Monday, September 23, 2013

3 Tips for Developing a Social Strategy with Jones House Creative

Like most things, social media marketing requires effort and smart planning. Many of our authors come to us feeling overwhelmed at the time and energy required to maintain multiple platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, MySpace, GoodReads, Riffle, and so many more. While we'll tell you, "Yes, some of those platforms are helpful for success in the industry," our desire is to equip you with advice and tools that will protect your time for more important priorities. Let's start with 3 tips...


It's impossible to pre-write and schedule 3-5 status updates for every media outlet for the next 365 days. So much of the "social" aspect is based on the unexpected and on genuine spontaneity. However, structuring certain elements allows you to fill in where needed with live engagement.

Start by mapping out your yearly predictables: holidays, conferences, vacations, etc. For example, instead of waiting until December to write and design your Christmas newsletter, have your graphics and content ready in October. Forethought is the key.

Try using a marketing spreadsheet, like the free template found below. In the left column, list EVERY promotional venue you are currently using (or plan to use in the coming year). Include Facebook, Twitter, Websites, Print Materials, E-Newsletters, Signage, etc. In the corresponding month cells, write brief goals for each category (we've included a few examples in the templates for your reference). If you feel like being even more organized, click over to tab 2 and fill out your weekly marketing agenda.



 Content marketing alone can be overwhelming. Followers will only read so many blog posts and answer so many questions. Occasionally offering them something tangible not only encourages their engagement, but builds your audience interaction as well.

Take a look at our most recent social sharing promotion: . This giveaway highlights the work of five talented authors, building their email contact list with each entry - all while offering participants relatable and valuable prizes.

Try to create as many touch-points with your audience as possible when choosing your incentives. The goal is to CONNECT with your readership and RETAIN their attention. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, a few being…

Avoid high-end electronics as your main incentive. Use items that pertain to your novel, yet appeal to your target demographic.
Follow-up on leads and entries. Write a newsletter or even a few personalized emails to encourage rapport with your new followers.
Design your graphics to represent your novel but also your writing as a whole. Use imagery to intrigue your entrants and excite them to read more of your writing.


One of the most common fears among authors is self-promotion. As a writer, you carry a heavy burden to not only write fabulous manuscripts, but generate interest in them as well! Let us encourage you - DON'T DO IT ALONE. Using a web management or promotional team is an investment, but the networking, skills, and extra manpower it offers can make an incredible difference - allowing you to focus on what no one else in the world can offer: Your Words.

Write ambitiously, friends. Your dream is worth your effort.

Annual Marketing Strategy & Weekly Marketing Agenda (.xls)
Annual Marketing Strategy (.pdf)
Weekly Marketing Agenda (.pdf)

About Jones House Creative…
Jones House Creative is a trusted voice in the web and graphic design industry, with over 15 years of innovation and design experience.

Whether it's social media, promotion, or creating full brands, we can help.

Seekerville is delighted to have Jones House Creative with us today. We took a look behind the curtain and discovered that Jones House Creative is actually:

Matt Jones Founder | Creative Director
Tracy Jones Co-Founder | Project Manager and Keeper of all Things Straight
Emily Scifres Social Media Conessieur | Administrative Genius

In honor of their visit today, we'll be giving away a $20.00 Amazon giftcard to one commenter. So ask away your questions, and do check out the spreadsheets they so generously shared with Seekerville! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. How busy is too busy with newsletters? I personally, hardly look at anything beyond the main body text of an author's newsletter and glance at the sides....I don't get upset that I signed up for the author newsletter and unsubscribe, but I just end up deleting it right away most of the time.

    But really, I have nothing to say. I should write a newsletter, but I just feel like it would come across as junk mail.

    But maybe that's just because I'm more social media attached than the general population and am just over all the content. I skim most everything anymore.

  2. Grab your mugs. Line up. Coffee's brewing.

    Social media is NOT my strength.Thanks for the tips. And the charts.


  3. In your case Melissa, the first line of the newsletter should probably shout, FREE BABYSITTER!!!!!

  4. These folks are from my favorite part of the country. Jenks, Oklahoma. I love Jenks.

    Antique capital of the world.

  5. It totally depends on the seasons as to weather I will read a blog or newsletter I have signed up for. And if it comes in Saturday night or Sunday forenoon it has a great chance of being read in its entirety. Harvest and spring time they probably get delegated unless something Stan's out. Free books might get me to read a few lines. Sorry authors...any other time I will probably even connect with you. Thanks for the coffee Helen!

