March 15, 2017

Twitter or Facebook–A Good Place for Writers to Hangout?

This is no easy task. It takes time and dedication. In the end, however, it’s worth the trouble.
Confused Business Man

One of the choices writers must make is to decide which social medium gives them the best visibility. In the past a writer need only get their book published. The publisher took care of getting the word out to the right audiences. The publisher sent the book out for reviews. Nowadays, the writer must do most of the work.

But, which medium offers the best bang for the buck. In other words, do you spend your precious time on Twitter or on Facebook or elsewhere? And how much time is enough?

Here are some tips for hanging out on Twitter.

  • Visit Twitter often. Post at least ten tweets a day. If you visit less often, you lose momentum.
  • Look at other people’s tweets. If you like what someone else is tweeting, retweet or like the tweet. This helps you connect with the other person.
  • Do not fall into the trap of buying followers. You want to attract followers who are interested in what you have to say. Just having a big number isn’t enough. You want quality followers. Otherwise you waste a lot of time tweeting to people who really don’t care about your books.
  • Build your following by looking at the suggested followers Twitter provides. Take a look at the person, how many followers do they have and how many people are they following? Does that person have similar tastes to yours? If the person has similar tastes but is following more people than follow them back, they are not a great choice. If, on the other hand, they follow fewer people but many are following them, they might be a better choice. Use your discretion here. People who have many followers but rarely follow back may also be a bad choice.
  • Interact with your following. Check out websites of those people who interest you and DM them. I personally do not like auto responders when I follow someone. It feels false. Instead, DM people personally when you see someone following you that piques your interest.

Tips for Hanging Out on Facebook.

  • Like Twitter, you must post on your Facebook author page at least ten times in a day. Unlike Twitter, you must include a photo.

    If you simply post a link, you may only get 10-12 views. Photos receive 50-100 views or more.

  • It’s harder to increase your following on Facebook than it is on Twitter. For some reason it takes much longer. Again, I do not recommend buying likes. Facebook frowns on doing this as well. You want to focus and target your audience. The more targeted you are, the more likely you’ll increase the number.
  • Try purchasing a Facebook ad for greater visibility. I wouldn’t do this often, but it’s not too costly to boost your more important posts on occasion.
  • Develop short posts. Whenever your post goes over one sentence, you lose readers. You can add a link. But, make the words compelling enough for people to want to click on that link.
  • Interact with your following. I don’t get nearly as many notifications on Facebook as I do on Twitter. But, I still try to pay attention to them by replying to their actions.

More people interact with me on Twitter. My following grows more readily. That doesn’t mean I ignore Facebook, it just means, I use it less.

What about you? Where do you get the most tractions? Twitter or Facebook? What tips do you have to help build interactions?

Take a look at this book trailer. It’s gotten over 400 views on YouTube.

What Does It Take to Get The Word Out About Your Book?

bigstockphoto_Woman_With_Hand_To_Ear_Listeni_209983My books are not self-published. I say that right off the bat because there are many things I cannot control. Self-published authors have an advantage in many ways I do not. Here are some examples:

  1. They control the price of their books and thereby the specials that are run.
  2. They select the key words on Amazon and can change and update them as needed.
  3. They have good sales information. They can track what is working and what isn’t.

Given these limitations, those of us who are traditionally published still can do a lot of things to get the word about about hour books.

If you don’t have a website, get one. People want to see more about the author than your name. Make sure your website is professional but has some personal information. Include a blog. Many writers use blogspot which enables them to have a blog and a website all in one. You should blog regularly. Think about things you can share about being a writer or about reading in general. Share posts from other websites and invite other authors to guest post or to visit your site for an interview.

Select the social medium or media you want to focus on, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or something else. If you post on any of those, do so regularly, like every day. I post ten updates, tweets a day on four networks, including Google+ and LinkedIn. These posts should include all kinds of things, not just promotions about your book. People want to get to know you before they start investing in you. These days it takes a long time for that to happen.

You can’t promote your work in the articles, but your bio will include all your books. If you write investing, intriguing, professional articles, you’ll attract interested readers to your website and to your books.

Mine goes out once a month. I keep it simple but include lots of tips for writers and for readers. I want it to be interesting but not inundate my community with too many emails. I know what that’s like! This e-newsletter should go to everyone in your community, including the people who sign-up on your website (and there should be a sign-up and a giveaway there) and the people in your LinkedIn community.

Most publishers have a Facebook page, a website with shopping opportunities, and a Twitter account. Be sure to post on these sites. Your publisher has many writers. You only have one. This activity will increase the eyes on your content. That’s the goal after all, right?

Marketing My New Book–Do’s and Don’t Tips

As I begin the process of marketing the launch of my third book, I look at what I did right and wrong with the previous two launches.

To get your book out there before readers you must do it yourself. And this is a very daunting task. Worse than writing the book. Much worse. Many an author will tell you they enjoyed the process of creating their work of fiction. They will also tell you they dislike the selling and marketing. That goes against the nature of an artist.file4661306949432

Nonetheless we must bite the bullet and get our books before the audience. Here are some tips I learned from my first two efforts.

They do. But there are problems with getting reviews for your books. First, Amazon will not approve reviews if they think they’re from family or friends. I won’t go into how ridiculous that is but it’s an Amazon decision we authors must live with. Second, people will say they will review your books but they don’t. Begging and pleading won’t get more reviews. Third, if you use review services, you will send out many free books but only a handful of the people will review your book. Given all this, we must continue to ask for, beg and plead to get reviews any way we can.

It’s okay to have a Facebook author’s page, but all the groups where marketing is allowed are inundated with shout outs about new books. Most people delete them or never see them.

We did a Facebook Launch for my first book. We spent time, money and a lot of effort to launch the book with a lot of hoop-la on Facebook. Few people came and fewer still bought books. The good part of the experience was it was fun to do. But we decided against it for the second launch.

Much less chat. We tired it but again, it was a lot of time, effort and headaches for little result.

That’s a great way to keep the ball rolling. I’m not sure if it sells books, but at least it keeps your name out there. You should tweet 10 times minimum a day with only 2-3 tweets about your book. I schedule posts on four social sites throughout the work week. I can do them ahead of time. It’s a great way to stay in front of audiences and to create new audiences. Be sure to include LinkedIn because a number of people will see your updates there.

There are several types of blog tours. I’ve participated in a couple of tours with two different companies. The most basic blog tour is where bloggers promote your book or review your book or post an excerpt of your book. This is a good way to get different bloggers to see your work and broaden your audience. Be sure to check out the various book tour sites. It costs anywhere from $200 to $400 for a full-blown tour. I’ll share tips on blog tours in a later post.

This is another way to build your audience and also get reviews. You can get as many as 8 new reviews on a blog review tour. Again, there’s a fee to the company and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a good review.

This time I’m going to try a Cover Reveal tour with a tour company. My hope is to build interest in the second book in my mystery series. I wouldn’t recommend doing a Cover Reveal for a stand-alone book or the first book in a series. But, when you’ve got a second book, you can create interest and post links to the first book for readers to take immediate action.

Those are my current tips. As I learn more, I’ll post more.

BTW, I did invest in book trailers for both my books. Not sure I will on the third. I spent too much money on the first one, less on the second one. The reality is book trailers are nice but not worth the extra cost. Check out this one–the one that cost too much!

What to do When You’ve Run Out of Things to Say

Here I am facing another Wednesday and time to publish a new post. I’ve written about writing fiction and nonfiction. I’ve looked at the way authors develop their characters and come up with character names. I’ve examined the pros and cons for pantser styles and outliner styles. I’ve looked at grammar issues and non issues.Snooze

As for readers, I’ve explored reader styles and habits. We’ve looked at the pros and cons for reading paper books or e-books, the value of writing reviews and the way we find our reading material. I’ve posted reviews of the books I’ve read to give my readers a clue about what I like and dislike.

And here it is Wednesday again and I’ve got to think of some new angle that might engage my readers. Here are some tips for what to do when you run out of things to say.

Look at the different angles they take and see if that sparks something for you. Comment on their posts to get you started on developing ideas for your post.

Imagine what they want to read about today. What do the current tensions in the world suggest? Once you put yourself in their skin, start writing. You could even try to do so from the point of view of your reader.

If you posted on the value of writing outlines, post a new article of how to write without outlines. If you posted on the importance of showing and not telling, write a new article of the value of telling. Guess what, there is value in telling–just not too much of it. For example, at some point I can turn this post upside down and write one on what to do when you’ve got too much to say.

