Tag Archive | Social media

Reblog: An Active Author Brand

Today’s book marketing post comes from Richard Ridley of Createspace.


If I had to describe the key to succeeding in indie publishing in one word, that word would be “active.” For a profession that involves a great deal of sedentary activities, those who rest on their laurels find it very difficult to sell books on a consistent basis. You have to keep moving in order to grow your author brand. Here are the three crucial areas where you should concentrate most of your activity:


ABW – Always Be Writing: If you want to get noticed, you have to have a track record in today’s publishing world. One book will most likely not help you gain widespread notoriety. You need multiple books to create an author brand that will get you noticed and bring in the sales.


ABM – Always Be Marketing: You can’t have books on the market today without an author platform. A platform is simply your online presence. That presence in today’s digital age includes your own website/blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. And this presence requires you to be present in order for it to be effective. Contribute to your online presence multiple times a day.


ABI – Always Be Interacting: When you have your platform up and running, your readers are going to reach out to you. Don’t ignore them. Interact with them. Let them know how appreciative you are for their support. The more you connect with them, the greater the support they’ll give you.


The world of indie publishing is not for the lazy or unmotivated. It requires boundless energy to succeed. It requires that you be active.



Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

Repost: How to Find Book Reviewers on Twitter

Back in September I received a nice email about finding reviewers on Twitter from Book Marketing Tools.  With all the insanity that was autumn 2014, the newsletter naturally filed itself away, not to be seen again until this morning.

Not everything in that newsletter is blog worthy in my humble opinion; here is the section of that which I do think is valuable and useful to independent authors.

Influences upon readers when buying self-published books


Here is how to find book reviewers on Twitter:
by – Shawn & R.J. with Book Marketing Tools
  1. Load up Twitter, and using the search form, search “book reviewer” “book blogger” “(your genre) reviews” and other topics like that. Be creative! I don’t want everyone contacting the same exact reviewers!
  2. This will show you a list of Tweets. Scroll and find the “People” box, and click “View All”. You will then find all profiles related to your search topic.
  3. Click on each profile and make sure they are a) active with a fairly recent tweet and b) they have at least 100 followers (the more the better).
  4. Then, identify possible matches, click through the Website listed on their Twitter profile, and find their rules for review submissions.
  5. If your book is within the confines of their rules, then submit your book for review!

Top Four Independent Author Mistakes Certain to Drive Away Readers, Potential Reviewers

new-york-times-best-selling-author3As an independent author who is very active on social media (twitter, facebook, and pinterest), I see a lot of book marketing posts.  If you read this blog regularly, you know I have eleven titles out and will be publishing my twelfth, Princess Anyu Returns, sometime before the 28th of February.  So I feel like I know something about this business.


Here are the top four mistakes I see independent authors making that are absolutely certain to drive away potential readers.


#1 Mentioning you checked spelling and grammar in your book description or on social media.

I am genuinely shocked at the number of times “authors” tout this as a reason to buy their book.  It takes MINUTES to run spell check in a word processing program.  You do not get a gold star or a pat on the head for doing this.  Adults are expected to do this.  Likewise, telling us that you hired an editor to correct your typos only tells us that you do not possess the language skills to write, let alone publish a book.

Writing is a job, a profession.  Treat it that way.  If you need editorial help, hire an editor. That is fine and many experts say you should anyway.  But for heaven’s sake, the only appropriate place to mention you used one is in the credits of your book — quietly and without any noise.


#2 NOT correcting spelling, grammar errors

Right after telling someone you corrected your spelling errors, the next best way to drive away a potential reader is to publish with spelling, typing, punctuation, and grammar errors in your book or in the book description.

Why?  Because leaving these errors in your published book screams of unprofessionalism.  It says “I expect you to treat me as a serious writer, but I am not going to bother to fix my mistakes before you read my book.”  It  disrespects readers and it hurts your reputation.

That said, mistakes do happen and sometimes they slip past the best of editors.  What distinguishes the best professionals from everyone else is the response given to locating these errors.  Professionals will quickly and quietly fix any errors they find and resubmit their books to their publishing platforms, knowing that doing so offers future readers a more perfect and more desirable product for purchase.


#3 Indiscriminately spamming social media and bloggers

No one likes a hard sell.  As a matter of fact in today’s world we are so accustomed to advertisements across media formats that we instinctively tune out ads in favor of engagement.  We want to be talked to and not talked at.

Enter social media forums and facebook groups, each of them designed around a central theme or purpose.  An effective group offers members conversation and social opportunities.  An effective book marketing group is a place where readers (potential customers) can discover new books without having to sift through a flood of advertisements for books they are not interested in.  This is one reason why I love Tom Tinney’s “Promoting My Published Book,” group.  By enforcing a strict set of rules for posting, readers are able to browse listings relevant to them without having to sift through posts of absolutely no interest to them.

Follow these rules and you are golden; you reach the readers most interested in buying your posts.  But post without care or concern for what the group is about and you alienate not only readers, but the colleagues and potential reviewers most willing and able to get the word out about your books.

#4 Being difficult to reach

For me personally, the number one reason why people buy my books is that I am accessible.  I am easy to reach and I spend large sections of nearly every day on social media answering questions and talking to people. The easier you are to reach, the more people connect with you.  The better they connect with you and the better the rapport you build on social media, the more likable you become and more appealing your books become.


Remember:  people buy from people, not corporations.  Be a warm, friendly, accessible professional online and you are certain to see your sales skyrocket.





Reblog: How to Get Bloggers to Review your Book

One of the best strategies for marketing books is to get as many people OTHER THAN YOU THE AUTHOR to write about and review your books for you.  In this, bloggers are key.  Today’s reblog comes from BookDaily.com offering some very helpful advice.

How to Get Bloggers to Review your Book

How do you get bloggers to review your novel? That is the magic question. Allow me to discuss the strategies that worked for me and that I believe can work for you.

Querying Bloggers

Speaking as a blogger and a former newspaper reviewer, it’s really annoying when an author sends a form letter seeking a review. It’s also kind of insulting. You want a blogger to spend how many hours reading your book and then writing a review, and the most you can personalize your letter is by adding the person’s name (and not always that)? Oh, no, no, no.

Requesting a review is not unlike querying a literary agent. A certain set of parameters apply to the situation. Well, they do if you want to see results.

#1-How to find book blogs.
If you’re a YA author, your life will be made much easier by the YA Book Blog Directory. If not, that’s okay. Do a search on Google or your favorite social network and try to find a blog that caters specifically to your genre. Most blogs have blogrolls (either a list of links or a cluster of badges that link to other blogs). The blogroll displays blogs that the blog site you are on enjoys—that’s a mouthful! Chances are, the blogs linked in the blogroll will review similar kinds of books. Most blogs have a pretty robust blogroll, which means finding one blog can lead to dozens and dozens of others. It’s a tangled web, but it will get you to your destination.

#2-Approach the right bloggers!
This should go without saying, but, sadly, it doesn’t. Most book blogs have a review policy in place. A little digging through the menu bar or side bar will easily reveal it. If the blogger doesn’t have an explicit review policy, take the time to read through their past book reviews to determine if your book is a good fit for the site. If a blogger says they do not accept your genre, don’t push it. Don’t write a letter that says, “listen, I know you said you hate romance novels, but I think you’ll really love my novel, because… (insert narcissistic idiocy here).” That’s so not cool.

#3-Construct a query letter. Personalize it for each blogger.
Aw, but that seems like a lot of work! It is a lot of work, but again, you’re asking bloggers to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 10+ hours to read and review your book. You can spend 10 minutes looking around their sites and showing that you care. Really. This is much like querying an agent. You should construct a basic form letter with the relevant information about your book, and then personalize a portion of it. Include the blogger’s name in the title. I even include the blog name in the subject of the email to signal to the blogger skimming his or her email that, yes, this letter was written just for you—it’s not a mass mailing.

I have a template of the letter I sent out to recruit for my tour. It worked very well and may give you some ideas on how to write your own. Click here to see the example.