  6. I have to say, I'm one of those people who sign up for a newsletter or follow a blog but then proceed to skim titles and only read things that really interest me.
    Great post

  7. I met Matt Jones at ACFW, and he was super nice.

    I didn't realize he was super smart too. Now I wonder what embarrassing thing I said to him. I'm pretty sure it was sports related because there's a Matt Jones in KY who is all about UK sports.

    Like I said, he was super nice and gave me his card.

    Thanks for sharing today!

  8. See, newsletters are pretty much the only marketing tool that makes sense to me. The rest of it I could do without for promotion (except for Seekerville and Jody Hedlund's blog). There are times I like facebook, but usually not when I'm supposed to act like an author on it. Then I just end up looking like an idiot.

    So, the things about author newsletter that I love? When I get an early look at a coming book. (Like I get to read the first chapter a month early). Or when I get a deleted scene or some other type of "Extra" that pertains to the book. I've never once used one of the recipes that seem to be so popular on those newsletters.

    Maybe while I'm here someone can explain the connection between recipes and books? It just doesn't make sense to me. I mean, if someone is baking, then they're not reading (or writing), right? So whats the point of giving a "reader" something to do that isn't related to reading?

    Okay, told you all I was a dunce when it came to this. But if someone, anyone, could explain. I'd really like to half understand.

  9. I'm not a newsletter reader with a few exceptions, but that's never been a reason for me to buy a book... I buy books because of a love of the author's story-telling and word-of-mouth (which now is via social media, blogs that tout books on sale, a huge thing with independent books where we control the pricing and can schedule personal "sales!!!")and having books release regularly to build readership across the board. I still love traditional 'word-of-mouth' but that most often comes to me via facebook or e-mail...

    But I totally agree with a launch program and little did we know when we set up Seekerville to help aspiring authors that we were also creating a great launch... and that's the best example of God's grace raining down. I often find the less I look for... the more I receive.

    I call it the "Mother Teresa" effect, that humility and hard work and hands out and help up eventually will offer their own rewards.

    I blame Sister Mary Cordis for my way of thinking!!!! :)

  10. When I find that a newsletter really has something to offer—I'm talking good hard information that I can actually use, then I always take the time to check it out.

    When they began to read the same every week or month, I unsubscribe.

    I do lots of skimming, looking for that tidbit that I might use.

    Kinda like skimming the veggies on the way to finding the dessert. :-)

    You're right Tina, Jinks Ok is a fun place!

  11. Thanks to Jones House for sharing the charts! We're so glad you joined us today!

  12. Melissa, I think we feel that way because we're writers and inundated with "stuff." I have readers who look forward to my newsletters and always write back to me to thank me and chat. So I don't think they look at it as junk mail like we do.

    But it's tough to think like a reader anymore, isn't it?

    I'd suggest trying a newsletter. I think it's really a good way to get word out about new books.

  13. Naomi, I sometimes share a recipe in my newsletter, mainly because I feel like I need to offer something (anything!). :) And that just happens to be something I enjoy, so I hope my readers enjoy it as well. I haven't gotten much feedback about it, though, so I don't know if it's effective.

  14. Marianne, thanks for mentioning the weekend thing! I think my newsletters that I've sent on Saturdays seem to get read more. I'll have to actually study that and see if it's really true. It feels that way, though.

  15. When you say spreadsheet, I am SO there! Whoot-whoot!

    My Media Contacts and Blog Calendar spreadsheet just expanded! :)

  16. You know, I see our Yankee Belle Cafe as a newsletter type blog. We talk about books, but we focus on the basics of life, recipes, jokes, pets, kids, our thoughts/dreams, making fun of Missy and me. :)

    The cool thing was expanding it to include Julie, Virginia, Mindy and Jan... that broadened our horizons, our readers and page-loaders and gave us so much more leverage to play.

    And this post touched on that, how you can develop your potential by working with others. That's huge these days....

    Remember how Nora made a point of saying she wasn't on Facebook or Twitter?

    Well, she's The Nora, with a fan base of gazillion to the tenth so that's an entirely different equation. For us newbies and midlisters, we do it the new old-fashioned way... one post, one share, one tweet, one whisper at a time. And that's okay.

