Tuesday Feb 25, 2020
Tuesday Feb 25, 2020
Tuesday Feb 25, 2020
Hi everyone, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of the We Make Books Podcast - A podcast about writing, publishing, and everything in between!
This week is a double header and it’s all about accolades! First we take a question from one of our Patreon subscribers and talk about starred reviews. What are they, how do you get them, and why is that star such a big deal? Then it’s on to our second topic: Awards! They’re pretty awesome if you can get one, but how do you qualify for one and exactly how important to your career are these? Just keep in mind here, the word of the week is “Subjective”.
We Make Books is hosted by Rekka Jay and Kaelyn Considine; Rekka is a published author and Kaelyn is an editor and together they are going to take you through what goes into getting a book out of your head, on to paper, in to the hands of a publisher, and finally on to book store shelves.
We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, concerns, the award you most wish you could win during your life, real or imagined!
We hope you enjoy We Make Books!
So welcome back to another episode of we make books, a podcast about writing, publishing and everything in between. And then sometimes you publish your book and you want people to look at it and you have to figure out how to get them to look at it. And so sometimes it's after the publishing, so sometimes beyond.
Yeah. So, um, I'm Kaelyn, I'm the acquisitions editor for Parvus Press.
I'm Rekka and I'm fired. And I write science fiction and fantasy is RJ theater.
I'm Kaelyn and I want to go to bed.
Yeah, we've been doing this all day. We're backing up some episodes because we both have some travel coming up and we weren't sure when we get together again. So we have gotten to the point of being entirely punchy where, um, luckily this, this clip for the beginning is the last bit we're recording for today.
But yeah. Um, so this episode, uh, actually came to us from one of our, uh, question from one of our Patreon users, um, who was asking about starred reviews. And that kind of then also segwayed into other things that are given out to especially awesome books, which was awards as we're kind of approaching awards season. Uh, so this, this is a little bit of a split episode. We're gonna talk about starred reviews and industry reviews and then we're gonna talk about awards,
But we chose them to fill in the same episode because they are somewhat related in that, you know, you are being, you know, critically reviewed and um, and judged by an outside party who is considered an authority of some sort, whether that's a voting committee, a voting, um, membership or a reviewer for a publication that deals solely with, you know, reviewing books and stuff.
Exactly. So, um, you know, this is just kind of, I won't say a lot of insider knowledge, but just like a little explanation about some things that are going on behind all of this. Um, you know, in terms of the book reviews, uh, you know, trade publications and who's reviewing these and with the awards, um, we specifically talk about a couple that are relevant to our genre.
Our genra specifically.
Yes. Um, and you know what you have to do to qualify for some of these and what you have to do to be a voting member. So, um, anyway, uh, take a listen as always, we hope you enjoy. And as always, if you have questions, send them to us.
Absolutely. We love to answer listener questions because we want to know what gaps we haven't filled in yet. Um, sometimes we look into -
We may do a whole episode about it.
Yeah, we do. Yeah. But sometimes we look at each other and we're like, so what are we talking about this time? And like, you know what, we don't have to decide cause someone asked us a question. So here we go. So we appreciate questions and comments and interaction online. It's, it's all great and we, we really do love it. So thank you for that. And um, in our, to express our thanks. Here's an episode,
Just jotting stuff down.
Keep that in mind, folks. She always takes notes and she never forgets.
Oh, that's why I write stuff down, written down somewhere.
It's not that she hasn't forgotten, but she's going to uncover that note someday and realize that's the thing that you said. So watch what you say.
Yeah. I, um, something I don't think I've ever brought up on this. I spent three years in college as like the senior student archivist for my university. So I'm very into records
Archives are her jam.
Archives are awesome. They're, you know, they're fun, they're full, full, great stuff. Uh, speaking of things full of great stuff.
Hey, I like that segue. It's not a segue if you call attention to it. I've, I've come to understand,
Oh, that just seems like it's, yeah, that's unfair.
That's, yeah, that's not fair. I want to be able to recognize this. That's why you get a gong. So you don't actually say, Hey, nice segue. You just, it just rang a little.
. Is there like a noise we can insert, you know, to indicate that there's a segue. Okay.
You can come up with, we'll do a nice like page flip like, okay. Um, so today's episode topics starts with a question suggested by one of our patrons on patreon.com/WMBcast and Robert D McAdams who says we do not have to give him credit for the question, but we just did anyway. Asks what is a starred review? So we've touched on this in passing in a previous episode, which I'm sure Robert heard, um, when we talked about reviews in general, but a starred review is a very specific term. These are not reviews that come with star ratings like you might find on Amazon. Like, yes, there are stars, but that's not what we're talking about. So what is Kaelyn? A starred review?
Well, so before we get into that, um, and as Rekka said, we talked about this in the episode, we did all about reviews. Uh, the difference between, you know, reader reviews on good reads and Amazon and industry reviews. Industry reviews are professional trade publications, or you might hear them called the traits and they are exactly what they sound like. People send advanced copies of books to them before publication and there are people there that read them and write a few hundred words on them. Three to maybe 400. This is that -
Yeah, this is not, this is not going to be a long multiple page insightful exploration of this book
Cause they know let's be real. All you wanted was the star review.
Um, no, but even just general positive review. So there are four major trade publications. I'll start with the most, you know, coveted one publisher's weekly. A publisher's weekly is almost 150 years old. Um, they've been around for a very long time. It's a magazine that you can subscribe to or you can actually pick up on new stands in New York city.
Yeah, well publishers weekly is in New York city there. Um -
So they distribute locally.
Yup. So you can actually go to newsstands in New York city and pick up publishers weekly.
I have never tried to do that.
You can have it mailed to you or you can get it online. Of course there's online subscriptions. Every issue, they review a couple of hundred books, um, that are coming out. And if there is a book that they particularly like, um, it is exemplary, uh, they want to denote this book of being as particularly high quality, uh, either in writing or story or what the book accomplishes if someone there, you know, and the process when, how this happens is a little, no one's really quite sure. But anyway, yeah.
It's behind a curtain.
Um, they'll give it a star and that is just, it's a stamp that says we think this book is excellent. How many books do you think every year get a starred review from publishers weekly? What would you say?
Is it, is it guaranteed to be one per issue or a certain number per issue?
There's no guarantee for anything.
So there may be an issue where they don't start one at all.
Correct. They are in no way, shape or form obligated to give out a star. You only earn it on merit.
So the idea being this is, you did say coveted, but we're talking extremely coveted and they know you want it.
Yes. So how many do you think approximately they start in a year?
I'm gonna say -
Keep in mind. They will review thousands and thousands of books.
Um, you know, sometimes it's a little more, sometimes it's a little less, but that's what they're, they're averaging.
See, I lowered it because I'm assuming that all these readers are just freaking sick of books.
Um, so publishers weekly, uh, Kirkus is kind of the, um, most close competitor of, uh, of publishers weekly. Here's the big difference between them. Uh, publisher's weekly also has like some industry gossip and some forecast kind of things in it. Kirkus is no gossip. It's a very straight forward, you know, here's the book. Here's the reveal. I'm a starred review from Kirkus is also still fantastic.
Um, library journal is by the same sister, uh, company as publisher weekly. Uh, library journal, however, as its name implies, is focused more towards libraries. Um, if you're wondering, well why is that different? It's because they're looking at this more from the educational side of the book. Do you think this is a valuable thing that we want to buy? Will people be asking for it? Um, finally there's Booklist a Booklist is perhaps the most kind of all of these. Um, from, you know, things I've read and heard editors and writers at Booklist are encouraged to find something nice to nice to say about the book publishers weekly and Kirk is hold no such compunction.
Yes. In fact, sometimes it feels as though they really enjoy taking people to task for things they don't enjoy.
Yes. Um, library journal tends to be a little more academic and a little more thumbs up, thumbs down.
Yeah. This is good for this. It is not good for, this would not recommend for X, Y and Z recommend for, yeah. You know what, they're gonna give you both sides.
Like watch out for this, but you might enjoy it if you like this.
Getting a star in publisher's weekly and Kirkus is a big fucking deal.
Um, so it's almost predictive of how your book is going to succeed or not, but not accurately predictive. Let's just say across the board. If you don't get a starred review or you don't get a review at all, it does not mean that your book will not do well. But people do pay attention to which reviews are starred. And at the same time, if they are willing to give it a star, it's because they're not afraid to stick their neck out about how much they like your book.
Yep. So now you're probably wondering, well, who are these, these kingmakers who are the gods sitting on top of the mountain that, um, decide these things? Um, the answer is a little bit of everyone. Um, there's going to be, you know, published authors, um, editors, school teachers, librarians, people that are involved in this, so hadn't, and you may be going like, okay, well what makes them qualified to do this? A lot of times the reviewers are broken up by subject, by genre, by category, and have some kind of expertise in that area. It could be anything from, I've read extensively about this particular thing and you have to keep in mind, I know we talk about genre fiction a lot on this show. They're reviewing everything, you know, biographies.
