Book Review: Avoid Social Media Time Suck by Frances Caballo

Today, I’m hosting a blog tour stop for this fabulous little writer’s resource:Social-Media-Time-Suck-Final-for-WritersI was very excited to learn about this new book by Frances Caballo. The subtitle – A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for their Books and Still Have Time to Write – is such a bright and glorious promise that I could not wait to learn the secrets written in its pages.

My Review:

You can’t just read this book, you have to USE it. So I’m going to write a two-part review:

Part One – Reading the Book

This book is a quick read, especially considering the fact that it is jam-packed with information and resources. The writing is clear, concise and action oriented. And when I say action oriented, what I mean to say is that I kept wanting to set aside the book to jump online and start using the strategies and tips being described immediately. The lists of resources – websites, social media management services, software and apps – might seem a bit daunting if you plan on reading and considering each one. I chose to skim over those sections bookmarking one or two on each list that interested me the most. (I can always go back to reread and rethink my selections.)

Speaking of skimming, if I had not agreed to write this review, I might have skipped over the first chapter – Why Social Media Is Integral to a Writer’s Marketing Platform. I mean, I know this. That’s why I’m reading the book, right? Well, actually, it would have been a HUGE mistake to skip this chapter. It’s not just the normal call to introverted writers to get over your fears of social media and start building a platform. No, actually Frances includes a detailed discussion of the user demographics on the most popular social media sites. Why do I need to know that? Because it helps me TARGET my social media efforts. It tells a writer where to find his or her target audience. I quickly figured out that there’s no need to worry about getting up and running on Google+ yet. My readers are not there. However, they are also not big on Facebook…um, what? Ouch. It turns out my readers are on Twitter & Tumblr. GULP. Guess who had been ignoring both? Yep, this chapter schooled me. It was time to change and expand my social media presence. Luckily, I had this book to help me get up and running quickly and (relatively) painlessly.

This book is constantly open to Chapter 2 on my desktop. The entire book is wonderful and I learned something new in each chapter. That said, if you put my hands to the fire, I would have to say Chapter 2 – The Four Step Cure to Social Media “Time Suck” – is worth the cost of the entire book…it’s actually worth more than the cost of the book. It gives you such a clear and easy to follow plan that, as the Geico ads say, “Even a caveman can do it.” (See Part Two.)

Now seriously, don’t just read the first two chapters. Every single chapter is full of valuable information. Read the whole thing. Consider it an investment in your writing career.

And, if you read the entire book, you’ll probably be hungry for more. I was. That’s why I follow Frances Caballo on Twitter.

Part Two – Using the Book

As mentioned above, Chapter 2 provides a simple, straightforward plan to build (or, in my case, redesign) an author platform on social media. As an experiment, I tried to follow the social media strategies in the book for two weeks to find out if the plan was feasible. (Note: Two weeks is not enough time to determine if the plan was successful in improving my social media reach. I simply wanted to know if I could manage the daily activities in 15 – 30 minutes per day.)

I followed the basic posting schedule for Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest. Prior to reading this book I was “guilty as charged” of sending broadcast messages on Twitter and Facebook instead of sharing content and having conversations, so I also set up an account to find better content.

Time Suckage Alert – I spent an hour or two to set up my Alltop page. It follows the topics that will interest my audience…but those topics also interest ME. So it is perilously easy for me to get stuck reading all of the fabulous content and, thus, waste valuable writing time!

After test driving both TweetDeck and the free version of HootSuite, I chose HootSuite as my main control panel for posting to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (though I have not really been taking full advantage of LinkedIn as yet). Just fifteen minutes in the morning and I am able to schedule posts for the entire day. Then I spend 10-15 minutes checking in with my “Tweeps” in the evening and posting to Pinterest. And voila! I’ve accomplished my social media marketing for the day.

After years of puzzlement over why Twitter is so popular, I finally get it. It is fun!

