Social Media Power User Tips

Today I attended a CIPA (Colorado Independent Publishers Association) meeting geared to social media tools for authors. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to revolve around all the tables to pick up new tips and tricks so I chose the Twitter and Goodreads tables.

Well as I sat down to write this power user tips blog post it occurred to me that there tips that work across all social media networks. There are basic things that every author should do on each of their social media networks .Social Media Buttons

1. Branding: Before you even sign up for your Twitter account, Facebook page or even create a single Pinterest board, you need to think about your branding. As an author you are likely to write more than one book so you need to decide if your branding should be book by book or if branding yourself as an author in a specific genre makes more sense. But what if you write in multiple genres? Good question. Here I would have to say “pick one”. Pick the one that you write the most in. Branding yourself as an “author” it’s easier to include the different genres in your bio or about sections.

2. Biography/About: Most social media sites give you a limited amount of space for your bio/about section. As an author consider this your challenge – be concise, consistent and conversational. Here is NOT the place to try and sell your books but on the contrary, tells us about you, the person. If and when something exciting happens in your life, say you become a best-selling author on Amazon Kindle in the Paranormal Romance category, update your bios and about pages to reflect that.

3. Profile: Silly as it sounds complete your profile. This means not just adding your name and bio content but review each social media network for the nuances. Add your website, connect to your Facebook page and/or your blog. See if there are any widgets available (and I’m sure there are!) for your website that help your readers connect with you in that social media network. Things like adding a Twitter feed to your website or even a Goodreads book shelf to your blog. They are easy to set up. If you don’t know how, contact me. I’ll be happy to help.

4. Blog: You have a blog right? It’s on your website right? The days of static websites and unchanging web pages are long gone. Social media helped with that. Your website needs to be indexed by Google and Google is looking for fresh, changing content. So you have a blog on your website (meaning it’s a WordPress or Blogger site that’s connected to your website) and you post regularly. Regularly means AT LEAST once a week.

5. Consistency: It really doesn’t matter which social media networks you use or even how many you use. What matters is your consistency of use. If you have Facebook you’re likely on there at least daily so put up a post. If you have a blog, write a post weekly and connect your blog with Goodreads, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get the most mileage you can from each post. Twitter is unique in that you should tweet a couple or more times a day. It’s kind of expected. The upside is you can retweet content if you get stumped for something to share. Just be there. Provide relevant content related to your branding but also remember, “It’s a conversation, not a commercial.” (a nod to my peer Rebecca Thompson for that nifty quote)

6. Photos and Links: As human beings we are very visual. Make the most of that by adding a photo to your tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts. If you can’t add something cool visually then add a link to additional relevant information. Remember to use a URL shortening app like Bitly or TinyURL to save characters in your post.

If you do these 6 things across any or all of your social media networks you’ll position yourself ahead of the game.

(This is a cross post from


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March 22, 2014 · 3:05 pm

Better Tweets – 3 Easy Steps

Step 1 – The Hook

As an author you know you need to utilize your social media networks to promote your books. Twitter is one of those at the top of all social media networks. But maybe you’re not sure how to leverage 140 characters to market your book. How do you create a tweet that gets attention?

The most important part of your tweet is the hook, the text that gets the reader’s attention. Always use an active voice for your hook.


Passive: Do you want to learn to write better Tweets?

Active: Write better Tweets in 3 easy steps.

Tweets that readers can respond to either physically (by clicking on a link) or emotionally (I need that!) get more attention.

A book tweet should have a physical link that your reader can click. This link should take the reader to you sales page, book review, your website or Amazon page. Beware! Links typically take up 22 characters of your allotted 140. You’ll need to shorten the link via or

Step 2 – Twitter Handles and Hashtags

Twitter handles are proceeded by the “@” sign and followed by a Twitter users name i.e., “@AuthorAssistant”. If you are quoting another
Twitter user it’s good etiquette to mention their Twitter handle in your tweet.

Hashtags are important because they serve as keywords or phrases for your Tweet. Hashtags are preceded by the “#” symbol. Also note that there are no spaces between words in hashtags. Spaces take up part of your allotted character count. Hashtags serve as searchable tags or keywords for specific tweets of subjects. For example you could search for the hashtag #bookmarketing or #books.

