Indie Author Weekly Roundup September 30, 2016

Indie Author News This WeekAs an indie author, what steps are you taking to sell more books? How to sell more books is the continual question for authors and so I hope this week’s indie author weekly roundup will provide some answers for you.

And …

Don’t forget to sign up for next Tuesday’s Conversations with Frances when I’ll be interviewing blogging and self-publishing expert Joel Friedlander. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask him anything you’d like as well. So join us October 4 at 11 am.

Indie Author Updates

10 Things Authors Need to Stop Doing on Social Media Immediately from Digital Book World: “Almost every author has been told at some point, “You gotta get online and promote.” But only a small percentage of authors have actually been coached on social media best practices, resulting in hundreds of authors using social media completely wrong and turning readers off rather than attracting them. If you are guilty of any of the following social media practices, for the sake of your readership, please stop immediately.”

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Roundup – July 8, 2016


 Indie Author Weekly Roundup by Frances CaballoIt seems that every week it gets harder to narrow the selection of posts I pick for the Indie Author Weekly Roundup. This week was especially difficult. I hope you enjoy the mix of social media and book marketing posts that I ultimately chose.

Indie Author Weekly Roundup


Did You Miss These Posts I Recently Wrote for Other Blogs? 

How Goodreads Can Help Writers Grow Their Readership from Susanne Lakin’s Live Write Thrive blog: “What I find interesting is that many Goodreads users attended college, and even more of them attended graduate school. Goodreads members are educated, love to read, and love to talk about books. Women read more and review more books than men and dominate this online venue. While men aren’t as active on this site as women, they still participate and are a growing force here.”

Learn how to improve your website's SEO with Pinterest Click To Tweet

[Read more…]

Social Media Weekly Roundup for Authors

5-27-16 WeeklyRoundup-2I was talking with a friend recently, and she asked me what I’d be publishing this year. I told her I’m writing three books: the Goodreads book I just released, a time management book, and a comprehensive book on social media. She asked me how much they would cost. I haven’t decided on a price for the paperback of the last book I’ll release this year, but the ebook will be about $4.99. She said, “That’s expensive for an ebook.” Really? I tried to explain to her the costs indie authors incur: their time, editing, book covers, and book formatting. When you consider the costs, I don’t think a comprehensive book priced at $4.99 is too much. So my message this week is don’t fall into the trap that all of your books need to be priced at $.99. You’re worth more than that. Now tell me what you think about book pricing. Note: I do lower the price of my ebooks after they’ve been on the market for a couple of years and when I’m preparing a massive update.

Here’s the Social Media Weekly Roundup

Using The #Audiobook Service ACX via Self-Published Authors Helping Authors: “I think I speak for many of us when I say we’d like to have our books in audiobook form. Besides being a possible way to connect to new readers who don’t necessarily like to sit down with a paperback or e-book and another possible source of revenue, audiobooks have a prestige to them. It’s sort of magical hearing your characters come to life in your car or in your earbuds through sound and description. It’s pretty powerful.”

[Read more…]

Author’s Guide for Goodreads

5-23-16 The Author's Guide to Goodreads by Frances CaballoI read a great post last week by Sabrina Ricci on her Digital Pubbing blog that analyzed bestsellers in varying genres.

What made the four books so successful? As Sabrina explained:

  • The books were widely available.
  • They were each of the highest quality.
  • The authors and publishers used giveaways.
  • The authors connected with readers in meaningful ways.
  • Multiple strategies were used.

And in the case of The Girl on the Train, the publisher invested time and money in Goodreads.

Yes, Goodreads!

'Do yourself a favor and get this book,' Jason MatthewsClick To Tweet

[Read more…]

Weekly Roundup – Social Media Updates for Authors

Weekly Roundup - Social Media Updates for Authors by Frances Caballo

This past week was rich in terms of content on the blogosphere. I hope you enjoy this week’s social media updates for authors. But first, here’s the story about the above image.

Here’s a little-known fact about me: I hike every Saturday morning, even in the rain. It’s a ritual I refuse to relinquish. The woods is where I replenish myself. Recently, I heard indie author Mark Dawson say that all the writers he knew were walkers. Well, count me as a member of that group. This past weekend, I slipped my iPhone into my back pocket and, of course, silenced it. I intended to take pictures of the wildflowers growing in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. I did take pictures of lupines, paintbrush, and monkeyflower, yet the above tree was my favorite subject. One never knows where the path will lead or where intention may be diverted. But if my experience last weekend can be seen as a metaphor, then it’s this: Don’t be rigid in following a path or pursuing an intention you think is best for you. You’re a writer, an artist. Follow your intuition and you’ll always be on the right course.

Social Media Updates for Authors

The Myth of the Average Reader from Writer Unboxed: “I usually see references to this mythic creature — the average reader — in one of two contexts. First: `I’m going for mass market appeal — I think the average readerwould enjoy my book.’ Second: ‘Well, the average reader obviously doesn’t know what good writing is. Why else would they buy crap like (popular bestseller)?'”

Note: Until this post, I hadn’t heard of anyone discussing psychographics in terms of readership. This is the definition the author offers: “the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.” This was an informative post with a new perspective.

[Read more…]

Book Marketing Weekly Roundup

Book Marketing Weekly Roundup by Frances CaballoIt was such a wonderful week on the web for book marketing advice for authors. I selected a whopping five posts to share today because of the cornucopia of great content for authors. The big news of the week? Goodreads is testing the inclusion of Kindle ebooks in its giveaway program. This will be huge for indie authors. Plus, I loved being interviewed by Lorna Faith. So check out the show notes, podcast, or video.

Book Marketing Advice for Indie Authors

10 (Practically) Cringe-less Self-Promotion Ideas for Authors from Publishers Weekly and by Kimberly Dana: “Self-promotion is fraught with the cringiest of awkward moments, but my more experienced comrade was right. Combing the social media circuit in search of friends, followers, and readers isn’t just necessary; it’s an integral part of the average author’s day. I consoled myself with one small, comforting thought: I can at least be smart about it.” Note: Kimberly Dana offers some tangible steps for indie authors to follow.

[Read more…]

How to Set Up Your Goodreads Author Dashboard


Twitter Just for Writers

Grab my recently updated and FREE 39-page eBook on Twitter today. Twitter Just for Writers is the most comprehensive eBook I’ve ever released. You’ll find:

  • Easy to follow instructions on how to get started.
  • Instructions on how to devise a password the will never be hacked.
  • Terms and special hashtags just for authors.
  • A list of applications.
  • Advice on how to select your username and write your bio.
  • Plus guidelines for advanced users!

Download your FREE copy now.

This post is the second in a two-part series on Goodreads for Authors. The first post was Go Where Your Readers are – Goodreads!

How to Set Up Your Goodreads Author Dashboard by Frances Caballo

Set Up Your Author Dashboard

You are about to enter a world of avid book readers. Share your love for the written word by following the steps below.

Open An Account

If you are new to Goodreads, get started by navigating to You can sign up either by signing in with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Amazon accounts. Or, you can enter you name, email address and a password.

How to set up a Goodreads author profile by Frances Caballo

Find Friends

Next, look for your friends. Click on the two-person icon to the left of your image on the top taskbar. Then click one of the icons in the Find Friends From widget or type in the name of a colleague or friend and search for them one-by-one.

Find friends on Goodreads by Frances Caballo

Goodreads gives users the opportunity to add a challenge question to their profile. If you select this option, then prospective friends will need to know the correct answer to your question. I recommend that you don’t take this step because you will limit the number of friends you’ll have and potential readers of your books.

[Read more…]

Go Where Your Readers Are – Goodreads!


Twitter Just for WritersGrab my recently updated and FREE 39-page eBook on Twitter today. Twitter Just for Writers is the most comprehensive eBook I’ve ever released. You’ll find:

  • Easy to follow instructions on how to get started.
  • Instructions on how to devise a password the will never be hacked.
  • Terms and special hashtags just for authors.
  • A list of applications.
  • Advice on how to select your username and write your bio.
  • Plus guidelines for advanced users!

Download your FREE copy now.

Go Where Your Readers Are - Goodreads! by Frances Caballo
Today’s post is the first in a two-part series I am publishing on Goodreads.

“Goodreads has become the most important networking site on the Internet …” Forbes

“There is one book-focused start-up that has arguably had the largest effect on changing how people discover new books. Goodreads.” Digital Book World

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Is Goodreads really a social media network?”

The primary reason for starting Goodreads was to create an online venue where friends could chat about and recommend books, the same way they might if they were dining together or meeting at a café.

Its secondary goal was to serve as a social media network. Users even can link their accounts to Facebook and Twitter to further spread the word about books they liked and reviewed.

Goodreads is first a readers haven, then a social media network via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

[Read more…]

Writing, Self-Publishing and Goodreads May Be Losing Readers

This week’s roundup is a potpourri of writing advice, self-publishing tips, an introduction to MiniBuks (fascinating!) and the continuing saga on Goodreads. Why should we as authors care about the alleged censorship happening on Goodreads? Because there are 20 million readers there and it’s the largest book-sharing social scene on the Web. BookLikes is gaining popularity and LibraryThing is great, but until they ramp up, Goodreads is a must for authors trying to reach readers. I’m not suggesting that writers simply hawk their goods on Goodreads; instead, be the reader that you are by listing your favorite books, reviewing books, joining groups, and engaging with other users. Here’s this week’s scoop:

Write Where the Juice Is from The Heart and Craft of Life Writing: When I read this advice recently in Vanessa Talbot’s ebook, 101 Ways to Live Extraordinarily, I thought of one of my great-great-grandmothers. Family legend has it that she opened the first brothel in the Yukon. The topic certainly does give us plenty of food for talk.

How to Go Places That Scare You In Your Writing by Charlotte Rains Dixon: Whatever it is that scares you, it is important to go there. Why? For a number of reasons. Because once you get it out on the page, it won’t scare you anymore. Because there’s fabulous gold to be mined in the scary places (stories are nothing without conflict). Because if you’re not going there, you’re probably not putting your true self on the page.

To “Self”-Publish, You Need a Team from The Passive Voice: Bob Mayer asserts that to “self”-publish, you need a team. He explains that seeming contradiction thusly: Thus, I believe the term “self”-publishing primarily means that the author retains most of the rights to his or her work (most particularly electronic) but teams with others in order to bring a story to market, including sometimes selling rights to print, foreign and audio (although we are big fans of Audiobook Creation Exchange). And this last bit is key: Authors create product, which is story (not book), and readers consume product through a variety of mediums. Everyone else is in between. Authors need people of value in between in order to get story to reader.

Answers to the 7 Biggest Questions About MiniBüks from The Book Designer by Joel Friedlander: I met David and Kathy Seid this spring at Author U in Denver, Colorado. They were there to show authors and self-publishers their line of small, pocketable books that fill a unique spot in book retailing. They call these books—and their company—MiniBük. They are nicely-printed 3.5″ x 5″ books that can be used in many ways. Tracy R. Atkins interviewed David and Kathy to find out what exactly a MiniBük is, and how authors can use them.

How Amazon and Goodreads could lose their best readers from Salon: With 20 million members (a number some have noted is close to the population of Australia) and a reputation as a place where readers meet to trade information and share their excitement about books, the social networking site Goodreads has always appeared to be one of the more idyllic corners of the Internet. The site sold to Amazon for an estimated $190 million this spring, and Goodreads recommendations and data have been integrated into the new Kindle Paperwhite devices, introducing a whole new group of readers to the bookish community.


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+.



Finding Alternatives for GoodReads: Riffle, LibraryThing & BookLikes

Goodreads recently found itself embroiled in controversy after it removed reviews in which some users attacked authors. The founder of this reading-based social network, Otis Chandler, believes that reviews should focus on content, character development, plot or any other number of elements of nonfiction and fiction books. But not authors.

And that’s a good thing.

Goodreads seems so mainstream now but back in 2007, this mammoth site was just an idea. The following quote from Chandler on the Goodreads website explains the network’s genesis:

One afternoon while I was scanning a friend’s bookshelf for ideas, it struck me: when I want to know what books to read, I’d rather turn to a friend than any random person or bestseller list.

So I decided to build a website – a place where I could see my friends’ bookshelves and learn about what they thought of all their books. Elizabeth, my co-founder (and now my wife) wrote the site copy and I wrote the code. We started in my living room, motivated by the belief that there was a better way to discover and discuss good books, and that we could build it. 

In just seven years, the site has grown to 20 million users who love to read. Authors have flocked to the site as well because in subtle ways they can use it as part of their marketing platform by offering giveaways, starting discussion groups, and generally being a reader who builds bookshelves and writes honest and thorough reviews.

But “the bullies,” as some writers refer to reviewers who denigrate authors, have caused a stir and a number of authors have chosen to leave Goodreads for newer platforms. In this post, I review three alternatives for Goodreads that writers have: Riffle, LibraryThing, and BookLikes.


Publishers Weekly asked this question, “Could Riffle be the Pinterest of Book Discovery?” It’s an excellent query. Riffle, which doesn’t have the depth or versatility of Goodreads, is a venue where you can create visual bookshelves of books you’ve read and want to read.

To get started, navigate to It’s home page displays a series of large images and has a fresh appeal. Click “Go to Riffle now” and sign up by entering your email and a password or by using your Twitter or Facebook accounts.


Next, you will be directed to select the categories of books you like to read. You can also select a category that best describes you. You also have the option to define yourself as an expert within your niche.



Once that’s done, start to add the titles of three books you’re reading. Riffle will search through Amazon to match your title with its corresponding cover.



Similar to the previous question, now tell Riffle about three books that you enjoyed reading.


 Based on the categories you chose above and the books you’ve read, Riffle will find 15 people for you to follow. Note: You can unfollow them at any time.

 You’re now an official member of Riffle. Here is the coding system the site uses to help its users distinguish books you’ve liked from books you have yet to read.


Next, type the title of a book you’d like to read and Riffle will populate the cover and description.



To complete your profile, add a biographical description that is 140 characters or shorter, upload a picture of yourself, and review your settings. Voila! Your profile is complete.



When you click on the inverted arrow next to the word Riffle, a drop-down menu appears. When you click on Questions, you will navigate to a page of questions designed to learn more about your reading history and the types of books you prefer.

Questions include:

  • Which books would you hope your soul mate has read?
  • What books have changed the course of your life?
  • What have you read recently?

The same Web page will provide you with answers to these questions (and more) provided by people you follow. Once you’ve finished replying to the questions, click the inverted arrow again. When you select “People,” you’ll see Riffle’s recommendations of people they think you would enjoy following.



 You’re now a Riffle user!


 LibraryThing describes itself as a “home for your books.” It’s both a cataloguing system and social network for its 1.7 million users and 82 million books. The platform allows users to contribute tags, reviews and ratings for books as well as participate in forums. It also has an Early Reviewers program.

 Here, you are the librarian of your own personal library. You enter books to your collections, sort your books, edit book information (on Goodreads you can do this only if you are granted librarian status), and write reviews.

 LibraryThing gets its book data from and over 700 libraries around the world, including the Library of Congress. On your profile, you can write about yourself, your library, or be private.

 What I love about this site is its local information. Once you type in your zip code, LibraryThing will list author readings, signings, discussions and other book-related events in your region.

LibraryThing isn’t free but it is cheap to join. You can pay $10 per year or a $25 lifetime fee. Here are some interesting statistics about Library Thing:

  • Members: 1,735,742
  • Books cataloged: 85,149,486
  • Reviews: 1,979,018
  • Works reviewed 740,547
  • Ratings: 14,138,830
  • Author photos: 42,548
  • Groups: 9,644

 Sign up on the home page and decide whether you wan to connect your social media profiles to the site.

 11 Once you sign up, you will be directed to your home page.


Start adding books you’ve written and read.


Similar to Goodreads, you can join and participate in groups.



As an example, this is a group called Literary Snobs.


Maybe you don’t want to commit to a group but you’d like to join discussions. You can do that too.



Are you wondering what literary events are happening in your area? Just enter your zip code to find out.



Check out all the resources available on LibraryThing. Similar to Goodreads, you can add a widget to your blog so that your readers will know what you’re reading.




BookLikes has a fresh feel to it. When you arrive at the home page, sign up.


You’ll notice that similar to Tumblr, Booklikes allows its users to customize the look of your bookshelves by installing any background design you like. In addition, if you want to share information that isn’t strictly bookish, you can do that on this site.

Here are some of its features:

  • You can create the types of shelves that you like.
  • Interact with other readers about books and book-related topics.
  • Follow and unfollow people without having to accept a friend request.
  • “Reblog” something you like on another bookshelf.
  • Comment on another readers’ post.

 Once you’ve signed up, select blogs you’re interested in following.



 Now, click Start to proceed.



Spend some time completing your your bio.


 Similar to Goodreads, BookLikes offers giveaways, widgets for your blog, daily deals, etc.2324 

Riffle, Library Thing or BookLikes?

If you are tired of reading blocks of text about books, would simply like to see your friends’ bookshelves as you would at their homes, and you love the ease of moving through Pinterest, then you should try Riffle.

If you like the idea of becoming a librarian without getting a Master’s degree, would like edit your book information, and want to have access to all of the book data on Amazon, 700 libraries and the Library of Congress, you will enjoy LibraryThing. Yes, there is a fee but it’s not expensive by any means.

If you are a Tumblr aficionado, you write YA fiction, or you’re more interested in joining a book-blogging platform, then BookLikes may appeal to you.

In some ways the question is similar to this one: Should I join Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Tumblr? The answer is, yes, join as many as you can handle and be active on the platforms where you’ll find your readers. You never know where you’ll find your next reader, which is why it’s a good idea to be diversified in your social media portfolio.

I think it’s too early to leave Goodreads (and its 20 million readers) behind. If you’re not happy with Goodreads right now, I suggest you begin a profile on at least one additional book review platform and test it for a few months. If it’s not a good fit, try another until you find the fit that feels that most natural.

Which platform will you try next?