Author Podcasting: 10 Tips You Need

author podcasting

Author podcasting is hot. But is podcasting one more thing that you need to do now to succeed at selling your books?

Absolutely not.

But I tell you this: when I had a podcast, I sold more books.

I’m not going to try to talk you into podcasting. What I want to do is share my perspective and tips.

Interest in Podcasting Rises, Blogging Decreases

Kevin Roose, writing for Forbes, said, “We’re in a golden age of podcasting.”

Why is it occurring? 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 interruption-free programming of the podcast.

According to 9to5mac.com, Apple podcast platforms hit 50 billion downloads, and TechCrunch reported in June that there are now more than 550,000 current shows on iTunes.

That number may seem high but not when you compare it to the 152 million blogs on the Internet. What this means is that there is far less competition in the podcasting realm than there is on the blogosphere.

It seems that while the public’s interest in podcasting is rising while the readership of blogs is declining. When I researched this on Google Trends, I was surprised by the graphs I discovered.

This graph shows a decline in reader interest in blogs over the past five years.author podcastingHowever, there has been significant interest in podcasts over the same five years.

author podcasting

I am not suggesting that you should stop blogging and start podcasting. I am saying that it’s a good time to get your message heard through podcasting.

Each form of media helps you to reach new audiences. I found that my podcast listeners tended to be people who didn’t have time to sit at their computers to read blogs but did have time to listen to podcasts as they traveled on subways or prepared dinner.

Content marketing has always been critical to platform building. Your first book was like the first brick to your platform foundation. Blogging and social media provided further support, and now there’s a relatively new type of brick available: podcasting.

I say reasonably new because podcasting has been around for ten years.

My Journey into Author Podcasting

My journey began in August 2014 when I traveled to Atlanta to attend an intimate workshop with just six attendees. I left that workshop enthused.

Soon, the hard work began.

First, I defined my audience and the goal for my podcast. I also decided that my podcast would air weekly and that I would keep the episodes to no longer than 15 minutes.

Then, over the next several months I created:

  1. An editorial calendar for my first 25 podcast episodes.
  2. A logo (1400 x 1400 pixels) and an episode graphic template.
  3. A template for my scripts.
  4. A template for my show notes.
  5. A landing page for my podcast.
  6. A marketing plan.
  7. My intro and outro copy.
  8. A survey (using Survey Monkey) to find out what topics my audience wanted me to cover in the upcoming episodes.

Also, I:

  1. Purchased equipment, tested the equipment, and then bought new equipment.
  2. I bought urchased music from Audio Junkie.
  3. Purchased and installed Smart Podcast Player on my website to enable me to stream my podcast with my show notes.
  4. Learned how to use Audacity for recording and editing my episodes.

The equipment that I finally settled on included the following:

  • Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
  • Tour Grade Tripod mic stand with boom TGMC66 (I purchased this from a local audio store that musicians rely on)
  • A pop filter (I also purchased this from a local audio store for musicians)

Next, I had to select an RSS feed to host my podcast episodes. Some people use Blubrry while others use SoundCloud or Libsyn. After reading many blog posts and having several conversations with the folks at Libsyn, that’s the RSS feed I chose to use.

Once I uploaded my episodes to Libsyn, I set up an account with iTunes and applied to Stitcher.

author podcasting

I began marketing my podcast at the beginning of December, and my goal was to publish it by January 8, 2015. I think I missed the deadline by a couple of days.

My next challenge was getting reviews. It’s vitally important in the early days after releasing a podcast to secure five reviews. I was able to get them in one weekend.

In February, 600 people downloaded my podcast. Those numbers can’t compare to the popularity of Tim Ferris or Copyblogger’s shows, but I was stoked.

Is podcasting easy? Hardly. I had many frustrating moments. For example, the first mic I purchased, a condenser mic, was horrible.

I initially purchased desktop stands, but they didn’t work for me either.

Finding Your Voice through Author Podcasting

Then there was my voice. I learned that just as writers find their voice through the stories they write, podcasters find their voice through the recordings they make.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – August 10, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

In today’s Indie Author Weekly Update you can learn how to prevent your reviews from disappearing from Amazon (after working so hard to get them) and learn how to add a video to your Amazon sales page. Instagram is all the rage, especially IGTV, so be sure to check out the post by Neda Dallal.