I'm just about to point that out.
Yeah, true crime,
Everything. Historical fiction, historical documentation style.
Um, there are viewing everything. So maybe your history teacher, well then you get to read, um, you know, the latest biography of James Madison. Uh, maybe you were in the military, so you get to read the most recent military fiction that you know, comes out.
So what you're saying is they're not just sending these out to anyone randomly and haphazardly.
They're focused with who receives these that said, look, reviews are subjective. You know, it's, um, and again, is there a system of checks and balances? Maybe? Probably. Hopefully.
You know, I think a lot of people think like, Oh, it's just, you know, college students and whatever. It's really not. They're pretty from everything, you know, I understand they're, they're pretty good about matching the books to the readers, making sure that the people that read these are people that are actually gonna enjoy that kind of book. Now, um, one thing that I will explain, I'm gonna use publisher's weekly as the example for this because they are kind of the, uh, the gold standard here, if you will. Um, so you might be thinking like, well, I have a book that I'm self publishing. Can I just send it over to get a review? Uh, you can't. Um, the reason for this is an -
It is gatekeeping.
It is gatekeeping. Yeah. You need to have the book be distributed. So even if you are with a publisher that only does eBooks, they're still not going to look at it. The book needs to be distributed through a traditional distributor.
If your indie publisher only does print on demand through KTP or IngramSpark, which is not like traditional distribution, they're not going to look at it.
Um, also, and this is where I'm, I start to get a little, uh,
Hot under the collar.
Get my feathers ruffled a little bit is when you go to the, um, the submissions guidelines pages on these, they'll give you a whole list of like, things they want to know. You know, a lot of it is things that you should obviously include, like release date information about the -
Targeted audience, that kind of important stuff. They'll also want to know how much are you spending on the marketing campaign? And for those of you who just jumped up out of your seat and went, are you kidding me? No, I'm not. Um, there is absolutely inside circles within this. If you don't think that Amazon and Barnes and noble pay publishers weekly for certain things, you're out of your mind. They do. Um, if you don't think that major publishing houses do things to guarantee eyes on copies of this, they do. Now, can they guarantee a favorable review? Absolutely not.
Believe me, they have, you know, I'm sure you can probably find websites that just collect, you know, quote unquote -
You know, and I mean, I've, I've seen some of them. There's definitely, you know, people have written some truly scathing things.
Yes. I meant devastating.
Yeah. About, about people's books. Um, so the other thing to keep in mind is a lot of people that do this are paid kind of on a per review basis. They're definitely, you know, full time staff there and everything. But when you have this many books come in, you don't have that many people sitting in an office just reading these. Um, they get sent out to reviewers who aren't necessarily at the office, read them in their time and then turn in the review.
So the people are getting paid on a per view basis, which means they're motivated to read fast and submit as many as possible.
Do not think that even if you had a thousand people sitting in a room whose only job was to care with, to read every book that came in, they would not get through the pile they receive. They don't have time to read every single word very carefully. Um, so it's, you know, it's, it's a good group of people who truly enjoy what they're doing because they're not making a fortune off of this.
Right. Um, but, but they do make more if they get through more books and review more.
Yeah, exactly. So, um, what, you know is a starred review important, important is not the right word. Nice is a good word.
Um, is there a benefit to receiving a starred review?
Absolutely, it's going to get more attention. Um, it will, you know, it will make other, uh, publications and people within the industry set up and pay attention to it. You're a publisher and you get to go online and talk about how you got to start review.
Yup. Other, it's more content you can tweet.
Other outlets will specifically pay attention to it.
Is it the end of the world if you don't get one.
Absolutely not because most books don't.
90 something percent of them do not. Um, then there are books that I have personally read that got starred reviews and I was like, why? Really? Okay. And it's not that they were bad, it was just that, you know, and, but that could just be that whoever it wasn't reviewing it was particularly enjoyed.
Interested in that one.
I mean it is, no matter what you try to do at the end of the day, it is subjective.
It is subjective. Um, a starred review is you did an extra good job.
We really, really are excited that you're releasing this into the world. So can, if you get a, a positive review but it's not starred, it's still real helpful. You can still tweet that content. You can still add that blurb to your, if there's a usable blurb in it, you can still add that to your um copy.
Anytime somebody reviews your book and publishes it, that review is yours. Now you can quote it, you can put it on the book. You can do, you know, that is them offering that into the world for you to use.
Um, so if you have a pog- you know, you'll see a lot of books you pick up that say, uh, you know, an astounding tour de force author, you know, completely redefines the genre or whatever and it'll just say such and such publisher's weekly.
And that's, you know, that's a great thing to have if you have a review and it's not starred, but it's still good review. That's great. Most authors do not or never will have a starred review. It's like winning an Oscar, you know.
And by its rarity makes it more valuable, exactly why they are going to be invested in not giving them out to everybody, which means the difference between this and an Oscar is they don't have to give out one of these.
And the 200 that you mentioned are across all genre. So how many books are coming out in your specific genre each year or each, you know, yes. A year. How many books are coming out in your specific genre each year is they're only going to get a slice of those and those aren't promised to be distributed evenly across the genre. It might be a big year for biographies and you're just out of luck.
Yup. Yeah. So, um, start reviews are great if you get one. They are by no stretch of the imagination, the end of the world if you don't. So, you know, before we wrap that up, um, I was talking a lot about publishers weekly and I mentioned Kirkus as kind of being, you know, the counterpart to publisher's weekly. Just a couple, you know, things to clarify real quick. Um, about Kirkus and a few things that are unique about them. Um, as I'd mentioned, a, uh, publisher's weekly and library journal are a sister publications. They're both owned by Reed business organization, which puts out a whole bunch of different trade magazines. Like they put a variety.
Too for instance.
Um, these are glossy magazine type things. They're going to have pictures of the cover and you know, the thing in nice font and everything Kirkus is not glossy. It's like newspaper reprint paper. There's no pictures. It's black and white and it's just the title, the author, the review. Yeah. Here's the thing about Kirkus. Um, it costs money to get them to review your book. It's over $400. Why? Because Kirkus is kind of considering themselves a cut above. Uh, they really try to be objective, I guess, which I'm not sure how that works when you're asking for money.
Well, like I had mentioned, you know, like publisher's weekly has like, you know, they do some like industry gossip and that kinds of Kirkus it doesn't do that. It's very -
Right, they're trying to leave out everything, but the, what they think you are, you want out of their publication, they have a format that the reviews follow. That's pretty consistent so that you know what you're getting when you ask for a review. Just you don't know what they're going to think of it.
Yeah. So here's a, just an, another little thing about Kirkus. Kirkus had a controversial couple of years ago. Uh, they took back a star on a book.
Um, I won't mention the book exactly. Um, they -
It's easy to find.
It's very easy to find. Yeah. They gave it a starred review and then there, I mean -
There was a backlash.
There was backlash. Um, it was social backlash and Kirkus maybe not being as sensitive towards some things as they should have and they took it back. To my knowledge, that's the only time that's ever happened.
Yeah. It's the only one mentioned on the Wikipedia page about Kirkus. So, um, hopefully it doesn't happen again. Maybe it's taught them to be more careful so that it doesn't have to happen.
I mean, across trade publications in general. To my knowledge, and I did look for this. I could not find another instance of that ever happening.
Um, if, if you know of one, let us know.
@WMBcast on Twitter and Instagram and yeah. Um, yeah, the, I cannot imagine what it felt like to be an author who believed they received a star review and then had it rescinded because it was determined that their book made them a bad human. Yeah. Um, I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the decision because I really don't, I don't know the book, but as an author, I cannot imagine how heartbreaking that must be. Yeah. So hopefully everyone's learned their lesson and this won't have to happen again, but it probably will in this day and age, honestly.
Yeah. Um, to be honest with you, I'm surprised it took that long for it to happen. Um, this was two years ago, I think, 2017 that this happened. Um, and it was, you know, it was big news when it happened.
Um, so if you bring it up, I'm sure you could get people heated up over even now.
Oh God. So don't.
Don't do that. Don't do it. Um, but we only bring it up because it does show that there is historical precedent for a star being removed, removed after someone quote unquote earned it.
Yeah. So that it just kinda goes to show that, you know, like, yes, review magazines are supposed to kind of be the authority, the authority, and they are supposed to have the ability to review at their discretion, but sometimes they do have to take other things into consideration after they've already done that.