Select your hashtags carefully and make them relevant to your tweet content. To promote your book think along the lines of the keywords you use in your website SEO (search engine optimization).

Don’t over use hashtags. As a rule limit your hashtags to only 2 or 3 per tweet. Remember they take up precious characters in your tweet.

Step 3 – Add Pictures

Tweets with pictures get more exposure. It’s that simple. We are visual beings and “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It goes without
saying that your picture needs to be relevant to your tweet.

To summarize, the parts of the good tweet are the hook, the hashtag, Twitter handle (if you’re quoting someone or retweeting) and pictures. Happy tweeting!

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March 1, 2014 · 9:51 am

4 Solid Tips To Help You Write a Book That Sells

Here’s the popular author scenario –

You have an idea for a book. You tell your spouse, they love it and he/she urges you to write it. Feeling confident you tell your mom and dad about your idea – they love it and urge you to write it. Now you’re empowered so you talk with your girlfriends/coworkers, they think you’d be the perfect one to write this book and tell you “go for it! We’re so proud of you!”

First of all this NOT research. While you might have a great idea for a book before you start tapping those computer keys you need to do your research, real research via Google and any other search tool you have at your fingertips.

First things first –

Has someone else written a book on your topic? If so, how long ago was it written? If it’s been a few years there’s a chance they didn’t include some new information and you could write a book on the same topic with a different spin on it and include the latest information.

Logical steps –

There are hundreds of steps to not only writing a book that will sell but also hundreds of ways for today’s authors to build a solid platform from which to sell their books.
Whether you’re writing a novel, a self-help book or your very first informational ebook, these steps are necessary to write your book so that it has the very best chance to sell among the thousands that are uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IBooks, Kindle, Nook, etc.

The Steps –

1. Test the market first.
Take time to survey your audience. If you are lucky enough to already have an email subscriber list, contact your subscribers. Ask them for their feedback on your idea (topic), what do they want to know and most important, would they pay for the book?

If you don’t have an email subscriber list then consider creating a squeeze page on your website (don’t forget to have a subscription option to get that email address!), write a blog post asking for comments, utilize your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.).

2. Tough questions for you.
Why are your writing this book? What is the core purpose? Do you have a compelling message to share? Perhaps you have some important research to add to your topic. Do you to make money? Have an extra income? Do you want attention or notoriety for writing a book? Get very serious about your purpose and your message.

3. Leave out the kitchen sink.
Don’t overwhelm your reader. Look closely at your topic and zero-in on a specific area to work from. If you know what your audience is hungry for this shouldn’t be a problem for you.

4. Be professional.
Create a professional book. This one tip alone will make or break your book sales. Have your book professionally edited. Get a great cover designer. Even if you’re creating an ebook, you still need a compelling book cover. Have your book professionally formatted, not just a Word file you created with headers and foots. Hire someone to make it look awesome. Ebooks are a lot more complex than you might think. It takes someone who works with ebook formats to get your ebook to look great across all the current readers.

Following these simple tips you can create a book or ebook with great potential to become a best seller. These tips are just the beginning. You need to plan your platform, create a marketing strategy and follow through with the promotion side to sell your book. More to come on these topics in future posts.

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February 5, 2014 · 1:43 pm

Getting a Domain Name – Two Choices

It has been my belief for a very long time that authors need to develop a marketing plan as soon as they have an outline for their book. Why? Because building an author platform takes time. Authors should have their platform in place BEFORE they do a cover reveal and/or launch their book.

One thing every author needs is a website. This is the center of your web of influence on the internet. The author’s website holds static information (things not likely to change) such as a bio, photograph, book cover graphic, synopsis of the book, one-sheet, and press releases along with various links to all the other social media networks and marketing connections.

So you need a domain name first. Do you opt for your author or pen name or do you get your book title? I would suggest both but please start with your author or pen name. You would be surprised how many authors write their book and don’t even check to see if “their name” is available. If an author has a common name like “John Smith” this could cause lots of confusion. Even if you have a fairly uncommon name like “Cheryl Callighan” you would be surprised to know there is another “Cheryl Callighan” out there. However her middle initial is “L” and mine is “K”. A simple but important detail.

And a book title URL? That can be tricky. If you’re going to buy your book title in URL form check before you finalize your book and print it. You might need to tweak the name a little if your title isn’t available for a URL.

