Indie Author Weekly Update – December 7, 2018

indie author

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. If you want to learn more about book marketing, you came to the right place. You’ll find posts from Dave Chesson, Penny Sansevieri, Anne R. Allen, and others. Plus, there’s a link to this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards winners.

You’ve Finished Your First Novel! What to Do Now: 7 Do’s and Don’ts by Anne R. Allen: “Did you win NaNo? Is it a first novel? Congratulations!!! Only about 3% of people who start novels actually finish, so you’re a major winner right there. You’ve done something spectacular. So break out the bubbly and savor the moment! After that…what comes next?”

How to Define and Describe Your Readership: A Confusing Issue for Nonfiction Book Proposals by Jane Friedman: “If you’re pitching a nonfiction book, at some point, an editor or agent will expect you to describe the readership that your book is intended for. Or, if you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to define this for yourself to market the book properly.”

Self-publishing Success Story: Indie Audiobook is Finalist for Voice Arts Award from the Alliance of Independent Authors and by Brad Borkan: “Recently my audiobook narrator Dennis Kleinman and I had the incredible honor of having the audiobook for When Your Life Depends on It nominated as a finalist in the “Best Audiobook – History” category of the Voice Arts Awards. Here’s how our audiobook came to life, and how it came to be competing for a major prize in Hollywood.”

Boost Your Amazon Book Promotion with Pre-Order Strategies by Penny Sansevieri: “The Amazon pre-order option for KDP authors (Kindle Direct Publishing has really helped level the playing field between traditionally published authors and those who have self-published through KDP. Let’s look at how this can benefit your Amazon book promotion!”

How to Use Top Book Blogs to Build Your Author Brand from BookWorks and by Dave Chesson: “In today’s article on author branding, we’re going to look at how to make use of top book blogs to gain additional momentum for your book at launch, greater exposure to a qualified readership, and an evergreen source of external traffic for your book’s sales page. The importance of seeking as many channels as possible to gain exposure for your book cannot be overstated.”

2018 Goodreads Choice Awards: More than 5 million votes were cast and counted in the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards honoring the year’s best books. See who the winners were.

Quote of the week

indie author

 

Want to know all of my best social media marketing tips? Get a copy of Social Media Just for Writers.

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 Strategies for Writers

Indie Author Weekly Update – November 30, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to the newest edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. This week’s edition covers book reviews and author websites. Plus there’s a post on how to take charge of your creative life. There is plenty to like in the posts below.

User Experience: 6 Author Website Mistakes to Avoid from BookWorks and by Tyler Doornbos: “In more than a decade of making websites, first as a freelance designer/developer for small businesses and individuals, and later as a principal of a design firm, I’ve reviewed a lot of sites. The truth is, that even when they come from professional designers and cutting-edge developers, many sites share the same basic user experience issues. This post will teach you how to avoid the most common mistakes on your author website so that you can outperform the competition.”

Take Charge of Your Creative Life: The SWOT Analysis from Jane Friedman’s blog and by Dave Chesson: “Do you ever feel like you’re swimming against the tide in your creative life? As authors, we have a vast array of ways to spend our time. Time is our only non-renewable resource. Given how precious it is, are you truly making the most of yours? Without a properly calibrated creative compass, it’s easy to spend time on urgent, rather than important, activities. One way to regain control and peace of mind as an author is the SWOT framework.”

How Improving Your Author Website Can Help Sell More Books from TheBookDesigner.com and by Lee Foster: “All of us following Joel’s The Book Designer website have at least one common goal: We want to sell more books, either existing books or books we are now developing.”

21 Signs Your Self-Published Book Could Turn A Profit  from Self-Publishing Relief: “Most self-published authors hope to publish a book (or books!) that will make some money. But while some indie books become popular with book-buying readers, other books struggle to break out beyond an audience of friends and family. How do you know if your self-published book could turn a profit? The experts at Self-Publishing Relief share which factors may play a part in your indie book’s sales forecast.”

Book Marketing: 15 Practical Ways to Get More Book Reviews from Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center: “Book reviews. All authors want them (the positive ones, at least!). Fielding a great one can make our day. But many writers are finding that reeling in reviews is getting harder. If you share that view, are you sure you’re doing all you can to attract them?”

Quote of the Week

indie author

 

Want to know all of my best social media marketing tips? Get a copy of Social Media Just for Writers.

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 Strategies for Writers

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.

[Read more…]

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.

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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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