "hit", and guys who knew guys.  I remember being fairly young, maybe twelve or so, and watching Goodfellas and The Godfather. I couldn't help but root for the anti-heroes. From there, it was as if some part of my Italian heritage identified with the more normal aspects of the families in those movies.  The big family, the pasta dinners, the music, it all felt familiar but with this shroud of secrecy and tension that made those normal events seem more interesting. I was hooked.

4) You often talk about The London Book Fair.  As an author, what happens there and is it that valuable, did you go this year, and will you go next year?  This question was issued in three parts from a few different people.  The cities that combine to make this question are New York, Oxford, Boise, Chattanooga, Tampa, and Cardiff.

Yes I have gone to the London Book Fair several years in a row.  It is a great place to go and to meet people in the industry.  They have stations set up where you can gather information about every aspect of writing and publishing. Usually, I mingle with a few clients from my publishing business, Pubshelf while my counterpart, Thomas Humphreys makes new contacts and does the handshaking and kissing of babies.

I really enjoy it because London is such a nice city and the hotels are lovely, not to mention you can make so many connections.  This year the hotel of choice was Kensington Close Hotel and Spa.  I holed up with the fine people of Peracto Prepress there for about five days, going through all the "ins and outs" of, well you name it. You literally lock the doors, order room service, and get down to business. We did manage to escape the expo and the hotel long enough to explore the Westfield Mall in London, where one of the editors literally bought 1.5 kilograms or 3 lbs of a variety of nuts!  No lie.
The London Book Fair at Olympia, West London

Taking pics of someone taking pics of room service

At Westfield's Mall, London

3) Favorite author and why?  This question came from all over.  Eleven different cities asked this question, so I will just list the first one as a shoutout.  Christy Lawson got the question in first, out of Tennessee.

I actually have so many favorite authors but there are a few that I remember as most significant. J.R.R. Tolkien was the first author to really capture my imagination, followed by R.A. Salvatore, C.S. Lewis, and most recently G.R.R. Martin.  The world crafting is something that I admire. Outside of fantasy fiction, Dennis Lehane is one of my favorites for gritty crime fiction as well as Michael Connelly.

Author Michael Connelly and Author Nicholas Denmon

2) What is my favorite meal?  I should have known this would be asked a lot with all the "food porn" that I post. I am fairly simple as a meat and potato guy.  A nice filet mignon with maybe a few grilled shrimp, some broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes really makes a perfect meal. Put a scotch or a glass of Malbec next to it and you have a happy man.

Perfect dinner

1) When is Ashes to Ashes coming out?  I hear you.  It has been forever.  I promise it is closer than you think. Hey, I even have the artwork done.  I am putting out The Hundred Heartbreaks of Harlan Halifax, and then soon after Ashes to Ashes will be out. Tentatively? I think August is realistic.

Ashes to Ashes Cover

Thanks so much for participating! I never thought so many of you would have questions.  Here are a few of the more humorous ones to come in:

Have you ever seen a chicken strip?
Boxers or briefs?
Why do men have nipples?
Are mermaids real?
Why do dogs eat grass if it makes them throw up?

...and a variety of crude things I won't replicate even though they made me laugh.

-TTFN Denmonites!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Punch Cancer In The Mouth!

It is that time of year again.  I am doing the Relay for Life tonight and can use any support that the Denmonites can offer.  Whether or not it is merely sharing the link below, or if it is donating some of your hard earned money for a great cause, I thank you.
We all know of a loved one that has succumbed to cancer, and this is our way to punch cancer right in the mouth, where it hurts.  We hit the track tonight at 6pm EST and every dollar counts.

What is Relay?
In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, ultimately raising $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern cancer. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since those first steps, the Relay For Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer.
What We Do:
  • Organized, overnight community fundraising walk
  • Teams of people camp out around a track
  • Members of each team take turns walking around the track
  • Food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie
  • Family-friendly environment for the entire community

How Can I Donate?
Simple!  Just cut and paste the link below or click here.
Once again, thank you for everything!
TTFN Denmonites!