12 Gifts of Christmas for Writers

12 Gifts of Christmas for Writers

Not sure what to purchase that writer in your life? Keep reading. This 12 gifts of Christmas for Writers list will certainly have some suggestions worth buying.

  1. Is the writer in your life a Harry Potter fan? What about a Maurauder’s Map woven throw? This tapestry will be sure to keep your favorite poet or novelist warm throughout the winter cold season.

Marauder's Map

2. What about a beautiful embossed leather retro notebook? Available in Navy blue, gray, green, black, and purple.

3. What do all writers need? Pens, of course! Gel pens are the best so buy your favorite writer a new pack of Uni-Ball gel pens.

Uniball gel pens

4. What do writers do when they aren’t writing, revising, and editing? A creative endeavor is to color. Try this elegant adult coloring book.

5. How special to your life is this writer? For the writer on the go in your life, buy a MacBook Air. They start at $900 at Best Buy.

macbook air

6. Is the writer in your life self-published or thinking about taking the dive? Then this book is a must: The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide by Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent. The paperback is just $10.84.

self-publishers resource guide

7. Now this is a fun gift:Postcards from Penguin, One 100 Book Covers in One Box.

Postcards

 

8. Writers like to improve their craft. Here’s one of the best books on that topic by Anna Lamott, Bird by Bird. I loved it!

 

9. If you live in Northern California’s Bay Area, buy a subscription to the City Arts & Lecture series. Upcoming interviews include Daniel Alarcon, Dave Eggers, and George Saunders. If the writer in your life doesn’t live in Northern California, take that person to a series of readings.

City arts and lectures

 

10. Get your favorite author a t-shirt that says When in Doubt, go to the Library.

 

When in doubt, go to the library [Read more…]

Social Media Tips for Writers (And Reluctant Marketers)

Social Media Tips for Writers (And Reluctant Marketers)

The biggest resistance writers have to jumping into social media is that they fear they will need to spend countless hours in front of their computers posting, tweeting, updating, uploading images, and of course, and leaving comments or replying to someone’s message.

I refer to this as the “time suck factor” because if you let it, social media can suck precious time from your day and your writing.

But, news flash, marketing doesn’t have to be an ugly word. And it doesn’t have to be a task you accept grudgingly.

We’re not conducting robocalls or telemarketing. And we’re not creating direct mail appeals – junk mail – that people toss without even opening the envelopes.

We’re in the era of social media marketing, and the beauty of it is that it’s not interruption-based marketing. Your message is waiting for people when they choose to navigate to Twitter or Facebook or other social media networks.

But you’re still afraid that if you start to use social media, you’ll lose track of time and spend hours in front of the computer when you should be writing or going to the gym. Am I right?

Nonsense. Fitting social media into busy schedules is easy and takes disciple. That’s right, discipline to not turn a quick internet research for your book into a foray into your Facebook newsfeed, which, by the way, I’ve done.

So I speak from experience.

Over the years I’ve learned that you can manage your social media marketing and still have time to write, cycle, relax with a novel, or soak up suds in a tub by following a simple four-point plan.

  1. Curate your posts.
  2. Schedule your social media updates.
  3. Be social because the essence of social media is engagement.
  4. Measure your results so that you’ll know how to improve your engagement.

By spending as little as 30 minutes a day, you can grow your contacts, further your brand, sell more books, and stay in touch with colleagues, readers, and friends.

Here are my social media tips for writers that will help you to better manage your time while marketing.

Curate Stellar Content

There are applications and websites that can help you to find great content in your niche. These are a few of my favorites.

Scoop.it

Enter your keywords, and this application will scour the Web for you. You can discard or keep the articles and posts that Scoop.it suggests and even create your own customized “magazine.”

AllTop

Not an application but a website, this is the top online source for the hottest trending information on the entire blogosphere from A to Z. Find information on a range of topics from writing to social media to romance novels.

Blogs

Subscribe to the top blogs in your niche. I curate information from the blogs I subscribe to and doing so provides a shortcut to my curation.

Twitter Lists

Create lists of the top thinkers and writers in your industry. Creating Twitter lists helps me to stay on top of my industry, get through Twitter more quickly, and efficiently curate information to retweet.

Schedule Your Posts in the Morning

There are numerous applications to help you plan your day. Here are a few for you to consider and use at the start of your day.

bufferBuffer

The free version allows you to post four tweets daily while with the paid version – starting at just $10/month – you can post as often as you’d like.

HootSuite

HootSuite offers a great free plan that allows users to tweet and post as often as they’d like. The paid version will allow you to also post to your Google+ pages, a range of social media platforms, and the paid version offers analytics.

SocialOomph

This application is a scheduler on steroids. You can schedule recurring tweets, track keywords and hashtags, check your incoming feeds, and analyze your click-through-rates to your website. They offer a 7-day trial plan that’s free. Note: SocialOomph works best for Twitter and LinkedIn only. It is limited in the breadth of social media platforms it serves.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is a free application that enables you to manage your Twitter feed, schedule tweets, and monitor and manage unlimited accounts.

You Don’t Have to Be a Party Animal to Be Social

It’s important to schedule time in your day to be social. What does this mean?

At the end of your day, right before or after dinner, spend some time on social media.

Like and comment on posts you find in your newsfeed on Facebook. Check your Contact feed on Twitter to see who messaged you or followed you. Reply to tweets by telling users that you liked a quote they sent out. Follow back users who followed you during the day – assuming they are interesting enough – and comment on their blog, website, or Facebook page.

Read a few blogs and leave comments. Check in on one of your groups on LinkedIn and add to the discussion. Check in on your Google+ communities.

In other words, put the social in social media to work but limit your time to about 15 minutes.

Check Your Return on Investment (ROI)

I love this quote:

Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better. Avinash Kaushik, Google Analytics Evangelist

Time is precious, so it’s important to check to see whether your marketing efforts are having any effect. Here are some applications that can help you to make that determination.

Sprout Social

The premium plan comes with a 30-day trial period. Use this application for monitoring profiles and keywords, scheduling posts, and producing reports. The premium level, which is the beginning level, includes ten social media profiles. SproutSocial also measures influence, analyzes your audience, and lets you know whether not you’ve been social enough.

Social Report

With Social Report you can track the performance of everything from your Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, website site performance and blogs. The data from your social channels is downloaded and laid out on a dashboard. And you can track your social media profiles. Pricing starts at $49/month.

Insights

Insights is Facebook’s free and incredibly comprehensive analytics. Once you have 35 or more Likes on your Facebook author page, Insights will reveal your demographics, the best time to post your updates and indicate which posts received the most engagement.

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3 Basic Rules of Social Media Plus 5 Best Practices

3 Basic Rules of Social Media Plus 5 Best Practices
Dan Zarrella, author of The Science of Marketing, said in his book, “I’ve long been interested in the idea that engaging in conversation is the single most important function of social media marketing.”

He’s right. That is why it’s so important to schedule time in the afternoon or early evening to converse with our readers, friends, and influencers in your sphere. If you don’t allocate time to converse, you are missing the point.

Social media at its essence is social so to engage in social media and not allocate time to socializing, well, it’s antithetical to the very premise of social media.

Social media at its essence is socialClick To Tweet

Take Twitter, for example. It began as a texting platform. Sure, it’s matured, evolved, and changed. You can include images and video now, and you can even advertise. But at its essence, it’s still a medium for conveying messages.

This premise is true with other social media platforms as well.

Which takes me to those 3 basic rules of social media I promised to discuss.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – March 24, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

Today’s edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update is jam-packed with seven posts across nearly the entire spectrum of information that indie authors need to know.

Don’t miss Joanna Penn’s podcast interview of Mark Dawson or Self-Publishing Relief’s tips on how to make your book stand out on Amazon. There are great tips in these posts.


Indie Author Updates

Everything you need to know about hashtags from Lilach Bullock: “Ever since the first hashtag was used back in 2007 on Twitter, the popularity of hashtags has continuously grown and they have become a huge part of some of the biggest social networks. So in this blog post, I will be covering everything there is to know about hashtags: the do’s and don’t’s, how, where and when to use them, and the top hashtag tools on the market.”

[Read more…]

Be Inspired by These 7 Author Podcasters for Indie Writers

Podcasts by and for Authors by Frances CaballoIf you don’t listen to podcasts, you’re missing out on a real treat. Whether you’re cooking dinner, sweating on the treadmill, or commuting to work, you can always take along a podcast episode or two along.

What about blogs?

The Creative Penn Podcast

CreativePennPodcastButton_240x2402Blogs are great. But don’t forget that we are in a mobile, multi-media world, and you can use a variety of media (social media, blogs, videos, podcasts) to extend your message to your readers and listeners.

There are numerous author podcasters that you as an author might enjoy. Let’s start with my all-time favorite first: Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn Podcast.

You’ll find fresh podcasts every Monday. They include interviews, inspiration and information on writing and creativity, publishing options, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship.

I love that before her interviews begin, Joanna always shares news and tips from the week, as well as what’s happening in her life. Her openings add a personal touch to the episodes.

[Read more…]

Self-Publishing: 5 things I Will Do Differently Next Time

1-26-15 Self-Publishing Social Media Just for WritersGuest post by Martha Conway on her experience self-publishing her second book.

Last year, after having one novel published by a traditional publisher, I decided to publish my second novel – Thieving Forest – independently.

After six months of research and preparation I launched Thieving Forest in mid-August, and the experience has been enormously empowering.

Also confusing, exhilarating, time-consuming, and an effort that required me to exercise my brain in new and interesting ways.

It was like starting a new job, which it was. And like a hopeless perfectionist, I wanted to do everything right.

What have I learned, and what would I do differently next time? I’ve kept the list short.

[Read more…]

Email Marketing or Social Media? Authors Need Both!

Indie Authors Need to Use Both Email Marketing and Social MediaSocial media workshops are all the rage at writers’ conferences but what about email marketing?

It would be smart if some conference leaders started including either mentioning email marketing or including sessions on how write effective email marketing messages.

The focus on email marketing may seem like a sudden shift, but it isn’t. Every webmaster worth her weight has been recommending that writers include an email sign-up form, along with a great giveaway, for years.

Pew Research recently gave further credence to this practice. In a study, it conducted, Pew Research discovered that found that 94% of employed adults use the Internet for work. This number is no surprise when you consider the widespread use of technology across industries.

[Read more…]

Social Media Tips for Assault and Domestic Violence Survivors

1-12-15 Privacy and Author Marketing Platforms by Frances CaballoWhat can you do to build your author platform if you’re a survivor of domestic violence or rape?

It’s not an uncommon question. Consider these facts from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • Females who are 20 – 24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.

[Read more…]

Friday Roundup: Image Resources for Indie Authors

Episode 10 - Pinterest for Authors

Welcome 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 tackles the topic of marketing your books and blog with images. Keep reading to learn more.


If you joined Pinterest in the early days and opened a personal profile, you need to upgrade to a business account.

Wait, you’re not a business you say? Of course, you are. You’re in the business of writing and publishing books and if you’re an Indie author that means you’re also forking out some big bucks for editing and design costs. Right?

[Read more…]

Friday Roundup: Resources for Indie Authors

Episode 6 - Marketing Strategies for Indie Authors - Social Media for Authors PodcastWelcome 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 tackles the topics of social media marketing, how to stay focused an off the Internet (when you’re writing), and how to be productive.


Some people wake up two hours early and dedicate their mornings to their writing and marketing before heading off to work. Others like to write in the evenings.

Whatever your writing schedule might be, there’s always a temptation to distract you. If your main source of interruption is the Internet, here are some applications that can help you.

I read that Jonathan Franzen obliterated the Ethernet card in his laptop and locked himself in a drab room to avoid distractions that would divert his attention away from the manuscript for his book Freedom: A Novel.

[Read more…]