Control Your Newsfeed 2

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In THIS post last week I talked about gaining some control over your newsfeed by tweaking the “top end”. This was about the “see first” options where we are allowed to pick 30 Facebook users only, whom you can always see what they post, and “see all posts” for all groups and pages that you don’t want to miss anything from.

But Face8book still only shows us each about 10% of what we could see if all our friends popped up on our news feeds. That means that I could still miss some stuff I’d hate to miss for whatever reason.

So the last few days I’ve been experimenting and the results have been way better than I imagined. This is more of a long-term tweaking project, but I did quite a lot of it earlier and feel I’ve broken the back of the job. And unlike the more purposeful yet vital task of the “top end”, this is even easier and faster and you don’t have to count.

Basically, any posts that appear in my newsfeed that I don’t deem in the top 30%, I click on the top right corner of the post and down pops a bunch of options, and I click “Unfollow Xblah-blah”. And that’s it. They are still my friend, they can still see my stuff, I can go and find them to see what they’re up to any time I like, they will never know they don’t appear on my newsfeed, and I will still see their major events.

However, when they click on every single post about bacon, 47 times a day, those don’t appear on my news feed anymore. It isn’t a moral issue, it isn’t about cutting them off, and they will never know the difference.

The vital part here is to remember that I no longer have bacon funnies taking up 5 of the precious 10% of all my friend’s newsfeeds! While those posts are harmless, it is easy to forget those posts are there INSTEAD of Mary’s grad pictures, Bob’s new baby, and my best friend who is currently in hospital or on an overseas trip.

You may not want to see Bob’s baby pics and those bacon pics may be the highlight of your day. Again, I stress, this has nothing to do with right or wrong. But Face8ook is currently making these newsfeed choices for you and you have the option of taking back some of that control. Say no to Bacon so you have a bigger chance of seeing babies … or the other way around if that suits you better.

The result: I have been blown away by the posts which have appeared on my newsfeed which are way more interesting to me than those whom I’ve unfollowed. And the good thing is, unlike the top “see firsts” of which there are only 30, the quantity of bottom bits, which I have “unfollowed”, is unlimited, and each time I unfollow someone, someone else pops on! (and if they are also not top 30% worthy, then they get unfollowed too).

Here are some reasons why some of your favourite people may still qualify for unfollowing:

  • You see them every day anyway, or
  • They belong to a Face8ook group you are in and both of you are very active there, or
  • You are in the same circle of friends so you see them on other’s posts anyway, or
  • They never share any news, or photos so you don’t get anything from them Face8ook wise anyway, or
  • They share mostly what you see as rubbish, or
  • They perhaps should be employed by click farms, or
  • They have a chronic interest that bores you to tears,
  • Etc….

Please don’t judge them and please remember that they will never know, and you can still interact in all kinds of ways, including Face8ook where you look them up or see them on regular posts by mutual friends.

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To unfollow them you can go to their profile but the easiest way is to do it from your news feed. As each post pops up I ask myself, “is this worthy of the top 30% of posts I want on my newsfeed?” and if the answer is no, then I click on the 3 dots at the top right-hand corner of the post.

 

 

This box pops up when I do that: I click on the “Unfollow Xblah-blah” …. img_2469-2

You will get a confirmation that you’ve unfollowed them, which is great but also note the bottom line which I have circled in red. This is another way to check your preferences and “see firsts” at any point that you want to make sure you’re happy with your choices or tweak them 🙂

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Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
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Author Instagram!

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 1.43.11 PM.pngSo I’ve heard there’s no point in Instagram for authors. But here is how it works for me:

1: First and foremost, I think of it as my shop window. People who love Instagram (and LOADS of people do!) look people up authors and people they are interested in and if there’s nothing there, then they often lose interest. So it’s a good thing to have. By having it, and it being a good representation of who I am as an author is worthwhile.

