Friday Roundup: Twitter Tips for Indie Authors

12-12-14 Twitter Tips for Indie 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 the Friday Roundup focuses on Twitter Tips for Indie Authors.


[smart_track_player url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/socialmediaforauthorspodcast/Episode_11_FINAL.mp3″ color=”d8570b” title=”Twitter Hacks for Authors” artist=”Frances Caballo” ]

Let’s talk about hashtags. They can be confusing to users new to Twitter, but they’re actually quite simple.

A hashtag is a word preceded by what some of us still know as the pound sign, #. When the word and the pound sign join they form a hashtag, and that becomes hyperlinked and thus searchable on Twitter.

Hashtags can help you to expand your online readership by attracting users who are searching for the genre or topic you write about. Likewise, they can help you find people who love to read.

[Read more…]

How to Stop Wasting Time and Focus Your Book Marketing

10-6-14 Frances CaballoFacebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Google+. Instagram. Tumblr. Rebelmouse.

Do we really need to be on all of these social media networks?

I remember when I was about to publish my first book a search engine optimization consultant advised me to build a Facebook page and Twitter account for every book I write. I took his advice and created my Social Media Just for Writers Facebook page.

Thank goodness the title of my book became the name of my business and this website. Can you imagine if I had continued to follow his advice and then created Facebook pages for Avoid Social Media Time Suck, Blogging Just for Writers and Pinterest Just for Writers?

It wouldn’t have made sense because I would have been splitting my target audience.

Besides, who has the time or energy to maintain multiple Facebook pages and Twitter accounts? I don’t.

I admit that I did start two other Twitter accounts with good intentions but after a few months, I then shut the extra accounts down. I could justify having two Twitter accounts if I were marketing to two completely different demographics, but I’m not.

Even when I finally get around to finishing my novel, I’ll still use my present Twitter account and turn my focus to readers who are interested in politics in Spain.

Conserve Your Book Marketing Energy

We’re all aware of needing to curb our carbon footprint. But what about our personal energy? You’re a writer, and that means that what you love to do most is write. However, if you want to sell your books beyond the borders of your city, you also need to become an Indie marketer.

Social media marketing is the equalizing force in Indie marketing. You now have at your disposal all of the online tools that Amanda Hocking and Isabel Allende have.

Social media marketing is the equalizing force in Indie marketing via @CaballoFrancesClick To Tweet

Remember Sharon Hamilton’s story? I interviewed her on this blog a few weeks ago. She began writing about eight years ago and quickly got into self-publishing. She’s now a powerhouse in the Romance genre, and she accomplished that by staunchly sticking to her writing schedule, blogging, and building and rewarding her Facebook fan base.

She doesn’t create a new Facebook page for each book she writes. That would be ludicrous. She has 13,000 fans so why wouldn’t she want to build her page further? That would do more for her SEO than multiple Facebook pages.

Which Social Media Networks Should You Use?

I always advise clients to start their online marketing by selecting one social media network. Once you feel comfortable with that one, then consider another social platform depending on your genre.

My advice has changed over the years. I used to tell conference attendees to diversify their social media presence. My reasoning was that prospective readers may be on Facebook but not Twitter. Or a devotee of LinkedIn might abhor Facebook.

I don’t agree with that philosophy anymore.

It’s more important to be clear about your reader demographic. Once you know for whom you’re writing, then I suggest using the social media networks that your demographic prefers.

For example, if you write Romance novels I recommend a presence on Facebook and Pinterest. Women dominate these networks. In fact, 80 percent of Pinterest users are women so it would be worthwhile for Romance writers to delegate some time to this platform.

If you write YA, you need to be on the social media networks that your demographic prefers. Those would include Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

Do you write nonfiction? Then LinkedIn will be a must for you. Create a professional profile and join and participate in some groups. Over time, you may even want to start your own group. Depending on the age range of your demographic, and depending on your energy, you’ll also want to be on Twitter.

How do you manage your time on social media?

Also see:

7 Reasons Why Writers Need to Use Social Media

56 Social Media Terms Writers Need to Know

Liked this post? Get your updates for free!

Get Free Updates Delivered to You

Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for authors. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by Clicking Here. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 

 

15 Pinterest Tips for Authors

9-22-14 - PinterestWhenever I feel tired after spending hours of reading emails, blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates, I sneak over to Pinterest and feast on the images.

