20 Tips to Rock Your Social Media Updates

20 Tips to Rock Your Social Media Updates
Getting frustrated with your social media updates?

Not seeing as much engagement as you’d like?

Everyone has that complaint from time to time. Even I do. (Yes, me!)

Tips to Improve Your Social Media Updates

There are many ways you can boost engagement and feel better about your social media updates.

Shall we get into the meat of this discussion? Let’s!

Here’s my list of tips to increase engagement on all of your social media posts.

  1. Always post images. Always. It’s easy to do on Instagram and Pinterest because, obviously, if you don’t have a picture to post, you don’t have anything to post. So I’m talking about all of the other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.  We can reverse the order of this tip and put it this way: never post anything on social media without including an image or a video. According to CoSchedule, images increase retweets by 150%, and according to KISSMetrics, Facebook photos attract 53% more Likes and 84% more click-through rates than text posts. Besides, Facebook makes it easy to turn a text post into an image post with its array of color backgrounds for your status updates.
  2. Share quick tips with your followers and fans. Remember that Facebook posts limited to 80 or fewer characters receive 65% more engagement. Yeah, this is another example of when less is more.
  3. Ask questions. If you go to a party and ask questions, people will love you, right? The same dynamic works on social media.
  4. Comment on current events such as Warriors basketball season starting 8-), updates from the World Series, or any issue that is fun and not too controversial. They can even be personalized. Did you take a hike last weekend or win a race? Post images.
  5. Post humorous memes. People love these.
  6. Give away a free eBook for the best photo caption to a funny or ambiguous image.
  7. Share a thought or image that moves you.
  8. Get personal. I tend to like to not be too personal online. It has to do with my comfort level. But the few times that I am less private, engagement soars. So, self-reflect before your self-reveal and then decide if you’re comfortable being more personal and opening up more often. People want to get to know the author behind the books they read.
  9. Share a photo from your past and post in on Thursday with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday. Author Mark Dawson does this all the time on Facebook.
  10. Buffer reported that to make a tweet more popular, focus on length, nouns and verbs. Don’t focus on mentions or hashtags. Also, use positive words and use an indefinite article such as A or An.
  11. Use emoticons. People love these, and they aren’t going away. I use them sparingly in my business-related emails, but I do use them.
  12. Don’t over-promote yourself. Let’s return to the party analogy I mentioned earlier. Nobody — and I mean not a single person — likes the guy who only talks about himself. It’s a turnoff, right? What you need to realize is that marketing isn’t about your or your books or your blog posts, or your courses. It’s about the benefit. What benefit do readers derive from your books? Even when you focus on the benefit, you still have to do your marketing sparingly. Promote other authors. Promote your readers. Share or retweet what they post. Leave comments on their updates. Marketing is never about you. Sure, you want to sell books, but you won’t get sales by over-promoting yourself. You’ll get sales if you promote other authors, do things for your readers, learn about your readers, answer their questions, and ask them questions. Got it?
  13. Develop content aligned with your marketing objectives. Otherwise, you’ll just be guessing in your marketing and never know for certain what to post.
  14. Run polls and surveys. That’s right, ask your fans and followers what they want to read by your on your blog and in your books, and what they prefer to see on your social media profiles.
  15. Engage in conversations. You can ask questions, and you need to answer questions when readers ask questions. Look at your news feeds and take time to share, retweet, and leave comments.
  16. Sharing images is the first step, making sure that they are correctly sized is the next. Don’t use an image designed for a  Twitter post on Facebook and vice versa. Resize images according to the platform’s preferred image dimensions.
  17. As best as you can, make sure that all of your images are the best they can be. Never settle for boring.
  18. Everyone loves a smile, right? Well, it turns out that on Pinterest smiling faces get more saves.
  19. Leverage popular phrases or slogans. During the World Cup a few years ago, “because of fútbol” was a favorite phrase. On Twitter, Monday Motivation and Wednesday Wisdom are hashtags that are always used on those days. These sayings can surface suddenly and be time-limited in their popularity. Use them while they’re hot.
  20. Be consistent in your blog images. Always use the same size for the image at the top of your blog post and use the same fonts.

[Read more…]

25 Tips for Posting on Social Media

posting on social media

Note: This is a completely version of a previous post.


Posting on social media can be a quandary for some authors.

Regardless of all the tips posted online, when it comes to a personal decision, many writers don’t know what they should say, especially once they learn that always talking about their books and blog posts is verboten (forbidden).

