Indie Author Weekly Update – April 20, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Be sure to read Jane Friedman’s newest post and the post by Buffer on what Twitter’s new rules mean for you. Enjoy all of them!

What Do the New Twitter Rules Mean for Social Media Managers (and Buffer Customers) from Buffer: “This year, the team at Twitter has taken additional action to keep Twitter free from spam. Specifically, they have introduced new rules around automation and the use of multiple accounts. You might be wondering, “why is this important to me?” In short, Twitter might suspend your account if you fail to comply.”

Why You Need To Grasp Social Media Image Aspect Ratio by Louise Myers: “What the heck is social media image aspect ratio? More importantly, why should you care? Because understanding this concept will make your image creation so much easier! You will no longer have to stress over every pixel in your social media image sizes! And, you’ll be able to communicate clearly if your image size isn’t working. Because it’s not about the pixel size. It’s about the aspect ratio!”

Four Easy Ways to Not Look Like a Dork on Social Media  from Anne R. Allen and by Barb Drozdowich: “The world of social media has a unique language – words we didn’t grow up using. There are ever-changing platforms, ever-changing rules — and don’t forget all that advice. Everyone, it seems, wants to offer advice on how to be quicker, how to take shortcuts, how to make things easy.”

Building Your Business Model as a Writer from Jane Friedman: “In my newest book, The Business of Being a Writer, I devote an entire section to various ways you can earn money as a writer that don’t involve selling books. (If you didn’t know, most of my income is not related to book sales!) Over the last month, I’ve been talking (and writing) about how to build a business model for your career that suits your particular strengths as well as the unique quality of your work. Here are my latest appearances.”

What’s the Best Price for Your Next Ebook Promotion? from BookBub Partners: “Running an ebook price promotion is a great way to drive revenue, maximize unit sales, and connect with new readers. And if you want to run a Featured Deal to reach BookBub’s audience of millions of power readers, you’ll need to run a limited-time discount (between $0.99 and $4.99) or make a book temporarily or permanently free.”

Facebook in the News

The psychological impact of an $11 Facebook subscription from TechCrunch: “Would being asked to pay Facebook to remove ads make you appreciate their value or resent them even more? As Facebook considers offering an ad-free subscription option, there are deeper questions than how much money it could earn. Facebook has the opportunity to let us decide how we compensate it for social networking. But choice doesn’t always make people happy.”

What Marketers Need to Know About the Cambridge Analytica News  from Convince & Convert: “If you work in the world of marketing, the Cambridge Analytica news didn’t exactly shock you. In fact, most of us in the business reacted somewhere between a shoulder shrug and an eye roll. It’s not that marketers’ support the misuse of data—especially for the purposes of spreading false or “less accurate” information to sway an election. But most of us have known that Facebook and Instagram’s business models are all about selling data.”

Facebook Explains Data Collection from Non-Users to Quell Concerns from Social Media Today: “Amidst the various questions put to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his Congressional testimony last week, Zuckerberg’s response to one query, in particular, stood out. Answering a question from Representative Ben Lujan, Zuckerberg noted that Facebook does, in fact, track the data of people who haven’t signed up for Facebook. Zuckerberg said that they do so “for security purposes”.

Quote of the Week

We write out of revenge against reality, to dream and enter into the lives of others.

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 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



















Who Do You Follow? These 18 Tweeps Are Awesome!

Who Do You Follow? These 17 Tweeps Are Awesome! by Frances CaballoIn this week’s Fab Friday Finds I’m sharing the Twitter accounts of some of the social media and writing/publishing experts I’ve discovered. Enjoy the list!

Content marketing is the best way for writers to grow a following of dedicated readers and colleagues on the social web.

The steps to achieving this goal are:

  • Write the best book you can for a defined audience.
  • Have your book professionally edited.
  • Hire the best cover designer you can afford.
  • Develop a WordPress website where you will host your blog and have information about your book and yourself.
  • Establish your social media presence so you can reach your target audience.

Then, use your social media accounts as part of your content curation system. This process will be easier if you start creating lists or circles of the experts who post the best content in your field, niche, interests or genre.

[Read more…]

Chasing the Elusive Shareable Content

6-23-14 Frances Caballo Social Media Just for WritersI was listening to a webinar featuring Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzgerald, who now work with Canva, and Guy offered his definition of what constitutes shareable content.

Creating shareable content is the holy Grail of social media. If our friends and fans do share what we post, then there is little hope that we will succeed in our social media marketing efforts.

Before posting content on Facebook or Google+, Guy recommends that you place your content through the “re-share test.” Ask yourself whether your content is valuable, bold, informative or entertaining. Does it provide a useful analysis or does it assist people in some manner? If it accomplishes any of these goals, your content should be shareable.

Guy also asserted that controversy will make your content more shareable. I’ve always shied away from stating my positions on gun control, presidential elections, or hot-button issues such as abortion. Instead, I keep to my niche, which is very safe ground.

Finally, Guy recommends that you follow this template for your posts:

 •    keep your headline to 50 characters

•    keep the body of your post to three sentence

•    use active verbs

•    brevity is vital

When I wrote my blog post about Canva recently, I shared some pretty amazing statistics on how much faster our brains can process images versus text. Our eyes gravitate to images and increasingly tend to shun large blocks of black letters. This fact explains why increasingly we need to include images and video if we want our content to be “shareable.”

Does Controversy Trigger More Engagement, Really?

This week I decided to run an experiment on my Facebook profile. I shared an image on Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency and another image about gun control. Guy told us during the webinar that when he takes a stand on gun control, hundreds of people jump in with their opinion. He loves that.

Let’s look at my post on Hillary Clinton. No one Liked it, commented on it or shared it. So, I thought it would experiment with another issue. I posted an image of Richard Martinez, whose son was murdered in the recent shooting in Isla Vista in Santa Barbara, with his arms around Peter Roger, the father of the killer. The image represented their stand on tougher gun-control laws. This content generated eight Likes.

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Compare those results with a quote I created using Canva. This content received two shares, one long comment, and seven Likes.

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In my experience, questions that elicit personal or fun responses trigger the most engagement on my profile. For example, this simple post about what I did on a Saturday morning followed by a question generated 14 Likes, and four comments.

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Finding Shareable Content for Facebook Page Posts

I haven’t and won’t steer into political stands on my Facebook page. It would be hard for anyone, including Guy, to talk me out of sticking to my main topics: social media, publishing and writing.

Even on this page it can be difficult to predict what will trigger engagement. This very simple quote by William Faulkner reached nearly 1400 people and generated 153 Likes, comments and shares.

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This quote by Maya Angelou, posted right after she died, reached 173 people and generated 26 Likes, comments and shares.

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I thought this image was amusing and had hoped it would generate some shares, but it didn’t. It reached 152 people and generated just six Likes.

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I also share what I consider to be valuable content. For example, I include links to my new blog posts, inspiring TED talks and other bloggers such as Joel Friedlander and Jane Friedman. These posts typically reach about 50 – 200 or fewer people and rarely generate a Like even though the information is informative, helpful and in some cases entertaining.

How Do We Really Know What’s Shareable?

Let’s return to Guy’s criteria for shareable content. He said the content needs to be valuable, informative, helpful, are entertaining. But isn’t it difficult to predict whether others will find information as valuable as I do or as entertaining as I do? The “re-share test” that Guy discussed can be elusive.

Are preemptory re-share tests necessary? On Facebook, I look to Insights, Facebook’s free analytics feature that shows me what works and what doesn’t. By returning to the metrics I can, over time, predict what content my audience prefers.

For example, even though my emphasis is on social media for writers, my audience prefers quotes from writers about writing. Even though Guy Kawasaki can trigger hundreds of comments by taking a stand on gun control, my friends are unwilling to do so.

Before you wade through all the potential sources for content and try to decide what to use, review your timelines, retweets, and Google+ shares. Even without using a metrics program, you can get a sense of what does and doesn’t work with your particular audience. In the end, that is the only re-share test that is infallible.

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 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

 Photo Credit:

Social Media, Blogging and the Backward Way to Publishing

I’m a huge fan of Picasso so when I saw this photoshopped image of one of Picasso’s subjects with a laptop, well, it had to end up on my blog. Besides, it is a metaphor for how we live our lives. The social web enters our lives in many ways, including when we are sort of relaxing on the couch but also check our Facebook news feeds, checking in with our Tweeps, or pinning images on Pinterest. To help you with your social media, I’ve chosen four great posts from the past week. Be sure to read Joel Friedlander’s post, The Completely Backwards Way to Amazing Self-Publishing Success. It’s one of his best and it will force you to rethink how your market and publish your books.

Why You Have Been Thinking of Social All Wrong from Social Media Today: We must begin viewing social media as a long term investment. Companies need to see the value of customer sentiment and brand loyalty by way of regular interaction and genuine humility. And so many companies overlook the value of social media as they pertain to search engine optimization.

How to Write a Great Headline: The Top Words Used in Viral Headlines from Buffer Blog: So many different variables go into a viral post—timing, emotion, engagement, and so many others that you cannot control. There is no viral blueprint. The greatest chance we have to understand viral content is to study the posts and places that do it best, figure out what worked for them, and try it for ourselves.

The Completely Backwards Way to Amazing Self-Publishing Success from The Book Designer: I had a daydream the other day. I was working on a mindmap. (Do you know what a mindmap is? Until quite recently I was woefully ignorant of this incredible organizing tool. More to come.)

7 Vital LinkedIn Statistics to Take Your Marketing From Good to Great from Buffer Blog: We at the Buffer blog can vouch for LinkedIn’s growth as our blog has experienced a swell in LinkedIn referral traffic over the past year, up 4,000 percent from last year at this time. Part of that has to do with our emphasis on updates and sharing at LinkedIn, another part has to do with the popularity of LinkedIn contributing a larger audience and more eyes to our content. Together, these factors have made LinkedIn a great source of visitors for our blog, and I’d imagine you might see a similar impact on your own site.

12 Most Obvious Reasons Your Blog Sucks and How to Fix it from Positively Peg: I’ve been to many blogs lately with easily fixable problems that the blogger must not know about and if I missed anything, please share with me in the comments so that others can learn your tricks too! Pick one or two things to update and build. Blogs can be a huge time suck. Be realistic and smart with your commitments and if you are unsure how to do these things, find some one to work on your blog. Nothing wrong with a little delegation from time to time.


socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of 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 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web


photo credit: Mike Licht, via photopin cc

3 Essential Tools for Writers: Marketing, Twitter and Blogging

You write your book, find a cover designer and graphic artist, and send that novel or anthology out into the world. But wait, now you have to market it. And use Twitter. Oh, yeah, you have to start blogging too. If you are still learning how to maximize social media to broaden your readership, then these posts on marketing, Twitter and blogging are essential reading. Besides, they’re written by some great pros in the industry. Enjoy them!

The Hidden Secrets of Marketing from State of Digital: Definitely the Pandora’s box opened by Edward Snowden about the massive espionage, that the NSA did of millions of citizens around the world, has been – and will be for many months – one of the hottest news, and it has ironically made more popular among the public the (bad) practices that the big Internet companies (Google, Facebook, et al) follow regarding the use of our private data.

11 Web Marketing and Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2014 from Social Media Today: Social Media allows small businesses to leverage technology to even the playing field with bigger brands and companies. In 2014, some of the trends we saw in 2013 will continue to rise while others will fall. But it all comes down to how you communicate with your customers, how you leverage relationships, and of course how you share GREAT content.

If You Don’t Enjoy Marketing, You’re Doing It Wrong from Let’s Get Visible: Sometimes marketing can seem like a Sisyphean task. There’s always something you could do to promote your work, and there’s never enough hours in the day. Many writers are already hard-pressed with demands from the rest of their lives and have to battle hard to carve out writing time. The pressure to promote squeezes that precious writing time even further.

How to Use Twitter’s New Timelines from Business to Community: Twitter’s new timeline feature gives users more control over how their tweets are organized and offers some creative alternatives to simply posting to your feed and watching your tweets quickly disappear into the swirling current of handles and hashtags.

8 Smart Tips to Maximize Your Blog Content from Positively Peg: Creating a great article for your blog is a long process and it takes time to craft the perfect headline, write an interesting article and then find a photo. Many bloggers stop working once they hit publish and wonder why no one is coming to their blog or sharing. Cross promoting your blog content across social media platforms sounds complicated but once you put it into your routine, you’ll find that it’s worth the effort.


socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of 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 Chapterthe San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 



Publicity, Book Marketing and Blogging for Writers


I am offering my book, Social Media Just for Writers: The best online marketing tips for selling your books for 51% off on Cyber Monday (December 2nd). The hard copy retails for about $16 and the eBook is normally priced at $7.99. So get your e-copy for just $3.99 on Monday!

This week’s roundup includes posts by some of the top writing and social media marketing minds on the blogosphere. The posts below will help you in all your book marketing efforts.

WordPress Plug-Ins I Can’t Live Without by Jane Friedman: Wrting, reading and publishing in the digital age: As every WordPress site owner knows (at least those of you who self-host), plug-ins are one of the most wonderful and useful things about WordPress. Much of the functionality you need, someone else needs, too—which means there’s probably a plug-in that provides it, without you having to hire additional help or learn how to change the WordPress code.

The Difference Between Marketing and Publicity by Jane Friedman: No one can buy a book they’ve never heard of. So, how do readers hear about books? Everyone likes to say it’s word of mouth, but it’s not possible to tell a friend about a book until you’ve heard of it yourself. That’s where publicity and marketing come in.
 What’s the difference between the two?
 Marketing is paid placement on blogs, radio, TV, newspapers, etc. These show up as ads, advertorials, promotions, blog tours, and more. With book marketing, if you pay for it, it shows up. You hire a marketing company and they buy the space. The attention is guaranteed to be there.

5 Fundamentals That Determine How Fast Your Blog Grows from ProBlogger: This year I’ve managed to grow a photography blog by 500% in about 6 months and I think I’ve learned something along the way. I was following five fundamental things that you can learn from any marketing blog, but I like to think that I’ve made a few personal discoveries about each of them. And the most important of all the discoveries is how these five fundamentals unite into one solid strategy. Once you comprehend it ­ your blog will start growing.

The Single Most Effective Way For Authors To Use Social Media from Best Seller Labs: Yesterday, at 8pm Eastern Time, I hit the 100,000 ‘followers’ mark on Twitter. While it’s true that numbers alone can be somewhat meaningless, this was still a significant social media milestone for me. Unfortunately, any sense of euphoria evaporated quickly when I looked at the stream of Tweets flowing by. What struck me is how many author friends still persist in using social media as a type of megaphone, billboard or advertising medium for their books, even though they should know better. Keep reading for his book marketing tips!

How to Market your Book with Social Media Tools from Social Media for Writers and Bloggers: I did a presentation recently at a writer’s conference and I wanted to share my presentation with you, my awesome blog readers, as well. The most important thing that I wanted writers to know is that they have all the skills to be awesome on social media. Be confident and give it a try!


socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer, and author of 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 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.