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Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Relocation Expenses

Regular Blog readers – and by that I mean the people who subscribe to this blog – I’m moving. Not physically (this time), but virtually. My blog has been transferred from here to http://www.booksbyjason.com/wordpress. It looks a tiny bit different but other than that it’s the same stuff. I’ve hooked the new blog up to Facebook and Twitter and did a back up and restore of everything I could – heck, maybe you’ll already get updates. I’m not super savvy on the blogging technology, I confess.

I still have to hook up the new blog to Goodreads, but hopefully I can resolve that today. In the meantime, this is the old blog signing off! Thanks for your interest and attention, I hope to keep it lively and fun on the new one (which is more or less the same, just at a different address).

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Too Much of a Good Thing

October 28, 2012 7 comments

The day before my Twitter debacle a couple of weeks ago (I was banned for 12 days due to a misunderstanding, but I’m back now), I joined a new Triberr tribe called Power Sharers. For those of you scratching you chins wondering what the heck Triberr is, it’s a new website that allows bloggers to come together with like minded bloggers and use social media to amplify their presence. Huh? Okay, let me try again.

Let’s say I write a blog post (like this one!). It’s then loaded into the tribes I’m a member of on Triberr. A tribe is nothing more than a group of people that are (hopefully) like minded and willing to share each others posts. So I’ve written this blog article and it’s loaded into the available queues for everyone on Triberr that is a tribemate of mine. Each of them then has the opportunity to decide which social media networks they’re members of that they want to share the blog on (if any). In my experience the most used social media stream is Twitter.

There’s more than just sharing others blog posts though, it also provides a handy and useful tool for me to find other blogs worth reading. It shows me the title, author, and a snippet of the blog article. If I like it, I can read the entire thing. So in this way I’m not (personally) just blindly sharing content, I’m making sure it’s interesting first. Interesting to me, at least.

Now back to my Triberr experience. I was in a few groups that were focused on writing and writers, primarily. Then I got the invite to join Power Sharers. It seemed look a good opportunity to expand my reach so I jumped on it. Now I’m wondering if I jumped in over my head! Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of potential with this group, but there are also several serious bloggers in here. Serious as in multiple posts a day. That means when I log into Triberr to check out my stream of available posts to share, It’s not an easy task anymore! What used to be 5 – 10 minutes is now 20 – 30, and that’s if I do it twice a day!

Furthermore I feel kind of bad. The vast majority of posts I do not share. It’s not that they don’t have value, in most cases, it’s that they aren’t things that would be of benefit to me or to the presence I’ve established via my social presence. I don’t write or tweet about how to make money blogging, for example, nor do I focus on sharing how to properly engage and motivate employees. Good topics worthy of reading up on, but they’re not my niche. My followers share similar interests with me, and while there may be a few that like to see those blogs, the majority do not. I’m more concerned about spamming out unwanted information and losing people (or getting banned again, though I have no reason to believe I would be). And so I carefully wade through the list of would-be blog posts and trim each daily list of a hundred or so down to three to five.

Ultimately I’m here to help my followers by giving them something I think is valuable and to help myself by reading these blogs and expanding my own reach. I’m happy to do some quid pro quo where it’s appropriate with another blogger, but I also understand if what I blog about has nothing to do with their social presence. Bummer for me, perhaps, but it’s a two way street and I’m okay with it. Exposing myself (legally and in a non-age restricted fashion) is not as important as keeping the faith of the people I’ve already got. My readers and followers come first, but having said that if I’m making any presumptions on their benefit I can just as easily stop – all I need is a friendly bit of feedback.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Sometimes the Puppy Gets It

October 18, 2012 4 comments

My wife is a Real Housewives fan. In particular the Real Housewives of New Jersey and the Beverly Hills. Oh, she likes the won with the blond lady that wears wigs all the time too (Atlanta? Orange County? I have no idea). I admit that openly and also confess that while I sit on the couch trying to write, I’m occasionally drawn into the train wreck.

The New Jersey season just ended (THANK GOODNESS!). During the reunion shows that they dragged out a question was posed about whether it’s bad to be opportunistic. I suppose there’s a line there, but short of being obnoxious or harmful I don’t think being opportunistic is bad at all. The particular instance they referred to had something to do with a blond lady who seems deserving of things I best not mention on this venue plotting to harass a regular cast member (Melissa, maybe?). All with another cast members implicit assistance (Theresa?). If Theresa is the one I’m thinking of (everybody hates her right now), I have to say she’s also deserving of actions I dare not mention…

But I’m digressing. Ultimately my life would be a better place without any of those shows because then I wouldn’t be sidetracked by their self-destructive behavior and staged drama. This post is actually about my successful return to Twitter! The reason I was kicked off had to do with aggressive following practices. I thought I was being opportunistic – e.g. following people who had similar interests and unfollowing people who showed no interest (after several days) of following me back. Isn’t that how friends and social networks are formed?

