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Notes from Los Angeles Roundtable Meeting
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cklein


Jan 24, 2013, 8:11 PM

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Periodically, Poets & Writers convenes regional roundtable meetings, where writers and other members of the literary community can exchange ideas, network, and discuss common challenges. If you're interested in being invited to the next roundtable in your area, please email cklein@pw.org. Below are notes from our last San Francisco roundtable meeting. Please note that the text is not an exact transcript of what transpired, and that the opinions expressed by attendees are not necessarily shared by Poets & Writers.

Poets & Writers

Los Angeles Literary Roundtable Meeting

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PEN Center USA




PRESENT

Cheryl Klein, Poets & Writers
Jamie FitzGerald, Poets & Writers
Andrew Wessels, Poets & Writers
Laura Simko, Silk Road
Bronwyn Mauldin, GuerrillaReads
Michelle Meyering, PEN Center USA
Russell Rubin
Kimberly Laux
Crissy Van Meter, Five Quarterly
Penelope Richards, Triple T Productions
David Kipen, Libros Schmibros
Sally Shore, The New Short Fiction Series
Kat Kambes
Victoria Blackburn
Charles Flowers, Bloom
Mary Fitzpatrick
Steven Reigns
Rosalind Helfand, Literary Programs Consultant
Mike Sonksen, KCET & 826LA
Ruth Nolan, Heyday & College of the Desert
Michael Kearns
Adam Somers, PEN Center USA


WELCOME
Cheryl Klein, Director of the California Office & Readings/Workshops (West)

GUEST SPEAKER
Bronwyn Mauldin, http://www.bronwynmauldin.com
A Crash Course in Social Media
· Handout with “6 rules for social media. As of today.”, “A non-exhaustive resource list” and “LongReads.”
o Note: this handout is included as an additional attachment
· Thoughts on how to use social media effectively
o Change! Know that the social media landscape is shifting constantly, and be ready to always adapt, refine, and change your approach and the platforms you use.
o Be everywhere you can. Find where you audience responds best to you and focus on that platform/approach; don’t feel pressured to use every available platform.
o Craft your social media voice. Find a consistent voice and approach. Don’t feel pressured to be snarky.
o Go beyond text. Use other media, such as podcasts, photos, and video. Learn new tools.
o Don’t expect to sell on social media. The purpose is to make connections and interact with your audience.
o Social media works best when it’s augmented with human interaction. Don’t think that just sitting in front of the computer is by itself enough. Use social media to drive real-world interactions and the real-world to drive social media interactions.

GUEST SPEAKER
Sasha Mann, Digital Media Manager PEN Center USA
How PEN Center USA Uses Social Media
· Two primary methods of social engagement
o Email campaigns
o Social media: Twitter and Facebook
· Social media campaigns replicate/point users back to the PEN website
o Campaigns take web content and tailor the information to each individual social media platform
· Put a face to communication
o Break the pattern and go beyond the static “brand” voice. Be personal.
· Breaking through the Facebook algorithm
o Recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm have made connecting with an audience more challenging.
o One easy to implement strategy is to use images. The FB algorithm likes images, and images are more likely to be liked and shared, helping an update go viral.
o Augment Facebook with Twitter, which doesn’t have an algorithm that filters content.
· Blogging
o Used by guest writers in the Mark program as a journal
o Allows for different voices (guest bloggers) and lengthier content
· (via Michelle Meyering) Pay attention to your analytics and data
o Use these tools, which tell you how many people read and click, to learn and adapt your approach and strategies

Q&A Session
· GoodReads was discussed as a viable (or not viable) social media platform
· How often do I need to post?
o PEN plans a roll-out of all info: for email newsletters, a one-month cycle for each event with 1 announcement, 1 awareness, and 1 reminder email
o Make a commitment to a specific purpose
· How quantifiable is my time spent on social media?
o Social media is a “brace”, not a replacement for other forms of interaction (Michelle Meyering)
o Use analytics to help when weighing the relationship between time spent and value added
· Is LinkedIn becoming a new, useful platform?
o Recent update to the website has made it more interactive

Open Discussion
· Show of hands for who uses each of the most common platforms.
o Facebook and Twitter had the most active users
· Discussion of how much time people spend on each social media platform
· The pros and cons of making a separate author’s page on Facebook
o Pro: can separate professional and personal information better
o Con: not as direct of a way to interact with audience
· GoodReads has a function allowing you to search for book groups
o Can help when promoting a book or trying to set up a reading tour
· Target your use of time to the demographic you are trying to reach
· With all these social media platforms, do we still need a dedicated website?
o Consensus: yes, a website is still helpful and useful.
o Having your own website keeps your content under your control. A social media site can vanish or become obsolete in a moment’s notice.
o Use your website as an anchor. Have your social media platforms direct your audience to your site, where you can provide deeper information.
· Don’t forget old techniques for promotion, such as postcards in coffee shops, etc.
· TARGET your audience
· Don’t be afraid to ask people to share or retweet your content. Tweets that include the phrase “retweet this” are retweeted much more often.

Introductions
· To conclude the meeting, everyone introduced themselves to the group.


Cheryl Klein, Director California Office and Readings/Workshops (West), Poets & Writers, Inc.

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