Tag Archives: Facebook

This May Improve Your Mood about Your Social Media Presence

12 Aug

WereAllKerouacy02 copy

This is me reading at Ronnie Norpel‘s fantastic reading series Tract 187 Culture Clatch at The West End —/ photo by author Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Over the years, I’ve blogged about everything from twitter to pinterest, in the effort to help fellow writers think about their social media presence. Why? Because every conference and expo I’ve attended has drilled the need for social media into my head. Swirling around my brain, I hear platform, platform, platform.

But platform is about so much more than social media.

According to Rob Eagar’s article “Stop Grading an Author’s Social Media Presence” on Digital Book World, publishers are “misguided” in how they look at an author’s social media presence. He suggests what authors and publishers should focus on is:

  1. Email list and performance
  2. Monthly website visitors
  3. Speaking schedule or webinar participants
  4. Previous sales history

I’d highly, highly suggest reading the full article. What he says makes a lot of sense.

Does this mean we abandon social media?

By no means! It means social media is simply one tool in our toolbox. Okay, toolbox metaphors aren’t quite my lingo—nor my “brand”—but the point is that publishers, agents, librarians, and readers value the fact that an author uses social media, so we should maintain our online presence, but we should also look to diversify. Give a reading. Engage with people who leave comments. Send out a newsletter. Host a webinar. Maintain your backlist. Participate in a panel.

That’s what I’m doing at least. Or at least trying to do.

You can find the facebook page Paul Maher Jr. and I run for Burning Furiously Beautiful here.
My Twitter handle is @stephanieniko.
I pin about Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation and lit life and 1950s fashion and nighttime road trips and the Greek beauty and deer on Pinterest.
I write articles for other publications.
I am reading at Word Bookstore in Jersey City.
I am teaching a writing class at the Festival of Women Writers.
I am participating on a panel at BinderCon.
I am co-organizing the faith and writing conference called The Redeemed Writer: The Call and the Practice.

There’s so much more to writing than, well, writing. I enjoy it, though. It’s stretching me as a writer, as an entrepreneur, and as a person.

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So You Want to Be In Publishing

2 Jul

Intern

One of my former interns made this for me on her last day of the internship at the publishing house. Isn’t it so cute? I was really touched. I don’t know that I taught her everything about a career in book publishing, but hopefully I gave her a good foundation.

I thought I’d share a few tips on careers in book publishing and being a businessperson in a creative field:

What’s your favorite piece of advice?

Writing Wednesday: Keep In Touch with Your Alumni Network

9 Apr

bookclub1

One of the best decisions I ever made was attending Scripps College. I accepted their offer of enrollment sight unseen. I had never even been in California before arriving a few days before orientation!

I made so many great friends — and I’m STILL making new friends because of Scripps.

A few years after graduating, I began attending the New York chapter of the Scripps alumnae book club. At the time, I didn’t know a single person who attended the book club. None of them were from my graduating year. In fact, it was only after I’d been attending for over a year that someone I’d actually known when I was attending Scripps as an undergrad began attending book club and we reconnected. What’s great about the alumnae book club is that I’ve met so many new smart women, some around my age, some much older, and some much younger.

These women from my book club have been so supportive of me. As I posted a while back, they selected the book I coauthored with Paul Maher Jr., Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” for their January 2014 read and invited me to speak about the book.

The college even posted a photo on the Scripps College facebook page of a group of alumnae from the book club holding Burning Furiously Beautiful!

Even before the book club reading, the Scripps College Alumnae Association posted about the book’s publication on facebook.

I haven’t been supported just online, though. In the Winter 2014 issue, Scripps Magazine featured me (see page 40) in their regular column “ManuScripps” about Scripps authors.

It’s not just Scripps, though. The New School, where I received my MFA, has also supported me. Every week during the academic year, the Creative Writing program emails a newsletter of students’ and alumni’s publications. It’s sent through email to those who attend or have attended the graduate program so I don’t have links to share with you (though the New School Writing is on Twitter!), but they have generously announced my publications.

Does it sound like I’m bragging? Well, I am. I went to a GREAT undergraduate college and a GREAT MFA. I feel so supported by the community I had while I was attending and also by the new community I’ve made back here on the East Coast.

But I’m not any more special than you. YOUR college would love to hear from you. Colleges love to brag about the success of their former students because it makes them look great too.

They’re also always looking for stories to fill the pages of their newsletters. Don’t expect them to keep tabs on you and know about your every publication, though. Many people who work on these publications are interns, work-study students, or volunteers who don’t have time to track you down and see what you’ve been up to. You have to tell them! They want to brag about you, but they have to know how first.

What to send to your alumni network:

Do the hard work for them by sending your alumni publication full details of your latest story any time you get something new published. That means: your full name (perhaps maiden name if you got married), your graduating year, the title of the piece, what type of piece it was, who published it, when it was published, and a link to the story (if applicable).

It’s not just about you

Be sure to give back, though. Class participation counts when it comes to fundraising campaigns, so even if you can’t give a lot, just by giving you’re contributing to the college’s efforts. If you’re a starving artist, there are other ways to give back too, such as submitting free articles for the alumni magazine, meeting with prospective students in your town, fostering a sense of community amongst alumni by congratulating individuals on their achievements, participating in regional alumni events, informing your alma mater about internships and job openings at your place of business, and mentoring recent grads. Cheesy as it may sound, it’s actually a real ego boost to be able to help others. Real success is being good enough at what you do to help others become better at what they want to do.

You may also like:::

10 Books That Have Stuck with Me

17 Dec
gypsy
The other night I fell asleep thinking about the books that have stuck with me over the years. My friend had tagged me in a Facebook post about the ten books that have stuck with her—not necessarily the best books or her favorite books, but the ones that come to mind first. She then tagged me and nine other friends to do the same. I figured it would make for a fun blog post because some of the books may come as a surprise.
Without further ado…:
  1. Bread and Honey by Frank Asch
  2. Squiggly Wiggly’s Surprise by Arnold Shapiro
  3. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  4. Gypsy Summer by Wilma Yeo
  5. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  6. Sins of the Father by Eileen Franklin
  7. The Dangling Man by Saul Bellow
  8. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  9. The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
  10. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
I could probably write a blog post for each of these titles on why they stuck with me! I could also add so many more books to the list.
There are a few things I’ll point out about the books that actually made the list, though. The first half of the list are children’s books, or perhaps YA. The first two, in fact, are children’s storybooks, but even today their message remains with me. Adult books have a lot more “grey” in them when it comes to morality and message, as we come to understand the complexities and nuances of life, but I think there’s something to be said for the simple and beautiful messages of children’s picture books.
The other thing I’ll point out is that the second half of the list was all read more than ten years ago. Actually, number 6 on the list I read in middle school, and the only book post-undergrad on the list is number 10. It’s obviously not that I haven’t read since then or that I haven’t read good books since then. In fact, I took fantastic literature classes while working toward my MFA and was exposed to books that shaped the way I think about literature and writing. It’s just that when I think of books that have really stuck with me over the years, I was thinking of books that have stood the test of time.
I tag you! What 10 books have stuck with you? Leave them in the comments below.

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

Contest: Show Us Your Burning Furiously Beautiful

21 Nov

Show us YOUR copy of Burning Furiously Beautiful for a chance to win Jack Kerouac memorabilia.

Paul is giving away his own personal copy of an audio cassette that Carolyn Cassady made for him, labeled with her handwriting (with also the mailer too, which bears her signature), of Jack and Neal Cassady reading into a tape recorder. It’s one-of-a-kind and can be yours.
Rules: Just buy yourself a copy and find a cool as Miles Davis place to take a picture of it or of you holding it and post it on the official Burning Furiously Beautiful Facebook page and then find everyone you know to LIKE it. Only “likes” on the Facebook page — not if you post the pic here or elsewhere on Facebook — will be counted. The entry with the most “likes” by November 28, 2013, will win

How to purchase:

We’ve already received some really creative entries, which I’m excited to share with you! Even if you’re not interested in entering the contest, you can cast your vote for your favorite photo.

Contest1Richard Marsh

Contest2Kate Levin

Contest3Roxanne Leinhauser-Brennan

Contest4Katie Ingegneri

Contest5Anne-Marie Giroux

Contest6Ben Stables

Vote or enter here!

Confessions of an Awkward Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Attendee

5 Nov

bus

I hit the road last month to attend Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!

Confession time! In most circumstances I feel like a hanger-on if I’m in the company of whomever is the man or woman of the hour. Maybe it’s related to the Imposter Syndrome Sheryl Sandberg talks about in Lean In. Who am I to talk to someone of great stature? I never want to bother anyone, make it appear that I’m trying to get something out of them, or come out as some zealous fan. So, my typical response is to just keep to myself.

The first year I attended LCK I went alone and barely talked to anyone. I had been studying Kerouac’s literature for more than a decade and was fascinated by everything around me. It felt so surreal to be in Kerouac’s stomping grounds, to see his birth home, the Grotto, the Pawtucket Falls, the mill town he’d loved and written about. Roger Brunelle gave excellent tours, and I was enthralled by every moment of it. I loved every moment of it, and even though I had no one to share it with I didn’t really mind.

This year was completely different. My friend Julie Parker let me crash at her beautiful home outside of Boston, which was brimming with books and paintings and so full of inspiration. She’s a design consultant who does package design, marketing, and brand identity, so when we weren’t at the festival we had endless conversations about publishing and self-promotion.

I got to meet Paul! Oh my gosh, I was so nervous. Paul and I have been collaborating together for almost two years, and I probably spend more time talking on the phone with him than anyone else except maybe my mom when she’s in the States (when she’s in Greece, it’s difficult with the time difference), but we’d never met in person. I guess I was worried by meeting in person, something would change. It ended up being awesome. He gave Julie and me a tour of Lowell, and since he himself grew up there, his insight and stories were really personal.

I also got to catch up with David Amram and Billy Koumantzelis. I first got to know each of them from interviewing them about their friendship with Jack Kerouac, and since then I’ve been careful not to assume they’d remember me or talk to me beyond that. I completely understand that they’d have other, more important, people to talk to. But I didn’t want to go to my default of keeping my distance for fear that would make it seem like I didn’t want to talk to them. Ugh. My head gets so mixed up sometimes! Anyway, I did end up getting to spend time with both of them, and they’re both so gracious and fascinating individuals. For all the negative things that have been said over the years about Jack Kerouac, I have to say that he sure knows how to pick friends. These guys are stand-up gentlemen. Even though I first got to know them because of their friendship with Kerouac, that doesn’t even matter to me anymore. I just like talking to them and hearing their perspectives. When I had first interviewed Billy, I was curious about who he is, and at one point he stopped me and said, “Aren’t you here to ask me about Kerouac?”

Through one of David’s concerts at Cornelia Street Café, I’d met the poet Christopher Barry. He was at LCK too and introduced me to his brother, Stephen Barry, who is also a poet. Chris is a great guy, and it was fun chatting with him and his brother. David also introduced me to Steve Dalachinsky and Yuko Otomo, who are these amazing poets from New York City. Seriously. Probably among the best I’ve ever heard read—and I’ve heard a lot of poets read over the years. I probably would’ve been too shy to ever introduce myself if it weren’t for David. Billy also introduced me to Jim Sampas. You know, the guy behind One Fast Move or I’m Gone and the new film Big Sur. I sat there kind of stunned, saying, “I’m a big fan of your work.” I gave him a postcard for Paul’s and my book, Burning Furiously Beautiful, and Jim said, “I think I’ve heard of this.” Wow. I also got to meet the documentary filmmaker (Grave Matters) Brent Mason. Super nice guy. I met Stephen D. Edington, the organizer of LCK. He’s given sermons at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, which I’ve read online and found quite interesting.  And, I got to meet Roger Brunelle and his wife, both of whom were so warm. I don’t know why I get so nervous to introduce myself and talk to people sometimes….

Another highlight, though, was meeting people from the Burning Furiously Beautiful Facebook page. I was so touched when they came up and introduced themselves. I am so thankful for the network we have on that page, and it’s been great meeting like-minded people offline.

I guess I write all this to show that even if you sometimes are predisposed toward awkwardness, shyness, and over-thinking things, good things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. A colleague of mine recently posted on Facebook about how his daughter was having trouble with good greetings, that it took her a while to warm up to even people she knew when she’d see them again. I feel a lot like that little girl sometimes. Although this is supposed to be a recap of my time at LCK, I think it’s important that I share my true story. I’ve gotten the impression sometimes that people think if you read Kerouac, you’re trying to be cool. I never really had the impression of Kerouac as the cool guy. I always thought of him as the guy shambling after his friends. I think if you really read and study Kerouac, you understand that he too battled shyness, that although he had a lot of successes he also had a lot of failures, that he was prone to both self-assurance and worry. I think that if we just be ourselves and use our gifts and if we are open to opportunities and push ourselves little by little out of our comfort zone, we will surprise ourselves by what we can do. The key though is that it’s not about being in the spotlight or about others in the spotlight; it’s about the blessings of creating art, doing what we love, and fellowshipping with others.

