Monday, June 22, 2015

What A Writer Learns from Facebook Partying


DON'T Look at me!

Don't! ACK! Make me share my best qualities? AAAH! Not happening.
www.angiedicken.blogspot.com 

I am a self-criticizer more than a self-promoter. Writing my author bio was like torture. It was much easier to list my flaws besides my accomplishments (side note: if you're anything like me, it's always helpful to have someone "unbiased" help tweak things like that).

BUT in this social-media-driven world, it is more and more important these days to build an online presence as an author OR an aspiring one. For years, I have been nervous about "a brand" or gaining "followers". After some very good advice recently, I forced myself to step out of my "skin" and become more intentional with growing my potential audience.

I took a deep breath and asked myself, what do I have to offer an audience, besides stories that have yet to be published? Well, I have a mom blog and a bit of knowledge, and a love for graphics. I decided to re-design, zoning in on myself as an "author" as well as a "mom-blogger". Funny, but it was just a matter of choosing to actually USE my existing corner of the web and answer some of the questions friends have asked me over the years...
the Whats, Whens, Wheres, Hows, and Whys of being a mom and a writer, and how they co-exist.
After I started playing with "the look" I decided to share it all with a Blog Kick Off (and this was as much for announcing it, as holding myself accountable to committing to it)!

I am sure there are a gazillion ways to promote a blog. I chose to throw a Facebook Event since I had experience with a direct-selling company which uses this tool.

So, I sat down and decided that it could not just be about telling people all my stuff. That's just a little heavy on the self-promotion side of things. I had to make it worthwhile for my guests. I needed a purpose greater than announcing "redesign":

My Event Purpose: To SHARE, SOCIALIZE, and UNDERSTAND my guests in light of my passion for books, my season of mothering, and as potential readers.

Here are some things I learned as I went through the prep and actual party-throwing:

1. PARTY "DECOR" & GRAPHICS:  I wanted my "look" to be memorable and meaningful. I had some head-shots done a while back, and so I decided to use them in several different ways as I posted and promoted. I shared my first attempt with some very trustworthy friends --the Alley Cats--and they were honest in telling me it just didn't seem like "me". It is very important to know that WHAT you are putting out there is WHO you want to be known as! Here is my first attempt at branding myself as a Historical Author and Mom Blogger:

I like this crisp look, but my Cats know my style and my stories,
and they gently steered me in a different direction.


Here is what my new blog banner became:


This has a bit more historical flare, with the artsy fartsy stuff that I love. :)

I also created my own images and clipart to promote my party and add to my posts to pop up across newsfeeds. This kept that "decor" going throughout the party period.:)

2. POST LIKE YOU MEAN IT: As far as my actual POSTS went, I first made a script for myself to be sure to have something productive and informative to say to keep the day-long party going. I looked over my script the night before the party and read, "blah, blah, blah." It did not sound like me one bit! Who wants an infomercial on Facebook?? There are PLENTY of those. So the next two points are how I *tried* to keep it fun and authentic:

3. TREAT IT LIKE A PARTY!  An event must be fun in my opinion. I go to social media for information, sure, but I want it to be worth my time too. Instead of using the script, I chose to include what I was actually doing at the moment of my post, or talk like I would at coffee shop instead of as a salesman. I'd like to think that my Blog Kick Off party was a social affair...and not just self-promotion. Facebook parties should be just as much about conversation as promotion.

My points list: Fun way to get friends involved and start up conversations!


4. GAMES AND GIVEAWAYS!  I said fun right? Games are a great way to get those conversations going, especially those, "What kind of....are you?" quizzes (But, be careful to review them first...some can be a bit inappropriate)!  The giveaways were a blast! I LOVE giving stuff to friends...especially when they are so supportive. I didn't feel like I was expecting too much attention from my audience when I knew I could make it a true party for them.



I must say, it has been an exciting time post-party as I have watched my numbers grow...it is a slow climb, but I am getting to connect with some amazing people, and not just share about my venture across social media, but learn about other writers, mom bloggers, and all kinds of people as I connect! My Facebook Event was a great tool to get the party started...and I feel like the party just keeps going as I explore the worlds of writing and motherhood!

What tools do you use to strengthen your online presence?

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Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at www.facebook.com/dicken.angie, her personal blog at angiedicken.blogspot.com and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken
Pinterest: pinterest.com/agdicken

5 comments:

Casey said...

I loved your idea of stepping outside your box and doing a blog party on FB. I honestly thought it was brilliant! I love the ongoing conversation that happens on a FB party as people pop in and out as they can.

And btw, I really wish I had your artistic ability to design images. I always love yours!!

Mary Vee said...

There are so many of us who don't know how to, when to, why to throw a FB party. Your experience, shared in this post, helped soooo much!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks girls! It is so much fun to throw a party...and on social media it's a blast because you connect people from a bunch of different circles! I think we should have an AlleyCat 10 year party...what do you think???;)

kaybee said...

Thanks Angie. Social media is hard for me, both because I was born in the 50s and also who has the time, but I've been making time and working on it a little bit here a little bit there. I don't have a blog right now, but am visiting your site and Seekerville to make new friends, posting on Facebook and leaving longer posts on LinkedIn. I want to get into book reviewing, I read EVERYTHING, but that door hasn't opened yet. It's a brave new world, isn't it? And fun.
Kathy Bailey

Rebecca Gomez said...

If only this had been posted a month or so ago, I may have done my book launch a bit differently! But hey, there's always the next book, right? Great ideas!