Turn Your Blog into a Book Production Machine with Nina Amir 

I recently interviewed Inspiration to Creation Coach Nina Amir as part of my Conversations with Frances series. We talked about blogging, how to blog a book, and what blogging has done for Nina’s life and career. Be sure to listen to the webinar. I’m certain you’ll learn a lot.

Here are a few notes from this webinar with Nina Amir:

What did blogging do for Nina Amir’s life?

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – May 26, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update - May 26, 2017

In this edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update enjoy posts from Anne R. Allen, Amy Collins, Joanna Penn, Gary McLaren, and Publishing Perspectives. Topics range from blogging to Goodreads to  Amazon Charts. Enjoy!

Practice Novels: 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Publish that 1st Novel…Yet  by Anne R. Allen: “We often hear stories about authors who have phenomenal success with a “first novel.” I’m sure most writers fantasize about being one of those success stories as we begin our careers. I sure did. But here’s what I didn’t know when I was having those fantasies: a novel that is published first is rarely the actual first novel an author wrote.”

[Read more…]

Indie Authors: Follow These 40 on Twitter in 2017

Indie Authors: 40 Twitter Users to FollowAs you probably already know, Twitter is where I spend most of my time online. My day starts with Twitter and ends with Facebook, but as a Twitter fan woman, Twitter is my darling amongst the social media I use.

To help you start the year right, I decided to create this list of my top contacts and purveyors of information in 140 characters or fewer. I hope  these individuals, experts, and entities soon become your favorites too.

Note: The list is organized alphabetically, not by ranking.

Authors and Experts to Follow on Twitter in 2017

Alliance of Independent Authors

Founded by author and poet Orna Ross, @IndieAuthor ALLI is a membership organization of indie authors and advisors.

Andrea Vahl

Andrea has been writing about social media for years. Although she caters to the business world, her words are genuine pearls of wisdom and she’s well worth following and keeping track of.

Anne R. Allen

I adore Anne’s blog and enjoy following her on Twitter too. She is one smart lady!

[Read more…]

Creative Visualization for Writers with Nina Amir

Creative Visualization with Nina Amir

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nina Amir, the Inspiration-to-Creation coach and Certified High Performance coach. She recently published Creative Visualization for Writers, which I had the pleasure of reading. Whether you’re just starting out as a writer or beginning a second or third or fourth book, Nina’s Creative Visualization workbook is a worthy guide. Quite plainly, there’s nothing out there on the market that compares to this book.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and, at last, you create what you will. George Bernard Shaw

Creative Visualization with Nina Amir

Why did you decide to write this book now?

I saw the adult coloring book trend happening and started thinking about doing one for writers. However, I didn’t think writers would want to just color—since most don’t have enough time to write.

I did think writers needed a book that helped them work through the blocks that stop them from writing, increase productivity and creativity, and move consistently toward their goals. And I could see the benefit of coloring—if focused on the end goal of successful authorship.

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Indie Author Weekly Update November 11, 2016

Indie Author Weekly UpdatesIt’s Friday and that means it’s time for the Indie Author Weekly Update. I always enjoy bringing the best of the internet to you in hopes you’ll find nuggets of information to fuel your social media and book marketing efforts.

On a more personal note, I’ve been relishing the fall weather here in Northern California. We’ve been having 70-degree weather with warm days and cool nights. It couldn’t be better for the hiking and cycling I enjoy doing. I hope that you’re getting outdoors too.

Indie Author Updates

We’ll start with the posts I wrote for BookWorks and TheBookDesigner.com this week:

15 Tips to Boost Facebook Engagement for Indie Authors from BookWorks: “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.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Roundup November 4, 2016

Indie Author Weekly RoundupThis week’s Indie Author Weekly Roundup is truly a potpourri of finds. You’ll find featured a book description generator, a video from Nina Amir, writing tips, and information on Facebook. It’s been a wild, inspiring week.

Indie Author Updates

Cool Find of the Week

This week I discovered a cool tool. KindlePreneur aka Dave Chesson developed an Amazon book description generator. Here are the steps:

  1. Write your description using the tool.
  2. With just a click here and there, you can bold, underline, or italicize text. There are other options as well.
  3. Click or tap “Generate My Code.”
  4. Voila, you have your description with all the html code inserted.
  5. The next step is for you to cut and paste your description into CreateSpace.

