Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ranger Jim's Ramblings for October

I've been on a lot of  road trips out west this summer, so I missed my last couple of posts.

The first one was to the WWA convention in Billings, Montana, where I also visited the Little Big Horn battlefield, saw the Indian version reenactment of the battle, and stopped in Deadwood, SD.

The second was to the WF convention in Oklahoma City. Both were fun and informative, although I prefer the more intimate gathering of the WF events.

As usual, I left New Hampshire and went to OKC by way of Texas. Visited my Ranger friends, the Ranger Museum, lots of the Hill Country, and did some research for my forthcoming novel in the town of Llano, where I spent the night in the last surviving railroad  and river hotel in Texas, the Dabbs. It's also haunted, and I did hear the ghost run down the hall and slam the door shut.

What I want to talk about this month; however, is a new trend, the use of too many repetitive posts on social media. This hasn't been too much of a problem with this group, but it is on many others. In fact, it became so bad for WWA they finally placed a post on their Facebook page setting guidelines.

I personally  just delete posts I know are the same subject about the same books put up over and over, ad nauseum.. I also delete posts, without even looking at them,  when I recognize the name of the person who sent them as one who is basically posting spam. In fact, I've had to stop notifications from some of my favorite groups because every day I would spend anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes deleting posts that were the same old message a person had posted for the last week, before I could get to the messages I really wanted to see..Too many posts can have the same results as not posting at all. The potential buyer of a book ignores them, and can indeed become so annoyed with them they decide never to purchase any of your books.

Yes, you should announce the  release of a new book. Yes, you should announce a nomination for an award, a new contract, hitting a best seller list, visiting a site for research or pleasure, in other words, anything that's news and relevant. What you should NOT do is keep posting over and over things like "Another 5 Star Review" for the same doggone book, especially Amazon reviews. Let's be honest, a bunch of those 5 star reviews are usually from friends or relatives. You're also not the only author to receive good reviews. One, okay. Twenty posts starting with "Another 5 Star Review" will turn a reader off as fast as a .45 slug through his or her hat.

As with writing itself, the "less is more" advice applies to social media. Limit your posts to what is new, relevant, and of interest to potential book buyers.

End of this month's rant. Next month's topic might cause even more of a stir.

"Ranger" Jim


  1. You make a good point, Jim. A fine line definitely exists between self-promotion and self-aggrandizing. In these days where there is such an emphasis on marketing, a lot of authors do as much as possible to maintain some level of consistent visibility. Some, however, do tip the scales of tolerance with the "strategy" you mention.

  2. Jim, I do think it's hard, as Tom mentions, to find that happy medium between appropriate self promotion (and when most of us grew up there was no such thing as "appropriate" self-promotion!) and being too over-the-top in going on and on about this or that review. There is a saying in sports to "act like you've been there before"--so that even though a grand slam home run, or a touchdown, etc. is cause for celebration, don't take it too far--just get back to the business of playing and winning the game.

    You're right about those reviews too, and really there are a lot of underhanded practices that go on out there--paying people for reviews is one. And of course, there are many ways to accomplish this, too! So a 5 star review doesn't really mean much of that's how it's gotten, does it?

    Very good post, and food for thought. This, to me, is the worst part of writing/publishing--having to "toot your own horn" as my mom used to say. I don't mind one bit doing it for others, but I really hate doing it for myself.

    1. Same here. I HATE having to talk about my own stuff.

  3. Both Tom and Cheryl, along with yourself, are spot on with the observation of out of control 'self-promotion'. Like you, I delete the emails that are dublicates of what I've already seen/read. It really is a fine line and one I know so many of us try to navigate without alienating readers and friends. I applaud your rant. Doris

  4. I have not signed up for an email list for a couple of years, you stated the reason why. I see the same thing on Twitter and Facebook. Gets old after a while. Nice post.