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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to Streamline Your Social Media - For Busy, Busy People

I've been crazy busy lately, no time to blog, but my busyness got me thinking about a presentation I gave last year about Streamlining. My apologies if this is a bit outdated in any way (I know it does not include Pinterest, for one), but I thought I'd put my notes up in case they're of interest to you...

When we talk about an Online Presence, we’re talking about not only a website, but your blogging presence, your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, LibraryThing, GoodReads, and now Google +.

Not only do the experts tell you that you should have a presence on all of these platforms, but also that you need to add content regularly to keep them dynamic. How is that even possible, you might ask. I know I did.

There are a couple of choices:
1. Cut back and only involve yourself in your favorite social media platforms.
2. Learn to streamline. And by streamlining, I mean automate.

Keep in mind, automating and flogging are not the same thing. Chances are your audience will either only follow you in one social media outlet, or, if they follow you in more than one, they won’t get annoyed if they see the same blog post, for example, tweeted as well as posted on Facebook, MySpace, GoodReads, and LinkedIn.

Here's a bit of a rundown on how you can link up and automate your different platforms for social media:

1.    Your website
– Make sure your website includes links (little icons are nicer than just text) to all of your other social media platforms. Ideally, on your home page of your website, with one click, followers should be able to follow you anywhere else that you are set up online.

2.    Your blog – For many of you, maybe your blog is your website, and that’s great. Same thing goes with having easy links to all your other presences on the web. Blogs also have handy widgets that can help you add dynamic content from other sites. For example, in the sidebar of my blog, I have a widget that displays what I’m reading (linked from GoodReads), another that displays my recent tweets from Twitter, one that invites people to “Like” my Facebook author page, and another that showcases my latest YouTube videos.

3.    Your Twitter – It’s easy to set it up so all your tweets go automatically to Facebook, but do you really want that? I used to have mine set up that way until I realized many of my Facebook friends were getting frustrated because they couldn’t follow much of what came up as my statuses on Facebook. Many-a-Twitter-virgin would ask me why I always had these @ signs at the beginning of statuses, or why the heck I used the pound sign so much. Now I used Tweetdeck, and with a simple click of a tab I can decide if I want to send a tweet just to Twitter or to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

4.    Your Facebook – You can feed your blog into the notes section of Facebook using Feedburner, but I use Networked Blogs, an application within Facebook to automatically feed by blog both into my personal Facebook page and also into my new Facebook author page. I don’t even think about it anymore. If I make it onto Facebook once a week to update my status, that’s great, but my account stays active just because my blog posts there automatically. There’s always something new there for my Facebook followers to see.

5.    NetVibes – this is a great site that allows you to update your statuses (and keep an eye on everything from the local weather and news to your favorite blogs) all in one place. It’s dashboard-style, and easy to navigate and drag widget boxes to wherever they’re most useful for you. If you don’t have extra time to keep up with social media, take a few minutes to set this up with all of your accounts, and then just open it up once a day to update everything in one place. It’s enough to keep you active everywhere.

The idea is to set things up once so your content filters through to all your outlets. If you think you have a high-interest post that needs multiple mentions, a nice way to do this is to start your posting with something like: “For the afternoon crowd,” so your followers know that you are purposely posting something more than once to try to hit a different crowd. That’s much less annoying than just seeing the same message over and over again. Nobody likes to be hit over the head with something.

Which brings me to another point: Don’t automate everything. Don’t hit people over the head with your product, whether it’s reviews or your latest book. I love to follow people back on Twitter, especially if it’s someone who loves books, but I admit, if as soon as I follow someone, I get a direct message telling me to check out their book or their blog, I usually unfollow them right away. That, in the world of social media, reeks of desperation, not professionalism.
There are many more social media outlets than what I’ve mentioned, of course, but most of them are making it truly easy to link up with all the others. While editing your GoodReads profile, you’ll see it’s self-explanatory how to add your blog, or to copy a GoodReads button or widget to add to your blog or website. There are plenty of badges or icons or galleries that you can add to your website and/or blog with almost every social media platform.

MySpace still links up with most of the biggies, but I personally don’t know anyone who spends time there anymore. Google + can be really useful for grouping your contacts into separate circles.

The thing is, there’s always something new, and there will always be something new. Take charge of what you’re involved in now, streamline it to the best of your ability, and when The Next New Thing comes along, you’ll have the time and energy to give it a try.