Um, so anyway, start reviews. Um, they're, they're great if you can get them. If not, it is in no way, shape or form the end of the world or your writing career in that order.
But that is what I started review is to answer your question, Robert, that's, um, that's what they are. That's how they're different from the, uh, reader reviews and maybe peer reviews that you might get from other authors. Um, or even, you know, just great blurbs from other people who might be, you know, like if you're writing a science fiction story like the Martian and an astronaut gave you a review and astronaut can give you an excellent review and it might look great on your cover, but it does not qualify as a starred review.
Yup. So, um, there you go. Yeah.
And Kaelyn can, can I have an astronaut reviewing my book?
Let's get one get that arranged would ya please? Awesome. So something else, let's just speaking of accolades, accolades and uh, pinning your dreams to receiving one. Yes, it's award season as we record this. Meaning there are a lot of authors out there, very hopeful that their book might gain notice and end up shortlisted for a literary award within there's genre.
I'm going to qualify all of this by saying I am going to do everything I can to be positive
Hold back feelings.
New Speaker (23:07):
Kaelyn has some feelings about awards.
Well, here's the thing. They're great. It really is like wonderful.
As you were just saying it's fantastic if you get one.
It is not the end of your career or a reflection of you as a human being or writer if you don't.
Yeah. So let's, uh, let's real quick talk about some awards now. We, you know, as we say frequently on this, uh, we, we both work in genre fiction, um, specifically science fiction and fantasy. Um, that said there are a lot of awards out there that can range to something small and local to the Nobel prize in literature, which I don't think they give out for just one book. You've got to have a pretty stellar career
Yeah. That's, that's more lifetime achievement award than a specific project. Um, unlike the Nobel prize for science where you might get it for one project and project for, if you're going to be a writer, you're not going to cure cancer with one book.
I don't think that's humanly possible unless it's a book on how to cure cancer.
Well, maybe you never can tell. Um, there's a lot of money in pharmaceuticals to treating people with cancer. You know, there's, there are some players behind those curtains moving against you. But, um, yeah, so the, the awards we're talking about are the annual awards that review much like tax seasons, the years prior activity in that genre, and someone needs to nominate you and enough people need to nominate you to put you toward the top of the list, which then is skimmed very, very much just the top of that list gets put on the ballot.
Yeah, there's usually. Well, it's like any award thing, you know, there's going to be five, maybe six choices in a category. Um, so typically what you'll find in, uh, industry, and this is, I'm, I'm fairly sure this is true across genres. There's association, there's guilds, there's, um, you know, groups that award these things. You have to be a member to vote in them.
But not a member usually to be nominated.
No. Um, because a lot of times to qualify for membership for these things, you might not be at that stage in your career yet. Um, but they, not all of them are just open to the general public. Some of them are the Hugo's -
The Hugo's are open to the general public .
- are open to the general public, um, the nebulas are not. Um, so just real quick, uh, we're talking specifically about the nebulas which are given out by the, uh, by SFWA, the science fiction and fantasy writers of America. So that is, um, American and therefore fairly English speaking centric. Uh, the Hugo's are also pretty English-speaking.
Yes. Though that is a global, but it is a global organization. The conference itself pops about the world each year. Um, and we say it's open to the public. You do have to pay to become a member for the year in which you want to vote. But there is no qualification like royalties or book sales or anything like that like there is with SFWA.
Yup. So SFWA is more of a professional organization because they are the science fiction and fantasy writers of America. Um, they are ma, they are very much geared towards like if anyone listening has ever gone to the nebulous conference. Um, a lot of the panels and discussions are career oriented. Um, the Hugo's are a little bit more readership oriented. Um, so that's, you know, that's just a, that's just a difference in a distinguishing point there. Uh, that said, you're going to see a lot of the people nominated across both of them.
Yes. The list will look very familiar across them because the people who are nominating tend to be members of more than just one. Yeah. It's like also they let's, you know, get right down to where we're going with this. The books are stand out in their category before they're nominated.
Yeah. It's kind of like the Oscars and the golden Globes and stuff. You know, the good stuff is the good stuff that's going to be already know what's going up there before anyone else finishes the year out with their own stuff. Now there's of course, all kinds of literary awards given out. There's awards that are specifically, you know, for children's books. Uh, there's awards for every genre and group is going to have their own awards that they give out. Um, you can go find lists of these online if it's something that you're interested in. Here is where, um, I get a little cynical with these things. Uh, one is that again, sometimes these can be hard to get nominated for if you're not traditionally published.
Um, this is, you know, I won't beat around the Bush here. This isn't a secret. You can go online and find out this kind of stuff easily. If you're self published, you're going to have a really hard time being taken seriously in some of these communities. It's getting better, but it's still not quite to where it, I personally think it should.
Right. Just like your family likes to hold your holiday traditions in a certain way, people do not like to let go of what they're comfortable with. And a lot of these associations were going back to their beginnings, traditionally published authors, and they saw no reason to change it yet.
So that's very, so like for instance, with SFWA it can be very hard to get into SFWA because you have to either have a job relevant to the industry and be recommended by a certain number of people. They need to actually write you a letter of recommendation to be admitted. Or to qualify as an author, you have to have a certain number of words published and have made a certain amount off of them in a year.
Yup. Single calendar year.
In a single calendar year. Um, it's not an absurdly difficult to reach some of money.
It's not impossible. And if your book takes off, even just moderately successful, you probably going to get there.
But if you're not a fulltime self-publishing author, it's hard. Yeah, you can go look up all the SFWA qualification stuff, but in their defense, it is a professional organization. Their goal is not when you're not here to have members that are trying to become authors. We are an established group of authors and writers already, right.
Unlike the RWA, which has gone through its own, um, metamorphosis this year, which you can find out about elsewhere if you haven't already. But, um, they have traditionally invited in aspiring authors as well as published authors.
Now, all of this that I'm saying about SFWA, SFWA is a fantastic organization. Um, they are an excellent resource for, you know, even if you're not a published author and you're trying to -
You're welcome to come to the nebulas whether or not you remember anyone can, can show up.
Um, they have a lot of good resources that, and people that they can put you in touch with. Um, they have a really good legal team that helps people with various, you know, issues that they may come up against.
Yup. There's a, a service just called a writer beware, which alerts people in a single location where, um, they can find out like, Hey, you want to watch out for this company? They have bad practices. You, you know, their contracts are gotchas and all this kind of stuff and, and you can look out for that stuff.
Um, whether or not you're a member, that's, that's all public information on their website. So they have a lot of great resources for people and, um, they have become sort of a, you know, a beacon to which science fiction and fantasy writers will flock. Yeah. And they're, um, they're, I know a lot of people in it. They're very nice people. Um, you know, that said, just be aware that if you are self published, it's -
It's more challenging. It's more challenging to gain entry to gain entry into find yourself particularly welcomed there. Um, and it's even more challenging to get nominated for something there. Um, the Hugo's, I would even say it's also very challenging with that. So back to, you know, so back to the awards, the things you're, you know, it's, think of the typical kind of awards you're going to get. Best short fiction, best novel, best novella, novelette, um, best, all of the various writings.
Now, um, game writers are starting to get more recognition. So there's a game writing award. There are sort of lifetime achievements, uh, service awards, things like that.
And then you, you have the big one, which is, you know, best novel, a novel of the year.
That's the best picture standing, whatever.
Um, there are career marker ones. Like, um, the beginning of a career is the outstanding award for science fiction. Um, from the Hugo, um, awards. You know, the process of getting nominated. It's, it's really like, it's exactly the way you'd get nominated for most things. You submit, there's going to be a short list that comes out within that short list. The list will be shortened further and those will be the finalists.
Yeah. So, um, that's another thing that it's like, it's a great feather in your cap if you have it. Most people will go through their lives without having one, one of these. And that does not mean they had to not have a successful writing career.
Right. You're going to get a temporary uptick from winning these awards. It is not going to be career lasting. Now, if you somehow manage to sweep these awards and keep getting them year after year, then that's great. But then, I mean, then people are going to start rooting against you to see you and seated by some new up and comer because you know, you've been boring them by being the predictable winner every year.
Um, so, you know, that's just a little about awards. It's, you know, we were kind of like, okay, well we had a question about starred reviews in the industry. I don't think we could do a full episode of that. And we were like, you know, what's also a nice thing to have but not a full episodes worth is you know, industry awards.
Um, you know, the fact is that your book for an award like that needs to have hype before it gets nominated. So the nomination is not going to hype your book because your book has already hyped people nominated because they already know about it and have already read it. So it's not like each nomination is um, you know, guaranteed new reader or anything like that on the level.
It's very difficult to get nominated for one of these. You could have written and outstanding book. I know someone who got a starred review for their book that is probably not going to be nominated for anything this year.
