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Avoid Social Media Time Suck

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Avoid Social Media Time Suck

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A BLUEPRINT FOR WRITERS TO CREATE ONLINE BUZZ FOR THEIR BOOKS AND STILL HAVE TIME TO WRITE

Frances Caballo

Avoid Social Media Time Suck by Frances Caballo

Copyright © 2014 by Frances Caballo

Print Version ISBN-13: 978-0-9855592-2-9

Shakespir Edition

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photo- copying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to ACT Communications, P.O. Box 14354, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.

Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the author has used her best efforts in preparing this book, she makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fit- ness for a particular purpose. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate. The author shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

ACT Communications

P.O. Box 14354

Santa Rosa, CA 95402

www.SocialMediaJustforWriters.com

[email protected]

 

Pick up my FREE ebook on Twitter and get monthly updates on what’s new in social media and book marketing strategies. Just click here:

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Contents

 

A BLUEPRINT FOR WRITERS TO CREATE ONLINE BUZZ FOR THEIR BOOKS AND STILL HAVE TIME TO WRITE

 

Acknowledgements

Introduction

[1]

Why Social Media Is Integral to a Writer’s Marketing Platform

Astonishing Social Media Statistics

What Is an Author Platform and How Do I Get One?

The New Normal

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

[2]

The Four Step Cure to Social Media “Time Suck”

The Secret Formula to Efficient Social Media Marketing

Curating Information to Help You Stand Out from the Crowd

You Can Conquer Time Suck with These Schedules

Social Media vs. Broadcast Media

Measure Your Return on Investment (ROI)

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[3]

Strap on Your Boots and Discover Great Content

Become Known within Your Niche

Being Social Means Following the 80/20 Rule

Websites to Help You Find Great Content

Dual-Purpose Tools That Help You Find, Use, and Share Great Content

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[4]

Schedule Your Messages and Walk Away from the Computer

A Word about Automation

But What If You Don’t Know What to Post?

Facebook Status Updates

Social Media Dashboards to Fit Every Desire (and Budget)

Chrome Extensions for Pinterest Make Pinning Effortless

Tips for Increasing Engagement

The Power of Images

Posting Tips

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[5]

Friends Don’t Let Friends Broadcast Their Message

Self-Reflect Before You Self-Reveal

Now for the Fun: Let’s Get Social

Seven Dos and Don’ts

Apps to Help You Be More Social

Applications to Help You Find Newsy Nuggets

WordPress Plugins to Help You Build Community

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[6]

Tools to Track Your Analytics and Measure Your Success

Develop a Marketing Plan

Just Being on Social Media Isn’t a Goal

How to Find Your Online Groove

Apps to Measure Traffic and Conversion

Analytical Tools Just for Your Facebook Pages

Subscription-Based Tools

Analytics Just for Pinterest

How Influential Are You? Use These Apps to Find Out

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[7]

Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing

Help! I Can’t Get Back onto Facebook

Create an Atmosphere to Be More Efficient

Collaborating with Another Writer? Try These Apps

Writing on the Go? Keep Your Research Ubiquitous

When All You Can Do Is Stare at the Blank Page: How to Beat the Block

When You Need the Perfect Word

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[8]

Don’t Forget to Blog

Your Blog Can Raise Your Platform to New Heights

It’s All about the Content

How to Get Started

Create an Editorial Calendar

Create a Publishing Schedule

Suggested Steps

Conclusion

 

[9]

I’m an Introvert, Not a salesperson

7 Exercises for Introverted Writers

Glossary

About the Author

Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.

—Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author

[]
For Jason Miller, who provides the perfect balance of freedom and support.

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Managing your time without setting priorities is like shooting randomly and calling whatever you hit the target.

—Peter Turla, author (with Kathleen L. Hawkins) of Time Management Made Easy

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Acknowledgements

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This book would not have been possible without the assistance of a my meticulous editors Arlene Miller and Susanne Lakin; my talented cover designer, Kit Foster; and the team at Book Design Templates. I extend special thanks as well to Joel Friedlander for his advice and support.

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He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.

—Victor Hugo, French poet, novelist, dramatist

Introduction

THE QUESTION everyone asks me is, “Can I really manage my social media in just thirty minutes a day?” Yes, you can if you select the right applications and are disciplined about how you spend your time.

There are four basic steps to any social media marketing effort.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. The first step is curation. Each day you need to search for great content that is relevant to your readers. There are numerous applications that will do this work for you, and there are techniques you can adopt that will enable you to economize your time on this task. In addition, Alltop.com is a valuable resource that lists the top blogs in nearly every imaginable niche.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Scheduling your content is your next step. You will need to re- view the applications listed in this book and find the one that fits your budget and preferences. You can use a tool such as SocialOomph, which will let you schedule blocks of repeating tweets, or you can use the free versions of Hootsuite, Buffer,

Pluggio, or TweetDeck to manage your social accounts. Using one of these applications will free you from your computer and disseminate your curated content at the intervals you select.