  17. JONES HOUSE CREATIVE, thank you for this. I'm not published yet but am one of the many older writers who feels overwhelmed by the opportunities -- and requirements -- for promotion today.
    MISSY AND NAOMI, recipes are okay. People who are going to bake are going to bake regardless, and people who are going to read are going to read regardless.
    I like newsletters because they give ma an insight into the writer's mind and life, and humanize them, so important in the women's fiction/romance world.
    RUTHY, I didn't know you went to Catholic school! I did too. There is nothing like it, for good or for ill. I'm just sayin'...
    And a happy (and chilly) fall morning to all of you from Kathy Bailey!

  18. This is really helpful as it helps me think through what I may need to set in place for the day when I really do need the help of someone like Jones House Creative. I loved the suggestions.

    I don't receive a ton of newsletters, but I usually do a quick read of the ones I receive. I find the ones I like best are the ones that are shorter and give updates on what's going on with the author.

    Thank you Jones House Creative for sharing your wisdom with us, and for the spread sheet and the charts. That's helpful!

    I shared a meal at a table Matt sat at at ACFW too. He's friendly and knowledgeable. And he made a great Flying Monkey. :)

  19. I like the recipes :) I got the greatest recipe for scones from a Cheryl St.John postcard. Yum. I think the recipes are thought to add a 'homey' touch. Even my real estate and insurance agents include a recipe with their mailings. And recipes don't have much to do with insurance or real estate either!

    I like an 'upcoming release' newsletter from my favorite authors. I tried the yahoo loop for a newsletter but people who aren't familiar with the loops rarely follow through on the sign up email. I might try something different...Anyone have suggestions?

  20. Missy is absolutely correct. What a newsletter offers a writer versus a reader is two different animals.

    I read newsletters of friends to see what's going on in their WRITING lives. Okay, I am not into recipes but Donna Alward gives some really good down home, I can see me making this recipes.

    Then I read newsletters of authors I worship from afar just like a reader. I want to have a peek into their personal lives. Susan Elizabeth Phillips comes to mind. Though she just posts them on her website. ICELAND PICTURES ANYONE??

  21. And I can tell you that if Frank Peretti had a newsletter I would be all over it. Must check. Did the man have his picture taken with everyone at ACFW? What a nice guy.

  22. I've decided against a monthly newsletter, and am just going to do quarterly and actual book release news. I'm hoping that will be a happy medium with people who want personal news-letter-y stuff, and people who just want book news.


  23. Great article and info on promotion. Thanks TINA.

    The only thing I can say positive about all the self-promotion requirements is that having to learn so much stuff supposedly keeps me young. ha ha ha And keeps my brain working. more ha ha ha

  24. If I get published, I will drive around town with the windows down screaming, "I wrote a book!"

    Okay, okay, not really. That might deter a few. I'm actually a shy person. But I would find every way I could to promote it--Facebook, newsletter, giveaways, etc. Thank goodness I have a big ole' family here in the South and up North (Yankee-land). *grin* At least they'd buy it!

    Please enter me. Who would not want an Amazon card?

    Courtney --

  25. Sandra, don't thank me. This is all wonderful info from Jones House Creative. (In Jenks, Oklahoma)

  26. Hallee! Good morning. Good to see you! Where've you been hiding?

  27. Aren't big families a blessing, Courtney? Mothers are great PR agents. They stand in Wal-Mart and brag on their child the writer.

  28. One thing I'd like to discuss is the effectiveness of email blasts.

    Are they effective? (Well in fact, what actually can be gauged as effective in social medial marketing? Right? I mean what are the direct sale correlations?)

    Or are email blasts annoying?

  29. Yes, the newsletter I like the best are from bestselling authors that I don't know. The newsletters from people I see on fb all the time? I don't do much with those. But there again, the newsletters that I like are also offering some kind of exclusive content: pics from a trip to their next novel location, early looks at a book, that kind of thing. And I only like the letters to come when there's a book releasing. Don't send me one every month unless you have something important to tell me every month.

    It's helpful to hear all the different thoughts on the newsletters and facebook and everything, though.

    And yeah, when I read the quote from Nora Roberts about how she wrote so many books a year because she wasn't on facebook or twitter, I rolled my eyes and went, "Oh, and that's so entirely practical for all the debut and midlist authors out there who DON'T HAPPEN TO BE NORA ROBERTS."

  30. Wow! Informative post. Will keep it in mind for future reference - although those spreadsheets were scary!

    Nora Roberts may not be on Facebook herself but her inn (Boonsboro Inn) is on - updated by her staff obviously, but there is a lot of book news given out and pictures of Nora at the Kentucky Derby, on vacation in Italy with her family, etc. I like it!

