Indie Author Weekly Update – October 19, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - October 19, 2018

I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Update. You’ll find informative posts from Diana Urban from BookBub, Rachel Thompson, Sandra Beckwith, and Amy Collins. Plus, there’s a podcast episode from Dave Chesson. Enjoy!

How Successful Authors Use Social Media: 23 Content Ideas by Diana Urban: “Social media can be a useful part of an author’s platform, helping them connect with readers, fellow writers, and the publishing community. But deciding what content to post next can be a struggle. So how do successful authors use social media to engage with their fans? And what can authors post on social media besides links to their own books?”

What You’re Doing Wrong on Twitter and How to Make It Right from Anne R. Allen and by Rachel Thompson: “Twitter is a wonderful way to connect with readers, book bloggers, and book reviewers if you are connecting with them strategically. Many writers are completely flummoxed how to do that.

Episode 51: The Cold Hard Truth About Book Marketing Services by Dave Chesson: “If you’re worried about marketing your book and are looking into getting a book marketing service, I advise you to proceed with caution. There are some that will work fine with your book, however many will take any book and put it through a conveyor-belt like process for marketing your book.”

3 ways to pitch your book to the press as the perfect holiday gift by Sandra Beckwith: “Every year at this time, newspapers, online news sites, and bloggers start thinking about their holiday gift guides. You’ll start seeing them in late November and all through December.”

Must read post for all writers

Understanding the Current “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Amazon Book Reviews by Amy Collins and from TheBookDesigner.com: “We would like to bring you up to date on the current rules and share some guidelines we have found most helpful when trying to get reviews for your book on Amazon. Here you will find the most frequently asked questions around the Amazon review process and Amazon’s answers. I have gone right to the source and given you the Amazon rules right from the horse’s mouth.”

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.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – September 7, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week

Patton Oswalt quote

 

 

Social Media Just for Writers is now just $1.99! But the sale price won’t last forever so get your copy now!

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

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

Ryshia Kennie 

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

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

How to Get Readers to Share Your Tweets

How to Get Readers to Share Your Tweets

Looking for some Twitter tips to take your tweeting to the next level? Keep reading to discover how to get your audience to share your tweets.

Wouldn’t you love to know which words are the most retweetable?

Can’t you see yourself? There you are, soaring above the competition, racking up shares (does anyone really use the word retweet anymore?).

Ah, can’t you just taste the glory? You’d be a Twitter rock star, right? A member of the Twitterati.

Well, not exactly. You’d still have to figure out how to use the most retweetable words in every tweet.

And you’d feel a little like James Joyce who, legend tells us, struggled with what order to place his words. (Now doesn’t that explain Ulysses?)

Well, a part of your struggle has been fixed. We do know what the most retweetable words are, and that’s half the battle.

20 Most Retweetable Words and Phrases

The 20 most retweetable words or phrases for engagement and retweets, according to Dan Zarella, author of The Science of Marketing, are the following:

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7 Tips to Networking on the Social Web Plus Apps & Plugins (Part 2)

Tips to Networking on the Social WebLast week I shared my 7 tips to networking on the social web. In case you missed those tips you can see them here again, in brief.

  1. Don’t engage with people who send you negative messages.
  2. If you don’t want to accept or receive invitations to play Farmville, Scrabble, and other online games, block them in your security settings on Facebook.
  3. Don’t join every social media network at once. Sign up for one, master it, and then move on to another one.
  4. Learn to manage your time on social media by using an online timer.
  5. Don’t use your book jacket as your avatar (profile picture).
  6. Set your Facebook notifications to receive an e-mail whenever you are mentioned or you are tagged in a photo. On Twitter, you’ll want to know when you have a new follower.
  7. If you use SocialOomph, sign up for alerts notifying you of when you were retweeted or mentioned and when your hashtag was used.

This week I’m going to share with you a number of applications that are designed to encourage social sharing while reducing the amount of time you spend on social media.

Streams of incoming messages accumulating in your news fees are some of the biggest hindrances to being social.

If you use TweetDeck, it can be maddening to see an endless influx of tweets pouring in one after the other.

When you’re new to Twitter, for example, your news feed can be fertile ground for finding content to share. But if you have 1,000 or more Twitter followers, it can be difficult to cut through the slush and find the gems that you’ll find worth retweeting.