I get it.

Here’s my confession: I sometimes struggle with what to say on my Facebook profile. My life just isn’t that exciting, you know?

And I’m not into posting selfies. I’m just not that photogenic.

But when it comes to my professional social media accounts — my Facebook page, and Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts, I have no problem.

Why? Because I know that on those accounts I need to balance inspirational and education information. I want to encourage people, post images, and ask questions.

I have those platforms down, so to speak.

I want you to feel the same way. I don’t want you to ever feel insecure about what you’re posting or sit in front of a blinking cursor wondering, “What the heck should I say?”

So let’s get to it.

You Need Great Content on Your Blog & on Social Media

Sometimes content you found on the internet years ago can still apply. I know that I posting on social media use these tips that I found a few years ago from Search Engine Land. I consider their advice the meat and potatoes of everything I write online.

  • Is the content informative?
  • Is it authoritative on the subject matter?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Is it well-written?
  • Is longer content broken up into well-organized sections by headings? You may have long paragraphs in your books, but that style doesn’t work for blogging or for your social media posts.
  • Does the content make good and interesting use of visual elements? Remember, you need to include images with your blog posts. Multiple photos keep people reading your blog posts. On social media, pictures are a must.
  • Is the writing free of embarrassing spelling errors or remedial grammar problems? I use Grammarly to check my writing and punctuation. Are you using an editing application to check yours?
  • Is it written appropriately for its intended audience? How well do you know your audience? Are you writing for women in their 30’s or men 40 and older? You must know your audience if you expect to sell any books. The same is true for your audience on your blog and on social media.
  • Is the content free of industry-insider jargon, focusing instead on terminology your readers would use (and search for)? Get rid of all jargon and cliches before tapping the publish button.
  • When appropriate, does the content show your unique voice or even a sense of humor? Are your snarky or quirky? Don’t be afraid to show your real self. Being authentic will enhance your brand. Embrace who you are and don’t be afraid to show those sides of yourself online.

The above suggestions apply mostly to blog writing, but you can adapt some of them for social media.

You can also use these suggestions to evaluate blog posts written by other people you might want to share. Since 80% of the content, you discuss on social media will be from sources other than your own, ask yourself if that content incorporates the above suggestions.

If it doesn’t, don’t use it.

So what will you post 20% of the time when you can talk about yourself? When you think about it, you’re still going to be posting quite a bit of information that emanates from you.

What should you say?

posting on social media

25 Tips for Posting on Social Media

Here are some examples of great content for your social media profiles:

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Indie Author Weekly Update – September 21, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

It’s time for another Indie Author Weekly Update. I hope you enjoy this week’s posts on Amazon ads, blog design, self-publishing and more.

The 12 Principles Of Effective Blog Design by Peep Laja: “This is a quote by Dr. Brent Coker, who studied the impact of attractive websites on human behavior. Websites that are more attractive and include more trimmings create a greater feeling of trustworthiness and professionalism in consumers.”

Lessons Learned From The Self-Publishing Journey – Guest Post by Melissa Pouliot from Polgarus Studio: “In 2013 I attended a writer’s workshop in my beautiful coastal hometown of Merimbula, Australia, and met an author who was at the forefront of self-publishing technology. She’d been publishing her books on Amazon for a long time and spoke my language. I’d just finished my first crime novel, Write About Me, and a literary agent had returned it to me with a blunt, sharp note attached: Not strong enough for the current fiction market.”

The 4 Most Effective Book Marketing Strategies That Work  by Rachel Thompson: “I’m constantly amazed by the sheer number of writers who are about to release their first book, or have already released their first book, and have zero marketing in place. Nothing, nada, oftentimes less than zero. They remind me of the college kid who walks into a final with a hangover and a broken pencil, hoping to pull the answers out of their you know where.”

10 Top Book Marketing Takeaways from RWA 2018 by Diana Urban: “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.”

The Rising Cost of AMS Ads from Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center: “If you’ve noticed a sharp decline in the effectiveness of your AMS ads recently, you’re not alone. An Amazon cash grab may be at the bottom of it. The New York Times reports Amazon’s revenue from on-site advertising has surged by 130 percent in the first quarter of 2018, up to a staggering $2.2 billion. Take a moment to truly appreciate all those zeroes: $2,200,000,000.00. It’s no surprise then that Amazon has refocused its gaze on this sector, intent on adding a few more zeroes to that figure.”

Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize Announces 2018 Shortlist: “Anna Burns, Esi Edugyan, Daisy Johnson, Rachel Kushner, Richard Powers and Robin Robertson are today, Thursday 20 September, announced as the six authors shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.”

Quote of the Week

Slowly, slowly, I accumulate sentences. I have no idea what I'm doing until suddenly it reveals itself, almost done.-

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99! But the sale price won’t last forever so get your copy now! 

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 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

Chasing the Elusive Shareable Content

Chasing the Elusive Shareable Content

Creating shareable content is the holy Grail of social media.

If our friends, colleagues, and fans do not share what we post, then there is little hope that we will succeed in our social media marketing.

Before posting any content online, place your content through a “re-share test.”

Ask yourself whether your content is valuable, bold, informative, or entertaining. Does it provide a useful analysis or does it assist people in some manner?

If it accomplishes any of these goals, your content should be shareable.

Here are three quick tips that are easy to remember:

•    keep your blog post headline to 50 characters

•    keep your paragraphs short — at most three paragraphs

•    use active verbs

In previous blog posts, I’ve shared some amazing statistics on how much faster our brains can process images versus text.

The actual statistic is that our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text.

Our eyes gravitate to images and increasingly tend to shun large blocks of black letters. This fact explains why it’s essential to include images or video if we want our content to be shareable.

Also, if we include multiple images within a single blog post, your readers are more likely to read the entire post. Color images boost engagement over black-and-white photos, too.

shareable content

Controversy and Engagement

What I’ve noticed is that when people delve into politics on their Facebook profiles, engagement soars.

But is that the kind of engagement you’re seeking? Will it help you or hurt you in your professional life?

Being sensational always attracts attention. Our current president is sensational in his tweets and he receives a lot of likes and shares on that platform.

But you need to remember that you are your brand.

Everything you post online is available online and remains online. You’re visible to the world.

Personally, I would never tweet about President Trump or state my opinion about him on my Facebook author page. At times, I have delved into politics on my Facebook profile but never on my Facebook page.

Delving into political issues is something I seldom do because I’m looking for shares of my blog posts and book promotions, not my political opinions.

So if we’re not going for the easy, political share, what do we do?

Post images. For example, using Pixabay and Canva you can create quotes on images about reading, the value of reading, and about libraries. You can share the stack of books you want to read or pictures of yourself heading into your local library or indie bookshop.

You can take pictures of your office, the cafe where you like to write, or a spot in your back yard where you like to write.

In terms of subjects for your images, the sky is truly the limit.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – September 14, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

In today’s Indie Author Weekly Update, hands down the best post to read is David Gaughran’s post on how to sell books. It’s awesome.

Is it too early for a picture of fall? I didn’t think it was. Although the days are still warm in Northern California where I live, the afternoons cool down quickly and the nights are chilly. There’s definitely a change coming.

10 Ways to Build Traffic to Your Author Website or Blog by Jane Friedman: First things first: an author’s website, whether it gets much traffic or not, is foundational to your career. It offers readers as well as the media the official word on who you are and the work you produce. If you blog, then it can also be a way for the public to engage with you. But mainly author websites help you shape the story surrounding your work—and ought to be found when readers go searching for you. It allows you to focus people’s attention and interest to what’s important to you—as opposed to what other sites might think is important.

Podcast Episode 46: Social Media for Authors – Big Mistakes Many Make from Dave Chesson: Social media seems like an obvious choice when it comes to marketing your book. Now, in this episode, we’re not talking about Facebook ads, but we’re talking more about using social media, specifically Facebook, as a way to connect with your readers and attract new readers.

How to Do an Instagram Giveaway: Ideas and Tips from Social Media Examiner: “Wondering how to run an Instagram contest? Looking for Instagram giveaway ideas you can adapt? In this article, you’ll find tips and inspiration to help you plan a successful Instagram competition that supports your marketing goals.”

Marketing Uncovered: How To Sell Books by David Gaughran: “Marketing is more complicated than ever, but the tools we have for reaching readers are fantastic these days, and the rewards for reaching the summit of Mount Discovery are simply immense. Even worth this long-ass intro I’m about to drop! Sometimes we forget. I hear people complaining that things are down across the board and Amazon is squeezing the margin out of everyone, or that the Golden Era is over.”

How to Reach Forgotten Markets for Self-Published Books  by the Alliance of Independent Authors: “Looking at the indie publishing community these days, it seems authors can be split in two groups: the “going wide” group, and the others who prefer betting on one outlet (the most relevant) for their book. Anne-Catherine de Fombelle, Chief Globalization Officer for self-publishing aggregator StreetLib, a valued ALLI Partner Member, probes the concept of “the forgotten markets”  that can be reached by going wide.”

Quote of the Week

F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

 

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99! But the sale price won’t last forever so get your copy now! It includes a chapter on blogging.

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 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.

Online Book Marketing Solutions for Writers

Blogging Can Be A Lot Like Riding a Bike

Sometimes blogging is just like walking your dog

New to blogging? Read this post, which includes tips on how to write for your audience.


I live in the U.S. and on Labor Day my husband and I went for a bike ride.

Now, I hadn’t ridden my bike in a year so I wondered whether I would topple over as I took off.

I didn’t!

When we ride our bikes, we take the same 17-mile path every time. While the path may be the same, the environment changes, so it’s never boring.

Sometimes we see egrets and during the winter the creek can crest and spill over. Then there’s the pesky squirrel that loves to take a sprint in front of us.

So every time we ride, we notice something new.

Don’t you find blogging to be similar?

You can take a break from it and when you return, the steps are familiar. However, each time you write a new post you cover new territory, have new insights, and share new facts.

And each time you approach a new blog post, you need to explore topics that your audience wants to or needs to learn about.

Are you answering your audience’s questions or helping your audience learn something new or interesting? Or, are you simply writing an article that meets your needs, which can be as simple as “getting something out there” because someone said blogging is good for SEO.

You wouldn’t do that, would you?

In you are still new to blogging I recommend you read this post by HubSpot, which provides an useful formula to follow. Even if you’re not new to blogging, you may find their suggestions helpful.

Now let’s talk about your audience.

Frances Caballo - Blogging Just for WritersHow to Write Blog Posts Your Audience Craves

Unlike HubSpot’s template, there isn’t a formula for knowing how to reach your audience with your blog. It takes work, patience, experimentation, and perseverance. However, I can suggest these tips:

  1. One way to find your audience is to read blogs written by authorities in your niche. But don’t just read them; leave comments as well. As you build a relationship with these experts, pitch a guest post to them. The more often you write guest posts, the quicker your blog email list will grow and the faster you’ll expand your audience.
  2. Use Survey Monkey to ask your readers what they most want to learn from you through your blog.
  3. Then there’s the issue of length. Some say blog posts should be brief; others say they should be at least 1,200 – 1,800 words. Seth Godin, a master blogger and marketer, doesn’t abide by any of these rules. What I’ve learned is that there isn’t a correct answer. Write posts that most appeal to your readers in topic and length. You’ll know that you’re reaching your audience by the comments your readers leave,  the social media shares you receive, and the blog subscriptions that grow.
  4. Use visuals. Our brains can process visuals much faster than text and images provide a break in the blocks of text, which is a welcome relief for our eyes.
  5. Think about expanding into podcasts and videos. People love to listen to podcasts while they travel to work. Then publish the text of your podcast as a blog post. For video interviews, you can embed the html code from YouTube to your blog and provide a summary of the interview’s content.
  6. Each time you write a post ask yourself, “Will this post serve or help my audience?” Think of just one member of your audience and write a post for that person. Imagine what that person tells you that he or she needs to learn and write a post as your response.

Consistent blogging isn’t easy. You need to commit to the task, stick to your posting schedule, and stretch the boundaries of your skills. Read posts on the blogosphere, continually further your education, and strive to learn as much as you can about your audience so you can better meet its needs.

Blogging Topics for Authors

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What’s New to Pinterest for Writers?

Pinterest for Writers

I’ve written a lot about Pinterest for writers in the past, but it’s been a while since I wrote anything new about this platform.

So let’s take a look at what’s new and significant about the changes that are taking place on this channel.

The profile is new and includes a cover image. You can select from some different options for your cover image, such as your latest pins, recent pins from your site, or a specific board.

To select your board image, click the pencil in the upper right-hand corner and make your selection from the list.

Pinterest for Writers

Pinterest for Writers

Another change is that Pinterest no longer keeps track of follower counts. While follower counts are big on Twitter and other platforms, Pinterest chose to focus more on monthly viewers. Personally, I like that tally better. And that number is situated right next to your profile picture.

Pinterest for Writers

But if you really want to know how many followers you have, click “followers” on the tab beneath your profile picture, also known as your avatar.

Pinterest for Writers

See, wouldn’t you rather know your monthly viewers than your follower count? I think that monthly viewers are a better number to track.