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Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

Friday Links + More Than a Thousand People Like Our Book!

16 Aug

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Paul emailed me the other day that we’d crossed the thousand-“like” threshold on our Facebook page for Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” I wrote him back: “!!!!!!!!!” …Give or take a few exclamation points.

I cannot thank all of you enough for your support. It means so much to me and for so many reasons. I’m not really a numbers person. Friends have asked me about my writing in the past, and I’ve said that all those Friday nights I spent at home in front of my computer instead of hanging out with friends and all that time I spend frustrated as I edit and rewrite will all be worth it if I reach just one person with my writing. I wasn’t speaking specifically about this book, but it holds true in the sense that if I can enlighten even one person on the fact that Jack Kerouac was a literary artist and not just some beatnik cartoon or if I can give hope to one writer out there who is struggling with yet another draft and thinks they’re rubbish because they mistakenly believe the myth that Kerouac wrote On the Road in just three weeks then I know I’ve done my job. Having a thousand people excited about the book, though, now that’s cake with a whole lot of icing on it!

I feel fortunate to have Paul as a coauthor. He’s so knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to writing about Jack Kerouac. He’s also really easygoing, and I think we’ve been able to work together well. Sometimes we get sidetracked and talk about things like woodland creatures and hot dog vendors and really bad sitcoms, and it’s all quite fun.

We also lucked out to have Igor Satanovsky as our cover designer. We get so many compliments on the cover. It’s usually the first thing people see when it comes to our book, so it was really important to us to have a strong cover and Igor nailed it.

We’ve been really privileged to have some people who have rallied around us and inspiring, encouraging, supporting, and even promoting us.

Most importantly, our families have given us time and space to write. My sister has attended almost every single reading I’ve ever given, Kerouac-related or not. My mom goes around sticking the postcards for our book anywhere she can. My father always made sure I got the best education I could get, which furthered my writing skills.

Many moons ago, before I even began working on this book, David Amram spent time talking to me about Kerouac and dispelled the whole idea of the so-called Beat Generation mythology. Since then, he’s invited me to read with him, has promoted my work in his own shows, and continually pushes me to think about life and art in new ways.

George Koumantzelis has gone out of his way to support our work. Oftentimes getting people to agree to an interview is like pulling teeth, but George actually invited me and arranged for me to interview his uncle Billy, who was Kerouac’s pallbearer. Billy and George have been tremendously gracious toward me. George often sends me helpful news links and posts my blog entries on Facebook.

The first time I ever got to read from Burning Furiously Beautiful was thanks to poet RA Araya, who invited me to read at The Sidewalk Café. He has since invited me many more times to read at various venues, and even when I haven’t read he’s passed out postcards for the book. He also frequently posts my work on Facebook.

One of the goals with our Burning Furiously Beautiful Facebook page was to create an inviting space for Kerouacians, those interested in Beat literature, road trippers, people who dig the history and culture of the ’40s and ’50s, writers, fans of the On the Road film, and the curious. We wanted a page that was informative and entertaining but also a safe place where people could ask questions and connect with each other. We don’t have a thousand people commenting on every single post, but we do have some regular posters as well as people who are actively engaged in leaving comments and forwarding posts. I’ve had the pleasure of even meeting a few of these people in person, which has been super fun. I never really had any friends that were into the Beats so it’s exciting to connect with others who are passionate about their literature.

There are so many people who have helped us get where we are today, in both small and big ways, specific to this book or in more general ways. The post would go on forever if I listed out each and every name, but the support is meaningful and doesn’t go unnoticed. It makes all the difference.

If you aren’t on our Facebook page yet, please do feel to join us. This isn’t some exclusive hipster club. People don’t try to one up each other on our page. We’re just super passionate and want to connect with others.

* * *

Reaching over a thousand “likes” by no means happened overnight. A lot of work goes into finding interesting things to post, responding to people’s comments, commenting on other Facebook pages, and getting lost in the time suck of social media. I’ve also done my fair share of going to talks on social media and scouring the internet for the latest hot tips. So, for today’s Friday Links, I wanted to leave you with a few helpful links for growing your social media. I’m by no means a pro, but some of these people certainly are.

 

Alt SLC registration just opened up! It’s a great way to learn about blogging

Dave Charest writes How to Get Facebook Likes for Your Page (The Easy Way!)