#4. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow on social media sites!
Notice how I said “I’m now following you on XYZ sites?” Bloggers often include links to their Facebook, Twitter, and BookDaily accounts on their sites. Whenever I see a link to connect via social media, I do it. I also make it a point to follow any blogs I visit via Google Friend Connect (or G+). This is yet another way to show bloggers that you spent time on them, and as they see your name popping up on their follow and friend lists, that query you sent will become more ingrained in their memory. Besides which, if a blogger is just too busy to feature you or your book now, they’re now connected with you and might (okay, it’s a long shot, but they might) remember the offer and approach you later.

Social Media

Although contacting bloggers through the above query method is extremely time-consuming, it’s far more effective than recruitment via social media. Why? Because you are specifically targeting bloggers who enjoy your genre!

I’ve had pretty good success recruiting via social media as well, but the bloggers I acquired through that method are not die-hard fans of my genre like the ones I got through the query method. That being said, recruiting through social media is super fast and easy, but… it might not be so fast and easy if you have a small following. Yet another reason to build your social media presence, methinks!

Alright, that’s all I have for you today. I might write a post about organizing your own blog tour, if that’s something you guys want. Just let me know!

Editor’s Note: To read Emlyn’s full article click here.

About the Author:
Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at www.emlynchand.com or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Reblog: What Authors Can Learn From American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, And The Voice

I received this fantastic piece of advice from Marla Madison on BookDaily.com and just had to share it with you:


What Authors Can Learn From American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, And The Voice

Does the best singer win American Idol or the Voice? Is the most accomplished dancer the winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the stars?

Anyone who is a regular viewer of talent reality shows knows this uncontestable fact: the most talented doesn’t always win. In fact, the most well executed dance or song, seldom wins.

What does win?

The winner is the performer who is most popular, the one who captures the hearts of the viewers with both performance and personality.

How does this relate to our writing?

It’s all about entertainment!!!

A few ways to keep your work entertaining:

1. Know your genre. Read, read, read. To entertain requires originality. If you’re afraid your plot is hackneyed, be sure to have a new twist on it. If you don’t keep in touch with others’ work, you’ll have no idea what readers are tiring of.
2. Make your characters original. We’ve all met the perfect protagonist, the one with the super face, toned and buffed body, and excellent skills. Readers want characters that they can identify with—make then real.
3. Make the first chapter exciting. I’ve deleted dozens of books I’ve downloaded because the beginning failed to be interesting. Make your first chapters pull the reader into your book and want to read the entire thing.
4. Series books – Take time to learn how to make each book worthy of standing alone. Check for either too much or not enough back story.

5. Be accessible to your readers. Have a presence on popular networking sites, broadcast your blog, and have a mailing list. Answer every personal message you get.

6. Read reviews of books in your genre. Reviews will put you on th
e fast track to discovering what entertains your readers.

About the Author:
Marla Madison is a retired Federal Mediator, now working as an Arbitrator for the state of Iowa and the Federal Mediation Service. She’s Not There is her debut suspense novel, and Relative Malice, her second. Marla is working on a third suspense story, that while not a sequel to She’s Not There, does have some of the same characters.

Marla lives on Prairie Lake in Northwestern Wisconsin with her significant other, Terry, a beloved shelter-dog, Skygge, and Poncho, an opinionated feline from the same shelter.

Also an avid reader of suspense, some of her favorite authors are Tana French, Lisa Gardner, Jeffrey Deaver, Jonathan Kellerman, James Patterson, Tess Gerritson, and Tami Hoag.

When not reading or writing, Marla enjoys playing duplicate bridge, golfing, and going on long walks with her dog.

You can catch her on her website www.marlamadison.blogspot.com and Twitter.

Repost: How to turn first-time readers into forever fans

This post on BookDaily.com by Rebecca Foster was first posted on 8th September 2014 and can be found at http://www.bookdaily.com/authorresource/blog/post/1564803.


This morning I received three emails.

One was from a lady in Scotland who read one of my books and joined my fan page. She wanted me to know how much she appreciated waking up and finding that I had responded to her messages.

The second was from a man in Australia who sent me a list of things he liked about Silent Witness. He highlighted sentences that he particularly liked, but at the end of his note he said “thank you for making Hannah so intelligent.”

The third was from the very first fan I ever had. We’ve been pen pals for 28 years. Now we communicate on the computer but every once in a while we still send one another a card, remember birthdays, the holidays and share information on grandchildren (hers since I only have a grand dog).

The point of all this is that what authors do is extremely personal. It begins with our characters. If we don’t feel them in our souls and translate that feeling into words on the page, our books will be enjoyed but not treasured. When we do make that magic happen and a reader reaches out, opening a personal dialogue with them will make a reader into a fan. In some wonderful instances it also creates a friend.

Here are my top five rules of engagement:

1) Know thou characters: Know the personal history and habits of every character in your book and write as if you live and die with them. If you do this, real people will reach out to you.

2) Appreciation: When a fan writes, write back with more than a thank you. Acknowledge that you appreciate the time they took to write you. I am always excited when someone takes the time to read my work; that they go the extra step and contact me is like having a cheerleader in my corner. I want them to know how great they made me feel.

3) Slow and steady: Start a personal dialogue slowly. There are those fans that would like more of your time than others and those who wish to have a more personal relationship than you might be willing to enter into. It is up to you to set the parameters. For the most part, though, these relationships will be casual, fun and fulfilling.

4) Be vulunerable: If a reader contacts you about something in your book that touched them, share the journey. For instance, Hostile Witness was inspired by a case my husband handled. As a criminal judge, he sentenced a sixteen-year-old boy to life in adult prison. The character, Hannah, and the plot of that book were based on this experience. It is a bit of personal information that is not too intimate but is interesting to readers.

5) Have fun: Truly enjoy your interaction with readers, other authors and reviewers.

We are, perhaps, the luckiest people in the world. Despite the fact that our profession is solitary, the result of our labor is a book that reaches hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. When they reach back, that is success. Make sure you know that real life dialogue is part of the joy of writing.

About the Author:
Rebecca Forster started writing novels on a crazy dare. Now she is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and her work is called “perfect. . .impossible to put down” by the legal correspondent for CBS Television Network.

Crediting a vivid imagination, a love of the printed word and a fascination with the justice system, Rebecca’s focus has been on legal thrillers with a twist. “It’s the human factor that fascinates me,” Rebecca says

Raised in Long Beach, California, Forster has taught at the acclaimed UCLA Writers Program as well as children’s conferences and school career days. A compelling speaker and featured guest on radio and television, Rebecca has entertained audiences at bar associations, writer’s conferences, women’s symposiums, professional conventions and book festivals that include repeat appearances at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

She is married to a prominent Los Angeles Superior Court judge and is the mother of two sons.


Reblog: Why Authors Hate Facebook…And You Should Too!

The following appeared in the 3rd September 2014 Book Daily newsletter by “Michelle.”

This is such good advice, I simply have to share it with you as well.  It ties in nicely with my earlier article on advertising with facebook.


need to vent! I just can’t anymore. I want to be all happy when I jump on Facebook and post something about an authors new book or share something that is on my blog, even just share a giveaway from someone else but nope you can’t because if you even attempt to share anything you only get about 15 views. 15 views out of 1350 followers…seriously?!?! I know I am not a popular blog and I am not going to pretend I am (at least not out loud but in my mind I am wonderful lol), I love the followers I have and like everyone else I would love to have more, more views on my blog, more comments, that would be great. How can I even attempt to get any of those when one of the major places for me to share my stuff wont share my stuff. What is the point of having a Facebook page now? Why do I bother posting anything? Why haven’t I gotten rid of it? Maybe because I hope that at some point they will stop being dirtbags and help out the little people and change the algorithm back to the way it use to be.

First they changed it to limit posts with links from being seen by your followers. Then recently, they change it again making even a simple text post not viewable to your followers. They say you can get more followers if you can get likes and comments. Umm how am I suppose to do that if no one sees my post???

I have 1350 followers and I can’t even reach them!

Do you have a page, have you looked at the unrealistic insight page….you know the one that tells you the stats of your sight? Well gee I wonder why mine sucks so bad—Oh that’s right because no one can see my friggin posts!!! It shows 49% down likes. How can anyone like me if everyone that is already my follower can’t see me, how will new followers see me? Most of the time people delete a page because they think they are inactive, I am not inactive I am very active I just realized if I post no one is going to see it and it totally looks like I am talking to myself. Now I do see a lot of people get a lot of likes and comments and they post everyday mostly because they ask people to comment and I have attempted that but I still get no views. So my guess is Facebook really does hate me!! (I wonder how they will feel after this post)

Am I completely insane or does this sound like the stupidest way to run a SOCIAL media page? NO I will not pay because even that is unrealistic you want me to pay HOW MUCH FOR A MONTH? I am not a huge company, I am a cute (yes cute) little blogger that just wants to share my passion for books and my love for the people who write them. Is that so hard to ask for something to help these people out that can bring joy to so many others? It so STUPID!!!!

So I sit and ask myself why bother? Why keep facebook?
I don’t know, I really keep it because when I write a post it goes to my twitter page and you can get more words on Facebook then you can on twitter. I am sorry 140 characters is just not meant for someone who can talk as much as me. So for now I will keep it and hope it gets better but I have a feeling it wont and a lot of us smaller people will no longer be on Facebook or just use it and hope the 15 people who do see it at least enjoy the post.

Rant over

About the Author:
Michelle is a Reader, Blogger, Reviewer, Graphic Designer, Disney Crazy, Video Game player, Lover of Fairytale Re-tellings & all things make believe.
She started reviewing books after realizing how great it was to share her reading experience with others (I can talk for hours about books). You can find her on her blog Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life and on Twitter. You probaly won’t find her on Facebook.


Reblog: What Makes People Buy Self-Published Books?

This post from Tara Sparling offers useful information and analysis for marketing independent books.

Tara Sparling writes

In this post, I discussed the findings of a scientifically incontrovertible study (of myself) on the factors which influenced me when buying a self-published book.

The findings surprised me (which surprised me, because I was surveying myself). I found that I knew what made me buy a self-published book when it was in front of me, but not what put that book in front of me, unless I was browsing by genre (e.g. today I feel like reading a romance set in Ulaanbaatar: therefore I will now search specifically for such a story).

It was still hard to know what put those books in front of my eyes in order to buy them; to quote one of the commenters on that post – this is the thorny issue of “discoverability”. How will we find these books in the first place?

So I did the unthinkable, and asked some other people…

View original post 640 more words

Don’t Buy It: Five reasons why “buying” social media subscribers is a bad idea

The advertisements are everywhere:  for a fee (generally at least $20) you can dramatically increase the number of followers to your twitter feed, likes to your facebook page, and hits to your youtube video.


Marketing experts advise against this as a rule.  But it is hard to listen to that advice when the same experts are telling you that the NUMBER of twitter followers, facebook likes, and youtube hits are CRITICAL to getting sales.




In June of this year, I fell for the hype, believing the marketer‘s grand promises.  Here is what I learned the hard way:


1.  Purchased followers are fleeting


Buy followers and you probably will get the promised number of followers — for a day or two.  But less two weeks after I bought followers, those followers largely disappeared.  Today, nearly three months after falling for the scam, only about 30% of those followers are still with me.


2. Money-back “guarantees” are no guarantee.


Each time my followers fell, I emailed the company who only too eagerly took my money.  They addressed this ONCE — at the two week point — but never again.  In fact, the website I purchased the followers from NO LONGER EXISTS.


This should scream SCAM to you.


3.  Unless you are already a celebrity, purchased likes/followers are obvious


With few exceptions sudden surge in followers or likes are generally a clear and obvious bet that someone bought them.   Huge discrepancies between the number of people who follow you and the number you follow yourself also signal “purchased” to people.

This actually destroys credibility and causes legitimate and earned followers to unfollow and unlike you.

4.  Unfollow/unfriend software

With so many people falling for the purchased likes and followers, individuals and businesses now offer software designed to sort the real from virtual.  With these programs, anyone who does not follow back is unfollowed.  Since it literally takes hours or days to go through the auto-generated followers/likes, these programs very effectively undo whatever the marketer did for you.

5. There is no magic or quick way to gain legitimate social media numbers.

Social media takes careful and personal effort.  You cannot just throw money at it and expect real and lasting results.


As always, if it sounds too good to be true — it is.


Don’t fall for the scam.  There is no replacement for hard work.