Well it turns out Twitter doesn’t care much for that sort of behavior, especially if it’s automated or if you hover over your Twitter account and show obsessive / compulsive tendencies. So to get back I had to request reinstatement and wait twelve days, then when they reacted to me I had to promise to behave myself and never try to make a new friend. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly, but you get the idea.

Or maybe the folks at Twitter thought tweets sent to new people were too aggressive: “Follow back or the puppy gets it!”.

Of course I’m kidding, no such tweets were ever sent nor were any puppies harmed in the process. You have to admit, it’d be kind of funny to get that tweet…even if it did freak you out a little.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

What the Heck is #IAN1?

April 26, 2012 1 comment

I know the answer, don’t worry. #IAN1 is a Twitter hashtag. If you’re reading my blog and you’re not sure what Twitter is or what a hashtag is then I’m surprised. It’s not that I consider it common knowledge, it’s just that a large portion of my blog readers are pulled in from Twitter. For those of you that aren’t, let me see if I can sum it up.

A hashtag is a way to organize related tweets. Think of it as a category or even a genre. If you want to look up horror books you’d sort through a list of horror books, right? If you want to find out about tweets related to the TV show The Voice, you’d want to look up any tweets that use the hashtag #thevoice somewhere in them. Twitter was built with this in mind so people can read streams of tweets with this in mind. It’s called “trending.” Thus ends the Twitter lesson.

So back to #IAN1. That happens to be the hashtag set up for the Independent Author Network. It’s a website I joined a while back for a nominal fee to help host my books. I was searching for as many reliable and cost-effective ways to expose myself. Er, expose myself without any police involvement. Anyhow, the Independent Author Network is a resource for independent writers that are looking for fellow writers to talk shop with or just a place to put up our books and let people see them. It’s a huge benefit to readers as well, they can view (by genre) books and authors without any pressure as to whether they’re going to buy them or where they’re going to buy them at (each book has links to where it’s available at). I’ve got nineteen books on there, which is far and away one of the larger profiles.

To my fellow writers: has it helped me to have a page on the Independent Author Network? I think so. I don’t have any empirical data, you see, but I do know that my page was getting hundreds if not thousands of hits each month for a while (I haven’t seen any stats in a while but I imagine it’s gone up, not down). That doesn’t necessarily convert to a sale, but every opportunity to put my book in front of somebody increases the possibility of them buying it.

It’s not an instant guarantee of success either. As with anything, if people don’t know it exists then there’s little to no chance of them ever visiting it. That means I have to share the knowledge. I have to let people know that I have an IAN page and give them the address to it. It helps if I toss in a “please check it out,” while I’m at it.

IAN also offers up additional promo opportunities for writers from time to time. Some cost nominal fees and others are free. For example I’m involved in a “Spring Fever Promotion” that cost me nothing, it just required that I offer up a few books for display that are under $5. That’s easy for me – all my books are under $5.00! At least all of my ebooks are. Here’s the link to that page, I recommend checking it out and seeing if you can find a great price on a new favorite author (other than me, of course): http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/kindle-under-5.html.

And in case you wondered nobody asked me to write this, nor am I receiving anything for it. Sure, I hope you’ll check the page out and find some use (such as buying one or more of my books), but if that’s not your thing that’s fine too. It’s also a public service message for struggling writers that are trying to find ways to get more exposure. I’m giving the place two thumbs up, I recommend you check it out.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Triberr – Blog Reach Multiplier and how I use it

February 10, 2012 2 comments

If you’re reading this, the odds are good that you stumbled across it thanks to Triberr. Triberr allows people with similar interests to get together and use Twitter to retweet each others blog postings. I’m a member of a couple of great groups and that really helps to get exposure out there. My blog has grown to perhaps four or five times the following of what it was before Triberr in the span of a a few months.

It’s not just that simple though. Each member of each Triberr group gets to choose whether they send out a tweet about a blog post or not. That, I find, is crucial. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t tweet about every blog that comes across my desk. More often than not I do, but that’s because the people I work with have similar interests.

