There’s no place I’d rather be than the beach, especially the beaches on the Monterey Peninsula where I was born and raised. While I’m away, please visit these posts I’ve written for Joel Friedlander’s blog at TheBookDesigner.com. I’ve been writing for Joel’s blog since November 2013. (Wow! Time does fly.) Below you’ll find pots that date back to December 2014.
When I ask authors whether they know who their audience is, I’m surprised when some of them reply, “everyone should read my book” or “everyone will like my book.” Well, not exactly. If you write grammar manuals or cookbooks, you may be under the false impression that everyone needs your book. But everyone won’t buy it or even think that a grammar reference, dystopian novel, or low-fat cookbook would be worth its purchase price.
Social media aficionados like to jump on the newest, shiniest objects on the internet and today there are few sites attracting more buzz than Snapchat. The Verge reported in April 2016 that Snapchat has 100 million daily users who spend on average 25 to 30 minutes using the app. An estimated 60% of them use the app to create images and videos. Major brands that market to young adults and millennials are using this app to promote their wares. Buzzfeed, MTV, and Tastemade offer stories on Snapchat—and so do CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
Have you thought about using Tumblr lately? I may know what you’re thinking right now. These days when everyone is talking about Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram, why would I even mention Tumblr? Isn’t Tumblr sort of, well, passé? Au contraire.
There are conflicting reports as to what social media network is the fastest growing. The data seems to change from month to month, or at least, it did in 2015. That year, Adweek, TechCrunch, and Global Web Index each reported different statistics. It was also in 2015 that Pew Research Center reported that Instagram was the fourth most used social media network, behind Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
You’ve heard it a million times (or at least several hundred times): Indie authors need to use social media as part of their online marketing strategy. I’m sure you’ve seen lists of reasons why, but let’s look at the most important reasons social media is so important for authors:
- It will refer traffic to your blog, website, the landing page for your books, and Amazon.
- There is a large community of indie authors who are willing to help you promote your book and form supportive alliances.
- You’ll find new readers on social media.
- Keep reading this post at TheBookDesigner.com
There is plenty of help for you online if want to know how to improve your craft, create better book covers, and market your books. Some of the top blogs include this one, Joanna Penn’s TheCreativePenn.com, Mark Coker’s Smashwords.com, and Jane Friedman’s JaneFriedman.com. Then there are the websites whose sole purpose is dedicated to helping Indie authors write, edit, publish, and market their books as well as network and support other Indie publishers. If you’ve been looking for an online group to join, consider one of these online organizations.
There are zillions of posts on the Internet that will tell you what your website should look like. But what if you’re an author? Does all that advice meant for businesses and twenty-something entrepreneurs apply to you? Yes and no. Confusing, eh? What’s missing in all the advice out there is information about a page on your website dedicated for your books. And if you want to generate more reader interest, at least one romance author I’ve met includes a page for her readers’ book club.
I’ll never forget the divorce court scene in the Tina Turner movie, What’s Love Got to Do with It, when Tina battles for her name. She didn’t care about the houses or the wealth she’d accumulated with Ike Turner. All she wanted was the right to retain and continue to use her stage name. These days, many authors are choosing not to publish under their given names as well. Their reasons vary.
Do authors need to pay attention to the coolest new social media networks on the block? Or should you wait to see whether they take off or fade away without so much as an hasta luegoas so many applications do? Well, that depends.
If you’ve read my previous posts on this blog, you know by now that I’m a huge fan of Twitter. And Twitter has been good to me; it’s my number one source for traffic to my website. But that’s not the only reason I love Twitter. I’ve met people from around the world who have helped me to advance my career.
Who has time to sit at the computer all day scheduling tweets and LinkedIn posts? Not you, right?That’s why a key to efficiency on social media is to schedule your posts throughout the day using one or more social media dashboards. An ideal way to start the day is to curate your information. Once you find information to retweet and craft your tweets, Facebook updates, LinkedIn posts, etc., you can use one or more applications to schedule everything.
Kevin Roose, writing for Forbes, said, “We’re in a golden age of podcasting.” Why is it occurring now? Many say it’s because of the widespread use of smartphones and connected cars. Just as people are increasingly forgoing cable subscriptions for streaming Netflix, people are turning to the intimacy and interruption-free programming of the podcast. According to WPVirtuoso.com, Apple recently surpassed 1 billion subscriptions to podcasts.
One of my tasks last year was to create an integrated editorial calendar … The content calendar in turn directed my social media calendar. I hate to admit this, but I’d never created this type of calendar before. I’ve written three-month editorial calendars for my blog, but never one that was so detailed. My first task was to brainstorm topic ideas. Some people use mind maps for this step, but I’ve never found one that I liked. So I applied my fingertips to the keyboard and started writing whatever came to mind.
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
Who likes to fail? No one, right? I don’t even like the synonyms for failure: tanked, bust, crashed, burned. They make it sound as though you can’t redeem yourself. As though along with failing, that failure itself signifies a finality to your endeavor. The opposite is true. Failure always brings us to new beginnings.
Hashtags seem to be everywhere these days. You can find them on billboards, in ads, and as promotions for athletic games. I remember being at a concert a few years ago. Someone tapped me on my shoulder and asked me what a hashtag was. That doesn’t occur anymore because they are everywhere.
Every writer’s dream is to publish a book that soars in popularity and sells oodles of copies. And perhaps every writer’s nightmare is learning how to market a book and then doing the marketing. What’s a writer to do?
It’s like the chicken and the egg quandary – which came first? Well, in the world of publishing, the marketing starts before the book is finished. The idea for the book comes first, followed by the simultaneous acts of marketing and writing, and finally the book appears on virtual shelves, followed by even more marketing.
As I prepared for a presentation for the San Francisco Writers Conference a few years ago, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could come up with an acronym about the way writers should use social media?” I sat at my desk and played with some variables. It didn’t take long for me to come up with what I thought was the perfect combination.
Writers have to juggle a lot. Craft. Marketing. Blogging. Email list building. I know that I tend to think that I’m not doing enough. I could be on social media more. I don’t write enough books. (My last one was published in December and I haven’t started a new one.) I’m not meditating. I could exercise more. The list goes on.
One of the benefits of belonging to a local chapter of the Independent Publishers Associations (IBPA) is the information you glean from your colleagues’ experience. That’s what happened to me two months ago when I attended the Bay Area chapter of IBPA and heard two members share their thoughts on Amazon ads and their experience. Then a month later, a speaker shed additional light on the subject. So I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned so far.
Do you remember when word about Pinterest started to gain traction online? It was back in 2011, and everyone was talking about a “new” social media network. I recall being trained on how to use it while I waited for Pinterest to approve my request to join. Once I received the formal okay, and I began to use Pinterest, I fell in love with the images and pinboards. What a lovely “vacation for the eyes” I used to say.
The continuing controversy among self-published authors is whether you should sign up for Kindle Direct Publishing’s Kindle Select Program and use the free promotion feature. The secondary questions are:
- Is it worth it to be exclusive?
- Are the free promotion days that tend to entice some authors – and readers – worth it?
In the words of a certain presidential candidate in today’s online world, images are “huge”. In other words, if content is king, then images are, well, Godzilla. Let me explain. In 2014, mobile marketing took over online navigation. People who surf the web using a desktop computer are in the minority. What’s the next big thing? Well, it’s already here: images. Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat are popular because they are image- and video-based.
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.
Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web
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