[Read more…]

Friday Roundup: Resources for Indie Authors

11-7-14 Social Media Tips for WritersWelcome to the Friday Roundup where you’ll find practical tips for marketing your books on the social web. This week’s segment of Resources for Indie Authors includes new posts on social media marketing. Keep reading to learn more.

6 Social Media Marketing Tools to Make Your Management Quick and Easy from Jeff Bullas:

Keeping up with the multiple social channels; posting original content and coming up with a social media plan that generates leads, engagement, revenue or some other tangible goal can make you feel like pulling out your hair.However, studies show that social media marketing works. In 2014, investment in social media is a necessity, and no longer a luxury.

An Up-to-Date List of the Algorithm Factors and Changes from Buffer Social: Does this sound familiar: People have liked your Facebook page or followed your profile, and when you post a new update, less than 10 percent of your fans and followers ever see it. It’s a challenge that many Facebook marketers face. How do you get your content seen on Facebook? The secret is in understanding the Facebook News Feed and its mighty algorithm. [Read more…]

Email Signups, Content Curation and How Creativity Helps Us Thrive

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most important elements to a successful writing career is deciding what you should write about. If you want to sell books, you need a market, and if you want a certain demographic to read your book, the book needs to be unique or fill a need. Nina Amir wrote a great post on this very topic that you’ll want to read. Jason Matthews wrote a post for Joel Friedlander that every Indie Author will appreciate. Jason explains how to use Amazon’s search engine to better position your book for sales. What a great topic! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Forbes’ article on how creativity helps us thrive. We knew this was true – right? – and now we have the proof. I hope you enjoy the selection below. (By the way, I took today’s image while traveling in Portugal six years ago.)

5 Subtle Writing Strategies That Drive Email Signups from Copyblogger: Your email list is a group of readers who have chosen to get information from you. They want to hear from you, and you want a large email list that is full of potential clients or customers.

Always Have an Amazing Link to Share from Buffer Blog: Inside the Buffer product, we aim to solve the problem of “what should I share next?” by providing the content suggestions for you—25 of them, each and every day, hand-picked by Courtney and our suggestions team.

How to Fill a “Hole” on the Bookstore Shelf from Write Nonfiction Now!: Maybe you’ve heard the adage that if you’ve been searching for a particular book and haven’t found it, that’s the book you should write. Or if you’ve been wishing someone would tell a particular story, that’s the tale you should tell. And, if there’s a hole on the bookstore shelf waiting for a book readers want and need but that hasn’t yet been published, that’s the hole you should fill when you write your book.

The Innovation Turbo-Charge: How To Train The Brain To Be More Creative from Forbes Magazine: The data is overwhelming: creativity is far and away the most important skill needed to “thrive” (and this word is being used in opposition to “survive” here) in today’s world.

39 Things to Remember While Struggling to Build Your Writing Career from Writer Platform: When you’re knee-deep in the tangle of learning something new, it’s easy to get lost in trivialities.

Playtime with Amazon’s Search Engine and Selling Prompts by Jason Matthews via The Book Designer: If you feel any dread when it comes to keywords (or metadata), you’re not alone. Many authors have a limited understanding of these digital entities and struggle to add elements to their books to assist with Amazon’s search engine. Fortunately there’s good news for those who recoil when it comes to keyword research; this can be fun. Think of it as a game where you play around and experiment with Amazon’s search engine.


Social Media Time Suck by Frances Caballo of Social Media Just for WritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web



Image by Frances Caballo

Hugh Howey’s Rallying Call, Researching Book Titles and the Search for Blog Topics


5-23-14 Frances Caballo


This week’s compilation of blog posts has a slightly different focus. In the past, my Roundup consisted primarily of blogs about how writers could better use social media to promote their books. This week, I ventured into new territory and included an article about books that every writer should read, a post by Hugh Howey on the future of author entrepreneurship, and a wonderful post written by Nina Amir on Jane Friedman’s blog. If you live in United States, I hope you have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend (that explains the flags).

25 Books Every Writer Should Read from FlavorWire: You can’t read everything, but once you’ve moved past all of the totally obvious titles, considering adding these 25 titles to your TBR pile. They’re excellent examples of so many different ways that novels, short stories, poems, essays, and creative nonfiction can be done. For writers, this list could serve as something of a syllabus; for those who just want something new to read, it offers a chance to step out of your comfort zone and try a few new ideas and formats on for size.

How to Find Trending Blog Topics Your Audience Will Actually Care About from SocialTimes: Do any of the following apply to you? You thought your audience would be excited by your latest blog post, and yet it only gets a handful of likes and shares.You choose your blog topics based on what you think your readers want, and yet only a few of them even click through to read it. You sometimes feel like giving up because you can’t afford to keep writing blog posts that no one reads.

Being Forced to Sit in the Backlist from Hugh Howey: Imagine selling two million books, having half a dozen of your novels hit the New York Times bestseller list, being inundated with thousands of fan emails every month, and then having someone call you an “aspiring writer.”

How to Write a Competitive Book Analysis from Jane Friedman: If you’re embarking on a nonfiction book project, your analysis of the competitive landscape is critical, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish. You need to understand and be able to explain how your book stacks up against all the others.

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to WriteSocial Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for WritersPresently, she is the Social Media Manager for theWomen’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and theBay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestand Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

Photo credit: TheSeafarer via photopin cc

Analysis of 9 Facebook Pages & Profiles by Famous Writers

FacebookIncreasingly, I find myself telling writers, “Facebook is tough.” Specifically, I am referring to Facebook pages.

Like It or Not, Your Posts Reach 10% of Your Fans News Feeds

In a study by Group M Next, and reported at Social Media Today, Facebook brand pages (also called fan pages or author pages) have seen the penetration from organic posts (posts not supported by advertising) drop from 38% to as low as 9.62%.

What this means that of the number of people who have liked your Facebook page, about 10% of them see your posts. This also means that if you want more of your fans to see your posts, you need to consistently provide great content and plan to have a Facebook advertising budget.

You don’t need to budget thousands of dollars for your advertising, but you should plan on allocating at least $400 a year for those times when you promote certain items, such as the sale price on your book or webinar you will be teaching.

My Analysis of 9 Facebook Pages & Profiles

Considering the grim state of Facebook reach these days, I thought I would analyze the Facebook pages and profiles of famous authors to see whether they can penetrate their fans’ news feeds and if so, how well they perform. Here’s my analysis:

Doris Kearns Goodwin 14,051 Likes

Pulitzer prize-winning nonfiction writer Doris Kearns Goodwin has a huge fan base offline. I read her book No Ordinary Time about Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, and it was a dynamic and thoroughly researched masterpiece of nonfiction. She’s a regular commentator on news programs and is widely respected. In contrast, her Facebook page is disappointing. It appears to be managed by her publisher and is used primarily to promote her books and her appearances. In fact, the posts that I viewed were entirely promotion in nature. She receives few Likes or comments, and there wasn’t any engagement between the author and her fans that I could see. You might want to use this Facebook page as a guide to learning what not to do on your own Facebook page.

Christopher W. Gortner 1,440 Friends

Christopher W. Gortner has a Facebook page, but it’s his profile that rocks. He regularly posts a great mix of information, interacting with friends and readers, and sharing information about rescued animals, a topic dear to his heart. There’s no doubt that he manages the page himself. He responds to readers’ comments quickly and is fully engaged. When I met him a year ago, he recognized me from my Facebook comments and struck up a conversation with me. That’s how personal he is on his profile and in his life. He adores his readers, and they love him back. You may not be impressed by his Friends count (I don’t agree with that assessment but I’ve heard this criticism by others.), but you will admire how he handles this profile.

EL James (50 Shades of Grey) 1.8 Million Likes

With 1.8 million Likes, the page is a great mix of fun, seasonal and personal posts. She does some marketing but in a fun way, such as showing a pint of beer with the number 50 on it or posting images of different covers for her books printed abroad. However, she doesn’t respond to comments. When she shared a video about a time lapse of a pregnancy, her fans shared it a staggering 17,699 times. She recently posted an image of the setting sun and the word “this ….” That post earned 143 shares and 13,137 Likes. If she would only respond to comments it would almost be perfect. Clearly, her fans don’t seem to mind.

Nina Amir 1,253 friends

Nina Amir includes a mix of business with fun videos, posts on Jewish holidays, inspirational quotes, and photos from the conferences where she speaks. It’s a great mix, and her posts always receive comments and Likes and she quickly responds to them. You will learn a lot about Nina when you send her a friend request; she’s not bashful about sharing her feelings, and when she does, her friends come out in force to cheer her on. Nina also has a Facebook page, Inspiration to Creation, where she shares inspirational messages, publishing tidbits, and information about her books. If you want to learn how to become profitable as a writer, you’ll want to Like her page and keep up with those posts.

Writers Digest 113,000 Likes

What I found interesting about this page (Okay, technically it’s not a writer’s page but it’s a page important to writers so I decided to include it.) that there are very few comments considering the number of page Likes, yet its information is widely shared. For example, a reference to an article titled Avoid Rip-Offs and Publishing Sharks received 120 Likes, 61 shares and four comments. A reference to an article about self-editing received 110 shares, 152 Likes and six comments. The best post I found shared a link to an article titled How to Write a Book: 3 Practical Tips. That post received 325 shares and 582 Likes, and generated 18 comments. This page is an excellent example of the power of sharing content that your demographic craves. When you anticipate the content your fans want to read, they will share it freely and widen your exposure. My only criticism is that whoever manages the page doesn’t respond to comments.

Anne Lamott 189,473 Likes

A recent post by her was nearly the length of a short story yet her fans shared it a whopping 13,245 times and wrote more comments that I could easily count. It was a personal post about her feelings about turning 60. Even when she doesn’t post for a week or so, she apologizes, and those posts can receive more than a thousand shares, thousands of Likes and more comments than I’ve ever seen on a Facebook page. She is deeply personal, and when she does promote her books, her fans come out in force, liking and sharing her updates. If you want to learn how to connect with your demographic on a Facebook page, this is one of the Facebook pages you need to watch very closely.

Mary Oliver 65,944 Likes

Mary Oliver has a simple banner image and a picture of herself that hasn’t been photo-shopped – something I appreciate. However, the Facebook page seems to exist for the sole purpose of promoting her books, readings and similar pursuits. She also shares sketched images of dogs and specials on her books. One recently published update simply included a link to a New York Times article about her and an image – no explanation whatsoever – yet it earned 1,877 Likes, 64 comments, and 492 shares. That’s impressive. The page appears to managed by someone other than the author who doesn’t take the time to engage with her fans, but they still love Mary.

Jane Friedman 827 friends

Jane Friedman is a megastar in the writing and publishing field. The former publisher at Writers Digest, she teaches digital publishing and online writing at the University of Virginia, is the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and is the founder of Scratch Magazine, a digital quarterly about the “intersection of writing and money.” Her blog receives more than 60,000 unique visitors every month. Don’t be unimpressed by the number of Facebook friends. She is very connected; on Twitter she has 188,000 followers and follows just 286 users. On Facebook, Jane Friedman is actively involved with her profile, sharing information about her keynotes, articles she discovers, and even a more personal tidbit about her affinity for the Sherlock Holmes series on Masterpiece Theater. Her profile shows active engagement and plenty of shares, comments and Likes from her friends. I know that I’ll be keeping an eye on her profile to continue my learning curve about Facebook and marketing.

Isabel Allende 1,072,187 Likes

Isabel Allende, a native of Chile, writes her posts in both English and Spanish. (Spanish-speaking social media users tend to outnumber other demographics.) She shares historical images, birthday messages to the likes of Gloria Steinem, and information about nonprofits. Her tribute to Flamenco artist Paco de Lucía following his death garnered 15,555 Likes, and 1,438 shares. Her page is at times deeply personal, celebratory, and gracious and expresses her commitment to social justice and causes that are important to her. Very little promotion appears here and her fans seem to like it that way. We can all learn from her.

 Post by Social Media Just for Writers.

Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web