Rachel Hauck

Best-selling author and award winning author Rachel Hauck lives in central Florida with her husband and loving pets. She earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and spent seventeen years in the corporate software world before leaving to write full time. Rachel loves to teach and mentor writers.

She is a Book Therapist at www.MyBookTherapy.com, a daily craft blog and community for writers. In the past, Rachel is the president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now servers on the Advisor Board. Visit her blog and web site at www.rachelhauck.com.

For Sale─MySpace

For Sale. MySpace. I mean “my space” on MySpace. I’m over it. Lost the fascination. MySpace, developed by southern California marketer Chris DeWolf and English major Tom Anderson, has an artsy, express-yourself look and feel.

It’s busy with lots of advertisements. I get lost when I visit MySpace.

Designed to allow members to customize their MySpace to reflect their personalities, the site attracted a lot of musicians, bands, artists and teens upon its 2003 launch.

As a Diaryland member, then a Xanga blogger, I joined MySpace in late 2005 when I heard the teens at church talking about it. Apparently no one cool hung out on Xanga anymore.

My first trade novels were set to release in the fall of ’06, and I thought, “Why not promote my book on MySpace?”

I worked weekends making friends. The job seemed enormous. When Georgia on Her Mind and Lost in Nashvegas released, I posted to my friends and on my site. But the reward was minimal.

Concepts like social marketing and social media had yet to be invented and defined. Yet, I was convinced MySpace and like social networks were great marketing tools. So much so, I e-mailed MySpace customer support asking them to create an author venue like they had for singers and musicians.

But four years later, I began to wonder if MySpace was worth my time, when places like Facebook and Twitter offered more immediate feedback with a much simpler interface. And less questionable content.

Earlier this year, I started reading posts from my friends (real friends) on MySpace. “Hey, unless someone speaks up, I’m moving all my blogs over the Facebook.”

Meanwhile, more actors and entertainment venues were clogging up the MySpace cyber waves, and I found myself less intrigued by the site.

Then I read a post by David Wilson over at Social Media Optimized, a Web site geared toward bringing together traditional and new wave media and marketing. He quoted Advertising Age on Disney’s successful MySpace movie campaign for their movie Step Up 2 to the Street: “A tactic that worked very well for Disney was that they realized that one of the keys to being successful within social networks is not to continually hit consumers over the head with a marketing message but rather to maintain a steady stream of contact with them.”

Wilson goes on to say that Disney spent time building up the movie site by allowing users/friends to interact with the director and the movie’s stars, and to participate in various campaigns and contests.

Maybe I was being too hasty about ignoring MySpace. What can I learn from Disney’s strategy as a lesser in value and lesser in reputation author?

1. A MySpace presence is valuable. Users who have read one of my books might look for me on MySpace. Being there is beneficial to me as well as the reader.

2. Slowly, steadily gaining friends bears fruit. I get in a hurry to get my message out, make friends, grow my potential fan base, but from Disney I learned to greet one friend at a time and let the momentum build.

3. Friend interaction and contests help build relationships with users and increase my fan base. I’m not there yet, but it’s a goal.

4. I’m creating a forum where readers can talk about books, reading, and writing. Well, maybe when I’m famous, but it’s a goal.

5. MySpace registers 230,000 new users a day with over 200 million members and generates more traffic than Google.

6. MySpace is “open” 365/24/7. While I sleep, work, clean my house, walk the dog, go to church, MySpace is working for me. Free.

Pardon me, but I think I’ll go spruce up my MySpace, do a bit of dusting, put some flowers in the windows, see who’s hanging out. See you there.

Love Starts With Elle