There are a lot of books released every year and the list is short and it really does come down to who do you know that can nominate you and is willing to or wants to. Um, you know, it's, it's a numbers game. It really is because there's so many awards. Lots, you know, nomination slots and there's way more books than that. And it really comes down to, you know, unlike the numbers game of like, um, market submissions and stuff like that for publications. This is also like, you've, you've got to already know enough people are fanatic for your book that, um, they're going to vote for it.
Yeah. And it's like, I mean, I know I keep referencing the Oscars, but like, you know, the Academy awards, people don't just watch a bunch of movies and then decide they like this one. There's marketing campaigns and you gotta take out ads and it's very personal and who, you know, and, um, it's almost like trying to get Senate votes. It's a four year consideration type thing. Um, you know, books, obviously it's not, it's not the same kind of setup. It takes a lot longer to get for a book than it does through a movie.
But and that's tricky because like, you know, if I look at, uh, an awards nomination list and say, I know I'm going to be voting because I'm a member of that year of, of that association, I look at that list and I don't go, okay, I guess I gotta read all of these and then vote. Yeah. I vote for the one that I did read and enjoyed. Yeah. If I have, you know, if I had time, I'd absolutely read the rest of them, but like I don't always have the time. Yeah. So I'm going to vote for the one that I read and enjoyed, not knowing whether I would have enjoyed some of the others on the list more or that they are more or less worthy. Like it's, it's, Ooh, I know that name.
It's, look, it's like the reviews. I mean, this, this episode is about subjective things. Very subjective. This is, you know, and I don't think I've ever seen books. I didn't like nominated or win anything. It's not that the books that are getting nominated, it's, you know, because a lot of people know this person or knew about the book and the book wasn't good and they got nominated.
Right. And I've seen books that I have read that I would have said, okay, well that book's just not for me. But that doesn't mean the book was bad.
Exactly. Yeah. And yeah, I think that's an important part of understanding the subjective nature of this in anything with this as just because the book, not every book is meant for you. Um, you know, we talk a lot about your target demographics and audiences and things, and there's nothing wrong with taking a step back and saying the writing is good. I just can't get behind the plot or this character -
Or I just, this doesn't appeal to that trope that for whatever reason, even though it's very popular.
Yeah. Not every book nominated is going to be something that you were in love with. You may not have heard of some of the books that were nominated just because they didn't cross your path. Um, but I think their general, you know,
The lists are usually good. It doesn't look like someone bought their way on no, but, but they have and that's because let's like, okay, just straight talk. A lot of books come out every year and a lot of them are really good.
Yup. And things tend to not get published if they're really bad.
I mean not always, but the evidence is there to suggest that the people who pick and purchase books know what they're doing. Yeah. Um, and I'm not just saying that cause I'm in the room with one of them.
Um, I know what I'm doing?
Um, but the fact is there are excellent books out there and everybody who gets published deserves to be published with, you know, asterisk on that I'm sure. But like I mean that with my heart, like if you were a writer and you, and you do this cause you love it and you work very hard and you do everything you can then like you've already done it. Yeah. Like, who cares if you're going to get an award to sit on your mantle and let me tell you, nobody wants to see you posting a photo of that to social media every day and in a month they're going to forget that you want, so don't
worry about it. Yeah. It's, it's one of those things that if it happens in your career, that's amazing. If it doesn't, that doesn't mean you're not a success.
Right. Or if you win it, that's awesome. You deserved it. You might also have wanted if the right people also deserve it, you might also deserve it. Yeah. I wish we could give them out like candy, but that's not how these things work.
Yeah. So, um, anyway, you know, that's just, that's kind of the episode of subjectiveness.
Um, um, don't pin your dreams on someone else's opinion.
Oh yeah. I like that.
You like that one. Okay. There's the title, but um, yeah, I, I think they combine well into the same episode because they are, they are bingo card goals.
It's awesome. If you got one, do not be hard on yourself.
If you have, if you haven't yet, even at the end of a very long career, you'll probably have great sales, especially if you made a full career event, but you may never get one of these things. And that's just the way that these dominoes fall.
Yeah. Hey, so speaking of accolades and uh, you know, giving out good stuff to people, uh, you can give us a review online.
Yes. And we will treasure it as though it were a star from Kirkus or a pretty statue of a rocket ship.
We would prefer five stars though, not just one.
Correct. I very much agree with that statement.
So yeah, if you can drop us a, a review online, that's great.
You know, speaking of things that are good and draw your attention to stuff, uh, you know, it just, it helps with, you know, feed the algorithms and get us in front of more people. And when someone's searching for writing podcasts, they'll go, Oh, well this one gets starred reviews regularly.
You can find us on Apple podcasts or iTunes, depending on your Mac iOS system, you can find us on, um, all the various places that you can aggregate your podcasts for your listening enjoyment such as Spotify and, and Google play and all those others. So, um, we want to be convenient for you, but it would be super convenient for us if you could leave that review on Apple podcasts or Apple iTunes just to get them all in one spot one way or another. Unfortunately, that's, we all serve at the altar of Apple at Steve jobs. Um, so we would appreciate that. Um, you can also join in conversation with us at WMB cast on Twitter or Instagram and you can find the entire archive of all our past episodes at WMB, cast.com.
So Robert, thanks for the question. Um, you know, anyone else there that has questions they'd like to send us? Obviously we, you know, we do take the time to answer them. We pay attention to those things.
No question is too small for us to make a whole episode or half of one or, or come up with a way to peg on.
Yep. We'll do it. Thanks for listening everyone, and we'll see you in two weeks.
New Speaker (40:27):
Tuesday Feb 11, 2020
Tuesday Feb 11, 2020
Tuesday Feb 11, 2020
Hi everyone, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of the We Make Books Podcast - A podcast about writing, publishing, and everything in between!
This week we’re talking about awesome and sometimes scary world of social media. Here’s the thing: Rekka is a pro and Kaelyn is terrified of it, so you, kind listener get to hear it from both sides. Social media can be a very important tool in your publishing arsenal but it’s also a really intimidating place, especially if you’re new. This week, we’re talking about ups and down of social media, what to keep an eye out for, how to be a good online citizen, and how to manage both your expectations and stress.
We Make Books is hosted by Rekka Jay and Kaelyn Considine; Rekka is a published author and Kaelyn is an editor and together they are going to take you through what goes into getting a book out of your head, on to paper, in to the hands of a publisher, and finally on to book store shelves.
We Make Books is a podcast for writers and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, concerns, and the best story you have about cover copy that resulted in reading a very different book from what you thought you were getting..
We hope you enjoy We Make Books!
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of the, We Make Books podcast, a show about writing, publishing and everything in between. I'm Kaelyn Considine and I am the acquisitions editor for Parvus Press.
And I'm Rekka, I write science fiction and fantasy as RJ Theodore.
And this is a stressful episode for me.
We have Kaelyn tucked comfortably under a blanket. We've got to heat her on her. She's wearing comfy clothes. We gave her stuffed animals and hot tea just to try and entice her to even have this conversation.
New Speaker (00:36):
So we're talking about social media today.
Um, we do focus a lot on Twitter because it's probably the place where social media finds you getting yourself most into trouble. And so we had a lot of discussions on pitfalls, warnings, how to be a good citizen of the internet and so on and so forth. And so most of this episode does focus on Twitter, but we touch on a few things that I think are true across all of the social media platform.
Yeah. And we're kind of on opposite sides of this here because, um, I, I do not enjoy social media. Um, it's a pretty significant source of anxiety for me. I just, it's, you'll hear more about it in the episode. I'm, I'm just not, not a big fan. So, uh, that said, I do recognize the importance of it and you know, the tricks and tools to navigating it. So we talk a lot about that as well in here.
So, and I use social media fairly frequently. I don't necessarily tweet every day or put something on Instagram every day. I definitely do not add stuff to Facebook. But yeah, I use Twitter probably the most. I use Instagram second most. Twitter is the easiest one to sort of fall into a habit of just interacting with because even if I don't have anything to say, I can probably find something from a friend that I can retweet. So I am generally active on Twitter. And so while it doesn't necessarily cause me anxiety unless we're having a particularly bad news cycle, which lately, um, but I do find myself opening it as a matter of habit for the dopamine hit of seeing new stuff.
Yeah. And see, I don't get the dopamine hit. I get the anxiety spike.
The cortisol spike.
I get the cortisol spike.
Yeah. So if you get nothing but cortisol spikes, you've got some advice for you and if you are more willing to dive into it, we've just got some general advice and how not to put your foot in it on Twitter.
Yeah, it's um, look, you know, it's not for everyone and you know, we, we talk about this in this episode and um, but it is an important tool for interacting with communities and Hey, speaking of interacting with communities,
yes, we have feedback from someone who left us and left us a really nice review review.
