Indie Author Weekly Update – April 13, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - April 13, 2018

Welcome to today’s Indie Author Weekly Update. If you’re interested  in starting a Facebook Group, and if you write fiction you should be, be certain to read Blogging Wizard’s post this week. As always, Gil Andrews, Dave Chesson, and Anne R. Allen can always be counted on for some killer material.

And enjoy your weekend!

10 Tips to Protect your Creative Writer Self in the Marketplace: “The biggest obstacle many new writers face in making the leap from beginning writer to professional author is accepting that publishing is a business. Newbie writers have often taken creative writing courses or read books that urge them to “just be yourself”, “be creative: there are no rules”, and “a book should be as long as it takes to tell the story.”

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Any Changes to Your Website by Gil Andrews: “Have you heard of the Hippocratic oath? It’s an oath that new physicians take when they graduate … Hippocrates made his students swear “by Apollo The Healer” and other cool gods with healing powers that they would uphold ethical standards when they practice medicine.”

16 Promotion Strategies To Grow Your Facebook Group 3x Faster from Blogging Wizard: “You’ve just created your first Facebook group. You expected like-minded people to flock to your group as soon as you put the finishing touches on it. You have a beautiful cover photo, you’ve set your group rules, and it’s looking pretty snazzy. You’ve done everything right. But still, nothing. Absolute crickets. No rush of people eager to join your community. You’re beginning to wonder why you bothered to go to all this effort, to begin with. After all, a Facebook group is useless if it’s not full of engaged members who fit your target market.”

The Surprisingly Simple Solution to Improving Book Exposure by Belinda Griffin: “This is the second in a series of three blog posts I’m writing to break down the top 3 book marketing challenges as revealed by my Book Marketing Frustrations Survey. In the first post, I explained that successful authors focus on readers for better results. This time I’m going to show you how to deal with the problem of not getting enough book exposure.”

9 Ways a Crappy Book Cover Can Sabotage a Marketing Campaign by Joan Stewart from TheBookDesigner.com: “When authors consult with me on any topic related to book marketing and publicity, I ask them a question they usually don’t expect. “May I see the book cover? “I don’t need your help with the cover,” the author says. “I want help identifying the types of stories I can pitch to the media.” Why do I ask to see your book cover?”

Facebook in the News

Facebook rewrites Terms of Service, clarifying device data collection from TechCrunch: “Facebook  is spelling out in plain English how it collects and uses your data in rewritten versions of its Terms of Service and Data Use Policy, though it’s not asking for new rights to collect and use your data or changing any of your old privacy settings.The public has seven days to comment on the changes (though Facebook doesn’t promise to adapt or even respond to the feedback) before Facebook will ask all users to consent to the first set of new rules in three years.”

If You Had One Hour With Mark Zuckerberg, What Would You Ask? Here’s What I Learned About The State And Future Of Facebook, Data, Politics And Bad Actors by Brian Solis: “In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, data misappropriation, #deletefacebook, calls for regulation and pending testimony to U.S. Congress, Facebook announced a series of initiatives to restrict data access and also a renewed selfie awareness to focus efforts on protecting people on the platform. What’s more notable however is that Mark Zuckerberg also hosted a last-minute, rare town hallwith media and analysts to explain these efforts and also take tough questions for the better part of an hour.”

Quote of the Week

Knowledge is power, and power is best shared among readers. by Frances Caballo

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.

This book is a very useful tool for writers looking to extend and reach their audiences. It has systematic detailed information about how to set up accounts and create a professional online profile and author branding. Recommended to anyone curious about why social media is still such a big thing for everyone, particularly for writers.

 

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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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…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – March 16, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Today’s Indie Author Weekly Update focuses on book marketing strategies. If there’s only two posts you have time to read, be sure to read Gill Andrews’s post on author websites, and then read the post by Joel Friedlander on why your book might not be selling.

Have a great weekend!

