Indie Author Weekly Update – May 18, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Be sure to read Sandra Beckwith’s post on Goodreads and how to create pre-launch buzz for your book by Rachel Thompson. And as always, enjoy your Friday and the weekend!

How to interact with readers on Goodreads by Sandra Beckwith: ““I can’t figure out Goodreads!” It’s a common author lament. While Goodreads is a social network of sorts, the site for book lovers doesn’t look, feel, or operate like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms you might use. It’s so different, in fact, that many authors simply ignore it because doing that is easier than spending the time required to understand the site and how to use it.”

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing: Eldonna Edwards Weighs the Pros and Cons by Anne R. Allen: “I’d been writing a novel off-and-on for over a decade when life threw me one of those cosmic curveballs that sent me careening in a totally different direction. Actually, it was more like me running onto the field and catching a curveball between the eyes, or in this case, in the kidney.

25 Creative Ways Authors Use Images for Social Media Marketing from BookBub: “Some social platforms revolve around sharing visual content, including Instagram, where photos still generate 36% more engagement than videos. And on platforms where images are optional, including them dramatically increases engagement. For example, Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without images.”

Helping Senior Citizens Self-Publish by Joel Friedlander: “Although the indie publishing world sometimes seems to be populated by young entrepreneurial authors, in fact a lot of writers publishing books today are at the other end of the spectrum—senior citizens. It may be hard to pin down what exactly we mean by “older authors,” but I generally take it to mean people 50 years of age and over who haven’t published their own books before.”

How To Build 1,000 Superfans When You’re Starting From Zero from by Joanna Penn: “Former Wired editor Kevin Kelly famously argued that 1,000 superfans is all you need for success as a creator (authors, musicians, artists… anyone who sells things they create). A superfan is someone who will buy anything you produce and sing your praises to anyone who will listen, winning you potential new fans for your books. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful for selling books, and that’s why authors strive to get superfans.”

How to Create Pre-Launch Buzz for Your Book Right Now Rachel Thompson: “Build relationships with readers on social media. This means interact, ask questions, strategically follow readers (not only other writers). Time: Realistically, plan to spend 30-60 minutes daily.”

Quote of the Week

The most important things to remember about back #story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.STEPHEN KING


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 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









Everything Authors Want to Know About Instagram

Everything Authors Want to Know About Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

More About Instagram’s Users

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

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

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

Readers on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

How to Join Instagram

Profile Image

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Instagram Is a Mobile App

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram Business Profile Conversion

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

How Authors Can Use Instagram

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

Tyler Knott Gregson

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

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

Instagram Tyler Knott

[Read more…]

Social Media Weekly Roundup for Authors

5-27-16 WeeklyRoundup-2I was talking with a friend recently, and she asked me what I’d be publishing this year. I told her I’m writing three books: the Goodreads book I just released, a time management book, and a comprehensive book on social media. She asked me how much they would cost. I haven’t decided on a price for the paperback of the last book I’ll release this year, but the ebook will be about $4.99. She said, “That’s expensive for an ebook.” Really? I tried to explain to her the costs indie authors incur: their time, editing, book covers, and book formatting. When you consider the costs, I don’t think a comprehensive book priced at $4.99 is too much. So my message this week is don’t fall into the trap that all of your books need to be priced at $.99. You’re worth more than that. Now tell me what you think about book pricing. Note: I do lower the price of my ebooks after they’ve been on the market for a couple of years and when I’m preparing a massive update.

Here’s the Social Media Weekly Roundup

Using The #Audiobook Service ACX via Self-Published Authors Helping Authors: “I think I speak for many of us when I say we’d like to have our books in audiobook form. Besides being a possible way to connect to new readers who don’t necessarily like to sit down with a paperback or e-book and another possible source of revenue, audiobooks have a prestige to them. It’s sort of magical hearing your characters come to life in your car or in your earbuds through sound and description. It’s pretty powerful.”

[Read more…]

What to Post on Social Media Plus 38 Examples

What to Post on Social Media Plus 38 Examples by Frances Caballo

Ten years ago, you wrote a book and you never expected to find out anything about the author. Now with social media, everyone wants that connection. I think our readers want to be invited into our lives and brought on the journey and be part of this whole process. ~~ Jane Green

Not Sure What to Post? Try These Ideas

Authors often ask me, “What should I post on social media?”

The answer is simple: Great content that your readers will enjoy. Social media and book marketing aren’t about you. Yes, you have books to sell and a blog you want your readers to visit. But in the end, everything you do is about the reader.

As such, the content you post will be driven by what motivates, moves, and meets the needs of your readers.

In other words, the content you post will need to be:

  • Informative
  • Interesting
  • And when images and videos are used, captivating
  • And at times, your content can be entertaining

[Read more…]

Authors: How to Get Started on Social Media

Social Media Tips for Authors Plus 7 Tips for Better Engagement by Frances Caballo

“Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.” Amy Jo Martin

Take Care of These Basics Before You Start

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of web-based strategies designed to increase visitors to your website so that your website will place well in Google searches. Historically, SEO has been used heavily to boost traffic to websites. But guess what? Social media has become increasingly important in any SEO formula.

In January of 2015, Shareaholic wrote on its blog, “The shift from search to social isn’t just in progress: it’s already here.” Shareaholic credited eight websites with referring the most traffic, and among those are Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as YouTube and Google+.

[clickToTweet tweet=”These 8 social media sites refers the most traffic @CaballoFrances” quote=”These 8 social media sites refers the most traffic @CaballoFrances”]

How to Get Started

As you sign up for Twitter and other social media channels, you’ll need to decide on a username and a unique password.

[Read more…]

Authors: Just Be Where Your Readers Are

Find Your Readers by Frances Caballo


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

― Michael Altshuler

The new marketing dictum for selling your books or anything else is this: You don’t need to be everywhere; you need to be where your readers are.

Remember that. Otherwise, you’ll waste time. Focusing your energy and time on the social media websites where your readers network is your first rule.

There are plenty of experts who disagree with this theory. But think about it. No one has the time to be everywhere. Let me qualify that. If you have a virtual assistant, housekeeper, personal chef, and driver, you have the time to be everywhere online.

But Indie authors like you do everything themselves. To be economical, many writers create their book covers. Every author, once a book is published, then handles the marketing and publicity.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t be everywhere; be where your readers are @CaballoFrances” quote=”Don’t be everywhere; be where your readers are @CaballoFrances”]

[Read more…]

How to Make Your Books Permafree

How to Make Your books Permanently Free by Frances Caballo

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Yes, the Social Media for Authors Podcast is back at long last and this is the 37th episode. WooHoo! I hope you enjoy the show notes and recording.

Hey, that’s right, I’m b-a-c-k!

Wow, what a year I had. I don’t know about you, but 2015 was a year of tests for me. Let me explain.

On February 1, 2015, which was Super Bowl Sunday, I fell on a wet floor and fractured my left wrist. Ouch! Right? So the treatment I received wasn’t the best, to say the least. I developed horrific nerve pain, and no one noticed in the X-rays that the bones moved out of place while I was in a cast for eight long weeks.

So I had a year of pain. Pain when I typed. Pain when I cleaned. Pain when I opened car doors. You get the idea. While I was dealing with the pain and going to physical therapy, I tripped and sprained my ankle. It was such a severe sprain they thought I’d fractured it.

By now you’re thinking I’m a klutz, right?

Then – oh, yeah, the story gets better – I had surgery on my left wrist due to the level of pain I was experiencing. Surgery went stupendously well, thanks to my incredible doctor. But I couldn’t work for two weeks and had to complete a new round of physical therapy and rehab my left arm, wrist, and hand because I didn’t have just one surgery; I had three on my left wrist, arm, and hand.

With all that happening, I had to let something go. What I let go was my podcast. And I introduced many of you to some guest bloggers.

But all that is over. Thank goodness!

During this time, I thought a lot about my podcast. Should I restart it? Should I let it go? I decided that instead of letting it go, I would change it slightly.

Before, my focus was entirely on social media. This time, I will include episodes on social media but plan to include more episodes on book publicity and bookselling strategies. Occasionally I’ll add an episode on productivity tips for authors as well as some interviews.

What do you think so far?

And if you have some ideas you’d like me to discuss, send them to me. I love hearing from you.

Before I leave you I want to talk about a strategy I’ll be implementing soon. I’m going to make one of my books on Amazon permanently free.

Follow these Steps to Make Your Book Permanently Free

Now, I know there is a lot of controversy about offering books for free. But offering books for free, whether for two or five days a year or by making them permanently free, is an excellent way to expand awareness of your books and grow your email list.

This is how you do it. In one of your books, include a link to the first book in one of your serial novels. Don’t worry if you don’t write serial novels. I don’t either, and I’m still using this method.

At the front of your book, include a graphic element and a call to action to receive the first book in your serial for free. Include a signup link. Now that link will be to your newsletter, and once the reader signs up, they’ll get a copy of the first book in one of your series.

Since I don’t write serial novels, my call to action will be to sign up for my free ebook, Twitter Just for Writers. In the future, I’ll change that call to action to the receiving another free book for free.

The next step is to upload the book to Smashwords and other ebook retailers and make the book available for free. When you finish that step, ask your readers to help you lobby Amazon to match the free price elsewhere.

Soon you should see your email list grow, and awareness of your books expand.

Okay, I’ve decided to make today’s broadcast short. It’s just an introduction to what’s to come – and more of what to come.

If you haven’t downloaded my free book, Twitter Just for Writers, be sure to do that here.

Take care!

Authors: Not Sure What to Tweet? Try These 44 Tweets Today by Frances Caballo, AuthorThanks for listening to the Social Media for Authors Podcast. I’ll be back next week with more tips you can put to use. Until then, don’t forget to navigate to iTunes to rate this show, and if you’re on Twitter, follow me at @CaballoFrances. Have a great week!



12 Easy Ways to Make Time to Write a Book

Twitter Just for WritersGrab my recently updated, new, 39-page eBook on Twitter today. Twitter Just for Writers is the most comprehensive eBook I’ve ever released. You’ll find:

  • Easy to follow instructions on how to get started.
  • Instructions on how to devise a password the will never be hacked.
  • Terms and special hashtags just for authors.
  • A list of applications.
  • Advice on how to select your username and write your bio.
  • Plus guidelines for advanced users!

Download your FREE copy now.


Lisa TenerDo you have a great book idea, but keep putting off the writing?

I get it. You’re busy. Who has time to write a book, really?

But, remember why you’re so excited about this book. Wouldn’t it be great to write the darn thing already?

How to Make Time to Write a Book

You can make time to write a book no matter how busy you are. And, in the end, you’ll be so grateful that you did make the time to write. Here are 12 easy ways to get started:

[Read more…]

Go Where Your Readers Are – Goodreads!


Twitter Just for WritersGrab my recently updated and FREE 39-page eBook on Twitter today. Twitter Just for Writers is the most comprehensive eBook I’ve ever released. You’ll find:

  • Easy to follow instructions on how to get started.
  • Instructions on how to devise a password the will never be hacked.
  • Terms and special hashtags just for authors.
  • A list of applications.
  • Advice on how to select your username and write your bio.
  • Plus guidelines for advanced users!

Download your FREE copy now.

Go Where Your Readers Are - Goodreads! by Frances Caballo
Today’s post is the first in a two-part series I am publishing on Goodreads.

“Goodreads has become the most important networking site on the Internet …” Forbes

“There is one book-focused start-up that has arguably had the largest effect on changing how people discover new books. Goodreads.” Digital Book World

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Is Goodreads really a social media network?”

The primary reason for starting Goodreads was to create an online venue where friends could chat about and recommend books, the same way they might if they were dining together or meeting at a café.

Its secondary goal was to serve as a social media network. Users even can link their accounts to Facebook and Twitter to further spread the word about books they liked and reviewed.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Goodreads is first a readers haven, then a social media network via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Goodreads is first a readers haven, then a social media network via @CaballoFrances”]

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20 Facts About Social Media that Authors Should Know

20 Facts About Social Media that Authors Should Know

There are 7.3 billion people walking the planet and of those, 3 billion are Internet users.

So if your book is available for sale online and you’re using social media, what should you know if you’d like to reach more of these 3 billion people who spend time online?

Here are some facts as well as information on how to use this data to your advantage.

Note: Except where indicated, statistics are from Digital Marketing.


  1. Facebook now has 1.49 billion users as of June 2015. (Facebook)
  2. Approximately 83.1% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada.
  3. Twenty minutes is the average time users spend per visit on Facebook (PostPlanner).


Just because Facebook is huge, doesn’t mean you should invest a lot of your time on this network. If you write young adult and new adult novels, your time is better spent on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Whatever genre you write, set up a Facebook profile and an author page. To make the author page successful, you’ll need to invest in advertising. Your budget doesn’t need to be astronomical; even $5/day will bring you results.

To learn how to have a successful Facebook page, read this post: Are Facebook Pages Hard? You Bet! 13 Tips to Help You Attract and Keep Facebook Fans.

[clickToTweet tweet=”83.1% of active Facebook users are outside the US/Canada @CaballoFrances” quote=”83.1% of active Facebook users are outside the US/Canada @CaballoFrances”]


  1. As of July 2015, Twitter reached 315 million active users.
  2. Every second, Twitter users send 6,000 tweets. Or you can think of it this way: users send 350,000 tweets per minute.
  3. It’s estimated that 77% of Twitter users living outside of the U.S.
  4. 32 billion search queries are submitted on Twitter each month (PostPlanner.)

Twitter is an important social media network for all authors. This network, more than any other, will give you access to influencers who can advance your career, in addition to your readers, literary agents, book bloggers and reviewers, and members of the media.

Through Twitter, you can reach readers in English-speaking countries around the world and in countries where it’s common for residents to learn English. Just think about the potential for book sales if you maintain an active presence on Twitter.

Regardless of your genre, spending time on Twitter is an excellent investment of your time.

Also, with Jack Dorsey back in the CEO seat we’re already starting to see changes at Twitter and more are bound to happen. I think Twitter will become even more popular in the year to come.

Make sure you read this post, 10 Things Authors Should Never Do on Twitter.

[clickToTweet tweet=”77% of Twitter users living outside of the U.S. via @CaballoFrances” quote=”77% of Twitter users living outside of the U.S. via @CaballoFrances”]


  1. As of September 2015, Instagram has 400 million active users. (Instagram)
  2. 75% of users aren’t from the U.S. (Instagram)
  3. Users share an average of 80 million photos daily.
  4. 90% of users are 35 or younger.

This network is growing like crazy. Images are increasingly important in social media marketing, and it would behoove you to incorporate Instagram into your marketing.

To learn more read this post: Instagram Tips for Every Author.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Instagram has 400 million active users via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Instagram has 400 million active users via @CaballoFrances”]


  1. LinkedIn has 400 million registered monthly users.
  2. Most LinkedIn users (19 million) live in the U.S. while 10 million live in France, 8 million live in Italy, 6 million live in the Netherlands, and 7 million live in Spain.
  3. The fastest growing demographic on LinkedIn is comprised of students and recent college graduates. (LinkedIn)

The best feature of LinkedIn is its groups. Here you can learn, share your expertise, and expand your following.

LinkedIn is especially good for nonfiction authors. Do authors who write in other genres benefit from this channel? I’m not convinced they are.

What I do know is that it’s important for authors to take advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform that allows you to get extra mileage out of your blog posts by uploading them.

To learn more, be sure to read my Ultimate How-To Guide on LinkedIn for Writers.


  1. 75% of active pinners use their mobile devices.
  2. Pinterest has 100 million users. (Fortune Magazine)
  3. Of Pinterest’s 50 billion pins, 30 million of them are buyable. (Fortune Magazine)

I don’t think anyone could have predicted how fast Pinterest would grow in popularity – but it has. Every author should have a business account so they can get their websites verified and have access to free analytics.

Be sure to read my post 23 Pinterest Tips Every Author Needs to Know and Pinterest Tips for Authors (Plus 57 Pinboard Ideas).

[clickToTweet tweet=”Every author should have a Pinterest business account via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Every author should have a Pinterest business account via @CaballoFrances”]

Mobile Marketing

  1. 80% of Internet users use their smartphones to browse the Internet.
  2. 40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels (often while shopping) before making a purchase. (
  3. According to TextMarketer, people would rather give up give up alcohol, chocolate or sex before spending one week without their smartphone.

Mobile marketing is here, and if your website is mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on website traffic.

[clickToTweet tweet=”80% of Internet users use their smartphones via @CaballoFrances” quote=”80% of Internet users use their smartphones via @CaballoFrances”]

There are mobile marketing advances you can incorporate into your marketing plan as well. To learn more about the importance of mobile marketing, read this post: Mobile Marketing Just for Authors.


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