But while that remains true, who wants to spend a whole bunch of time on something like this if it’s not your thing? But Instagram is owned by Facebook and so a photo I would otherwise post to Facebook, I post to IG instead, and it goes to both instantly. So I don’t think of my IG time as IG time at all, but as HQ (Facebook Author Page) time.

I don’t get hung up on IG results and here is why:

Yesterday I posted this photo to IG:

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The photo received very little attention, in fact, it was so pathetic it only acquired 3 likes and no comments!

 

But remember that as I posted it, it went directly to Facebook as well!

 

 

 

 

On Facebook, it received 9 likes and 21 comments (some of them are mine, of course, but I can only really comment in response to other things). So the singular act of uploading ONE photo (which is also WAY quicker to load to IG than to Fb by the way) in total got 12 likes and 21 comments!

I killed 2 birds with one stone, and to be fair, there are days where a photo falls through the cracks on Facebook, but gets loads of attention on IG.

I could totally just add it to Facebook only, but instead, I may as well hedge my bets right. And not a second of my precious time is lost in the process.

So if you don’t have Instagram, or you do and you are concerned it’s a waste of time, I don’t think it is if you use it simply as an upload method … 🙂

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Take Control of Your NewsFeed!

Today’s questions are all about how to follow your favourite PAGES and GROUPS on Facebook. This is super important for a few of reasons:

1: If you run a page or group yourself, you want to be able to tell your followers and supporters that unless they take a few steps to make it happen, they will not see the vast majority (if any) of your page posts.

2: If you want to be a valuable tribe or village member, then it can become extremely frustrating trying to find the posts of the pages and groups you want to support unless you follow these steps.

3: If you want to post fabulous things to your page without constantly going on about yourself, then following the steps below will ensure that you always have a newsfeed filled with the PAGES that you love. Then all you have to do is share a few of them, and your own page becomes full and active quite quickly.

FIRST STEP:

Let’s say you belong to the group ONE STOP FICTION LAUNCH TEAMS. It is a private group, so it isn’t a space for “sharing” but it is where your tribe resides, and where you get fabulous tips most days. It is also a space where you can ask questions about your book launch or street team.

If you open this group on your computer and hover over the word “Notifications” under the starfish, you need to click All Posts. This means that all posts will appear in your notifications and your newsfeed.

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STEP TWO:

Just say you’ve been away for a few days and your notifications are so full it’s hard to work through them. It can be easier to click on the 3 dots to the right of the “Share” button and click on “Pin to shorcuts.

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When you do this, One Stop Fiction Launch Teams will appear on the left of your homepage and newsfeed, and it even appears on the left when you are on any other profile, page, or group, under the word Shortcuts. You can see I added it here so instead of Chronic Readers being on the top, OSFLTs is now on top.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.38.35 AMYou may even prefer this method and to simply check in on what is happening in the group whenever you feel like it!

These two steps can be applied to any group or page you belong to… The first step isn’t totally foolproof so I highly recommend the second step over and above the first.

I apply these steps to ALL the pages and groups that I need to see all the time!

 

 

 

STEP THREE: “See first”

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If you click on the very right-hand side of the top blue bar of your screen, there is a down arrow. The third from the bottom option says “News Feed Preferences”. If you click on that, this large box will pop up:

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The first option, with the blue star/circle, allows you to prioritise your newsfeed. So click on it, and another box will pop up showing everything and everyone you follow.

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This option not only assures that every post from that site/profile/group/page will pop up in your newsfeed, but it will appear first, at the top of your newsfeed every time you open it! You can see that I follow all these great pages, but I want to make sure that I don’t miss posts from Beyond Your Past Coaching. This is a business that I am passionate about and believe in, so I am a brand ambassador for Matt Pappas and everything he is doing. So I have given him a blue star, which means his page will appear first on my newsfeed every time I open it!

The catch here is you only have a maximum of about 20 “see first” places (that number can and does change). So I have chosen the 6 brands for whom I am an ambassador, 10 pages which post things that I love to share because they are fun, interesting, a good representation of my own brand, and 4 others.

If you want to be the best Brand Ambassador you can be, and want your own followers and fans to do the same, then these easy steps are a great place to start and to organise your online experience 🙂

PS: On my phone, it looked like this:

The first screenshot I have opened to the author Page Jennifer Peacock-Smith, then I clicked on the “Following” button in blue next to the Liked button. It opened to the second screenshot where I had 3 options, “unfollow” “default” and “see first”. I turned the “get notifications” on, then I made “see first” turn blue, and then I clicked on “edit notifications” which opened me to the third screenshot which has a whole bunch of options. I clicked yes to the first three, and no to the last 2 which would pretty much undo all the good work if they were on :p

Hope this helps! Please let me know, and set your Face8ook settings to help you!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

 

 

Flatline or Sky High?

All authors love Am8zon reviews. And not because of vanity or approval, but because in many ways these reviews have become the modern measure of authory success, the virtual currency of the trade, the key to certain otherwise closed circles, and the gold stars of literary approval. They are needed if one is to succeed. Period.

And so I see people asking, even begging, for reviews, and have been known to stoop so low myself. It is so frustrating and most readers don’t understand the power that they hold in that 1-second click on the star chart, and 30 seconds of writing to send off a review.

So the internet is filled with ways to achieve another review. You are not allowed to pay for reviews, you are not allowed to swap them, and nor can family or friends give them. And so one has to find other ways, which can not only be nigh on impossible but quite deflating and soul destroying. You can send out emails to reviewers, you can join groups who create round robins and so on, but still, the effort involved is huge, and often so is the cost.

The return rate on emails, Facebook posts, groups joined and so on, is less than half a percent. And those numbers drop even further to even a fraction of that pathetic number if you don’t individualize your requests, make them genuine, and put homework into every single one. Then what do we do when we eventually get one? We have no choice but to move on to the next 100 emails, the next round of social media begging, and to trawl through Google to find another fifteen groups to join, introduce oneself, buy more books we don’t like, review 14 other people’s books and put ourselves through the ringer again! And all the while we could have been writing our next book!

This feels to me a little like flatlining. With the odd blip on the chart when you manage to score a review. Honestly, unless you’ve done this yourself, you cannot imagine how soul destroying it is! It’s heartbreaking and most authors aren’t skilled in these social areas. Quite frankly, it leaves me feeling just a little bit ill.

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The chart above shows the green line down in the grass. The gold stars are 4 successful reviews, and you can see that each time one is achieved, they then have to go back to square one and work on finding the next one. They grow in numbers slowly, but each review is what I call “touch and go”. Success but move on to trying to find the next one. To me, this is lonely and awful.

But what if you wanted more than a flat line that continues year after year, book after book, each one with the hope that it will be the kind of review that kickstarts a trajectory to “real” success? What if each review, instead of being a solo exercise, was a way to “level up”? What if each review came with something more than just a few words from a complete stranger and nothing more? What if the same 4 reviews helped you to reach for the sky just a little bit?

Our greatest recommendations don’t come from reviews believe it or not, but from recommendations by people we trust. People we know personally, or personalities that we believe we trust. These are what we need to build trust in our writing and ultimately sales and more reviews.

Rightly or wrongly, as humans, we trust tribes and communities more than we trust individuals on their own. We all believe a bunch of rubbish if the whole village is behind it before we believe the truth from a leper on his own in the wilderness! So we need to create villages around our books and our authorship. Villages that are appealing to the outside, villages that make outsiders feel welcoming. Villages that leave readers feeling drawn to, and outsiders and lepers busting to get in.

Reviews don’t build villages, brand ambassadors do, and next time I will be writing a whole post on what a BRAND AMBASSADOR is and does. How you can be one, and how you can help your friends, families and communities to as well. ou cannot expect others to be your ambassadors unless you can be one yourself. And it’s not just about “paying it forward” or “do unto others” either. It’s about the laws of nature and human beings. We were created to be in communities and we need to behave as if we belong to communities if we want to draw others in. If we behave like lone strangers then we will be treated as such.

But you cannot expect others to be your ambassadors unless you can be one yourself. For your own brand, and some of their brands as well. And it’s not just about “paying it forward” or “do unto others” either. It’s about the laws of nature and human beings. We were created to be in communities and we need to behave as if we belong to communities if we want to draw others in. If we behave like lone strangers then we will be treated as such.

Over the past year, I have read some fabulous books and written some great reviews. I get that for the big writers with thousands of reviews I am merely a drop in ocean, however, many of these books have had only a few reviews. The authors are relatively new and would still be thrilled to receive my added reviews. I have become a brand ambassador for them, taken screenshots of their books, posted them and tagged them across all social media, and without being a crazy stalker, I gave them what I would give my eye teeth to have someone else do for me! It’s good for them and it’s good for me.

At the “best” end of the scale, some have said thank you. But that’s it! At the “worst” end of the scale, they have completely ignored me!

To me, they were handed an opportunity on a silver platter. They accepted my “follow” on Twitter and followed me back, they “liked” my post etc. But every single one, bar none, has proceeded to do NOTHING more with that. And all but 3 have unfollowed me a month later. As authors, they had the chance to level up… but they didn’t. They were so busy chasing the next review, that they ignored me.

A recommendation by another person is always a thousand times better than us blowing our own trumpet! We should share that other person’s recommendation and share it lots! We need to interact, build a level of personal interaction, and you both may soar just a little bit! Soar with half a dozen people and it can take you to the next level. Outsiders watching flocks and tribes soar together want to a part of the action. They look on longingly.

Soar with half a dozen people and it can take you to the next level. Outsiders watching flocks and tribes soar together want to a part of the action. They look on longingly. We become inviting in numbers!

There are two sides to this coin. We need to build villages rather than be alone, but we also need to remember how to treat those who come into our spheres. How to leverage their recommendations!

So for anyone who still doesn’t understand why I believe so passionately in tribes and communities, I hope this goes some way to explain that!

If anyone wants to build a village around their authorship, get on board! It’s free, you will be welcomed with open arms, and we can soar together!!!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Tribe Talk 001

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.15.18 AMIn case you’ve missed it, I’m passionate about tribes, and working within and through them. So I thought I’d do a series on how they work for me, and with November being Author Blitz month for me, I think it’s a great place to start.

So I spent this morning explaining a little bit about social media, how I use it, and its role in tribes and villages.

You can watch the video HERE.

In a nutshell, it explains the following:

•It explains villages and tribes…

•How we are just millions of dots randomly spread everywhere. Nowhere near the highways.

•That there are virtual highways, and if we organize ourselves well, we can place ourselves along them.

•If we jostle, shout & push, we will get nowhere, but if we collaborate we will more likely find a place.

•But we tend to congregate now in bunches of our own, selling to each other and getting nowhere.

•Instead of a butcher, a baker & a seamstress, we are a row of authors, or a row of bloggers/fitness instructors/artist/etc. Our numbers aren’t putting us on the highways!

•Tribes, villages & Shopping centers work for a reason and we need to go back to them… But lets first look at the shop itself.

•Here is what they look like:

◦Home

◦Back of House

◦Back doorstep

◦Front of house

◦Shop Window

◦Lamppost

•They are slightly different depending on what kind of shop they are. Coffee shops are all front and barely any back. Dry Cleaners are all back and hardly any front. This is more than just space, it is also atmosphere and wanting to be there. Compare Starbucks front where it is all about the experience to dry cleaners who are notoriously grumpy.

•Do you simply provide a service regardless of how grumpy you are or do you need to draw customers in?

•This can feel overwhelming, but it needn’t be. This is what works for me:

◦I understand how these different parts work and why. I don’t waste time trying to make any of them be something they aren’t.

◦I have a strategy so that as I am working on each piece of the puzzle I am not stressing about the rest!

◦The pieces speak to each other! (e.g.: IG automatically posts to Fb, Blogs to Twitter and Fb etc)

◦Context is something you’ll hear me talk about a lot. I don’t try to do all things all the time. I spend time in each context and set it up well. No one puts posters on lamp posts every day, but now and then they pop out and check/replace them …. etc.

•We all belong to a number of villages. In the olden days we belonged to one and one only. It was physical, but it was also spiritual, educational, emotional, everything. But then people started moving to the city where they could choose their village and belong to a few. Study in one, live in another, work in a third and even worship in a fourth. It is a good thing for the most part but can also be lonely, fickle, & unreliable. The option of leaving means these villages can be unstable.

•A baker does not set up shop in a town of bakers. He sets up shop in a town with NO bakers… and lots of hungry people! In the olden days a bad baker who was the only baker still thrived. Now one has to be the best baker or people move on. And setting up against other bakers is asking for disaster.

•People in villages walk past our shops if they are shopping in other places. We need to belong to communities or tribes that will see our shop windows or our lamp posts when they are “surfing” their High Street. The villages/tribes that I belong to are:

◦My health community

◦Church

◦Expat

◦Neighbours

◦Old school buddies

◦Art associates

•But I need to reach beyond them. I need to have those in my community share my stuff so that their tribes can also see my stuff. And people hitting “like” through their newsfeed is not support that goes beyond them-and-me. Just last week I tagged a friend to show her a post she really needed to see as it was about her. She “liked” my comment but still did not take the action she needed to take (she didn’t even read it!). Click farms and Like farms have killed “like” as a support measure. We need “Comment Ambassadors” who aren’t bakers, to comment and share our content so that their tribes see it, more of my tribes see it, and those people passing by can see that it has a level of earthly worth.

•I’ll do another video on what this looks like and how to get it as soon as I can, as this is getting a bit long… so comment below as many questions as you like….

——————

•THERE ARE SOME BASICS HOWEVER:

•1: If people can’t find me at all, or they do and I have nothing to show, they will keep on walking past. You can’t change that fact.

•2: I need my shop fronts & windows to be active, clean, inviting, inspirational, warm, welcoming, and interesting.

◦IG

◦Fb

◦Website

◦Pinterest

◦YouTube

◦Goodreads

◦Amazon

◦The Mighty

•3: We cannot expect a place on the internet highways unless we collaborate, share, interact, and earn our place.

•4: Product/content is King!! Unless our products are brilliant, no formula in the world can make it a success.

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

Growing Facebook

Facebook Campaign-2

One thing I hate doing is self-promotion. Blowing one’s own trumpet has never sat well with me. But in the current world, we have little choice even if we aren’t selling anything! To build a community of any kind, we need to advertise and ask and shout and put ourselves in front of people, otherwise, they just don’t see us. So I am going to be brave again this week and ask for support. I need to grow my Facebook followers. If they grow then my “online presence” grows and my updates are more likely to appear on newsfeeds. It is a never ending circus, but I have no choice. So if you would like to help, then please follow, share my posts, leave comments, and if nothing else, please share this post.

All new Facebook followers and all who sign on HERE for my monthly newsletter will go into the draw to win a signed copy of MY BOOK. So please help get the word out there today! Thanks!

To follow, share, support etc: My Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/JPeaSmith/

Or any of these links: 

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

GIVEAWAY!

Everyone loves a GIVEAWAY right? To celebrate the launch of the paperback version of The Lion and the Peacock, we will be giving away a handful of signed copies. To enter, all you need to do is to Like and Follow my author Facebook Page, click on the pinned post at the top, share it, and in the comments below it, write the country that you live in.
Every two weeks for the next 6 months (March-August), I will pick a country, and then randomly select a winner from that country and send them a free, signed copy of the book. March is USA and South Africa!  (Please read the T&Cs in the very first comment of the post).
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For a second chance to win, sign up here for my no spam newsletter, and get all the updates on what country is coming up and when. I will also publish the winners in the newsletter, so don’t forget to sign up! ( http://ow.ly/C24N309CH0X )

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A piece of your stage?

A great way to get out there if we are humble enough is to be the “supporting act” for someone else for a while. It also hones our skills, gives us community, puts us in front of an audience that we could never pull together, and so much more. I think that you might just get sick of me using the word “collaboration” but honestly, it is my strategy number one. I need people to support me, help me build a stage and draw in an audience. I need them to proofread, be honest with me, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to celebrate with. If I want all that from people, then I need to be that for a bunch of other people first.

And to be honest, it is kinda cool seeing my stuff out there on a different stage! Last week I started a series guest blogging on the Site “Surviving my Past”. It is a stage way bigger than mine and I truly respect the guy who runs it. He is truly amazing. I am not stupid, I know that I will never have a stage like his, and it is an honour to be invited! We are different people doing different things. I want to write books and will never blog at his level. He is a pro at blogging (but is also writing books), but the point that I am making is that spending time on his stage is an honour and a privilege and it not only helps us both out in the ways mentioned above but it is fun!

Check out my post HERE. You will hopefully still see that it is me, my voice, but it looks quite different and appeals to a different audience to my own.

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Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

What Kind of a Stage?

img_1061Last time I talked about the idea of hosting a stage for others. That cooking dream sounded great, but it can be applied to the most simple things. Use your stage to interview new writers, review books in your genre, build a following made up of the people who you want to one day read your book. If your genre is fiction based on small creatures then find every book on the planet on small-creature-fiction, borrow them from the library, download them from Amazon on free or 99c promotions, follow all the author’s blogs and comment kindly on many of their posts, and then over time, review each and every one of them. Soon you will have a huge chunk of the small-creature-fiction fans on the planet following you. Write about everyone else and they will listen… then you can share that you write too. Blog on your dilemma about how to choose the perfect name for a main character that is a millipede, run a competition to help choose the final name… the list is endless.

My ego says that my stage would be filled with my memoirs, my books, my interviews … but when I put aside my ego, I have learned the last year that I am also pretty good at sharing my journey, helping others feel comfortable asking me questions and working alongside people. They appear to like that I bear my soul and the hard stuff in this journey and they come to me saying “me too!“. Because of that, I have received so many requests for help in setting up a platform, launching an eBook, and so on, that I don’t have time to answer them all. But because they are mostly all asking the same question, I can write about it in one place and we can all learn together.

Building a stage with something that you are good at is the perfect way to start. It might be small, and humble, but it is real and will ultimately bring an audience. I am still finding my way around, but I am thankful that I have fallen into this space really. People then keep telling me that it is all very well for me, but they haven’t fallen into their space. So let me help you… experiment, play around, ask people that you trust. Set up an author site like this and write, blog and share what you are passionate about and what draws people in. It doesn’t hugely matter what, as long as you enjoy it.

Some of my favorite blogs are simply about journeys. Where people use them as a journal and like-minded people follow along, becoming invested in the outcome.

I took three months off from writing (and I write full time) to research and experiment with social media. Six months ago I was too scared to even look at a Twitter App never mind download it or work out how Twitter works. I now have 4 Twitter accounts, (the author one is closing in on thousand followers), 4 Instagram accounts, an author page on Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon and I have published a short book which has sold over 2,000 copies in it’s first few weeks, most of them on the free days but still, it is creating a buzz. All in order to begin to create a following… I am muddling my way around. But for the most part, I simply share my story, my struggles, my journey and I give out all and everything that I learn … for free!

