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Social Media & You – Branding

Hi Everyone!!

I hope you’re having a good weekend so far ;o) I wrote this blog post instead of revising or doing anything I’m supposed to, so you get to enjoy the fruits of my procrastination. YAY!

 

It’s time for another installment of Social Media & You! Just to refresh those who didn’t see my first post on this subject, Social Media & You – The Basics, this is a blog series about what I’ve learned in social media from my day job as a Social Media Manager for eCommerce at a large pharmaceutical company. I’ve recently earned a Mini-MBA in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers University and learned a TON in that week-long course. So I figured I’d share some of my knowledge as it pertains to being a writer/author in case some of you may not know this. Here we go. PART II.

Consistency creates brand loyalty. Your name is a brand.


Graphics

We talked last time about branding your name across the social media outlets, which is incredibly important, also important? Branding your graphics. Do your best to make all the templates the same for graphics you post. Are you sharing a quote from your book? Announcing a tour? The best way to create brand loyalty is to use the same template and images. Most authors I’ve seen do this pretty well. This can be your characters, images from the cover, anything you want. The key here is Consistency. It helps those that follow you or “like” you to feel loyalty to your brand. Also, be aware of the sizes for each social media outlet. You don’t want your beautiful cover to get cut off by the size limit. I’ll post a few of the commonly used sizes below so you have them. Click this link for a more comprehensive list of the sizes including size specs for Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, and Google+.

Facebook

 

Twitter

 

If you need help resizing your images, don’t fret. Most photo applications have ways for you to customize sizes. Also, you can crop existing graphics or photos, but it’s best to just create each graphic the correct size of that particular media outlet’s specifications. It helps, trust me! Even Andrew Garfield thinks so ;o)

 

Voice

Just like in your novels, keeping the same voice when you post is important. There’s nothing more unsettling than following someone (after getting attached to their voice) only to find them sharing or posting something completely opposite of their voice. I’m not saying not to post funny things or even share the occasional graphic that you’ve never shared, but make sure it fits the brand you’ve created. Keep the posts unique to you and of course be yourself, but be aware of what your “fans” like about you and keep that up. Voice matters everywhere.

To Swear or Not To Swear

This is a tough one. I swear a lot in real life. I know. GASP. But I don’t online, or I try not to. This is my personal choice. I personally don’t care if others swear. I have a good amount of swear words in my novels, so needless to say, I’m cool with it. It’s definitely a choice every author/writer has to make on their own. My two cents goes back to consistency. Whatever you choose your voice to be, stick to it. If you start dropping f-bombs out of nowhere after not swearing on your feed for the last two years, people may notice.

 

Those are just a few of my suggestions for branding. I’m sure there’s more I can say on the subject, but we’ll just save that for next time. Let me know if you want me to cover anything in particular or if you have any questions. Hit me up on twitter or ask in the comments!

 

Thanks, rock stars!

 

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[Insert agent name here] Pigs be flying, folks.

Hi Everyone!!

 

I hope you’re having a good week so far ;o)

 

I’m bringing out the flying pigs again. Why? Well, it’s been a running joke that every time something good happens to me it must mean that pigs are flying somewhere. I know it’s quite humblebrag of me to say that. I know I must be doing something right to have good things happen, but believe me when I say I am truly humbled and often surprised when they do. So thus here come the flying piggies. I like how there’s a cow in it too, that makes me laugh. It’s like he’s kind of looking at us and saying, “seriously, if one more damn pig flies near me I’m gonna hurt someone.” Do it. Look at his eyes.

I’ll wait…

Anyhoo. Back to the news. As you may have guessed by my not so subtle [insert agent name here] title, I have an agent. YAY! *dances*. If you recall I wrote a rather emotional yet optimistic post about the woes of being in-between and talked about not having an agent. I kind of threw it all out there. And you know what? It felt GREAT. You can read it here if you feel so inclined.

It was not an easy journey to my wonderful new agent. When my previous agent made some tough decisions and changed career directions (I love her. Always will. No blame game over here) I was taken down a few pegs. Querying again was… strange. I hadn’t done it in a year, so it was an adjustment. It’s kind of amazing what comes back to you though.

I sent out a first round and got some requests and nice comments. I was at about 20 when I was getting the feeling it just wasn’t going to happen with this MS. When someone *cough Brenda Drake* told me not to stop querying. I know, quitting after 20 is lame, but I have another MS that is more commercial that I thought stood a better chance, so I was just going to wait. Well, since Brenda is right almost all the time, I sent out another batch. In this batch, I got more requests and good responses and garnered two offers.

This is the part where I *SQUEE*, right? I mean it’s not a bad problem to have, right? Two agents love your book. But it was harrowing, you guys. Making a decision even between two agents was incredibly difficult. Trust me, writing the email to the other agent to say I passed was the hardest email I’ve ever written. They were both great and made it really hard to decide, but after talking to my new agent and discussing my other manuscripts (I have like five more) and hearing how enthusiastic she was about those too? I was sold. She’s as sweet as can be and we have a lot in common. I can tell we’ll work great together.

