By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Category: Marketing Tips (Page 2 of 8)

10 Tips for Attracting a Social Media Audience, One That Will Buy From You for the Long Term

 

You might be tempted to buy lists of followers, or to befriend everyone and anyone, but the audience a writer needs is one who will, eventually, buy from you. Look for quality rather than quantity, and invest time in building long-term relationships with a truly targeted audience. Think awareness, engagement and – only then – potential sales.

To increase awareness, you need to be there, be visible, be you, and become part of the furniture. For relationship-building engagement, I recommend you to be generous, to be present, and to be responsive.

Your long-term goal is sales, and you are looking for a good return on your investment in time on social media, so you also need to be choosy, systematic and – last, but not least – careful.

Here are 10 Tips for Attracting a Social Media Audience.

 

10 Tips for Attracting a Social Media Audience, One That Will Buy From You for the Long Term

 

1. Be There

Where? It’s up to you which social media platform you use.

Each one takes up valuable time when you could be writing. Start small. Keep it simple. Decide on one and establish yourself – and your brand – there, before venturing onto other platforms.

I have a personal Facebook page, and pages for ScrivenerVirgin and RedPen Editing. I am also on Twitter as @ARainbowThomas. I dipped a toe into Pinterest and Instagram – but was not convinced they’ll help to increase my audience, so I’ve not developed them further, yet!

 

2. Be Visible

Choose a photo to represent you and a logo to represent your brand. Be consistent on all social media platforms, so that your audience – your prospective audience – grows to recognise you and your products through images.

I invested in a professional photo shoot. I also had a logo designed to incorporate both Scrivener Virgin and RedPen.

For books, the cover design is important. The title must be clearly visible as a thumbnail, for example on an Amazon page, and your images/coloring must reinforce your brand.

 

#amwriting Tip to sell more books: Choose a photo to represent you and your brand.Click To Tweet

 

3. Be You

When starting out, think carefully about which parts of your personality, which products, and which services you want to promote. From this, determine the scope of your presence – and decide your brand.

As a one-woman-band offering one-on-one mentoring, it’s important my audience learns about me as a person – and grows to like and respect and trust me. To that end, I share via my personal Facebook posts that demonstrate who I am: I love cooking, Art, dance, writing (especially poetry).  I have a sense of humour, and I am human!

On my ScrivenerVirgin page, I restrict posts to content that add value for writers who use Scrivener, or maybe are thinking about using Scrivener. Ditto for my RedPen Editing page.

 

4. Be Part of the Furniture

Decide who is in your prospective audience, and find them, wherever they are hiding. Join their social media world. Don’t try to sell to them!  Instead, hang out with them, mingle, become a part of their world – part of the furniture. You are looking for awareness – awareness of your existence – and engagement with their world.

I offer a service to writers, and have published a book on self-editing. So on Facebook, I’ve joined many writers’ groups especially self-publishing groups.
On Twitter, I’ve followed authors that I admire. On my tweets, I include hashtags – such as #Scrivener, #writing, #amwriting, #amediting, #writingchat – as appropriate, so it’s easy for others to find my tweets.

 

5. Be Generous

Share your tips for success, your solutions to others’ problems, and your positive approach, wherever you can. Be the person everyone is keen to see arriving. Then, you’ll become the person whose Facebook posts are liked and shared, whose tweets are liked and retweeted.

I have a portfolio of free products and services. I blog as ScrivenerVirgin and offer guest blogs to writers who use Scrivener.  I host free weekly Q&A webinars for users of Scrivener.

In the writers groups, I chip in with helpful comments where questions are raised that relate to my areas of expertise: Scrivener and self-editing.

 

#amwriting Tip for selling more books: Share your tips for success wherever you can.Click To Tweet

 

 

6. Be Present

Social media is a constant flow of messages. If you drop out for a while, you may be forgotten.

I blog regularly and aim for at least daily postings to Facebook and Twitter. I also share Facebook posts and retweet tweets.

 

7. Be Responsive

Communication is a two-way process. If someone comments on your post, respond to it – promptly. If someone retweets your tweet, like it.

I check my notifications and respond to every one. It only takes a few second to read what’s been posted and to click on Like.