We're going to assume that's how it's pronounced.
Lelalime, I like it. Okay. Um, high quality content for those looking to publish. So glad I found this podcast. The distribution episodes are amazing. Thank you. Thank you, Lelalime.
And how many stars did we get?
New Speaker (03:04):
Tell me again. I love it. All right, so if you have been enjoying this podcast or if at the end of this episode, perhaps as your first episode, you find that you did enjoy this podcast. We would super appreciate a rating and review because it helps new people find us when they are browsing podcasts in these podcasts. You know, browsers as it turns out. So, um, if you don't think that you're, if you've already left a review, you can still help new people find us by sharing the episode with a friend. If you think it would be something they're interested in -
On Twitter, maybe. Perhaps.
So, anyway, speaking of, let's, uh, let's, let's, let's -
Let's get this over with for Kaelyn
Let's just do it. Enjoy everyone.
So I've got to tell you, Kaelyn did not want to have this conversation.
She still doesn't. She's only here because it's snowing and she can't go home.
That's not, okay, first of all, I love snow. So that is like, if we could sit outside and record this in the snow, I'd feel a lot better.
Maybe if it were 60 degrees and snowing outside. It's not quite that.
I see. I don't, I don't know. I don't mind. It's not, it's not terrible.
Something about snow feels like it softens the cold a little bit.
But when we're walking through parking lots with it blowing in my face, I was not feeling like it was comfortable.
Because the thing is that the snow ups the humidity level immediately. So I know that doesn't sound like it's a good thing, but it does actually make it a little bit warmer.
Which is weird because cold foggy days feel colder.
Yes, yes. You know what? That's freezing fog. I'm not one of these fancy weather scientists Rekka, okay?
Or weather magicians even.
Definitely not one of those.
But yeah, we're talking about social media today and um, I will, although Kaelyn already tried to get us to talk about snow for an hour instead,
I look, I had a whole bullet point list of interesting points, fun facts, uh, reasons we should all enjoy snow. It's, I was told no, we're going to talk about Twitter instead. Um, so I will just say a upfront, I, I am not that into social media. Um, those of you who listen to the show regularly who follow us will probably notice I don't interact on Twitter that much.
Um, no matter how many times I tag her.
Social media to be blunt, gives me a lot of anxiety. Um, I just, part of it is my personality. I'm a very private person. Um, I don't put a lot of my personal stuff out into the world. I just don't really do it. Um, also I had a very traumatic experience when I first joined Twitter. Um, so I had avoided Twitter for a very long time and when I came on at they were kind of like, Oh, okay, what's your Twitter handle for your business cards? And I said, I don't have Twitter. And they were like, Kaelyn, you need to get Twitter. I know, I don't, it's fine. No, Kaelyn, you have to have Twitter. Okay, fine. So I created a Twitter -
So your Twitter account is not consensual.
So I created a Twitter account. I went online, I followed my coworkers, a few of our authors at parvus. And then the first one person, person, quote unquote, I found that I wanted to individually follow was uh, the first cat of the newly elected prime minister of New Zealand. And this cat's name was paddles. And paddles was like, poly dactyl had like, you know, says she had like these giant feet and they called her paddles cause it looked like, you know, she had paddles on and I was like, Aw, this is adorable. And tweeting about all these cute little animal things, two days later Paddles died.
Paddles got hit by a car and -
Keep your cats inside folks.
That to me was the signal from the universe of Kaelyn, you do not belong on Twitter.
If you friend and follow people on Twitter, you will destroy their lives.
Oh God. You say that. But like I'm genuinely concerned that's going to happen. Anyway. So the whole point is that um, you're actually gonna get some interesting perspective in this episode because Rekka is a prolific social media user and very good at it. I avoid it, only interact when absolutely necessary and even then still sometimes try to avoid that.
Yup. Um, so if you feel like Kaelyn about social media, no, but like this is really one of the points that I was going to bring up in this episode. You do not have to be on social media. You really don't. Everyone's going to tell you that you do.
We've told you a few times that you do.
Yeah. But if you're not going to use it, if it causes you mental grief and anxiety, yeah. If it's not an effective tool for you and you don't enjoy interacting on it or it distracts you from your actual work, it's not a tool for you. Delegate it to someone else. If you feel like you must have a Twitter presence and if you say, well, I'm not a big enough author yet to do that, just reserve the username come back later.
So we keep saying Twitter. Um, Twitter is of course not the only social media out there, but you know, let's not sugarcoat that. It's the most commonly used, especially in writing,
I would say in the author sphere. Twitter is big. Um, indie author sphere actually Facebook is pretty fricking big.
Um, there are a lot of authors, especially those who came from a background of fanfic that use Tumblr. I would say if you've never seen Tumblr before, like don't even, don't even go there. I go to Tumblr, I'm like, I don't even know what I'm looking like when did this post become other people's replies? Like I don't like it's just, using it -
Every now and then, I've tried to look on Tumblr and I just don't understand what I'm seeing.
Every now and then. I, yeah, I follow a link that someone else's referenced. Um, you know, a friend of the podcast, Alexander Roland, um, has a couple of articles and they live on Tumblr and I've read the articles, but like, as soon as I figure out that I'm no longer reading the article and suddenly I'm reading comments somehow, like I, I just leave because that's not why I'm there. So, um, Tumblr is a whole sphere of like social media biome on its own. And I would not say it's a huge one unless you already exist there as a real person with a background of interacting with people, I don't think you're going to set up a new tumbler as an emerging author and really find footing there.
It does seem to be an, I would be curious to, there's gotta be statistics on this somewhere, the new users on Tumblr because it seems like there is a large group that got in when it was first a thing and everyone else is like us where we've looked at and go, Nope, Nope. You know what, I'm good.
Yeah. I do not need to participate in this. I'm, I don't know why I don't get tumbler because in terms of layout, it reminds me a lot of live journal, which I spent years on, but there's some disconnect in my brain between, and maybe it's because it's too close to live journal. Um, but there's some disconnect in my brain where I just, I look at it and I'm so confused. Um, LiveJournal by the way, not a social media platform you really have to worry about right now. Um, the other one being Facebook and which we touched on real quick and Instagram, Instagram and Instagram is becoming more and more of a medium that people use to communicate.
But I feel like it doesn't hold conversations as much as Twitter.
It does not hold conversations well. Um, without a certain prestige level and paid ads, you can't really provide links so you have to make that one link that you can put in your user profile, really do its work, which we'll get into that too. Um, or actually I'm afraid we won't get into that because I'm afraid we're going to talk mostly about Twitter and I think that's fair guess I, so I'm just going to say, um, for your Instagram, um, any social media profile where you only have one spot to put a link, look into the service link tree for, um, making that link go all the different places you might want it to go.
Yeah. Um, we are in this going to talk mostly about Twitter for the reasons we just gave. Um, some of these will, some of the things we're going to say of course will apply across the board, but for purposes here, it is really gonna mostly be Twitter.
And the reason it's not more Facebook because there's plenty of an audience on Facebook and I think we're all pretty familiar with how it works is because Facebook is very, very intentionally squashing anything but personal pages on people's walls. So in order you're not going to go onto Facebook and find an organic audience that is a thing of the past. You are going to pay for your audience and you're also going to have to pay to make your posts, reach the people who already chose to follow you. So it's really, I mean, Facebook is winning. The house always wins on Facebook and um, so unless you are prepared to spend marketing bucks, like I wouldn't worry about Facebook as a social media platform.
Yeah. So focus is primarily Twitter here. So let's talk about all the reasons it scares the hell out of me.
Yeah. Why don't we start with you. How does this make you feel Kaelyn?
Not great. Um, you know, as I had said, I, a lot of my reluctance to use Twitter is I don't like putting a lot of my life out there in the world.
Okay. So that's one bullet point that I did want to address. Um, you need to be authentic. That doesn't mean you need to bare your whole ass on social media. You can react to things the way that is natural to you as a human being. Like you might in-person or you might interact with someone at a book reading. You still want to, you know, convey your personality in your tweets, but that does not mean you need to tweet about like personal details or your family's health situation or your finances. You do not have to share anything with somebody that you aren't comfortable making part of your public portfolio because that's what you are doing.
Yeah. And look, I mean people do it definitely. Um, -
We are not recommending it.
Yeah. It's, you know, look, if you know, there's something on your mind that you want to get out there and you have, you know, people online that you've talked to about this stuff,
But again, that's that you want to get out there. I'm saying, you know, as an author profile, don't feel that you need to be posting 24 times a day, which means once per hour, which means some pretty great finding fine grain stuff about your life that is either not interesting, not relevant or not anyone's business. And then if you put all that stuff out there about yourself, then there are people who may become obsessed with you and then all that information is in their hands to do with us. They will. And they may not become obsessed with you for good reasons. Misery or worse.
