Social Media, Politics, and the New Etiquette

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is “Social Media and politics: Should you speak your mind or keep your tongue?” Come on over for my Brief History of Social Media and my (strong and authentic) opinion.

The Wrong Way to Promo Your Book

I’m catching up on All The Things, so I expect to be shipping out books in the next couple of days. For all of you who’ve ordered paper books from me – they’re coming!! If you WANT to order signed books from me, now is a really good time to do so, because you’d actually get it in a reasonable amount of time. Check out the store here.

So, I talked about this on my podcast yesterday, but if you didn’t listen, here’s a written-up version of what not to do as an author shilling your books.

I accepted this friend request on Facebook, you see. For some reason, I’ve been getting a TON of Facebook friend requests lately. The obvious spammers and scam artists are fairly easy to spot. The ones I really waffle over are the authors who seem to be friending me just to promo their book(s). With (most of) those, I accept their friend request and then brace myself for the promo private message (PM).

With this guy, it didn’t take long. Before I unfriended, blocked, and deleted – which IS what I’ll do if you PM me book promo, I saved this message for a lesson on What Not to Do. I changed the book titles, not because this dude is innocent, but because I have no desire to call him out and I’m not giving him any stinking press. Otherwise, all capitalization, etc., is his.

Here’s the message :

I have received thousands of reviews on novels X X, Y’s Y and ZZ On A Z’s Z. NONE more precious than the one I received today from this 96 year old WORLD WAR II VET! Be hard to imagine flying a TBM Avenger off the USS White Plains CVE-66 back in the day.

❤️

Hi Mr. Author Spammer Guy, Just started reading your “Ys Y” again. At 96 a good story is just as interesting with the tenth reading as it was the first. 🌈 I see why Burt Reynolds bought the film rights to your first novel X X.

(Link I ain’t never gonna follow, which only goes to his Facebook page anyway.)

Let’s break this down, shall we?

  1. First of all, don’t do this.
  2. I feel so strongly that no one should promo books this way that I’m making it #1 *and* #2. Don’t do this.
  3. “I have received thousands of reviews on novels X X, Y’s Y and ZZ On A Z’s Z.”
    Congratulations? I really don’t care. If you have so many reviews, why are you spamming me?
  4. “NONE more precious than the one I received today from this 96 year old WORLD WAR II VET!”
    I don’t care a) how precious it is to you, b) today, like actually today or is this meant to make me think, I don’t know, that this is fresh and relevant?, c) why do I care how old this guy is?, and d) why are you shouting at me about WWII vets?
  5. “Be hard to imagine flying a TBM Avenger off the USS White Plains CVE-66 back in the day.”
    a) this is not a sentence, b) I can’t imagine this at all as I have no idea what these words mean, c) what is a TBM Avenger?, d) isn’t White Plains in New York?, and e) I don’t know what CVE-66 means either.
  6. ❤️
    No.
  7. Hi Mr. Author Spammer Guy,
    Why are you including the salutation? It doesn’t make me think it’s real.
  8. Just started reading your “Ys Y” again. At 96 a good story is just as interesting with the tenth reading as it was the first.
    Ten readings, really?? If you’re going to make up reader letters, let’s go for something more modest. Like second or third, to be generous. Also, what is the freaking deal with tell me the age twice???
  9. 🌈
    Somehow, I don’t think this rainbow is an homage to Pride Month. Why is it there?? We will never know…
  10. I see why Burt Reynolds bought the film rights to your first novel X X.
    I mean… Why is this reader who loves Y’s Y enough to read it ten times suddenly pivoting to mention the movie rights to X X? Especially when we know that *that* option is going nowhere since Burt Reynolds, may he rest in peace on his adorable ass, passed away in 2018, THREE YEARS AGO. This isn’t exactly a hot commodity in Hollywood. And how does this 96yo (important detail!) reader even know about Burt and his pre-2018 option purchase of the book that he hasn’t read nine times already? This just proves that being a fiction writer doesn’t make you a good liar.
  11. (Link I ain’t never gonna follow, which only goes to his Facebook page anyway.)
    You linked me to your Facebook page because why? Cuz, you know, your profile, right there on the Facebook PM goes right to…. your Facebook page!
  12. Don’t do this, people.