Helpful Links to Streamline Your Social Media:

Social media is an important part of the cutting edge book industry today, but you don’t have to spend a lot of time at it to keep active. Here are some links and brief descriptions that will help you along in streamlining your online presence:– This is a free service to burn your blog feed and feed it into other social media outlets. (or – This is a dashboard that makes it easy to monitor all of your social media platforms in one place. You can also send your blog there, or watch other blogs that interest you. It’s easy to update statuses all in one place if you don’t want them to all be exactly the same. This is great for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, My Space, and probably many others.
Ping.FM – This can be used to update all of your social networks at once. Fast and easy if you want to post the same message everywhere. (or – Some also prefer to use Hootsuite, but I’ve found Tweetdeck more user-friendly. Update multiple Twitter accounts from one place. With the click of one button, decide whether or not to forward your tweet to Facebook or to tweet it from more than one Twitter account. Watch what specific people are tweeting about and easily retweet their interesting messages. – Set up automatic tweets for later in the day if you won’t be around. (Again, please don’t flog the same message again and again…desperation, not professionalism!) – Add your blog on this site and it will automatically feed your blog posts onto Twitter for you. Here’s a hint: You can add hashtags either at the source on Twitterfeed or in your blog title to help drive traffic on a particular subject. – Are you involved in a lot of physical appearances? Make sure you list the information here (and sign up to find out about upcoming events in your area).

I hope this information is helpful! It's reminding me that I need to do a check-up to make sure all my links and automatons are still running smoothly. And I'm always open to new and helpful advice. Is there anything I haven't covered here that would make my life easier? Oh my stars, please share!!!

Happy Streamlining!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Who's Going to WWA SCBWI?

I've been crazy busy lately...but all good stuff. I'm trying to get through a first draft of this manuscript, which I'm very close to finishing. (When I get it done, I'll have written two first drafts of two novels in two months!) Aside from that, I have several projects just hanging in the valences, waiting for me to get to them: workshop prep, interview, guest posts, and a revision for my agent.

Whew! So my apologies for not being around here more. I hope to be back with some other NEVER ENOUGH secrets next week, as well as a recap of the Western Washington SCBWI Conference from this weekend.

I'm very excited to get away and hang with some other writers! Who else is going? Please, please, please say hi if you see me :-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Trailer for Joelle Anthony's THE RIGHT AND THE REAL!

It's an exciting day! Not only is it Joelle Anthony's birthday, but today is the day that she's launching the book trailer for The Right and the Real! This looks like such an intense book, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

I love book trailers. They're such a quick and easy (and fun) way to find out quickly not only what the book is about, but also the tone of the book. Let me know what you think of this one, or stop by Joelle Anthony's site, as she's doing lots of celebrating and giving goodies away (Shouldn't she be getting gifts for her birthday?!)

Congrats, Joelle! Great trailer and I can't wait for the book!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vancouver LitFest

I had a great time over the weekend presenting at Vancouver LitFest. It's a great event, held at Douglas College, which was a perfect venue. I presented a panel with authors Danika Dinsmore and Alison Acheson, and was just sent a picture, so I thought I'd share it.

 (Danika, me, and Alison)

Next weekend I'll be at the Western Washington SCBWI conference. I'm very excited! Will I see any of you there?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Blog Hop Winners and Vancouver LitFest!

Holy cow, this week has gotten away from me! But I'm very excited to announce TWO lucky winners from my recent Hoppy Easter Blog Hop, as well as tell you about Vancouver LitFest which is FREE and is this weekend, and I will be there reading from my novels and answering your questions!

First of all, the winners!

Daniel Thornton will receive his first book of choice, and Sarah will receive her first book of choice!

Congratulations to both of you!!!

2nd Annual Lit Fest New West ~ April 12-14, 2012
Douglas College Campus

Sponsored by the Arts Council of New Westminster, Lit Fest New West is a three day literary arts event culminating in an all day MARKETPLACE and SHOWCASE on APRIL 14.

I will be reading from LOSING FAITH and NEVER ENOUGH, and participating in a Q&A with two other local children's authors:  Danika Dinsmore and Alison Acheson
Sat, April 14 from 10 AM - 11 AM in Lecture Hall Two

ALL Saturday Lit Fest events at Douglas College are FREE to the public!

I hope to see you there!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop & #Giveaway

ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering, and congratulations to the winners!

Welcome to the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop! This hop has been organized by I'm a Reader Not a Writer blog.

Over 250 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another.  The hop runs from April 6th through April 12th.

