Indie Author Weekly Update – February 2, 2018


Indie Author Weekly Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Update. You’ll find information on book marketing, staying productive, and Pinterest. As an added bonus, I suggest a great little book on the market now by Grant Faulkner. Enjoy!

4 Affordable Ways to Master Book Marketing from JaneFriedman and by Dave Chesson: “Learning the art of book marketing is a pursuit which can often feel like an unending demand on your limited resources. But it’s a craft we must improve over time, as well as keep up-to-date with using newest book tactics. Our book marketing landscape changes, and so we must too.”

The Ultimate Guide to Being Productive as a Writer from Grammarly: “Whether your job title happens to be writer or not, you probably can’t avoid writing. There’s also a good chance that before you sit down to write, you dread it. That’s understandable—even titans of the written word struggle and procrastinate. Still, I want you to love writing as much as I do.”

Author-Bloggers: Five Quick-to-Learn Content Creation Tools by Brant Forseng: “Like other author-bloggers I create content. There are a lot of applications out there that I can use do that, and I admit to being distracted by bright, shiny, new tools that come along. Video, audio, graphic, text, you name it, when they appear I just have to take a peek at them.”

Your Website is Always a Work in Progress by Ali Luke: “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of authors, bloggers and freelancers launch their websites. They rarely start out with a massively, gorgeous site. They normally begin with something simple but workable: perhaps it’s a free blog on WordPress.com, for instance, or a single page on About.me. The wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) thing about websites is that they’re always a work in progress. You never truly “finish” a website. Even if you don’t have a blog or “news” section that needs new material on a regular basis, you’ll still want to make updates.”

17 Easy Ways To Boost Your Pinterest Following from Blogging Wizard: “So you want to gain traction on Pinterest and amplify the number of followers you have. Don’t we all? Pinterest is a game-changer for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and even large corporations. It’s mind-blowing how many businesses and bloggers are having massive success with this marketing gold-mine.”

4 Tips for Engaging International Readers by Shana Gray: “My book Working Girl has been translated into five languages, with a sixth to come. First published in English, it’s now available in Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, with Dutch coming this April. It’s difficult to know how well the book has done in the different countries, but even a year later, my book is in the top 30 for the publishing house in Brazil!”

Quote of the Week

Book Suggestion

There’s a great new book on the market and it’s from Grant Faulkner called Pep Talks for Writers. I had the pleasure of hearing him interviewed by Ellen Sussman at a local indie bookstore in my community in Northern California recently. What a great guy and he’s oh-so talented. I bought the book — of course — and I suggest you get it too.

 

 

 

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. 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

 

Meet Ricardo Fayet on February 6th!

Ricardo Fayet
The next webinar will be on February 6 at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST and will feature Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy. We’ll discuss book marketing and Facebook ads. Sign up now to join the conversation!

 

 

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Meet Romantic Suspense Author Sharon Hamilton


Sharon Hamilton is absolutely awesome in this video. There’s no other way to describe it. We talk about how she got into writing about Navy Seals, how she learned to write, why she writes romance, how she developed a street team, how she launches her books, and so much more.

Although Sharon shyly says that she “could be doing more” I can’t imagine an author more hardworking than Sharon. She manages her social media and a Facebook group, sells numerous items on her website, and even writes serials in teams with other romantic suspense authors.

She sells ebooks, paperbacks, serials, audiobooks, and boxed sets.

Don’t let Sharon’s humility fool you; although she is humble – I know Sharon so I can attest to that – she’s a powerhouse romantic suspense writer. In fact, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written 32 books.

Here are some of my notes from our recent discussion:

Sharon’s Early Career as a Writer

  • Sharon began to write after her house burned down in 2008. She was living in an apartment mostly by herself while her husband stayed on their property to oversee the rebuilding of their home. She had always wanted to write a book, but as a Realtor, she felt she didn’t have the time.
  • After reading several books in that apartment, on December 15, 2008, she started to write her first novel. By the end of 30 days, she’d written a 90,000-word novel. After finishing the book, she realized she never wanted to work as a Realtor again.
  • She then joined numerous writing classes online – 70 in all. She learned how to write by editing that initial manuscript 57 times. She spent a lot of time and money on that first book. Then she began to understand what was necessary to write a compelling novel and after realizing she liked to write romance novels, she joined the Romance Writers of America association.
  • She then joined two or three different blogging groups. One was a group of authors who wrote romance, and another team wrote in various genres. Everyone in the groups would share each others’ blog posts online, and her following grew.

Why Sharon Hamilton Writes about Navy Seals

  • Sharon just completed Sleeper Seals. A group of authors who all write military romantic suspense novels decided to coordinate a central theme and release a serial together. Her novel was book five in the series.
  • There is one commander in the series, and each author writes about a different character. She said it’s an excellent way to cross-market books. Several of the books hit the USA Today list. She thinks it’s a solid concept in selling books.
  • Central to Sharon’s books are characters who are Navy Seals. She does that because when her son graduated high school, he decided to become a Navy Seal. Once he passed the training, Sharon learned a lot about the Seals and being a Seal family. In her stories, she uses a lot of the information she has acquired about the Navy Seal community.

Street Teams and Facebook Groups

She developed a street team when a reader came up to her and created a Facebook author page for Sharon. Then the same reader helped Sharon build a street team. The street team became so large that Sharon encouraged many of them to join a Facebook group she calls the Rockin’ Readers.

Sharon eventually streamlined her street team to just eight to ten people who share information about her books. Her Facebook group will occasionally help her post information about her books. She’s had the Facebook group for about six years, and it has more than 500 members. The only rule of the group is that the only books promoted are Sharon’s.

She thinks that the street team and Facebook group are the best way to get the word out about her books. Having a connection with the fans is integral to her success, and she believes any author’s success. Her fans find Sharon.

Sharon also sponsors contests from time to time. To the winners, she sends a variety of t-shirts, books, patches, dog tags, and red wristbands.

Sharon uses eClincher and MeetEdgar to schedule her social media posts. She has 35,000 Likes on her page.

Newsletters, Contests and BookBub Ads

  • She also has a newsletter that goes out once a month. Her readers receive information about new books and excerpts that couldn’t get otherwise. She used to do Facebook parties once a month but believes they are a passing thing.
  • She sponsors a contest on WriterSpace once a month. She also does BookBub ads for pre-orders and new book launches but hasn’t don’t a BookBub promotion yet.
  • She spends more on BookBub ads than anything else. She recently sold 10,000 of her boxed sets with her latest BookBub ad versus the 50 boxed sets a day she would typically sell without the advertisement.
  • She also does Facebook ads using her book trailers. Those generate a lot of interest.
  • She encourages people to follow her on BookBub and Amazon, so even if they lose touch with her on Facebook, her readers will get notices about her books from other venues.
  • Sharon has discovered that her readers like to have boxed sets at a discounted price. She finds that the boxed sets don’t rob from sales of the individual books.
  • The first book in her series Accidental Seal has been free for three years. Once readers read the free book, they become interested in the rest of the series and hopefully those readers will read her other books as well. A series really works, she says. She also bundles her audio books.

The next webinar will be on February 6 at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST and feature Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy. We’ll be discussing book marketing and Facebook ads. Stay tuned for more information about that webinar.

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. 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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Indie Author Weekly Update – December 8, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts on blogging, book promotion, Facebook, and a new Kindle feature. I hope you enjoy the selection.

Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog by Anne R. Allen: “I’ve made some spectacular blunders in my blogging career. But since we learn from our mistakes, I’ve got a boatload of information now. As Ruth and I say: “We made the mistakes so you don’t have to.” The worst decision I made was trying to turn this blog into a monetized business blog. That lasted about six months— until my doctor said I was going to have to choose between blogging and living to see my next birthday. This is the second anniversary of the beginning of that failed experiment, and I’ve been thinking over what I’ve learned.”

3 Shameless Book Promotion Tips For Your Next Release from The Write Life: “Nothing makes a reader feel like an A-class insider like being treated to A-class gifts. Many authors create incredible extras inspired by their writing, drawn from their characters or worlds. This can be anything from a map of an alternate world to lovely character cards, or a peek behind the curtain at your creative process.”

How To Get More Facebook Likes: The Beginner’s Guide from Blogging Wizard: “2 billion. Yes, billion, with a B. In June of 2017, that is how many active users Facebook exceeded according to Statista. That amount is staggering, and the awe tends to compound when you hear that over 65% percent of that amount use Facebook daily. Wouldn’t you like a slice of over 2 billion users?”

Indie Author Content Ideas for Your December Book Marketing from Penny Sansevieri: “Yes, many of us just want to tuck away in our jammies with a mug of eggnog and rum but book marketing never ends! And remember, it’s crucial you stay in front of your fans and potential buyers, and I know that can be exhausting, so I’m trying to help you out by giving you monthly content ideas based around fun, unofficial and official holidays.”

Kindle Create App Out of Beta by Nate Hoffelder: “Amazon’s app for making Kindle ebooks, Kindle Create, is out of beta. Originally launched in April, Kindle Create is Amazon’s 4th Kindle ebook making app (the other three are  Kindle Kids Book Creator, Kindle Textbook Creator, and Kindle Comics Creator).”

11 Creative Ways to Boost Reader Engagement from BookBub: “Having loyal readers can make it easier for an author to sell subsequent books. While reader loyalty is primarily fostered from love of a book, it can also be cultivated through online engagement. Getting readers to engage online takes time and effort, which may not yield immediate revenue, and the ROI of these efforts can be difficult to measure. However, there can be significant long-term gains from having loyal fans who are willing to preorder, review, and enthusiastically tell their friends about a book.”

Quote of the Week

Graham Greene

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. 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

Penny is Coming!

Join the next Conversations with Frances when Penny Sansevieri, aka @Bookgal, comes on the show to talk about how to sell more books. Every indie author will want to attend this free webinar. Register now!

 Penny Sansevieri

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – December 1, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update ranges in topic from social media to book marketing to Facebook. I hope you enjoy the range in topics!

The Writer’s Guide to Social Media Organization from Writer Unboxed: “Today’s writer is busier than ever, and social media can be demanding. Writers have established goals, developed a brand, and know their readers. The best way to stay on top of our career is to incorporate organizational skills into social media. I continue to explore methods to use social media effectively and efficiently. I believe social media can be handled in thirty minutes, leaving us free to do what we do best for the rest of the day—write. Here are 7 ways I’ve learned to categorize social media into a manageable—and enjoyable—process.”

12 Holiday Book Marketing Ideas for Indie Authors by Penny Sansevieri: “On the first day of Christmas ….we all know the song. Most of us are ready to tackle holiday sales, so let’s talk book marketing! In the spirit of the season, I want to share 12 book marketing tips and recommendations indie authors can implement in order to get more holiday sales and definitely more exposure before Christmas.”

67 Top Tools for Writers and Bloggers in 2018 from Write to Done: “It’s often been said, you’re only as good as your tools. And even though a keen mind and an even keener pen (or computer these days) are still the main tools of a writer or blogger in 2018, there are others out there. Which is the problem. ​How do you know which to use? If you tried them all, you’d never write or publish a thing. And if you ignored them all, well, that’s not a smart move either. The serious writer or blogger of today needs to know where the advantages are, what the competition is using.”

How To Get More Facebook Likes: The Beginner’s Guide from Blogging Wizard: “2 billion. Yes, billion, with a B. In June of 2017, that is how many active users Facebook exceeded according to Statista. That amount is staggering, and the awe tends to compound when you hear that over 65% percent of that amount use Facebook daily. Wouldn’t you like a slice of over 2 billion users? Just imagine: 1 percent of that amount and you’re looking at more than 20 million users.”

Increase Engagement in Your Marketing with Visuals from Joel Friedlander and Frances Caballo: “You know the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words? It may be true but what’s proven is that a photo is better than text when it comes to social media engagement. As much as you may think that you prefer text over visuals, perhaps because you’re a writer, your brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text.”

The Complete Guide to Ebook Distribution by Ricardo Fayet and from Reedsy: “At Reedsy, our goal has always been to help authors through every stage of the publishing process, from the actual writing down to the marketing and promotion. However, if there’s one thing our marketplace can’t do, it’s the actual publishing of the book. By that, I mean pressing the button that puts your book up for sale on Amazon — and other retailers.”

News from Goodreads: The Book Giveaway Program Expands in January 2018: “We’ll be introducing our new Goodreads Giveaways program on January 9, 2018, offering even more powerful book marketing benefits that authors have been asking for. Our new Goodreads Giveaways program includes two packages, Standard and Premium—you can learn more about them below. And for the first time, Kindle Direct Publishing authors can run giveaways for Kindle ebooks—a feature previously only available to traditional publishers.”

Quote of the Week

Doris Lessing

Want to save time with social media? Get Avoid Social Media Time Suckfor FREE.

Social Media Time Suck

 

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. 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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50 Blogging Topics for Authors

Blogging Topics

Do you struggle with coming up with blogging topics?

Hey, I wouldn’t be honest if I said that blogging is such a breeze, I could do it in my sleep. Or when I’m sleep-deprived.

There are times when blogging topics come to me in bunches. I could be sitting at my desk, and one thought triggers another, and before I know it, I have six or seven or even ten new blogging topics.

I love those times.

But then there are also the other times. You know, when my fountain of creativity has run dry.

There have been times when I’ve followed my advice and set up a blogging calendar. I’ve used Excel to track my topics, an online app, a scrap of paper floating around my desk, or just a Word doc to keep all of my blog topics organized.

But lately, I seem to be a seat-of-my-pants type of blogger. During these times, I tend to write about whatever is up with me whether there’s something new in social media I’m trying to learn or certain issues that keep cropping up.

I know that other authors have this problem too because they’ve asked me for advice on what to blog about.

When we publish our first book, especially if it’s a nonfiction book, we think we’ve said everything we can on the topic. Then we find out that we need an author website and blog. So we wonder, should I write about my cancer, my trip to the Bahamas, or my garden?

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – November 10, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update covers everything from social media marketing to growing an email list to guest blogging. I’m sure that in the posts below, you’ll find some that speak to you right now.

You’ll want to sign up for the Amy Collins webinar this month. The sign-up link is at the bottom of this post. Amy is awesome and a wealth of knowledge.

Indie Author Updates

How to Tame the Social Media Beast by Chris Syme: “When it comes to book marketing, there is no bigger potential time waster than social media. There are approximately 210 social media sites listed on Wikipedia (global numbers). Of those 210, there are about ten that you can probably name and of those ten there are three to five that authors feel they have to be active on.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update October 13, 2017

indie authorsThis week’s Indie Author Weekly Update is about content, whether its podcasting, blogging, or publishing, it’s all content.

I chose this week’s photo due to the sky I lived under this week. I live in the Tubbs Fire area, more specifically Sonoma County. It’s been a surreal week for me because the conflagration is near me yet I am spared by it. Please pray for my neighbors.


Indie Author Update

10 Reasons Podcast Guesting is the #1 Killer Content Marketing Tactic of All via Duct Tape Marketing: “This is a bold statement, but hear me out. I have been earning a living from search engine optimization for over 12 years and I’ve tried every tactic at one time or another. Ever since Google started dropping algorithmic bombs around 2011 (think Panda, Penguin, and so on), SEO industry behavior has changed. Most SEO services have moved back onshore and “real” SEO is now an integrated part of holistic marketing.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – September 8, 2017

This week’s Indie Author Weekly Update focuses on blogging and publishing strategies. I think you’ll enjoy the posts below from Adam Connell, Joan Stewart, Anne R. Allen and Writer Unboxed.

Was there a heat wave where you live? There was one in Northern California and thank goodness the temperature has returned to its more temperate moderate. I hope you enjoy the few days of summer that we have left.

How To Beat Blogger’s Block With Endless Blog Post Ideas from Adam Connell: “Blogging is supposed to be about inspiring your readers. So, how come your blog leaves you uninspired every time you have to write another blog post? You end up thinking: Another week’s gone by and I need to write a post. I have nothing to write about. I’ve written everything I can about my niche. When this happens, the mere thought of sitting down to write feels like there’s a mega-ton rock on your head – which you can’t seem to shake off. No amount of mustering, fighting or even trying some wacky things can make what you’re feeling go away.”

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Indie Author Weekly Update – August 18, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

Today’s installment of the Indie Author Weekly Update includes posts on websites, discoverability, productivity, and SEO. I hope you enjoy the posts and the practical information below.

As the month inches to a close and can feel as though summer is slipping through our fingers. Where I live, at least, warm weather can surprise us in September or October and that’s what I’m hoping for. Let summer last as long as possible!


Indie Author Updates

Discoverability: Go Wide by Joel Friedlander: “We often talk about the absolute necessity of making our books discoverable to readers. I started writing about discoverability as a key to success in online bookstores in 2011. But what does it really mean? This question most often leads to a discussion about book metadata, a field all indie authors come to understand, if only when they go to upload their book files to a retailer and are faced with a long form to fill out.”

Online Author Etiquette: 12 Laws of the Amazon Jungle from Anne R. Allen: “After I wrote my post last month on cyberbullying in the publishing community, a lot of people asked if there’s any way to avoid these online terrorists. I wrote a post on the subject back in 2013, soon after my nightmare encounter with the Goodreads Mean Girls, who attacked me with everything from one-star “review” swarms to death threats that included pictures of my house.”

6 Common Sense Steps to Secure a WordPress Website from Jane Friedman: “I almost was that next victim. In 2012 I was targeted by a botnet that attacked WordPress sites. I never lost control of my site, but I did spend quite a few hours fighting them off. I had to learn the hard way that securing a site before you encounter a problem can prevent a lot of panic, but you don’t have to make my mistake.”

11 Top Tools To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 2017 from Adam Connell at Blogging Wizard: “Been blogging for a while and not making any real impact? Even though you have the best of intentions, you seem to have no eyes on your blog, no subscribers, and very few social media followers. Starting a blog and growing your blog are two different things. When starting a blog you have to find your niche, research hosting plans, figure out WordPress, create content and finally get your theme and website up and running. But, then the next thing is getting people to your blog.”

The definitive guide to SEO for authors by Nathan Bransford: “What if there was a way to virtually guarantee your book hits all the bestseller lists without being a “big name” author or buying your way onto the lists? Sound impossible? People have done it. And here’s the secret… You need to build an AUDIENCE of people ready to pre-order your book. It’s the exact strategy that Tim Ferriss used to become a four-time New York Times best seller. In this article (NB note: written by SEO expert Michael Tesalona) we’ll break down exactly how it’s done. Spoiler alert: you’ll need to get very good at blogging and SEO.”

4 Social Media Productivity Tips for Authors by Frances Caballo from TheBookDesigner.com: “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.”

Quote of the Week

Allegra Goodman


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. 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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Indie Author Weekly Update – August 11, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

Each week in the Indie Author Weekly Update I try to vary the sources of information I bring you. New this week are Dave Chesson and his guest blogger Paul Kilpatrick. Be sure you don’t miss Reedsy’s list of the best book review blogs. And of course, Jane Friedman’s insights are also such a treat.

Can you feel summer coming to a close? I hope you enjoy the days that remain.


Indie Author Updates

Best Book Review Blogs of 2017 by Reedsy: “Discover the best book review blogs in your preferred genre. From general fiction to YA paranormal romance, our search bar connects you to a vetted catalog of active book blogs and thoughtful, quality book reviewers.”

[Read more…]