    I do like author newsletters that I get via email (I get one from Nora!) but I agree too often is not good. A few times a year is just right.

    Please throw my name in the hat!


  31. Oh, and I am also one of those Catholic school, nun-educated types. We also had lay teachers, but the nuns were so much fun! The stories we have about them are still fun to tell.

    Like the one poor soul who always seemed a little high-strung and we found out she'd had several nervous breakdowns! Not the type to be teaching teenagers! We used to drive the poor woman crazy just by moving our desks out of line. She'd spend the next ten minutes lining all the desks back up again!

    One nun used to give out Harlequin books because they were 'pure'! LOL!

    They kept life interesting!

  32. Nora is on FB...must go seek her out. Thanks for the tip, Susan.

  33. Inn BoonsBoro

    Can you say, Seekerville Retreat? With Workshops. (Enter Jones House Creative!!)

  34. If the idea is for an author to make money from her writing, then I think social media efforts need to be justified by a cost/effectiveness analysis. I have never seen such an analysis.

    I can see no way most social media efforts can be cost effective given the value of an author’s time. Most websites have very small audiences. They often have the same people most of the time and these are often already members of the choir – that is, they are going to buy the author’s book anyway. Then you have the people who drop in with a one line comment just to win a prize. With some small sites, the author will actually bring more pageviews from her friends and followers than the site brings to her! She is doing more good for the site than the site is doing for her!

    Even a big popular website, a top 100 best site at that, like Seekerville only generated 31,914 pageviews last month. I’ve received over 250,000 equivalent pageviews (readers who could have read the notice) by just announcing a booksigning in Tulsa (by placing the notice in different sections of the paper on different days.) These were free. This does not even include TV and radio announcements – which are very possible if you have researched the local media very well.

    I think a key is to have authors write more books, say 4 a year, shorter books, better books, and to have new book 'release publicity' many times a year. These many books will work to sell the other books in the author’s backlist. More books on the bookshelves also stamps an author as being popular and more significant. When I see six to eight of Mary Connealy’s books on a book shelf in a store, for example, I’m impressed and think of her as a major author. I also think that if I like this author’s work, there is much more of it to enjoy. I’m always disappointed when I find a great author and she only writes one book.

    As a marketing person, I’d like to see authors write novellas that prequel or supplement their upcoming full book releases and then offer those novellas for free on Kindle et al. After the promotion these novellas can augment the author’s income by selling for $.99 to $2.99. This way the author is paid, and hopefully well paid, for her marketing efforts.

    Of course, all this hangs on the author writing very good books her fans really enjoy reading. This can happen by spending more time on her writing. More time for layering and making her writing a more rewarding reading experience. Doing this takes time and that time, if used well, should pay off much more than time spent on social media.

    I think the best reason for an author to do social media is because she enjoys it and because it gives her a much needed break from the heavy lifting of writing. Social media in this case would be cost effective because it actually made her writing even better.

    The worse reason to do social media is because the author considers it ‘writing’ and does it because it is more fun than actually doing the hard work of writing. I think a lot of social media is just this. I think the people who are most obsessed with social media are aspiring writers who are not yet published. They find it more fun to build a platform than actually finish and polish their WIPs.

    I’m a direct response marketer and copywriter and I want to see objective test results – not antidotal wishful thinking. I’m also very old school. I even use a 500 plus item checklist for strengthening a direct response piece before it is released. Of course, as a writer, I’m a plotter. : )


    P.S. Yes, I'm guilty, too. I am writing this instead of getting my RPP WIP ready for my editor!

  35. "I’ve received over 250,000 equivalent pageviews (readers who could have read the notice)"

    But this is not VERIFIED measurable information.It's a guesstimate. And it is a one time unmeasurable information.

    And Seekerville is free as well. And 31 thousand page views for free IS MEASUREABLE.

    However I agree, writing more is the only measurable action.

  36. Very timely advice. Social media marketing has been weighing heavily on my mind over the last six months. Thanks for sharing. I will download the spreadsheets to see if they'll help me. I need to figure out how much time I should be spending on social media.

    ~Cecelia Dowdy~

  37. I'd love to know how Jones Creative ranks all the social media sites out there as far as effectiveness. Which is the most effective.

    I recently read an article that gave the number two social media site.

    What is it?


    I was stunned.

