Updated list of hashtags for authors

A few years ago, I wrote about Hashtags for authors. This is an updated list of hashtags. (And yes, I checked every one of them to make sure they are still in use.)

hashtagFor those of you who use Twitter, you are probably already familiar with the idea of hashtags. These are keywords prefixed with a hash or “pound” (#) symbol. They help categorize your tweets and help others easily find tweets about similar subjects.

Used correctly, Twitter hashtags are one of the best ways to connect with industry experts, readers, and other authors.

The use of relevant hashtags increases the likelihood that others will see your post and become a follower. It is a great way to engage a particular community of Twitter users.

The following is a list of some of the hashtags for authors or writers. Most are self-explanatory. If you use any that I missed, please leave them in the comment section and I will add them to the list.

For when you are writing

#amwriting – comments from other authors

#amediting – comments from those in the editing stage

#amrevising – comments from those revising their work





#WIP – work in progress


#WritePrompt or #prompts – if you want to give assignments out.


#writingtip or #writetip – writing tips from other authors and editors

#writerwednesday – or more often #WW- used to give a shout-out to writers or suggest authors to follow. (#WW also is used by some Weight-Watchers)

General book/writing


#author or #authors

#book or #books







#iPad (this brings up many other posts than books)


#KDP – for Kindle Direct Publishing





#novel or #novels

#selfpublishing or #selfpub


#Sony (this brings up many other posts than books)

#writer or #writers








#cookbooks (could also use #food – #cooking – #recipes or such if promoting a cookbook) #crime or #crimefiction






#histfic and #histnovel – used for historical fiction




#litfic – literary fiction










#short or #shortstory or #shortstories

#thriller or #Thrillers


#YA – young adult



For promotions

#99cents or #99c



#blogtour or #virtualbooktour



#booklook (for excerpts – currently not popular)




#Fridayreads – promoting what book you are currently reading







#Goodreads – relates to the site Goodreads and its followers


#interview or #interviews



#SampleSunday – offering a link to an excerpt or sample of your work

#teaserTuesday Or #TeaserTues- usually a line from your novel and a link to a sample

#WW or #WriterWednesday


#author or #authors







#novellines or #novelines – when quoting a line from your (or someone else’s) novel

#ff – stands for “follow Friday” where other writers share people to follow (also used by many non-writers)

#indieauthor or #indieauthors


#indiebook or #indiebooks

#IndiePub or #IndiePublishing


#pubtip – tips on publishing


Keys to marketing as an author

You’ve written your book or maybe you are on your second or third or perhaps your book isn’t even out yet, but your mind has turned to marketing. How the heck do you get your book noticed in the sea of other books out there?

There really is no sure-fire method for marketing. What works for one author may or may not work for you. But there are two main keys to marketing.

YOU are the BRAND.

The first thing you need to realize is that you are marketing yourself and not your book. Your marketing efforts are building recognition of your brand, which is YOU.

By working on name recognition, your marketing efforts will eventually lead to sales. The key word is “eventually.”

It works the same way as a company running TV commercials. The viewer of the commercial is not often in the position to buy that product right at that moment, but the company wants the viewer to remember their name so when they are at the store, they will see and buy their product.

You need to apply this principle to your marketing. You want people to recognize your name so that when they see your book, they want to buy it (or at least be interested enough to click the button and read the book description.)

That takes me to my second key to marketing….

Marketing takes TIME

So you began marketing – a Twitter campaign, a guest post, a contest or even an ad on a website – and then there is no spike in sales. That does not mean that your promotion failed. You should not expect instant results.

People typically have to see a name (or book title) many times before they take the time and effort to learn more. So you need to look at this from a long-haul marketing plan.

This means you need to be advertising at all times – not just when a new book is released. You may choose to do something once a week or once a month, but you need to consistently work to get your name out there.

And of course the best bet would not be to pick an activity at random but to look for something that will reach your target market. Go where your readers are. This might mean connecting with readers on Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat but remember that social media may not sell books but can build the relationships that help you sell books.

The main thing to remember is that it will take you months to see results of your marketing efforts. Patience is the key here. Remember marketing is more of a long-distance marathon than a sprint. And of course don’t forget who you are marketing – yourself!


Is it worth converting your self-published book into an audio book?

Audio books are becoming increasingly popular. People listen to books while driving, exercising, doing household chores or simply relaxing. To have your own work performed is an exciting idea.  But is it worth it for an independent author to make the jump into the audio book market?

Let me start out by saying that making your book into an audio book can be a daunting task. And while audio books are popular, selling an audio editions is harder than selling a paperback or e-book especially as a relatively unknown author.

audio-booksThe first thing you would have to decide is if you want to do it alone or hire someone to help you put together your audio book. While self-publishing an e-book is easy to do yourself, I would suggest getting some help on doing an audio book.

One of the most popular digital platforms for producing and distributing audio books is Amazon’s ACX (Audio Book Creation Exchange).

If you go to ACX, they list the steps for producing an audio book through their site. You can do your own narration and upload it or they can help match you with narrators (called producers on the site).

Producers on ACX are either paid up front (at $200 to $1,000 per finished hour with the average book 8 to 12 hours) or they can agree to split the royalties 50/50 with the author and receive no advance payment. (This option is only available if you do the exclusive option for audio book distribution).

Of course, many producers aren’t looking to split the royalties unless you are a well-established, bestselling author. This means if you are an unknown indie author you will need to shell out your money upfront.

ACX allows you to hear samples of thousands of narrators and you may “audition” them with your own work. (Hint – make sure you select a section that includes dialogue between key characters.)

Once your audio book is complete, ACX will distribute it through the three leading digital retailers for audio book – Audible, Amazon and iTunes. One major drawback is they control the pricing of your audio book (unlike KDP and CreateSpace where you set the price.)

If you grant ACX exclusive rights to your work, your royalty is 40%. If you opt out of the exclusive rights, the royalty rate is 25%.  Keep in mind that Audible is the largest seller of audio books so it might be worth taking the exclusive option.

You also are agreeing to give ACX the right to distribute your book for 7 years no matter if you pick the exclusive or non-exclusive rights. They renew their agreement yearly after that unless they receive written notification of termination of the agreement.

So with all this said, is it worth it do make your self-published book into an audio book? Considering the cost of producing the audio book and the amount of marketing, I would say that it isn’t the right choice of a majority of the indie authors out there. I know for myself that I am just now establishing a following and doing decent with my e-book sales that I don’t want to venture into the audio book market – or at least not yet.

Cover Reveal as a Marketing Tool

So you have written a book and are in the process of editing it. In just a few months, it will be out there for the world to buy. But before you publish your book, you will want to create a buzz about your upcoming release. That is where a cover reveal comes into play.

Blank Book CoverA cover reveal is exactly what the name implies. It is simply letting readers see the cover of your new book BEFORE the book is published. It is a great way to promote interest in the book and remind your readers that something new is coming.

Great covers spark interest in your work. That is why there are so many posts about creating a professional, eye-catching book cover. The cover is the first thing readers see and often where they decide if your book is worth their time to even read the book description.

So in a cover reveal, you are hoping to build anticipation. You want to make the reader curious about the story. And hopefully make them eager to buy it when it comes out or is available for pre-order.

There are many websites that will help you set up a cover reveal by scheduling other bloggers to post your new cover, blurb and bio on their sites. Most promos range from about $40-$60.

Of course, you can do the work yourself by contacting bloggers you know or posting on message boards looking for bloggers to host you. Only you can decide if the price of paying someone else to do it – someone with possibly good connections – is worth it.

HeirAlexandria_ebookcoverI have only done one Cover Reveal. It was for my last novel, The Heir to Alexandria. I only posted the reveal on my own blog, but I do belong to a great group of Tribber members who tweeted out notices about the reveal.

Remember, readers have to see your book many times before they buy it. A cover reveal gives you an early start of getting in front of potential readers and creating hype. Even if you don’t have a publication date, you can do a reveal.

Now whether my own reveal built in any anticipation, I don’t know. But there is no such thing as too much promotion so it was worth it, and I will do it again with my next book.

Book promoting during the holidays

I was searching for a topic to write about today when I came across this blog about promoting your book during the holidays and thought it was a great topic.

This author’s blog from last week was about promoting your book as a gift for others to give. She does a good job of describing the pitfalls of having someone buy your book as a gift. But as I read her blog, I was thinking that my books are only in e-book format. I would not expect someone to give my book as a gift. Yes, you can email someone a gift certificate for an ebook from Amazon or Barnes and Noble but it isn’t anything you can actually put under the tree.

I typically have not done much promoting of my e-books before Christmas. I usually wait until AFTER to offer my e-books at a discounted price. Millions of people will receive an e-book reader or tablet this holiday season and will be looking for fill it with books. And don’t forget all those people with gift cards.

Last year, I offered two books for free and reduced the price of my trilogy. I don’t think I received a lot of sales due to these promotions. Some of this could be the timing. After Christmas is a hectic time and there are many other authors out there hawking their own books. Does this mean I won’t be offering a discount again this year? Nope. I certainly will. (If you are interested in checking out my books, come back on Christmas Day to see which ones I put on sale!)

Other holiday sales hints

Here are a few other holiday sales ideas…

  • From author Kristen James – write a Christmas novella. She said she has written a few and published them in November. They are among her best sellers and do well each holiday season. If you write a series, perhaps you can take some of your characters and write them their own holiday story. (This won’t work for me but I like the idea.)
  • Bundle your books in a box set and offer them for less than they would be individually. Or perhaps get a few indie authors together and offer some of your books as a bundle,

No matter what option you do, I don’t think any indie author should take the holiday season off from promoting their books.

S is for Summoned #AtoZchallenge

SToday on the A to Z Challenge we are up to the letter S. Since I have already written about my work-in-progress (Alexandria) and the other two parts of my trilogy (Destiny and Quietus), I thought I would talk about with the book that started it all – Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental.

I started Summoned many years ago before self-publishing on the Internet was even an option. Originally, when I submitted it to publishers, it was under the title – The Elemental. It wasn’t until I decided to make it a trilogy that I changed the name to Summoned and used The Elemental for the trilogy name.

Anyway, I sent out query letters and sample chapters to publishers. I received a lot of rejection letters. When finding an interested publisher wasn’t working, I looked for an agent. By this time, I knew I was writing a sequel but again, there was no interest in Summoned.

I would get discouraged and life would get busy, so I would put away my manuscript for a while. Then I would bring it back out, make some revisions (changing the beginning and tightening up the story) and send it out to a new list of publishers or agents. And the cycle would repeat.

SummonedFINALFinally, after I decided to become a stay-at-home mom, my husband suggested I try self-publishing it online as an e-book. That turned out to be the best suggestion. After a new set of revisions and much proofreading, I had someone design my cover and put it on Amazon.

Of course, being a newbie indie author I had no clue the amount of marketing and time it would take before I would start generating sales. But I am happy to say that Summoned is doing well, and the sequels (Quietus and Destiny) are out and doing well too.

Today’s Featured Author: AJ Harmon

Today I have contemporary romance author AJ Harmon on my blog. She recently released her First Class novel series as a box set.


Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born and raised in Perth, Australia, to English parents and now reside in Oregon, USA. I consider myself to be a perfect mix of Aussie, Brit, and Yank!

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I began writing on a dare. I was encouraged to read a novel by some friends and when I reported back that I wasn’t overly impressed, they dared me to write a book…so I did!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It wasn’t until I quit my day job, after I published my third book, that I truly considered myself a writer. Now I am proud to tell people what I do for a living.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I think it would be very difficult to write stories and NOT have my personality and experiences in them. All the female characters I write have a little bit of me in them, whether it is a physical or emotional trait. For example, Katy is pretty blunt, a lot like me. Janie is at times unsure of herself and often thinks she is lacking in certain areas of her life. Again, I suffer from that, too, just like millions of other women. Maureen loves her children so much, that she often meddles a little and frustrates her children. Again, that’s me!!

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Having finished writing the First Class series, I am now really excited about the next one, Sky Romance Novels, the first book being released in 2014. It is a different format than FCN, in that all the stories don’t revolve around one family. SRN will have lots of different story lines weaving in and out and will not need to be read in chronological order.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst

The best thing is being able to set my own schedule. The worst is also being able to set my own schedule! 🙂 In order to be a writer you must have a lot of self-discipline, something I sorely lack at times.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

Feedback from readers who love my books is a wonderful boost to my confidence and desire to put out well-written stories. I love reading emails from fans who tell me how they relate to my characters and sit impatiently waiting for the next book to be released. There is no greater compliment for me, and no greater inspiration to continue doing what I love.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

Plots come to me at night, usually when I’m trying to go to sleep. Quite often it’s just a scene that plays in my head and then the ideas just flow. A lot of my writing gets done after 10 pm!

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I don’t outline the story if there are a limited number of characters, but in SRN, my new series, there are more storylines woven into one book, so an outline for each is definitely needed so that the stories come together at the right point.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I would certainly be Janie from First Class to New York. She’s experienced a happy marriage and has two sons that she adores and isn’t looking for a second love. But when she literally runs into the man that will become her future, her whole world turns upside down and she has to come to terms with the loss of her husband and realize that she has a whole future waiting for her. I feel connected to Janie in a way that I really can’t put into words. (Bad sign for a writer, huh? 😉 )

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I chew on ice and roasted almonds when I write. And I also need to be listening to music, preferably instrumental.

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

That’s difficult to narrow down to two, but the first would definitely be Jane Austen. I read her books as a young girl and they totally shaped my view of love and romance. I still read them often and it feels like coming home. The second would probably be Rosamunde Pilcher. I love the way she develops her characters on paper and am in awe of the way she connects the reader to all the characters in her books. She is a master.

About the Author

aj harmonAJ was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, and currently resides in the United States. She has been married to the love of her life for 28 years and has two grown children, and a dog named Max. She is an avid reader, writer and wannabe chef.

She published her first romance novel First Class to New York after accepting a challenge from a friend to write a book. She self-published the book on November 17, 2012 in Amazon’s Kindle eBook store as a contemporary romance.

AJ Harmon’s First Class romance series is available in paperback on Amazon and for digital eBook download from the Kindle store. She has released all nine of the books in this series of contemporary love stories, including a boxed set that includes a bonus novella, and is currently working on the first book of her new series that will be released in 2014.

You can find out more about AJ on her website or on Facebook.