Next up, is that if you select “following” from the upper taskbar, you’ll see pins (aka images) from the people you’re following. So instead of just going to the general newsfeed, you can now check out what your followers are saving to their pinboards and uploading.

Pinterest for Writers

 

This year, Pinterest changed its algorithm. Now, Pinterest prioritizes content that people you follow are engaging with.

Hashtags were introduced some time ago but in a new move – perhaps to mimic Instagram? – Pinterest is now recommending that you use up to 20 hashtags. Remember, on Instagram, you can use up to 30.

With this new move, hashtags will are now more critical regarding finding content.

Something else that’s new is that group boards are less important for engagement. I’ve never been a fan of group boards, except between authors and readers, so I’m not particularly sad about this move.

5 Pinterest Tips That Are Important to Remember

Check out this list of tips you need to know to do well on Pinterest.

  1. Pinterest board titles and keywords are essential so relent with the fun and unusual pinboard titles and go for those that will improve your SEO on this platform.
  2. Make sure you remember to pin images from your website, in particular, your blog. Pinterest is fantastic at referral traffic so take advantage of this aspect of this browser/social media channel.
  3. You have a business account, right? If not, get one right now! Pinterest business accounts offer free analytics, and you get the opportunity to validate your website, which improves your SEO.
  4. Design your images for Pinterest. Twitter and Facebook images are too small for this platform.
  5. Just like other social media platforms, use Pinterest regularly. Don’t use it one day and then skip a month or two weeks. Save images here on a regular basis.

Here are some previous posts I’ve written about Pinterest:

10 Pinterest Tips for Writers

8 Tools for Writers Who Use Pinterest

How to Use Pinterest as an Indie Author

Want to Sell More Books? 23 Pinterest Tips Every Author Needs to Know

Pinterest Tips for Authors (Plus 57 Pinboard Ideas)

 

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99! (And there’s a big chapter on Pinterst in it.)

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 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

New to Pinterest for Writers

 

Indie Author Weekly Update – August 17, 2018

indie author

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. There’s a mix of book marketing, blogging, and social media advice in the posts below. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

3 Ways To Market Your Book For Free from Mythic Scribes: “Authors are ordinary people with ordinary lives. Most of us have jobs, families, and responsibilities out in the world that, well, cost money (bills, bills, bills). In my life as an Indie, I have come across few authors who have plenty of money to spend on promotion and visibility for their books. It’s why I’d like to share some ways that I have marketed my books for free and gained some traction from the effort. All of these will take time so be aware that it’s necessary to carve out space in your schedule to explore them. Any author can do these regardless of how their work is published. The focus here is community and audience building. None of these will make you into an overnight celebrity.”

The New Gmail: 12 Gmail Hacks Every Writer Can Use from Anne R. Allen and by Nate Hoffelder: “With Google releasing a new version of Gmail, now is a great time to reconsider how we can use Gmail to get more done. Gmail is possibly the most widely used email service, but are you getting the most out of it? The following Gmail hacks will help you take control of your inbox and go from being a Gmail user to a Gmail expert. Read on to save time, avoid mistakes, and add a dash of style to your inbox.”

20 Must-Read Blogs and Sites for Writers from Articulate: “What you find helpful, inspiring or informative can be a very subjective business, but not knowing where to go when you’re confronted by a writing roadblock is a universally frustrating experience. With that in mind, here are 20 must-read blogs and sites gathered from my own bookmarks, the brains of others and the cream of the Google search crop. Enjoy.”

12 Worst Blogging Mistakes by Ryan Lanz: “I read a lot of blogs. I follow nearly 300, and I check out new blogs all the time. If you follow me or you’ve left a comment on ARHtistic License or you’ve tweeted something that interested me, I’ve probably taken a look at your blog.”

Building readership: a quiet rebellion against three pieces of conventional marketing wisdom by Roz Morris: “I’ll readily admit that book marketing is not my expertise, but some commonly accepted maxims really chafe for me. Indeed, my gut tells me I should do the opposite. So here they are, for better or perverse.”

This Is All You Need to Write the BEST Social Media Bio by Rebekah Radice: “When was the last time you updated your social media bio? If you’ve spent time agonizing over what to write, how to write, and what to include – let me put your mind at ease. Sharing your strengths, skills, and unique solutions doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s why I’ve put together a 4-step process to help you create a bio for every social network. Sound daunting? Don’t worry!”

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

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