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.

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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

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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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Indie Author Weekly Update – March 9, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to today’s edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Do you have trouble getting book reviews? Hey, everyone does. That’s why I included Written Word Media’s post on how to get more reviews.

As always, I hope you have a great weekend!

Five Marketing Tools for Authors Who Hate Marketing from Writer Unboxed: ” If you’re a writer and you’re on social media, have a website, blog, or even just talk about your work with friends, you’re already marketing. So here are five inexpensive and relatively easy-to-use tools to help optimize the marketing you’re already doing.”

3 Inspirational Design Ideas from Bestselling Book Covers from TheBookDesigner.com and by Dave Chesson: “Have you ever come across a book cover design so striking that you not only stop and admire it, but also analyze and learn from it? The best book covers are more than just attractive adornments to the books we love. They also offer ideas and inspiration we can use to guide our own work. There’s no limit to the vast array of inspirational covers out there. Books of all genres and types have covers that not only please the eye but also inspire the mind.”

4 Ways to Create Your Author Persona by Donna Galanti: “Everyone’s persona (or brand) is unique (just like you) and it’s your own personal story that you choose to convey that will draw your readers to you. As Dr. Seuss said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” After all, it’s so much easier to be you than someone else!”

How to Use Scheduling To Automate Your Social Media by Joanna Penn: “Some people think I’m on social media all the time because my presence is there 24/7, but my secret weapon is automation and scheduling, as well as tools that enable me to use social media without spending all my time on it.”

How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon from Written Word Media: “One of the first challenges you’ll face when publishing your book is getting book reviews. Book reviews are important because 1) Books with reviews sell more copies, 2) Many book promotion sites require a minimum number of reviews to use their service and 3) Verified reviews are an additional metric Amazon can use to promote your book.”

Quote of the Week

All I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.E. B. WHITE

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. 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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How to Sell a Truckload of Books with Penny Sansevieri


I recently invited Penny Sansevieri to my Conversations with Frances webinar series. Below you’ll find a condensed summary of some of our conversation. Be sure to watch the video to glean all of Penny’s great suggestions.

  • Book selling strategies vary depending on the genre and title. But what we know is 95% of books are sold by word of mouth. So look at getting reviews. The No. 1 thing she recommends is building your list of super fans or a street team.
  • 99% of authors don’t market their books. A good measure of authors believe in the field of dreams theory … that because they wrote a book, readers will come.
  • Authors need to turn to their super fan base to get them to review books. You don’t need a huge list as long as your readers are fanatical about your writing.
  • One way to build a fan base is to include a letter in the back of the book and ask readers to contact you. The next step is to add them to your email list and start communicating with you. Then start asking them questions, such as what they want to see in your book or let them help you to select a book cover. They in turn get exclusive deals. For example, give them a free book two weeks before a book goes off presale or a tote.
  • According to the book The Curve, you need 1,000 super fans to get on the New York Times bestseller list.
  • Nowadays, it’s easier to connect with readers due to social media, email, and video.
  • Book launches are very important but the most successful books are those that are promoted over the long term.
  • Pre-orders are fun but once the pre-order is over sales can drop and that can in turn will hurt sales.
  • She loves to re-launch books. Sometimes you can split up books and create a series. Consider refreshing a cover. Update the content.
  • Book series are doing better than movie series.
  • Christmas novellas are popular.
  • Always pitch bloggers for reviews. Reviews continue to help your amazon visibility. Amazon is just a search engine and it responds to the same cues as Google does. Continually reach out to readers, ask readers for reviews, and do speaking engagements. Give out character trading cards.
  • How should authors use social media to promote their books? There’s a lot of noise out there that’s not productive. You need to remember that it’s about conversations. Also, it’s not about being everywhere but being where it counts. Cut out the useless noise and get rid of the social media sites that are doing anything for you. In some cases a video connection can be great.
  • Start to research similar authors in your genre. You want to find what social media sites they are on, where they’re getting the most momentum, and invest your time there.
  • Be sure to talk to your readers on social media.

The Next Webinar is January 11th!

Sharon HamiltonSharon Hamilton started writing several years ago on a rainy day. It’s wasn’t long before she was publishing, writing more books, blogging, and achieving success as an indie author. We’ll follow the trajectory of her career and the factors that contributed to her success in this webinar. Join us on January 11 at 11 am PST / 2 pm EST.

 

 

 

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 – January 5, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Update. You’ll find book marketing and publishing predictions, help with being Google friendly, and information on Amazon keyword search.

Guest Post: 10 Tips on How to Be Google Friendly in 2018  from Sabrina Ricci and by Chris Hickman: ” Webmasters who want to rank high in Google’s engine need to ensure that their sites conform to Google’s standards. Google wants its highest-ranked sites for any keyword to have a high level of quality. By controlling for quality, users can have a good experience with their searches and retain their good impression of Google.”

2018 Book Publishing Predictions – Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence? by Mark Coker: “Welcome to my annual publishing predictions post where I prognosticate about the future and share my views on the state of the indie nation. Each year around this time I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and ask it what the heck is going to happen next.”

The Fast Book Marketing Start In 2018 from the Book Marketing Buzz Club: “The New Year is upon us.  Enthusiasm is in the air.  Everyone feels a bit of optimism when they think about writing a book or promoting one in 2018.  Everything feels possible, seems hopeful, and looks good.  We are on our annual kick to see the bright potential in our lives, the world, and our writing careers. But that feeling can only be sustained and validated with hard work.”

Optimizing Your Books for Amazon Keyword Search from Jane Friedman by Penny Sansevieri: “Even though many experts talk about Amazon keywords, categories, and pricing, few experts mention this important fact: Amazon is more a search engine than a store. In fact, Amazon is the ‘Google’ of online buying.”

Quote of the Week

Richard Price

 

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

 

Join Sharon Hamilton and I on January 11

Sharon HamiltonSharon Hamilton started writing several years ago on a rainy day. It’s wasn’t long before she was publishing, writing more books, blogging, and achieving success as an indie author. We’ll follow the trajectory of her career and the factors that contributed to her success in this webinar. Join us on January 11 at 11 am PST / 2 pm EST.

 

 

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – December 15, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update focuses on book marketing. I’m sure you’ll enjoy these posts by Penny Sansevieri, Jane Friedman, Amy Collins and others.

A Book Launch Plan for First-Time Authors Without an Online Presence  by Jane Friedman: “While it’s not easy to launch a book without any kind of online presence, many first-time authors are in exactly that position. Unfortunately, it’s an exercise in frustration to launch one’s online presence—and get up to speed on social media—in conjunction with a book release. It’s like trying to drive a car at the same time you’re building it. At some point, you’ll end up on the side of the road.”

5 Characteristics of a Bestseller Every Indie Author Must Nail  by Penny Sansevieri: “In over 16 years in this book marketing business and as an indie author myself, I’ll admit I still get surprised. Almost weekly. Some books that you’d swear are a sure thing, never take off. Others that publish on a wing and a prayer, end of being cult favorites. But I can tell you that there are 5 characteristics of a bestseller that every indie author should take note of in prep for publication.”

“Am I Still a Real Writer If I Don’t Feel Compelled to Write?” by Elisa Gabbert: “There are some (a lot?) of writers who say shit like, “I have to write, I couldn’t not write, writing saves my life” etc. etc. (like cough my ex before last whom I’ll apparently never get over). So the reason I don’t think I’m a real writer, even though I’ve been published and some writers/people I respect have told me I can write well is because I don’t feel like I have to write.”

You have to check out these best writing websites for writers right now! writing websites by Amber Roshay: “Are you an author already or would you like to become one? There’s so much to learn once you start down this path. I had my first novel published in 2015. Now I have 5 books out and hope to keep writing them. Over the past few years I’ve discovered some terrific websites that have become long term resources for me as an author.”

Getting Holiday Book Sales as the Big Day Approaches: Steps 7-9  from BookBaby  Note: This post is a three-part series. Get the first part here and the second part here.: “You’re competing with so much holiday marketing – TV ads, radio blitzes, triple the amount of emails landing in your in-box – but there are still plenty of opportunities to have your voice heard and your message received. As a self-published author you just have to think a little differently and take advantage of a few tried-and-true book selling tactics.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – December 2017 from Joel Friedlander by Amy Collins: “Do This Not That for December is focused on guidance for authors who have dreamed of quitting their day jobs and making a living as writers. There are a LOT of us who have published our first book hoping that the sales from that book would give us a steady income. The bad news? The numbers show that very few authors make a living with their first book. The good news? A LOT of authors make a living as writers by publishing numerous books. Do you want to make a living as a writer? Then be a writer. Keep writing.”

Just for Fun

A Hogwarts House Reading List: 20 Books for Gryffindors by Book Riot: “So, you’re a Gryffindor, a member of the best house. (Hey, nobody ever said arrogance wasn’t also a Gryffindor quality, right?) Maybe you’re a Harry type who doesn’t usually read unless you’ve got an assignment due tomorrow or have some Horcruxes to hunt down, or maybe you’re a Hermione type who’s never met a book you didn’t want to read. Either way, this list should have you covered!”

Quote of the Week

Tony Hillerman

 

Want to save time with social media? Get Avoid Social Media Time Suck for 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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Use GIFS to Ignite Your Book Marketing

via GIPHY

GIFS are all the rage. You see them on Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters, and virtually wherever you turn your attention to on the internet.

Experts will tell you that the only way to stop your followers from scanning a Twitter newsfeed is with a GIF.

Actually, GIFs are so eye-catching that wherever you use them, people will stop, smile, and replay the GIF a second or third time – at least.

You can also use GIFs for book marketing. You just need a sense of humor and a dash of ingenuity.

Take a series of pictures while reading from your newest book or have someone take pictures of you while you write or type at your desk. Any of these examples can be used to market yourself and your books and add some levity along the way.

Let’s get down to how to create a GIF. You can snap the pictures – or have someone snap them for you – or search for a GIF and use it instead. Or you can have someone take a series of shots as you read through a book, making it appear that you are quite the speed reader.

Did you know that you can use Canva.com to create a GIF? Just create a series of images, upload them to an app, then grab the URL and use it on social media or in your MailChimp newsletter.

Using my dog as an example, I took a series of pictures of her, uploaded them to the application Giphy, added a tag, and voila, here’s my GIF.

via GIPHY

You can also add GIFs to your MailChimp newsletter. Use the search bar at Giphy to find a GIF and copy the URL.

Then when you’re on MailChimp, click the image icon.

Then paste the URL from Giphy.

Voila, you have a GIF for your newsletter.

via GIPHY

Why Authors Need to Use GIFs

According to HootSuite, here are a few reasons why you should start using GIFs:

  • GIFs show that you’re paying attention to internet trends
  • GIFs show that you and your brand has a fun side
  • GIFs can add more context to a shorter message, post, or Tweet
  • GIFs get your message across in a shorter amount of time
  • GIFs are easily shareable
  • GIFs convey emotions better than text or photos alone

GIF Applications

There are two main applications you can use to find GIFs.

  1. Giphy
  2. Bin

Use these applications to create GIFs.

When using Giphy, you have the options to copy the link to add to MailChimp, download the GIF for uploading to social media, embed the GIF in a blog post (as I did in this post), and to share the GIF directly from Giphy to a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Learn to Make Your Own GIFs

How do you plan to use GIFs in your book marketing?


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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.

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Meet Rebecca Vnuk of IndiePicks Magazine

Rebecca Vnuk


Rebecca VnukToday’s blog post is an interview with Rebecca Vnuk, Editor in Chief of
IndiePicks Magazine. Rebecca was most recently the Editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach with Booklist Publications and has an MLIS from Dominican University. Before her editing career, Rebecca worked for a decade as a public librarian, in a variety of positions from Readers’ Advisor to adult services management. She is the author of three reference books on the topic of Women’s Fiction, as well as a best-selling book on weeding library collections.

Please explain why IndiePicks was formed and what it hopes to accomplish.

Our publisher, Naomi Blackburn, is a huge fan of indie authors. She noticed that the review magazines she’d look at in her local library rarely mentioned indies and never mentioned any self-pubbed authors, so she decided she wanted to create a review magazine that would.

Do you see IndiePicks as filling a void in the industry?

Yes–it’s hard enough for librarians and readers to keep up with what the “Big Five” are putting out there, and many times, libraries won’t/can’t order books without a professional review.

Which categories or genres does IndiePicks consider? Are there genres that IndiePicks won’t consider?

Right now, we have started with ten reviewers who cover General Fiction, General Nonfiction, YA, Children’s, Romance, Horror, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers. We hope to grow in the new year to separate out even more fiction and non-fiction categories. We’ll consider any book that’s well-written!

What is meant by the statement that “IndiePicks is a recommended-only resource”?

Some review sources do offer negative reviews, but we’d prefer to use our space to promote only books that our review team would recommend to readers or purchase for their own library collections.

Why don’t libraries include independently-published books? Or, do some libraries carry these books that you know of? Is there a process for considering them?

Some do, many do not. There are a lot of factors at play, from whether or not they are getting requests for these books to whether or not they are seeing reviews for them (can’t buy them if you don’t know about them!). That’s where we’d like to think we come in. Several of our reviewers are actively adding indie books to their public library collections, and that’s part of the reason they’ve been selected to review for us!

Why do you think some libraries are hesitant to include independently published books?

I would wager that it’s mostly because they don’t know enough about them. If they aren’t getting professional reviews, then librarians don’t know if they are any good or not. We are in tough times right now for most library budgets, and many librarians simply aren’t comfortable spending precious dollars on unproven works or unknown authors. It’s a difficult spot to be in.

What is your vision as editor for IndiePicks Magazine?

I hope that we continue to grow and add more reviewers, which equals more books that we can review each month! I also would love to see us branch out into a one-stop shop for indies. Who knows? Webinars? Lists? All kinds of opportunities await.

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