Yeah. And it's, you have to remember that anything you put out there, anyone can see, unless you have some very locked down sort of account things.
There are twitter profiles where the profile itself is locked. But then that's not doing the social media thing.
Yeah, exactly. So then you're kind of defeating the purpose of what you had meant to do to begin with.
On Facebook, you can choose whether a post is global or just your friends or private or just a group of friends that you've set up. But Twitter, it's account level locked down or not now.
So on that note, I will say that another thing I found very intimidating that Twitter is, I barely knew how it worked. I understood the premise of it. Do you know how long it took me to figure out how to reply to a tweet rather than retweet it? It was embarrassing.
You know, it's funny is, um, there's a movie called Chef starring John Favreau, and if you haven't seen the movie, I do recommend it. And the premise of the movie is kicked off by him starting an accidental Twitter war with a food critic, restaurant critic, because he did not understand that he was not sending him direct messages and he, speaking of being bare ass on the internet, showed his whole ass to the internet and, um, became infamous rather than famous. And eventually it all worked out for him because it's Hollywood. But, um, you know, that's, that's not really a good look. So be sure that you understand as can suggest how to use the technology so that you're not inadvertently doing things that you don't realize you are.
That's the thing is that I, I've never been a very online person. Um, I, when Facebook became a thing when I was in college and this was, you know, if there's any of our younger listeners out there, you used to need an email address that ended in.edu to sign up for Facebook. What they were doing was they were adding certain colleges and universities at a time. It was just their way to onboard everyone, so it wasn't like a deluge of users. So when my university got Facebook, it still took me over a year and a half to sign up for it. I just was not interested in it. I have never been someone who really lives and exists online. And to that end, I don't know a lot of the lingo and the terms and etiquette even, and it's very scary because I know they exist. I just don't know what they are. And the last thing I want to do is go online and put my foot in my mouth.
Right. And if that is something that you feel like is more likely to happen than not, maybe just as I said, reserve the username. Maybe you're already using a username for your domain name or on Instagram. I mean like if there is social media that you do use and you are comfortable with, just grab the same name so that you can keep your branding consistent. Um, cause it's a lot easier to say we're WMBcast on Instagram and Twitter than it is to say I'm WMBcast on Twitter and WMBcast147 on Instagram because somebody's got to the name before you bothered to get around and register it. You don't have to use it. They're not going to close the account if you don't use it. Just make sure that you update your email if you change it and your contact information. So later in life when you decide, I do need to be using Twitter as a platform. You can hire a virtual assistant to handle your Twitter, you know, content for you with a, um, with the caveat that that means you are not going to be very authentic on Twitter because someone else will be posting for you, which means you've planned out your posts in advance, which means that's really more of a marketing campaign then you being on Twitter.
Yeah. And that's um, I think that's another good point to talk about is what you're using Twitter for. Um, you know, I know a lot of people that like that's how they talk to a lot of their friends most of the time, you know, everyone just kinda hangs out -
Like big public chat room.
Yeah. Everyone just kinda hangs out on Twitter. Um, for some people it is more of a marketing type thing, um, or it's just sort of a like, Hey, I'm out there, here's some stuff that's going on. But it's not really a Twitter about them. It's about their work.
Which is fine and that's the way you use it. And if someone follows you, seeing that content and they are comfortable following, you know, they don't unfollow you because they realize like, like you're not describing your Disney vacation to them, then that's fine. And you can even set it up so that you don't have to post that content yourself. Like if you send out a newsletter through your mailing list, you can have, um, usually the mailing list service will cross-post for you to social media. So if you attach it to a Facebook page and you've set it up to attach to a Twitter account, it will automatically send that out to the list and it'll use whatever image you used as the main graphic in the email. And then content goes up on Twitter without you having to think about it. Um, you know, just turn on your notifications so you know, if you get a mention cause somebody replied to it or something. Um, the other thing is that if you post a blog post, say you're comfortable using your WordPress website to add blog content, you can also cross post that content and have it published to Twitter or Facebook when the post publishes. And then you are adding content to Twitter without ever having to engage in the Twitter sphere of community.
Now let's say you do really want to engage in the Twitter sphere of community. Maybe you're like in a few writing groups and everyone's like, yeah, you know, there's this ongoing thread, or there's this great group of people you should interact with them. You know, just introduce yourself. How do you, how do you recommend kind of dipping your toe in that water?
Well, okay, so say you've already set up your account, we're just going to assume that you're starting with an account that you don't use much, but someone's like invited you over. Well that's great because now you have a friend that you can follow and that friend will follow you back. And if you say like, Hey, I'm new to Twitter, but you know, I realize there are a lot of great people here, so I'm looking for writers and artists or whoever, you know, whatever type of people, readers to follow and follow me back. Then maybe that friend who invited you will retweet that and then their entire list is exposed to that. And then maybe you get a whole bunch of automatic, not automatic as in automated, but like people who see that and are like, yeah, fine, I'll follow you. If so-and-so likes you, I'll follow you. So that's one way to start building your audience. Um, you, when you set up Twitter, it starts asking you questions about yourself and what your interests are and I think it starts suggesting you to other people with similar interests.
So yeah, if you go to, actually this is a fun statistic about me. Um, if you look at the people that I follow there's a couple hundred of them, a 4% of them are Muppets. I counted.
I was going to say, you did the numbers on this. I'm not sure it not a Twitter feed. You know, it's not how many -
No, I counted 4% of the people I follow on Twitter and Muppets.
Okay. So just to be clear, Muppets are good to follow and interact with on Twitter.
Muppets are great to follow.
Sockpuppets or not.
We don't want sock puppets.
Which is to say people who are, um, tweeting on behalf of someone else's agenda. Yes. And we don't want bots, which sadly this is not the future in which we'd be friend the robots. Um, you can usually tell them because they have like a very clearly, sure, I'll take that username sort of username. Um, and you know, then there are real people, real human beings who go on Twitter and behave badly and you're going to want to watch out for them. So everyone who responds to your tweets is not worth giving them a response back. Um, some people are going to very quickly exemplify why the mute and block buttons exist on Twitter. Um, speaking of which, if you are overwhelmed by some of the content that is on Twitter all the time, the mute and block buttons can help you avoid stuff that's either going to upset you or distract you or make you engage in a way that is not what you intended Twitter for.
So, um, there are accounts that you can follow that will have links that you can activate that will tie into your Twitter account and block like a whole mess of people for you. So if there's a group you don't like, say trans exclusive radical feminists, you can find an account that will block anybody who's known to behave in accordance with that sort of person. And then you don't even have to think about it later. I mean you might have to block the occasional person you catch on your own, but it if they block someone, like you'll automatically have blocked them. So like groups like that, it's easy to avoid basically. I mean you might eventually, depending on how you tweet, come under there like the tensions.
But the thing is, anytime you go out into the world, whether it be on your phone, at your desk or actually step out into the world, there is a chance you are going to run into less than pleasant people. Yeah. Um, which is why I don't do any of those things.
And Twitter has a lot of them congregating in one spot looking for trouble. Yeah. I'm using search terms. You'll see a lot of folks, uh, who tweet and then a specific word in their tweet will have asterisks in it, in place of some of the letters, which is specifically so that someone searching for that word can't find them and just come in and start raising a ruckus for the sheer joy of making your life miserable.
Yeah. And see this is, this is another aspect of social media freaking me out. Part of it is that like, I am not afraid of these people. It's not, you know, that I'm, it's more that I don't want to deal with this and I don't understand people that behave this way. And to be frank, I just, I don't have time for it. That said, one of the big anxieties that I have about Twitter is people taking things I say the wrong way. Um, I know me personally that I'm never going to be tweeting anything that I think would offend someone because one, I just don't talk and act that way. And two I tried to make sure that something I'm putting out into the world, especially as a representative of my publishing company, I want to make sure is well received by everyone. I am always very worried that I'm accidentally going to say something that I don't know is going to offend somebody. I'm going to offend someone.
The thing to do, to avoid, honestly not offending somebody is probably just to avoid re-tweeting things. Um, you, and this has happened to plenty of celebrities where they have retweeted a message that on the surface sounded pretty good and then they found out that it was very much coated by a political group for and against very specific people. So, um, if you are not fully aware of the context of the subject matter, it might be safer for you to not retweet or do you educate yourself or make sure you read the whole thread and maybe read the comments and see what kind of, I mean it's kind of like there's a phrase which is good, good advice, never read the comments, never read the comments here. But if you are considering re tweeting at, you might want to be aware of how inflammatory it is and in which directions you're going to see people you know, inflamed in both directions on a specifically troublesome tweet. And this is one of those things where you do have to decide and it's, it has a lot to do with how you want to present yourself to the world. Do you want to be an activist and tweet things that have messages that mean a lot to you or um, support causes that you care about? Or do you want to frankly play it safe and maybe not ever retweet anything except you know, a new book launch announcement from a of author friend or from your publishing house of a, you know, a sibling from your publishing house.
I'm going to jump in here real quick and say that if you don't want to do the first one, you don't have to and don't let anyone make you feel like you do.
There, you will absolutely run into people that say, well, you support this. Why don't you get more involved in the conversation? And if the answer is I don't want to or I don't have the energy to or mentally, it's not good for me, that is a completely legitimate reason. And you will find a lot of very die hard people on Twitter for a cause that they care about or -
A passionate and argument that they're passionate about. That's great that they can do that. It is soul draining for some people.
And for people who work multiple plus their writing and have families or other responsibilities that may really just tap them out. So if you choose to be an activist on social media, absolutely that's your call, but be understanding of someone else chooses not to be.,
Never feel pressured to participate in something you don't have to.
However, one thing that you can do to make more friends on Twitter, especially in the writing industry or the writing sphere, is to support your friends and fellows that you know and love. That's a great thing. Um, so if they're announcing a new book or they announced that they've just signed for a book sale, a, if they announce a, you know, a a book event where they're going to be at a bookstore or something like that, absolutely. Feel free to retweet that. They'll appreciate it and they might retweet your next announcement. Um, and that's just being a good citizen, you know, that's, you know, not doing it so that someday they do it for you, but you know, do it because you're part of the community. And that's what people who are in communities do is lift each other up.
Yeah, exactly. Just, you know, that when somebody's got something, they're trying to get out into the world, the more people that help them get it out there, the more people will see it.
Um, you know, it's just as you said, being a good being a Twitter citizen.
Yeah. Um, something else about being a good Twitter citizen is when you see somebody posting about a health issue, it is not your job to give them medical advice on Twitter. And I see that so often and um, it really, it's upsetting to the person who was letting you know that, you know, they were in a bad place and it doesn't put them in a better place. Chances are they've heard that advice before and they've already weighed and measured it. There's a lot of, I think people putting personal things out there that aren't looking to you to solve it for them, but everyone's got the problem solved in their head and they feel the need to comment and say, you should do this.
You know, they're looking for a friendly, Hey, hang tough. We love you.
You know, you'll get through this. I'm thinking of, let me know if there's anything I can do for you. Sending all our love, stuff like that. Like that's, that's the kind of support that you give on on Twitter. You don't give medical advice, send Twitter, your lawyer would not appreciate that. Um, so yeah, I mean that's one of the spaces where like it's, it's OK to engage but don't try to, I don't want to say manipulate, but don't try to guide that person to do anything as a result. Like they're sharing it with you. Hey, I'm having a rough time because of X, Y and Z medical condition or X, Y and Z financial situation or something like that. Um, but there are times when you really do not want to engage for reasons that would terrify Kaelyn and I'm talking about, um, mostly own voices conversations because if that own voice is not your own voice, that's not a place for you to talk. Now, it might be a great place for you to learn by just following along and being aware of what people are talking about. If it's, especially if it's something that you're interested in, especially if representation matters to you and your stories and you want to represent people who aren't always of your exact personality background, et cetera. Um, but don't engage, you know, there's, there have been conversations recently from specific marginalized groups where other people are stepping in and telling those marginalized people how they should be feeling right now. And that's not good. And that's a great way to get yourself blacklisted from several of these, um, these social circles.
Yeah. I mean, without going into too many specific examples, um, one thing, and this is, this results in me being underactive on Twitter, but I think it's better that way, is be conscious of who you're talking to and who you're engaging with. Um, you are going to come across groups of people that you would not normally find in groups if you were just at a party because everyone can kind of join together and be in the same place. So knowing that we're not here necessarily to talk to you just because this has happening on a public forum.
Just because you can see the post doesn't mean I'm talking like making eye contact with you.
Exactly. Yeah. Um, and being conscious and being mindful of that I think is very important.
And no, you know, whether you, if you're watching a conversation, you're like, Oh, well it's public, so I guess I can engage. I can add my 2 cents. Maybe if you think about it, -
Like, I mean, yes you can, but should you?
Yeah. You're, you're going to find yourself slapped back pretty fast if you try to engage in a conversation that is clearly not about or for you.
So now let's say you make a faux pas. Let's say youput your foot in your mouth, you stick your nose into a conversation that you really did not have much of a place taking part in.
As soon as you realize that -
New Speaker (31:37):
Um, as soon as you realize it, you let it, especially if someone comments to you and says, um, you know, for whatever reason, we don't appreciate you sticking your nose in. I'm sure it won't be phrased quite like that. Um, you can recognize that, you know, you overstepped your bounds by replying and saying, I, you know, apologize, that was none of my business and I didn't understand the full, I mean, if you didn't, but basically I, you recognize it and you admit it, but you don't make the whole conversation about you and how will you been called out and how you feel bad about it. Like just apologize and back the hell away.
Yeah. Now and that said. Um, if someone comes back at you and is, I'll, I'll even say if they're rude or they're unnecessarily nasty about it, um, sucks. Just deal with it.
Because you know, what, if the -
Don't keep engaging with them, the only thing you can do is let it go. And you know, there may be very full throttle and - ramifications of you making one tiny mistake or you know, just being overbearing in a conversation that you didn't belong in any way that may just kind of haunt you for awhile, but just deal with it. You know, if you agree that you were wrong in doing it and maybe even if you don't, especially if it's, you know, other people who are marginalized telling you that you've stuck your foot in it, um, just accept that that's, that's how it went and be more careful next time.
Yeah. It's um, don't it, it's not about you at that point. Um, the other thing that I will say is that there is, you know, there's a lot of, there's a lot of things that happen now that people involved with or circulating around that group be it, you know, sports writing, um, movies, culture, whatever your interest are. People feel the need to comment on it to say, I am appalled by this or I stand up for this thing. You don't have to have a statement on everything that happens from, I've read things on Twitter where people are going, I know it took me a week to acknowledge the controversy surrounding such and such an I just need to state that I am firmly opposed to what that person said. I do not in any way support anything they believe.
Like you never provided evidence that you would, no one thought you would need to say that.
Yeah, no one ever would think that you would. And also it's not like, you know, if it's a celebrity -
And in a week, everyone's forgotten.
It's not like you know this person. It's not like they're a friend of yours that you kind of feel like you are like, Oh God, I hope they don't think that about me too. You don't need to comment on everything. Um, if you're worried about where people might think that you stand on something, then may - you probably need better friends
Or you need to be more clear about where you stand. If it's important for people to know that the example I gave earlier of someone of celebrity re-tweeting something that they didn't fully understand the context of. Um, the solution was a couple of hours later or as soon as they were, it was pointed out to them. I don't really, I saw it after the fact so I didn't really see how long it took, but they said, I apologize for my last retweet. I did not realize that that was about that and I should have been more careful about re-tweeting the message on the surface. It seemed like something I agreed with having learned what it really meant. I do not agree with that and done you and I saw that person as it celebrity celebrated for correcting their mistake and moving on. You be careful about it and you moved, they were not defensive. They did not make excuses for themselves. They apologize directly and they were clear about what their actual stance was.
Now that said, you don't need to, you know, wear a hair shirt and whip yourself in, you know, the middle of the town. That's,
But that's, that's exactly it. Punishing yourself publicly is, is making it about you.
That's exactly what I'm saying. So like if you're not, apologizing and moving on is one thing, publicly flogging yourself is not helpful to anyone.
And making a show of your suffering and your repentance is, is making it about you when you hurt someone else. And this should be about you apologizing to them and letting them heal. Not constantly shoving it under their nose.
Yeah. So, you know, it's, and like I said, I, you know, I just get very freaked out by this. I'm not a big social media user. Um, I also, you know, just in my manners speaking and things like, I'm worried that things that I say could be misconstrued. I'm also worried there are people out there who will look to misconstrue them and here's the thing, there are.
And you can't beat them.
They, if they want to apply context to it, that you didn't put it in there and they can convince other people it's there. There's not much you can do about it. You can, if it really starts to blow up, you know, not respond to them, not retweet their thing, just say like look posts to clarification posts to clarification and try to not engage with everybody who, who's coming at you because that one person sent their, you know, their crowd after you. So okay. I, to be fair to the people who were just considering signing up for Twitter and now they've listened to all this and they're like, Whoa.
They're like, Kaelyn's right, stay the hell away.
What is going on Twitter? Um, I just wanted to market some books. So let's get back to like using Twitter as a book marketing plan.
There are a lot of wonderful, supportive kind people on Twitter and they can help you with your books.
However, if your Twitter account is clearly just you reposting or even using a third party like posting tool to just post, buy my books, buy my books, buy my books, then you are going to come off just as much as a used car salesman as you might worry, you will. That's why we say be authentic on Twitter. Just a couple conversational things in between, you know, Hey, I have a book coming out. Don't post three times a day that you have a book coming out. I mean, on the day of, if you are normally a active, an active Twitter user and you normally engage in conversation, chances are you're going to have friends re-tweeting your first book announcement posts throughout the day and you don't need to post it three times. When you post to Twitter, that post goes to the people who follow you. If you promote it at my go to more people, but don't do that. It doesn't, there's no reason. Um, a lot of, uh, independent authors have experimented with Twitter ads and they have found that there's no advantage to spending money to promote your tweets.
I actually go out of my way to avoid things that.
Any time an ad, a promoted tweet comes up on my feet, I block the user. So like that's my behavior as a, as a user of Twitter, not as somebody like trying to, you know, teach them a lesson or anything like that. And just like, I don't want to see that ad loads every time I open Twitter. So your Twitter list, the people who have been kind enough to follow you or follow you back will see your post. Now if they don't check Twitter frequently throughout the day and they also don't scroll all the way back or view their Twitter feed in the right order as opposed to like Twitter's decision on how it, what order it should be displayed in, which is a thing.
And you know, you just have to look into that. Um, so someone might miss it if they're on your list. So in your mind you're saying like, well, if I post a three times a day, then I should catch everyone on my list, whether they check in the morning at lunch or in the afternoon. But the fact is, I think people take about five minutes to scroll back through Twitter as far as they feel they need to go. And then we'll check back in at random times during the day. It's not like someone checks before breakfast checks at lunch or checks at dinner. Like Twitter's sort of like a thing that keeps showing up on your screen. Like I didn't even remember opening that. And here I am scrolling through Twitter again.
Those are for regular users who are your audience if you're trying to use Twitter to market your books. So those users are going to see your posts all three times and they're going to start getting irritated about it, especially if that's all your content. Um, I have seen in the past, people recommend using the third party apps I mentioned earlier, like HootSweet there's a couple like that, um, to set up content that rotates through and like you tell it, Oh, post four times a day from this list of posts and then when you get to the end, repeat it back, guess what? You can smell those. It's very obvious and I don't like them. I end up muting or blocking the people who use them because they're not engaging in any other real meaningful way. They're just trained to use it to make it look like they are so that when their book promotion posts come up, you don't feel like they're abusing the system. Do the thing where like your real new stuff comes out. Like from your mailing list or your website blog posts, those can go to Twitter.
But if you are going to get in a cycle where you're repeating your content because you feel like that's the way to expose your content, like your, you're not thinking about Twitter, the way people that you're trying to reach on Twitter are using Twitter.
Yeah. So to kind of, you know, in, in summary, in conclusion, um, I kind of at the beginning of every year sort of make a little resolution myself that I'm going to be better at Twitter. So if you want to try and interact with me on Twitter, I promise I will try to be,
See this is like Kaelyn saying I'm going to try to be better at the violin, but Kaelyn doesn't own a violin or take violin lessons.
Actually that's not true. I do own a violin and I took violin.
Well, she has a Twitter account but she's not using it. She's not practicing and she doesn't do her scales.
Yeah. Um, no, but you know, it is something that I kind of know that I need to be better at this. Um, it's, I don't want to call it an unpleasant reality of my job because I don't think of it that way, but it is more of something I should do rather than something I enjoy doing. And maybe eventually I will just expose myself enough that I get more comfortable doing it. And I think that's what has to happen a lot of times if you're a little nervous. So if you ever -
My advice to Kaelyn.
try to interact with me on Twitter, I promise I will try to interact and it'll be, it'll be therapy for me. Exposure therapy.
So my, my advice to Kaelyn and I'll tell it to her here so that you can hear it, is just avoid sarcasm.
Which I'm not good at.
I know, I know that. So that is primary advice, number one, you are writing flat text into a flat machine. Even the best choice of emojis to pair with your words so that people know it's sarcasm. You will still find people who misconstrue words. And since that is what Kaelyn is trying to avoid.
I've just solved it. I'm only going to tweet an emojis from now on and then everyone can make of them what they want.
Um, and be aware of context. So like that the celebrity who happened to retweet something that was actually for um, in supportive group, he did not support and his fan base called them out on it. Like just maybe be more aware of what you're re tweeting and it's, it's troublesome because in this case they did sound like good words on the surface.
Here's my Twitter advice. Stick with pictures of cute animals.
There are lots of accounts out there that you can fill your Twitter feed with such goodness.
One of my favorite ones I follow is just called In Otter News and you know what it is? It's otters.
I think there's an account called hourly wolves, something like that.
New Speaker (43:10):
Yeah, Fox Fox one. Yeah. So, I mean really most of the people that I follow on Twitter are Muppets and animals.
Which is your safety net because if you mute everyone but them,
Then Twitter is a beautiful place.
Twitter is not upsetting.
So yeah, if you just want to be tweeting things and you're not really, you're like, Oh I don't know. Just like if you've got a pet, just take pictures of your pet and put them online. I love looking at people's pets.
Just watch out for if you're posting photos for reflective surfaces and what they show cause you know, that's the whole thing. Um, especially for Instagram since we are talking about all the social media, but I know we focused on Twitter, but Instagram, um, the content you choose is needs to be interesting but also friendly and not look all staged all the time. Um, which is the best advice I can give you the best Instagram account that I was going to send you to for somebody who seems to have a really engaged following and everything like that I realized is Victoria Schwab. And she has a really engaged following, cause she already has a huge following anyway and they're going to follow her wherever she goes.
So the, the choice of Instagram account wasn't necessarily, um, you know, better or worse than also being on Twitter. But, um, I do like the photos she posts in so far as like author slice of life content. She doesn't get personal, but they're always semi book related, but not specific to her book launches, although some of them are because got lots of stuff to promote all the time because everything's happening for her right now. So, um, but yeah, be aware of the context. Be aware if, you know, if you are sharing pet photos, if you are sharing, um, you know, little bits of your life, just make sure that you're comfortable with them being out there in the public. I think count to 10 before you post anything critical.
Um, watch your jokes. You know, you might think something's funny, but it's actually based on, you know, a long history of, you know, putting other people down. Um, don't punch down, punch up and you know, if any of this makes you uncomfortable and you didn't really want to go on Twitter in the first place, like here's your permission slip. You don't have to.
Um, you know, I know we talk about social media a lot and being important and by the way, not wanting to go on Twitter is not the same as not wanting to have a website.
Right, you should have a website but freaking website, no excuses. You don't need to, it doesn't need to be big or beautiful or have exclusive content. You just need to have a presence where someone can go find you.
Here is one thing I, this will be my parting thought when in life, but especially online. Remember and understand that you do not owe anyone your time or attention. So if people are tagging you in things, DM-ing, you, um, you know, trying to -
The nice thing is you can lock down your DMs and not accept any.
You can also lock down that people cannot tag you in things if you really don't like, but -
Or just turn off your notifications, let them tag you, but not have to have it ping in your ear.
Yeah. But even if you don't do that, you don't owe anyone your time and attention. So if it's getting stressful for you or if you just don't want to talk to that particular person, you don't even need to reply to them and say, Hey, I don't want to talk to you. So yeah.
And so you're going to meet people in your life who will tell you, you must have a Twitter account and we're not going to publish your book unless you have 500,000 Twitter followers. Those two statements are just not realistic and they're not fair. And they're putting a lot of onus on you as an author to go beyond the role of being the one who writes the books and become part of the marketing team. You will be part of the marketing team even if you don't go on Twitter.
Yeah. So you know, just be happy and be safe out there. It's parts of it can be scary, but for the most part you're going to find, you know, good people that can be helpful and kind and -
Yeah, you just be the same.
Yup. So we'll, we'll leave that there and if you want to interact with us on Twitter -
If you're already on Twitter. Once you sign up, make your first friend on Twitter @WMBcast and we will happily be your friend on Twitter. Um, and you know, we're there. Ask us questions, uh, leave us comments there. Uh, do a rating and review on Apple podcasts or Apple iTunes. Um, we've had a couple of new ones lately and we really appreciate it. Everyone's really enjoying the podcast and it makes us feel so good that this is helpful. Hopefully this episode was helpful and not 100% terrifying, although Kaelyn looks like she's going to cry, so we better wrap this up so I can get her a tissue.
Some more tea.
So we are also at WMBcast.com and patreon.com/WMBcast and we will talk to you in two weeks.