How to Manage a Twitter Account as an Indie Author

How to Manage a Twitter Account as an Indie Author

Twitter tends to confound a lot of writers. I get it.

When I first jumped on social media about nine years ago, I asked a friend, “Did you really join Twitter?” She responded that of course she did and that I had to as well.

So I begrudgingly opened a Twitter account. And like a lot of people I made mistakes. But now listen to what I am about to tell you: Twitter is forgiving.

For example, you can change your username on Twitter as many times as you’d like but you can’t on other social media platforms. It’s just one of the many reasons I love Twitter.

What were my mistakes? I used a logo instead of a picture of myself for my avatar. Instead of using my name, Frances Caballo, I used the official name of my business, ACT Communication. (I try to hide the fact that ACT Communications is really my DBA these days so please don’t spread this secret around. Please!)

Then I created the crime of all crimes. I joined TrueTwit, which makes prospective followers go to its website, watch some ads, then type in a CAPTCHA code. Of course, my Twitter account stagnated.

But I continued to read blog posts about social media as well as books and over time I realized all of my errors. I remade my account changing everything about it. And I dumped TrueTwit.

My intent in telling you my sad story is so that you won’t worry if you make a mistake. And if you have made some of my mistakes, it’s not too late to change things.

How to Set Up Your Twitter Account

So let’s start at the beginning.

  • Use your real name when you open your Twitter account.
  • Make sure your username is no more than 12 characters.
  • Use a picture of yourself as an avatar and not a picture of your dog, bird, favorite coffee drink, or cat.

Keep reading this post I wrote for Joel Friedlander on his blog at TheBookDesigner.com

 

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 – February 16, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

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

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

And have a great weekend, too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week

Mary Mackey

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

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

Get Your Visuals Seen!

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

 

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Need Visuals For Your Social Media? Try These Apps

 

Need Visuals For Your Social Media? Try These Apps

I have never described myself as a visual person. I can open the refrigerator door, frustrated when I see there’s “nothing to eat,” and fail to notice a big, fresh salad that my husband made for me in the morning.

Or I can walk into a friend’s home and miss the freshly painted walls or wallpaper newly added to the entry.

If I happened to witness an accident, I would be hard-pressed to give the police any details. I wouldn’t recall the color of the car or details about the suspect.

Despite this quirk of mine, I am always drawn to social media images. In fact, I more often gloss over (or not read at all) wordy posts on Facebook and instead jump ahead to the beautiful pictures, funny memes, and short, meaningful quote graphics.

Visual Content Rules

I’m not the only one who prefers visual posts over text. Look at these statistics from Wishpond.com:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
  • Videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%.
  • Visual content is social-media-ready and social-media-friendly. It’s easily shareable and easily palatable.
  • Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without.
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings

Keep reading this post I wrote for BookWorks

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

 

Get Your Visuals Seen!

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

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – February 9, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

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

Have a lovely weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week

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

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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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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Indie Author Weekly Update – February 2, 2018


Indie Author Weekly Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Update. You’ll find information on book marketing, staying productive, and Pinterest. As an added bonus, I suggest a great little book on the market now by Grant Faulkner. Enjoy!

4 Affordable Ways to Master Book Marketing from JaneFriedman and by Dave Chesson: “Learning the art of book marketing is a pursuit which can often feel like an unending demand on your limited resources. But it’s a craft we must improve over time, as well as keep up-to-date with using newest book tactics. Our book marketing landscape changes, and so we must too.”

The Ultimate Guide to Being Productive as a Writer from Grammarly: “Whether your job title happens to be writer or not, you probably can’t avoid writing. There’s also a good chance that before you sit down to write, you dread it. That’s understandable—even titans of the written word struggle and procrastinate. Still, I want you to love writing as much as I do.”

Author-Bloggers: Five Quick-to-Learn Content Creation Tools by Brant Forseng: “Like other author-bloggers I create content. There are a lot of applications out there that I can use do that, and I admit to being distracted by bright, shiny, new tools that come along. Video, audio, graphic, text, you name it, when they appear I just have to take a peek at them.”

Your Website is Always a Work in Progress by Ali Luke: “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of authors, bloggers and freelancers launch their websites. They rarely start out with a massively, gorgeous site. They normally begin with something simple but workable: perhaps it’s a free blog on WordPress.com, for instance, or a single page on About.me. The wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) thing about websites is that they’re always a work in progress. You never truly “finish” a website. Even if you don’t have a blog or “news” section that needs new material on a regular basis, you’ll still want to make updates.”

17 Easy Ways To Boost Your Pinterest Following from Blogging Wizard: “So you want to gain traction on Pinterest and amplify the number of followers you have. Don’t we all? Pinterest is a game-changer for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and even large corporations. It’s mind-blowing how many businesses and bloggers are having massive success with this marketing gold-mine.”

4 Tips for Engaging International Readers by Shana Gray: “My book Working Girl has been translated into five languages, with a sixth to come. First published in English, it’s now available in Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, with Dutch coming this April. It’s difficult to know how well the book has done in the different countries, but even a year later, my book is in the top 30 for the publishing house in Brazil!”

Quote of the Week

Book Suggestion

There’s a great new book on the market and it’s from Grant Faulkner called Pep Talks for Writers. I had the pleasure of hearing him interviewed by Ellen Sussman at a local indie bookstore in my community in Northern California recently. What a great guy and he’s oh-so talented. I bought the book — of course — and I suggest you get it too.

 

 

 

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

 

Meet Ricardo Fayet on February 6th!

Ricardo Fayet
The 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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10 Pinterest Tips for Writers

10 Pinterest Tips for Writers

In today’s post, I want to share some of my best Pinterest Tips for Writers.

Whenever I feel beleaguered from reading email, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates, I sneak over to Pinterest and feast on the images.

Opening Pinterest is a well-deserved break from the blocks of text I normally read on blog posts, newsletters, and social media posts.

Don’t mistake me; Pinterest isn’t just a vacation for my eyes. It’s a powerful social media network that, research indicates, nearly rivals Facebook in terms of traffic referral.

I take time to use it professionally and value its power.

In fact, according to Shareaholic, Pinterest accounts for three times more traffic referral than Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and LinkedIn all together. Wow!

If you thought Pinterest was for the DIY, beauty, and crafts aficionados, think again. Men are discovering Pinterest and there are numerous ways for writers to use Pinterest to market their books and connect with readers, prospective readers, and colleagues.

10 Quick Pinterest Tips for Writers

  1. Create a pinboard for your blog and save the images from your blog to your pinboard. Whenever you save images from your website or blog, the web address will attach to the image. Then when users click your image, they will travel to your website and read your post and hopefully navigate to other pages on your website. Below is an example of a video I pinned to my pinboard of blogging images. Yes, you can save videos to your pinboards!

Sharon Hamilton2. Do you have trouble getting your writing started in the morning? Create a pinboard of visual writing prompts and share them on Twitter and Facebook.

Pinterest

  1. Repin images that represent the venues where characters in your novels and stories live and travel to. This board of mine is titled Barcelona and I created it for a future novel.

10 Pinterest Tips for Writers

  1. Find images that represent the clothing your characters wear and the meals they enjoy. Here’s an example of a dress a character might wear in a historical fiction novel.

Historical fiction novel

  1. Create a pinboard of your favorite books.

10 Pinterest Tips for Writers

  1. Create a pinboard of books your colleagues have written. This will help your colleagues’s books enjoy greater awareness on Pinterest. Here’s a book cover from my friend and colleague, Sharon Hamilton.

Sharon Hamilton

 

  1. Do you love bookstores? Create a pinboard of beautiful bookstores from around the world.

10 Pinterest Tips for Writers

  1. Writers love libraries, right? Create a pinboard of libraries from around the world.

 

libraries [Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – January 26, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote of the Week

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

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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

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Meet Romantic Suspense Author Sharon Hamilton


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

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

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

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

Here are some of my notes from our recent discussion:

Sharon’s Early Career as a Writer

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

Why Sharon Hamilton Writes about Navy Seals

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

Street Teams and Facebook Groups

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

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

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

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

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

Newsletters, Contests and BookBub Ads

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

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

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

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – January 19, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to the newest edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. The big news this week is Facebook, which changed its algorithm again making it more difficult for readers to see your Facebook posts. Read up on Facebook and please don’t bypass Ben Zackheim’s post; it’s phenomenal.

Prepare your book for its KDP Select free promotion days by Ben Zackheim: “Yup. Blog posts about Amazon KDP Select free promo days are as common as bad drivers on I84. But I want to do something a little different here. I want to lay out steps andinclude details about why they are important. I’ll also give you a basic overview of boosting posts on Facebook. These days it’s best to spend five bucks to get the word out. Once you sign up for KDP Select and figure out what you can do with your exclusive Amazon ebook, you may find a small bump in the road. Actually it may look more like a big, honking wall. The wall is spray painted with large words…”

Facebook Tweaks Newsfeed to Favor Content from Friends, Family from Wired: “In November, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg started sprinkling a new phrase, or perhaps a new idea, into his quarterly call with investors. ‘It’s important to remember that Facebook is about bringing people closer together and enabling meaningful social interactions,’ he said. Research, he continued, demonstrates that interactions with friends and family on social media is particularly ‘meaningful.’ The goal of his service is to ‘encourage meaningful social interactions’ and to connect in ways that lead to ‘meaningful interactions’ and let us ‘build meaningful relationships.’

Don’t panic. The Facebook announcement is no big deal from Mark Schaefer: “An open letter from Mark Zuckerberg announcing changes to the Facebook news feed was regarded as a bombshell by most social media marketing thought leaders. Mike Stelzner called this the “end of days” for marketers, Jon Loomer referred to the market “hysteria” this is creating. The fact is, this letter from Zuckerberg is cryptic and we truly have no idea on how this is going to impact businesses long-term. But I’m going to provide an argument as to why I think this “apocalyptic” vision of the Facebook marketing future is a vast over-reaction. Let’s look at the data.”

Best Book Marketing Advice for Authors: The Best of 2017  from Jane Friedman: “As part of The Hot Sheet email newsletter for authors (which I write and publish in collaboration with Porter Anderson), I regularly round up and comment on book marketing advice that writers are talking about. Here’s a list of what sparked discussion in 2017.”

How to Jumpstart Book Reviews for Self-Published Books from The Book Designer and by David Wogahn: “The challenge for self-publishers, especially new authors who have small or nonexistent networks, is to convince readers to add one more title to their to-be-read pile. Unfortunately, most self-publishers do not (yet) have a reputation that confers credibility upon their books. That’s where book reviews can help …”

SEO trends and Google changes to expect in 2018 from Search Engine Land: “Back in 2010, Google was getting beaten up in the media for the increasing amount of “content farm” clutter in the search results. That negative press was so overwhelming that Google felt it had no choice but to respond: ‘[We] hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content.'”

Quote of the Week

Saul Bellow quote

 

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

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

Ricardo FayetJoin Ricardo Fayet, a founder of Reedsy, and I on February 6th for a conversation about book marketing and Facebook advertising.

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