Example: After exchanging Tweets with a fellow geek girl and Star Wars fan about her fabulous Han Solo leggings, the online retailer jumped in to let me know the discontinued item will be available again in May. Oh happy day!

Are any of these conversations helping me sell my books? I don’t know. But I do know that this is a painless, reasonable and feasible plan to increase my presence on social media. The next phase of my plan is to track my analytics and adjust my strategy, (See Chapter 6). Oh, and I need to figure out Tumblr.

In conclusion:  I highly recommend this book for published authors who want to improve their social media marketing strategy and for newbie writers working toward publication. It’s never too early or too late to get your author platform in order.

You can win a FREE copy of this fantastic resource book. Frances is hosting a giveaway on Goodreads. Click here to enter. (But act quickly. The contest ends on April 30.)

Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: ACT Communications; First edition (January 15, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0985559225
ISBN-13: 978-0985559229

Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers Who Want to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, as well as at your local bookstore.

Visit Frances Cabello’s website here.


Yoda Wisdom in the Real World

No matter how sad, anxious, awkward or lonely I may be feeling, this lesson from Yoda always makes me feel better.

1_Judge me with text2_My ally with text4_Life creates it with text5_Makes it grow with text6_Its energy with text8_luminous beings with text 9_Crude Matter2_with text“I grew up with the religion of Star Wars, frankly. That’s when I realized there is something bigger out there… and it’s called The Force.”

– Trey Parker

photo credits: 1. Chris Devers via photopin; cc; 2. h.koppdelaney; via photopin; cc; 3. Spirit-Fire; via photopin; cc; 4. Captain Kimo via photopin; cc; 5. “The Wanderer’s Eye Photography” via photopin; cc; 6. Lieven SOETE via photopin cc; 7. Defence Images via photopin cc; 8. brentdanley; via photopin; cc; 9. Personal photo

Reading Recommendation: Rules for Ghosting by A. J. Paquette

Rules for Ghosting Cover

I have a new mid-year resolution which should supplement & enhance my Accentuate the Positive in 2014 New Year’s resolution. Every time I finish a novel I’ve truly enjoyed – no matter what its topic, age group or intended audience – I’m posting a quick recommendation here. And by quick I mean SUPER quick. An image of the book’s cover, some basic stats and a sentence or two on why I enjoyed it. Also, if the book I’m posting reminds me of other book(s) I’ve loved in the past, I’ll recommend those books too. 

(Why so brief? See, I have this issue that normally stops me from posting book reviews. I love to read, I love to write, but I do not enjoy writing detailed reviews about works of fiction. This issue has been preventing me from spreading the love and, for an author, that is just BAD juju!)

Today’s Recommendation: RULES FOR GHOSTING by A. J. Paquette

I have a voracious, nearly insatiable appetite for non-horror ghost stories and this one is fantastic! It’s full of eccentric, creative characters that made laugh. Paquette’s descriptions of Silverton Manor are pitch-perfect while her use of alternating viewpoints between the living boy and the ghost girl really brings the story’s tension and mystery to life. I should donate my copy of this novel to a library so more grade school readers can enjoy it, but I don’t think I will be able to part with it. (Sorry, kiddies!)

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 6
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (July 9, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0802734545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802734549

Other middle grade fiction I’ve loved that you will probably enjoy if you like Rules for Ghosting:

Note: I’m always thrilled to find new, wonderful ghost stories that won’t scare me to death. If anyone out there would like to recommend books to me based on my avid adoration of non-horror ghost stories (a.k.a. Casper the Friendly Ghost Syndrome), please post in the comments here, or post on my Facebook author page, or send a Tweet to @SlaytheWriter.

Wil Wheaton on Bullying, Compassion & Being a Nerd

“When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you, it has nothing to do with you. It’s not about what you said. It’s not about what you did. It’s not about what you love. It’s about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad.”

Wil Wheaton, you are a credit to nerds everywhere. I salute you.