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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So You Think Social Media Won’t Sell Your Books?

sell your books

Every indie author hears the message, “You have to use social media to sell your books.”

But is it true?

In any language, social media is the queen of discoverability. But – and this is a huge but – does social media marketing sell your books?

Hmm. Let’s consider this question.

If we look at great literature, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and even Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the first novel, we already know that they succeeded in publishing.

They didn’t have to worry about Tweeting regularly or posting status updates on a Facebook author page twice a day.

It’s a silly issue to consider, isn’t it, since social media wasn’t around in 1610 (in Cervantes’ case)? All of the above authors rose to fame without the benefit of what’s considered – in today’s world – as marketing requirements.

If we were to look at Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train andInto the Water, I can’t tell at this point whether Goodreads or other social media fueled her success, or whether it was just the book that caused her book to skyrocket toward financial success with social media helping along the way.

However, she was the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards winner, which readers vote for, so on Goodreads, she had a considerable presence, and that must have played a role.

There are several commercially successful authors today that according to a HootSuite article, use social media to further their engagement with readers. They are Margaret Atwood, Paulo Coelho, Stephen Fry, and Neil Gaiman. I would add Hugh Howie to that list and Isabel Allende, who has an excellent Facebook page that she updates herself.

Okay, this is what I think: Neil Gaiman, Hugh Howie, and Isabel Allende, all bestselling authors, use social media to further their success. Hugh Howie is, I believe, the only author on this list who self-publishes.

Then we can look at another group of authors – Joanna Penn, Mark Dawson, and Nick Stephenson – who are also popular and sell hundreds of thousands of books as self-publishers. They not only make money off of their book sales, but they also sell courses to help other indie authors find similar levels of success. Hasn’t social media played a huge role in their success?

If your listen to Joanna Penn’s podcast, you know that she credits a lot of her early success to social media, and especially Twitter.

So, let’s end this diatribe of mine and look at our original question: Does social media marketing sell your books?

Five Tips to Help You Sell More Books

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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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Boost Your Facebook Engagement with These 16 Tips

Boost Your Facebook Engagement with These 16 Tips

Zephoria, a digital marketing company, in April published a post citing 20 valuable Facebook statistics. A few are worth noting here:

  • Worldwide, there are over 2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users, which is a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
  • There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users

Regarding Facebook’s demographics, the following statistics are relevant in terms of book marketing:

  • 4 billion people on average log onto Facebook.
  • There are 1.74 billion mobile active users.
  • The Like and Share buttons are viewed across nearly 10 million websites – daily.
  • Five new profiles are created every second, pointing to Facebook’s staying power.
  • Facebook users are 76 percent female.
  • 7 percent of its users are between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • The highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 and 3 pm.
  • Every minute, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated,a nd 136,000 photos are uploaded.
  • One in five page views in the U.S. occurs on Facebook.
  • Since May 2013, 16 million local business pages have been created.

And according to the Pew Research Center, 68% of all U.S adults who are online us Facebook. That’s the biggest statistic of all and one that points to the popularity of Facebook, which is second only to YouTube in popularity, followed by Pinterest and then Instagram.

Use Demographics to Plan Your Marketing

What do all these numbers have to do with you as an author? Plenty.

When you’re ready to approach book marketing, and you’re setting up your social media presence, the last thing you want to do is waste any of your time on platforms that your readers don’t use.

For example, if you write crime noir that’s popular among the 40+ demographic, you wouldn’t want to waste your time on Snapchat or Tumblr. But, similar to Mark Dawson, a thriller author, you would want to spend time on Facebook.

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 a lot of time. Focusing your energy and time on the social media websites where your readers network is your first rule.

Who needs to be on Facebook? Romance authors, some crime and thriller authors, young adults novelists, and anyone who is writing for any of the demographics noted above.

Knowing that you need to be on Facebook is half the battle in your marketing. The other issue is engaging with your readers.

Facebook Pages Aren’t Easy

FacebookFacebook, as I often tell authors, isn’t easy.

About six years ago, Facebook’s algorithm enabled about 32% of all posts from a Facebook page to appear in your fans’ newsfeeds. Two and a half years ago, Facebook tweaked its algorithm again. At that time, about 6% of posts would appear in a fan’s newsfeed. It’s even more challenging now to generate engagement.

About 1 percent of your status updates will appear in your fans’ news feeds unless you purchase advertising.

There’s another battle, too. Getting Facebook Likes. A combination of contests and Facebook advertising can help to address that issue.

[Read more…]

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 30, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update focuses heavily on Facebook for obvious reasons. Be sure to read the post by Charlie Warzel, the first one in the group of Facebook stories below. And of course be sure to read the first post I mention below by Written Word Media because it’s brilliant.

Have a great weekend!

How to Get Amazon to Sell Books for You from Written Word Media: “You may have heard authors and other publishing professionals talk about the Amazon algorithm and how it impacts their books. In this article, we break down what an algorithm is, how the Amazon algorithm works and how it impacts you as an author. Before we begin: Don’t be intimidated by the terms you see. Everyone can understand how this works. And, as an author who is aiming to sell more books on Amazon, it is important that you understand what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Lead Magnet Checklist: 5 Must-Have Features of a Crazy Effective Lead Magnet by Gill Andrews: “The time when people were downloading free ebooks in masses is long over. Lead magnets aren’t hip anymore. These days everyone and their grandma has a ‘Download free ebook’ button on their page. For you as a business owner, it became much more difficult to get those email addresses, get your new subscribers to open your emails and engage with your content. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible.”

How to Get Algorithm-Busting Engagement on Facebook [Podcast] from Chris Syme: “In this episode Chris and Becca interview author Shawn Inmon for tips on how he built his Facebook page from 86 fans to over 3000 by being consistent, persistent, and personable. And, spending less than ten dollars a month.”

Social Media Phobic? Facebook is (Still) Your Friend from Writer Unboxed: “For sure, our collective conscience would be cleaner and we’d all be a lot less distracted without it. Some of us would probably even feel a vengeful twinge of self-righteousness seeing Zuckerberg and his cohorts caught at last with the smoking gun that proves their invention is not only bad for us, but just downright bad.”

Facebook in the News

There were a lot of stories published about Facebook this past week; the ones below are among the best I read.

Facebook Has Had Countless Privacy Scandals. But This One Is Different. by Charlie Warzel: “Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal has everything: peculiar billionaires, a once-adored startup turned monolith, a political mercenary who resembles a Bond villain and his shadowy psychographic profiling firm, an eccentric whistleblower, millions of profiles worth of leaked Facebook data, Steve Bannon, the Mercers, and — crucially — Donald Trump, and the results of the 2016 presidential election.”

Now would be a good time for Mark Zuckerberg to resign from Facebook from TechCrunch: “Facebook  is at the center of a dozen controversies, and outrage is peaking. The social network has failed again and again at expanding beyond a handful of core features. Doubts of its usefulness, and assertions of its uselessness, are multiplying. A crisis of confidence at multiple levels threatens the company’s structure and mission. Now is the time for Mark Zuckerberg to spare himself the infamy and resign — for Facebook’s sake and his own.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s Reckoning: ‘This Is a Major Trust Issue’ from The New York Times: “For much of the past week, Facebook has been embroiled in a controversy involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and how the firm improperly obtained and exploited personal data from 50 million Facebook users.”

Can We No Longer Trust Facebook? by David Meerman Scott: “There’s a growing #DeleteFacebook movement as well as congressional scrutiny. No, I’m not going to abandon my Facebook accounts like Elon Musk did with the company pages for Tesla and SpaceX. But I am using Facebook a lot less. I used to go to Facebook every day. Now I’m only there a few times a week. Not because of the news but because I find the platform much less useful than I used to.”

Quote of the Week

You don’t need to focus on getting followers on social media, you can instead forge true connections with people who love the kind of work you create. -Dan Blank

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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What Pew Research Center Social Media Stats Mean for Authors

What Pew Research Center Social Media Stats Mean for Authors

The Pew Research Center (PRC) released a new study on social media use at the beginning of March. Its findings weren’t surprising.

PRC researchers found that Facebook and YouTube dominate the social media landscape.

It’s no surprise that Facebook “remains the primary platform for most Americans.” An estimated 68 percent of U.S. adults report they are Facebook users and three-quarters of them access Facebook on a daily basis. PRC stated:

With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.

YouTube is even more popular, as I mentioned in a previous blog post. PRC states:

The video-sharing site YouTube – which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform – is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Are you trying to reach the Young and New Adult demographic? Here is what the Pew Research Center says about them:

Americans ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely to use platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter even when compared with those in their mid- to late-20s. These differences are especially notable when it comes to Snapchat: 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds are Snapchat users, but that share falls to 54% among those ages 25 to 29.

The report also noted that Pinterest remains more popular with women (41 percent) than with men (16 percent).

LinkedIn continues to be popular with college graduates and individuals in high-income households. Nothing has really changed there.

What also became evident in this study is that people use multiple social media sites, not just one.

This overlap is broadly indicative of the fact that many Americans use multiple social platforms. Roughly three-quarters of the public (73%) uses more than one of the eight platforms measured in this survey, and the typical (median) American uses three of these sites. As might be expected, younger adults tend to use a greater variety of social media platforms. The median 18- to 29-year-old uses four of these platforms, but that figure drops to three among 30- to 49-year-olds, to two among 50- to 64-year-olds and to one among those 65 and older.

Facebook May Be Popular But Is It Right for Authors? Maybe Not

FacebookAre you now itching to redouble your efforts on Facebook? Not so fast. While 68 percent of U.S. users are on Facebook, it’s extremely challenging to reach them. Facebook’s latest tweak to its algorithm has made it virtually impossible for your Facebook fans (readers) to see your posts unless you invest in Facebook advertising. Facebook is basically a pay to play system for authors and anyone with a business page.

There’s a lot of buzz about Facebook groups, and more and more people are starting groups either in addition to having pages or instead of pages. Take Sharon Hamilton as an example.

I interviewed Sharon recently and she’s doing a lot to promote her books. She’s a prolific author in a popular genre and is a New York Times and USA Today, bestselling writer. As of this writing, she has 18,332 Likes and 17,878 followers on her Facebook page. But if you look at her Facebook page, you’ll see that there’s little engagement.

I’ve been following Sharon for quite some time, so I know that she used to have tremendous engagement on her Facebook page. What’s changed? Facebook has. Sharon keeps sharing great information and memes, but Facebook has tweaked its algorithm, making it harder for Sharon’s posts to appear in her fans’ news feeds.

That is unless she buys advertising.

If you look at your news feed these days, you’ll find that you see fewer posts from businesses and authors, fewer ads, and a lot more posts from friends and family. That’s because of Facebook’s algorithm and Mark Zuckerberg’s belief that Facebook users come to Facebook wanting to interact with friends and family and that you and I don’t want to see posts from business pages, such as author pages. In fact, even though I’ve liked many author pages, I never see them in my news feed.

Sharon was smart and started a Facebook group, which is doing well. She also has a street team.

But where does that leave you? One option is read a post I wrote about how to grow your Facebook page. Note that I wrote this post before Facebook’s latest change to its algorithm.

Facebook may seem to be the best place for authors to be but it isn’t. Well, it isn’t unless you’re willing to spend money on advertising.

If you have an extensive email list, start a Facebook group and encourage people to interact with you there, as well. Also, send tweets and Instagram messages with information about your Facebook group. Sharon Hamilton has a link on her website that automatically directs people to her Facebook group, called Rockin’ Romance Readers.

If you want information on how to start and run a group, there’s a blog post on Jane Friedman’s blog with some best practices for Facebook groups.

[Read more…]

Want More Twitter Followers? Don’t Buy Them!

Want More Twitter Followers? Don't Buy Them!

In this post I explain why you should never purchase Twitter followers or Facebook Likes. 

Did you see the New York Times article on Sunday, January 28th? In case you didn’t, let me explain it to you.

A teenager named Jessica Rychly is a Minnesota girl who uses Facebook and Twitter and often talks online about how bored she is or trades jokes with friends.

There’s another Jessica Rychly on Twitter as well. This one, according to the New York Times, promotes Canadian real estate investments, cryptocurrency, and a radio station in Ghana. The fake Jessica Rychly uses Arabic and Indonesian languages and promotes pornography too.

You see the second Jessica Rychly is the stolen identity of the first Jessica for some nefarious reasons.

As the New York Times reported:

These accounts are counterfeit coins in the booming economy of online influence, reaching into virtually any industry where a mass audience – or the illusion of it – can be monetized. Fake accounts infest social media networks. By some calculations, as many as 48 million of Twitter’s reported active users are automated accounts designed to simulate real people, though the company claims that number is far lower.

Twitter isn’t the only social media platform with this problem. The behemoth of social media, Facebook, has a similar problem.

In November, Facebook disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. These fake accounts, known as bots, can help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates. They can defraud businesses and ruin reputations.

Never Buy Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes

I bring up the New York Times article to make what I think are two important points:

  1. Don’t be impressed by huge audiences or worry if you don’t have a million followers.
  2. Never buy followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook.

I had a client some years ago who wrote beautiful children’s books. She had a lovely Facebook page, and its audience was growing slowly and steadily. My client decided that she wanted it to gain fans faster because she was interested in getting a multi-book deal with a publisher.

What did she do? She purchased 5,000 Facebook Likes. Guess where most of them were from? Any idea? Let me tell you then; Sri Lanka.

These “fans” of her Facebook page completely threw her Facebook analytics out of whack. And the Sri Lanka fans never liked or commented on any of her posts. You see they are paid to Like her page. They didn’t care about the books she wrote or what she was trying to achieve.

Her newest “fans” from Sri Lanka Liked Facebook page as a job. That’s all.

If you use Twitter, you’ve no doubt noticed that there are user accounts hawking thousands of followers for pennies. There are also accounts hawking pornography and other services. Delete these accounts from your following. In fact, block them.

I use ManageFlitter, which identifies spam, fake accounts, and bots. I also review my clients’ follower lists to get rid of accounts that apparently have no interest in what they write. I encourage you to do the same thing.

Never Worry About the Size of Your Following

Too many people using social media are more concerned about the number of followers they have instead of the quality of relationships they can develop.

Listen, social media isn’t a numbers game. If you think a publisher is trying to force you to have high follower counts, find another publisher or even better, self-publish your book. It’s just not worth it to worry about the number of followers you have.

Worry instead about the quality of information you post.

Several years ago a company interviewed me as a social media manager consultant. I sat in this room with eight people and the marketing director said to me, “Start talking.”

I immediately explained that they didn’t really have 30,000 likes on their Facebook page. I told them that they purchased those likes and those fans were from Sri Lanka and similar places on the globe.

I explained that anyone looking at the page could figure it out. They had 30,000 Likes, but only two people every liked their posts. The marketing director’s jaw dropped as the on-staff social media manager hemmed and hawed.

Are you unhappy with your Facebook page, especially in light of the latest tweak to Facebook’s algorithm? Then just use your Facebook profile or take a course on Facebook advertising.

If you want your Facebook author page to have more engagement, you have to buy advertising. If you don’t want to spend the money, then just use your profile or start a Facebook group.

Never worry about your follower or fan counts. Just focus on engaging your friends, readers, prospective readers, and colleagues, posting useful content and beautiful visuals, and enjoying yourself online.

Want more Twitter followers? Ask and answer questions. Use hashtags to find readers and colleagues. Post intriguing tweets. That’s the real way to attract an engaged audience.

 

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 will 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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Indie Author Weekly Update – December 8, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts on blogging, book promotion, Facebook, and a new Kindle feature. I hope you enjoy the selection.

Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog by Anne R. Allen: “I’ve made some spectacular blunders in my blogging career. But since we learn from our mistakes, I’ve got a boatload of information now. As Ruth and I say: “We made the mistakes so you don’t have to.” The worst decision I made was trying to turn this blog into a monetized business blog. That lasted about six months— until my doctor said I was going to have to choose between blogging and living to see my next birthday. This is the second anniversary of the beginning of that failed experiment, and I’ve been thinking over what I’ve learned.”

3 Shameless Book Promotion Tips For Your Next Release from The Write Life: “Nothing makes a reader feel like an A-class insider like being treated to A-class gifts. Many authors create incredible extras inspired by their writing, drawn from their characters or worlds. This can be anything from a map of an alternate world to lovely character cards, or a peek behind the curtain at your creative process.”

How To Get More Facebook Likes: The Beginner’s Guide from Blogging Wizard: “2 billion. Yes, billion, with a B. In June of 2017, that is how many active users Facebook exceeded according to Statista. That amount is staggering, and the awe tends to compound when you hear that over 65% percent of that amount use Facebook daily. Wouldn’t you like a slice of over 2 billion users?”

Indie Author Content Ideas for Your December Book Marketing from Penny Sansevieri: “Yes, many of us just want to tuck away in our jammies with a mug of eggnog and rum but book marketing never ends! And remember, it’s crucial you stay in front of your fans and potential buyers, and I know that can be exhausting, so I’m trying to help you out by giving you monthly content ideas based around fun, unofficial and official holidays.”

Kindle Create App Out of Beta by Nate Hoffelder: “Amazon’s app for making Kindle ebooks, Kindle Create, is out of beta. Originally launched in April, Kindle Create is Amazon’s 4th Kindle ebook making app (the other three are  Kindle Kids Book Creator, Kindle Textbook Creator, and Kindle Comics Creator).”

11 Creative Ways to Boost Reader Engagement from BookBub: “Having loyal readers can make it easier for an author to sell subsequent books. While reader loyalty is primarily fostered from love of a book, it can also be cultivated through online engagement. Getting readers to engage online takes time and effort, which may not yield immediate revenue, and the ROI of these efforts can be difficult to measure. However, there can be significant long-term gains from having loyal fans who are willing to preorder, review, and enthusiastically tell their friends about a book.”

Quote of the Week

Graham Greene

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

Penny is Coming!

Join the next Conversations with Frances when Penny Sansevieri, aka @Bookgal, comes on the show to talk about how to sell more books. Every indie author will want to attend this free webinar. Register now!

 Penny Sansevieri

 

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