My top 7 writing/publishing/marketing posts

This past year, I have not done a good job of keeping up with blogging about writing or publishing/marketing topics. I even have a few in the works that I didn’t get completed. I vow to do better this year. Until then, let’s look back at the top 7 posts on writing or publishing.

Social Media for Authors

Your book is done and out there for the world to find, read, and love. Of course, no reader (beyond friends and family) will find it without some marketing. One of the best – and typically free – way to market your book is on social media. Maintaining a presence on social media these days is a must for any writer. (To keep reading, click here.)

Setting up an Author Facebook Page

The biggest social media platform is Facebook with more than 2 billion users every month (with 95% of those accessing the app on their phones). There are more than 65 million businesses with a Facebook page. (To keep reading, click here.)

Using Twitter to reach readers

Twitter can also be a great way to reach readers.

Twitter is a social networking site where users can send short (280 character) messages called Tweets. You can include a hashtag (#) to allow people who are interested in a topic to find those who share that same interest. But be warned – using too many of these looks like your message is spam. (To keep reading, click here.)

Why writers must be readers

I’m sure you have heard it – from teachers, other writers and in books on writing – “Writers need to be readers.” Or something to that effect.

Writers work with words and it is in their best interest to know them well. A writer who doesn’t read is like a musician not listening to music or a chef who never samples other foods. Reading and writing go hand in hand. (To keep reading, click here.)

Writing out of order

Now I am not a planner. I do not outline my books before I write. I do have a loose outline and typically plan out a few chapters at a time. And often I do have the end of the book in mind when I begin writing. But since I only have a loose outline, I am free to let my characters dictate how the story goes. This method works for me – usually. (To keep reading, click here.)

Creating a character list

Creating characters can be fun. You develop their characteristics, physical traits, and their backstories. And you get to name them. Now you don’t always need to spend a lot of time on characters. If they are a minor character, you will spend less time developing them then say your protagonist. But as your protagonist runs into people sometimes those people at least need a name – and perhaps a description. (To keep reading, click here.)

Sharing a great writing website

The other day I was writing the scene in my latest Work in Progress, and I noted that I tend to use some words or phrases quite a bit. In a conversation, people nod, shake their head, shrug, and so on. And as this is the first draft, it is quite normal to fall into using these words or phrases. But I was thinking rather than wait until my next round of editing, what words or actions could I use instead? (To keep reading, click here.)

Using Twitter to reach readers

Last week I wrote about setting up a Facebook page to connect with your readers. Twitter can also be a great way to reach readers.

Twitter is a social networking site where users can send short (280 character) messages called Tweets. You can include a hashtag (#) to allow people who are interested in a topic to find those who share that same interest. But be warned – using too many of these looks like your message is spam.

As with Facebook, you shouldn’t spend all your time posting about your book. I’m not saying you can’t post about it but it can’t be all you do. You can post announcements – a new review, a cover reveal, an author interview/guest post or a book giveaway, to name a few.

But be sure to intermix tweeting about your own content (your books or blogs) with sharing useful, interesting and amusing resources from other people (retweeting) as well as perhaps glimpses into your life or things you are interested in.

Now some people say you should work on connecting with people, making friends instead of selling. The theory is if people see you interacting and are interested, they will find out for themselves what you have written. But this can be time consuming – time you may want to spend writing.

The best way to build relationships is of course to engage the other users in conversation or at least commenting on their Tweets. Another way to build relationships is to retweet the content of others. The goal here is to hope that others will reciprocate.

And by connecting with others and helping share their tweets, hopefully people will take an interest in you. They may check out your Twitter profile so make it a good one. Consider something witty and of course list that you are an author. You also might upload a header about your upcoming or latest book. If you have a book promotion or announcement, pin a Tweet about it to the top of your profile.

There are a vast array of programs you can use with Twitter. From programs that allow you to schedule your tweets or find out who doesn’t follow you back to sites that shorten any URLs you want to include in your tweet, there is something to help you get the most out of Twitter.

You can read numerous blogs about the dos and don’ts of Twitter. But in the end, you really just have to do what you feel comfortable with and what works for you. But I will say that I know I have sold books off my tweets, and I have certainly increased my blog’s traffic with mentions on Twitter.

Setting up an Author Facebook Page

Two weeks ago, I wrote about social media for authors. Let’s delve a little more into some of your choices.

The biggest social media platform is Facebook with more than 2 billion users every month (with 95% of those accessing the app on their phones). There are more than 65 million businesses with a Facebook page.

facebook-logoFacebook can be a great way to connect with your readers. The best way to do this is by setting up a Facebook page – a public page that anyone can see even if they don’t have a Facebook account. Those with a Facebook account can “like” the page, and then they will receive updates from your page in their News Feed.

Creating a page really allows you maintain a professional presence and still allows you have a personal account where you can connect with friends and family. This means you won’t be spamming your friends with an overload of your books and you aren’t sharing too much personal information with your readers.

When you set up your page, do it under your author name. Do not set up a separate page for each book. You are building a brand so you will want to focus on everything you do verses just one of your works. Plus it will be easier to maintain and update one account rather than one for each of your books.

Fans and readers really need one place to go. Basically, if you have people who like your author page and others who like your book page, you are splitting your audience. If you post updates to the people following your author page, you might miss those following your book page. If you post on both, you could annoy anyone who follows both with duplicate or too many posts.

To set up a Facebook page, you must have a personal profile first. After you have a personal profile, go here to set up your page. Click on “Artist, Band, Public Figure,” choose author and follow the instructions.

Once you have your page up, you will need to let everyone else know about it. Go ahead and mention it on your blog, website and other social media platforms. Encourage readers to “like” the page. Then start sharing your author and book news. You can announce book releases, link to reviews of your books, let readers know about sales or updates on your current work in progress.

The key here is post on your page regularly. Keep your posts interesting and preferably one that can provoke responses. And remember that every post should not be about trying to sell your books. Feel free to check out my Facebook page and “like” it.

Social Media for Authors

Your book is done and out there for the world to find, read, and love. Of course, no reader (beyond friends and family) will find it without some marketing. One of the best – and typically free – way to market your book is on social media. Maintaining a presence on social media these days is a must for any writer.

Social Media Options

Facebook free iconFacebook is one of the largest social media platforms and is widely used across all demographics. Instead of adding friends to your personal page, your best bet is to create an Author page. You can also create or join an author group as a way of networking.

Twitter free iconTwitter is one of the most watched platforms. From presidential politics to celebrity gossip, Twitter is the place to be. This is a great place to build a following as many Twitter users will follow you if you follow them.

Image result for instagram iconInstagram focuses on pictures and video sharing. You can share creative pictures of your work or other things that inspire you that allow readers to know you more.

Goodreads is a social media platform designed for writers. It exists to connect authors and their readers. Most of those on Goodreads are readers. Their reviews and lists can help deliver exposure for new and budding authors.

Image result for pinterest iconPinterest is the least time consuming of the social media (as a form of advertising that is. Users on the other hand can spend hours looking at the items pinned on different pages.) People don’t expect you to reply or talk to them. You can just post your pins and let the program’s algorithm take care of the rest.

With this many social media options, you could spend a lot of time keeping up with them – time that you could better spend writing your next novel. It is true that social media can take up a lot of time, so my suggestion is to only pick one or two. Focus on the ones that appeal to you. If you hate Facebook, don’t join Facebook. If you don’t understand Instagram than pick one of the other social media options. You won’t have the time to be everywhere. You should be writing instead of maintaining all these accounts.

How to effectively use social media?

  • Post regularly.
  • Post about topics that aren’t all about your writing or your books. You want readers (or potential readers) to see you are a human just like them. Being relatable can boost sales of your books.
  • Interact with your readers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, respond to comments and connect with your readers in a meaningful way.

For more on social media, check out this article from NY Book Editors, Kindleprenueur or Bookbub.

Joining author groups and forums

This post is the sixty-six post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Becoming an author – self-published or traditional – doesn’t mean you have to work alone. You can connect with other authors to receive encouragement, discuss current publishing trends and advise you on which promotional opportunities helped them the most.

You can join author (or reader) groups or connect with others on forums.

Groups

Image result for groupsGroups are simply a collection of people who share a similar trait – went to the same school, have red hair, live near each other, write sci-fi books, or any of a gazillion other ways to group people.

Facebook

Facebook groups can b a fantastic way for a writer to connect, trade advice, swap war stories and find new opportunities. There are Facebook groups for every genre and some that allow you to promote your work. For a list of popular Facebook Groups, check out this website.

Goodreads

Goodreads groups are communities of readers who share similar interests, and they are purely meant for interacting, networking and connecting with other readers. The best way to interact with these readers is to be one. Join several of the Goodreads groups and participate. Get your name out there as someone who reads the books and as someone who writes good reviews. As readers view your posts, some will be curious enough to check out your profile and discover you are an author.

Note that on Goodreads groups, direct marketing is not only looked down upon, it is often forbidden. In other words, don’t join a group to just post about how great your book is and why people should want to buy it.

Others

When I first started publishing, I joined the Independent Author’s Network. This is a group of self-published authors that support and promote each other online. Members are asked to tweet and retweet about other member’s book releases, blog postings and book tours. There are different levels of memberships, some of which require a one-time setup fee.

For a list of some other groups, check out this website.

Forums

Related imageForums are very much like groups, but typically have you post on an online discussion board about the listed topic. The forum may or may not have a moderator. Depending on the forum, you can connect with not just authors but also readers.

If you publish on Amazon, you might consider checking out the KDP Community where you can find help on formatting, publishing, payments, marketing and more.

You may also want to check out this writing forum website or search for forums based on your genre.

Groups and forums can help you find find invaluable information if you find the right group/forum. But remember that while connecting with other authors – and readers – can be beneficial, I don’t recommend joining every group out there as keeping up with them can severely cut into your writing time.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

#57 – Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

#58 – Offering your novels or short stories as a box set

#59 – Deciding whether to offer your book as an audio book

#60 – Taking your book on a virtual book tour

#61 – Writing your Author Bio and selecting an Author Photo

#62 – Setting up your Amazon Author Page and International Amazon pages

#63 – Choosing between an Author Website or Blog

#64 – Holidays work for settings and book promotions

#65 – Choices for Authors: Marketing vs. Writing