 

 

Early Signed Copies of THE FIERY CROWN!

Some updates today on the release of THE FIERY CROWN! The book is still releasing May 26 – so hooray!! – though my in-person events are all canceled due to COVID-19. The good news is, they’re still happening online! AND, you can still get early paper copies – signed by me! – from my local Independent bookstore, George R.R. Martin’s Beastly Books. The event scheduled for May 17 is still happening online. The fabulous Melinda Snodgrass will be interviewing me, I’ll read a bit from the book (any votes for a section I should read??), and it will all be posted on You Tube! The books are on their way to be entered in the inventory. Meanwhile, you can email beastlybooks418@gmail.com to reserve a signed copy. This is a great way to support both this fantastic local indie bookstore (the only genre-friendly one in Santa Fe) and this book. ♥

You can find other virtual events for me here. And here is a current list! (Mind the time zones.)

May 18 at 6pm ET, I’ll be doing a Facebook Live event with the Buchanan County Public Library. You can find their page here. 

May 21, I’ll be on Facebook all day at The Romance of Reading.

May 27, I’ll be at the r/fantasy Reddit doing an Ask Me Anything! Please drop by and I’ll do my best by the AMA 🙂

June 1 at 7pm PT, the Mysterious Galaxy event will occur via Zoom! You can also preorder copies of the book from them, another wonderful SFF Indie Bookstore.

June 13 at 4pm MT, I should be live and in person (cross your fingers!) at Page 1 Books, another wonderful local Indie Bookstore.  I’m doing a double signing there with S.M. Stirling, as his original event for the release of SHADOWS OF ANNIHILATION got canceled last month. I’m delighted to share the day with local author buddy Steve Stirling. It should be big fun! Real live people! (in masks 🙂 )

Questions? Requests? Drop me a line!

 

“A timeless tale of love and survival amidst a lush backdrop teeming with greed and deceit.”–New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones

A desperate alliance. . A struggle for survival. And a marriage of convenience with an epic twist of fate. . .

WILL THEIR LOVE STAND THE TEST OF TIME

Queen Euthalia has reigned over her island kingdom of Calanthe with determination, grace, and her magical, undying orchid ring. After she defied an empire to wed Conrí, the former Crown Prince of Oriel—a man of disgraced origins with vengeance in his heart—Lia expected the wizard’s prophecy to come true: Claim the hand that wears the ring and the empire falls. But Lia’s dangerous bid to save her realm doesn’t lead to immediate victory. Instead, destiny hurls her and Conrí towards a future neither could predict…

OR TEAR THEIR WHOLE WORLD APART?

Con has never healed after the death of his family and destruction of his kingdom—he’s been carefully plotting his revenge against his greatest enemy, Emperor Anure, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When Lia’s spies gather intelligence suggesting that Anure is planning an attack against Calanthe, Con faces an agonizing choice: Can he sacrifice Lia and all she holds dear to destroy the empire? Or does his true loyalty exist in the arms of his beguiling, passionate wife—’til death do they part?

Reviews
The Forgotten Empire series is:

“Captivating…engrossing.” —Romance Reviews Today

“Sensual fantasy romance you won’t want to miss!”—Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicle

“Action-packed…sexy…highly recommend.”—Harlequin Junkie (Top Pick)

~~~~~~~~

“Kennedy’s world building is attentive and luxurious in this middle volume of a trilogy. The enjoyable supporting cast is fleshed out, and the couple is given opportunities to exchange confidences even in the midst of grave crisis. Readers looking for a well-balanced blend of romance and fantasy with a gradually building relationship and ever-increasing stakes should give the series a try.” – Booklist

“Now this is how you write a five star book and I absolutely loved everything about it.(…) Fabulous characters, magic, action, betrayal and truly vile deeds not to mention snark and passion all go to make this a fabulous second instalment to what I’m guessing might be a trilogy.” – Marta Cox on Goodreads

“What a fantastic follow up to The Orchid Throne and a great second book in the Forgotten Empires series! The ending of Orchid Throne left a need to know more, and The Fiery Crown came through for me in a fantastic way! I love the pacing and how we jump into the action, keeping me engaged and totally into the plot! Action and adventure never seem to stop with sparks flying between Lia and Con, the implications of their actions, and the response of the Emporer and Calanthe.” – Tara on Goodreads

“Well, well, well….. that was absolutely possibly the best read of the year! That was so unexpectedly amazing. The first book was great, but hot damn this blew it out of the park. Same amazingly written characters but the author took this story to a whole new level of WOW. The twists and unexpected turns will have you glued to these pages until the last sentence and wondering how it can possibly just end ….” – Celeste on Goodreads

Increasing Peace and Productivity – No Monastery Necessary

I mentioned on my podcast – First Cup of Coffee with Jeffe Kennedy – just about two weeks ago, that I’d read this very interesting article on how starting the day by looking at the internet changes how your brain functions. The author specifies going for three hours before looking at the internet, which I realize not everyone can do. Many people start their jobs within three hours of waking up and those jobs may specifically require checking email or company social media.

But for many of us… do we HAVE to look at those things within three hours of waking?

And I’m not saying it has to be like this author frames it. Not everyone has the luxury of spending the first three hours of the day meditating, quietly reading, or journaling. Sure, it sounds lovely in theory, but most of us don’t lead monastic lives. I don’t think it’s necessary anyway.

If a person, say, wakes up at 6 am, does the grooming/hygiene thing, maybe eats breakfast or has a hot beverage, could be getting other people ready for their days, perhaps some exercise, likely a commute to the job, then settling in – that’s usually about two hours, right? I mean, I know more than once in college I woke up at 7:30 and still made it to an 8 am class, but college students are not famed for their grooming, nutrition, or good planning. For someone a bit less subject to chaos and late nights than a college student, it seems that arranging a morning to allow for three hours before checking email and social media is entirely a possibility.

It would mean not checking email on the phone while sitting on the subway, and ignoring Twitter until later in the day. It means Facebook instant messages go unanswered for *gasp* maybe a whole twelve hours!! (Seriously – it pisses me off that Facebook tries to shame me by displaying how long it takes me to reply to messages on my author page, encouraging me to respond faster to earn some fucking badge like I care for their rewards. *ahem*) I’m not saying it’s easy to break this habit, especially when these internet companies are hugely invested in training us to look All The Time. I’ve turned off all of my notifications on my phone, and I can’t tell you how often they prompt, then try to command and trick me, to turn them back on. If they want that so badly, we have to know it’s not for OUR benefit.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Time Before the Internet (TBI) and how different the flow of my attention was. And let me be clear: I love what the internet has brought to my life and to the world. Through social media and online groups, I have made many, many lasting friendships, kindred spirits I very likely would never have encountered otherwise. That’s a *huge* thing. As is the flow of information and sharing of important events. But, I’m not a fan of the way I’ve arranged my schedule, thinking, and life to accommodate the internet’s demands for attention.

One thing about the TBI, which closely predated cell phones (at least affordable ones normal people could actually carry around), was that no one expected us to be instantly available. I remember when email became widely used and my older boss commented that it used to be you’d send out a paper and could count on a week or two of it being off your plate before comments arrived in the mail. With email, that buffer time shortened to a day or two – or less. Now we have Facebook exhorting businesses to reply within an hour – or less. In some ways this decreased latency has helped productivity, but I can also see how it forces me into a responsive mode. If I let it, the internet could have me in a constant battle to respond to messages and notifications.

In that state, when I do produce work of my own?

So, I’ve been trying this. I wake up between 5 and 6 am, do the hygiene thing, feed the cats, exercise (which means some reading), record my podcast or write a blog post, and then I go straight to writing. This means I can’t post the podcast or blog to social media until later in the day, but oh well. Does it really matter what time those things post? I don’t think so.

The result has been astonishing. I’ve been getting my 3,000 words done before noon most days. Then, when I’m done and switch over to business, I get through email much more efficiently than before. I go from one task to the next: post my stuff, answer emails, reply to Facebook messages, reply to tweets. Work on other business.

People: I can feel the difference in my brain. My concentration is vastly improved. The book is flowing well. And when I do face the business tasks, those much-dreaded tasks that tend to slide down my To-Do List are actually getting done.

Highly recommend trying this, however you can make it work. No monastic existence necessary

.

 

Talk Less. Listen More.

Found art. Literally. I was looking at my camera uploads to choose a pic for today’s post and found this. No idea what it is or how it happened, but what a gorgeous mistake. Art can be like that.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Author behavior tips for social media. My answer is a little different this time. 

 

Backlist Valentine: PETALS & THORNS

This week we’re giving a valentine to the books of years’ past and sharing a title from our backlists. A little love for those publications that might even predate the creation of this blog!

For mine, I’m sharing my first standalone fiction publication. It was my first sale as a novelist, even though it’s technically a novella at 81 pages, and I originally published it with Loose ID. (Now sadly going out of business.) It’s an erotic fantasy – a BDSM Beauty and the Beast – and is still one of my best-selling titles ever. Also, I originally published it under the pseudonym “Jennifer Paris,” the one time I used that name. When I got the rights back and self-published the book (also my first venture into self-publishing), I did it under my own name. A bit of history there.

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance. 

 If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.

 

 

As an interesting aside, here’s this article on how Facebook is “flattening” content and reducing the ability of creators to share quality stuff. I’m trying to share it widely in places that AREN’T Facebook. 

Russian Trolls Under Every Bridge

One thing I’ve noticed recently, in sifting through the spam comments on my blog, is how many come from Russians now. And on one post, in particular.

See, I stopped looking at the spam comments after a while. This kind of went along with my overall dip in blogging that I mentioned yesterday. The comments seemed to be always and endlessly spam, and never any legit ones. Always jam yesterday and none today. The White Queen haunts me.

Of course, some of this came as a natural consequence of me not blogging comment-worthy stuff. But then I did say something interesting, and my friend, the lovely Grace Draven, mentioned to me on Facebook that she commented at length–but I didn’t see it. It was in my spam folder, because apparently Grace is actually a troll selling off-brand cross-trainers and possibly nudie webcam dancing. I was able to rescue her comment, and set about housecleaning that bursting folder. 

I’ve been trying to keep up with it better – with the help of wonderful assistant, Carien – and I’ve noticed something very interesting. Most all of the spam comments are on one old post from 2014, called “Taking Guns to the Mall.”  (Note: I’ve since changed the title, in an effort to stop the spam bots.) And the comments come from people with Russian names and often with Cyrillic characters in them. They’re the usual balderdash of jigsaw puzzled paragraphs of technical information with links, both commercial and likely nefarious. What happens here is that bots are crawling the internet looking for search terms and submitting these “comments” to the posts. 

Interesting search terms, huh?

It’s fascinating to me to have my own small intersection with a worldwide plague, one that very likely contaminated the 2016 election. Evidence cited in that article indicates that Russia-backed posts reached as many as 126 million Americans on [Facebook] during and after the 2016 presidential election.  

If you haven’t seen it, this video of Senator Franken grilling the Facebook lawyer is full of awesome. 

At any rate, I considered deleting that post, or changing the title to something less likely to tempt the trolls out from under their bridges. For now I’ve tried turning off comments to the post. It will be interesting to see how that works.

Meanwhile, that’s still one of my favorite photos of David, dressed as a pirate in the big hat. Sail on, me hearties.