  38. Another interesting denominator is timing of social media.

    "According to the inforgraphic, the best time to post to Facebook is between 1pm and 4pm; the best time to post to Twitter is between 1pm and 3pm; the best time to post to LinkedIn is between 7am and 9am or 5pm and 6pm; the best time to post to Google+ s between 9am and 11am; and the best time to post to Pinterest is between 2pm and 4pm or 8pm and 1am. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t look good for your reach on any social sites when you post while people are fast asleep."

    From Social Times .com

  39. I would much prefer to connect with authors through newsletter and blogs. Seems to me FB posts gets lost with all the other posts of those I follow.

  40. As a reader and unpublished writer, I definitely enjoy connecting with authors on Facebook and Seekerville. That way, I hear about book releases and background information for certain stories which makes me all the more eager to read those books.

    Side-note: Reached the halfway point in my WIP today. Now I must go set my heroine's house on fire. What a shame.

    And yeah, Tina, my mom will be ecstatic when (I choose to be optimistic) my story is published. She ignited my love of books when I was little.

  41. As a reader, the way I like to keep up with my favorite authors is through facebook. I agree that offering books or something related is a more tangible incentive than electronics. It helps people connect with an author and their stories.

  42. Thanks for coming to Seekerville and sharing tips for enhancing our efforts to connect with readers on social media. The spreadsheets are helpful. I especially liked the suggestion to choose incentives that pertain to our novel.


  43. Courtney, you little firebug you. :-) Congrats on reaching the halfway mark on your wip!


  44. Thanks to Matt and company for their tips on social strategy. Definitely a keeper post!

    Matt and I used to be in the same ACFW chapter, and I have always been impressed with his creative talents!

    Missy, I think you're the one who commented how hard it is for published authors to think like readers anymore. That is so true. Sometimes I really wonder how my promotional efforts (Facebook, Twitter, newsletter, etc.) come across to my "readers only" readers as opposed to readers who are also published authors.

  45. Tina, I understand antiques way better than I do social media. I refuse to believe that proves I'm an antique too. :-) Know I'd love to visit the shops in Jenks.


  46. Hi Melissa and Marianne,

    Emily from Jones House here! Thanks for your comments! You're absolutely on par with most audiences these days. People rarely read 100% of what they receive in their inboxes, but it shows us the importance of writing keyword rich titles and headlines. Offering VALUABLE content and publishing it in attention-grabbing ways is vital.

  47. Hi, never heard of Riffle before. Excuse me. I need to go get some duct tape and wrap it around my head to keep it from exploding. I'll be back.

  48. Hi Myra - You brought out a great question: "How to reach READERS instead of just other published authors?"

    The fact is, any promotional effort is bound to draw other authors attention. The good news is that other authors are often your greatest advocates - sharing your posts with their own tribes of followers.

    Reaching untouched readers is a lot of work, but it's possible. Examine your forums - perhaps Facebook might not be the best place to interact with readers, but maybe Goodreads would be. Don't exhaust yourself by trying to evenly promote on all platforms. Find out which venue is most affective for your readers and pour your attentions there.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  49. Haha, Mary, skip the duct tape and grab some chocolate instead.

    There will always be new social media forums to keep our minds spinning. Riffle is just one of them. Balance is really the key. Don't impose upon yourself the need to be 100% on every platform. Just figure out how much you can do well and stick to it. The purpose of these tips and downloads is to streamline your process and protect your head from exploding. :)

  50. Thanks for the welcome, Janet! The whole Jones House team is delighted to be here. :) Come join us for an antiquing adventure sometime if you're ever in the area.

  51. Courtney, great input! Congrats on reaching the halfway!

    As an unpublished author, keep in mind that it's never too early to begin building your readership and mailing list. Many publishers see that as a plus when signing new authors, because it makes their marketing efforts that much easier.

    In your newsletter content, offer bits and pieces of your creative process: an intro paragraph to your latest story, the inspiration that led you write this plot, your ideas for a bookcover when it's published, etc.

    Good luck to you!

  52. Yeah. I was going to check on the whole Riffle thing. It sounds suspiciously like a salty snack.


    It's not Goodreads, (which has apparently become a land requiring self defense lessons). HURRAH.

  53. Emily, welcome. We'd like more wedding pictures, please and thank you. :)

  54. I think that's Ripple, Tina.

    No wait, Ripple is cheap wine.

    Which might also be appropriate at this juncture.

  55. RUFFLES. THAT'S what You're thinking of!!!

  56. I'm doing a chat tonight on Book Fun.
    I think 125,000 people are going to show up.

    that might be scary.

