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.|
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'.
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.
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...