Audiobook sales soar as some authors forsake print from the Passive Voice: “When Sarah Hall wrote her most recent short story, Sudden Traveller, she read each sentence aloud. It’s not the usual writing practice of the twice-Booker-nominated writer, who finds performing her work “intensely awkward”. This time she felt she should, because instead of being published in print, this story of a bereaved mother was heading to the recording studios of Audible, the audiobook publisher and retailer owned by Amazon. Niggling at the back of Hall’s thoughts was the awareness that she was writing for the voice, not the page.”

Media Publicity for Novelists Using Nonfiction Topics by Chris Well: “This month, I’m speaking directly to you authors who write fiction. Because YES, you too are eligible to harness the amazing power of PR to promote your novel. The key, which is true for ANY author, is that you almost never focus on your book. You need to focus on your expertise. And I don’t mean “writing.” Any author can talk about that. Why should I pick you as my guest when literally any author will do? I’m referring to your expertise that is unique. The inspiration for your novel may be the result of all kinds of real-world stuff.”

How to Prevent Amazon From Deleting Your Reviews by guest from Rachel Thompson’s blog by Iola Goulton: ” Readers also want reviews. Reviews provide social proof, a perceived indication of quality. At least, that’s what reviews are supposed to provide. Amazon is fighting a neverending battle against the rising tide of fake reviews, and are forever refining their algorithms to identify and weed out fake reviews and dishonest reviewers. Their regular review purges are usually followed by some change to their Reviewing Guidelines to prevent that loophole from being exploited in future.”

Adding a Video to Your Book’s Amazon Sales Page from Indies Unlimited: “While perusing Facebook, I noticed a post in the Indies Unlimited Fans Group that piqued my interest — the new “add your video” option for your book’s Amazon sales page. I state upfront that technology and I do not always have an easy relationship, but this looked so promising that I thought se note that not everyone is seeing this option on their books’ pages yet. If you have the capability, this is what it will look like.”

Top 5 Mistakes Indie Authors Make from Joanna Penn and with Ricardo Fayet: “Learn from the most common mistakes that indie authors make and save yourself time, money and heartache in today’s show with Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy.”

News for Authors: Making Videos Social with IGTV by Neda Dallal: “Instagram has debuted many features recently that are great social tools for authors. This article dives into one specific new feature, IGTV, and how authors can use it to broaden their social media voices and followings.”

How to Get Your Email Subscribers to Leave Quality Reviews—Legitimately by Dave Chesson: “One of the most difficult parts of book marketing (if not the most difficult) is getting reviews for your book, particularly quality reviews that exceed one sentence. Why is this?Because each potential reviewer is a busy person with a lot on their plate, so their time is valuable.”

Quote of the Week

indie author

 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s written several social media books including 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, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

Get New Readers and Reviews with Free Book Promotions

Free book promotions

Some self-published authors continue to question whether the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program’s free book promotions option is worthwhile.

The second question is: Is it worth it to be exclusive? Because if you want to be a part of the KDP Select program, you have to commit to exclusivity on Amazon.

There seem to be almost as many opinions on these questions as there are, well, books. So what’s my take?

free book promotions

 

My Take on Free Book Promotions

I listed The Author’s Guide to Goodreads) in the KDP Select program.

While I am an advocate of going wide, meaning publishing on iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords and other online book retailers, exclusivity to Amazon tends to be a wise choice for new authors. It’s also a good choice when launching a new book to choose KDP Select for three months only, introduce your book to new readers when you mark it down to free, and once the three months are up, go as wide as possible.

Now there’s that other question to consider. Are giving away ebooks worth it?

I’ve never been a huge fan of KDP Select promotions but not because I don’t give books away – I give paperbacks away all the time. And I’m a big believer in giving away books to aid awareness and garner more book reviews.

My issue with free book promotions is that they never seem to work as well for me as they do for bestselling authors. Maybe it’s because I write nonfiction. And maybe it’s because authors who serialize their books sell a heck of a lot more books than I do.

Despite my reservations, I gave it a go and joined KDP Select. And I scheduled a free promotion.

In addition to using social media and my email list to alert my readers and followers about the sale, I also paid for some lists. But first I had to research them.

Book Promotion Services to Check Out

This is what I discovered:

free books promotion

Books Butterfly

If you’re launching a new book, select the New Release Max program which reaches 750,000 readers and 147,000 email subscribers. But you can’t have a free promotion; you must charge $0.99 per book. Book Butterfly guarantees 50 sales.

