5 Tweets to Stop Sending Today

5 Tweets to Stop Sending Today

(Note: I updated this post and decided it was valuable enough to post again. I hope you agree!)

Are all tweets created equal? Well, no. Read this post to find out which tweets you need to nix and which you should send.


Twitter has been around twelve years and in the social media sphere, that’s a long time.

Its founder sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006 and within four years it attracted 106 million users.

As of the second quarter of 2018, Twitter averaged 335 million monthly active users. (Source: Statista)

Maybe it’s my funky mood today but I find it surprising that despite Twitter’s history and wide usage users still send me promotional direct messages. BTW: I don’t read direct messages.

For today’s post, I decided to break my rule and take a look at the list of recent direct messages (DM). Below you’ll see their messages. (Note: I’ve deleted usernames and URLs to protect the privacy of these people.)

“I’d be so grateful if you could check out and rate my eBook.”

“Do you love eBooks? Download mine.”

“Thank you for following. Like me on FB.”

“My campaign is 51% funded. Link is in my bio.”

“I use TrueTwit. To validate click here: URL.”

“Connect with me on FB.”

“Connect with me on Google.”

“Please check out my books.”

“Please buy my books.”

“Please read and review my books.”

“Check out my website.”

Twitter

Stop Sending These Five Tweets

I’m not saying that you can never tweet about your books, Facebook page, blog, or newsletter. What I suggest is that you space those tweets apart and never send them as a direct message as part of your “thanks-for-following” tweet.

For example, I send tweets about my eBooks. I also send tweets about my new blog posts.

However, the  majority of information I tweet consists of images and blog posts I didn’t write that I hope writers will find interesting.

If I tweeted about my books more often than I do, people like you would get bored with me.

Here are five tweets to stop sending today:

  1. Stop using the TrueTwit validation application. You’ll never grow your tribe if you use this app. If you are worried about spammers, use ManageFlitter to weed them out.
  2. Don’t send direct messages to your new followers. In fact, stop sending direct messages unless you’re trying to contact someone you know to convey your email address or phone number.
  3. Don’t ask new followers to like your Facebook page, read your book, read your blog, or review your website or book.
  4. Think twice before sending someone a thank you for following. In the early days, I did this but I don’t anymore. I think your time could be better spent doing something else, like a writing a blog post or working on your next book.
  5. Don’t send ten tweets in a row. It’s not nice to flood someone’s timeline with a day’s worth of messages in the span of a few minutes.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – July 27, 2018

indie author weekly update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week

indie author

 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

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

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – July 20, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - July 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week

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

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

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

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

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Not on Instagram? Use It to Build Your Brand, Find Success

Instagram

Yrsa Daley-Ward, a traditionally published poet, attracts quite a crowd to her poetry readings at bookstores.

How did she gain this popularity? One word. Instagram.

She’s one of a growing breed of poets who uses Instagram and has been referred to as Instapoets.

Most Instapoets are self-published, such as Lang Laev (1 million+ followers on Tumblr), Robert Drake (1.3 million Instagram followers as of three years ago), and Tyler Knott Gregson (335,000 followers on Instagram).

In the New York Times last weekend, journalist Lovia Gyarkye reported that Daley-Ward:

“is part of a new generation of writers using social media to share their work, build their brand and find an audience.”

Perhaps the New York Times reporter just realized it but writers have been doing this for several years now. (In fact, I wrote a blog post about this phenomenon among indie poets three years ago.)

According to the 2018 Pew Research Center report on social media data, Instgram is the second most popular online platform, after YouTube

And as of last week, Instagram now has 1 billion users.

The New York Times reported that Instagram poets vary the way they use the online network.

“They use the platform in multiple ways: adding images to their poems, taking photos of printed text or, in the case of Daley-Ward, filming their laptop screens as they write.”

Below are examples of some of Daley-Ward’s Instagram posts. In this post, she shares a poem from the printed page of her book.

Instagram

In this post, she encourages people to attend an event.

Instagram

This is a post from Tyler Knott Gregson:

Instagram

And here’s a post from Tumblr from Lang Leav:

Now Follow These Four Tips

If you’re a poet, and you’re wondering what you need to do to reach your audience, follow these steps:

  1. Join Instagram and learn how to use it. Post, at least, two text images with your poetry daily. Check out these posts to get start: Should Authors Be on Instagram? Absolutely! and Instagram Tips for Every Author
  2. Sign up for Tumblr. Add your blog posts, poetry and images. Remember to keep it simple, don’t be afraid to show your true personality, join conversations with readers and other poets, and above all, be visual. Post daily.
  3. Sign up for or step up your presence on Twitter. Send five tweets daily, tweet your poetry, engage with readers, and use the hashtags #poetry, #poem, and #haiku. Refer to your Instagram posts on Twitter with the hashtag #Instapoet. Check out these posts to learn more: Grow Your Twitter Tribe with These Tips10 Things Authors Should Never Do on Twitter, and Advanced Twitter Tips for Authors.
  4. Some poets, such as Gregson, find Facebook helpful as well. Add visually appealing text-based posts, like the ones shown above, at least twice a day. In addition, notify your following of upcoming readings and signings. Check out these posts to learn more: Learn How to Create Shareable Facebook Contentand Do Authors Really Need a Facebook Page?

What If You’re Not Strictly a Poet?

Are you wondering how the same fame that these poets have achieved could possibly apply to your career?

I’m sure you’ve written a couple of poems in your life; I know that I have. So why not put them on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook? Who knows what might happen?

Learn more about Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook in my new edition of Social Media Just for Writers!

 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

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


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – June 8, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Wow! There was a plethora of book marketing blog posts on the internet this past week. I’d like to point out David Gaughran’s post on how to sell books. As usual, he offers some real gems.

As always, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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.”

Hate Book Marketing? 4 Tips To Help You Change Your Mindset and Sell More Books  from Joanna Penn and Belinda Griffin: “It’s ridiculous, you’ve written an entire series of novels, you have a great flair for writing, but this tweet, this tiny message to the world… it’s impossible! You’re not alone. I’ve suffered from this myself and spoken to plenty of other writers who feel the same. You’re not crazy, or stupid, or anything else you may have called yourself. There is, in fact, a very reasonable explanation for your struggle.”

SEO for Authors – Part 1 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Dave Chesson: “Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the art and science of convincing a search engine, like Google, to send people to your website, content, or product. As an author, why should you care?”

How to Network Better by Saying Less by Jane Friedman: “When I was growing up, my mother often repeated the adage “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” It’s rare that you hear that advice today (we live in very different times), but, for better or worse, I took it to heart and soon uncovered the strange power of silence. Far from preventing people from passing judgment on me, it did the opposite. By remaining quiet in a room full of people talking, and then offering a sharp observation, it increased my presence and influence. Sometimes people listen more carefully when you do finally speak, or they attribute meaning that isn’t there to acts of silence.”

Publishing on Medium…Can It Work for You? – BookWorks from BookWorks: “We wrote about publishing on Medium here in April 2016, when it was still finding its legs. Check out that post if you’re not familiar with Medium to understand its genesis. Since then it has grown and evolved, now offering monetization that was only in the works back then. In the interest of keeping tabs on developments, we set up a free account and receive a daily list of curated content based on the categories we selected. We watched Medium become a robust network of smart writers and experts on every imaginable subject.”

How To Strategically Build A Brand Experience By Guest by Charli Mills and from Rachel Thompson: “Before I rode off into the sunset to pursue literary art in 2012, I used to ride for an outfit, herding their brand. As the person in charge of the marketing communications department for a growing natural food enterprise, I multi-tasked in key areas. My team’s most important responsibility was to manage the organization’s brand experience. Like authors with multiple books, we owned multiple brands. We depended upon a customer base to interact with those brands to give them full expression.”

Quote of the Week

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

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


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – May 25, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to the newest edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Don’t miss Sandra Beckwith’s post 3 book launch mistakes and Mario Schulzke’s most on setting up international storefronts on Amazon.

Actually, they are all great posts so if you have a chance, read all of them. But don’t miss the two I mentioned above.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Writers, Don’t Wear a “Black Hat.” 10 Ways to Tank Your Author Brand by Anne R. Allen: “Recently there’s been a bizarre drama going on in the book world. It’s been given the name #cockygate, because it involves a cocky author who managed to trademark the word “cocky” in a deluded attempt to eliminate the “competition” and “protect” her author brand.”

How To Create A Compelling Book Cover from Joanna Penn and by Tim Hawken: “Readers do judge a book by its cover. Whether they are wandering through a physical bookstore or scrolling through an online shop or Instagram channel, a well-targeted, genre-specific cover will catch their eye.”

How to Use Smart Links To Increase Your Amazon Sales from Rachel Thompson and by Mario Schulzke: “As an author, you now have the opportunity for people from all over the world to buy and read your work. Depending on your audience, it’s totally feasible that 20-25% of all your Amazon sales can come from outside of the US. And that’s without even publishing your work in another language.”

How to Decide on a Scheduling Tool and Why They’re Helpful by guest from Rachel Thompson and by Emiie R.: “There are many great ways an author can save time in their day to day lives, but one of the best things they can do is use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to manage their social media. There are several options out there for scheduling tools and even more ways to utilize them. Deciding which to use can be difficult, but no matter which platform an author decides to use for their social media scheduling, it is guaranteed to be helpful for the author in many ways.”

Don’t make these 3 book launch mistakes on social media by Sandra Beckwith: “I’m seeing a lot of authors killing it with their book launch on social media. They understand how social media works and they use it effectively. For example, they know that each social media site has its own personality, so they don’t share the same content across all networks. Each post is tweaked according to the social media platform’s unique needs I’m also seeing a lot of book launch mistakes on social media.”

Selling Out: Going Wide or Going Exclusive to Amazon from TheBookDesigner.com and by David Kudler: “Amazon has created a program — KDP Select — that rewards publishers for offering their titles exclusively through the Kindle Store. A lot of publishers — and not just new ones — decide to put all of their eggs in the Amazon basket. They make some compelling arguments for why they do so.”

Quote of the Week

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. The best ideas are grown in the dark and mystery.

 

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

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


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Confused About Your Twitter Header? Here Are 10 Tips

Confused About Your Twitter Header? Here Are 10 Tips

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. Henry Ward Beecher

There is wasted space on the internet. Have you noticed it?

I’m specifically talking about Twitter header images. How often have you visited an author’s Twitter profile only to discover that the header image is solid blue, or green, or a picture of an author’s dog?

Twitter gives you ample space, 1500 pixels in width X 500 pixels in height, to extend your brand, publicize your books, or upload an image that matches the mood of your newest book.

What so many authors do instead is they leave the space blank, or fill it with pictures of puppies, kittens, or flowers. Or their images leave you questioning the purpose or reason for the chosen header picture.

Like I said, there’s a lot of wasted space on the internet that authors could be using to promote their brand, their books, their successes, and their careers.

Let’s look at how some authors neglected this valuable online real estate.

This historical fiction author could have, instead of the floral image, created a lovely header image that promoted her books. With a free tool, such as Canva.com, or a paid tool, such as PicMonkey.com, you can lift a scene from your book, include your book cover, or create another image that reflects your genre.

The picture below doesn’t do much for this author’s brand, does it?

Twitter header

 

Believe it or not, the author with the scary header writes romance novels. There’s a definite mismatch between her brand and the header image.

Twitter header

Here are a header image and avatar from another historical fiction author. Let’s look at the avatar. Your avatar needs to be a picture of you. Not your canary, dog, Frappuccino, or cat. You.

It shouldn’t even be a drawing of a character in your novel. Readers want to connect with you, see you, and engage with you. When you use a depiction of a character, as in this example, readers wonder who you are.

Now, for the header, it’s difficult to know if this castle is part of a story. As it stands, the image is boring.

Twitter header

Don’t ever follow this example. Use that blue space to promote your books and don’t be an egghead. Ask someone – a professional photographer, friend, or family member – to take a picture of you and upload it to all of your social media profiles.

Twitter header

 

There are a couple of things wrong with this header image. First, no one cares (except you) about the name of your publishing company. Secondly, your image needs to be properly centered.

Twitter header image

 

In this example, I can see that this author tried to get it right. He probably uploaded the cover of his book, without resizing it first, and was only able to capture part of the title. Unfortunately, his avatar blocks part of the title.

Twitter header image

 

Now let’s transition to some header images that work.

[Read more…]

5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Published My First Book

5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Published My First Book

We all make mistakes with our published books, right? And we learn from them – well most of the time.

Joel Friedlander of TheBookDesigner.com frequently tells me that when he talks to new authors about what they should do once they publish a book, he usually tells them something to the effect of, “You should have prepared for your first book two years ago.”

Ouch. But he’s right, of course.

When I published my first book in 2013, I’d had a website and two blogs for two years. And I’d been using social media for two years. Sounds good, right?

Not exactly.

5 Things I Completely Blew When I Published My First Book

While it appears that I prepared for my launch, like many authors I was focused on writing my book. Here’s a summary of five things I did wrong.