. The next time you go to your book club, ask members some questions. Develop a short questionnaire ahead of time with things like, 1) When do you find time to read 2) How much time a day do you read for pleasure 3) What’s your favorite format for pleasure reading 4) What types of books to you tend to enjoy the most 5) What hooks you in a book 6) What makes you stop reading a book. These are some examples, but from the responses, you could blog for decades!

Put questions out there on Twitter and Facebook. See what kind of answers you get. You may have to beg them to respond, but the responses will set you up for lots of new posts.

Maybe it’s time for a break. Take that break. Let your readers know you’re on a short holiday and when you’re rested, come on back.

What tips do you have when you’ve run out of things to say?

Check out my exciting #booktrailer for The Clock Strikes Midnight.


How to Engage Your Platform on Twitter?

bigstockphoto_Woman_With_Hand_To_Ear_Listeni_209983Okay, I keep hearing that for social media to work, we must engage our platform. I’m having some trouble doing this and am looking for some tips. The social media sites do not offer tips. They simply say do it. My guess is there are people out there who can guide the rest of us. Yes, I want to communicate with my platform.

And no, I don’t want to simply toot my own horn. So, how do I go about doing that?

Here are some of the ways I’ve tried:

These are posts related to writing with lots of ideas about how to successfully get your ideas on paper. I tweet these posts and acknowledge the blogger with a @ symbol. Often the blogger will favorite the tweet and retweet it. But the blogger never engages with me, never asks me questions, never wonders why I posted their particular blog.

At least that’s what the social media gurus tell us. I use the hashtag #amwriting #writingtips #amreading. My hope is that some of these hashtag followers will respond. The one that produced the best engagement was #YouKnowYouAreAWriterWhen. A few tweeters actually commented on some of these tweets. The others do not seem to generate any comments.

These are questions related to reading and writing. For example I asked the question, Do you have to like the characters to keep reading? I got no responses. Recently I asked the question, What kinds of tweets do you hate? I got no answers.

So, I’d love to hear what you are doing to engage your followers. Naturally I want more followers. But, I’m more interested in engaging the group I have.

Signed: A Frustrated Tweeter

Seven Tips to Writers to Effectively Self-Promote

retro backgroung of bird communication , infographicsOkay, this is a topic most writers do not want to hear anything about. The majority of people writing books shun self-promotion the way they shunned leafy green veggies as a kid. Yuck! But, guess what, we have to do it.

 So, there’s the rub.

How can we self-promote without turning off everyone we know, from our best friends to our family members? Here are some of my tips.

. Some of the Facebook groups do nothing but allow authors to promote. I’m not sure how much value you get from posting to these groups,  but if you want to promote, that’s the place. One such groups is called Book Review and Promotion. Check out others.

Twitter is the best place for some promotion but again, if that’s all you do, you’ll lose followers. So many people on Twitter just self-promote. Writers are not the only ones doing it. I often get auto responders that say: “Thanks for following me. Buy my new software system at this link.” This is very annoying and causes me to unfollow the person. Instead, thank people for following you and then give them a reason to continue to do so.

I put out sixteen tweets a day. Usually no more than three highlight my book. I want to be of value to my followers. I include content from other writers, their tips, book reviews, mine and others, author interviews, funny videos, writer quotes and much more.

If you send one out too often you’ll lose your audience. What should you include in your newsletter? A theme article with some good content. This article could reflect what you’ve learned as a writer or perhaps a synopsis of your recent attendance at a writer’s conference. You can also include a picture of your latest release along with the links to purchase. That information is in a sidebar.

Those articles should include lots of information about what is on your mind as a writer. Share your thoughts, experiences and tips for writing and publishing. Do not talk endlessly about your books.

In other words, plan to tweet at certain days and at certain times. Plan to work Facebook and the various groups at certain times. Schedule your blog posts and your LinkedIn articles. Work Goodreads into your schedule.

Don’t just tweet or post status updates. Share the love by interacting with fellow writers and readers. Tweet the books you’ve enjoyed, not just your own writing. When you interact and become more engaged in the medium, you’ll see the results. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. And eventually is always better than never!

We cannot stay closeted in our office in front of our computers and hope your books will sell.

What are some tips you might share?