If you’re willing to spend more money, Pure Real is another option. They guarantee 5,000 free book downloads, will notify 1 million readers of your book, and they include a Twitter promotion.

Check out their other promotions as well. They have eight packages.

Check out these book promotion lists to rent Click To Tweet

My thoughts: Considering the size of the email list, the pricing seems fair. What you don’t know is how many of those readers prefer romance or historical fiction or science fiction let alone nonfiction. But the guarantee of downloads is enticing.

EReader News Today

To qualify for EReader News Today, review these restrictions:

  • Your books need to be available on Amazon.com. They also promote book deals that are available at Barnes & Noble/Nook, Google Play, Apple iTunes and Kobo.
  • Your books must be priced at $0.99 or be on sale.
  • Your books are required to be a full-length book, in other words, at least 125 pages. There are exceptions for children’s, nonfiction, and cookbooks.
  • You can’t run two promotions within 90 days.

Also, EReader has further considerations:

  • The covermust appear professional.
  • EReader will look at your reviews to see how well readers have liked it.
  • Your book must be professionally edited.
  • The larger the discount, the better chance you’ll have at your book being accepted.
  • EReader won’t post erotica, pornography, books that contain controversial subject matter, or books that may be considered offensive to any race, gender, or religion.
  • EReader does reserve the right to deny a book.

My thoughts: A Goodreads group that I belong to gave his service a high rating, and I plan to use it in the future.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – August 3, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - August 3, 2018

The theme of this week’s Indie Author update is book marketing. Whether you’re planning for your holiday sales or struggling with marketing your book after your formal launch, this week’s posts offer great tidbits of advice.

How to Keep Your Book Promotion Going Strong for Years: Interview with Anjali Mitter Duva from Writer Unboxed: “In the publication world, there’s a tremendous amount of focus on the publication date as THE time for publicity and promotion. I’ve seen authors throw up their hands the week after publication, when media interest is just starting to trickle in, and say, ‘I guess we struck out.'”

5 Ways to Sell More Books for the Holidays from Jane Friedman and by Penny Sansevieri:”I used to laugh at the ‘Christmas-in-July’ ads until I promoted my first holiday-related book. We actually started the promotion in July, and July turned out to be the perfect time. Why? Maybe no one buys or thinks about December in July, but the holiday buying season is tough. To make any kind of headway, you must start early. When those ‘Christmas-in-July’ ads start to hit radio and TV, social media, and your inbox, consumers— those who like to shop early—start gathering ideas for their shopping lists.”

Is Your Book Good-Looking Enough For The Internet? by Tara Sparling: “I like to title posts with questions. Questions can often be funny, although that’s not why I do it. The reason I do it is because there is always a 23.485% chance that upon seeing the question floating across a Twitter or Facebook feed, someone will click on it, because the question registers in their brain enough for them to think ‘Hmmm. Why DO we always pack 4 times the number of underpants we will need for any given trip?'”

Indie Authors: Launching a Book via by Sabrina Ricci: “At first, launching a book may seem daunting. But it helps to plan the launch in increments, and also, know that ebooks have an indefinite shelf life, so that even though it’s nice to have a strong start, there’s always time to build up buzz and excitement around a book.”

5 ways to promote your book long after the launch by Sandra Beckwith: “’When should I stop promoting my book?’ Authors ask me this question all the time. My answer? When it’s no longer available for purchase. Continue to promote your book long after the book launch. If people can still buy it and the content is still relevant, promote it. I’m surprised at how many authors don’t do this, though. When I ask why not, most say they didn’t know they could. In fact, most authors I’ve talked to think that you can only promote a book when it’s first introduced.”

11 Reasons Your Book Isn’t Selling – And What to Do About It by William Parker: “After countless hours of writing, proofreading, and self-editing, your book is finally ready for publication. However, after you launch, sales are sluggish or nonexistent. Weeks and months go by, but your baby just isn’t selling. What went wrong? How do you determine the issue, or issues, and fix them? In today’s post, I want to address 11 reasons your book isn’t selling, and offer suggestions to get you back on track, and making money with your book.”

News About Self-Publishing

Amazon has made self-publishing lucrative and that may have negative repercussions for the bookselling industry. From The Atlantic and by Alana Semuels: “For most of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual sales bonanza, an unfamiliar face topped the site’s Author Rank page: Mike Omer, a 39-year-old Israeli computer engineer and self-published author whose profile picture is a candid shot of a young, blond man in sunglasses sitting on grass. He was—and at the time of this writing, still is—ranked above J.K. Rowling (No.8), James Patterson (No. 9), and Stephen King (No. 10) in sales of all his books on Amazon.com. His most recent book is ranked tenth on Amazon Charts, which Amazon launched after The New York Times stopped issuing e-book rankings, and which measures sales of individual books on Amazon. (The company does not disclose the metrics behind Author Rank, which is still in beta.)”

Quote of the Week

Indie Author Weekly Update

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including 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, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

How to Get Readers to Share Your Tweets

How to Get Readers to Share Your Tweets

Looking for some Twitter tips to take your tweeting to the next level? Keep reading to discover how to get your audience to share your tweets.

Wouldn’t you love to know which words are the most retweetable?

Can’t you see yourself? There you are, soaring above the competition, racking up shares (does anyone really use the word retweet anymore?).

Ah, can’t you just taste the glory? You’d be a Twitter rock star, right? A member of the Twitterati.

Well, not exactly. You’d still have to figure out how to use the most retweetable words in every tweet.

And you’d feel a little like James Joyce who, legend tells us, struggled with what order to place his words. (Now doesn’t that explain Ulysses?)

Well, a part of your struggle has been fixed. We do know what the most retweetable words are, and that’s half the battle.

20 Most Retweetable Words and Phrases

The 20 most retweetable words or phrases for engagement and retweets, according to Dan Zarella, author of The Science of Marketing, are the following:

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – July 27, 2018

indie author weekly update

Welcome to another edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Please don’t miss David Gaughran’s post on hacks for Amazon categories. Amazon categories can be maddening and David explains how to get the categories you need and want. It’s necessary reading for indie authors.

I also decided to include on this list I wrote for Anne R. Allen’s blog on social media relationships. It’s a topic I’ve covered on my blog but not to this extent. The whole point of social media is socializing and building relationships so I hope you check it out.

How To (Ethically) Hack Amazon Categories by David Gaughran: ” I get so many emails about Amazon categories and keywords that I thought it would be useful to dig into all the opportunities at your fingertips, and clear up some confusion out there too. Useful for me, that is. Now I’ll have something to point people to! Should be useful for you too, even the old timers, because I bet there’s a least one hack in here you didn’t know about, and smart use of the category system can greatly increase your visibility on Amazon — critical for all authors, doubly so if you are in KU.”

Authors: Are You Building Social Media Relationships with Your Readers? from Anne R. Allen’s blog: “Dan Zarrella, author of The Science of Marketing, said in his book, “I’ve long been interested in the idea that engaging in conversation is the single most important function of social media marketing.” He’s right. And so is David Alston, a startup advisor and TEDx speaker. He said this about social media: “The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” And Dallas Lawrence of Levick Strategic Communications said: “Monitor, engage, and be transparent; these have always been the keys to success in the digital space.” Need I go on?”

French Bookstore Invites its Instagram Followers to Judge Books by Their Covers from Colossal: “In addition to laying claim to the title of France’s first independent bookstore, Librairie Mollat has carved a unique niche on Instagram with its #bookface portraits. The Bordeaux-based bookstore regularly features photographs of book covers held up in front of perfectly scaled, dressed, and nose-shaped people (presumably, some are customers, though some repeated faces seem to indicate a few photogenic employees). You can see more from Mollat—and perhaps even get your next book recommendation—on Instagram. If you enjoy this, also check out Album Plus Art.”

Turning Your Book into a 24/7 Book Sales Tool by Penny Sansevieri: “Regardless of what type of book you’ve written, books need to work for you. Less than 3% of readers will review a book they’ve finished without any prompting. Meaning that if you don’t ask for a review, you’re likely not to get one. So what’s the solution to get more book reviews? Better book back matter. What does that mean? It means that your About the Author is good, but not great, a list of other books you’ve written is also good, but again probably not great. Your best book marketing goal is to get them to go from the experience of reading your book, to posting a book review or contacting you directly. And in turn, great back matter and a great reader letter will help you get more book sales.”