Apps for Twitter Chats

One way you can cut through the plethora of messages is to find and join Twitter chats that focus on specific areas of interest.

Nothing can replace the feeling of immediacy that interacting with a wide number of people on Twitter will provide. They are interesting, fun, and, depending on the topic, very entertaining.

Use these applications to find a Twitter chat that you might enjoy.

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7 Tips to Networking on the Social Web (Part 1)

3-10-14

Don’t you get tired of broadcast media?

I unplugged my Comcast cable eight years ago, and I’ve never regretted it.

Television programming would interrupt my favorite shows with annoying and idiotic commercials and cancel the few programs I really liked.

The worst part is that I had to conform my personal schedule to my favorite program’s schedule.

In comparison, social media is perfect.

There are no interruptions, and I can visit the networks whenever I have time and the inclination.

And it allows me to interact with colleagues and friends across the country and around the world.

Most importantly, social media enables me to nurture relationships with readers and friends. Petty cool, huh?

Just as a reminder, setting aside time to be social is the fourth step in my four-step cure to social media suck. Here are the four steps:

  1. Be where your readers are.
  2. Curate information in your niche every morning.
  3. Select an application and schedule your tweets, posts and updates.
  4. Make time to be social every day.

Make Time to be Social

Social media is all about nurturing relationships.

Did someone retweet one of your messages? Find a tweet they wrote that you like and return the favor. While you’re at it, consider sending a note of thanks to everyone who retweeted you.

Do you have new followers? Spend some time getting acquainted with them by reviewing their profiles or visiting their websites. (It only takes a second or two.)

Is there an agent or editor on LinkedIn with whom you’d like to connect, but can’t because they are a third degree connection? Ask a friend to introduce you.

Did a colleague just publish a new book? Help her promote it by informing your friends and connections about it.

Socializing on social media involves these three steps: meet, connect, and repeat. You are constantly meeting new people, connecting with them, and then repeating the process with someone new.

Remember to be positive and open-minded and stick to neutral topics.

If you have an iPad, iPhone, laptop or Android, you can socialize online whenever you have some idle time. (If you don’t have idle time, then it’s important to schedule some in.)

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How I Accumulated 40,000 Twitter Followers

How I reached 40,000 followers on Twitter
I remember when I joined Twitter seven years ago. Within the first day, I had four followers, and I recall running out of my office and into the kitchen so I could tell my husband that four people were following me. “Me!” I said.

I was stoked.

I didn’t know back then that to gain followers you had to follow people, so I did nothing, aside from posting a few tweets every day.

Don’t Be a Twit

Then I did the worst thing possible. (I made other mistakes in those days but, hey, I was still learning.) I signed up for an application called TrueTwit. Basically, the application “verifies” that someone who follows you isn’t a bot or a spammer by making new followers type a captcha. If they don’t type the captcha, you can’t follow them back, assuming they’re worth following.

If someone locks down their account, preventing people from following, it’s their fault for being overly cautious. The result? Their account doesn’t grow. They are virtually turning their back to Twitter’s social experience and the opportunity to socialize with their readers and meet new readers as well as meet new colleagues.

When I used the application, I obviously didn’t know better. After a year or two, I might have had 100 followers. Then I read a radical suggestion. Someone recommended that anyone who used an app like TrueTwit should dump it immediately and start following 50 people a day.

I immediately dumped TrueTwit and started following my target demographic, authors.

By the end of the year, I gained about 5,000 followers, and my account grew from there to its present state of 40,000 followers.

So my first bit of advice is don’t use TrueTwit or any application that’s similar to it and if you want to have followers, you need to follow people. Actively start to follow 50 people a day. Starting now.

Unfollow Inactive Twitter Accounts

Not everyone you follow will follow you back. So after giving people a week or so to follow you back, you’ll need to unfollow them. Just say adios to them.

To unfollow these Twitter users, you’ll need to use an application such as Tweepi or ManageFlitter. I’ve used both apps, and I look them both. ManageFlitter also keeps track of inactive accounts (I believe Tweepi does too but I no longer use it) – those people who followed you but then stopped tweeting. I unfollow those accounts as well because I don’t want to tweet to inactive accounts.

ManageFlitter has quite a few awesome features. For example, it identifies bots and spam accounts, I profiled all of its features in a how-to post some time back. The instructions and screenshots haven’t changed, so I recommend that you visit it here.

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10 Social Media Tips for Indie Authors

10 Social Media Tips for Indie Authors

You self-published your book (whew!), offered your book for presale, celebrated your launch with champagne, and sold books to everyone you know.

Perhaps you’re even blogging regularly.

Reaching out to the press, contacting book clubs, and reading at bookstores are great ways to promote your book offline. But to reach potential readers across the U.S. and around the world, you need to use social media.

Are you silently screaming, “Argh!” You’re not alone.

Like other writers, you want to get going on your next book and spending time in front of the computer posting on social media, pinning images to Pinterest, or snapping photos for Instagram may seem, well, like a bit of a waste of time.

The thought of creating a social media presence can seem overwhelming to indie authors, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need are 30 minutes a day (really!) and these tips.

10 Social Media Tips Every Author Needs to Know

  • Decide who your intended audience is and use the social media networks that your readers are most likely to use. For example, if you write young adult fiction, you’ll want to have a presence on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. If your readers are primarily women, create accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. When you wrote your book, you had your readers in mind, right? Now think about that reader and where he or she is most likely to hang out online. Knowing where your audience likes to hang out online will save you time. Long gone are the days when social media experts touted the wisdom of being everywhere. It’s impossible to be on every social media network, too time-consuming, and quite frankly, a waste of your precious time. For more information on where to find your reader demographics online, turn to Pew Research Center.
  • With more than 2 billion people now using Facebook, it’s hard to ignore this social media behemoth. Creating a profile (profiles are for people, and pages are for products, books, authors, businesses, and services) on Facebook is your first step. I always used to recommend that authors have a Facebook page as well. In the old days – say about six years ago – 36% of your fans would see what you posted on your Facebook author page. These days, that percentage is down to 1%. What’s an author to do? You can still have a Facebook author page, but you need to understand that you’ll need to learn and spending money on Facebook advertising. The other option for you is to create a Facebook Group. To learn about how to start and grow a Facebook Group, read this post I wrote for TheBookDesigner.com.
  • Allocate 30 minutes a day to your social media marketing. In the mornings, spend 15 minutes curating information for your social media posts by scanning your friends and followers’ posts and using one or more of these websites and resources:

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Got Nothing to Say on Social Media? Check Out These Examples!

Got Nothing to Say on Social Media? Check Out These Examples!

Many people are confused about what they should say on social media.

Feeling like you’re in the same situation? No worries. Just keep reading.

You may remember the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, you promote your colleagues, other writers, and great posts, and 10 percent of the time, you can promote your books, blog posts, readings, and awards.

If you’re still feeling confused about how to best present the information you’ve curated, don’t worry. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to write the best social media updates.

Tweets Can Now Have 280 Characters

For about the past year, the character limit on Twitter has been 280, up for 140. However, it’s still best to keep your tweets to 100 characters if possible. Doing so, will increase your retweets according to SproutSocial.

Here are a variety of sample tweets from the indie author/publishing world:

Got nothing to post

Got nothing to post on social media

Got nothing to post on social media

Got nothing to post on social media

You’re probably wondering what you as an author could say. Here are some additional examples that cover an array of genres. All you need to add to these tweets is a URL. If you are promoting a colleague, then add a URL and a Twitter username.

  1. Love #Spain? Read this novel based in #Sevilla + link + name of the book
  2. Are you a #hiker? 7 Tips on How to Find the Best Hiking Boots + link
  3. Great story by +colleague’s username about overcoming #cancer
  4. San Francisco #Writer’s #Conference is this February +link
  5. Do you love reading Indie Authors? Visit http://www.indieauthornetwork.com#bibliophiles

The first tweet is a sample tweet from an author about his or her book. The second tweet would theoretically be for a writer who wrote a book about hiking or local hiking trails.

The third tweet is an example of how writers can help each other. The fourth tweet is presumably by a writer encouraging other authors to attend a conference. The fifth tweet introduces readers to other Indie authors. The hashtags in this example help readers and self-described bibliophiles to find great books to read.

You can also tweet images, quotes from your books, videos, book trailers, Amazon reviews, and information about your colleagues’ books. GIFs are super popular as well because then tend to stop people as they peruse their newsfeeds.

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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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