Confused About Your Twitter Header? Here Are 10 Tips

Confused About Your Twitter Header? Here Are 10 Tips

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. Henry Ward Beecher

There is wasted space on the internet. Have you noticed it?

I’m specifically talking about Twitter header images. How often have you visited an author’s Twitter profile only to discover that the header image is solid blue, or green, or a picture of an author’s dog?

Twitter gives you ample space, 1500 pixels in width X 500 pixels in height, to extend your brand, publicize your books, or upload an image that matches the mood of your newest book.

What so many authors do instead is they leave the space blank, or fill it with pictures of puppies, kittens, or flowers. Or their images leave you questioning the purpose or reason for the chosen header picture.

Like I said, there’s a lot of wasted space on the internet that authors could be using to promote their brand, their books, their successes, and their careers.

Let’s look at how some authors neglected this valuable online real estate.

This historical fiction author could have, instead of the floral image, created a lovely header image that promoted her books. With a free tool, such as, or a paid tool, such as, you can lift a scene from your book, include your book cover, or create another image that reflects your genre.

The picture below doesn’t do much for this author’s brand, does it?

Twitter header


Believe it or not, the author with the scary header writes romance novels. There’s a definite mismatch between her brand and the header image.

Twitter header

Here are a header image and avatar from another historical fiction author. Let’s look at the avatar. Your avatar needs to be a picture of you. Not your canary, dog, Frappuccino, or cat. You.

It shouldn’t even be a drawing of a character in your novel. Readers want to connect with you, see you, and engage with you. When you use a depiction of a character, as in this example, readers wonder who you are.

Now, for the header, it’s difficult to know if this castle is part of a story. As it stands, the image is boring.

Twitter header

Don’t ever follow this example. Use that blue space to promote your books and don’t be an egghead. Ask someone – a professional photographer, friend, or family member – to take a picture of you and upload it to all of your social media profiles.

Twitter header


There are a couple of things wrong with this header image. First, no one cares (except you) about the name of your publishing company. Secondly, your image needs to be properly centered.

Twitter header image


In this example, I can see that this author tried to get it right. He probably uploaded the cover of his book, without resizing it first, and was only able to capture part of the title. Unfortunately, his avatar blocks part of the title.

Twitter header image


Now let’s transition to some header images that work.

[Read more…]

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, 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






Marketing Tips from New York Times Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton

Social Media Just for Writers by Frances CaballoSharon Hamilton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She didn’t rise to fame by chasing literary agents or signing a deal with a New York publishing house. Sharon is an Indie author whose dedication to writing and marketing has propelled her career to heights she might not have imagined possible when she began writing romance novels in 2008. To say that Sharon is a prolific writer would be an understatement. In the Seal Brotherhood Series alone she’s written eight novels and novellas. She’s also written two books in the Golden Vampires of Tuscany Series and two erotic romance novels. Finally, her stories are included in eight anthologies. To learn more about her success, keep reading.


You’ve been tremendously successful and prolific in your relatively short writing career. What do you attribute your success to, aside from your masterful writing?

I work hard at making it a business. You have to release new products every year, at least 3 – 4 times a year, or more. You need to be visible. But not just visible saying, “Buy My Book;” visible by giving content and value to the relationship you’re cultivating with the reader.


How important is blogging to your success?

At first, it was the only form of social media I did. I learned to get comfortable with it, be prolific at it, and then to join other blogs as either guest or regular hosts. It helped introduce me to a community of like-minded writers, and their followers who became some of my fans.

Dee Dee Scott coined the phrase “Grogging” or group blogging. It’s a good way for an author to learn to cooperate with other writers, play fair, pool resources (it takes a lot of work to consistently blog), and use the power of other authors to get introduced to their readers. I interviewed people I admired or thought were interesting. I watched their blog posts and learned how to post pictures, boost, spread the word, etc. I learned by hosting some good authors first.


Sharon Hamilton, AuthorWhat role has social media played in helping your books to succeed commercially?

Well, since I am an Indie Published author, social media is the only way to get my book out to the public. That’s a good and a bad thing. Good that we have the same access to media for free, basically, and bad because it can suck a lot of time I would love to spend writing. But it is as important as the content, to be involved in social media, and if a writer isn’t, then his or her wonderful book won’t be discovered, except in unusual circumstances. I just know I’m not that kind of lucky, and probably anyone reading this isn’t either!!


My hunch is that Facebook is probably the most important social media network for romance writers. Do you agree, and if so, why? To what do you attribute your success at attracting 13,143 Facebook Page Likes and nearly 5,000 friends?

Facebook allows fans access to the writer (or the writer’s staff as is sometimes the case), which is unbelievable, if you think of it. We are so lucky to have this. I’ve done Facebook parties, where we’ll do a blast from say 6-10, invite guest authors for ½ hour “chats” with fans and readers, contest giveaways, etc,. to increase traffic. I think I’ve gotten as many as 1500 on my Rafflecopter giveaways when people were asked to answer a question or sign up for our newsletter, or “like” my page. Believe it or not, for the first 3 years I was a writer, my FB page didn’t get very big very fast. In the last year, with the new releases, it has really soared in hits. That’s because a lot is going on.

The biggest increase in my page occurred when we took a Cruise from Italy to Brazil, and I posted just about every day about something on board ship, or on land. People still talk about that. I think I got maybe 25% of my “fans” that way. I had people tell me they felt like they’d done the trip too.

On a limited basis, I try to interact with the fans. I don’t make a comment on all of them, but some I do.


8-4-14 CrusinforaSEAL 300When did you start incorporating Navy Seals as characters in your books?

I was writing mostly paranormal, because those were the only romance novels I’d been introduced to. But when an editor said, “Wait a minute. I don’t want vamps or angels. Give me a hero (before I could argue with her there were heroes as vamps and angels).” She said she wanted a military guy, a sports figure of some kind. Para rescue. I threw it out there, “Navy SEALs.” She asked me if I thought I could do that, and I said, “sure.” I wasn’t, of course.

They are the perfect type of hero. Generally stay quiet, not wanting attention to him. He protects the innocent. He doesn’t do it for the money or even the glory. He does it because he is the guy that can “get ‘err done,” do the things other men can’t. He’s filled with an honor to serve, just wired into his DNA. The training sorts out all the ones who aren’t of that ilk. Not just the physical strength, but also the mental strength that makes them so relentless, they don’t quit.


What triggered the Golden Vampires of Tuscany series?

I was an Anne Rice fan, but, IMHO [In My Humble Opinion], she made a mistake by not letting them have a sex life. I love her work, and she is such a great writer. But I found them sad characters. At the time, I was a critique partner with Tina Folsom, and since she was doing vamps, I decided I’d try one. I wanted something different. They don’t go to ground. They can live in the sun, have mortal children, can only mate with their fated mates, although they can sleep around a bit. When they meet their fated mates, they instantly know it. Children are rare and special. I have a whole hierarchy in their world, rules.


How do you manage your time? You are a prolific writer and your have an active online presence. How do you juggle your writing with your book promotion?

I’ve had two virtual assistants since April. They help me with some of the social media stuff, and have helped me maintain a better street team than I’d have time for. They organize blog posts, FB parties, mail outs for prizewinners. I’ve been to six conferences this year already, and they have come to two of them, which helped out a lot.

Good book on Time Management: Manage Your Day-To-Day, by Jocelyn Glei. They talk about building a routine, knowing what times you are most productive and keeping out everything else at that time so you can write. For me, mornings are precious. I no longer have critique groups, doctor of dentist appointments, or meetings in the morning. The morning has to be protected for me, or I’m up half the night trying to finish something.

If you do a little every day, you don’t have to jam. But jamming once in awhile does good things too. Really stimulates the creative ideas, but you can’t run on coffee all the time. You have to slow it down sometimes. A good fitness routine changes what’s done, maybe not when it’s done, but what workouts, so the body is “tricked” into peak performance. Work when the least amount of time can do you the greatest good.

Never be a writer who “doesn’t feel like writing” and then doesn’t. Do it every day. Who cares if you like it or not? Your fans await.


8-4-14 seamydestiny300Are there any other marketing elements that you feel have contributed to your success?

The Facebook Parties are great to do. Already touched on it. Having a Street Team has really helped me spread the word to people I wouldn’t normally know about. They become my Outliers. Make sure you have a clear message and a brand that identifies you.


What do you mean by Street Team?

I have a group of like 100 women, who are fans, and who are on my Street Team. When I post something on the team loop, a lot of them post it to their social media sites. Some are bloggers, too. I don’t pay anyone to review or to blog. They get swag, and stuff from me for just being there. Most successful authors have them.


What marketing advice would you give a new romance writer who was just starting out?

Just try one thing at a time until you get fairly comfortable with it. As usual, setting it up takes the most time. Using it falls from that. Don’t try to do too much. Start slow and don’t listen too much to anybody who is a “guru” and their advice. Do a gutcheck and make sure it works for you too. Not all the advice you get is going to work.


Social Media Time Suck Final 200About 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 FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web