I’m not being a prick, at least not intentionally, I’m trying to protect my own credibility with my Twitter followers and I’m hoping to prove to them that I value them. I often have conversations with people on Twitter, in fact, and at times I’ll scroll through the stream of tweets looking for something and someone new to talk to just because I want them to know I am interested and I do appreciate them. Thus I don’t necessarily send out a tweet about somebody’s blog on how to bake some gluten free blueberry muffins, but I will tweet on a blog about writing tips or a book review. I usually won’t tweet about diet and exercise tips because I find them gimmicky. I’ve spent years developing my own nutritional plans and exercise routines that work great but I don’t like people trying to make a buck off of such things. And then there’s the free iPad offers – nope, you’ll never get one of those outta me either. :)

So to my Triberr friends – if I don’t tweet about your blog it’s nothing personal, it’s just me trying to maintain my credibility with my Twitter clan. I’ve attracted them because we share interests and while a few of them might be interested in learning how to use dental floss to detail hubcabs, the majority are not. I do weigh each blog individually though – who it comes from is irrelevant as far as my determination to tweet it out or not.

To my Twitter followers – well what I just said applies to you guys and girls as well. And yes, even the occasional Twitter-bot (who else is going to post an avatar wearing a skimpy bikini and offering free stuff ?).

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

The Sound of a Thousand Whispers

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Wouldn’t it be neat if people with similar interests had an organized means of helping each other out? Or maybe ‘organized’ isn’t the right word, how about convenient? I’ve been tossing the idea around in my head for a few months now, wondering just what sort of administrative nightmare it would be to try and organize a group of people with similar interests or topics into helping one another out. The results, as always, were daunting.

Then today something happened that knocked my socks off. An opportunity fell into my lap that I viewed skeptically – after all, there’s no free lunch in the world. With suspicion in mind I checked it out. “It” is called Tribberr.com.

The way it works is that people with similar interests join groups called Tribes. Not so impressive yet, but just wait. The Tribberr site receives the RSS feed from your blog and makes it available to everyone in your various groups. These people then have the ability to see the blog and comment on it or go to it, or more effectively to tweet about it and raise the awareness to others who you may have otherwise not have known existed. That means this post, when it goes out, has the opportunity to reach close to 100,000 people, considering the Tribes I’ve become a member of.

And the cost of the service? Free. You just need an invite from an existing member. It looks pretty slick, but I’ve only just started using it today. As with anything I suspect the usefulness of it will be directly proportional to how much work I put into it. The beauty of it is there’s not much work that has to be done. Just logging in a couple of times a day to accept the otherwise automated tweets of people in my tribes.

So I say thank you to the people who created Tribber.com. You’ve saved me a ton of work and thought. Granted, you may have also prevented me from developing a product that would have made me a lot of money – but I’m okay with that. At least up until the point where you buy your first yacht, then I might get a little snarky.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Blurring the Lines

October 24, 2011 2 comments

So I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, but finally took the plunge today. I took the advice of a certain million-ebook-selling-person, (cough)John Locke(cough), and created a Twitter persona for one of my most persistent characters. And by persistent I mean not only persistently nagging at me, but persistent as in she’s in several books I’ve written or am writing.

Her name, Katalina Wimple. I’ve blogged about her and The Lost Girls (her debut novel) before. She also has  a cameo in Voices – but Voices is set later in the Dark Earth universe timeline by a few years. It could be confusing, and contrary to good marketing sense, I would recommend not reading Voices until after I’ve published (and you’ve read) The Lost Girls, Traitor, and Wolf Girl. Voices falls between Wolf Girl and Black Widow.

Anyhow, Kat has a Twitter account (@VDIKaty), as I was saying. If you want to see the latest trouble she’s getting into, or eavesdrop while she insults me, feel free to follow her at http://twitter.com/VDIKaty

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Selling My Soul – Progress Report

October 21, 2011 4 comments

I’ve been teasing and hinting that I’m doing all this research and I’m going to post the conclusions of that research. Well, I’m a long ways from that, but I can offer up some tidbits on what a few months of progress are showing. And most importantly (to you, the readers), this is free! I’m not offering all this up in a conveniently bundled package for $x.99 like certain individuals out there. Maybe I should and maybe this simple bit of humanitarianism is a marketing fail on my part. I’d rather think you’d be grateful for this and more inclined to believe that I really do want to help people succeed – both myself and you, dear reader. Heck, maybe you’ll be so appreciative you’ll even go out and buy one or more of my books. No pressure though… ;-)

First on cover art: By improving my cover art images it’s definitely getting good feedback from people anecdotally (kind words over Twitter and email and such). Is it driving sales? No, is it helping? Yes. Can I quantify it? Alas – no. I did take Wanted from a good to a better (in my opinion) cover and got several very positive comments on it though, including at least one sale because it “looked very interesting.” Small sample of data, but I only made the transition last night.

Book Blurb: I’ve revised and fine tuned my book blurbs, improving them steadily all along. I may occasionally make a tweak here or there but by and large that’s all there is to it. The results? Well there’s no empirical data saying it helped n%, but there has been a steady increase over time.

Book Reviews: Yes, these are helping…I think. Nobody has contacted me to say they were on the fence about buying my book until they saw “RazorbabyX99″ thought it was a great read, but knowing how I and a few others look at making a purchase in an online venue, reviews are worth their weight in gold. And like above, the positive trend reflects that these are a factor, I just wish I had more of them. I honestly believe more reviews would make a very strong difference. As it is I’m lucky to have two reviews on any given book on Amazon. I encourage – no, I implore people to please help out the writers they like (especially if it’s me) and leave a few words or sentences about a book they liked. It’s so immensely helpful.

Twitter: The powerhouse that is Twitter is both fun and useful. I’ve had a lot of success with Twitter helping me to increase sales. Both my tweets that go out aimed at promoting and other tweets that draw people in. Sure, maybe it’s a a 1:500 ratio but that’s still a sale. But even more importantly, I’ve met some really cool people and been touched by some of them as well (and not in a creepy way). For example, my wife has spent the week in the hospital for some severe abdominal pain that the docs had a hard time identifying. It looks like she’ll be headed home very soon, hopefully today, and the problem was one that was complicated by a matter of timing and coincidence. A few mentions on Twitter about this brough in a flood of well wishes and support. It was very touching and very much appreciated. Sure, maybe there’s no real investment when all your doing is typing in a few encouraging words but trying being on the other end, when you’re not quite sure what’s going on and you’ve got the creative machine that is a writer’s mind working against you instead of for you. It’s amazing how the power of anonymity and empathy combine to make me think that maybe humanity isn’t destined to spiral into chaos.

Website: I’ve got one (http://www.booksbyjason.com) and I update it frequently. Either new samples, news postings, or design changes (major or minor). Come to think of it I need to revise some font sizes on my book pages for the links still. Well anyhow, having a website has been quite helpful. People like the free samples. My visitation is down recently because I haven’t been pumping it out there very much. So, um, go visit it! ;-)

The data: The following numbers are US numbers from Amazon only. I’ve got a great following in the UK that is increasing at a similar base and even if I can’t speak for their loyalty to me, I’ve found myself becoming fiercely loyal to them for the support I’ve received. I’ve got a passport, I just need the time and more sales to finance a trip to go and visit!

Month             Quantity                 Notes

June                       20                     No advertising worth mentioning, original covers / blurbs / website

July                         14                     Just beginning to attempt to advertise but “attempt” is the key word.

August                   50                    Started fumbling with Twitter effectively and blogging. Website enhancement

September          108                    More of the same plus I blurbs and prof. cover art. Website changes too.

October             93 / 135              At 93 presently, trending towards 135. More and more of the same.

So the improvements aren’t linear by any means, it’s a result of working hard and the more I can put into it in terms of time and effort, the more I get out of it. Adding new books to the mix helps as well, of course! The numbers aren’t outstanding by any stretch, but it’s a positive trend and I’m here for the long haul. I stand zero chance of hitting 1 million ebooks in five months like John Locke did, but that’s okay – I’m not the marketing guru he is either. Ironically I read his book and saw that he and I independently came to many of the same conclusions. In a few instances he’s been able to implement them better though.

But speaking of marketing, I’ve got something new I’m trying in the very near future too. It’s staying under wraps until it happens though, it’s a surprise – but I promise it’ll be a great one!

I started this marketing bit with the intent of using it as a tool. It was a means to an end. The end is a long ways away but that’s okay because it’s changed It went from being thought of as a necessary chore to something that has changed and improved me. The Twitter experience, where I interact with friends, has been inspirational, touching, exhilarating, and fun. There’s occasional somber moments as well, such as when I learn of a friend who is on the verge of losing a cherished family pet. They’re not just fans and readers, they’re part of an extended family and I couldn’t have the hopes, dreams, and ambitions that I do without them. If you’re a writer I’d advise you take that to heart and remember we’re only successful because of the people who make us that way.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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