Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is Social Media Worth It? Ask this newly published author.....

Tapping Your Resources

First, I want to give Karen a HUGE thank you for hosting me as part of my blog tour! Karen has always been such a great supporter and friend for writers trying to get their names and their work out there, so I thought maybe it was a good time to reflect a little... as those friends I can count on have been an AMAZING resource for this book release thing.

I heard once, maybe a year and a half ago, that a person really needed to do that social networking dance for about three years before it was primed to tap when it was needed.

Ironically, and through no grand design of my own, I've been blogging and maintaining my author profile on Facebook about three years in this month I ALSO had my first book release.

And MAN, am I a believer!!!! I know it seems like a long time, and I've seen superstars do it well faster than that. But I think networking is really sort of an organic process, falling into line with people we have things in common with. And more than once over the last three years, I've seen somebody jump in and almost immediately they fall to trying to specifically promote, withOUT having put in their time promoting others and making friends.

I ALSO meet a bunch of people each year on the ABNA boards—really nice people, fellow writers, but who've put out a book without a GLANCE at the how-to on promotion. I mean there IS a nice tight group who all promotes each other, but a lot of people stay fairly isolated and I feel sad. Their great books may never see the big success possible.

So if I were throwing out advice to someone NEW at this? This is what I would suggest:

1.  Start NOW (but only because you can't start yesterday)

2.  Be YOURSELF. This is a marathon and I think people who try to be something other than what they are burn out. It is just too much work.

3.  Find a roll model and follow them around mimicking them to the degree you can (mine was Elizabeth Spann Craig)

4.  Reciprocate BEFORE! Meaning if you want people to come find you, go find them. If you want to hear from readers, read blogs and let people know you are there. ALL the things you want to be on the receiving end of, DO THOSE for others.

5.  HAVE FUN! This is contagious, you know. If you are having a ball, others will join you hoping it will rub off on them.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

The Azalea Assault

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).


The Azalea Assault is available at:

Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook

Amazon Paperback or Kindle

(pretty much any book store and some big boxes)

And Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at:

Confessions of a Watery Tart


  1. Welcome, dear Hart, and congratulations on your book release! Azalea Assault is a delight-- flowers, food, cattiness, murder-- what more could you ask for in a cozy mystery? It's just a fun read!

    Excellent post summarizing the benefits of social media for the writer, Hart. Thank you so much for visiting Coming Down the Mountain today! It was an honor to host you on your blog tour.

  2. Excellent advice. It's hard work and I've yet to see if it works but I'll keep at it :-) I like the idea of a role model, now I have to find one. Perhaps I'll use yours! Your book looks great and I love the cover.

  3. Congratulations on the book release! I will go and look it up!

    I agree with you about the social networking. I think starting it long before you even need it is a must, but it also has to be genuine. When doing it, enjoy it. Enjoy the talking and chatter that goes on and learn what you can from those going through the varying stages towards publication.

    Wishing you so much fun and enjoyment with this release!

  4. Super advice! And congrats on your book's release. I've got it on my TBR list. We go on holiday Friday so will take your read with me.

  5. Congrats on your book release. And I love your tips on social networking.

  6. Hey Tartlette - this is the best advice I think. You give and now you are receiving some of that back. As they say on the South Shore 'what goes around comes around' and you are proof of that. Thanks for hosting our 'dear Hart' Karen!

  7. Hart, I couldn't have said it better myself!!! That advice is spot-on. Crap, I haven't been blogging three years yet. Messed that one up, but I've tried to do the others right.

  8. Great advice! And The Azalea Assault sounds like a great read. :)

  9. Karen-thank you SO MUCH for having me! I think I forgot the 'pick what you like and do that well' end--for me it is blogging and FB. I tweet, but barely and haven't tried the others much.

    Susan-if you're doing it, it will work! Seriously!

    Rebecca-Oh man, yes each stage has its own learning curve, doesn't it?

    Kittie-THANK YOU! I really hope you enjoy it!

    Em-Thank you!!!

    Jan-It really can, whether it is called karma or just good old fashioned wisdom.

    Alex-you were one of those superstars I was referring to! But you did all those OTHER things in a really amplified way, so it worked.

    Linda-thank you!

  10. Couldn't have said it better myself! :)

  11. So lovely to see Tart here at wonderful KarenG's! Yay!!!!

    Oh definitely have fun blogging and social networking!!! Yay!!! Take care

  12. Social media is a great free resource for meeting people, growing in your craft and having some just plain fun.

  13. Great advice, Hart! Especially starting right now, even if the writer has nothing to promote.

    And thanks for the nice mention. :)

  14. Great advice and the book looks and sounds great! Thanks

  15. love the post. This is such great advice. I especially like the one about finding a role model :)

  16. Absolutely spot on, Hart. It's so important to have an online presence long before the proposed book comes out. #2 is good. Be yourself or choose part of yourself to project socially. I tell authors that no one knows that they're in ratty comfortable clothes, no makeup, and hair looking like a herd of crazed mice ran through it. It's what you project to your audience that's important. If we can create and SHOW three dimensional characters then how hard is it to show who we are?

    Congrats on your book. I need to have you stop by Over Coffee next month if your schedule allows.


    Ps Karen, you can always sit outside this evening and listen to the peepers and katydids and watch the lightning bugs blink. I'll even join you :-)

  17. Fantastic advice, and I think the three years thing is pretty accurate. :)

  18. Thank you,Jessica!

    Hmmm... Spam here? methinksso....

    Kitty-thank you, my naked friend!!!

    LM-So true!

    Elizabeth-you KNOW I think you rock!!!

    TC-thank you!

    Nutschell-yeah, it is sort of just a comedy of errors until you find someone you can emulate!

    Sia-it is surprising how UNintuitive that one is, though, isn't it? I remember thinking I needed to stay professional, but I knew I couldn't do it. (I mean kind and courteous, yes, but I am just a playful being)-but I am SURE I couldn't have maintained that. I would have hated it.

    Cherie-yeah, I wish I could remember where I heard it! I was so sure I'd sell something before that! HA! Man, this business can be slow...

  19. Great advice Alyse/Hart. Nice to see you on Karen's blog. Good luck with your book. I like the voice in your premise.

  20. You're brilliant at the social network, Hart! And one of these days I'll smart up and use your advice. But in the meantime, I do enjoy just the company of online blogging friends and I'm so happy to buy their books 'cause the books (and the authors) are so good.

  21. Great social media advice, especially about reciprocating and being yourself. :)

  22. Great advice! CONGRATS on the book release. Pretty cover.

  23. Thank you, Theresa! It's funny--these cozies are much closer to my blog voice than my other stuff.

    Helena-thank you, my friend! You're doing great! It all just takes time!

    Golden Eagle-and you do those things!!!

    Susanne- thank you!!!

  24. Great advice! I really appreciate it.

  25. I totally agree with everything in this post, especially the part about reciprocation. The whole thing about social networking is that it's social: it's about interacting with people. And I think that's what makes it fun, to know that there are all these people out there that we can connect with.

  26. I am looking forward to reading this cozy. Glad to find this author interview and Karen's blog.

  27. I'm a believer too. Way to go Alyse!

  28. Hi, Karen! *waves* Awesome post, TH! It's so true the power of social media and getting out there and getting to know other writers and readers. And you're such a fun person and good friend. I loved reading AA and seeing her personality pop up in different characters. Fun stuff! Thanks, guys! <3

  29. This is so, so true. I agree with everything. I've been blogging for three years, and I've met so many great people. You and Karen among them. And I think likes do attract.

    Happy Weekend!

  30. Wonderful advice and well put. It's to easy to get lost in the promotion part without spending time just networking.

    And your book sounds like it would be a fun read, I'll have to add it to my Goodreads to read list.

  31. Wonderful advice and well put. It's to easy to get lost in the promotion part without spending time just networking.

    And your book sounds like it would be a fun read, I'll have to add it to my Goodreads to read list.

  32. A mystery!! yahoo!
    Pssst! One's role model, not roll model.

  33. I've not had much luck with social networking, though I've been doing it for quite a long time selflessly. When I released my first novel in May, I simply did not receive the results and help I thought I would. Though, there are a dozen or so fellow writers who have been absolutely amazing.
    Congrats on the book release!

  34. Excellent post, Hart. I think the big thing about social media is consistency. You can't dip in and out randomly - you have to be present. It's exhausting, but it can be very helpful in the long run. Not to mention all the great people you meet along the way!

  35. Awesome! Hart would know, too. SHe is an awesome blogger and friend. :)It's amazing just how many friends we can make during our platform building endeavors.