I'm opening up one of my bookshelves for you to pick a book from. I will give books away to up to THREE winners (for every 50 entries I will add another prize winner). Some are advance copies, some are gently used, a few are even signed copies!

My Bookshelf Choices:

DESIGNATED FAT GIRL by Jennifer Joyner
THE DIVAS INDIA by Victoria Christopher Murray
THE DIVAS DIAMOND by Victoria Christopher Murray
I LIKE IT LIKE THAT by Cecily von Ziegesar
SIENNA SUMMER by Ann Chandler
JUNGLE CROSSING by Sydney Salter
HUSH by Eishes Chayil
HEARTS AT STAKE by Alexandra Harvey
THE SWEETNESS OF SALT by Cecilia Galante
FASHIONISTA by Micol Ostow
ROOM by Emma Donoghue
THE TALE OF JULIET by Jhet Torcelino-van Ruyven
JULIET by Anne Fortier
COOL CACHE by Patricia Smiley

Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog, then fill out the form below.
Last Day to Enter is 4/12/12
Open to US mailing addresses only

Optional Extra Entries:
 +1 Follow this blog (click Follow on the right hand sidebar)
+1 Be or become my friend on Goodreads
+1 Follow on Twitter

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Recommendations!

I've been wanting to do a book recommendation post for a while, because I've been reading some awesome books lately. Because I have so many, I'm not going to go into too much detail about what I loved about them - just a summary and some really quick thoughts. Some of these books have recently been released and a few are still to come.

If you have others you'd recommend, I'd love to hear about them!

Let's start with Wanterlove by Kirsten Hubbard. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on this one, I recently posted over on The Contemps site about it. Here's a little excerpt of my thoughts...I guarantee this book will make you want to jump on a airplane without a plan. It'll make you fall in love with more than just the hot young man. Besides the writing that makes you feel like you are enveloped in her setting, Kirsten Hubbard also shares her drawing talents, which are incredible.

And here's the summary from GoodReads...

It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

I'm not alone in loving this book. It gutted me and made me think of life in a new way. Even though I knew early on what would happen in this book, it didn't prepare me for the heartache I would feel. It most definitely changed a very good way.

Here's the summary from GoodReads...

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

 Wow, I loved this book. The narrator is self-deprecating, which can be difficult to pull off without making the main character unlikeable, but I was in Amanda's (aka Zero's) court the whole way through this one. She had such a natural, loveable, and unique voice, plus I loved experiencing her journey as a growing artist.

Here's the summary from GoodReads:

For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun—plain and simple. Hanging out with her best friend Jenn, going to clubs, painting, and counting down the days until her escape. But when must-have scholarship money doesn't materialize, and she has a falling out with Jenn that can only be described as majorly awkward, and Zero's parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting, her prospects start looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali. Will life truly imitate art? Will her new, unexpected relationship with a punk skater boy who seems too good to be real and support from the unlikeliest of sources show Zero that she's so much more than a name.

Unbreak My Heart was interesting in its structure, told between the past that wrecked Clem's life and the present day trying to get over it. Melissa Walker did a masterful job of drawing me into both stories, and the setting, living on a boat, was so incredibly interesting to me.

Here's the summary from GoodReads...

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.
There are so many other great books I've read lately too, but I just wanted to pick a few of my absolute favorites today. I'm always on the lookout for awesome reads, so  I'd love to hear of any books that you can't stop talking about.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Madness Final Prizes! #wipmadness

Congratulations to all the winners we've had for the March Madness prizes so far, and thank you so much again to all of the March Madness hosts for generously donating them!

We have two left! And as much as I would LOVE to keep these for myself...sigh....I'm not going to. Here are the remaining prizes:

UNRAVELING ISOBEL by Eileen Cook (Courtesy of Shari Green)
OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL by K.M. Weiland (1 e-copy up for grabs!) (Courtesy of Deb Marshall)
And our awesome Kim Baccellia has donated another ARC: THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer Smith (US mailing only)

I've drawn two more names, and whoever emails me first will get first choice. (d (at) denisejaden (dot) com)

The two new winners are...

Tonette dela Luna


Mary Ann!

The fact that Mary Ann is the last name I drew is very appropriate, since Mary Ann will be taking the baton and running with us (aka giving us check-in points) for the month of April.

I hope everyone has had as much fun and productiveness as I have this March Madness! I'll be doing it again next year, plus a few other writing challenges throughout the year, so I hope to see you all again.