Chatting on Twitter about Books and More #Scribechat

retro backgroung of bird communication , infographicsLast week I hosted my first Twitter Chat. It was a new experience for me. Several people joined the chat and shared their views and questions. In a fast and furious hour, we talked about The Clock Strikes Midnight–the theme, title, characters and the road to publication. We also talked about writing habits. I learned several things about conducing a Twitter Chat that I thought I would share.

 We used the hashtag #scribechat. Some of my Twitter mates had trouble finding where to join the chat; others got in without difficulty. When promoting your chat, you need to promote the hashtag so people can find you.

That way you have the 140 character responses at the ready that you can copy and paste into your tweet. Remember to add the hashtag at the end of each tweet! Doing it in advance when there’s less time pressure really helps.

e.g. #scribechat. Otherwise the people attending the chat can’t see your answers. Keep reminding people during the chat to add the hashtag. It’s so easy to forget.

When you do, the tweet goes to that person’s notifications and not to the chat stream. I found it hard not to “reply” either using the reply option or the @ option. But, it’s best to post your reply as a new tweet with the hashtag.

For reasons unbeknownst to us, we had a lag between our questions and answers. Time moved at a snails pace while I waited for the next question. And, on the other end, my moderator felt the same with my responses. We have not discovered what caused this lag. We were texting one another in between. I’d suggest texting the question to your host, particularly if you get off script.

 All the questions do not have to go to the host. The goal is to create a real “chat.”

  I’m not sure that’s necessary, but it’s a nice precaution.

Otherwise you’ll get a lot of tweets that are not relevant to your chat. For example, I joined the #amwriting Twitter Chat. It was a mad house and hard to tell who the chatters were and who the people were who just added that hashtag to their posts. You’ll want a unique hashtag that belongs to you.

Probably. The next time, we will talk more about writing in general. Maybe some of the headaches we writers face. My hope is to conduct enough of these to create a nice engaged group of followers.

Anyone else have experience with Twitter Chats? What suggestions might you add?

What in the World Do Writers Tweet?

cvr_12_1402133053-2I’ve been exploring Twitter for writers. Recently I’ve participated in several nice discussions among writers to figure out what they tweet and if they tweet. The variation is amazing, but there are some interesting


First of all,

. That does not mean you cannot toot your own horn, just don’t do it every five seconds. Twitter enables you to tweet frequently (as frequently as you wish). I use BufferApp to help me line up my tweets. For Twitter, I release 8 tweets a day versus Facebook’s 3 and LinkedIn’s 2 posts daily.

Second, you need to say who you are on your profile. Tell visitors what you write. For me, I have the following moniker to introduce me:

 Here’s another good example by Ann Stampler: Writer of YA’s Afterparty & Where It Began (Simon Pulse) & PB’s, rep’d by Brenda Bowen, & blogger of Really Bad Writing Advice a t


. I find blogs that I love, and I tweet them regularly. One is The Kill Zone. I also tweet my own blog, but I intersperse it with many other blogs that I believe my followers would enjoy. The kinds of content I’m looking for are tips about writing from other writers, grammar conundrums, ideas about character development, tips for fiction writers or for mystery writers, plot development, reviews on books, marketing tips for writers, publishing tips, to name a few. I search the web and constantly add this content to my tweeter feed.


Many of your followers are tweeting good content, too. Retweet what they’ve found to your own followers. That way you kill two birds with one stone, i.e., you make the initial tweeter happy, and you don’t have to search all over the place for good content, you need only read your own tweets!

Fifth, be sure to hashtag your tweets. Even if the person you are retweeting didn’t use hashtags, you should add them. That way people who are looking for particular content can find your tweets. I tend to use the following hashtags a lot #writingtips #writing #grammartips #reviews. You can make up your own. If you are tweeting a book review, be sure to hashtag the author’s name and the book title.

Sixth, I’ve been experimenting with tweeting flash fiction. Once a week I write a short flash fiction story of about 3 paragraphs. Then I tweet one or two sentences of the story every day till the end. The hashtags enable my followers to read the entire story at once (or they can do so on my Twitter feed). I have no idea how this will work, but it’s something new, and it keeps my creative juices flowing.

So, these are a few of the things writers can tweet. What about you? What are you tweeting? How have you managed to build a strong following?