And I’m still learning how to master social media. I’ve watched the amazing young people from Parkland, Florida speak up and harness the power of this sometimes perplexing, confusing, and occasionally harmful medium.
We use social media to share stories of hope. With its power to reach millions of people we have the ability to inspire movements. We sell books, jewelry, fitness programs, and a growing number of people are even selling sobriety. We keep in touch with friends, reconnect with people we’ve lost touch with, and make new friends.
And we can also fall prey to fake news that can sway elections and harm our democracy.
I use it to keep in touch with friends and family and to sell books. And sometimes I sell them at Hometown Book Pop-ups that are held in pubs and restaurants that have cozy nooks in the bar where I meet readers, sell books, sign copies of my books, answer questions, and share glasses of wine or mugs of locally brewed beer. I find Facebook helps me reach more people who show up at these Pop-Ups and become new friends.
I used to blog here a lot but I began to question whether or not blogs sold books. I also struggled with how to get people to comment and join the dialogue. I have very lively conversations on my Facebook pages. Yes, I have more than one, there’s my personal page and my author page. But more on that later.
I’d love to hear from other bloggers about their experience selling books and blogging. Do you think blogs are passé’? Have you cut back on your blogging? Does a blog sell books? How do you know if it’s working?
In September, I published my fourth novel, Under The Same Sun. I blogged a bit in the beginning but felt Facebook and Instagram were far more effective tools. I am also currently using Ereader News Today – advertising all four of my books with a monthly email promo. Life Is All This will be on sale this month. I haven’t received a date yet but I’ll let you know when I do.
#boomerangpattern #docokitchentabletop #laminate #retro Love it Reminiscent of scene from my 3rd novel, Life Is All This: “The last night in the house I was all messed up, haunted by memories of my mother who passed away when I was in college, always in that kitchen making soup or blueberry pie or roast chicken sandwiches on sweet homemade Portuguese bread, while I wrote letters to my brother in Vietnam at the very same boomerang table, which led to memories of my Dad who has lost all his memories.” #lifeisallthis #scenesfromanovel bit.ly/buylifeisallthis
Some of you mentioned you had been enjoying my blogs for quite some time – I started blogging five years ago – but you hadn’t bought any of the books and thought it was high time you checked them out. I’m looking forward to your feedback.
Being an Indie author is lonely sometimes. You don’t have a literary agent to cheer you on. You don’t have a publisher promoting your books. But I don’t mind doing all the work and I love hearing directly from readers. I’d just like to know what it is that is actually working.
How did you find me? What made you buy the book?
#Greenport, NY Setting of the Whole Pie Pizzeria in the novel Take Me Home by Sheila Blanchette “ “The days were getting shorter. A cold wind off the Peconic Bay rattled the windows of the bedroom above Whole Pie Pizzeria. Under a pile of soft blankets, Josie snuggled closer to Andy…These days she slept straight through the night, the warmth of his lean body by her side, his quiet breath, his soft hairy legs rubbing against hers, and his arm draped across her waist.” bit.ly/buytakemehome #takemehomethenovel #scenesfromanovel
As you can see I use Instagram a lot. It’s a one stop shop. I post short stories or excerpts from my books that include photos from my travels that inspired various scenes in the books. I have received so much advice regarding the American attention span. “Your blogs are too long.” “People only read 1000 words, if that.” I don’t know what the truth is. When I do sit down to write a blog it’s still too long.
Pictures and short stories do seem to grab people’s attention but my favorite feature on Instagram are the share buttons. I can click on Facebook and Twitter and hit up three social media sites with one post, then get back to writing the next novel.
Of course I don’t know if these Instagram posts sell books either, unless I hear from readers. I’d love it if Amazon shared data the way WordPress does. Where do my buyers come from? What links brought them to my Amazon page? If WordPress can do this, you know Amazon can. Why don’t they? If I can effectively sell more books isn’t that to Amazon’s benefit?
If you know a way to get this information, please let know.
A fifth novel is percolating. I intentionally spent less time writing and a lot of time promoting Under The Same Sun this winter. It has paid off and also increased interest in the three previous books. Things are happening, slow but steady. Sales are up for all four books and they’re all getting good reviews. Under The Same Sun, a timely novel, is being well received and the reviews give me hope that America is a place that cares.
Trains are always nearby out West, crossing the plains, hugging the mountainside, boxcars filled with tales of new places, adventure, hobos, and romantic trysts. From The Reverse Commute: “We were on a train with a couple from Ireland, a young boy and his girlfriend. The boy was quite a storyteller. In Spain somewhere, the Pyrenees I think, the train traveled through a series of tunnels carved into the mountains. The lights would flicker and leave us in total darkness. The boy was a chain smoker and used his hands when he told his stories. The light at the tip of his cigarette swirled and made mesmerizing circles in the dark. His stories were tales of his everyday life, but they were fascinating. It was the first time I realized anyone’s life could be interesting if they told the story right, even the boring parts.” bit.ly/buythereversecommute #traintracks #thereversecommute #writinginspiration #lonesomewhistle #everydaylife
Rich and I are heading out on another road trip soon to visit our daughters who live in Colorado and Montana. The road is calling. It’s where the inspiration comes from and it is where I am happiest. I will be posting stories on IG and when a really good story comes my way – a story of a thousand words or more – I’ll share it here.
I do miss blogging but I have bills to pay and books to write. I’ve spent the winter cleaning ski condos, painting with Rich, and editing The Reverse Commute, my first novel. There are only so many hours in a day and I put a lot of time and effort into these blogs.
I’ll be traveling to Asheville, Memphis, Arkansas, Wichita, Colorado, Park City, Montana, South Dakota and back to Vermont. If you’re somewhere along the route and would like to host a Hometown Book Pop-Up or belong to a book club that would like to have the author join them, message me. I could try to arrange something. And most of the time I am always available throughout New England and New York.
In the meantime, I invite you to follow me on Instagram where there are Stories From Higley Hill at least once a day.
P.S. I managed to keep this blog to just under a thousand words. 979 to be exact.