Interesting to see what book marketing tactics authors were buzzing about at #RWA18. Anything in here surprise you? from BookBub Partners: “At last week’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference 2018 — one of the biggest annual writing conferences in the US — many sessions and panels covered book marketing and sales topics. We gathered fantastic tips from authors, agents, and prolific book marketers, and we’re excited to share them with our readers! From branding to backlist promotions, panelists were buzzing about cross-promotion strategies, creating launch plans, and optimizing advertising campaigns. Here were our top 10 takeaways from RWA 2018.”

Targeting Readers: Audiences Have Evolved & So Should Marketing by Kristen Lamb: “How many times have we been told we should be targeting our readers, audience, and customers? Am I the only one disturbed by this advice? Targeting seems like it should involve a Predator Drone…or at least a trebuchet.”

Quote of the Week

indie author

 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including 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, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Should Authors Be on Instagram? Absolutely!

InstagramAn agent recently told a colleague that if authors want to find a publisher they need to use Instagram.

Well, some of you may not be interested in finding a publisher and others of you might want to find one. Either way, Instagram is an important social media network for growing your audience simply because it is another visual platform, and as I’ve noted before, the social web is a visual social web.

So using visual platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, and adding images to your posts on other platforms, is critical.

I read a post by Mashable some time ago, and this is what they had to say on this topic:

One thing is clear: A focus on visuals is dominating the social media landscape. Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram all offer unique advantages and opportunities for promotion and engagement. Some authors pin book cover art for inspiration for their upcoming projects, or keep a virtual “quote book” on Pinterest; others target college-aged students with Snapchat stories … Running these types of contests is an excellent way to raise awareness about a book launch or start a conversation among readers around a specific plot point.

I think the above paragraph sums up the importance of visual platforms, including Instagram. Especially if you write young adult, new adult, middle grade, and books intended for the millennial demographic, Instagram is a must have in your social media marketing arsenal.

Even if you don’t write for those markets, visual marketing is as important as text-based marketing. So I encourage you to at least dabble in it. One benefit is that you can connect Instagram to your Facebook account so that when you post something on Instagram, it will immediately appear on Facebook without a glitch. (Don’t connect Instagram to Twitter; the posts on Twitter will look spammy.)

Instagram by the Numbers

Consider these statistics about Instagram.

  • A majority of Instagram users visit the app every day. (Pew Research Center)
  • 71% of 18 to 24-year-olds use Instagram. (Pew Research Center)
  • 35% of U.S. adults now say they use this platform, an increase of seven percentage points from the 28% who said they did in 2016. (Pew Research Center)
  • 35% of all U.S. adults who say they use the internet also use Instagram. (Pew Research Center)
  • Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users (TechCrunch)

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – July 20, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - July 20, 2018

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Check out the link to Reedsy’s new book title generator below as well as SoftPress Pubishing’s post on how to building a following on the powerful Pinterest platform.

Don’t forget that I offer a social media audit for authors that analyzes what you’re doing well on social media and what can improve. You can find out more about the service here.

Author’s Guide to Building a Following on Pinterest from SoftPress Publishing: “If you’ve ever used Pinterest, you know it is a very eclectic collection of images on virtually every topic under the sun. But, at its core, Pinterest is much more than that. It’s a very powerful search engine (think Google) where users can find information on whatever they desire to learn about. With over 175 million monthly users and over 50 billion pins, Pinterest is a driving force in the social media world. And, you can use the power of Pinterest to build your author brand. But how?

Blogging Can Jumpstart Your Writing Career…Even Before You Publish from Anne R. Allen and by Jane Friedman: “So how can you show “vision” and an aptitude for “marketing work”...before you query. One way is blogging. And if you decide to go indie and skip those risk-averse publishers, you’ll need even more vision and marketing skills.  In order to sell in any significant numbers, you’ll want to establish your brand before you send your baby out into the marketplace. So how can you do that? By blogging.”

When To Start Book Marketing And How To Balance Your Time by Joanna Penn: “These are my thoughts based on my experience and observing other authors at all stages of the author journey. If you have a book or more out already, then what are you waiting for?”

Check out Reedsy’s new book title generator: 10,000+ good book titles to inspire you: “Generate a random story title that’s relevant to your genre. You can pick between fantasy, crime, mystery, romance, or sci-fi. Simply click the button below to get started.”

12 Simple Tricks To Increase Your Email Open Rates from the Blogging Wizard: “Have your email open rates suddenly plummeted without warning? Maybe your email list is new, and you haven’t had a chance to grow your list or improve your open rates? You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect email. Tailored specifically for your audience. With the right amount of eye-catching visuals and captivating copy. Your email even solved a massive problem for your readers.”

How to Price Your Book for Better Book Discovery by Penny Sansevieri: “If you’re unsure how to price your book you’re not alone, but it makes a big difference for your book discovery so it’s not a aspect of your book marketing strategy to take lightly.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – July 2018 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Amy Collins: “A slightly different take on DTNT this month… Please, authors, if you are on social media or TRYING to get on social media, read this month’s edition of DO THIS NOT THAT.”

Quote of the Week

Imitate other writers while you’re learning, deconstruct their books and learn from them. Then break out and be you…”

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including 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, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Not Sure How to Blog? Follow These 4 Steps

Not Sure How to Blog? Follow These 4 Steps
Blogging. It’s wise for all authors to do it. Are you wondering how to blog? Keep reading.


Authors, who write a lot either as a passion or for a living, often seem stymied when it comes to writing blog posts.

I commonly hear the following comments:

“I said everything in my book.”

“My life isn’t that interesting.”

“I don’t have time.”

Well, as someone once told me, it’s not that we don’t have time; it’s that we let other tasks take priority.

Blogging can be as painful and as rewarding as gardening. Yes, gardening is hard work. You have to dig with your fingers into the recalcitrant dirt, get dirty, take risks with those rose thorns, and suffer the pain of bee sting.

But you can also enjoy fresh tomatoes for your salads, flowers for your vases, and the deep sense of appreciation that you created this marvelous symphony of colors and edibles.

Now you might have heard that fiction authors don’t need to blog. I don’t adhere to that philosophy. I know that blogging signals to Google that you have a dynamic website and offers another opportunity to connect with your readers.

As a fiction author, there are so many options you can pursue. You can review other books regularly or whenever you have the inclination. You can share your marketing tips. You can tell your readers about characters who never made the final edit of your book or share back stories on your main characters.

You can talk about how you got the idea for your latest novel. You can even talk about the death of a pet, your plans to move, explain where you write, and discuss why you write.

And you can do a mix of all of those topics.

Fiction authors have a wide open field of topics to select from. With those many options, why wouldn’t you want to regularly blog?

4-Point How to Blog Blueprint for Authors

Here are my best tips for creating blog posts that will light up your website and generate new traffic.

how to blog

Step One:  Write Your Content

If you’re looking for ideas for your blog, be sure to read this post: 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers. Here are some additional ideas:

  • When you’re really stuck, use HubSpot’s blog topic generator. Type in a few words and Hubspot will give you several ideas.
  • Read other blog posts. I’m not suggesting that you steal other blogger’s topics, however, I do suggest that you check out who’s writing what and how those posts fair in terms of social shares. Maybe you can take a contrary view or expand on that topic.
  • Use BuzzSumo to see what’s popular.
  • Have you read a post that you don’t agree with? Explain why. I did once and it was so popular that CreateSpace included my post in its newsletter for authors.
  • Check out the types of comments other writers leave in blog posts you read. What questions do they ask? Then write a blog post that answers those questions.
  • What questions or comments do your readers leave on your Facebook page? Answer those in a blog post.
  • What questions do your readers ask in your blog comments?
  • Subscribe to a lot of blogs and read them. Yes, this will help you to generate topics.
  • Conduct a survey. I’ve done this and then used the survey responses as my editorial calendar.
  • When all else fails, go for a walk. That tactic always helps me.

how to blog

Step Two: Create Your Visuals

Once you write and upload your new post to your website, your next job is to create your visuals.

Here’s what I do. Using Canva, I take a shortcut by sizing the image of the top of my post using Twitter’s dimensions because those dimensions also work for Facebook.

Then I create a larger visual for Pinterest.

There are many types of visuals you can insert into your blog posts:

  1. Photos
  2. Infographics
  3. Graphic illustrations
  4. Videos
  5. Screenshots

Visuals improve your SEO (search engine optimization) because they become another way to add your keyword to your post. It’s also a fact that color images improve the reading of your post and multiple images keep people reading.

Also, when you share your post on social media, your visual will automatically be picked up and shared along with your headline and link. Updates are social media attract more readers and shares increase when you include an image.

Face it: creating your visuals are as important as writing your blog post.

Step Three: Determine Your Best Headline

Headlines are critical. They have to deliver a punch, attract a reader’s attention, and pique curiosity in your social media followers.

You want a headline that rocks. But don’t start your new post by writing a headline. The best time to write a headline is after you’ve finished the entire post and figured out your keywords.

Write a blog headline that rocks via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

It’s also important to test your headline using an analyzer. There are various free tools on the internet to use but the one I like best also measures the emotional impact of your headline. Here’s the link for Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyzer.

how to blog

Step Four: Promote Your New Posts with Social Media

I use a cool social share plugin called Social Warfare. On the text side of my blog, Social Warfare enables me to upload the images I want to use on social media, including Pinterest.

Here’s an example of what Social Warfare looks like when it’s in use on my website.

Social Warfare plugin example by Frances Caballo

As you can see above, I also have the options to write my Pinterest description, social media description and exact tweet. So whenever someone shares my post using my social share icons, the images and messages I’ve prepared appeared automatically.

In addition to using Social Warfare, I use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. This plugin allows me to set up Twitter cards. A Twitter card is the image that accompanies the tweet.

So there you have it, my four steps to perfect author blogging.

Blogging Just For Writers by Frances Caballo

A terrific and practical book for writers who want and/or need to blog. Ms Caballo knows her stuff. Her suggestions are sensible, doable and down to earth. Loved it. ~~ Vicki Stiefel 

 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s has written for  TheBookDesigner.com, Jane Friedman, Joanna Penn, BookWorks, and other blogs. Frances wrote several social media books including 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, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – July 13, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to the newest edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Let me point out David Gaughran’s post; he always writes awesome blog posts but this one in particular is revealing. With Instagram’s meteoric rise in popularity, be sure to check out the post with 22 Instagram hacks by Later.

We are definitely into the hot days of summer. I can feel the perspiration traveling down my neck as I write this. Do what you can to stay cool!

A Simple Method to Market Your Book by Penny Sansevieri: “Have you ever wanted to engage with popular blogs and people in the book biz? Following publishing experts and influencers on social media is not enough—you need to be proactive by standing out. Book promotion and marketing utilizes many tools, but there is one simple and efficient thing you can do that will help you connect.”

22 Instagram Hacks You Wish You Knew Sooner by Later: “If you’ve ever needed some Instagram hacks but didn’t know where to look, well, you’ve come to the right place! Maybe you’re wondering how to add line breaks to your Instagram bio? Or how to zoom in and out while recording an Instagram story? Or even how to respond to Instagram comments faster? Whatever your need, in the following post, we reveal 22 Instagram hacks and tips to help you get more from your Instagram marketing.”

The Amazon Algorithm Myth by David Gaughran: “A problematic feature of the world in 2018 is that the social networks we have built seem to spread misinformation faster and wider than its more accurate counterpart, and this can lead authors to make decisions counter to their interests. One of the enduring myths surrounds ‘The Amazon Algorithm.'”

3 Amazon Secrets Every Author Needs to Know from Writers Digest: “Amazon has always been a secretive organization. For example, Jeff Bezos never divulges how many Kindle devices the company actually sells. Instead, he makes cryptic remarks such as, “It’s the bestselling product in our store.” Also, Amazon doesn’t reveal how much money they make selling books. Those financial numbers are rolled into their “Media” division that includes movies and other products. In addition, Amazon keeps a lot of book marketing secrets hidden from the world. If you write and sell books on Amazon, here are 3 secrets every author needs to know.”

How to Get Holiday Book Sales: Steps 1-3 from BookBaby: “Whatever your flavor of celebration, the holiday season is a great time to sell your published eBook or printed book. After all, it’s a $3 billion business for booksellers at the end of the year, and according to Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks, 25 percent of trade books are bought as gifts. How do you get your share of these holiday sales? In the spirit of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” I have a dozen tried-and-true selling ideas for the holiday season.”

10 Tips for Authors on Using Social Media from a Literary Agent by Eric Smith: “As a literary agent, I’m lucky enough to go to a lot of writing workshops, where I usually dish advice about one of two things: query letters or social media. When it comes to social media and publishing, digital platforms have a special place in my heart.”

Quote of the Week

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including 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, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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