  1. The domain for my website was ACT Communications. Not a very enticing business name for writers, now was it?
  2. Although I’d been blogging for two years, one blog was for businesses. The second blog started out as a blog catering to nonprofits. I didn’t switch the theme of the second blog to writers until I published my book. So again, I wasn’t doing much to build my platform or prepare my audience, authors.
  3. The username on my Twitter account was ACT Communications. Worse, I was tweeting about social media for nonprofits and small businesses, and I wasn’t following many people, so my account was stagnant. My story gets worse. I was using a verification app that required anyone who followed me to use and be verified by the app, TrueTwit.com. If you’re using this type  app, your Twitter account is basically frozen and will never grow. Therefore, your platform will stagnate.
  4. I followed the advice of a search engine expert and created a Facebook page for my book instead of an author page. His theory was that writers should have a Facebook page for each book they write. Now I know better. If I’d created a new Facebook page for every book I’ve written my audience would be divided, and I doubt that someone who liked my first Facebook page would like subsequent pages. Why would they? Several years ago, when Facebook first allowed pages to change their names, I switched my Facebook page to an author page, and I’m much happier. Now people can find my page by searching for my name instead of the title of my book.
  5. I signed up for the Kindle Select Program on Amazon and made my book available for free several days. But guess what? I failed to add my free book to a myriad of lists that exist to publicize free books. Relying only on my social media, I had 800 downloads but think of the thousands of downloads I could have had if I’d signed up for a variety of services that publicize free books.

What I Do Differently Now

In my case, I did learn from my mistakes. Here are five things I do differently.

  1. I ditched the website ACT Communications and started SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.
  2. I focused my efforts on writers, especially indie authors.
  3. I sought speaking gigs, teaching social media to authors. So far I’ve taught through Stanford’s and UC Berkeley’s Extended Education program, I led a workshop at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference and the Redwood Writers Conference (twice), and I’m a regular presenter at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I’ve also spoken to a variety of other author organizations and at bookstores.
  4. I seek guest blogging opportunities. I’m a contributing writer for TheBookDesigner.com, was until recently a blogger and the social media expert at BookWorks, and I’ve written for a variety of other blogs, including Joanna Penn’s, Jane Friedman’s, Nina Amir’s, and Susanne Lakin’s.
  5. I expanded my brand on social media. I switched my username on Twitter from ACT Communications to Frances Caballo. Plus, I got rid of the TrueTwit application and started following 100 people a day. As I mentioned earlier, I corrected my error on my Facebook page. On LinkedIn, I always mention my newest books in my headline now, and I’ve expanded my brand further by joining Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. (Note: I don’t recommend that all authors use this many social media networks.)

8 Book Marketing Steps Worth Repeating

[Read more…]

Spring Cleaning: 7 Strategies to Clean Up Your Social Media

7 Strategies to Clean Up Your Social Media

When was the last time you thought about giving your social media a sheen? Keep reading to learn about my strategies to clean up your social media and prepare for spring.

A couple of years ago I read the little book that is still revolutionizing how people think about their stuff: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

It’s not that I have clothes and shoes cluttering my bedroom. And I’m definitely not a hoarder. In fact, about twice a year, my husband and I go through our clothes and other household items and find things that we either no longer use or just don’t fit.

But despite my way of tidying up, as I read the book, I realized that I still had stashed in my closet a Guatemalan wall hanging from the 1990s. Can you believe it?

While reading Kondo’s book, and going through one of her recommended marathon discarding sessions, I remembered the wall hanging in the back of my closet.

Even though I’d had it professionally dry-cleaned years ago, I hadn’t hung it on a wall in more than a decade.

Yet there it was in my closet, waiting for the perfect moment or room to hang again. But the truth is that I’ve never even been to Guatemala.

So why had I been carting this item from house to house, careful to keep it hung and protected in a dry cleaner’s plastic bag? I have no idea.

So I gently folded the blanket and dropped it into one of my four bags of items destined for Goodwill.

With that simple act, I instantly realized the value of Kondo’s book and appreciated her permission to let some things go to reduce the clutter in our closets and to make room only for those items that “spark joy” in us.

When Did You Last Clean Up Your Social Media?

As I thought about Kondo’s book recently, I realized that her strategies also apply to social media. For example, how long ago did you set up your social media accounts? Have you revisited them recently?

When I say revisit them, I mean when was the last time you updated your profiles? I’m as guilty as you might be at forgetting to add new books to my LinkedIn profile or updating my banner images. But as they say, there’s no time like the present to get busy and make sure our profiles are current.

Let’s take this one step at a time.

LinkedIn

Open your LinkedIn profile and follow the steps below.

Headline: Start by examining your headline. Does it include the title of your newest book? Are you describing yourself in a way that’s consistent with how you’re branding yourself today?

For example, some authors start out describing themselves as writers or authors but then develop businesses around editing or design as well. Make sure that how you describe yourself best reflects your writing and business interests.

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Everything Authors Want to Know About Instagram

Everything Authors Want to Know About Instagram

Do you use Instagram? If you don’t, or if you’re still knew to it, this post contains everything authors want to know about Instagram.

Instagram is growing day by day. According to Statista, as of September 2017 Instagram had 800 million users. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had 900 million users or more by now.

According to the Pew Research Center’s March 1st report, Instagram is the fourth most used social media network, behind Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Part of Instagram’s growth might be due to the mother of all social media networks, Facebook. After Facebook purchased the app in 2014, Instagram’s user base soared by 60%.

Instagram took off with teens and Millennials. Today, according to the Pew Research Center, 35% of all internet users in the U.S. have an Instagram account. Of those, 39% are women and 30% are men.

More About Instagram’s Users

The age breakdown among users trends toward the younger crowd. Most users are between the ages of 18 and 29.

However, there is a fairly large number of users between the ages of 30 and 49. The older age groups tend to be smaller with the 65-and-above crowd making up the smallest percentage of users.

What we know for sure is that for interacting with readers, Instagram is increasingly a great platform for engaging with them.

Readers on Instagram

If your reader demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use. If you write young adult, new adult, dystopian, and teen and young adult romance and science fiction novels, then you need to spend time connecting with your readers on Instagram.

However, some agents are recommending that all authors, including nonfiction writers with an older readership, also use Instagram.

But if your audience isn’t on Instagram, does it make sense to use it? I’m a huge proponent of saving time on social media by only spending time on those networks where you’ll find your readers and your colleagues.

But with Instagram’s popularity, it might make sense for you to follow Jane Friedman’s advice: grab your username anyway. After doing that, play around with Instagram and see whether it’s worthwhile for your genre and readership. If it isn’t, leave Instagram, focus your energy on other platforms, and return to it later to test it again.

The beauty of Instagram – and this is why it’s easy to test it – is that it’s effortless to incorporate it into your life. You’ll see why if you keep reading. For now, let’s leave the statistics behind and talk about how to sign up and use this tool.

How to Join Instagram

Profile Image

Joining this network is easy. Sign up by navigating to Instagram.com on your desktop computer or download the application on your smartphone and signup.

It’s best to use your smartphone because Instagram was developed for the mobile web and it’s best to be on your phone to add your profile image and images that your post.

As with other social media sites, do not use your book cover or image of your favorite pet as your avatar. Use the best picture of yourself that you have.

Every time you add a new network to your marketing arsenal, represent your brand as best you can. What is your brand? You.

Some writers become irritated at the mention of the term author brand but denying that it exists doesn’t deny its importance. Everything you do and say online reflects upon you so every step you take online, every post, every image you upload, needs to support your author career in as positive a manner as possible.

Username

When you select your username, use your name. If you use a pen name for your books, use that. Basically, use the name that appears on the covers of your books.

Bio

Complete your bio, which Instagram restricts to 150 characters, and add your author website address. Don’t forget to check the box next to Similar Account Suggestions so that Instagram will suggest additional users for you to follow.

Instagram Is a Mobile App

You’ll be limited in what you can do from your desktop computer. You can create your account and stream your news feed and like images and leave comments. But at its essence, Instagram is a mobile app.

As you’re out and about, visiting your favorite café, buying books, or cruising you’re your favorite downtown area or woodsy path, snap images with your smartphone. Then, upload the pictures directly to Instagram. Select a filter for your image if the image appears too dark or too bright, and post it.

Now this next step is what makes Instagram simple to use. As you post your image to Instagram, you can also post it to other accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. While I don’t recommend syncing Twitter to Facebook or even Instagram to Twitter, linking Instagram to Facebook is seamless. The comment and hashtags you write for your Instagram post will integrate smoothly with your Facebook profile. This is how to connect your accounts:

  1. Navigate to your Instagram profile on your smartphone.
  2. Tap the three dogs in the upper right-hand corner of your profile.
  3. Click Linked Accounts and select the social media networks you want to sync.

If you want a business account, which will provide you with analytics, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of your profile.
  3. Click Switch to Business Profile.

Instagram Business Profile Conversion

Once you have a business profile, you’ll connect your Instagram business profile to your Facebook author page. You’ll also get analytics for your Instagram account. You’ll be able to track demographic information of your followers, locations, and the hours and days your followers are on Instagram.

How Authors Can Use Instagram

Authors have taken to Instagram, expanding their brand, and letting readers learn more about them than what they write or blog about. Check out these examples:

Tyler Knott Gregson

You’ll find Tyler on Instagram where he’s known as Tyler Knott, an #Instapoet on this app. He’s a successful poet who rose to fame by using Instagram. He creates quote images and posts them mostly on Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s one of his poems displayed as an image:

Instagram Tyler Knott

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