Don’t mistake me Pinterest isn’t just a vacation for the eyes – although I love it for that reason alone. It is also a powerful social media network that, according to research, will send more traffic to your website than Facebook.

Writers often wonder how they can make the most of their Pinterest accounts. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Pinterest Tips for Authors

  1. Open a business account, not a profile. Starting with a business account will enable you to view analytics.
  2. Create a pinboard for your blog and upload the images that you post there. Whenever you pin images from your website, blog or Amazon, the web address will attach to the image. Then when other users repin your image, they will travel to your website when the click the image a second time or click on “Visit Website.”
  3. Do you have trouble getting your writing started in the morning. Create a pinboard of visual writing prompts and share them on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. Repin images that represent the venues where characters in your novels and stories live and travel to.
  5. Find images that represent the clothing your characters wear and the meals they enjoy.
  6. Create a pinboard of your favorite books (and include your own!).
  7. Create a pinboard of your favorite quotes by authors you admire.
  8. Create a pinboard of quotes about the writing process.
  9. Create a pinboard of book covers written by your colleagues.
  10. Do you love bookstores? Create a pinboard of beautiful bookstores from around the world.
  11. Writers love libraries, right? Create a pinboard of libraries from around the world.
  12. Create pinboards that represent the stories you’d like to write.
  13. Create a pinboard of pictures of your favorite authors.
  14. Create a pinboard of images that visualize scenes and moods in your book.
  15. If you wrote nonfiction, create a pinboard of Infographics about your chosen topic.

To see additional examples of pinboards that writers can create, check out the Writer’s Relief account.

Embed Pinterest into Your WordPress Blog

Once you create your pinboards, you can share them on your WordPress Blog as I have done below, and over in the right column. Simply navigate to this link, select the type of widget you’d like to create, and include the URL to your pinboard.

Follow Frances Caballo’s board Writing Prompts on Pinterest.

 

Social Media Time Suck Final 200About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager and for writers and is the author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write. This book includes schedules, strategies, and applications that will save you time on social media so that you’ll have more time to write.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc

7 Reasons Why Authors Need to Use Social Media

9-15-14 social-media-398296_640

 

So you wrote a book and you’ve sold it to every friend, colleague and family member alive.

Now what?

You didn’t spend countless hours writing and revising your book and pay for editing and graphics just so you could sell a few books.

For Indie authors, writing and publishing books is as much a business endeavor as it is an artistic experience.

Think about the money we spend on writer’s conferences and workshops in our efforts to improve our craft. Consider the number of books we purchase on dialogue, plot and poetry.

And think about your goals. You want your book to fly off the bookshelves, right? You at least want to recoup your expenses. To reach your goals, you will need to become active on social media so that you can reach a body of readers who live well beyond your zip code range.

Not convinced? Here are seven reasons why having an active social media presence is essential for today’s self-published authors.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Social Media to Market Your Books

  1. Social media networks inform the world about your website and blog. Every author needs a website and a blog; that’s a given. But how will anyone know you have a website if you don’t use social media? And what about your blog? If you are updating it weekly, which you need to do, who will know you went to the trouble to write a new post if you don’t syndicate it to your social media networks?
  2. Social media can attract a wider audience to your readings. It’s great that you invite friends, colleagues and book club members to your readings. I’m sure there are other people in your community who might like to attend as well. Facebook is especially good at spreading the word because your friends can share your posts with their friends and soon you’ll have plenty of people to fill the seats.
  3. Social media platforms strengthen the bond between your readers and you. Romance writer Sharon Hamilton has experienced tremendous success with her Facebook page. Through social media, she’s developed a street team of supporters who share her posts. In return, they receive freebies, or swag. Social media gives your readers an opportunity to communicate directly with you. They don’t have to go through a publicist; they can send you a tweet or a private message via Facebook and LinkedIn. Or they can ask a question in a comment on Facebook or even add their posts to your Timeline. The same is true for other social media networks. By enabling your readers to contact you directly, you can nurture your relationship with them.
  4. Social media offers opportunities for you to promote your books. There is a caveat with this suggestion. You can use social media to promote your books, blog posts, readings, websites, sales, etc., but you don’t want to overdo it. The general rule is that you can promote your news in 20% of your posts; in 80% of your posts you will tweet and inform your following of blog posts that other experts in your niche have written.
  5. Social media enables you to build your brand. You are your brand. What you blog about, write about, and post about defines who you are to your readers. For example, my books are about how writers can use social media. I tweet about social media, I teach social media, and the majority of my Google+, LinkedIn, and Facebook page posts are about social media. Because my audience is authors, some of my social media posts are about writing. For example, my Pinterest account has numerous boards on social media infographics but I also have pinboards with quotes from famous writers, pictures of interesting libraries and bookstores, images of bookshelves and quotes about the love of reading. I also have writing-related pinboards. Everything I post or pin on social media reflects my brand.
  6. Social media will increase your inbound traffic. You want traffic to your blog and website, right? Traffic to your website and blog will increase when you inform the world about them via your social media channels. You can track the number of visits by signing up for Google Analytics (it’s free) and watching trends in your inbound traffic.
  7. Social media will decrease your marketing costs. You could hire a publicist, but publicists can sometimes be expensive. With social media, you reduce your costs and take full control of your social web presence.

Also see:

Four Ways Authors Can Rock on Twitter

Ultimate How-To Guide on LinkedIn for Writers

 

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

 

Photo credit: Tiffany Loyd via Pixabay.com

Friday Roundup: Online Resources for Authors

9-12-14 Tools for Writers

Every Friday I compile a list of online resources for authors to help newly published writers market their books on the social web. I hope you enjoy this week’s selection.


 

Chrome Extensions for The Writer, from Writer.ly: As a reader, I embrace all kinds of books. As a writer, I embrace all kinds of writing: longhand, MS Word, Scrivener, and Evernote. I use them for different purposes, however. All things said and done, my laptop is the center of my writing existence. And Chrome, the browser is one of my most reliable research and sharing tools. Here are a few Chrome extensions that I swear by:

15 Twitter Hacks That Will Turn You Into a Twitter Ninja from the Buffer Blog by Neil Patel: Once you pick up on these power user features, you’ll become a Twitter ninja.

10 Awesome Twitter Analytics and Visualization Tools from the Twitter Tools & Tips Blog: After researching over a thousand Twitter Tools for the Twitter Tools Book I came across many Twitter analytics and visualization tools.  These Twitter tools were designed to add value by presenting a different way to visualize or analyze your tweets, the people in your network, and the tweets from the people in your network.

Two Questions Every New Author Asks from The Future of InkEvery author I’ve met has asked me the same set of questions: How did you know how to price your book? And What do I need to do to encourage/boost sales? Do they sound familiar? We’ve all asked these questions – I know I did – when approaching publishing for the first time. So let’s address them one-by-one.

Template For Success: 5 Keys to Creating A Winning Social Media Plan by Stuart Leung for Forbes: With social networks becoming more and more ingrained in everyday business communication and gaining widespread acceptance as a marketing channel, your company needs to know how to connect with your consumer base. So, do you have a plan around social media?

Also See:

Blogging Just for Writers

Social Media Just for Writers

Avoid Social Media Time Suck (social media time-management strategies for authors)

Twitter Just for Writers (free & on this website)

 

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 

Photo credit: Brigitte Werner via Pixabay.com

Blogging, Twitter Tips and Resources for Indie Authors

9-5-14 640

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for the weekly Roundup of the week’s best posts. I hope

Blogging, Twitter Tips and Resources

32 Web ‪Writing Tips for Better Blog Posts and Social Media Posts, Buffer Blog: Content Crafter Kevan Lee joined us for #Bufferchat to talk about the unique nature of writing for the web. Check out the full Storify recap here, and continue reading for 32 web writing tips from Kevan and the community about how to write successful blogposts, tweets, status updates, and more.

20 Simple Tips for Writing a Blog Post that Begs to be Read, Jeff Bullas: On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire article.

Top 30 Websites for Indie Authors, Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts: Trying to build your writing and publishing career is a challenge. There’s a lot of information out there, and trying to discern a solid piece of advice from fluff or inaccurate data isn’t always easy. We are lucky to know a lot of really outstanding industry people who offer great insights, super tips, and valued feedback on a variety of marketing topics and publishing options. Here’s our list of the top 30 blogs and bloggers we really respect. We hope you’ll follow them, too!

4 Ways Authors Can Rock on Twitter by Frances Caballo, on Joel Friedlander’s blogOver the years, I’ve learned how to improve metrics on this platform, and I’m going to share with you four key steps to rocking on Twitter.

Secrets to a Powerful Blog Post by Rebekah RadiceAs a blogger, finding the right words can make all the difference. And today, with more than 152 million blogs on the Internet, that difference can determine your success.

Blogging Just for Writers by Frances CaballoBlogging Just for Writers: Written for new and experienced bloggers, this book provides, tips, ideas for topics and a review of the best blogging applications.

 

 

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

8 New Blogging Rules for Writers

9-1-14 400If you read Search Engine Watch you might have seen 8 Blogging “Rules” You Should Probably Ditch. It was a catchy title that easily tempted me to find out which hallowed blogging rules I could now drop.

Here are the “old” blogging rules and the corrections.

8 New Blogging Rules for Writers

1. Post Five Times a Day to Increase Traffic

I’d never heard of this rule, thank goodness. I don’t think I would have had time to write my books if I’d been focused on writing five blog posts a day. What I have heard, and I believe it still holds true, is that bloggers need to be consistent. If you can only add new posts once a month – which isn’t ideal – then stick to your schedule.

However, if possible, attempt to post once a week at a minimum. If you can squeeze in another post and write twice a week, that would be ideal.

Sign up for Google Analytics to determine how your posting frequency affects traffic. Does posting twice a week double your weekly traffic? If you post three times a week, does this triple your traffic or does it not have any affect? Review your analytics to determine how the frequency of your posts impacts your website traffic.

2. Leave Blog Comments

Apparently, Copyblogger no longer accepts comments on its blog. It instead encourages its followers to start a dialogue about a post on social media. Alternatively, followers can start a conversation on their own blogs and refer back to Copyblogger.

This doesn’t make sense to me. A blog post is the start of a conversation that continues in the comments. To take the conversation elsewhere seems to defeat the purpose of creating a community around the blog.

Copyblogger cited spam as a reason for its new policy and this is understandable. However, you can use a plug-in to quarantine those messages. Or you can do what The Future of Ink has done; they installed a Google+ plug-in for its followers. The comments then appear on the blog and on each follower’s Google+ account. CHECK THIS

3. Outsource Your Blog to a Professional

As someone who writes blog posts for clients, you might think that I am going to be biased and say, “Of course you can outsource your blog posts.” Well, I’m not.

It’s always best to write in your own voice and no one can do that better than you. If you have trouble fitting blogging into your life, then hiring a professional to write it for you is a better than not having a blog at all.

If you decide that you don’t have time to write your posts then I suggest that you work closely with the professional writing articles for you. For example, my clients and I discuss article topics and agree to an editorial calendar. Before writing the post, I check in with the client to ascertain I’m still on the right track.

After I write the post, my clients review what I’ve written before I add it to their websites. This is their opportunity to edit and revise it as they see fit.

4. Always Write 100% Original Content

Writing original content trumps repurposing, but that takes time. If you wrote a nonfiction book, rewrite and update the chapters as blog posts. If someone wrote an article about some great tools for writers, select the ones you like the best and write a post about them. Your content doesn’t always have to be 100 percent original.

9-1-14 blogging rules

 

5. Not Every Post Needs to Have an Image

This is a rule that needs to be tossed with the trash. Always use images on your blog and when possible, use more than one. We are increasingly moving toward a visual social platform so don’t get left behind by neglecting to include a variety of imagery with each of your blog posts.

6. Stick to One Type of Format

You might have noticed that I included a short video in one of my recent posts. Soon, I plan to start podcasting and will include a link to those recordings here on my blog. Use video, SlideShare and other forms of media on your blog to reach a wider audience.

7. Write a 500-Word Blog Post

I have never subscribed to this rule. My posts tend to run about 750 to 800 words. I’ve even written 2,000-word posts for Joel Friedlander’s blog, The Book Designer. The length of your blog post should be dictated by how long it takes to cover your chosen topic. Just like your book.

8. Don’t Publish Your Articles on Third-Party Sites

I have completely ditched this rule. As soon as LinkedIn made publishing an option, I started adding my blog posts. Within six weeks, I more than 2,000 people following my blog on LinkedIn. So if you write a blog, don’t forget to add it to this platform.

There is a caveat to this new rule and I suggest you follow the advice from Search Engine Watch: “Promote your content on reputable third-party sites, which provide a link back to where content was originally published, and also give an author bio tied in to your G+ profile. You can wait a week or two before giving your content for republishing. That’s enough time for search bots to know where and when the original article was first published. Include links within your article that point back to your site to drive traffic.”

What blogging rules do you adhere to?

Social Media Time Suck Final 200

Learn time-saving tips with this book!

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 

 

 

Blogging & Social Media Tips for Writers

8-29-14 blog-400This week’s Roundup includes two posts from Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard because we can all learn a great deal from this talented blogger. Don’t miss the post by Denise Wakeman on how to turn your written content into video. Content is king and video is a super way to deliver it. We have so much to learn from her. There are also great posts from Rachel Thompson — with social media tips for writers — and HubSpot. Enjoy!

How To Turn Your Written Content Into Video Content by The Future of Ink: When it comes to marketing, content is still king. Content drives sales of your products and services, and keeps your customers engaged in your business. However, content is also a hungry beast that must be fed – constantly. In order to stay visible and relevant, you have to continue to “feed the beast” and consistently crank out new content and material. That’s why it’s such a great idea to r epurpose your existing content and give your old material new life.

20 Top Productivity Tools For Bloggers: Increase Your Productivity Immediately by Blogging Wizard: I don’t have time. Have you ever said this to yourself or to someone else? I’m sure most of us have at some point in time, even the best of us. It’s a self-limiting belief which stops us from being more productive. It’s not that we don’t have enough time, it’s that we need to find ways to do more with the time we have. In this post I will show you tools to help you become more productive. Whether you want to stay focused while writing, organize your time better or automate tedious tasks.

8 Blogging “Rules” You Should Probably Ditch by Search Engine WatchAs with everything digital, blogging is an evolving field. What was once an accepted blogging practice may just not work in today’s changed landscape. So it may be time to sit back and evaluate whether generally accepted blog best practices still apply to you or not.

The Most Effective Social Media Channel Is… by Rachel Thompson for BookPromotion.com: Easy: the one you like to use the most! Sounds basic and simple, but with all the advice flying around about ‘author platform’ and being everywhere at once (not possible, I’ve tried), what’s an author to do?

How To Make Every Piece Of Blogging Advice More Effective by Blogging Wizard: There’s a fatal flaw in the way we apply advice about blogging. It’s gotten to a point where the lines are blurred. We are applying advice, it’s not working and we’re giving up. Or in some rare cases we apply advice that does more harm than good. But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There is an approach we can take to help us focus our efforts and make the advice we’re given work for us. In this post I’ll show you how.

How to Get People to Read Your Entire Blog Post by HubSpot: Once upon a time, you wrote an article. It was a good one. It took you four and a half hours, required a ton of research, and maybe cost you a very late night. After you wrote the article, proofread it, edited it, added images, and published it, you felt good about yourself. Clicking the “publish” button gave you a huge sense of satisfaction. Then, you sat back to wait for the accolades, the reads, the shares, the engagement, the fame. Let me interrupt this fairy tale with a cold, hard fact. Most of the people that see your article won’t read the whole thing.

Avoid Social Media Time Suck Final by Frances Caballo

Does social media take up too much of your time? This book is filled with time management tips and apps to save you time.

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the San Francisco Writers Conference. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web

 

Marketing Advice from a Publishing Pro: Jane Friedman Shares Her Best Tips

8-25-14 Jane FriedmanI recently had the honor of interviewing Jane Friedman, the co-founder and publisher of Scratch, a magazine about writing and money, and former publisher of Writer’s Digest. She has more than 15 years of experience inside the book, magazine, and literary publishing industries. Below, Jane shares her views on author websites, blogging and marketing for writers.

 

How important is blogging for a writer’s success?

Blogging is mostly overrated as a book marketing and promotion tool, and few writers have the discipline or stamina to do it for the length of time required for it to pay off.

However, a blog is probably the nonfiction author’s No. 1 content marketing tool for their career—a career that presumably involves not just selling books, but also getting new clients, securing speaking engagements, teaching online classes, delivering new products, and increasing their profile as an expert.

Which leads to another question: What is “content marketing”? It’s where you use content to provide value, build your brand, and gain trust with your readership over time. A blog is a form of content marketing, and it’s generally the most well-recognized and understood by authors.

 

What are the elements of a successful author website and blog?

It should immediately communicate the author’s name and/or brand and give visitors a specific call to action within 5-7 seconds, before they leave the site. What’s a good call to action? It might be: read an excerpt of my book, listen to this interview with me at NPR, sign up for my newsletter, etc. Your call to action will change a few times a year, depending on your marketing initiatives or book releases.

Make your menu or navigation exceptionally clear to first-time visitors. Where can they find information about your books? How can they look at your blog or its archive? How can they contact you? Know what people look for when they visit your site, then make it easy for them to access it.

I have a lot more advice on this topic here:

 

8-25-14 WD logoWriter’s Digest seems to have flourished – at least digitally – under your tenure. What do you attribute that success to, aside from hard work? In other words, what can authors learn from your example there?

At Writer’s Digest, I focused on serving the audience authentically. If we did that well, the numbers and the sales followed.

 

Do you recommend that writers participate in online forums, and if so, why?

 Writers usually have two goals with this type of activity: being part of a writing community and being in touch with readers.

As far as the first goal, I recommend it insofar as it can be a valuable source of education, information, and encouragement. It might also have some marketing value, but you have to be careful that you’re not marketing to the echo chamber of the writing and publishing community, rather than building your readership of non-writers.

For the second goal, participating in online forums where your readers are can be invaluable to understanding and anticipating their needs, serving them better, and—yes—marketing to them.

 

What about blogging communities? Can they help authors grow their readership?

I have limited experience with or knowledge of blogging communities, but my general impression is negative. (Every time one closes, such as Red Room or Yahoo Voices, I feel more steadfast in my critical POV.)

do like multi-contributor blogs, into which I categorize Writer Unboxed, where I occasionally write.

 

How long have you been on Twitter? To what do you attribute your following?

I’ve been on Twitter since May 2008. I got in early, and I religiously wrote a “Best Tweets for Writers” column from 2009–2011 that helped launch my following. For a while I was a recommended follow by Twitter in the Books category. The growth is not the same as it was while I was on that list, but now the account has its own momentum no matter what I do. I tell the full story here: How I Got a Six-Figure Twitter Following.

 

Do you also post your own podcasts/videos/ or Google Hangouts?

I’m not currently doing my own podcasts, video, or Google Hangouts, though I accept invites to be a guest, and try to make sure my audience is aware when and where they’re available.

 

Books320What role does social media play in helping authors’ books to succeed commercially? Asked another way, I find that authors can be reluctant to use social media. What is your advice in the face of their hesitation?

Social media helps authors in two primary ways.

  1.  It helps you maintain connections with readers and nurture that relationship over many years. While you may use social media at times to directly sell, like during a book release, the key value is in being in touch or communicating with people who are fans your work.
  2. It helps you develop relationships with and reach influencers and others in your community who can help spread the word to their networks.

The question to ask yourself is: How, when, and where do you best engage with readers and others in the industry? There is probably at least 1 social network where that opportunity is richest and most meaningful for you. Focus on that network and do it to the extent that it energizes or inspires you. Forget the social media networks that feel like drudgery—that defeats the whole point of being there.

 

We know that email marketing is as important as social media. What advice do you give writers about growing their mailing list of avid and casual readers?

Make the email newsletter sign up very clear on your website; ideally it should appear on every page. Give readers a specific idea of what they will receive when they sign up for your list. Then deliver what you promise.

 

You once said in a blog post that writers must push their boundaries to incorporate new media into their marketing. (This isn’t a direct quote.) At what point do writers need to pull back so they don’t lose their focus on their writing goals?

When you find yourself going through a checklist of media initiatives, without any interest or enthusiasm, then it may be time to pull back and evaluate why you’re doing it, especially if you’re not seeing reader engagement. (Keep in mind that any new effort takes time to pay off—you have to show up consistently, find your voice, and improve. This can take 6-12 months for some people.)

I love to suggest writers experiment and question the mediums they may always default to; on the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing what works—especially if it motivates you to produce more good work. You just need to be aware if you’re clinging to certain things because you’re afraid to change (while everyone else is moving ahead), or making good choices that build on your strengths and the qualities of your work.

 

8-25-14 tumblrI see that you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Goodreads. How do you manage your time on so many platforms? How much time do you spend each day on social media?

I only show up consistently (usually daily) on 2 sites: Facebook and Twitter. I don’t have any quotas, however. My biggest rule is: Any time I tweet or post, it’s not to put myself in front of people. It’s to share something of value or to entertain. Period. So if I don’t have something for 48 hours, then you won’t see me. I’m not going to come up with a bunch of posts to fill in the gaps; we all have enough to look at already.

I’m a casual user of Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. For each of those platforms, I have very particular things I post, or certain triggers. E.g., on Pinterest, I mostly pin graphs and charts related to the media/publishing industry, whenever I come across one. That’s it—but it’s a very useful repository now. Tumblr is a kind of personal notebook, where I save quotes or clips from interesting articles.

So it’s not so much about managing my time; over a period of months or years, I establish a particular benefit of each channel, something that fits my purposes. They’re not on my mind, and only come into play when I find things that fit my use of those networks. It wouldn’t be sustainable otherwise. Overall, I probably spend 1-2 hours per day on social media, if you aggregate all the little minutes here and there—most of that being Facebook and Twitter. Most of that is consumption time, or staying informed about what’s happening, not posting time.

 

If you were to narrow your social media use to three networks, which three would you refuse to give up and why?

It would be difficult for me to give up Twitter given my long-term investment there, and its importance in the writing and publishing community conversation. It would also be hard to give up Facebook, since that’s where a good deal of my audience engagement happens. Together, Twitter and Facebook make up most of the social media referral traffic to my website. However, organic search traffic to my site is far more important than social media right now; therefore, Google Plus is the third network I’d be reluctant to give up, since I think it will continue to have an impact on SEO.

 

Do you think that certain social media networks are better suited to specific genres? For example, Facebook and Pinterest are ideal for romance writers. Tumblr and Twitter would be important for YA and NA writers. Nonfiction writers would need to have a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter. Or don’t you agree with the premise that certain channels are better for specific genres?

I do think certain channels are better for specific genres or audiences, yes. Most importantly, the author needs to be comfortable and committed to using whatever networks they’re on. Hopefully there’s a good match between what the writer is capable of sustaining for the long haul, and where her audience is active and engaged.

 

How do you suggest that writers juggle their writing time with their social media and marketing efforts in general?

This seems to be the question on everyone’s mind these days, and I understand writers feel that they’re under tremendous pressure. So when I hear this question, what I hear is: how can I relieve the pressure? How can I alleviate any stress or anxiety I have about juggling these things?

There is a very simple answer: Don’t take it all so seriously, and detach from the crazy-making activities. In a moment of silence, I bet you know what you should be doing, so acquire the discipline, structure, and tools to make it happen.

 

For Indie authors interested in finding an agent or publisher, what do they need to have in place aside from a killer manuscript?

It’s immensely helpful to point to a growing and engaged readership devoted to reading just about anything you publish. Be able to demonstrate your efforts to cultivate and nurture that readership.

 

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

Get your website established, even if it’s just a shell, and begin improving it and getting better at honing your online brand, one day at a time. This is your home base for the entirety of your career. Get comfy.

Visit Jane’s website to learn more about her.

 

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

Creative Book Marketing Tips from the Pros

8-22-14 600 2Today’s Roundup includes a range of book marketing tips from industry experts. I hope you enjoy the selection.

Why a Newsletter is a Marketing Must and How to Double the Number of Readers You Get by The Future of Ink: Electronic newsletters have been around for as long as I’ve been in business; prior to that, I can remember getting them in the mail. Newsletters seem very 1990’s don’t they?

How to Promote Yourself and Your Books on Social Media by Terrible Minds:  In my experience, most authors dislike self-promotion. Some downright despise it. And they detest it for good reason: becoming a marketing or advertising avatar for your own work feels shameless. It feels adjacent to the work — like it’s something you didn’t sign on for.

5 Creative Ways to Market Your Book by Author Marketing Experts, Inc.: Are you ready to take your exposure and your book sales up a notch?

5 Tips From a Bestselling Author (and Former Luddite) on Overcoming Blog Phobia by Problogger: There’s no such term as “blog phobia” as far as I know, but the condition is very real, I assure you. I know authors who quake at the mention of blogging, as I once did before I got a handle on it. My professional writing career began in an era when authors were expected to do only one thing: write a kickass book. And maybe go on tour if there was a marketing budget for said book. My first novel,Garden of Lies, was a New York Times bestseller and my publisher sent me on a cross-country tour that was a blur of TV appearances, print and radio interviews, and book signings.

 

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

 

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc