Monday, April 7, 2014

PARTICIPATING IN YAHOO GROUP CHATS



Last month, we discussed the purpose and mechanics of posting to Yahoo Groups HERE. Used effectively, Yahoo Groups can become an important element of an author's marketing program. I use Yahoo Groups regularly for marketing my books. It’s an easy way to connect with readers and introduce yourself and your books. Today, we’ll discuss connecting with readers, open days vs scheduled chats, individual vs. group chats, and making the most of your chat time.



CONNECTING WITH READERS REDUX. As we discussed last month, Yahoo Groups refers to internet communication that combines an email list and an internet forum. Group messages can be read and posted by email or on the Group's webpage. Yahoo Groups address specific interests and vary vastly in size, so it’s important to select Groups to join that will be interested in what you have to offer and of a size that make it worthwhile to participate. Best source for selecting your Yahoo Groups? Other Authors. Visit the group page, check on the number of members, member interests (General romance, paranormal, Regency), and heat level allowed (multi, sweet, erotic).

YAHOO GROUPS IN PUBLISHING. Yahoo Groups offer authors opportunities to connect with readers and other authors. Many publishers operate one group for its own authors to share info and support and another for its readers for marketing books. ALWAYS participate in those, even though the group might be small (or not). Readers who visit the publisher groups are actively looking to see what the publisher has available and are more likely to buy, if they’re interested in what you have to offer.

OPEN DAYS VS. SCHEDULED VISITS. Every Yahoo Group has posting rules – what can be posted when. Regular days may be set aside for anyone to post. There may be specific days scheduled for specific genres, event promos, new releases, or excerpts only. The posting rules are listed on the front page of the Yahoo Group and are usually published weekly. If you post outside the scheduled times, you may be placed temporarily in moderation or, if you're very naughty, have your posting privileges and Group membership revoked. If you look at the day’s posts, you can usually tell it it’s a general day or if a specific individual is visiting (in which case posting is a No-No). I keep a list.

SCHEDULED CHATS. There are two types of chats – those scheduled with a group (often by a publisher) and individual chats. These are scheduled well ahead of time and are generally free. They may be scheduled for all day or a few hours. Advertise (webpage, Facebook, Twitter) where you’re going to be ahead of time and during the chat. Non-members must join ahead of time, since the moderator may not be available throughout your time to approve their membership.

Depending on the Group, there may be a representative checking in at intervals to facilitate the event by chatting with the scheduled author or posing questions. Readers might visit in real time, but often readers check in later and zip through the messages and read the ones of interest. Your posts need to address both.

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHAT TIME. Individual or group chat, plan ahead to get the most value out of your time. If you’re in a group, it’s fine to plan to meet another participant at a certain time and chat about books et al– but not about the weather ad nauseum, after the first check in. In addition, have several posts planned ahead. Posts about your books, including blurbs and excerpts can be recycled, but go beyond there. I’ve posted recipes that my characters cooked in the books with a related excerpt. Consider preparing short background posts about the period as it relates to your story. Contests that require participation will let you know if they’re lurkers, but don’t focus too much on the present because many of the readers who will check in later. Make your post titles interesting to attract attention.

A POINT OF ETIQUETTE. For new posts, go to the Yahoo Group page and begin a new thread. It’s much easier to post from another author’s posted work, but it confuses the reader, particularly if there is a conversation in progress. I personally wouldn’t post a new thread until a conversation is completed.

I’ve gone way over my self-imposed limit of 500 words, but there just aren’t any shortcuts. The marketing aspect of publishing has to take up a portion of your time. This month, I’m participating in my first blog tour through a company. Next month, a report on what happened.  Bye for now.

3 comments:

Big Mike said...

Thanks Rita. Always appreciate your insights.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Big Mike said...

Thanks Rita. Always appreciate your insights.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Liz Fountain said...

Very helpful, as always!

Liz