Strategy for #Zombie Authors

July 31, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

This may or may not be part of a series of blog posts about online personal branding for authors (not just Zombie authors) that desire to be known. If it is, this is the second blog post in the series. The first is here:

Online Strategy

Social media marketing is a long term strategy unless you have serious ad and marketing spend at the ready. Even if you have a million dollar war chest for online advertising and marketing, the results are still not guaranteed. I’d like to tell you all about a 500 Million dollar TV campaign that produced no trackable and no visible results but then I’d be violating a confidentiality agreement.

A reasonably successful social media marketing strategy requires you to build enthusiastic and supportive relationships with other human beings on social media – especially with those persons who are themselves obviously exercising a smart social media marketing strategy. Don’t spend time, attention and interest on the curious and fickle. Most likely, they won’t be around in six months in continuation of the mutual support and benefit that is critical to your getting known.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being helpful and kind. In fact, I encourage reasonable exercises of those things just for the sake of character and growing you.

Long term and long tail

According to best-selling author Mark Schaefer, getting known takes anywhere from two to five years. I would round that up to three to ten years. If you are discouraged by Mark’s or my assessment, stop wasting your time on the sand castles. You could use all those hours of curious and half-hearted experiments for better purposes: loving on family and friends, reading better books, and writing better books, for example.

Practical tricks and tips

This section is an interruption of the business plan that I want to explain to you. But I imagine it is necessary because who doesn’t want a glimpse at the how to’s of effective strategy?!

Most Author-related FB posts and Twitter Tweets are poorly designed direct marketing prompts for a sale that is unlikely to happen; they too often present like the untrustworthy slogans and barks of a used car salesman in a cheap suit. I make that mistake, myself, when I’m pressed for time, a deadline, coming short on milestones or didn’t plan the week/month strategy.

If I make the same mistake twice in the same week and on the same channel – it actually means I’m losing the hard won credibility that I have worked so hard to build. Don’t do this.

Here’s what a bad selling post looks like. Please don’t ask, expect or encourage people to share a post that looks like this. It’s just really bad mojo for everyone.

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Here’s what a better designed selling post looks like. But still, I can’t use/recycle this particular post more than twice a month without my feed looking spammy.

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Here’s another. Do notice, however, that even these better ads don’t get much traction in terms of likes, shares and comments.
Better ad.png
Do try to relate to actual persons OR allow them to relate to you through your subject matter and comments. This is the effective course of action to take. One powerful way to relate to an author is by posting encouraging Amazon and Good Reads reviews of their books AND posting those reviews to your social media.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.33.01 PM.pngHere’s another.

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Here’s an example of a poorly designed, generic post that authors can “relate” with. Still, it was shared 118 times without me having to personally ask people to share it. Memes can do some serious lifting but don’t go overboard.

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Start thoughtful (or exciting) conversations.

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Time, design and technicalities

Doing things in an ok manner takes time (attention and work), design (money) and some awareness of the technical challenges and work arounds. A smart group will figure out ways to solve most of these challenges. For example, if a group can keep talented graphic designers and editors in paying work, they can negotiate lower rates. This is especially an important to do for getting graphics support and the development of generic graphics that everyone can use.

On the other hand, if everybody does their own thing in their own way, ain’t nobody got time for that. Literally. Ain’t nobody got time to market and sell books all by their uninformed and ornery lonesome.

Exercise Two

Do you want more blog posts about an online strategy for getting known as an author?

Here’s what I need to see to be convinced that this unpaid effort of mine is meaningful to you.

1. I need to see 30 or more comments on this blog post. Comment with a few words of thanks, ask a question, or give me intelligent heck with sufficient evidence of my error.

2. I need to see 30 additional shares of my pinned tweet for my YouTube reading of the Desiderata (link below) because 7000+ shares is not enough. [grin]

30 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

Have you heard about my novella, Francesco Augustine Bernadone?

“This fast and furious LitRPG, sci-fi book packs a punch like Saitama, the One-Punch Man, while giving us haunting glimpses of the near future and our existential predicament. With subtle hints of Dostoyevsky, Tolkien and The Walking Dead, this story is more delicious than the world’s greatest chimichanga. Sorry, Deadpool.”

– Yogizilla


Why did you publish a #zombie book?

July 27, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Valerie Lioudis, author of the zombie thriller, Aftershock: A Collection of Survivor Stories, asked me to write about how authors can use social media to market their books.

VL Aftershock.jpg

Valerie specifically wanted me to write for the authors that participate in the Reanimated Writers Zombie Fiction Fan Group on Facebook. I’m flattered by Valerie’s request and I hope I don’t disappoint her and Kevin. Because before I can get into the process and tasks, I have to get into the purpose. If the purpose and grit is lacking, there really isn’t any need to proceed further.