 

8. Be Choosy

Choose your friends – on Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere – with the same care that you’d apply in a face-to-face situation. Look them up and down. Check out what they say. Decide whether they fit into your target audience: people who might buy from you once they know and trust you. You need quality rather than quantity!

With Facebook, I approach writers that I respect and ask to be their friend. If I get a Facebook friend request, I look at their page, especially the number of friends we have in common, before deciding whether to accept their request.

With Twitter, when I get a new follower, I check them out. If they share my values, I follow them back. If not, I thank them for following me and suggest they check out my blog, or my book, or whatever is current.

 

9. Be Systematic

An ad hoc approach is unlikely to produce results. Instead, be systematic. Have a routine. Stick to it.

If someone asks to be my friend on Facebook and I accept, or someone accepts my request to be a friend, I receive an email notification. I file these and, once a week, I communicate with these new ‘friends’ using a direct message. I follow up with something relevant, to establish engagement with them.

Ditto for Twitter: I receive an email if someone likes my tweet, retweets it, or starts to follow me. I batch process these notifications, looking at them, once a week, in ‘From’ order. That reveals who is making a special effort – liking my tweets, and retweeting them. I visit their page and like/retweet some of their tweets too.
I delete these notifications only when I’ve actioned them.

 

10. Be Careful

Each presence on social media takes up valuable time, when you could be writing, so ration yourself: little and often, short and sweet.
Social media can also become addictive – and serve as a displacement activity when you know you should be writing instead!

I set aside time: daily to respond quickly to social media messages, and weekly to batch process new friends/followers. Communicating on social media is not as high a priority as writing or blogging, but I make time for it, maybe at the end of a long day, or when I can’t sensibly be writing, eg while travelling. I also limit the time I spend on social media – no more than 20 minutes at any one time.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

Anne Rainbow author

 

About the Author

Anne Rainbow began writing almost 40 years ago. Her career as a teacher/examiner and freelance proofreader/copy editor led to the publication of scores of educational text books and and the setting up of her own publishing services company. A relatively recent convert to Scrivener, Anne created the ScrivenerVirgin blog to help writers make the best use of Scrivener software, and she published her EDITING The RedPen Way: 10 Steps to Successful Self-Editing to help writers with their self-editing.

RedPen Mentoring – coaching for writers – will be launched on 5 June 2017. You can follow Anne on Facebook and Twitter.

The Critical Part of Being a Writer: Rejection

Wade S. Lang

 

The Critical Part of Being a Writer: Rejection

 

by Wade S. Lang

 

When I was starting out as a writer, I received a lot of unsolicited advice from different kinds of people. Most of them, of course, have been a writer themselves. They made different choices and served as different examples for my own point of view. One piece of advice has lingered with me: You will  find rejection without being a writer, but you cannot be a writer without being rejected.

I found myself riddled with rejections left and right. Most of them stung and made me felt that I am not cut out for this, but there was always something that kept me writing.

It was my faith in myself. The faith that I will learn and I will be better with the rejection. I love writing and I know I can be good if I just try harder.

Thankfully, here I am. I have now reached the goal that I wanted so badly in my early days. I proudly consider myself as a writer. And I have a stable job to prove it. Yes, it pays good money.

If you are now dealing with rejection yourself, do not be discouraged. Let the rejection sink in and let it be your lesson. Here are some tips on how to manage rejection.

Cheer up, it will pass.

 

You will find rejection without being a writer, but you cannot be a writer without being rejected.Click To Tweet

 

 

Never Take It Personally

Given that you have poured your heart, soul, mind, time, and anything else that you got into this manuscript, having someone flatly say, “No,” to you is discouraging. Worse is when you’re rejected by an automated email saying,” Sorry, your article is just not fit for us right now.” Or when you are told you that they will just contact you whenever they find it necessary to discuss it further.

So what?

It’s not the end of the world. It’s probably just a result of a wrong-timing-sort-of-thing. Think of it as a bad day that started right, but ended up crashing for no good reason. It is not your fault and neither is it theirs. You did not write a bad piece. They are not fools to not give you the chance.