Here are some Domain Name tips:

1. Never let anyone else purchase your domain for you. Buy it yourself so you own it and can directly manage it. You can give a web designer or assistant permission and access to your domain but please buy it yourself. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

2. If you’re purchasing your book title domain please make it compact, memorable and easy to type.

*Avoid hyphenated domain names. They are hard to remember and hard to type.

3. Purchase a .com extension.

4. If at all possible, use keywords in your domain name. Keywords that relate to your book’s title.

5. Make sure your domain name is also available as a user name on other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google and Yahoo email ID.

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January 27, 2014 · 10:59 am

Writing Resolutions for 2014

It’s been said that it takes 31 days of consistent actions to create a new habit. What if you made a New Year’s resolution to write every day for 31 days? What could you accomplish?2014 color

I believe you could develop a great writing habit first of all. If you write everyday it helps you get your mental writing muscle in shape by making it easier to start from where you left off the day before. And just think, if you wrote for 15, 20 or 30 minutes a day how many words could you produce? That would be a great start on that book you want to write or the one you’re trying to finish.

Start right now and get out your calendar and schedule “your” writing time every day for 31 days. Be reasonable about the time of day and just how much time you can devote. You want this to be a good experience not another to-do on your list. A minimum of 15 minutes, 30 would be awesome but you can shoot for somewhere in between.

A few tips:

  • Try to schedule for the same time of day each day, it’s just easier to get into a habit if it’s consistent
  • Turn off or remove yourself from distractions like your phone, emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, TV, etc. Focus on writing and only writing.
  • If you use your computer think about saving your work to the “cloud” so you can access it in the future, just in case you find a spare minute or two to write or read over what you’ve written. Inspiration comes at the oddest times.

Start now, baby steps, and at the end of the 31 days add up the number of words/pages you’ve written. This will give you inspiration to write on! (Pun intended)

I thought I would share some insightful and motivational blog posts about Writer’s Resolutions for 2014. My hope is that these posts will help you as write forward in 2014!

New Year Resolutions for Self-published Writers

1. Write more, promote less

2. Self-publish in 2014

3. Find a balance between work (day job) and my writing

4. Write!!!

5. Publish three books this year

6. Promote new book better than the other ones

7. Develop my craft

8. Publish my book as ebook

9. Complete my novel

10. Get serious

13 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Top 10 Resolutions for Writers

The Four Most Common Stumbling Blocks for Writers: How to Overcome Them and Keep that New Year’s Resolution to Write Your Novel

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January 5, 2014 · 10:41 am

Is SEO Dead?

In a word – no.

However, it has changed and continues to change. Let’s take a quick look at keywords. The old fashioned “keyword”, while still a viable search engine optimization tool, has now morphed into hashtags on the various social media networks. Twitter started the hashtag and Facebook has recently added the hashtag to make searching posts easier.

*Hashtags for Facebook are noted with a # symbol and a word or phrase, no spaces.

How do you search on Google or Bing or whatever search tools you favor? Do you use a single word like “leadership” or do you use a phrase like “leadership books” or “leadership conferences”? Most likely if you’re looking for a leadership conference in your city or state you would use a phrase like “leadership conferences in Denver, Colorado”. You might even further define your search to include dates such as “In February 2014”.

Something to think about – long-tail keywords or phrases.

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November 21, 2013 · 12:45 pm

The Business of Book Writing

I sat in on a webinar yesterday where book experts from various fields spoke about authors and book marketing. These experts were a book coach, website designer, book seller (for lack of a better term) and book marketer. The overriding message from each of these experts was the fact that most authors don’t know what it takes to get a book published nor do authors know that their book becomes a business and they need to treat it as such.

What Business?

The author invests his/her blood, sweat, tears, soul and time to produce a good book. It takes money to make a book great. Money for professionals. Professional editor, professional graphic designer for the book cover and professional interior designer for the heart of the book, both print and ebook. All of these professionals cost money and thus they are an investment in the overall success of the book.
But it doesn’t stop with just the printing or the ebook and getting both on There’s the promotion, the social media, the website, the press releases, the book reviews, the blog tours, the article marketing, the book signings, the readings, the speaking engagements . . . and so on.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

– Judith Briles of AuthorU and The Book Shepard

Authors need to understand that their book becomes a business and they need to treat it like one. They need a plan. They need to be an advocate for their book and themselves.

Their book needs a platform to sell from. Their book needs a marketing plan. They need to define their niche audience just as they would create a character profile for their novel. They need to have the money to invest in the marketing and even pay for some of the marketing or someone to help them implement the plan. They need to stay focused on their plan.

As with any business you won’t see results over night or even in 30 days most likely. But if you have the vision to create an 18-month marketing plan you will achieve your goals – creating buzz and selling books.

Writing a book is a creative act.
A finished book is a product.
Selling a book is a business.
From Successful Nonfiction by Dan Poynter


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October 2, 2013 · 9:32 am

How Committed Are You To Writing Your Book?

Seriously, how committed are you to writing your book?

You have the idea, you’ve done the research, you’ve scheduled time on your calendar to write – but do you write?

Common thoughts that keep us from actually writing –

1. What if readers don’t like my writing?

2. What if my book doesn’t sell?

3. What if my book gets bad reviews?

And list goes on.

Here is an acronym for F.E.A.R. that I love!





We make up so many reasons to procrastinate, to not write because we dream up scenarios of failure and disaster. Honestly, if we could just put this creative energy to good use in writing we’d have a few books written by now!

Okay, so today vow to re-up your commitment to writing. Set a few simple but attainable goals for the month and track your progress. Make writing a priority on your to-do list and write every single day. Even if you can only devote 5 minutes, just write.

Good Luck!

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October 1, 2013 · 1:22 pm

What Social Media Accounts Should An Author Have?

Social media is the best, quickest and cheapest (totally free most of the time) way to promote your book, your brand and build your readership. I totally agree. Unfortunately I see authors who have accounts for everySocial-Media-Icons conceivable social media venue there is, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, BookBuzzr, WordPress blog, YouTube, Google +, etc. But “should” you have an account set up with every new social media venue that pops up? Not necessarily.

I understand the need to promote your book and brand and to build a readership but as with the old marketing tactic of sending a physical letter to an unvalidated list, this is the new concept of “shotgun marketing”. Just hit as many social media sites as possible and hope for the best!

Then there is the question of time, do you have the “time” to keep up each site so that you maximize your investment? Most likely no. Here I would defer to “quality over quantity”. Give your precious time to a few sites by providing quality information and building meaningful relationships with your readers. Your readers will jump in and help you promote your book and brand by word of mouth marketing, still the best way to market anything.

Social Media Venues for Authors –

I strongly believe that you can as little as 3 or 4 social media accounts and reap great rewards. Facebook has so many options and opportunities for authors through Fan pages and event notifications that it’s truly worth the time it takes. Plus Facebook integrates with blogs and a host of other social media venues quite easily.

Social Media Musts –

  1. Facebook (author page and book Fan page)
  2. Blog (WordPress is easiest)
  3. Twitter
  4. Google + (this is growing quickly, easy to use and similar to Facebook)

Set up a system where you can maintain each site for only minutes each day. With a little planning and an account at you can save a lot of time and still connect with your readers.

If you need assistance, then hire an author’s assistant to help you keep your social media accounts current.

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September 10, 2013 · 12:44 pm

Author’s Assistant or Publisher?

What is the difference?

I am not a publisher. I will not ask you to pay me a one-time package price to get your book published.

I am an author’s assistant. I will help you navigate the self-publishing journey through my experience, advice and assistance.

Why is this a good thing?

It’s a great thing for self-published authors who want to maintain complete control over their books and their publishing process.

It has been my experience that the majority of self-published authors are employed either full or part-time and writing is their passion but they need the steady income to support their lifestyle and families. As an author’s assistant I can help them with tasks and projects they don’t have the time or skills to do themselves.

For example, helping build the author’s platform for a new author I can create:

  • A new Facebook Fan Page
  • Set up a Twitter account
  • A LinkedIn account
  • Design a WordPress website or blog
  • Connect all of the above for automatic updating and notifications

An author’s assistant can research for the perfect editor, gather permissions for quotes or other excerpts, work with the graphic designer to finalize the book cover, etc.

The author has complete control of the tasks the author’s assistant does and to what extent the author’s assistant is involved. The author can create a budget for these tasks and the author’s assistant can make sure the entire book publishing process is kept on track and completed on time.


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