I’m SERIOUSLY EXCITED to say I’m now represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis! I’m beyond thrilled to work with Christa! I think the pigs will be flying again soon! At least I hope ;o)

 

 

 

 

 

The list of peeps to thank is a mile long, so I’ll try to keep it short, but I’ll start with Brenda Drake, my bestie who is my alpha everything. Carolina Valdez Miller, my other bestie who constantly inspires me to be a better person. Dahlia Adler and Marieke Nijkamp, my wonderful CPs who have been there to talk me off ledges and keep me sane. I have to thank Melanie Hoo Swiftney and Rachel who helped me with my query, KT Hanna, all the YA Misfits! All my peeps from All The Write Notes and The Kindness Project and of course all my friends on twitter, you know who you are ;o) Louise Fury for her friendship and guidance. Judith Engracia for taking a chance on me! And my awesome husband who always puts up with me staying up late and makes dinner while I nap and is pretty much my everything. Man, I’m sure I forgot people, but this blog post is already seriously long.

Since I love seeing query stats and most people do as well. Here are my stats for the second time on the query-go-round.

Queries Sent: 27
Referrals: 3
No Response: 3
Partial Requests: 1
Full Requests: 12

Hope you have a great week! Stay warm ;o)
Er


It’s #PitchWars!!

Hi Everyone!!

It’s Pitch Wars time! It’s crazy that it’s here already. Where did the year go?? I’m SO excited to participate again this year. First, I have to give a shout out to Brenda Drake who is the reason this is all possible. There are so many mentors and agents involved this year! I had an excellent experience with my mentee, Linda Budzinski last year. You can read our story here. You can also find her novel THE FUNERAL SINGER here! I couldn’t have asked for a better author to work with! I’m looking forward to connecting with another awesome writer this year!

So a little about me. I’ve been writing for over 7 years. I was 11 years old when I said I wanted to write a book. I also said I wanted to be a lawyer/astronaut, so yeah ;o) I’m still holding out on the astronaut thing. I might be waiting a while… I write darker YA contemporaries/thrillers and have an unhealthy obsession with New Girl’s Nick Miller and Chris Pine.

I started in publishing as an intern for the lovely Louise Fury of The Bent Agency (L. Perkins Agency at the time I was with her). Louise taught me so much and remains a valuable mentor for me. I wouldn’t be as good of a writer or editor if it weren’t for her. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some amazing authors and editors at Entangled Publishing. I’ve worked with publisher/editor, Liz Pelletier on several books for amazing Bestselling Author, Jus Accardo, and most recently with Executive Editorial Director Stacy Abrams on a wonderful P&P retelling called DEFINITELY, MAYBE IN LOVE by the awesome Ophelia London. I’ve learned so much at Entangled and I’m extremely grateful for the chance they took on me. During the day I’m a Social Media Manger for a pharmaceutical company where I write and edit posts, create marketing plans, and do a lot of creative work. It’s been great to use my creativity during the day too. I think it makes me a better writer ;o)

Man, that’s a lot of technical background stuff. Now for the fun stuff. What I’d love to see…

To be honest, I don’t always know what I like until I see it. Ha. I know. That’s helpful, right? I LOVE young adult books, the angst, the thrill of first love, the devastation of failures. There’s nothing I don’t love about YA, so this year I’m only participating in the YA category. I adore contemporaries like GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols. I love thrillers and sci-fi, like MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza, and love stories, but not the typical kind. I need that TENSION & Romance. I want characters to hate each other (or at least antagonize each other) then find that one thing that brings them together, that causes them to fight for something bigger than both of them. DIVERSE characters too! I love to read fantasy like, SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo, so fantasy elements are fine, but my strength isn’t world building. I love emotion. I love literary writing, but if you have a novel in verse, I’m not the one for you. The most important thing to me is VOICE. I know. We hear that a lot, don’t we? But it’s SO important, so I had to point it out. I love to get to know a character and watch them in crazy situations. Funny mysteries? I’ll take them. Pretty much funny anything. If you make me laugh, I’m yours.

I will be tough, just ask Linda (I suggested she change her love interest–and she did). I love collaborating, that’s my favorite part of being a mentor, that and discovering amazing new voices. This will be a partnership, so we’ll do this together! Be prepared to work though. I will also use a lot of smileys, you’ve been warned ;o)

So that’s all I can think of, but if you need to know anything specific, feel free to hit me up on twitter @ericamchapman. I’m SO SO SO excited for this year’s Pitch Wars and I know we’re all going to find some amazing writers to work with! Be sure to check out the awesome agents and my amazing fellow mentors to see what they’re looking for! Linky is below the list of agents ;o)

For submission guidelines, please go to www.brenda-drake.com!

Until next time!

Participating Agents of AWESOME.

Louise Fury – Bent Agency
Suzie Townsend – New Leaf Literary
Nicole Resciniti – The Seymour Agency
John M. Cusick – The Greenhouse Agency
Sarah LaPolla – Bradford Literary Agency
Victoria Marini – Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency
Jessica Sinsheimer – Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg – Foreword Literary
Quinlan Lee – Adams Literary
Jen Udden – Donald Maass Literary Agency
Emily Keyes – Foreward Literary
Brianne Johnson – Writers House
Carly Watters – P.S. Literary
Lana Popovic and Natasha Alexis – Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
Molly Jaffa – Folio Literary Management
Evan Gregorgy – Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Stefanie Lieberman – Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Rena Rossner – The Deborah Harris Agency

AMAZING Fellow Mentors.

