Quit Assuming you Know Me

I’m mistaken for a flirt when I’m friendly. I’m mistaken for a bitch when I’m blunt. I’m mistaken for sad when I’m alone. I’m mistaken for shy when I’m quiet. Quit assuming and get to know me.

I read this on a Facebook profile, one of my nephew’s friends, a high school girl. I think every woman has experienced feeling at least one of these, if not all of them. Write your own list along the same lines.

Here’s mine:

I’m mistaken for depressed when I’m just enjoying my own company. I’m mistaken for being too sensitive when I get angry, I’m mistaken for being wise when I’m just using common sense. I’m mistaken for being open when I’m just being friendly. Quit assuming you know me.

Why I Don’t Follow Twitter Sploggers

Are you frustrated because you don’t have the amount of followers on Twitter that you would like or think you should have? Maybe it’s not a social media problem, maybe it’s you!

What did you last post to Twitter? Have a look at your own Twitter profile. What do you see? Are there a lot of retweets (RTs) from other people on Twitter? Are there no original tweets from you in weeks, or longer? Are there no Twitter posts, other than links to your own blog posts? Do you use Twitter as a link farm rather than a social system, a way to communicate with other people?

Likely that’s the reason you don’t have followers, or more real followers.

People, like myself, don’t want to follow someone on Twitter to read a lot of rehash, repetitive stuff. I tend to follow people who use Twitter to post ideas, share thoughts, or the odd link they find along the way. I don’t follow people (or discontinue following people) who have nothing original to say.

I don’t need to follow someone to read their blog. So why follow them if they only post links to their most recent blog post? It’s just duplicate content and a waste of time and space for me.

I lose interest in following someone who only retweets other people’s posts. Why not go right to the source and follow that person instead? Skip to the point of origin rather than wading through the clutter.

If you really want to have followers, stop trying to get them. Yes, just STOP!

Be yourself. Be sincere. Give people a chance to find out who you are, become interested and then choose to follow you, just because they want to. You can’t buy or spam your way to real, sincere followers who have a real interest in following you. You just have to let them find you.

Write About your Flag

As found on a Facebook profile today:

A hero of war
Is that what they see
Just medals and scars
So damn proud of me
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
It’s a flag that I love
But not one that I trust

Sad to read that one. What do you think? Does it make you sad, angry or something else? Write something about the flag of your country. The flag is an inanimate object so when you write about it you need to write from the point of view of someone who can have feelings, thoughts and talk about them.

How to Start People Watching

You can’t write about people if you’ve never watched people, random people in random settings. I like getting a coffee, sitting by a window on along a busy street with a lot of foot traffic going by. I like to watch the people. Seldom does anyone look up and see me watching. That is something interesting. Am I hiding from them or are they hiding from me?

Supplies needed for people watching are few. Binoculars are not at all recommended. If you need glasses, they you should have them with you. Keep a low profile, don’t make the people nervous or suspect you of something more complicated than amusing yourself. Some may like to have paper and pencil handy to take notes. Keep track of stray thoughts and ideas. Snacks and coffee are optional.

Location is the more interesting part of a people watching hobbyist. A busy city street could be in the financial area of a big city or in the shopping mall lost in the suburban sprawl. Try watching people in nature, like a park, at a lake on vacation or while they watch a parade or another local event. As long as there are enough people to watch and you can find a place to seclude yourself a little, any location can work for people watching. However, use your discretion, there is a fine line between people watching and being a peeping tom.

Time spent on people watching should be leisurely, give yourself time to find a spot for the viewing, settle in to the place and the patterns of traffic going by. I don’t think less than an hour will work for people watching. Part of the exercise is to take time to let your mind wander and you can’t do that very quickly.

As you can see, people watching is not a very complicated hobby. It’s fairly easy to pick up and something you can do on vacation as well as at home. It is interesting to take note of which people you tend to watch most? What age groups? How do they tend to be dressed? What makes you like or identify with one person over another? Do you make up possible stories for the people or do you take them more at face value and try to pick up on who they are from the facts you can see?

Flickr: People Watching – Have a look at photos from people watchers.
Not So Boring Life.com: People Watching – A Hobby for Everyone

Participation is the Key to Social Media

The secret to using social media for networking and building traffic is participation.

Joining an online network (like CMF Ads, 9Rules or a particular group on Yahoo Groups)  or social media (like Twitter or Tumblr) site is not enough. You can stick up a profile, add your links, write a bio with some likes and dislikes (some don’t bother with even that much). But, if you just leave it there it will be worth almost nothing. It gathers dust and is not even a decent backlink.

I am not suggesting you stop using social media and network sites. I am telling you to carefully choose those you will use. Select sites and media which appeal to you, which are easy for you to use (to navigate and understand technically) and which have an active community which you really want to become a part of and remain a part of over time. Online communities, networks and social media sites get a lot of new members but only a handful become active participants.

Some groups go out of their way to welcome new members, some just put up an automatic list of those who newly join. Others don’t even do that much any longer, they have learned the value of a new member is fleeting. The real place to put your time and energy is with the members who stay, who return and participate.

The people who stay and keep your community or network active are the ones to be valued. They bring life and communication and networking to what would be a dried up shell otherwise. The owner/ moderator can not keep a community vital all on their own. People who participate are gold!

Whatever your motive for joining a community or network or using a form of social media you need to become a part of the regular group who talk and get to know each other in order to get any benefit from being a member of the community. An abandoned profile is a waste of time and space for yourself as well as the community.

You may join many networks and communities and take a look around, see what there is to interest you. But, it will only be those you actively and regularly participate in that bring a real return on your time and effort. Only the active profiles get attention from the other active members in the community. It’s a return investment, cause they are looking for connections too, active connections to real people versus someone who came once or twice and then disappeared.

DIY Blog Book Tour

A blog book tour is usually hosted by a book author, one blogger or a tour service and consists of several bloggers making scheduled posts on their blogs, networking with social media, in order to promote the book for the author.

Tours are held for a new book release but could be used as promotion for a book already available. Blog book tours use word of mouth and buzz. Book authors will see their keywords bring stronger results as they are used in various blogs on the tour with the link to the author and his or her book.

As the host for the tour you will work with the author and make arrangements for bloggers to become involved. If you are doing it yourself you are both host and book author, you’re going to be busy!

Before you Contact any Bloggers:

Check your own site and links for the book. Make sure everything is in working order. Check the link where your book is available to be purchased, make sure you can access everything right down to making a purchase. If you don’t have a site, set one up along with social media accounts which can be used to promote the book tour, the book itself and keep in contact with everyone involved in the book tour. You also want to promote the book tour itself, let everyone know your plans for the event, post the tour schedule of posts and link to each blogger participating. This is your time to shine with networking while you have something to tell people about.

Give yourself time to do the work for the book tour. Set a reasonable time limit that gives you working time and yet isn’t so far into the future that the bloggers forget or lose interest in the project. Give yourself time for planning, shipping books out to be reviewed and read by the bloggers too. There is a lot of planning and organizing, it is reasonable to expect you will need a month or more.

Choosing Bloggers:

Pick bloggers who are in your niche. If you are writing fiction you will need to look at a lot of book review blogs, but see if you can get something a bit outside the box. How about a related topic to your genre? If you are a non-fiction writer you should have a lot of blogs to choose from but, be picky. Look at the content already published in the blog, what does it say about the blogger, their style and the level of content versus advertising. Does this blogger care about their image, their reputation as a source of information in the niche and how will their blog reflect on your own image and reputation? Find bloggers with ethics to match your own standard/ style.

Don’t restrict yourself to just looking at blogs in order to find bloggers to join the tour. Use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to find bloggers and as a method of contacting them. Don’t rely strictly on email as a way to communicate, not everyone reads every email and yours might be one which gets lumped in by their email spam catcher.

When you have found a blogger who works well with you, keep track of them. Keep in touch and ask them to be part of your next blog tour or give you an author interview on their blog in between tours. You could also write guest posts for them in their niche topic, with your link in the author profile to be used with the guest post.

Have a look at anyone who has a podcast which is relevant to your book. Be creative and use the new media.

Contacting Bloggers:

When contacting the bloggers make sure you give them all the information about the book (name, author, a blurb about the book and links to find it online) as well as your own contact information and everything they need to know to plan their own involvement in the book tour. Use the blogger’s name and blog title in any email or tweet you send them. Keep a list handy so you don’t get a name wrong or send a “Dear Sir” to anyone.

Set out Rules for your Bloggers to Follow:

How long should posts be? How many (and which) links must be included in the post? What about keywords? Do you want book reviews to be favourable or do they have leeway to write what they really think and feel? (If you want this you really should just get friends to do reviews for you or offer to pay for the posts). What types of media can the bloggers use: video, photographs, plain text? Do you want each blogger to make a post to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media to announce the book tour before and when the post goes live? What happens if they miss their date on the posting schedule?  Write out expectations so everything is clear up front.

Your Own To-Do List:

As you get bloggers interested and involved in the book tour write up a blurb about each of them, introduce them to each other and your readers. Be friendly and complimentary. Take some time to read their blog, the about page on their blog too. Put some time into it and talk about why you chose them to be part of the book tour, what you value about them and the blog they have built.

Send out your business card and a thank you note with the review copy of your book.

Be creative with your interviews and guest posts. You are setting the standard for the others to follow by the effort you make yourself. Come up with something that individually suits the blog the content is appearing on. This will also make it easier to be unique each time, even if you write a dozen posts for the same book. Of course, don’t forget to sell your book. Come up with something that sells your book to the readers of each blog, find something you have in common with the blogger or a recent post they made in the niche they write about.

Make a point of going to each blog in the tour, reading their posts and leaving relevant comments before the tour begins even. Establish contact, keep in contact and keep them from losing track of the event and their place in it.

Another option for content is an excerpt from your book or a fictional interview with a character in a fiction genre book. If a blogger really runs dry on something to post see if they can draw, cartoon or sketch something to run as a post. You can offer a free copy of the book to be given away to one of the readers of a tour blog. Pick the winner by the person who left the best comment, or some other criteria in tune with the book itself if possible.

Need Something Simpler?

If running a book tour yourself seems like taking on too much give yourself a smaller scale book tour. Go to blogs, forums and networks which have discussions about your book topic and participate. Link to yourself whenever possible, you can even use a direct link to a blog post which promotes your book. Generate your own buzz by talking about yourself and your book. Don’t go overboard. Keep your comments and posts relevant to the ongoing discussion. Even if you don’t mention your book you still get to add your link to the comments and posts you make. If you seem intelligent people will be interested enough to find out who you are and what you are working on.

There are a lot of sites which focus on reviewing books. Contact them, send your information and links, ask to have your book reviewed. Give them a blurb about the book along with your pitch.

Extra Resources:

Blog Book Tours – Some posts about blog book tours. They also host Yahoo Groups for blog tour discussions and a blog tour class/ workshop.

Pump Your Book – Extra information on this blog for bloggers, book tour hosts and writers.

Let’s Talk Virtual Book Tours – Authors talk about book tours they have done and results they have gotten.

Book Market – Links to online promotion and book tour resources.

Grow Your Own Writing Business – A post about virtual book tours in co-ordination with  others or on your own.

The Dabbling Mum – A post about hosting your own blog tour event.

The Boss of You – An example of how to write an introduction to each of the bloggers participating in the blog book tour. A little compliment and friendliness goes a long way.

KidzBookBuzz – An example of the information set up and made easy to use for bloggers in the book tour.

Blog Tour Services Looking for People to Host Tours:

Pump Up Your Book

TLC Book Tours

The Women of WordPress

This is a list of women involved in developing, promoting or designing with WordPress blog software. If you should be on the list and are not, let me know. These are more than web designers, they develop software/ scripts to run with WordPress, they write guides for WordPress users and they promote the WordPress community.

Added later:
WP Chick – Kim Doyal

Creative Technologists

Creative Technologists are a new type of breed. The Creative Geek (or “Creek” for short) has a very unique and mixed profile. It’s a profile where the left side of the brain meets the right side. Creeks are logical, rational, analytical and objective which are all qualities coming from their technical background and left side of the brain while equally they are random, intuitive, synthesizing and subjective which are all qualities coming from the right side and creative side of the brain. They have this unique blend that looks at the parts as well at the wholes.

Quoted from post on Wunderman: The Creative Technologist, a new role in an agency near you. (I found this quoted on Everyone’s a Genius originally).

I went looking for more:

Would you call yourself a creative technologist? I think it’s a pretty great term to add to your writing resume for any web writers. We do have some of each world. That kind of experience and knowledge should count for something, even if we are not experts on the technological side.

The Advantages of Being a Twitter Blogger

Some people, like WebSavvyEditor, don’t have a blog which they link to in their Twitter profile. I think these are interesting people. First of all, they don’t spend a lot of time fussing around with a blog that needs a template, possibly ads and analytics and other assorted gadgets and gizmos. They have time to read. They have time to comment on things. They have time to keep up with others on Twitter. A lovely set up when you think about it. They pull themselves out of the rat race for blog ads, networks and all those other things like comment spam.

So why still have a blog at all? I don’t know. When I begin thinking about the advantages to just posting to Twitter the rest gets cloudy. One reason I’d still prefer a blog is the word count on Twitter. I’m a bit wordy, more than a bit in love with words and I really do like typing them out and seeing them magically appear on the screen as if I’m just that great a thinker.

Still, I can take the ideas from Twitter microbloggers into my own atmosphere. I can get rid of my sidebar. I don’t know if I will, but I can/ could. I’d love to get rid of it for the clutter it brings. Also, the way it adds colours and shapes to the design of my blog which I really don’t like. The sidebar has long annoyed me when I look at my blog. But so much of it seems necessary. Probably a lot of it isn’t really. I’ve just brainwashed myself.

If I were to live like a Twitter blogger I’d have no sidebar other than a small section to write an About blurb. Right now my Twitter profile is mainly a link back here. What if there were no here? Does it throw you when you find someone on Twitter who doesn’t have a link to a blog or site or any kind? Does it make you wonder? Does it make you suspicious or jealous?  I admit it makes me a bit jealous. To think of all the clutter they avoid while I seem to be mired in it up to my eyeballs.

If I were a Twitter blogger I’d have to investigate a new theory of promoting my blog and getting my blog found. (Not that I’m famous as things are, but… I know the ground I’m standing on). How do you find microblogs which are only on Twitter? I think you have to already know who you are looking for or find them through someone else on Twitter. Not so easy. It’s been months since I’ve looked into who has followed me on Twitter. So a lot of people are not going to be found just by following someone else. You have to do more than that. The Twitter bloggers need to have their own group/ social network of some kind. I couldn’t find one.