  57. A few no shows will help keep the internet from being sucked into a black hole.

  58. Hey Tina,

    To answer your comment: "I'd love to know how Jones Creative ranks all the social media sites out there as far as effectiveness. Which is the most effective."

    That might actually be a better question to ask the authors. :) Social media platforms seem to flow in waves of effectiveness. It's not so much that one platform is more effective than others, but which platform are you most consistent on.

    When trying to assess what social sites to use, ask a couple questions:
    --How much brand integration does this site allow? (Can I use my own graphics? Can I post book trailers or PDF downloads? Does it allow me to link my other social networks to my profile?)

    --How much time will this network require of me to make an impact? (Twitter posts are easy, but if you audience follows a lot of people, your tweets will disappear quickly. Facebook allows pretty good audience reach, but only displays your content to certain friends.)

    --Who is using this network the most? (Goodreads is for readers and authors. MySpace has primarily moved to musicians and younger demographics. Instagram is for artsy 20 and 30-somethings.)

  59. I thought MySpace was dead?

    I kinda dropped out after I posted the 'pimp' design (that's what my daughter called it, 'you need to pimp your page mom') The design I chose turned out to be a stripper. (that whole experience was fraught with 'warning signs' let's say.

    And then I posted the cover to Petticoat Ranch, my cute little boot remember? On a page owned by the guy who wrote Halloween I thru XIII, so inappropriate. And I think I got ZERO readers from that. It was all very confusing. I was young.

    Should I re-up my MySpace status?

    And I recently cancelled Shoutlife when I got 1000 'friend' requests from one person in a 24 hour person.

    For all of you mothers out there, I recommend Lamaze Breathing Techniques in most social media situations. They aren't just for childbirth anymore. They are a perfect fit for Social Strategy.
    And no one can hear you biting on a bullet during a chat, although the web cast I'm supposed to do may require more subtlety, darn it!

  60. Also, off topic, but if you're biting on a bullet during labor, you might be doing it wrong.

  61. Ha! Pam Hillman, right there with you! Pretty sure my bio says "...throws a party when she makes a well-ordered spreadsheet..." ;) Something about everything having it's nice little space that makes the world a better place!


  62. Good thoughts, Emily.

    The idea of social media-ing incorrectly is a bit terrifying to authors. (Okay to me.).

    For example: last week I sent out 152 invitations on LinkedIn. How? No idea. User error.

    This is like maids. You don't actually want anyone to know just how much you don't know (or how dirty your house is).

    So someone needs to offer authors a one month free trial of doing all the social media for them. When the 30 days is over those authors will pay you and give you their first born child to keep doing it for them.

    Win win. Unless you don't like babies.

  63. Pam and Emily and the .XIS Club. We should have suspected.

  64. Hi Tina:

    "I’ve received over 250,000 equivalent pageviews (readers who could have read the notice)"

    But this is not VERIFIED measurable information. It's a guesstimate. And it is a one time unmeasurable information."

    The ‘possible impressions’ is verified to the extend that you believe the audited circulation figures for the Tulsa World. The figure is probably much higher than this as often more than one person will read the same newspaper.

    I’m not saying that even doing this is ‘cost effective’ because I don’t have a way to test it. It is the same for websites and social media where you don’t have a way to test it.

    As such, I was comparing ‘impressions’ to ‘impressions’ and in this respect newspaper publicity has a potential of getting you a year's wroth of impressions in one try. (This of course depends on the newspaper’s circulation.)

    The way to test this is to have readers buy your book from the site. In a newspaper ad, we would have a coupon number and when the order came in we would record that number. Then we would compare what the ad cost to the profit the ad generated. We would also check to see how many buyers were new customers. It is possible for an ad to lose money, say $1 a buyer, and still be cost-effective -- if a customer was worth a lot of money over a life time. (Say the average new customer goes on to buy $300 more in books in future years.)

    Until there is a way to test social media efforts (and the mantra of a direct response person is ‘test, test, test, always be testing, test everything’) there is no objective way to tell if it is worth the efforts and the time spent doing it. And until it is testable, and test results are available, everyone can claim to be an expert (including me.)

    As of now, I can’t see anyway most social media could be cost effective – unless authors do it in ‘garbage time’, that is, when they would not be writing anyway. Even a $1,000 an hour lawyer can still put out his own garbage (cost effectively) if he couldn’t be practicing law for that few minutes in any event. Maybe he even wants the exercise.