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Social Media & You – The Basics

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a good Sunday today! Sadly, my Lions blew it in the final seconds of the game so they lost, but hey, you can’t win them all!

Today, we’re talking about Social Media. I know. But, Erica we already know about social media, right? You probably do, and for some this is already stuff you know, but for others, I thought I’d share some knowledge about what I know.

Hi Damon. *swoon*

Some of you may not know but during the day I’m a Social Media Manager for a large pharmaceutical company. Actually if I’m being honest it’s not just during the day, this is a job that’s 24/7 but, I call it my day job ;o) I’ve become pretty knowledgeable in this field and have been fortunate enough to earn a Mini-MBA in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers University. I learned a TON at that week-long course. So I figured I’d share some of my knowledge as it pertains to being a writer/author in case some of you may not know this.

So, let’s cover the basics…

Brand your name – Is your name your twitter handle? If not, it should be. Why? Well, if you are a writer who wants to publish someday a good way to brand yourself is by your name. Not using your real name? No problem, but make sure your twitter handle is the name you want to stick with. When agents/editors/pub peeps/future readers see your name on your twitter handle they will begin to associate you with YOUR brand. This is a good thing. Once you’ve done this on twitter, do this with all of your sites: facebook, pinterest, tumblr, youtube etc. Brand yourself all over the internet. This will help with google searches and for people who want to know more about you.

Add content that is “authentically helpful” – Once you’ve branded yourself the key is to begin to add content to your sites, but make sure it’s authentically helpful.  I can’t take credit for that, that was something I learned at Rutgers, but it totally makes sense. I think the key here is “authentic”. I’m not saying that you can’t talk about yourself online, please do, but be sure to make it something that others can learn from in some way. Think about it, do you want to hear someone complain constantly about everything? Maybe you do, I don’t know, but I’d venture a guess and say most want to learn about the how you were able to overcome whatever it is that bothers you more so than just hearing you complain about it. EMOTION wins. People can smell fake a mile away, so make sure when you post stuff it’s sincere. (I’m looking at you spammy “read my book” people – don’t do this.)

Make sure your sites are all RESPONSIVE – What does this mean? Make sure you have platforms that everyone can access on any device. Look at your website/blog on your iPhone/Droid, look at it on an iPad. Make sure it looks good in all of these places because you can not be sure where someone will find your information and you only have that one chance to make a first impression. This means, no flash, because it’s not viewed well on mobile typically. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I haven’t found any and most say that flash is dying. A lot of places already do this for you. Blogger does a decent job doing this already. But please make sure before building any site that it is responsive.

Google + is your friend – I KNOW. Really? Yes, really. Why? Because google owns the world (they’re close). Want readers/agents/pub peeps to find you easier? Use google +. This is what all the experts say. Google has a way of filtering what they want and you know who rises to the top of the search? People who use google +. Google will pull from your google + account and use it. So post stuff on google + too, or at the very least make a google + profile if you don’t have one. By the way, if you didn’t already know, Google owns YouTube as well, so your google + profile follows you around to several sites.

Unless you pay the money, your Facebook posts only get seen by like 15-20% of your “likes” and followers. Facebook has this thing (bane o’ my existence called Edgerank). You can see the diagram below on the details. Most are saying now this still matters BUT now Facebook has come up with a magical way to determine what you like that isn’t just Edgerank anymore. I KNOW. Who do they think they are?

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But really, this is all code for “make sure your posts have some value to the people you’re talking to”. If you’re paying to advertise, make sure you target specific demographics. It’s not the “throw something out to everyone and see what sticks” type of marketing. It’s “make sure you target those that will really care” type of marketing. For those not paying and just want to engage people… use pictures or graphics. From what I’ve learned so far, status updates do show up in feeds somewhat more often, but graphics and photos get more ORGANIC (number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your Page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event) engagement. Think about what resonates with you? I personally like photos of cats, like pretty much everyone else on the Internet. Throw out a cute pic of a kitten doing something funny? I’m sold. People like to see stuff. But beware of the kind of stuff. (I’m looking at you injury posters. I don’t want to see your bloody foot injury post.)

I could probably go on and on about this subject, but I’m going to stop because this post is getting long. I’d love to know any questions you have about Social Media. You can ask me on twitter or in the comments and I’ll make another blog post. I’m sure I only covered a small portion of what people really care about, but If I come across anything I think that can help us, I’ll share ;o)

Have a great week, rockers!

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Packing My Bags & Heading Over to All The Write Notes & DiversifYA

Hi Everyone!


Today I’m over at one of my favorite group blogs  All The Write Notes talking about Pearl Jam and how their music helped me after my dad died when I was 16 and how that lead to me becoming a writer. You can see the post here

I was also interviewed on DiversifYA about what it’s like living with a heart condition. You can view that one here.




Have a great rest of the week, rockers!