Interview with Joey Pinkney
Joey Pinkney promotes literature using social media. His book promotion service JoeyTweets.com uses Twitter, and other popular social media websites, to gain more exposure for authors and their books using his huge digital footprint.
Before offering the JoeyTweets service, Joey Pinkney conducted numerous author interviews and book reviews on his website JoeyPinkney.com. Pinkney also strives to push his creative boundaries by crafting compelling short stories. In 2015, he decided to publish standalone short stories on a more regular basis.
Joey Pinkney’s fast fiction reflects his quirky sense of humor and his attention to layered details. He produces tales that his readers consider to be offbeat, yet familiar. More about his book and writings can be found at JoeysPen.com. His stories, in part, are fueled by chocolate.
YVONNE PIERRE: You’ve been offering promotional services for several years. What inspired you to help authors promote their books?
JOEY PINKNEY: I was inspired by my love for books and my respect for the process of getting a book into the market. There are many authors out there, no doubt. But, for every author a reader might know about, there are fifteen who are waiting to be discovered and grow a readership.
I wanted to bridge the gap between authors and readers looking for their next reading adventure. This was in the late 1990s, early 2000s. Back then the Internet was starting to gain traction, and social media was in its infancy. I started out by writing reviews for other companies before settling down to write professional reviews on behalf of myself. As things grew and progressed, I added author interviews and social media promotion to the mix.
Book Promotion has come a long way since the MySpace days.
YVONNE: You seemed to have mastered using social media for promotion. You’ve written a book, “8 Simple Twitter Tip for Authors: A Short Guide to Long Results,” what would you say are the biggest mistakes authors make when self-promoting their book?
JOEY: Best Practices for using social media for promotion is always in flux. There are a few tried and true techniques, then there are the new ways to flesh out old strategies. Being an active learner has really helped me stay relevant in this field.
One of the biggest mistakes an author can make when self-promoting is spamming in its many forms. Spamming is when you either send an unsolicited message to a large group of people and/or when you send a message, over and over again, indiscriminately to random people.
I see it all of the time on Twitter and elsewhere on social media. An author will tag me into a tweet that also uses the Twitter account handles for people like, and I’m being as random as the tweets I’ve seen in the past, Oprah, Tyler Perry, Will Smith, Common, Will.I.Am, Adele, Kim Kardashian and 21 Savage. In this current social media climate, some authors are notorious for connecting with you, then diving into your direct messages asking you to buy their book before even saying hello.
The rationale is that being aggressive will generate sales. While persistence and consistency are very necessary for getting the word out about your books, spamming has negative effects on your brand and the publishing industry.
YVONNE: If you go to a lot of authors social media pages, you wouldn’t even know that they have a book. Why do you think a lot of authors don’t self-promote?
JOEY: A lot of authors don’t self-promote because of two things: fear of success and fear of failure. The fear of failure is obvious and makes sense as far as being hesitant to self-promote. No author wants to put in the hard work and dedication that’s necessary to publish a work, only to have it fall flat on its face after it is released. Pessimism kicks in, and an author will post a picture of what they are eating at their favorite restaurant instead of posting something about their book(s).
The fear of success is not as obvious as the fear of failure, however, it is just as paralyzing as its partner in crime. The fear of success causes you to be swarmed with artificially negative questions. What if this story catches on fire and puts me on the map, and makes me famous? What if they want my next book to be as great? What if people want to talk to me? What if a lot of important people want to talk to me? Can I keep churning out hit after hit after hit? The fear of success is an imaginary pressure that can stop an author in his/her tracks.
Another reason I think authors don’t self-promote is that of the concept of the shameless plug. In the minds of some people, the negativity of shame has been attached to the activity of promoting and marketing. Some authors look at self-promotion as being cocky or boisterous. That way of thinking traps many authors in a state of self-induced silence.
YVONNE: In addition to offering promotional services for authors, you are an author of several fictional and nonfictional books yourself. How have knowing the promotional aspect impacts your writing?
JOEY: Promoting books for other authors has taught me a very important lesson in writing for publication: Typing “the end” is book talk for “the beginning.” While composing, editing and rewriting a story, I have many ideas for promoting the story. Truth be told, many of the ideas are beyond my budget, but that’s the beauty of creativity and imagination and dreaming big.
In terms of intertwining writing, publishing and promoting, here is a self-promotion technique that works like magic without being mysterious. Nothing sells your book like the next book. If you’re constantly writing and publishing, that hard work and dedication will begin to pay big dividends on down the road.
As repertoire grows, the books tend to sell each other. A reader finishes one book and looks to see what else you have out there. Publishing on a consistent basis also feeds and grows your core readership. Once you gain a tribe of loyal readers, get ready for some serious word-of-mouth to kick in.
YVONNE: What challenges have you faced publishing your books and how did you overcome them?
JOEY: Writing privately is fun and even therapeutic. You don’t feel held to any other standard but your own. Writing for publication is masochistic and even, depending on the genre, sadistic. I say that jokingly, but writers and publishers know what I’m talking about.
Confidence is a huge challenge, especially since I write outside of clearly defined genres. Two questions loom while I write: 1) Will anybody get it? 2) What do I do if no one gets it? Those questions can cause me to have writer’s block, or even worse, cause me to write someone else’s story. I am learning how to overcome a lack of confidence by recalibrating my perspective. Instead of focusing my energy on the inability of entertaining the millions of readers at large, I write to excite that reader in me. I write what I like to read.
Personal problems and Life can be huge obstacles to writing, publishing, and marketing. Who has energy be an author/publisher when you’re battling personal demons, frenemies, and your past mistakes? Who has the energy to be energetic and exuberant in a video about your latest book when your baby is sick? How is this 99 cent ebook going to get you out of decades of debt?
Once again, a recalibration of perspective is in order. My problems are still here, and they are being dealt with as new ones arrive. The reality is that life is a curse and a blessing when it comes to creative endeavors like writing and publishing.
It’s a curse in the sense that it can sometimes distract me from my goals. It’s a blessing because I’ll never run out of things to write about if I’m paying attention to what’s happening with me and around me. Keeping in mind that the goal is to minimize the negative effects of life, and to maximize the positive effects. This is obviously easier said than done, but it’s very needed.
YVONNE: If you could share one lesson you learned about self-promotion what would it be?
JOEY: My one lesson would be this:
Talk about your books on your social media pages – maybe not all of the time, every single post. But at least once a week, if not once a day. If you don’t support your book at all, then why should anyone else?
YVONNE: What words of advice would you give up and coming writers?
JOEY: “Eventually, shortcuts will get you cut short.” ~ Joey Pinkney
YVONNE: Anything else you’d like to share (tips, advice, upcoming events, projects, etc.)?
JOEY: Do as much research as you can, but don’t let information overload slow you down. Learn about your industry, but be active in it, too. Pay attention to details, but don’t become such a perfectionist that you never get anything published because you’re tweaking your stories each and every time you look at them. You can’t please every reader, so write for the “ideal reader” for your story and watch your readership grow. And finally, bad reviews are par for the course. Some people are right, but some are definitely wrong. You keep writing either way.
Connect with Joey Pinkney:
http://JoeyTweets.com – “Get some serious exposure for your books.”
http://JoeysPen.com – “The Literary Home of the Author Joey Pinkney”
http://JoeyPinkney.com – “The 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…” Author Interview Series