I am muddling my way around. But for the most part, I simply share my story, my struggles, my journey and I give out all and everything that I learn … for free!

My stage does not fit any simple box and people appear to like that. But there are others out there looking for cooking picture blogs and small-creature-fiction. It doesn’t matter if everyone else has already done the same thing… in fact, that is better because they will be your tribe if you write comments on their blogs and interview them and share their stories…

This is supposed to be about Launch Teams and it is, but supporters of launch teams come from the people in your tribes. People who are happy to come to your stage and be there to support you when you launch that book!

For the readers out there, they can’t wait to be a part of your launch team, they just need to know about you!

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Where I hang out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hosting a Stage.

IMG_3536Yesterday I talked about the concept of building a stage instead of a platform but mentioned that one option is to still build your own stage but maybe invite others to use it for a while. This is both to draw people in using already established talent while at the same time still marketing yourself as the “owner” of said stage. This sounds like a great idea but what if no talent wants to come? What if I am so much of a nobody that I can’t even invite talent to come, never mind have any chance of them saying yes!

But here is a thought; in this day and age, we don’t need to have people actually come onto our stage. We can just place them there electronically! What do I mean? Well, this is also where humility comes in. What kind of stage would each of us be REALLY good at creating if we were put our egos aside?

It is easy to forget that you are an expert at something. We all want to be a writer or a dancer or a cook or a movie star. But let’s be honest, few of us are expert enough to be famous in any of those fields. Or are we? I will use cooking as an example, mostly because I hate cooking, I can’t cook, I hate that I have no choice but to cook sometimes, and I have too many bad experiences with family members who used cooking as an excuse to hide in the kitchen so as to avoid contact or intimacy with anyone else in the family. So worse than I hate it, it is also a trigger for me. But just say for a moment that I LOVE to cook, and I want to be a famous cook one day. I cook, I talk about cooking, I watch all the shows on cooking, but for one reason or another, I would never be able to go on Masterchef, I don’t have any famous contacts, and I simply don’t know how to get myself out there. I can’t even take a decent photo of the fabulous things that I cook.

But I am humble enough to recognize that I am pretty good at finding simply GORGEOUS cooking photos on the internet. I drool over them, I bookmark them, I dream of them. So I start a blog. A simple blog, with few words like myself, but every morning I spend an hour on the internet, searching in all the deepest, darkest corners where nobody else can find them, and I share the best that I find that day. Each blog post includes the links to the sites where the photos come from and a few snippets of information about what I love most about the picture. I also write to the author of the cooking site that I have highlighted, to let them know that I have shared them. This is both a courtesy, but it is also because I know that anyone with a site wants it to be shared and that they will be thrilled. They will likely share my blog post about them on their site or at least their social media, and they might even like my Facebook Page and start following to see who they share my space with. As my blogs all have an automatic link to my Twitter feed and to my Cooking Photos Facebook page, without having to do anything, my Twitter and Facebook feeds start to become filled with stunning cooking photos.

People start to notice, and soon I gather a small following, which over time grows bigger and bigger. I know that I am not showing off MY cooking skills yet, but I am building both a following and a stage that people start aiming to be included in. Depending on how hard I work, how good I am at it, and a bunch of other factors, eventually I gain these things:

  • Confidence in what it feels like to actually have a stage…
  • A huge insight into what people are looking for and all the gaps that I could potentially fill in…
  • A following of people who look at my blog, my Facebook and my Twitter, every single day. My photo is in the corner of everything and I engage with my followers where ever possible. They see me as a very real, imperfect person…
  • I become known and followed.

This is that middle space that I was talking about, between the tools of sharing and the stage we want to create. What I love most about this space is it isn’t hard work, it is actually enjoyable, it contributes, and you meet great people along the way. This is the perfect stage for me to launch a book from. The audience is there, it is all about me … even though they came in the first place, many years before, because of my stunning pictures that came from other people!

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@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman