Indie Author Weekly Update – May 18, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. Be sure to read Sandra Beckwith’s post on Goodreads and how to create pre-launch buzz for your book by Rachel Thompson. And as always, enjoy your Friday and the weekend!

How to interact with readers on Goodreads by Sandra Beckwith: ““I can’t figure out Goodreads!” It’s a common author lament. While Goodreads is a social network of sorts, the site for book lovers doesn’t look, feel, or operate like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms you might use. It’s so different, in fact, that many authors simply ignore it because doing that is easier than spending the time required to understand the site and how to use it.”

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing: Eldonna Edwards Weighs the Pros and Cons by Anne R. Allen: “I’d been writing a novel off-and-on for over a decade when life threw me one of those cosmic curveballs that sent me careening in a totally different direction. Actually, it was more like me running onto the field and catching a curveball between the eyes, or in this case, in the kidney.

25 Creative Ways Authors Use Images for Social Media Marketing from BookBub: “Some social platforms revolve around sharing visual content, including Instagram, where photos still generate 36% more engagement than videos. And on platforms where images are optional, including them dramatically increases engagement. For example, Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without images.”

Helping Senior Citizens Self-Publish by Joel Friedlander: “Although the indie publishing world sometimes seems to be populated by young entrepreneurial authors, in fact a lot of writers publishing books today are at the other end of the spectrum—senior citizens. It may be hard to pin down what exactly we mean by “older authors,” but I generally take it to mean people 50 years of age and over who haven’t published their own books before.”

How To Build 1,000 Superfans When You’re Starting From Zero from by Joanna Penn: “Former Wired editor Kevin Kelly famously argued that 1,000 superfans is all you need for success as a creator (authors, musicians, artists… anyone who sells things they create). A superfan is someone who will buy anything you produce and sing your praises to anyone who will listen, winning you potential new fans for your books. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful for selling books, and that’s why authors strive to get superfans.”

How to Create Pre-Launch Buzz for Your Book Right Now Rachel Thompson: “Build relationships with readers on social media. This means interact, ask questions, strategically follow readers (not only other writers). Time: Realistically, plan to spend 30-60 minutes daily.”

Quote of the Week

The most important things to remember about back #story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.STEPHEN KING

 

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.


I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella

 

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 TheBookDesigner.com. 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

 

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Got Nothing to Say on Social Media? Check Out These Examples!

Got Nothing to Say on Social Media? Check Out These Examples!

Many people are confused about what they should say on social media.

Feeling like you’re in the same situation? No worries. Just keep reading.

You may remember the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the time, you promote your colleagues, other writers, and great posts, and 10 percent of the time, you can promote your books, blog posts, readings, and awards.

If you’re still feeling confused about how to best present the information you’ve curated, don’t worry. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to write the best social media updates.

Tweets Can Now Have 280 Characters

For about the past year, the character limit on Twitter has been 280, up for 140. However, it’s still best to keep your tweets to 100 characters if possible. Doing so, will increase your retweets according to SproutSocial.

Here are a variety of sample tweets from the indie author/publishing world:

Got nothing to post

Got nothing to post on social media

Got nothing to post on social media

Got nothing to post on social media

You’re probably wondering what you as an author could say. Here are some additional examples that cover an array of genres. All you need to add to these tweets is a URL. If you are promoting a colleague, then add a URL and a Twitter username.

  1. Love #Spain? Read this novel based in #Sevilla + link + name of the book
  2. Are you a #hiker? 7 Tips on How to Find the Best Hiking Boots + link
  3. Great story by +colleague’s username about overcoming #cancer
  4. San Francisco #Writer’s #Conference is this February +link
  5. Do you love reading Indie Authors? Visit http://www.indieauthornetwork.com#bibliophiles

The first tweet is a sample tweet from an author about his or her book. The second tweet would theoretically be for a writer who wrote a book about hiking or local hiking trails.

The third tweet is an example of how writers can help each other. The fourth tweet is presumably by a writer encouraging other authors to attend a conference. The fifth tweet introduces readers to other Indie authors. The hashtags in this example help readers and self-described bibliophiles to find great books to read.

You can also tweet images, quotes from your books, videos, book trailers, Amazon reviews, and information about your colleagues’ books. GIFs are super popular as well because then tend to stop people as they peruse their newsfeeds.

[Read more…]

Not Using Email Marketing? Just Follow These Steps

Not Using Email Marketing? Just Follow These Steps

If you aren’t using email marketing, you may want to rethink your book marketing strategy.

We know that social media is all the rage – and rightly so – but email marketing, according to Kissmetrics“crushes” social media.

Here are their findings:

  1. There are nearly three times as many user accounts for email as there are on Facebook and Twitter combined.
  2. Email is more personal. You can reach people right in their email inboxes and craft messages just for your readers.
  3. Email gets more attention, and the messages are more targeted.
  4. You can use your email marketing messages to sell books, services, and other products.

If you’re considering going the traditional publishing route, your publisher will ask you about your email list numbers. If you’re happy as an indie author, you need an email marketing program to keep in touch with your readers, announce new books, and solicit advance reviews.

There are several email marketing programs available, but the two most popular ones are MailChimp and AWeber. The pricing plans are similar, however, with MailChimp, you can start with a free program.

Early on in my career, I selected MailChimp, so that’s the program I’m going to show you how to use today.

email marketing

How to Get Going with MailChimp

The user interface on MailChimp is clear and easy to use. Start by signing up at MailChimp.com. Decide if you want a paid account, which comes with email-based support, or if you want to figure things out on your own and save some money for now.

Your first step will be to create and name a list so that you can send letters to your readers. Start with one list. The name for the list will only be available to you so you can call it Newsletter for My Awesome Readers or Newsletter List #1. You decide.

Before you work on the sign-up process, you should decide on and create a giveaway. It could be the first two chapters of your newest book or the first book in a series you’ve written. If you write nonfiction, it can be an ebook or a tips sheet. Again, you get to decide on what you think would most entice your readers to turn over their email addresses.

Once you know what your giveaway will be, turn it into a PDF and either create a landing page on your website for it or use a program such as DropBox or BookFunnel as your free file-sharing service.

Next, you’re ready to tackle the sign-up forms on MailChimp.

How to Set Up Your MailChimp Sign-up Forms

 To work on the sign-up forms, go to your list and on the far right, click the arrow, and click on Sign-up Forms in the drop-down menu.

email marketing

You’ll arrive at a page with various options. For this purpose, select General Forms and navigate to the page where you can edit the sign-up process for your list. These are some of the forms that we’ll focus on:

email marketing

To customize the sign-up form, click Edit. Below you can see my sign-up form.

email marketing

Next, you’ll want to customize a sign-up thank you email. See the language that I include in mine. Notice my message to readers who use Gmail.

email marketing

Next, you need to send an opt-in confirmation email. I also choose to customize this email with my logo.

email marketing

Next, I send a subscription confirmation email with the link to my freebie ebook in PDF format, Twitter Just for Writers.

email marketing

As a follow-up to the above email, I also send a confirmation email notice.

Now you’ll want to take the URL for signing up to your newsletter and give it to your webmaster so that she or he can create a widget on your website enticing your readers to sign up there.

This is what my widget looks like:

email marketing

Notice that instead of the word subscribe I use “I Want In!!” Also, I only ask for the email address. The less information you request, the more likely a reader will sign up for your list.

Send Your First Email Letter

Now that you have your list and your email sign-up sequence set up, it’s time to send your first email-marketing letter.

Go to campaigns and select Create Campaign. You’ll need to name your campaign and select your campaign type. Uaually, you’ll select Regular as your campaign type.

email marketing

You will automatically navigate to a page where you’ll select your list. The campaign name is for internal use only. The email subject line, which you’ll select next, is what your readers will see when they go to their inboxes.

You’ll have the option to auto-tweet the campaign or auto-post to Facebook. I discourage you from doing this. Auto-tweeting and auto-posting on Facebook will make those posts appear like spam, and it’s unlikely that your readers will engage with them.

Make sure the subject line entices your readers to open your email. Be sure to reach this post by HubSpotfor tips on how to write catchy email subject lines.

Once you decide on the email subject line, your next step will be to select a template. I use a simple text template because I want the newsletter to be readable in all formats. You can select a fancier template if you’d like.

The first time you create an email-marketing letter, you will arrive at your template, and it will have instructions from MailChimp. Erase the instructions and start your letter. Click on the headline or the email text so that you can click the pencil icon that will allow you to make edits and write your letter.

email marketing

Below you can see some similarities between MailChimp and your WordPress blog.

When you are ready to schedule or send the email, click confirm in the lower right, send a test email to yourself for editing, and then schedule the email for the date and time you prefer.  It’s best to send them at 6 am Eastern Time so that when people turn on their computers in the morning, your message will be there. Tuesdays through Thursdays are known as the best days to send your newsletter.

email marketing

If you’ve followed all of these steps, you’ve just successfully created and sent your very first email-marketing letter.

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 TheBookDesigner.com. 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

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Indie Author Weekly Update – April 27, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

Welcome to this week’s Indie Author Update. All of the posts this week are great. if you only have time to read a couple, make sure you read Anne R. Allen’s post as well as Rachel Thompson’s.

Enjoy your Friday!

The 4 Most Effective Book Marketing Strategies That Work by Rachel Thompson: “I’m constantly amazed by the sheer number of writers who are about to release their first book, or have already released their first book, and have zero marketing in place. Nothing, nada, oftentimes less than zero. They remind me of the college kid who walks into a final with a hangover and a broken pencil, hoping to pull the answers out of their you know where.”

Authors Beware: Amazon Gets Medieval on Paid and Traded Reviews by Anne R. Allen: “One email notified me that I’d failed to get “enough” reviews on my new Author Blog Book. But I could get 25 Amazon reviews from him for only $900! Dude, here’s the reason many of us “fail” to get tons of Amazon reviews anymore: scammy review-sellers like you. This is because Amazon fights paid review violations with robots, which are wrong more often than not. And they’re scaring off real reviewers.”

How To Solicit And Act On Feedback From Beta Readers from BookBaby: “You’ve finished your first, second, and maybe even the third draft of your book, and you’re ready for feedback from beta readers. Here are the steps you should follow to get and act on the feedback you receive.”

How To Create A Book From Your Blog from Location Rebel and by Dave Chesson: “Bloggers are in the perfect position to write a book. At first, it might seem like a big leap from blog to book. After all, writing a book is a significant project which requires resources.”

13 Dos and 1 Big Don’t For Growing Your Poetry Social Media Following from Writer’s Relief: “After years of languishing, many poets probably thought they’d never see this day come: Poetry is popular again! There’s a new generation of poets — dubbed “Instapoets” due to their success on Instagram — and these social media-savvy bards are commanding audiences in the hundreds of thousands while enjoying drool-worthy book sales!”

10 Ways Authors Can Grow a Facebook Group from TheBookDesigner.com and by Frances Caballo: “More and more romance authors are using groups instead of Facebook author pages or in conjunction with them. Actually, a lot of experts who run courses also offer Facebook groups as a benefit of a buying a course.”

Quote of the Week

James Baldwin quote

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 TheBookDesigner.com. 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

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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 Canva.com, or a paid tool, such as PicMonkey.com, 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…]

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 TheBookDesigner.com. 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

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Boost Your Facebook Engagement with These 16 Tips

Boost Your Facebook Engagement with These 16 Tips

Zephoria, a digital marketing company, in April published a post citing 20 valuable Facebook statistics. A few are worth noting here:

  • Worldwide, there are over 2.13 billion monthly active Facebook users, which is a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
  • There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users

Regarding Facebook’s demographics, the following statistics are relevant in terms of book marketing:

  • 4 billion people on average log onto Facebook.
  • There are 1.74 billion mobile active users.
  • The Like and Share buttons are viewed across nearly 10 million websites – daily.
  • Five new profiles are created every second, pointing to Facebook’s staying power.
  • Facebook users are 76 percent female.
  • 7 percent of its users are between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • The highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 and 3 pm.
  • Every minute, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated,a nd 136,000 photos are uploaded.
  • One in five page views in the U.S. occurs on Facebook.
  • Since May 2013, 16 million local business pages have been created.

And according to the Pew Research Center, 68% of all U.S adults who are online us Facebook. That’s the biggest statistic of all and one that points to the popularity of Facebook, which is second only to YouTube in popularity, followed by Pinterest and then Instagram.

Use Demographics to Plan Your Marketing

What do all these numbers have to do with you as an author? Plenty.

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.

The new marketing dictum for selling your books or anything else is this: You don’t need to be everywhere; you need to be where your readers are. Remember that. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time. Focusing your energy and time on the social media websites where your readers network is your first rule.

Who needs to be on Facebook? Romance authors, some crime and thriller authors, young adults novelists, and anyone who is writing for any of the demographics noted above.

Knowing that you need to be on Facebook is half the battle in your marketing. The other issue is engaging with your readers.

Facebook Pages Aren’t Easy

FacebookFacebook, as I often tell authors, isn’t easy.

About six years ago, Facebook’s algorithm enabled about 32% of all posts from a Facebook page to appear in your fans’ newsfeeds. Two and a half years ago, Facebook tweaked its algorithm again. At that time, about 6% of posts would appear in a fan’s newsfeed. It’s even more challenging now to generate engagement.

About 1 percent of your status updates will appear in your fans’ news feeds unless you purchase advertising.

There’s another battle, too. Getting Facebook Likes. A combination of contests and Facebook advertising can help to address that issue.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – April 13, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - April 13, 2018

Welcome to today’s Indie Author Weekly Update. If you’re interested  in starting a Facebook Group, and if you write fiction you should be, be certain to read Blogging Wizard’s post this week. As always, Gil Andrews, Dave Chesson, and Anne R. Allen can always be counted on for some killer material.

And enjoy your weekend!

10 Tips to Protect your Creative Writer Self in the Marketplace: “The biggest obstacle many new writers face in making the leap from beginning writer to professional author is accepting that publishing is a business. Newbie writers have often taken creative writing courses or read books that urge them to “just be yourself”, “be creative: there are no rules”, and “a book should be as long as it takes to tell the story.”

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Any Changes to Your Website by Gil Andrews: “Have you heard of the Hippocratic oath? It’s an oath that new physicians take when they graduate … Hippocrates made his students swear “by Apollo The Healer” and other cool gods with healing powers that they would uphold ethical standards when they practice medicine.”

16 Promotion Strategies To Grow Your Facebook Group 3x Faster from Blogging Wizard: “You’ve just created your first Facebook group. You expected like-minded people to flock to your group as soon as you put the finishing touches on it. You have a beautiful cover photo, you’ve set your group rules, and it’s looking pretty snazzy. You’ve done everything right. But still, nothing. Absolute crickets. No rush of people eager to join your community. You’re beginning to wonder why you bothered to go to all this effort, to begin with. After all, a Facebook group is useless if it’s not full of engaged members who fit your target market.”

The Surprisingly Simple Solution to Improving Book Exposure by Belinda Griffin: “This is the second in a series of three blog posts I’m writing to break down the top 3 book marketing challenges as revealed by my Book Marketing Frustrations Survey. In the first post, I explained that successful authors focus on readers for better results. This time I’m going to show you how to deal with the problem of not getting enough book exposure.”

9 Ways a Crappy Book Cover Can Sabotage a Marketing Campaign by Joan Stewart from TheBookDesigner.com: “When authors consult with me on any topic related to book marketing and publicity, I ask them a question they usually don’t expect. “May I see the book cover? “I don’t need your help with the cover,” the author says. “I want help identifying the types of stories I can pitch to the media.” Why do I ask to see your book cover?”

Facebook in the News

Facebook rewrites Terms of Service, clarifying device data collection from TechCrunch: “Facebook  is spelling out in plain English how it collects and uses your data in rewritten versions of its Terms of Service and Data Use Policy, though it’s not asking for new rights to collect and use your data or changing any of your old privacy settings.The public has seven days to comment on the changes (though Facebook doesn’t promise to adapt or even respond to the feedback) before Facebook will ask all users to consent to the first set of new rules in three years.”

If You Had One Hour With Mark Zuckerberg, What Would You Ask? Here’s What I Learned About The State And Future Of Facebook, Data, Politics And Bad Actors by Brian Solis: “In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, data misappropriation, #deletefacebook, calls for regulation and pending testimony to U.S. Congress, Facebook announced a series of initiatives to restrict data access and also a renewed selfie awareness to focus efforts on protecting people on the platform. What’s more notable however is that Mark Zuckerberg also hosted a last-minute, rare town hallwith media and analysts to explain these efforts and also take tough questions for the better part of an hour.”

Quote of the Week

Knowledge is power, and power is best shared among readers. by Frances Caballo

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 TheBookDesigner.com. 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

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5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Published My First Book

5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Published My First Book

We all make mistakes with our published books, right? And we learn from them – well most of the time.

Joel Friedlander of TheBookDesigner.com frequently tells me that when he talks to new authors about what they should do once they publish a book, he usually tells them something to the effect of, “You should have prepared for your first book two years ago.”

Ouch. But he’s right, of course.

When I published my first book in 2013, I’d had a website and two blogs for two years. And I’d been using social media for two years. Sounds good, right?

Not exactly.

5 Things I Completely Blew When I Published My First Book

While it appears that I prepared for my launch, like many authors I was focused on writing my book. Here’s a summary of five things I did wrong.

  1. The domain for my website was ACT Communications. Not a very enticing business name for writers, now was it?
  2. Although I’d been blogging for two years, one blog was for businesses. The second blog started out as a blog catering to nonprofits. I didn’t switch the theme of the second blog to writers until I published my book. So again, I wasn’t doing much to build my platform or prepare my audience, authors.
  3. The username on my Twitter account was ACT Communications. Worse, I was tweeting about social media for nonprofits and small businesses, and I wasn’t following many people, so my account was stagnant. My story gets worse. I was using a verification app that required anyone who followed me to use and be verified by the app, TrueTwit.com. If you’re using this type  app, your Twitter account is basically frozen and will never grow. Therefore, your platform will stagnate.
  4. I followed the advice of a search engine expert and created a Facebook page for my book instead of an author page. His theory was that writers should have a Facebook page for each book they write. Now I know better. If I’d created a new Facebook page for every book I’ve written my audience would be divided, and I doubt that someone who liked my first Facebook page would like subsequent pages. Why would they? Several years ago, when Facebook first allowed pages to change their names, I switched my Facebook page to an author page, and I’m much happier. Now people can find my page by searching for my name instead of the title of my book.
  5. I signed up for the Kindle Select Program on Amazon and made my book available for free several days. But guess what? I failed to add my free book to a myriad of lists that exist to publicize free books. Relying only on my social media, I had 800 downloads but think of the thousands of downloads I could have had if I’d signed up for a variety of services that publicize free books.

What I Do Differently Now

In my case, I did learn from my mistakes. Here are five things I do differently.

  1. I ditched the website ACT Communications and started SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.
  2. I focused my efforts on writers, especially indie authors.
  3. I sought speaking gigs, teaching social media to authors. So far I’ve taught through Stanford’s and UC Berkeley’s Extended Education program, I led a workshop at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference and the Redwood Writers Conference (twice), and I’m a regular presenter at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I’ve also spoken to a variety of other author organizations and at bookstores.
  4. I seek guest blogging opportunities. I’m a contributing writer for TheBookDesigner.com, was until recently a blogger and the social media expert at BookWorks, and I’ve written for a variety of other blogs, including Joanna Penn’s, Jane Friedman’s, Nina Amir’s, and Susanne Lakin’s.
  5. I expanded my brand on social media. I switched my username on Twitter from ACT Communications to Frances Caballo. Plus, I got rid of the TrueTwit application and started following 100 people a day. As I mentioned earlier, I corrected my error on my Facebook page. On LinkedIn, I always mention my newest books in my headline now, and I’ve expanded my brand further by joining Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. (Note: I don’t recommend that all authors use this many social media networks.)

8 Book Marketing Steps Worth Repeating

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – April 6, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update - April 6, 2018

Welcome to today’s Indie Author Weekly Update. If you only read one story, read Jane Friedman’s on a smarter author platform. And if you only have time for one Facebook story, read the first one below under Facebook stories. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks how Facebook handles its personal security and advertising issues.

Have a wonderful weekend.

A Smarter Author Platform for the Digital Era of Publishing from Writer Unboxed and by Jane Friedman: “Author platform, in its simplest form, is an author’s ability to sell books. What that platform looks like, or how it works, varies from author to author: Some are big names who can attract attention with any book they release, others have figured out how to harness a local or regional fan base to spread word of mouth, and still others know how to use digital media for visibility.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – April 2018 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Amy Collins: “Man, things are changing fast at Amazon. So, to be helpful, I have compiled a list of things that USED to be true about Amazon that you might want to be aware of and then I’ve given you a suggestion or two about what to do with the new information. Hold on guys. This list is annoying and long.”

What is NaNoProMo and How Can It Help YOU Sell More Books? by Rachel Thompson: “Many of you are familiar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) held every November) to inspire writers to write books. There’s even NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month) every March to help writers edit the book they wrote in November). I researched and realized there was no book marketing specific month, and because ya know, I have nothing else going on *cough*, I created NaNoProMo — National Novel Promotion Month, to take place in May. Ta-da!”

What Twitter’s New Rules Mean for Social Media Scheduling from @MeetEdgar: “If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that sometimes, people use Twitter for not-so-nice reasons. Reasons like spamming hashtags, creating fake profiles, or, you know, trying to destabilize the democratic process in other countries.”

A guide to social media for authors by Nathan Bransford: “Let me tell you a story about how I joined Twitter. I didn’t join it at all. In 2008, someone created a fake profile for me, photo and all, and started tweeting out my blog posts! People were replying to me and everything. Once I got wind of what was happening, I wrested control of the account and I grumpily determined it was time to succumb to that whole social media thing.”

How to promote your audiobook from Sandra Beckwith: “In my view, the biggest obstacle to audiobook promotion is the fact that the majority of people still haven’t actually listened to one!”

This Week’s Facebook Stories

Tim Cook hits Facebook again over privacy concerns Tim Cook took a break from criticizing Facebook on Tuesday to present the next step in Apple’s big education plans. But the CEO is back at it. Sitting down with MSNBC and Recode at a town hall event, Cook was once again asked about consumer privacy in the wake of fallout over Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica quagmire. Cook interviews that while he believed self-regulation is best in the case of these tech giants, “I think we’re beyond that.” Asked what he would do, were he in Zuckerberg’s position, he added, simply, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Facebook Executive In 2016: “Maybe Someone Dies In A Terrorist Attack Coordinated On Our Tools” from BuzzFeed: “Facebook Vice President Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said that “questionable contact importing practices,” “subtle language that helps people stay searchable,” and other growth techniques are justified by the company’s connecting of people.”

Facebook Responds: No More Partner Categories Targeting  by Jon Loomer: “The first shoe drops. In a very brief statement, Facebook announced that they will be shutting down Partner Categories (a way for advertisers to target users based on information provided by third parties) during the next six months. Let’s take a closer look at what Partner Categories are/were, what this means for advertisers, and why this is happening now…”

Quote of the WeekYou don’t always have to go so far as to murder your darlings – those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page ... by Diana Athill

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 TheBookDesigner.com. 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

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