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

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

Indie Author Weekly Update – September 7, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

It’s Friday, which means that it’s time for a new Indie Authors Weekly Update. Be sure to read Mark Dawson’s post on building a successful author career. Anne R. Allen and David Kudler’s posts are also great.

5 Steps to Building a Successful Author Career by Mark Dawson: “I’ll probably say it again before I have finished, but I’d argue that this is the best time in the history of the world to be a writer. I know – pretty grandiose. Let me explain.  When I started writing at the end of the 1990s, if I wanted to get my writing out to readers I only really had one path that was open to me. Once I had finished my manuscript, I would send the first three chapters and a covering letter to one of the dozens of literary agencies that accepted unsolicited submissions.”

9 Pieces of Bad Publishing Advice New Writers Should Ignore by Anne R. Allen: “Social Media is both a boon and a curse to new writers. Online writing groups and forums are an excellent source of insider information on the publishing industry—stuff we once could only find at expensive classes and writers’ conferences. But social media is also a major source of misinformation and dangerously bad advice.”

Retweeting Your Own Tweets Can Boost Your Reach and Engagement from Buffer: “In February 2018, Twitter updated its rules to prohibit sharing tweets that are identical or substantially similar to one another. Before this rule change, re-sharing top tweets (sparingly) was one of our favorite strategies for increasing our Twitter reach and engagement here at Buffer. And while it was a shame to forgo this strategy, we understand the rationale behind the new rules and are fully supportive of them. So, rather than dwelling on what used to work, we started searching for other strategies to try. Here’s one experiment we’ve been working on (and our results in full).”

Amazon Top Reviewer Secrets: The Must-Read Tell-All by Penny Sansevieri: “When you’re pitching Amazon Top Reviewers, have you ever wondered about the things they love, and the things that will absolutely get you shoved to the bottom of their book review consideration pile? We thought so, too, which is why we took some time to interview several of these top book reviewers. Each of them is anonymous in this piece (with the exception of one).”

10 Instagram Tips for Writers from Jane Friedman’s blog and by Annie Sullivan: “So how can writers use Instagram to their benefit? Here are some easy things to keep in mind to find and engage your target readership on Instagram.”

How to Grow Your Email List With Pinterest by Emily Syring: “Do you have an engaged audience on Pinterest? Wondering how to get your Pinterest followers onto your email list? In this article, you’ll discover how to promote your email opt-in via your Pinterest profile, boards, and pins.”

Words Gone Wild: KDP Keywords Revisited from TheBookDesigner.com and by David Kudler: “I’ve talked about keywords before; they’re an essential piece of metadata that determines how easy it is for the right reader to find your book. They are in many ways the key to discoverability. It is best to think of them, not as single words, but as search phrases — that is to say, groups of words that your ideal reader is likely to search for. Put a different way, what question is your ideal reader likely to ask to which your book is the answer?”

Quote of the Week

Patton Oswalt quote

 

 

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

Indie Author Weekly Update – August 31, 2018

indie author weekly update

I hope you enjoy today’s Indie Author Weekly Update. Be sure to check out Carla King’s post on tools for sharing advance reader copies and Sandra Beckwith’s post on three book promotion myths.

Are you enjoying your summer. Well, it’s almost over so be sure to squeeze in as much fun as possible while the sun is still high in the sky.

5 ways authors can save money when working with an editor, formatter, designer or assistant by Chris Kidler: “Time equals money, especially for authors who become indie publishers. That equation becomes all too real when you hire an editor, designer, formatter or author assistant. Sometimes you pay for time explicitly — for instance, you’ll pay an assistant to work ten hours a month to do everything from social media to dealing with distributors. Sometimes you pay a flat fee for a service based on word count or complexity. But when you go beyond the scope of that fee, your hired expert may charge you by the hour.”

How To Win At The Game Of Book Marketing by guest Charli Mills from Rachel Thompson’s blog: “My suitcase on wheels clacked behind me as I followed my boss’s determined strides. Like most business trips with her, we traveled frugal and opted to walk to our hotel from the airport. She opted. In fact, this trip was all about her wanting to leave a legacy for her thirty-plus years as general manager of one of the nation’s most successful natural food grocers. We had flown from Minneapolis to St. Louis to attend a conference among international business leaders of companies that had nothing in common with our industry – most were big manufacturers.”

Then What Happened? 8 Things We Learned Writing Our First Sequel from Mythic Scribes: “In 2017 our team released our first full-length urban fantasy novel. After the frenetic pace of finishing, editing, formatting, publishing, and promoting our first offering, we thought we would take a well-earned vacation before jumping into the sequel. We set out to take a month to regroup, but one month quickly turned into four and we learned our first important lesson about writing sequels.”

Don’t fall for these 3 book promotion myths by Sandra Beckwith: “There’s a frustrating amount of “myth”-information out there about book promotion. I don’t know how the book promotion myths get started, but I do know that they spread pretty quickly. Because I’m constantly educating authors about myth versus reality in author online discussion groups and in my courses, I thought it might help to share three of the most common myths here along with a nice dose of reality.”

Your Advance Reader Copy: 6 Tech Tools for Sharing ARCs by Carla King: “An Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of your book is essential for obtaining reviews from early readers, trade reviewers, paid review sites, the media, influencers, and readers. But as a self-publisher or first-time author, it can be difficult to get book reviews. In this post, you’ll learn about ARC-specific apps and services that help you share your book with reader-reviewers in the format they want to read it in.”

Quote of the Week

indie author

 

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

Indie Author Weekly Update – August 24, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

There are some great posts in this week’s Indie Author Update. Be sure to read the post by Derek Murphy and Write to Done on how to entice email newsletter signups.

Summer is drawing to a close and fall will soon be upon us. I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer writing and reading.

10 Mistakes I Made as a New Indie Author from Anne R. Allen’s blog and by Derek Murphy: “Book sales are not a complete mystery: if your book isn’t selling, there’s almost always a reason. Often it’s because new authors continue to repeat the same mistakes. Sometimes they’re following bad advice. Or they made choices stemming from their ideologies about doing creative work and the assumed value of their writing. I’ve been self-publishing for almost a decade. Even though I’ve learned a lot about how to sell books, it took me a long time and some very public failures.”

Branding For Authors with Kristine Rusch and by Joanna Penn: “Branding helps readers find your books and enables you to build a long-term career as a writer – but many authors get branding all wrong. In today’s show, Kristine Kathryn Rusch explains what branding really is and how to build your author brand in the most sustainable way.”

10 Ways to Survive Your Debut Author Year from Women Writers: “Find a supportive community of published authors. Make friends with other debut authors. Make friends with other authors who have recently published a book. You need someone to cry to about all the frustrations of the publication process. You need someone to vent to about all the stress and excitement of the book launch.”

Walmart’s eBookstore is Launching Today by Nate Hoffelder: “Walmart is in the process of setting up new ebook sections in the book departments of its stores, Kobo has let slip a promo video for “Walmart eBooks”, and multiple references have been found in Walmart’s help pages.”

How to Get Hordes of Subscribers With an Easy Opt-In Gift from Write to Done: “If you want to ramp up your subscriber numbers, you need to offer an attractive gift for your visitors in return for subscribing. This is called an opt-in gift or lead magnet. But what to offer? Many writers don’t know how to create an opt-in gift. It can be daunting.”

What’s Going On With CreateSpace and KDP Print?  from TheBookDesigner.com and by Amy Collins: “Are you curious about all of the changes going on at CreateSpace and seeing new offerings being announced at Kindle Direct Publishing? I have been, too. I will admit that I have not paid as much attention to KDP Print as I should have. I have been happy with CreateSpace for my Amazon printing and distribution and just did not have the bandwidth to turn my attention to yet ANOTHER platform for my paperbacks. Knowing that CreateSpace could get my paperback on Amazon while IngramSpark/Lightning Source was handling the wholesalers/bookstores/libraries, I thought I had all my bases covered.”

Quote of the Week

indie author

 

The second edition of Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99!

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

10 Great Resources Writers Need to Know

10 Great Resources Writers Need to Know

Here is a  list of resources for writers that I love and that I believe will make your lives easier. Some will save you money and others will help you to polish your books.

So let’s get’s started with my list of 10 great resources writers need to know about and in some cases start using today.

Make Banners and Images for Pinterest & Social Media

Canva

Have you ever experienced Facebook banner envy? You know, those beautiful Timeline banners that some people pay a great deal of money to graphic designers to create?

Guess what? Canva, a free application, is a tool you can use to create Facebook banners, Twitter headers, cards business cards, photo cards, other image-based messaging, and even book covers. It’s an easy, intuitive tool to use.

Here are a few samples of items I recently created with Canva. First, here’s my Facebook banner.


10 Great Resources Writers Need to Know

Here’s a promotional image I made for an upcoming promotional sale of my book.

I created this image for a client.

I also made this book cover on Canva.

Canva offers free and fee-based templates and images for book covers. See this sample.

Canva book templates

 

Find Canva’s book cover templates and image on this page.

Canva features some images that you can purchase for $1 or you can upload your own. Many of the images and features are free of charge.

PicMonkey

I’ve used PicMonkey to resize and crop photos. But recently I wanted to create some images for Pinterest so I upgraded to the paid plan, about $7.99/month or $71.88/year for the basic plan. Here are a couple of examples of my creations.

Write a Book That Inspires You

And here’s a holiday collage for Pinterest I created just for fun.

Holiday Collage

Once you create and save the images, you can share them directly to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, or Tumblr as well as send them via email to a colleague. You can also use this tool to create Facebook covers or perhaps a collage of some of the books you’ve written. You can also upload your own images.

Pablo

Pablo is a great little application from the people at Buffer, which is a scheduling tool. Anyway, Pablo is perhaps the easiest image app on the internet.

When you navigate to Pablo, you’ll see a column of free (yes free!) images. Just select the image you want to use, enter the text, select the size, and the contrast and your set.

Pablo

Here’s a simple image I made using Pablo.

What’s great is that once you create an image, you can schedule it to Buffer in one easy step.

Pixabay

Pixabay is my go-to place for copyright free images. When you need pictures for your blog or to use as a background for a quote, this is the place to go.

Images are free and in nearly every conceivable topic area. Upload your own images as you sign up for hassle-free downloads. You’ll love this site.

Social Media Scheduling App

SocialOomph

I’ve been using this social media scheduler for years and love it. It’s only practical for LinkedIn and Twitter so if you want to also schedule to Facebook (bad idea because Facebook downgrades scheduled posts in the newsfeed), or Pinterest or Instagram, then use Pinterest.

But with SocialOomph, you can schedule posts, set a recurring update so the post can reappear, have access to analytics, monitor interest channels, and see your feed without going to Twitter, this is the app for you.

As a backup, I recommend Buffer. It’s super easy to set up and use and the customer service is awesome. (The customer service at Social Oomph is great too.)

DIY Tools for Designing Your Next Book

DIY Book Covers

After writing your book you need a great cover. You can hire a designer or you can try to create a cover yourself.

Self-published authors on a tight budget might want to try a DIY tool. Cover designer Derek Murphy of CreativIndie Covers has put together a package of book cover design templates.

Although it sounds like an unlikely pairing, the templates look clean and professional, not only for simple non-fiction covers, but also for all types of fiction. If you’re familiar with using MS Word, customizing the templates to make them unique shouldn’t be difficult.

There’s even a tool on this website to help you make a 3D mockup of your book.

Endorsed by Matt Stone, Pat Flynn, and Joanna Penn, this tool is the real deal.

Book Design Templates and More

Joel FriedlanderAre you tired of paying the high cost of a graphic designer for the layout of your book? Joel Friedlander’s Book Design Templates let Indie authors quickly and easily create the interior layout of their books. There are templates for fiction, memoir, narrative non-fiction, reference, and technical and non-fiction books. In addition, there are templates for children’s books and more.

Plus, Joel offers templates for book covers, and toolkits for blogging, social media, public relations, book launches, and self-publishing on Amazon. Here’s the link to all of his other toolkits, including mine.  😎

Joel is a book designer so self-published authors can trust that the templates carefully balance typographic beauty with ease of reading.

Although I haven’t yet used the template I purchased, a colleague has and she said the process was easy. If you need help, Joel’s team will upload your book into your purchased template. Finally, each template comes with different kinds of interior pages, section breaks, running heads, and page numbers.

These templates will save writers money and help them to produce books that appear professionally designed.

By the way, self-published authors should all become acquainted with Joel’s blog, The Book Designer. You will learn everything you need to know about self-publishing, social media, book covers, and book marketing by reading his posts.

Every Author Needs an Editor

Jordan E. Rosenfeld

Jordan

Jordan says that she has a simple philosophy in her editing, coaching and teaching: “Practice. Polish. Persist.”

She advises, “Make your writing life into an ongoing, deep writing practice that can survive the test of time, discouragement and change. Never stop trying to become better and polish your work, learn new things, take classes and feed both your muse and your craft. But what will set you apart is your persistence. Don’t give up. If you need help with any of these things, I’m here to help you.”

Jordan brings an editor’s attention to both the micro and macro aspects of your fiction project, but she also brings a writer’s ear—having been writing and publishing for two decades (author of the novels Forged in Grace and Women in Red and the writing guides Writing the Intimate Character, A Writer’s Guide to PersistenceWriting Deep Scenes, and Make a Scene & Write Free).

She likes to work with fiction writers at all stages—from the seed of an idea, to the final product—and at all levels, whether the writer needs coaching or a final copyedit. She is especially fond of developmental edits and critiques.

Robbi S. Bryant

Robbi S. BryantAnother wonderful and popular editor is Robbi S. Bryant. She says that an editor does a lot more than correcting grammar and sentence structure. “I am a content editor, which means I review everything from grammar to the breakdown of the story—including focus on plot, scene, character arcs, story arcs, pacing, subtext, dialogue, theme, and voice. In other words, I am a developmental editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.”

As an award-winning author, she has honed her skills. Over the years, her focus has shifted from writing her own work to helping others write theirs.

She offers a free 10-page edit so potential clients can get a feel for her style.

Robbi says that it’s important for a writer to be comfortable with an editor. Trust is essential. She describes herself as a gentle, thoughtful, and light-handed editor. Respect is crucial as is communication.  She says that she offers all this and more.

Her books include a novella, four novels, five short-story collections, and one book of poetry. She has been published in magazines including Readers DigestRedbook, Penthouse, college textbooks, and several anthologies. As editor in chief of the Redwood Writers 2018 anthology, she supervised the creation and publication of Redemption: Stories From the Edge. Her work was also optioned twice for television’s Movie of the Week, and she appeared on TV’s Jane Whitney Show to discuss her article, “A Victim’s Revenge.”

Go Wide with Your Publishing

Draft2Digital

When you’re ready to go wide with publishing your books, Draft2Digital is the best service available to get your book on more venues than just Amazon.

What’s wonderful about Draft2Digital is that authors are in charge and because they’ve been where you are, they know how important it is to provide informative and quick customer service.

There is no fee for using this service. Draft2Digital will take a 10% commission when your books sell. But if you want to price your books at $0 permanently, that’s fine too.

The people behind Draft2Digital are truly cool and supportive. Try them out for yourself.

I hope you enjoyed reviewing my list of resources for writers. I’d love to hear about your favorite resources too!

 

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99!

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

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

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…]