    I love to visit social media. I think Seekerville is great. I just think most authors could do a lot better by spending more time making their books more enjoyable and less time avoiding writing by ‘working’ on social media. (Like I'm not doing right now!)


  65. Mary,

    My personal opinion would be to skip MySpace in your marketing efforts at this point. It's had a makeover in the last year, but not to a point that I think it would offer any value to you.

    For authors, I'd say start by focusing your attention on learning these 4 platforms and being consistent on them, before expanding into others:

    Pinterest (Make sure you use it legally!

  66. .XLS club...absolutely. Maybe more like support meetings. ;)

  67. Thanks, Janet and Emily:)

    Love the advice!

  68. Great tips and thanks for the spreadsheets! One question: How could I schedule Facebook updates and Tweets in advance and for FREE?

  69. Hey friends,

    Many of your comments are saying "I don't know what to include in my newsletter." Let us give you a few ideas (not a comprehensive list by any means):

    --An entertaining opening story (personal or professional)
    --Upcoming Events (book signings, tours, conferences, etc.)
    --What's the latest with your book(s)?
    --Contact information
    --A new Pinterest board
    --Something you've learned
    --Content being offered on your website
    --1 or 2 testimonials
    --Survey, game or something fun

    What other content do you like to offer in your newsletters?

  70. Preslaysa I use Hootsuite to preschedule Tweets and it works well, then I have twitter autoload to Facebook. so I get both at once.
    I also have my blog, which I use less all the time auto load to twitter which auto loads to facebook.
    And I can schedule the blog ahead. But what I don't like about the blog is all the links take you to the blog. In Hootsuite the links take you to the book or Amazon or wheverever, the the autoloaded links from blogger just take you to my blog and there you find the links I want you to find. So it's always two steps, not quite as seamless.
    I don't know anyway to pre-schedule Facebook only.


  71. Google+

    This is interesting.Must wrap my brain around this.

    I use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn exclusively.


  72. Do you think Hootsuite could schedule the rest of my life for me?

  73. The newsletter info is VERY HELPFUL. Thank you!

  74. Hey Preslaysa,

    Great questions. Thanks for stopping by!

    You can pre-schedules posts using a number of different third-party applications. Some social networks allow you to schedule things directly. As far as free resources, I'd recommend Hootsuite ( as a starting option. Once you're familiar with how it works, you might decide to subscribe to a paid service. Buffer ( is another social media organizer you might like, with a simpler user interface.

  75. MATT!!! Welcome to Seekerville, and it was SO FUN meeting you at ACFW!!! Didn't realize you were a writer, too, so you are obviously a man of many talents, my friend!!

    LOVE this post because I LOVE 1-2-3 type tips, so THANK YOU!!

    I do have a question for you, though. You said, "Avoid high-end electronics as your main incentive. Use items that pertain to your novel, yet appeal to your target demographic."

    I have been checking out various author promos lately and two of them did exactly what you said above, not offering an electronic as a big prize, but things that related to the book such as a ladie's tool kit for a book where the heroine was a handywoman, etc. Although the took kit is a fun idea and one I actually like, MOST of the giveaways I've seen lately that do this have things that do not appeal to me or motivate me to enter. But if I see an iPad Mini listed?? Oh, you bet I'll enter. I can see giving away theme gifts as part of the prize along with a dangling carrot like an iPad Mini, but theme prizes alone? Why do you say this? Have you done research to back this up?

    My video is still going pretty strong, so I attribute that TOTALLY to your incredible talent!!


  76. Hey Julie!

    Thanks for your part recommending us to Seekerville! We're delighted to be here. Matt will be stopping by in a bit to offer thoughts, but I wanted to comment on your giveaway thoughts.

    Jones House has run a number of these social sharing contests. We've tried using both the high-end electronics as well as the book-specific items and here's what we're finding:

    When we've used the electronics or the generic items, we get a very high entry rate initially. (People want iPads, for sure!) But when our client has followed up with those entrants, huge percentages have unsubscribed immediately from their mailing lists, causing them to be blacklisted for spam and all sorts of other problems.

    When we use more novel-specific, the entry numbers are lower, but because we've tailored the prize to a demographic, the retention rate of those entrants is exponentially higher.

    Contests are only effective in ROI if you can retain the people that sign up and stay in contact with them.

    So glad the book trailer has been effective for you! It's always our pleasure to promote fabulous work, like yours!

  77. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the welcome! The main reason we suggest not always offering or at least not solely offering electronics in a promotional giveaway like this is twofold:

    1) Prizes that relate to your book are meant to give your readers a connection to the story itself. They're fun and memorable and offer insight into your characters and the story world you've created.

    2) Electronics as prizes are done. A lot. Originality, when done well, can help imprint your story in your potential readers' memory.

    In the end, you have to use your best judgment on prizes for giveaways. But, of the plethora of iPad Mini giveaways you've seen advertised, can you easily name what that iPad Mini was advertising? Maybe. But you just named exactly who the heroine was in the book giving away the tool kit. Which giveaway did its job?

  78. Hello everyone and nice to see some more about Jones House Creative, I met them in working with the "Fall into Love Contest" and think their work is terrific..catches the eye for sure, wondering if there has been lot of feedback from fans on this. I have not had much on my blog which I had thought would get more "lookers" to my blog Paula's Thoughts. No coffee today as stress test tomorrow, just wanted to say Hi to everyone,been missing this group...
    Paula O

  79. Newsletter are my favorite social marketing tool. I've only written a few and only when I have a book coming out or something to say. I read others' newsletters and actually enjoy them, especially is they have great recipes.

  80. Wow, what valuable tips! Thanks for the spreadsheets ideas. It's mind boggling coming up with this sort of stuff and such an advantage to have a team like yours doing that part of the work. Thanks for the post.

  81. Interesting post! I enjoy newsletters of well as their blogs.
    Please put my name in for the drawing!

  82. Hi Paula, great to chat with you here! Thanks for all you've done to participate in the Fall Into Love Contest! I'm sorry the traffic hasn't been what you hoped for, but the good news is we've entered you for 5 extra entries in the grand prize for helping! We'll see if the final week helps with traffic a bit.

    Cara - I love the recipes too! I've gotten a few from author newsletters that I've stashed away in my repertoire. :)

    Lyndee - Thanks for the comments! We're glad to provide you with some resources and hope they help! Blessings!

  83. All good points, Matt.

    Now, one caveat. We do electronics giveaways in Seekerville for our Birthday party in October each year. But those are just that. We give back to our Villagers who give us so much.

  84. Thanks, Emily! Sounds like a fun roadtrip. :-)

    I like the idea of using incentives that relate to the book. I'm struggling with ideas that will appeal to readers of historical romances. Not everyone wants a set of spurs or a Victorian hat.


  85. Hey Tina - When it comes to giveaways for blogging groups, that's a bit different than giveaways promoting specific novels, so I'd say you're totally safe there.

    Janet - you're right! It's very tough to come up with relevant items that have enough appeal to generate interest. Whenever our team runs a giveaway, several of us preview the novel and spend several hours discussion ideas for the prize package. One realization we came to is that while of course we want everyone in the universe to enter the contest, it's better to appeal to your genre's audience than try to make it work for everyone. You're always welcome to contact us if you need help generating ideas!

  86. Thanks, Emily and Matt, for providing such great info today.

    Emily, what about Twitter? Not as productive as FB and Pinterest?

    Do you think newsletters are a good use of a writer's time and energy?

  87. Wellll I just noted that another poor soul that I accidentally blasted with LinkedIn requests accepted.

    You see. This is why we should leave this stuff to the professionals. Or at least make us take a test.

  88. Really the only Social Media I tend to go to (on occasion)is Facebook. I tend to only really use that to try to locate people from my past. I do have a Twitter and Pinterest account but I'm not real active there either. I tend to spend most of my time on-line in the blogosphere. :)

    Would love to be entered into the giveaway.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  89. Thank you for a great post and the charts. Like several have already mentioned, marketing is not my strength.

    Newsletters scare me.

  90. Thank you so much, Emily and crew, for spending the day with us. We learned a lot and you fit in like one of the Village.

  91. My first novella is just getting ready to release and I'm lost in the world of social media, self-promotion, and marketing. Thanks for the spreadsheets and other tips!

    1. Oh, please enter me in the drawing.

  92. Lots to mull over in this post. Thanks!

    Nancy C

  93. I must say I love receiving newsletters.

  94. Thank you for the great tips on how to organize all this. You make it sound more understandable.

  95. EM AND MATT ... Thanks for explaining that ... it helps a lot!! And point taken, Matt on the promotions that stick in my mind. ;)


  96. Thanks so much for hosting us, TIna! It's been fun!

  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. Loved this post! Thanks for sharing this information on social media marketing and how to handle the deluge of information.
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

  99. Sounds like a good company that provides a needed service. Please enter me in the drawing.