15 Reasons Why Your Book Isn’t Selling by Joel Friedman: “We’ve all been there: a book we were excited about, one that we worked on earnestly. But when it hit the market, all that came back was a big yawn. No author wants to be in that situation, most of all a self-published author. We gamble our own time, money, and commitment to our books, and we really need a positive response sometimes just to keep going. But there it is: your baby isn’t selling.”

Five Things You Need As You Begin A Career As A Self-Published Author from BookBaby: “The most important part of being a writer is writing, but if you want a career as a self-published author, you have to do a whole lot more than just write: you have to learn the business of writing and market yourself in a way that puts you on the same playing field as mainstream authors with big publishing houses behind them.”

Want More Readers for Your Blog and Books? Fix These 5 Website Mistakes from Anne R. Allen and by by Gill Andrews: “Writing and sharing your ideas with others – sure. But this website thing? You just wanted more people to read your stories. But now you spend hours agonizing over blog post topics, looking for free images, and figuring out why that widget on your website refuses to work.”

Book Marketing 101: Need to Sell More Books? This Is How! by Dave Chesson: “Book marketing is an extremely important part of a self-publisher’s success. But it can also be confusing.  That’s why I’ve broken down the process into 3 phases and given you a guide for each step. Honestly, if I were to write a complete book on Modern Online Book Marketing, this would be EXACTLY IT.  So, enjoy it for free.”

Tips on the Business of Writing and Publishing from Jane Friedman: “For AWP 2018, I hired a team of writers to help me cover business-related sessions, as part of the launch for my newest book (official release date: March 16). Their blog posts are available over at the companion website for the book.”

8 Tips to Get Great Amazon Book Reviews by Lisa Tener: “One strategy that can help catapult your book to page one on Amazon results are your Amazon book reviews. Of course, your book needs to be categorized well on Amazon (with the right keywords and categories). It needs to be well-written, too! But after these “givens” reviews rock.”

Man Booker Prize

Man Booker Prize International Longlist: Books Translated From 10 Languages by Porter Anderson

Quote of the Week

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out. Alfred Hitchcock

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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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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Indie Author Weekly Update – February 16, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts that I really like. Yeah, I suppose I shouldn’t use the word really but how else to describe these posts other than to use the word love, which just wouldn’t work in this context.

So please read Jane Friedan’s post on book reviews because this is a question every author asks me. Dave Chesson’s post on Amazon categories is brilliant as usual. And if you want your book to be a BookBub featured deal, you absolutely must read the first post listed below. All the posts below are must-reads.

And have a great weekend, too!

How to Boost Your Chances of Getting a BookBub Featured Deal from BookBub: “In the past, we’ve posted tips and busted myths about getting accepted for a BookBub Featured Deal, and we’ve even listed the top reasons a book is rejected! Since we still get questions on how to bolster one’s chances of getting selected for a Featured Deal, we decided to put together a visual “cheat sheet.” We hope this helps you better understand what our editors are looking for when reviewing submissions, whether you’ve submitted deals before and are looking for a refresher or you’re a new partner in need of a first-time overview.”

Secret Method to Choosing Amazon Book Categories in KDP from Dave Chesson: “The Amazon book categories you choose will have a direct effect on whether or not you become an Amazon Best Seller. Choose the wrong one, and no matter how many books you sell, you won’t become an Amazon bestseller. In truth, there is a lot more to choosing Amazon book categories in KDP, like secret categories that Amazon doesn’t tell you about when publishing, and the simple fact that you can actually be listed for 7 categories legitimately.”

The New Facebook Algorithm: Secrets Behind How It Works and What You Can Do To Succeed from Buffer: “The Facebook algorithm is constantly evolving in order to provide a better experience for users. But few changes to the algorithm have sparked as much interest and conversation as the recent ‘meaningful interactions’ update, in which Facebook said it would be prioritizing posts that create meaningful conversations, especially those from family and friends.”

Five Marketing Tools for Authors Who Hate Marketing from Writer Unboxed: “Disclaimer: Hating marketing is not required to use these tools. In fact, if you enjoy marketing, you’ll have a blast using them. I’m active in several online writing communities, and one of the most frequent things I read about is how much authors hate marketing. It’s usually accompanied by talk about art and creativity, and once in a while someone tosses this suggestion across the virtual meeting room: all you have to do is write a great story and they will come.”

How to Market a Kindle Book: 10 Easy Marketing Strategies for New Authors from Sabrina Ricci: “Writing your book was hard enough, now you have to market it? Oh man… Never fear, here are 10 easy strategies to sell more copies of your book.”

The Essential First Step for New Authors: Book Reviews, Not Sales from Jane Friedman: “You know how good your work is. You created it. You lived with it through the phases of publication gestation: idea, brainstorming, outline, research, writing, and rewriting. You have improved, enhanced, and polished your work to a degree you didn’t think possible. You believe it’s perfect.”

Quote of the Week

Mary Mackey

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com and has 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

 

Get Your Visuals Seen!

Get your visuals on Pinterest. But first learn how to use Pinterest. Pick up a copy of my book, Pinterest Just for Writers!

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – February 9, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Update. If you’re starting a website or wanting to upgrade the one your have, be sure to read Brant Forseng’s post. If you’re confused about boosting Facebook posts, read Andrea Vahl’s post. Definitely read the post by Calvin Emerson on book cover trends; it’s wonderful.

Have a lovely weekend!

7 Best Book Cover Trends to Stay Current in 2018 from Joel Friedlander and by Calvin Emerson: “If you publish in a genre or category where readers expect fresh and new book cover designs, it pays to know what the design trends are at any time. Like other forms of fashion, styles in illustration, typography, and visual approach change from time to time, and just by looking at recent covers you can see that the designs tend to replicate across the genre, with many similar covers every season.”

Seven Ways to Market Your Self-Published Novel by Ali Luke: “You’ve published your first novel (or maybe your second or your third) and now you’re ready to market it. This can be a daunting moment. I think all of us secretly hope that our novel will be miraculously discovered and recognised as the masterpiece it truly is … but we know that isn’t going to happen without some sort of marketing.”

Indie Authors: Using Giveaways to Find New Readers and Sell More Books by Sabrina Ricci: “A giveaway is a powerful tool that can help indie authors attract new readers. You can incentivize people to spread the word about your book through social media, sign up for your email list, and garner interest in your other books (which can lead to more sales).”

Facebook Organic Reach: Does Boosting Posts Lower Your Reach? by Andrea Vahl: “There is a myth going around that boosting posts lowers your reach on Facebook.  Maybe you have “felt” that this is true.  Or maybe you have been worried that by boosting a post you are “hurting” your Page in the future. In this post, you will find out if this myth is true and how to tell for yourself if your organic reach is being hurt by boosting your posts.”

27 Author Website Resources by Brant Forseng: “ If you have been an indie writer (or, indeed, any type of writer) for a while you will have stumbled across the concept of an Author Platform.  This is usually a website, independent of social media platforms, where your audience can view your writing, subscribe to a your newsletter, and generally keep up with anything you care to share with them.  The general consensus is that you require one in your indie writing career.  Building one can be daunting, so  I’ve gathered together 27 Author Website Resources to help out.”

Can Instagram Make Poems Sell Again? from Pubishers Weekly: “Is poetry dead? At least once a year—usually around April, which is National Poetry Month—headlines asking this question pop up in print and web publications alike. In fact, hand-wringing over poetry’s waning influence in the public sphere can seem, sometimes, to be almost as popular an activity in the poetry world as reading and writing poetry. For a long time, that hand-wringing seemed well earned; the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, for instance, reported in 2015 that the share of Americans who had read at least one work of poetry in the previous year had dropped from 17% in 1992 to 6.7% in 2012. Then came Rupi Kaur.”

Quote of the Week

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 26, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

In this week’s Indie Author Update the focus is primarily on book marketing. But also read the post on building your email list by Blogging Wizard because an email list is so important to an author’s success.

Agent Laurie McLean’s Crystal Ball: Publishing Predictions for 2018 by Anne R. Allen and Laurie McLean: “My crystal ball is telling me that not a lot in the publishing industry is going to change from 2017 to 2018. I think publishing was mesmerized by Washington politics in 2017 and were slow to make any forward progress of any sort. Not a lot of new ideas. No new imprints that take advantage of the power of digital publishing and promotion. No exploration of sales innovations that come along with a cheap digital distribution system. Nada.”

5 Easy List Building Techniques To Get You More Email Subscribers from the Blogging Wizard: “Growing your email list is important when starting your online business. Without a list of leads, acquiring business will be difficult. That’s why you often hear from markets that the money is in the list. But how do you go about gaining more subscribers if you already have the basics covered? You’ve invested in a strong lead magnet, made it easy for visitors to sign up to your list, and you even have content upgrades placed in your blog posts for higher conversions. If you are still finding you have little to no sign-ups on a consistent basis, it might mean you need to strategically market your lead magnet or landing page.

How to Increase the ROI of Your BookBub Ads (+ a BookBub Fast Pass) from Writer Unboxed: “Many authors are familiar with BookBub’s Featured Deals, the editorially-selected price promotions included in each daily email. BookBub Ads also appear in these emails, but there are several important differences between the two promotional tools. Most notably, you can run BookBub Ads for any book at any time — full-priced books, new releases, novellas, etc. — without needing to go through any editorial review process. The platform is totally self-serve, allowing you to determine your own budget and timeline.”

How Indie Presses Are Elevating the Publishing World by Jennifer Baker from Electric Literature: “Independent presses are a lifeline in the publishing world. At a time when large publishing houses are merging into even larger conglomerates, writers may feel like finding a home for their work requires a very specific, and at times corporate, mindset. But indies show that there’s another way. Via contests, open calls for submissions (for agented and unagented writers), and targeted requests, independent presses provide an alternate arena, making publishing more of a reality for marginalized artists and those with unique voices and writing styles. Plus, they’re getting more and more recognition. This year Graywolf Press had several titles as finalists or longlisted for the National Book Award. Paul Harding’s Pulitzer winning book Tinkers was published by a university aligned press (Bellevue Literary).”

What Kinds of Social Media Go Viral? from Writers in the Storm: “In last month’s post, I shared social media strategies that support your brand and let you have a life. I don’t know about you, but I like having social media be something I fit into MY life, rather than the other way around. The big question everyone wants to know is: How do I get my post to go viral?” First, we need to understand what kinds of posts get shared extensively and why. There are many many schools of thought on what gets others to share your content, but I decided to go with science because we want results that can be duplicated.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – January 2018 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Amy Collins: “A publisher client of mine priced his new ebook at $9.99 because he believed that a higher-priced ebook would have more cache. He was concerned that a lower-priced ebook would lower the perceived quality of the novel. So he priced his book at the same level that established authors price theirs (even though he was not as well known).”

Quote of the Week

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

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

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Meet Romantic Suspense Author Sharon Hamilton


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

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

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

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

Here are some of my notes from our recent discussion:

Sharon’s Early Career as a Writer

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

Why Sharon Hamilton Writes about Navy Seals

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

Street Teams and Facebook Groups

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

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

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

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

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

Newsletters, Contests and BookBub Ads

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

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

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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Feeling Introverted? No Problem. Read These 10 Tips

Feeling Introverted? No Problem.

I’ve been introverted all my life, although friends who know me well don’t believe it. But it’s true. I don’t like going to parties where I don’t recognize people, although once I’m there, I do tend to have fun.

But the thought of being in a room of people I don’t know can, at times, inhibit me from going out. Even being in a room of people where I’ll know a few people can be intimidating.

Do you ever feel the same way?

If you’re a writer, you probably understand how I feel since most writers tend to be introverts. How else can we bear to spend hours by ourselves writing? We enjoy our own company, or at least the company of our fictional characters.

Many years ago I held a job that forced me to become less introverted. As the development director of a large nonprofit, I had to talk with all the donors and their guests for an evening of fundraising. After a few sips of champagne, I was usually able to step into a crowd of people and greet them and make sure they enjoyed their evening.

