Tag Archives: Social media

Ten Steps to Building a Killer Author’s Platform

Score!

Today I wrangled author Jennifer Bardsley to chat to you about social media. Jennifer, besides having a kick-butt first name, has an awesome media platform. Let’s see how she does it!

Take it away, Jennifer!

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The main character of my book Genesis Girl is a teenager named Blanca who has never been on the Internet.

Her lack of a digital footprint makes her so valuable that she gets auctioned off to the highest bidder.


My name isn’t Blanca. It’s Jennifer Bardsley, aka “The YA Gal” and I’m on the web all the time chatting about books on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social media can be confusing. But book marketing from the couch beats braving TSA lines at the airport to fly to a convention or conference and hope for sales. Social media can be an author’s best friend—and biggest time suck.

Here are my top ten tips for using social media in an effective way to build up the best online presence possible:

  1. Pick two platforms you love, and go from there. If Twitter isn’t your thing, it will show in your tweeting. If you’re a wretched photographer, your Instagram feed will be crap. Don’t invest effort in a social media outlet you don’t enjoy.
  2. Analyze demographics. In general, a younger crowd hangs out on Instagram and Snapchat, whereas older readers might be on Facebook. If you’re a cozy mystery author, you might want to veto Instagram and pursue Facebook instead. YA authors might want to target YouTube. Find the social media platform that best matches your intended audience.
  3. Call people by name. Effective users of social media understand the importance of building relationships. Don’t just respond with “Thanks for the comment,” take that extra five seconds to add “Thanks for the comment, Stephanie.”
  4. Crack the algorithms. Just because you have 20,000 people following you doesn’t mean that all 20,000 people will see every post. Sometimes 500 people will see that cute kitten meme you shared, and sometimes 100,000 people will see it. It all depends on how much engagement your post receives. On Facebook this means likes, comments, and shares. On Instagram the goal is hearts and comments. Crack the algorithm and both platforms will allow more people to see your content.
  5. Only talk about your own book one tenth of the time. Nothing turns off potential followers faster than blatant self-promotion.
  6. Study hashtags. Twitter hashtags can sometimes have a very short half-life and you have to keep your eye on what is trending in order to participate in conversations and stay on top of the crest of popularity. On Instagram hashtags live forever. Some hashtags like #boosktagram are so gigantic that unless you are famous you will never score in the top posts for those hashtags. Smaller hashtags like #booksandperfume might give you more visibility. On Facebook, hashtags aren’t very common and if you include a bunch of hashtags you’ll look like a noob.
  7. Don’t ignore BookTube. Any author who is older than thirty did not grow up with YouTube and might view the BookTube audience as an afterthought. But if you ask a thirteen–year-old who his favorite YouTube personality is, that teenager can probably rattle off ten people. Learn who the top BookTubers are at the moment and also make friends with the smaller ones who might be interested in giving your book attention.
  8. Understand your brand as an author. Your social media platform is not a place to share pictures of your kids, vacations, or laundry pile you need to fold. Dog pictures are okay, especially if you have a pug or poodle. Cats make great #Caturday photos. But beyond that your accounts should represent reading, writing, and things that are of interest to your readers.
  9. Ignore what I just said about not posting pictures of your kids, if family is part of your brand. Some authors create very successful brands based on snippets they share of their family life. But it has to be done in a clever way.
  10. Have fun! If social media is a chore for you, than your lack of enthusiasm will show. Keep searching until you find the social media outlet that makes you excited about logging on.

 


About Genesis Girl

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


 

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, “Genesis Girl” is available from Month9Books, with the sequel releasing in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 14,000 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Thanks for hanging out today, Jennifer!

Oh, WAIT! There’s a Giveaway until July 2, 2016 click here for a chance to win one of five copies of Genesis Girl! 

 

 

 

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Finding editing help in unexpected places. AKA: Social Media Rocks!

Last week I faced a little bit of a pickle.

I had a very short (147 word) scene that included a little bit of Spanish, and a line of French.

PKO_0005301I had an A+ in Spanish in high school, but I haven’t practiced in years. I was reasonably certain that I “had it right”, but after seeing quite a few reviews lately where people blasted authors for using non-English languages incorrectly, I was stressing over it.

I don’t have the money to run it by a translator, and everyone I know is in the same boat as me (Rusty high school Spanish)

Sooooo… I thought I’d give something a try.

I took to social media, and asked my fans for help.

I found that having a mostly international fan-base helped in ways I never expected.  Not only do I have a treasure trove of languages following me, they are all fans of my work, and are tickled pink to be the first people to see an excerpt.

I didn’t just get translating advice… I got advice from native speakers, Spanish as a second language, and people from several different Spanish-speaking countries, as well as one of these kids’ parents that provided insight into the way I learned Spanish that didn’t even occur to me.

Yes, I found, I was speaking correctly, but I was speaking TOO CORRECTLY. Book learning, and the real world, are apparently very different.

So, that’s my thought for this week.  When you get your work out there, make friends with your readers. It’s ten tons of fun. And when you need a little help, you might just be surprised at their enthusiasm.

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The Proper (and easy!) way to Market your Novel #4 – The dreaded Public Appearance

Alright, we’ve talked about not marketing your novel… instead, marketing yourself.  How do you do that?  By being nice.

(Check out the last few Friday posts if you’re just jumping in.)

Okay, so it’s all well and good doing this over the internet… but what about those public appearances?

We can all be nice, that’s not too hard.  Getting out there in front of people… that is hard.  But when you do, just remember that you don’t need to shove your novel in people’s faces.

Just smile pretty.  Answer questions.  Be yourself.

If you are a scared, timid writer, invent a new character who is outgoing and friendly… and be that person for a little while. (It’s called acting).

In the end, the connections you make will sell your work.  The connections you make will lead to “word of mouth”.  And you never know when you will be nice to someone, and they will help you out.

Remember Ed Griffis?  After my post on his novel, dozens of my followers re-tweeted it.  It’s the Twitter snowball effect.   His Kindle rating jumped.  Pretty cool, huh?  I’m not saying that is all because of my post.  Maybe it was just a coincidence. (There is a lot that goes into your Amazon rating.  It not only has to do with your sales, but everyone else’s too.)  But if you guys did all run out and buy his book, that’s great… and you found out about it because the author was “nice” to me for a little while.

Easy self-promotion, right?
Market yourself.  Not your novel.

Smile pretty at everyone.

You never know who you might meet.

By the way… thanks for stopping by.

It’s great to meet you!  🙂

Road to Publication #16: Tchotchkes… Huh? Is that a typo? What the heck is my publisher sending me?

Okay, let’s just get this part out of the way… since it’s an obvious question:

tchotch·ke/ˈCHäCHkə/Noun: 1.A small object that is decorative rather than strictly functional; a trinket.

(Typically pronounced “CHACH-kee”)

Honestly, I had no idea what this was either.  I even had to look up the pronunciation.  I did see a mention of this odd word in my marketing plan, but I didn’t want to sound stupid and ask back then.

When the email arrived from my publisher, I stared at it.  Should I open it?  Is it Spam?  Was their email hijacked by some foreign based worm?  Honestly, I was worried.

But you know what?  Today is my Birthday, and it ended up being a big fat fun present!  Just For me!

Well, not really.  All the Make Believe authors got it, but it’s still like a present, dernit!

Inside was the artwork for a whole bunch of neat marketing pieces.

1.       Email signature tag

2.       Bookmarks

3.       Posters

4.       Trading cards/postcards

5.       Desktop art (for your computer)

Oh!  Oodles of good stuff.  This is the front of the bookmark.  Pretty cool, huh?

This is all so neat!  I can’t wait to figure out how to slap that signature-thingy into my email.  Good fun!

Oh, you know what?  Yesterday was my three-hundredth Post.  How wacky is that?  Who knew I’d ever have this much to say?

What makes you comment in reply to an article on a Blog?

I’ve been wondering about this a lot.  What makes you stop and comment on a blog article your read?  There are some people who comment all the time.

My top commenters are pretty much the same people.  Three of them switch back and forth duking it out for the “Top Commenter” honors on a daily basis.

Then a new name pops up, and they hang out for a while.  Some disappear.  Are they still reading?  I don’t know.

I don’t know why there is a Shakespeare guy next to this post, either.

I think maybe some people comment for the social-networking aspect, and some people are just looking for information.

Stop, read, and go.  I guess that’s okay too.

Does anyone else mull over this?  I guess I’m weird, but when I visit another blog, I usually like the person to know that I’ve been there.

It’s kind of like poking them with a sword, or leaving a message on someone’s desk.

“Hi!  I stopped by, and wanted to let you know I was here.  Catch ya later”.

According to my stats, I average 150 people visiting this blog every day.  (Crazy, isn’t it?)  I run an average of six to twelve comments per post, give or take a few here and there.  (Yes, a few have gone as high as 50 comments, but that’s not the norm)

That means 90% of people read, but don’t comment.  I’ve seen some people create Gravitar accounts just to comment.  That’s cool.  You don’t need to be a blogger to join in the fun.

So… If you are a commenter, what makes you comment?

If you don’t comment, are you just shy? 

Now, I am completely aware that the people who don’t comment probably still won’t.  But if a few of you do, it would be great!  If you are shy, and think “I don’t have anything to say” just type “Hi, I was here.”

Consider it your first step into the madness of Social Networking.

Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog

I don’t normally “reblog” stuff.  I like to write my own material… and usually my opinions differ from the orignal writer’s, so I need to write my own stuff anyway.

However, in this case, I think this post is powerful enough, and well-written enough that it can stand on its own.  If you blog, and you have ever posted a picture on your blog that you did not take with your own camera, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to read this post.  Are you sitting on a ticking time bomb?

Many people think “It will not happen to me.”  Guess what?  It happened to author Roni Loren.  Please click the link below to hop over to read her story.

Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story

By the way… in case you were wondering… all the art on my blog has been legally purchased.  I prefer to spend a little money for peace of mind.

I think we need to slow things down… just a little

I just got through a ten-week experiment.  I decided to try out blogging every day.

I did this for two reasons.  #1 to see if I could do it, and #2 to increase readership.

What I found was an initial spike in average views per day, then a lull that made me wonder if daily blogging had become annoying to people.  But then Boom! A spike again, along with added followers.

I’m not really sure what the magic formula is.

In general, I’m not crazy about people who blog every day.  Why?  Because most people run out of interesting things to say.

I did learn that I DIDN’T seem to run out of things to say.  I guess that’s a good thing.  My problem is time.

I suppose if I just dropped words on the page without the graphics I would be able to keep up.  But how boring is that?  I like the graphics and interactive-look of the blog.  But BOY!  Does that take time!  I’ve also found that I am getting lazier and lazier on the graphics.  Sometimes, I am just too dern tired and want to just get it done.

So, I’m stopping my little experiment.  Before this, I used to blog on Mondays and Fridays, but it seems looking at the numbers that most of you read on Monday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Monday is usually my big topic night…. First Gold Mine Manuscript, then Writing to a Deadline, and now Road to Publication… and I have a few great topics all lined up.

I might keep Monday for “Series Topics” if everyone’s into it.

So, tell me… what days are good for you?  Which days would you like to see post from me?

What’s a good night for “tuning in” to a weekly blog series?

If I can wrangle in the Monomaniacal Middle Grade Reviewer regularly, (Which looks pretty plausible right now) how often and on which days would you like to see a review from a kid’s perspective?

At any rate, if you stop by one day and see yesterday’s post, don’t fret.  I’ll be back the next day.  Once in a while though, I need some R & R.

How many times during a week do you think is “just right” for a blogger to post?