So I must ask you, fearsome author, why did you publish a book?

You published your book for it to be read, enjoyed and praised. By many. More than 100. Maybe, 5000. OR you have published a book for the wrong reasons.

Of course, many often say, just write. Others, write for yourself. In other words, write to understand you and, perhaps, benefit from truthful self-examination. Maybe you can fix you. Heal you. Find the path to a better you. Certainly, writing can help you do these things.

But once you have an ambition to publish your writing, you seek to be known. You seek to be trusted, preferred over others, honored, praised and otherwise rewarded. You want to matter to others. Me too.

Even if you possess talent, technique and style (however challenging they are for you to achieve in your work), these are not sufficient to get known. And, truth be told, a published book is not the accomplishment today that it was 100 years ago. In fact, anyone can publish a book today. And everybody seems to be doing it too!

Who will buy your book?

People need to see it to believe it. They need to believe it is worthy of their attention and time before they will taste it and see for themselves if it is good. Your book needs to be brought to market and it needs to succeed in a fierce competition among other books and, often, among better written books than yours.

It’s great, for example, that the zombie market is huge. Last year, there were over 12 million total viewers of The Walking Dead. But how will your book get to that market of zombie fans?

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Your book is competing for the attention of readers against 500,000+ new Indie books per year – not to mention all the books published by the industry leading publishers with their long experience and proven strategies for selling and marketing books. Today, an accomplishment is selling 5,000 or more copies within five years of publication.

Of course, there is some accomplishment in writing a book fit for publication. But the line between fitness and self-humiliation has been blurred much by the celebration of self-publication. And what self-respecting adult prizes a participation trophy?!

But those with purpose and grit will succeed in the serious accomplishment with a modest financial investment. Under $1200. Do not think, however, that it’s easy to compete against millions of dollars of marketing and ad spend of the top 20 publishers. That would be some really bad maths and poor common sense on your part!

With much, enduring and persistent effort to market your books and build positive and mutually beneficial relationships in social media, you can become known. My friend, business professor and author, Mark Schaefer swears it in his best selling book, Known.

MS Known

Building positive and mutually beneficial relationships may not be why you are on social media. It may not be how you do social media. That’s something we can easily fix if your purpose is to be an accomplished author.

Since I find that most learning is actually happening when there is doing, therefore, I will only continue to write further on this subject if I see 20 retweets and shares of both of the following tweets and posts. Even if there is not enough of you do so easily, encourage your friends to retweet and share. Because that’s how social media savvy is done.

Click the link below and retweet the tweet from your Twitter account.

Click the link and like and share the post from your Facebook account.

Stan Faryna
26 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

P.S. The conditions for a second blog post were met. Here’s the link to it:

Have you heard about my novella, Francesco Augustine Bernadone?

“This fast and furious LitRPG, sci-fi book packs a punch like Saitama, the One-Punch Man, while giving us haunting glimpses of the near future and our existential predicament. With subtle hints of Dostoyevsky, Tolkien and The Walking Dead, this story is more delicious than the world’s greatest chimichanga. Sorry, Deadpool.”


FAB ebook cover 200

Nisha Varghese #50NewFeet

July 13, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
Nisha Varghese


In a recent blog post, Nisha Varghese unintentionally revealed her daily challenges as I reflected again on what this means as she types out her daily blog posts and fundraising tweets.

This morning I typed a Whatsapp message from my smartphone  (because I have Cerebral Palsy I have poor fine motor skills which makes using things like a touchscreen a mammoth task) I feel a bit ridiculous celebrating a Whatsapp message but if you saw how much time and effort it took me to type a six letter word on my smartphone trust me you would be celebrating too.

Her fortitude to do good is not just admirable; it is nothing less than heroic and inspirational.

My subscribers should know who Nisha is and what she’s about. For those who don’t know about her: Nisha is a fundraiser for good causes. And her current campaign raises money for an organization that helps cure the condition of club feet in children around the world. Nisha explains it all on her campaign page here: 

Imagine how I feel when I get a personally typed message from Nisha – asking me to ask each of you to give $50 to her campaign – 100 of you. It may have taken her more than an hour to write those 200 words. Obviously, I can’t tell her no. But what an wonderful opportunity! I have to try. I have to put my words to good use. I have to put my writing to Nisha’s service – or I do not know love and, failing in this, I would have to confess that I have never known love.

Nisha, her mom and Katherine.png

None of which means that you are obligated by your own humanity to help me and Nisha with a $50 donation. But if you know love or say that you have known love, you might have to reblog this blogs post, share or tweet out the link, and/or give what you can. Or you could write a better blog post – one that better tells Nisha’s story and better explains her campaign.

Stan Faryna
12 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia