In a world of constantly changing markets, readership and trends, we’d like to talk to you a bit more today on how you cope with constant change as an author. Social media can be hard to manage for some people, do you have any useful tips for how to use social media as an author?
CJ: If it energizes you and makes you more creative, helps you get more words on the page, then have a blast! If you see it as a burden that sucks the creativity from your day (that’s me, lol!) then don’t worry about it. It’s just one more tool and there are many ways to reach readers.
How much time to you devote to social media for your books each day (or week)?
CJ: I’m lucky if I remember to post something during any given week, so almost nothing. If I am there spending time on social media it’s not because it’s scheduled but rather because my readers are engaging me. Conversations are much easier for me than remembering to come up with a clever meme and posting it.
Many authors use platforms such as Facebook to escape when they suffer writer's’ block. Do you ever do this, and have you found any creative ways to use social media to inspire your writing?
CJ: Nope…I never go to FB except to post or answer reader’s comments/messages. I’m a hermit by nature and I’ve learned to embrace the fact that I’m simply not “social” in the social media sense. Plus, any time/words spent on social media are less times/words spent on getting the story told—which is what my readers keep telling me is what they want, more books.
Your www.cjlyons.net offers lots of extras including your books, research links and tips for writers. Can you tell us a bit about building your site? Who helped you, and how much work is it to keep up to date?
CJ: I built it myself—after several disastrous encounters with web designers who’d flake out on me right when I needed them most. But remember, former ER doc here, so I’m a total control freak. I’ve had the site since 2004 so it’s grown over time. Now it’s so large that my biggest challenge is pruning the clutter, something I’m slowly tackling. I don’t blog, so it really doesn’t take a lot of time to keep up other than listing new titles.
Now that we’ve talked about your website, we’d like to know if you read blogs, or have other favorite websites, and if you do, what’s your favorite right now?
CJ: I run my life from my email inbox so I only follow blogs/newsfeeds that have an email subscription option (you wouldn’t believe how many don’t!) I follow my friend, Joanna Penn’s writing blog, TheCreativePenn.com because she’s brilliant and so energetic—I recommend her site to any aspiring author. Other than that the main blogs I follow are sites like the FBI, Officer.com, The Browser, the New York Times and Washington Post, Big Think, the Crime Report, and LifeHacker—places where quirky stories come my way and inspire my writing.
You have links to facebook and twitter social media links on your website. Is there a specific channel you’re more likely to be active on, and if so why?
CJ: My twitter followers are mainly fellow writers and I’ve pretty much given up on it—it’s overwhelming for someone who doesn’t go online very much. I have a FB page (https://www.facebook.com/cj.lyons) and enjoy interacting with readers there, but I don’t post much except fun quotes I stumble across (I collect quotes), the occasional news on my books, and deals on good books that come across my inbox. Sometimes I’ll do events there with fellow thriller authors like Toni McGee Causey or Debra Webb—authors I know my readers will enjoy hearing from. But it’s all very low key.
Newsletters are one of many ways authors like to keep in touch with their readership. Can you tell us what subscribers can expect when they sign up for your newsletter, and how often they might hear from you?
CJ: I try to do at least one Thrillers with Heart newsletter a month (it always amazes me when readers write and ask for more!) and I keep it short and sweet—usually a featured deal on a book, or an exclusive read for my fans, occasionally a special guest feature with a fellow thriller author my fans know and love. When you sign up for my Thrillers with Heart mailing list, you’ll receive a free copy of Snake Skin, the first Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller with your welcome email. I also send other free reads when inspiration hits me and I can get organized enough to upload the files.
Where do you go for social media and marketing advice? Know any great books or tips other authors might find useful?
CJ: As I mentioned above, Joanna Penn is the shining star here. Also the guys at the Self Publishing Podcast are awesome. There’s so much advice out there, it’s really hard not to find the answer to any questions you have. Years ago that wasn’t the case, so I began my own writing blog, NoRulesJustWrite.com in order to give something back. It’s still there with all the resources available but I’ve stopped adding new material as my mission of showing people their publishing options was accomplished.
One last chance...If you were doing it all over again, would you change anything about how you published, got cover art made, or got the word out about your books?
CJ: When I first self-published back in 2009 no one really knew what it was all about. I started because my NYC publisher insisted on releasing only one book a year and my readers were deluging me with emails asking for more. I even offered to give my publisher free short stories to release between books to keep the readers happy but they refused. So when I heard about Kindle and self-publishing I realized I had the answer—I could publish manuscripts that for a variety of reasons had been accepted by NYC publishers, professionally copyedited, etc, but never made it to actual publication. That way my readers would be happy and remember my name in between my print books. There were few freelance graphic designers doing cover art in those days and that’s my one regret. I found one within six months of publishing once I realized that my e-books were really taking off, but I wish I’d had one from the beginning. Also, even though my earlier books had been through NYC publisher’s copy-editors, I realized early on that copy-editing wasn’t the same as proofreading and I quickly hired freelance proofreaders and revised those manuscripts. Now, I often have the cover art before I even start a book (my designer does them in batches to keep the series branded) and I hire the same developmental editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders that my NYC publishers use! I love it when readers can’t tell the difference between my self-published titles and my NYC published ones.
Thanks for joining us today Cj!
About the BooksFrom New York Times and USA Today bestselling author CJ Lyons. For fans of Lisa Gardner, Tami Hoag, and Jeffery Deaver: "Everything a great thriller should be--action packed, authentic, and intense." ~#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child After leaving the FBI, life should be easy, right? Wrong--not if you're Lucy Guardino. Lucy has always seen herself as a normal Pittsburgh soccer mom who happened to have a job chasing the worst of the worst. But after a violent predator targets her family and she's injured, Lucy sacrifices her career with the FBI in order to keep her family safe. What is she now that she's no longer a FBI Special Agent? she wonders as she begins her new job with the Beacon Group, a private consulting firm that specializes in cold cases and bringing justice to forgotten victims.Lucy fears she's traded being a kick-ass law enforcement officer for being a civilian mother hen shepherding a team of amateurs. What is she now that she's no longer a FBI Special Agent?
she wonders as she begins her new job with the Beacon Group, a private consulting firm that specializes in cold cases and bringing justice to forgotten victims.Lucy fears she's traded being a kick-ass law enforcement officer for being a civilian mother hen shepherding a team of amateurs. Her fears appear justified when she's partnered with TK O'Connor, a former Marine MP struggling with her transition to life back home, and sent to rural Texas to investigate a case that's more than cold, it's already been closed with the killers behind bars for the past twenty-nine years. But...who really killed Lily Martin, her infant daughter, and husband?
Why was an entire family targeted for anihilation? What price will Lucy pay when she fights to expose a truth people will kill to keep buried? LAST LIGHT is the seventh Lucy Guardino novel, but they can be read out of order. If you enjoy captivating suspense, intelligent storytelling,strong and vulnerable characters, and a freight-train pace, then you'll love this adrenaline rush of a heart-pounding thriller. Join the millions of readers who've fallen for CJ's Thrillers with Heart and grab your copy of LAST LIGHT today!
This fast-paced action filled drama will keep you mesmerized by the story. The cast of Characters are strong and intense. A gripping non- stop read you won't want to put down. Cj Lyons is a Brilliant story teller and this book shows that. I loved the ride with each page and look forward to reading the next one.
Pediatric ER doctor turned New York Times bestselling thriller writer CJ Lyons has been a storyteller all her life—something that landed her in many time-outs as a kid. She writes her Thrillers with Heart for the same reason that she became a doctor: because she believes we all have the power to change our world. In the ER she witnessed many acts of courage by her patients and their families, learning that heroes truly are born every day. When not writing, she can be found walking the beaches near her Lowcountry home, listening to the voices in her head and plotting new and devious ways to create mayhem for her characters. To learn more about her Thrillers with Heart go to www.CJLyons.net Connect with CJ on her website, Facebook, or Twitter.