Even though I appeared outgoing for the night, the next day I would stay at home and read a book. Introverts get energized by being alone whereas extroverts get energized by being with people.

But I digress.

As a child, my introverted nature served me well.

  1. I always won spelling bees (because I read a lot).
  2. My writing (and reading) skills surpassed those of my sister, who was three years older.
  3. I excelled at school.

But as I grew up, being introverted made life more difficult for me.

  1. I had difficulty making new friends.
  2. In college, I would rather read and study than face a room filled with people I didn’t know at a party.

There have been other benefits and disadvantages to being introverted as well but, I share these to make a point: Being introverted may cause you to feel uncomfortable at times but, it’s also an asset. How else would you finish your books?

As a writer, you need to break out of your introverted nature enough so that you can market the books you spend so much time in solitude writing and perfecting.

In my case, I stuttered as a child, which probably pushed me further up the introverted spectrum. But by the time I reached high school and entered the workforce, my stuttering was behind me.

My career as a journalist forced me to talk with new people all the time, and that in turn made social situations more comfortable. By the time I published my first book, I wasn’t an extrovert, but I was more comfortable pretending to be an extrovert when needed.

This is exactly what you need to do. When appropriate, such as at book readings and signings and when appearing as a guest at book club gatherings, relax and don’t worry about what you’ll say. Let your words flow as you pretend that your closest friends surround you.

There have been studies that indicate that social media is good for introverts because it enables people who love to stay at home get out into the world – even if it’s a virtual experience – and meet and interact with new people every day.

There is a caveat to this. Pretending to be an extrovert should not be interpreted as an excuse for constantly promoting your books on social media. Instead, it’s an invitation to form relationships with writers and readers worldwide and support each other in promoting what you write.

11 Exercises for Introverted Writers

These exercises are for writers working on their marketing platform.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – January 12, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update focuses primarily on book marketing. Be sure to read the posts by Dave Chesson on Kindle keywords and Joel Friedlander’s take on the release of Fire and Fury.

5 Reasons Goodreads is a Book Marketing Staple by Penny Sansevieri: “Goodreads has mixed reviews at best when I chat book marketing strategies with authors at conferences, but I really want 2018 to be about maximizing on YOU, on using what makes you unique to sell more books, and Goodreads is a great platform for achieving that goal.”

Trapped in the Fire and Fury of the World’s Greatest Book Launch by Joel Friedlander: “Like you, I’ve been trapped in what seems like a book marketing fantasy gone mad. Look, I’ve been publishing and marketing books for a long time, and enjoy watching the really big book launches that still dot the cultural calendar. Politicians launching much-awaited books like Bill Clinton’s 1000 +page My Life was a pretty big deal. Every book launch by Tim Ferris uses tactics no one else has seen. Guy Kawasaki has conducted numerous launches for his best selling books.”

How To Choose the Right Kindle Keywords by Dave Chesson: “Whether you’re a famous author or this is your first book, Kindle Keywords are an important part of any book marketing strategy. Kindle keywords allow your book to be discovered by hungry shoppers on the world’s largest book market, Amazon, even while you sleep. They help make it so that you get sales and get discovered without having to do major marketing. Plain and simple, they are important.”

Authors’ New Year’s Resolutions for Marketing Their Books from BookBub: “It’s a brand new year, which is a great time to get a fresh start on goals. You may already have personal New Year’s resolutions (exercise more, write more, etc.), but you might want to consider setting specific book sales and marketing goals.”

Six Social Media Marketing Tips For First-Time Authors from BookBaby: “If you’re looking for readership and engagement, finishing your book is the first step. These social media marketing tips can help you frame your approach to the process of promoting yourself and your work online.”

Bring Social Media to Your Blog with Embedded Posts  from TheBookDesigner.com by Frances Caballo: “Embedding your social media posts on your blog or elsewhere on your website can benefit your website in several ways. First, you can demonstrate your social proof to your blog visitors. In other words, they can see your number of shares, retweets, and Likes you’ve accumulated.”

Quote of the Week

Ernest Hemingway quote

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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