Author Laura Vanderkam writes about how to Grow your blog readership overnight! (or slowly over 3.5 years)

Conduit offers Ten Tips for Growing Your Target Audience Using Social Media

Photos tend to get more likes than just text, and Lark and Linen provides a Tutorial: Editing Your Photos

Samantha Murphy says that using “I” gets more thumbs up in How to Get More Likes, Shares on Facebook

In case you missed them, here are some of my previous links on social media:::

The true, true story behind the Facebook fauxlore of the Kerouac-Burroughs fight

I am one in a million

My Goodreads To-read list

How many stars should a book get on Goodreads?

Playing around on Google+ I found an article about, well, me

Why I Tweet and post on Facebook

Building your book before you write it

My takeaways from Cup of Jo’s advice on blogging as a career

Social media lessons from last year’s SWSX

I heart social media

Galley Cat’s advice for writers on Pinterest … and I’m on Pinterest

What are YOUR tips for growing your social media?

Mixtape: Music and Poetry for On the Road

28 Jun

photo via Aunt13’s 8tracks mix

Aunt13 over on 8tracks made a mix called Music and Poetry for On the RoadIt’s inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and in the blurb she mentions Burning Furiously Beautiful!  How cool is that?!

I have the coolest friends!  I am going to be listening to this while I write, for sure, and daydreaming of hitting the road.  Aunt13 has over 300 mixes, so be sure to show her some love.

You may recall I posted a while back the soundtrack for the On the Road film.  It was just announced yesterday that the film will be making its US debut in late fall.

J. Haeske also made a mix for the soundtrack he’d envision for the film.  Teaser!  I have an interview with him about his new book on Kerouac lined up for you, so stay tuned.

What songs would you put on a mix for On the Road?

Also, I took my own advice about social media, and created a Facebook page for Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the book I’m co-authoring with Paul Maher Jr.  Be sure to “like” the book on Facebook!  We’ll be posting news about the book, information from Across the Underwood, updates on the film, and so much more!

I Heart Social Media

27 Jun

Image by Dallas Shaw

One of my favorite aspects of working in book publishing is my involvement in social media.  I absolutely love crafting Tweets!  It’s so much fun coming up with fun and unique ways to promote the books I’ve loved working on and want the world to know about.

Social media is also important to me as a writer.  Even before an author publishes a book, she must have a “platform”—she must be cultivating readers interested in her expertise and enthusiasm on a given subject.  I’m on this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest so I can share with you my latest obsessions and ideas, give you a little sneak peek into my so-called literary life, and hopefully inspire other writers and readers to do the same.  The world’s a lot cozier when we know we’re not alone in our endeavors.

That’s why I’m also addicted to following other social media gurus.  One of my favorite is DKNY PR GIRL.

I love reading her #PR101 tips and her blog in general.  If you’re just starting out in social media, check out the social media tips she gave to Teen Vogue.

Dear readers, what social media platforms do you use?  Will you do me a favor and post them in the comments section?  I’d love to subscribe/follow/friend you! xoxo

Writing Wednesday: Becoming a New Media Innovator

16 Nov

Success isn’t just about doing—it’s about innovating.  It’s about creating something new or doing something in a new way.  It’s not always mind-blowing.  Sometimes it’s so obvious that it’s surprising no one had done it before.  And yet, it’s the game changer.  It’s the concept that makes you rise above all the hi-ho, hi-ho dwarves.

The New York Times recently published an article called “21 New Media Innovators.”

The article shows how writers—mainly journalists—use Twitter, “the art of multipurposed multi-platforming,” aggregated data, video, ereaders, text messages, crowd-sourcing, message boards, citizen journalism, sponsored posts (aka advertorials), widgets, slideshows, and other technological mumbojumbo to bring stories to you in new and relevant ways.

So, what does this mean for writers?  How does a memoirist become a new media innovator?

For one, multi-platforming allows a memoirist to represent different facets of herself and her conversation.  Here on my blog, you get my personal stories as well as updates and tools for writers, but if you “friend” me on Facebook you are privy to the more day-to-day goings on in my life and you have more opportunity to interact with me through comments and even live chats.  I’ve also brought you audio via Broadcastr, as an experiment in whether voice allows for more connectivity.

What sort of new media do you think is particularly relevant for memoirists?  Most of the memoirists I know stick to blogging and Tweeting, and I’d love to hear about any memoirists that are utilizing new media in creative ways.

How would you like to see me use new media?