November 2016 30 Day Writing Challenge

30day

It’s a new month and I have been slacking something terrible on my writing (my blogs, books, everything) so I’m going to get back on my grind, starting with doing this #30DayWritingChallenge. Join me if you’d like, and let your imagination run wild.

Day 1: Five problems with social media.

Just 5??? I am a social media junkie…mainly because I have no life; so Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have become my besties…my bridges to what’s going on in the world. But even I get tired of some of the things that I see on my favorite social media sites, and I’m going to list them, in no particular order.

  1. Racists have gotten completely out of control. America was built on racism and no matter how much some people try to deny it, we still live in a very racist society. However, prior to the invention of social media, most racist bigots sat around their kitchen tables and talked about their hatred for Black folks, and any minority group in general. They smiled in the faces of their Black neighbors and coworkers, all the while calling them a ni**er in their heads, because they knew better than to let this racial slur escape their lips. But “kitchen table” talk has a new platform, and it’s called social media. These same bigots now feel protected and comfortable making derogatory comments about Blacks from behind their keyboards and cell phones, because they feel there won’t be any repercussions, i.e. getting karate chopped in the throat for saying the n-word.
  2. It’s a playground for internet thugs and bullies. Back when I was in school, I was bullied at times, but I felt comforted in knowing that once the school day ended, I wouldn’t have to be bothered by my bully again until the next school day and if I ignored them, they eventually left me alone. But due to social media, bullies can harass & torment people via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and whatever else. What’s worse, it’s not just friends and classmates who are the audience for a person’s torment, it’s put out there for the entire world to see. Bullies feel comfortable sitting on their cell phones demeaning and degrading others, especially celebrities, and think they can say any and everything they want, without any regards for anyone’s feelings. Because of this cyber bullying, teen suicide has risen at an alarming rate.
  3. Too many Debbie Downer’s raining on your parade. I am divorced, but even so, I’m not a bitter woman. I still believe in love, I want love, and  I love to see Black love, especially, put on display. But there are some bitter, hateful people out there who hate to see someone else happy and it shows by the many think pieces and posts that are made on a daily basis, trying to police someone else’s page and tell them what they should and shouldn’t post. Everyday, I scroll down my Facebook timeline and see people complaining about the amount of baby pictures, couples date night photos, and beauty challenge photos that someone else is posting. The simple solution to that is, unfollow, unfriend, or just keep scrolling, and STFU. Let people live and be happy. Just because you’re miserable, don’t sit there with your face frowned up because someone else is happy and in love. The major argument about couples sharing their photos is, “Couples who post lots of pics aren’t really happy…they’re showing off, trying to convince everyone that their lives are great, but they’re frontin.'” First of all, how the hell do you know? Unless you live with them, you have no idea what goes on in their bedroom. Second of all, I would much rather see repeated pics of other couples trips, vacays, and date nights, than all the nudity and just downright vulgar posts that I have the unfortunate pleasure of seeing on a daily basis. Fix your face, get you a  life, and let everybody else live their’s, please & thank you.
  4. Speaking of the nudity I mentioned above, Zuckerburg and them over at the Facebook Police department are seriously slipping on monitoring and deleting the amount of naked pics and images that are being posted. *Disclaimer: I’m far from a prude; I write erotic romance novels, some with very detailed sex scenes, and I’m that girl that takes something innocent and can make it into a dirty joke* However, I realize that there is a time, a place, and an audience for strong sexual content, and social media is not the place. A dirty joke here and there is cool, but I don’t need or want to see what the inside of your vajayjay looks like, and I certainly don’t want to see that on my social media timelines. When I see the extreme nudity and inappropriate memes, I practice what I preached earlier by deleting the post (and sometimes the poster if it’s repeated) and I go on about my business. Simple as that. But seriously, there are young folks on these sites, so..yeah. Fix that.
  5.  Relationships come here to die. With the invention of social media, cell phones, and the many other ways we can talk to someone without actually talking to them, comes miscommunication, which can lead to the end of your relationships with family, friends, significant other’s, and more. We all like to vent from time to time, but Facebook, especially, has become the place where people like to go and unload all of their family, work, marriage/relationship drama, for all of their friends to see. Private arguments/disputes are put on public display, and the spectators and their comments and advice usually doesn’t help an already volatile situation.

So, these are some of my issues with social media…what are some of yours? Sound off!

Do Sponsored Facebook ads really help sell books?

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Facebook is a great way for authors to network and get their books presented to the world. Your personal page is of course the best way to promote your work to friends, family, readers, and potential readers. Authors also tend to create business (fan) pages, so their readers can follow them and keep up with information strictly about their books. Facebook also has allowed authors to create sponsored ads, which authors pay a certain amount of money to have a specific post about their work promoted to the world. While it’s a great way for people who you don’t know personally to find out about you, do sponsored ads really help indie authors, in particular, sell books?

I was hesitant to create a sponsored ad at first. With all the hackers stealing people’s personal information, and even duplicating and locking them out of their own profiles, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to enter my credit card information on Facebook. But, as a self-published author who is still relatively unknown to many people and who so desperately wants a better fan base, I took the risk and created an ad. You set a certain amount that you wish to spend in total, and Facebook claims that a certain amount of people will be able to reach (see) the post, depending on how much you spend. I wasn’t sure about it, so I set my total goal to be $10.00. Once the ad was approved, I got notification updates often on how many people were ‘seeing’ my post about my new release. However, even though once the ad campaign was completed, over 2,000 people were ‘reached’, I only ended up with less than 25 of those 2,000 people who actually ‘liked’ the post, 1 person shared it, and only 3 people commented on it. And most importantly, I had 0 book sales in total. Out of all of that, I didn’t sell 1 book due to my ad campaign. Just an F.Y.I.: Facebook likes and views don’t guarantee you a book sale.

So no, it wasn’t worth it to me to spend the $10.00 that I spent so that 2,000 people could view my post about my book. I spend a lot of time promoting my work on my blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and by word of mouth for free, all day..everyday, and I’ve seen much better results with my book sales. I’m not saying it will be this way for everybody; I’m sure well-known, more successful authors have better luck with the Facebook sponsored campaign ads, but it proved to be a waste of money to me. Have you used sponsored ads and did you have better luck than I did with them?

Why so much animosity among Urban Authors?

competeWhen I made the decision to self-publish my first book two years ago, I was well aware that I would be one among thousands of other African-American authors, who all write the same genre(s) that I do, and that I would have to put forth a lot of effort to build a fan base and get people to notice me. At the same time, I never came into this to be in competition with anybody. I’ve never been a hater..I can congratulate other authors on their success and still shine at the same time. But it seems that not all African-American authors feel this way.

Since becoming an author, of course I network, follow, and have become associates with other authors on social media, mainly Facebook. But it seems that every day, several times a day, all I see is one author/publisher/editor/promoter or anybody associated with anything literary, hating on the next person…trash-talking each other, as writing and publishing books is a competition rather than a business. At least five times a day, I read subliminal diss posts from countless authors, publishers, or whatever saying how their way of writing /publishing is the best and only way that’s right to publish, edit, or write a novel, and if you aren’t doing it their way or get on their team (publishing company) you won’t be successful as an author and you will fail. The irony in that is that while they are quick to try to call out another author/publisher.editor on what they perceive them to be doing wrong, their own posts and/or books aren’t much better, and are often riddled with mistakes: incorrect grammar, misspelled/misused words, etc. I might catch a lot of heat for this post, but this is my opinion, which I’m entitled to have; and as I’ve always heard: If the shoe fits…

I hear so many AA authors complain all the time that there aren’t enough of ‘US’ on the top Bestsellers Lists (USA Today, New York Times, etc.)…that those accolades typically go to white authors and/or AA authors who have been in the game for many years. While I do think the literary business can be extremely biased towards AA authors, sometimes we don’t see that we’re creating our own problems. Instead of focusing on their own books/writing, too many – and I hate to say it- Urban authors/publishers/editors are spending more time trying to out-do the next person than they spend writing the best books they possibly can…doing all the hard, necessary work that it takes to make it on the New York Times Bestsellers list, for example. I’m willing to bet that the authors (white, black, or whatever) who do grace these bestsellers lists aren’t spending their time on Facebook trash-talking and posting subliminal disses at other authors. Instead, they are focusing on their own work…their own journey and aren’t concerned with what the next author is doing (or not doing) right; not feeling the need to call another author out on how much time they spend (or don’t spend) writing, or complaining about what resources they use to help them along the way, or worrying about who’s graphics designer is the best (when all the book covers look exactly the same anyway) And the reason why I specifically noted Urban authors is because they are the only one’s I see arguing and talking about each other on a daily basis. I read many different genres and follow authors of all races, and I don’t see this happening anywhere but in the Urban Fiction genre. It’s irritating and it’s distracting and just plain stupid.

I am too busy focusing on ME and MY career to be concerned with the next author’s business. Again, I wish everybody much success in their literary journey’s, but I don’t hardly have the time to sit around all day, nitpicking and focusing on everybody else’s mistakes and feeling the need to call them out on it on Facebook, so everybody else can jump on and co-sign (hate) on them..especially if it doesn’t involve me or my bank account. Why concern yourself with the next person’s business? What about the next author, publisher, or whatever’s work makes you so angry if they don’t write, edit, or publish the way you feel they should? Unless you’re invested in them, and your monthly royalties depends on what the next author does, you’re wasting time worrying about the wrong things. The way I see it, there is room at the table for everybody to sit and eat. We can accomplish so much more together than we can apart.And not only is all the bickering and feeling the need to call everybody else out on what you think they’re doing wrong petty and silly, it’s extremely unprofessional. If I were a literary agent interested in your work, potential author wanting to sign with your company, or reader looking for new authors to fall in love with, I would never choose to spend my time or money on authors who spend more time on Facebook arguing and beefing with other authors than they do writing/publishing their own books. Nobody’s journey to the top will be the same as yours, nor should it be. As long as you’re doing what it takes to get there, that should be all you worry about. If it’s not constructive criticism meant to help, rather than criticize (and most of what I see on Facebook isn’t) it’s just mean and unnecessary.  That’s just a little something to think about.