 

Look At It As An Opportunity

No matter how good you are with writing, rejection is inevitable. But that does not mean that it is your fault. It probably just means your work is not what they want at the moment. Or that your work is brilliant, but it is just not going to sell on their target market. There are a lot of reasons for your rejections and most likely it is not about what you think.

“It was because what I offered did not fit what he wanted.” – What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection, Jia Jiang, Ted.com

According to Jia Jiang, rejection does not always have to result in bad energy. Sometimes, you have to read between the lines on why you are really being rejected. If you try to better understand why you were rejected, you can better learn from it, which brings us to our next piece of advice.

 

Learn From It

If you are rejected, don’t just stare blankly at the wall and surrender your cause. Ask why you are being rejected (politely, of course). Know what you should have done and the things that might be lacking in your writing. Take rejection as a form of reference to your future strategies. Learn from it and do not allow your pride and ego to be so deluded to think your work is the best ever in the history of mankind. You have just been rejected, deal with it.

You cannot be a writer if you will not face rejections along the way. Even the greatest writers receive rejection. A lot of them have been even branded as lunatics and crazies like Lord Byron, an English Poet, and Yukio Mishima, a Japanese author. They were thought to be up to no good, but still they each wrote one of the most compelling masterpieces ever recorded in history.

 

Talk About It

Rejection can sometimes be something to be ashamed of. Our initial reactions would be to hide or to get some alone-time in our own room or in a bar drinking our hearts out.

Most of the time, keeping bad emotions and not sharing those make it seem a lot more important that it is. It gives you a negative take on your own goals and perspective and eventually makes you feel unwilling to try anymore.

What you should do is to talk it off. Unburden yourself with what is bugging you. Talk about it and you will find that it is not as bad as you think it is. Once you do, you might just see that you are not alone at the bottom of your pit. Those people around you have their own taste of rejection and most of them have even worse rejections than what you have.

There are actually a lot of things to do about feeling rejection. Some people join groups and share their burdens. Beck McDowell of the best-selling book This is Not a Drill sets up a number of china plates in her backyard and smashes them every time she got turned down or rejected. It could sound weird, but those simple things in life are the vital parts of relieving yourself of the negative vibes around you.

Being a writer will always be a challenge, even after you think that you have accomplished your goal. A week after reaching a new success there will be another rejection to come your way. It is normal. Don’t fear it.

 

So, do what you think is right? Innovate and improve your skill as there are always room for improvement if you meant serious business. Pride can only take you so far but trying again can take you anywhere.

 

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good

 

Wade Lang

About the Author

Wade S. Lang is an essayist at wedoessay.com. He incorporates nature’s beauty in his writing. Besides excellence, he puts his lovely wife and two kids at the center of his craft. He is fond of physical contact sports and considers South America as a haven for tourists.

 

 

4 Ways To Earn Your Literary Citizenship Card

 

4 Ways To Earn Your Literary Citizenship Card

Why Indie Authors Need to Stick Together

 

by Jan Flynn 

 

 

If you’ve spent time in any kind of writing community — virtual or physical, in a class, a workshop, a critique group or just over coffee with your writing buddy — the term “literary citizen” is not new to you.

As an example, in 2013 Chuck Sambuchino posted an online piece, 5 Ways To Be a Good Literary Citizen for Writers Digest, in which he exhorts writers to be ready and willing to honestly promote others’ work with helpful blurbs and reviews, to read and critique others’ works in progress, to support literary magazines and publishers through subscriptions and book purchases, to recommend others’ work on social media.

Keeping the engine that supports the whole literary establishment chugging along, after all, is more and more the responsibility of writers.

In 2014, Becky Tuch published a Salon article titled More Work, No Pay: Why I Detest Literary Citizenship bemoaning that reality, noting that writers are asked to take on an ever increasing share of the promotional burden by the very industry that profits from their labor. With publishers spending less and less on marketing and with the demise of the chain bookstore, it’s writers who are expected to take up the slack. Since we do all the reviewing and posting and tweeting for free — or at our own expense — it’s a nice deal for the publishing establishment.

Whether there really is a publishing establishment in 2017, or more of a beleaguered fortress clinging to the edge of a cliff eroded by the seas of change, it’s clear that writers need community. On this point, Sambuchino and Tuch agree. And it’s more important now than ever.

 

The publishing establishment is now a beleaguered fortress clinging to the edge of a cliff eroded by the seas of change.Click To Tweet

 

Yes, we do our primary work alone. But we can’t do it in isolation. Some of us love the solitude of our writing garret (whether that garret is actually a cabin in the woods, a coffee house or an airport terminal), while some of us have to nail our pants to our chair to get ‘er done, but soon enough the time comes to share our words with someone else.

author quotesIt doesn’t take us long to learn that the most helpful and most compassionate readers of our early drafts are, almost always, other writers. And once we are published, it is indeed other writers who are going to be some of our best allies in getting that work seen by the reading public.

Besides, if we’re going to have any fun at all — and I fail to see why any of us would take on such a Sisyphean task as fiction writing unless there was some fun to be had along the way — we needs us our peeps, right?

So yes, please, blurb and review and tweet and post on behalf of your writing brethren. But to progress from literary visa status, from bookish green card to full literary citizenship, here are four more requirements, in my view.

 

1. Read

Excuse me, would that be the sound of your eyes rolling? Did I just point out the wildly obvious?

If you honestly spend a portion of every day reading, and by that I mean reading like you used to before you became a writer with a capital W — you know, curled up on your favorite whatever, totally absorbed while the rest of the world twirls on unheeded, reading for pleasure — then feel free to bypass this admonition. Relax your spinning eyeballs and move on.

But if, as I suspect, most of the reading you do nowadays is critical reading, or informational reading, or any kind of obligatory reading — for which there is absolutely a place, don’t get me wrong — then please, please carve out some time to settle in with a good book or poem or story, one you’re reading just because you want to, and recapture the magic of what got you started on this journey in the first place. Do this every day if you possibly can.

If you want to be a storyteller, after all, you have to be a good listener.

 

If you want to be a storyteller, you must be a good listener. READ everyday. #amreading Click To Tweet

 

2. Be Someone’s Jiminy Cricket

You recall Pinocchio’s little pal, who stood by his puppet friend every step along the bumpy road to becoming a real boy? Even if you’re a new writer, there is another writer somewhere nearby (because writers are like spiders: wherever you are, there is at least one within six feet of you) who needs a Jiminy Cricket.

A coach, a cheerleader, a mentor, a conscience. Someone to be accountable to. Someone to keep them plugging away when things are tough, and someone to praise them when they achieve goals that nobody but another writer can appreciate: a word count surpassed, a query sent, a rejection bravely endured. Be that someone for another writer. It’s nice to be needed. Cue When You Wish Upon A Star.

 

3. Be a Fierce Guardian of Time

Guard your own as well as others’ time. While I advocate generosity, you are your first responsibility when it comes to time management. Be judicious about what you say yes to, so that you can say it wholeheartedly when you do. Be honest when you have to say no. Demonstrating respect for the one resource that none of us can buy has a halo effect; it encourages others to do the same.

 

4. Lighten Up

Sure it’s a tough ol’ world out there in publishing land, but nobody held a gun to your head and made you be a writer. Nor does the tough ol’ world or anybody in it owe you success. Do your best, take your shot, be proud of what you’ve achieved that’s within your control, and let the rest go.

Nurture your sense of play — productive play, I mean, not indulgence in time-sucking distraction — at every opportunity. Forget the tortured artist thing, unless she’s a character in your novel. This is a good reason to have set writing hours, because it means you therefore have hours that are not about writing. There’s more to you than your word count.

 

Write a lot, but don't forget to play. There’s more to you than your word count. #writerslifeClick To Tweet

 

 

Go forth, literary citizens, and make the world a better place for writers. One in which literary immigrants and refugees are welcome with open arms. Just sayin’.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

Jan Flynn Author Photo

About the Author

Jan M. Flynn is the author of Corpse Pose: And Other Tales, a collection of Twilight Zone-esque short stores, released on Amazon’s Kindle Select in January, 2017. You can also find Jan’s work in literary journals including Midnight Circus, The Binnacle, and 2017’s Noyo River Review, as well as anthologies. “Cord,” a tale placed in an alternative, haunted American past, appears in Into The Woods (Hic Dragones) to be released in March, 2017.

Flynn’s short stories have won both First Place and Honorable Mentions in Writer’s Digest annual competitions. Her debut novel The Moon Ran After Her is based on the experiences of women in her extended family who survived the Armenian Genocide. A member of the Napa Valley branch of California Writers Club, Horror Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, Jan posts regularly to her blog at JanMFlynn.net. She lives in Northern California with her husband Michael.

 

Why Amazon Continues to Delete Book Reviews

Amazon Deletes Reviews

 

After seeing friend and fellow author @AdamDreece run into the same problem that seems to forever plague Indie Authors—reviews being mysteriously deleted by Amazon, or worse yet, entire books being deleted—I thought it was time to visit this issue once again.

@AdamDreece, author of a number of thrillers including Yellow Hoods, found out that Amazon had deleted some of his books. The explanation Amazon gave, which wasn’t much of one at all, was that “systematically generated accounts accessed” his books. Essentially, bots accessed Dreece’s books (not Dreece’s bots), which then positively affected different metrics Amazon uses to rank KDP Authors. Since they noticed the automated bots, they deleted the books.

If you recall, I had a similar experience this summer where Amazon deleted most all of my reviews. As a self published author, those reviews can mean everything. As a full-time author and public speaker, removing Dreece’s books is a huge threat to his livelihood. As much as Amazon has done for the Indie Author community ensuring that publishing is more accessible to the masses, they also wield incredible power being the largest player in the game.

Setting the what aside for a moment, I want to take a closer look at the why.

Amazon deletes reviews and always has. They have an obligation to their customers to provide useful and honest product feedback. Individuals are always trying to outsmart Amazon by getting a manufactured boost in positive reviews. (It happens on most consumer sales platforms. Ever seen someone on Ebay selling hundreds of random items for $0.01? That’s so they can get their user score up very quickly.)

Despite the fact that Amazon has always deleted reviews, it seems to be happening more regularly over the last year. Amazon continues to insist that it allows book reviews in many forms. They’ve publicly stated, “We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.”

Privately they have insisted that they are not deleting honest reviews as well. They informed a CretivIndie friend: “Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.”

So if you are providing your book to reviewers or blogs for their honest review, it should still be allowed by Amazon’s own admissions. However, you should probably make sure the reader knows that a review is not required in return for the free book. Maybe even ask them not to use phrases such as “in exchange” in their review, which is a phrase you will commonly see from book reviewers. (As in, “I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.”)

This still leaves a lot of gray area and leaves us authors in an extremely vulnerable position. Amazon has stated that reviews from family and friends are not allowed, but in today’s social media age, what constitutes a friend to them? How is an Indie Author going to get a book review without at least first befriending a connection on Twitter or Facebook? This is an issue that Amazon has not adequately addressed in my opinion.

I don’t see this issue changing to the extent that we’d like, at least not while Amazon continues to be by far the largest player in the ebook market. We will likely continue to see authors miserably threatened with deleted reviews and books. So make sure you continue to take precautions.

 

Precautions to Avoid Deleted Amazon Reviews

 

  • Don’t require a review in return for a free book.
  • Ask reviewers not to use potentially trigger phrasing like “in exchange” or “in return”.
  • Copy and paste all the current reviews you have today. Periodically update your document so you have all reviews saved somewhere in case you run into an issue.
  • When you share your book with people, use the direct link (the one that ends immediately after the ASIN number), otherwise there is likely tracking info included in the link and Amazon will be able to track that the link was provided from you.
  • If you find yourself losing reviews, ask Amazon to reinstate your book and ask your Indie Author community to help you out as well.

 

The last item is what Adam Dreece is currently doing. He actually created enough buzz about this issue that he had a VP from Kobo reached out to him and purchased two of his books to show support. You can view Dreece’s latest video on what has happened below. Help him out!

And protect yourselves, friends! Take precautions where you can. Help others in need when they’re in this situation.

What suggestions do you have for other authors? What have you found to work? What has failed?

 

 

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

 

 

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