ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Travelling the Australian Outback and ... The Fourth Industrial Revolution -- what does that mean to us? ... Selling your book on social media.

Hello, social media tragics. 

This is one of those hated long posts which I actually enjoy reading if there's something interesting going on. You choose. You don't have to read it. I start off with some travel bits, (I promised I'd be talking more about Oz), then I move on to the state of the digital world, then have a chat about selling books on social media. If none of that interests you...phew, I've saved you some time. Lots of other blogs a'waiting a visit.

I'm back from my road trip through the Australian Outback. I drove through western Queensland, western New South Wales, outback South Australia to Adelaide. Then on the way back to South-East Queensland where I live, I drove through Victoria, then the western plains of New South Wales, then back through western Queensland. 2,200 kilometres in all. I survived. And I have lots of stories to write for travel mags!




Love old churches. Saw lots of old churches in the bush. This one still had money in the collection plate and showed signs of use!



Architecture from an earlier era. So much better than most modern buildings.



Only in the middle of what we call Woop Woop would you find a coffee shop like this. 



Finally...after 1,200 kilometres I get to the beach -- Glenelg, an historic beach a tram ride from Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

The times they are a'changing. Never more obvious than when you drive through the bush and see life how it used to be. Of course, the old ways are dying...sadly. What do you do when your country no longer manufactures goods in your little town?  Hello! Some of these little towns had printing presses! Go figure! But you move on. Leave the towns to die...sadly. Some towns are just hanging on...some are all but abandoned. 85% of Aussies live 50 kilometres from the coast. Not many hang out in the Dead Centre.


Sheep are still driven through towns once a year to be shorn at the shearing sheds. Caught this flock which held up the road for half and hour. Made for great video and photos. Thousands of the cute little woolly blighters.
But, we're living in pretty exciting times, depending on your point of view. Some think this world is moving along too fast and would like to go back to a gentler time, a time when people talked face-to-face more than phone-to-phone. When people wrote letters, not emails. When people had time to waste, (er, create), to ponder, to imagine. Sorry, but those days are gone unless you work for Google, where you bounce around on fitballs, throw outrageous ideas at each other until one sticks. Now we're all frantically tapping our phones, our laptops, instead of tapping each other on the shoulder, saying 'hi!' On my travels, half the time I didn't even have a mobile signal! Satellite phones are de rigeuer in the outback!

Don't you shake your head at the craziness of our modern world, a world where Boris Johnson, ex London mayor and now the UK Foreign Minister, gets turned away from the political love fest that was the Munich Security Conference because he forgot his ID? (Well, I guess it was a security conference.) My point is, that is a modern story. Once upon a time, a handshake was good enough.

I digress...how about this Fourth Industrial Revolution I keep reading about?
"We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold...
The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres."              Extract from the World Economic Forum, 2016.

So now, Luddites and others who have bleeding fingernails from clinging on to the 'old ways.' We're moving into the Fourth Industrial Revolution whether we like it or not, this one is all about technology. Already in this world where nothing is private, what we say online has a forever impact. And I'm not just talking the CIA, the NSA, WikiLeaks et al. Once you post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, your blog and so forth, it's un-erasable. You might think if you click 'delete' your words are gone, but no, you just think they are. And, hello, it's been said that Facebook is the biggest spy agency in the world -- move over NSA. 

If you're using social media because you want to sell books, I've read that what you say on social media can have an impact on your success. There are right and wrong ways to go about it...apparently.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT STATIC

Social media changes all the time. It morphs. I love to blog, but my favourite social media is Instagram. It's so undemanding. I love to travel, I love to take photos and I love to see others' photos. That's how Instagram started out. But now, many author/bloggers are discovering Instagram, and it's fast going the way of Facebook, Twitter and the blogs. It's becoming all about 'buy-my-book'.

Sadly.

I know you've got to go where the fish are, but people on Instagram are there to drool over pictures of food, Paris or Istanbul or some monastery on top of some unattainable mountain. Not to buy your book. Okay, if you have a book to sell (and who doesn't?), you have to learn to navigate the waters and throw your line in at the right place if you want to catch a fish.

I saw this on Kristen Lamb's blog:
"Whenever we decide we might one day sell our book, we are making a decision to be a professional. Being a professional comes with certain rules that don't generally apply to regular people."
And about that...we don't really know what the rules are. At least I don't. I suspect many authors with a book to sell are trying this, trying that, hoping something will stick. Who has the answers to book promotion? Most of us have found out what doesn't work. Who can tell us what does?

SOME SOCIAL MEDIA HINTS IF YOU'RE USING IT TO SELL BOOKS -- or 'what turns me off'...
A simple fact. People buy books from people they know and I guess everyone is trying to get known on the blogs and other social media. Sure, we can easily surf Amazon, but I still love going to bricks and mortar book stores (we still have plenty in Australia--we are backward Down Under, after all) -- and 'surfing the shelves' and supporting hard-working booksellers gives me a buzz I don't get on Amazon. Does my favourite author have a new book out? How did I miss this one? It's in the bag.

However, if you're thinking, darn it, she'll never buy my book, it's only digital on Amazon, my eye is occasionally captured by a book on social media such as Twitter and I'll find out more about it and usually buy it. 

But this is the thing. People probably won't buy a book from someone who's been ranting and raving on Twitter or Facebook, unless they like that particular rant and rave. I read comments on posts on FB. Do you? People are not going to buy books from nasty people who berate anyone with a different opinion, or call them names. No. No. No. Social media is supposed to be social and is governed by the same social rules as any non-digital get-together. Be polite. Be friendly. It's not all about me-me-me or you-you-you.

THE GREAT UN-FOLLOWERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Don't you hate those posts on FB where people threaten to unfollow you (silly word) if you don't obey what they're telling you to do? (((sniff))) (((sniff))) Go ahead. Unfollow me. I care about the Syrians and Iraqis getting blown to bits and the famines in Somalia and the Sudan, oh, and global warming, but I don't care who unfollows me on FB. If someone annoys me too much, I just unfriend/unfollow/block...whatever...quietly, no fuss, no fanfare. I don't have to tell anyone about it. Not in my space. Each of us has a right to set our own boundaries.

I don't mind political rants especially when I can laugh at them, being a political animal myself, and there's just so much political  nonsense to laugh about at the moment, but I hate when the comments turn nasty. I know. Life is tough. We're so easily offended or outraged these days. Let's reclaim the calm.

Try one of the old, pre-Fourth Industrial Revolution quirky things...

Read the Bible or another spiritual tome.

Meditate.

Do yoga.

Do Tai-Chi

Sit at the beach.

Climb to the top of a mountain.

Travel, immerse yourself in another culture then you'll probably appreciate yours more.

Listen to a beautiful audio book if that's your bag.

Oh, that sounds like I'm a Luddite. Funny that so many people are pushing back, trying to reclaim the calm in this screaming world. 

Being calm is a big ask in our world's very strange, dangerous, unpredictable political climate, especially when plenty of people are using social media to stir up their followers, to incite them to activism, but let's be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Want people to buy your books? Play nice. Buy other author's books. Read them right through. Write reviews. Tell everyone when you finish an excellent book.

Okay, I'm currently reading Forbidden by Judy Feather Stone blogger. A great cross-cultural romance. Bit of the Amazon blurb:

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished.

And what do you know...the CIA is involved!

Catch you next time!

What are you reading? Or just finished? Tell us about it...



44 comments:

  1. That is wild to think most Australians live near the ocean. Granted our coastlines are the most densely populated, but there are still plenty of people in the middle.
    I've never wanted to be one to should buy my book. Outside of a new release, be it book or audio, I rarely mention my books. Rather promote others. And blog about what I enjoy - movies and music.

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    1. It makes sense when you see our Outback. A tough life out there in the middle of nowhere. The Dead Centre really is the dead centre.

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  2. I envy you your travels in your gorgeous country, Denise.

    Yes, I don't much care for ranting and raving on blogs or social media. When I feel a rant coming on, I simply draft it, and later paste it in my journal.

    Wishing you all the very best with your travels and writing!

    Damyanti

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    1. Great idea. Thanks Damyanti. Nice to see you again.

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  3. I have a visceral aversion to intrusive tactics to "buy my ... (fill in the blank)" whatever it is. Have you noticed how many websites these days are becoming nigh-on unusable, spoiled by the endless whack-a-mole game of shut down the annoying advert pop-up? Aah, the price of capitalism unbridled :(

    Sounds like an amazing trip. The Earth feels so crowded these days it's hard to remember that there are still some vast and truly empty places left in the world.

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    1. Yeah Ian, those drop down menus drive me crazy while I'm stuttering around looking for the X or I might just bail. Everyone's doing it, it seems.

      There's plenty of vast, empty spaces Down Under, but not many hardy enough to cope with the landscape and climate.

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  4. Hi Denise - welcome back ... and what a trip that must have been - and am glad you've encountered lots of interesting ideas and places for future articles/travel talks etc ...

    I am worried about people not being able to read, or talk coherently, or set up rules and regulations ... so there's some form of standardisation for us all to live in - where we can stretch the boundaries without falling foul of accepted norms.

    I must go now - but will probably be back ... cheers and so good to see you out and about again - don't spend too much time on Instagram! Hilary

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    1. Heh, heh. I'm not actually addicted to any social media, even Instagram. I loathe FB, but feel the need to be there for whatever reason, keeping up with family is a biggie.

      Those accepted social norms in society are being turned on their heads and so are many people. No wonder people are ranting!! No doubt someone's gathering all the rants for some future subversive incursion. Egad!

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    2. Hi Denise - I feel the same way ... but I'd add in the Printing Press as an Industrialisation process - without the printing press - we'd be nowhere ... no spread of anything ... no instructions for using things! The news is one big pain now ... but needs must sometimes ... thank goodness for the late 19th and 20th centuries and the invention of the keyboard and computer! Cheers Hilary

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    3. You're right. The printing press really changed civilisation. Amazing how it's morphed since then. Eventually books for the masses. And here we are!

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  5. That sounds like a super-awesome, heavenly trip! I have a crazy passion for wide open spaces without too many humans, sheep are okay, more than okay in fact :)

    I'm only on FB but sometimes it can be rather shouty and off-putting. Unfriending threats are so weird and childish! Some people truly need to get over themselves.

    This fourth revolution of blurred biological and digital scares me out of my wits, I've still to get to grips with the third haha. But seriously, it's scary that anything posted online is there for eternity even after being deleted...can't understand why people rant online and say and do all manner of irresponsible stuff knowing that.

    And right now I'm reading What Went Wrong? by Bernard Lewis. When I'm not having sudden attacks of rubai's...it always frazzles me that I can't seem to balance the reading and writing...useless at multi-tasking! :(

    Great to be back here, great to see you back! Have a lovely week.

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    1. Ah, the little merino sheep made the trip so special. One day of the year and we happened to drive into them, not literally of course.

      I'd like just to read forever, forget about everything else LOL!

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  6. That's so interesting how most Australians live near the coast. I had no idea about this. And yes, using social media to sell books is a challenge. I think it's important not to just flood the same people with your book. Networking with new groups of people like through a Goodreads book club, Facebook groups, or paying for a blog tour on book review bloggers sites may be more effective. And you're right, being nice is important.

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    1. If you saw the Outback, you'd understand our obsession with the coast and breezes and water. Sooooooo hot inland.

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  7. Sounds like a grand trip and I love the photo of the coffee shop. I think everyone should have their own opinion about politics and everything else but they shouldn't get upset and outraged just because someone else feels different. We should all learn to play nice.

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    1. Play nice. Huh. That'd be nice, wouldn't it?

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  8. I bet it was a fascinating journey. I remember seeing a really old movie called the Overlanders about the first team to successfully take a herd of cattle across the middle of Australia. A journey only for the tough.

    Go ahead and unfollow. There are bigger things to worry about.

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    1. Ha. The Overlanders. Really, really old but a fairly true view of outback Oz. There were a few films like that which told the Aussie story well.

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  9. Hey, Denise, thanks for the shout out! Love it! And on a blog talking about the 'buy my book' mentality, too! Boy that's is hard, we all want to be that next sensation. And still follow the rules, but I'm sure I over do it too.

    Now, though, book contracts call for that presence on social media and it's all to sell, sell, sell. Problem is, at least for me right now, my publisher isn't paying out the royalties earned. Only answered my email after I threatened to involve the attorneys, then they said the check was in the mail. It never arrived, and now they say the check will soon be in the mail. Gee, wonder which one it is. Honestly, I'm ready to go all and tell folks, Please, don't buy my last three books. It's not doing me a damn bit of good. LOL How's that for a turn around.

    I'm trying to host others, read and review - the best advice ever.

    Love your photo's and your blog today! :)

    Oh, and the Snowman will be self-published - Yes, please buy that book. LOL ;)

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    1. Ha, Yolanda, I see the irony, but I wanted to help a pal out. I'm so angry at CQP on your behalf. Dodgy as, I'm thinking. Please, self publish is the game for you. You're known now.

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  10. Beautiful pics! I love that coffee house. Social media is a tricky beast. It can be such fun, but also tiring. So sad to hear about Instagram going sideways. Hopefully, it's just a blip and will recover and get back to the good stuff.

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    1. I wish, Holly! Once it's taken over, it's taken over in my experience.

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  11. I'm always fascinated by the Outback! I've never had the pleasure to take the trip you're taking. My experience in Australia has only been Sydney. It was beautiful, but would have loved to have had more time in your country. I haven't "gotten" Instagram yet.

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    1. Sydney is good, but Brisbane is better, LOL! The outback is unique. Instagram is just to post pics, Lee, at least that's how I see it!

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  12. I share a link on Twitter every once in a while to books, but don't really go all "Buy my books" People see it, they see it, they don't, they don't. And pffft to unfollow threateners, pathetic as can be. If I unfollow I do it quietly too. Sure sounds like quite the journey indeed.

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    1. Twitter, I expect it, but I'm hating that every social media is getting taken over by the 'buy my book' brigade.

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  13. Your trip must have been utterly fascinating. BTW: while most Australians live along the coast, most Canadians live along our long border with America. The north of the country has much harsher climatic conditions. Of course, there are some small towns and native settlements all over, but all big Canadian cities are in driving distance from our southern border, except Edmonton farther north.

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  14. Interesting that Canadians live along the border, trying to escape the cold. The centre of Australia is the hottest, so we're trying to cool off!

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  15. Okay, so I had to look up Woop Woop - fascinating expression!

    Great photos. That sparkling water...

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  16. Oh, your picture next to the beach is lovely ... especially as I sit home during this snow day.

    Yes, technology is moving so fast. It's hard to keep up!

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  17. I love the looks of that coffee shop. Why can't there be coffee shops like that were I live?

    Instagram is my favorite social media platform, too. I haven't posted anything there in a while, but I adore photography so it's so easy and fun for me.

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    1. We do need easy and fun occasionally Chrys.

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  18. I was just reading a post with rules of conduct for authors on social media. LOL. Hot topic, eh? I hopped on Instagram RIGHT when they transitioned over to the filtered feed. It made me so mad because I switched SPECIFICALLY because they didn't have an algorithm. Ugh. Anyhow, it is what it is now. *sigh*

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    1. Yeah everything changes all the time.

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  19. Social media has its ups and downs as anything else. We just have to take the good, make it work for us and ignore the rest.

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  20. Dagnab it. After I wrote a fairly lengthy response, darned if the Internet didn't go out on me just as I was about to hit "publish."

    If at first you don't succeed...

    It sounds like you had an amazing trip! The Outback has a somewhat romantic aura about it to me, but I'm sure it's way too rugged for someone like me. Besides, Crocodile Dundee is probably nowhere to be found...

    For me, Facebook is a necessary evil. That's how my kids and grandkids communicate, so if I want to know what's going on with them, that's where I've got to go. I must admit, though, it has also enabled me to reconnect with a LOT of people I hadn't heard from in many many years. So that's good, right? Right!

    As for authors constantly trying to hawk their books on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger or whatever other online platforms they inhabit, that gets really old really fast. To me, it's about making potential connections with people, not about potential book sales. (But if you want to buy my book, I wouldn't get mad! HA!)

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    1. Sorry about the lost comment. That annoys me too, especially when I've written a lengthy response. It really is Crocodile Dundee country, but he's old now, poor ole Hoges...

      I'll come by and check out your book. You're the only one who dared mention a book, LOL! Damn if I'm not scary. Must be the Crocodile Dundee in me...'That's not a knife!'

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  21. Welcome back, Denise. Sounds like the trip was awesome, made better because you survived! ;)
    (Love that coffee shop)
    Ah, the creature that is social media. You know my thoughts on the matter.

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    1. Heh, I do kindred soul. Great to be back.

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  22. I thoroughly enjoyed this post specially the first two photos of architecture and that adorable coffee shop.
    What am I reading? Nadeem Aslam's new book, The Golden Legend that is so delicious I'm reading it slowly to be able to savour it fully. So what do I do for the rest of my bedtime reading time, but read another book alongside 'Please Look after Mom' by Korean author Kyung Sook Shin. Both are fabulous

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    1. Thanks for sharing your favourite books Kalpanaa. They sound wonderful.

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