To be successful on social media, you will need to allocate time in the day to be social. You can fit this into your schedule in a variety of ways: while waiting for a friend at a café, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or browsing your social networks on your smartphone or mobile device while relaxing on the couch at night. Take a few minutes every day to share a friend’s Facebook post, thank another user for retweeting you, or leave a comment in one of your LinkedIn groups.

You can tackle the final step—analyzing your metrics—on a weekly or monthly basis. This step is the crux for how you will continue to develop your social media marketing strategy. Every once in a while you will need to clear a few minutes to check your Insights (Facebook’s free analytics tool) to determine what con- tent resonates the most with your fans. Are you fans sharing your content? Was there a post that didn’t generate a single Like? On Twitter, take a look at your retweets and mentions. Are they dropping or climbing? Compare the content you tweet against the metrics. By taking a few minutes to review the metrics, you’ll know what type of content to post in the future, and your audience of readers will grow. You don’t need to set up Excel spread- sheets to tackle the tedious tracking yourself. There are a number of free and fee-based analytical tools mentioned in this book that will do the work for you.

Let’s return to the original question. Can you really accomplish this in just thirty minutes a day? In the beginning you might not be able to. To start, allocate forty-five minutes a day, which is plenty of time to manage your social media accounts. After a month or so you should be able to determine which tools, techniques, and websites will enable you to economize your time so that you have plenty of time to do what you love: write.

Keep reading to learn more about my four-step system.

Technology should be a tool, but if we don’t keep our wits about us, it can easily become our taskmaster.

—Jocelyn K. Glei, Manage your Day-to-Day: Build Your routine, Find Your focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, Chapter Two

[1]

Why Social Media Is Integral to a Writer’s Marketing Platform

We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media—

the question is how well we do it.

—Erik Qualman, How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business

WE ARE BEYOND the days when we could resist the plunge into social media and use it as a component in our marketing strategy. To- day we understand that it's an essential ingredient we can't ignore. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are well rooted in our world, and networks such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are no longer newbies.

Yet practically every day a new application or social network— RebelMouse, Pheed, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Write or Read, etc.— emerges, and it can boggle our minds and tax our energy.

But you needn’t worry about having to jump on the bandwagon of every shiny new innovation, because there’s a basic tenet of marketing that still applies for author marketers: know your audience.

Audience is a marketing term that simply refers to the people for whom you've written your book. For example, did you write your last novel for the YA (young adult) market? Are your colorful books de- signed for children between the ages of three and six? Did you write a historical novel about France for all the Francophiles in the world? Is your Hiking on the Edge of the World nonfiction book written with hard-core hikers in mind?

Knowing your audience enables you to hone your marketing efforts and focus your social media attention on those platforms where you are most likely to encounter your readers. It’s easier to do than it may seem at first glance.

For example, if you write with young adults in mind, then you’ll need to be on Twitter and Tumblr because that’s where you’re most likely to find that demographic. If your target market is women who are fifty-plus in age, then you’ll need a Facebook page. Did you write a book about dressing for success? Then you definitely need an active presence on LinkedIn as well as Pinterest and Facebook. If you write chick lit, you probably won’t want to spend too much time on Google+, where most users are men. Instead, you’ll want to focus your efforts on Facebook and Pinterest, where women dominate the user base.

Astonishing Social Media Statistics

Here are some statistics that will help you to decide where you should focus your efforts. (Sources include: Digital Marketing Ramblings: http://expandedramblings.com, Digiday: http://www.digiday.com, Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project: http://bit.ly/15NTmiD, ComScore: http://www.comscore.com, and Quantcast: http://bit.ly/111r7Jc.

Facebook

There are more than one billion users on Facebook, of which 845 mil- lion are active users. Facebook’s demographics are as follows:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 57% are female, 43% are male

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 46% are 45 and older

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 18- to-29-year-olds dominate, but the 55+ age group is the fasting growing demographic here

Twitter

Twitter, which was launched in 2006, now has more than 100 million daily active users worldwide and 231.7 million monthly active users. In addition, more than 40 million people actively use Vine, Twitter’s video application for producing six-second videos. Here are the user demographics you need to know:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 33% are over the age of 45, 25% are between the ages of 35 and 44, 23% are between the ages of 25 and 34, and 19% are 24 or younger

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 59% are female, 41% are male

Note: These demographics can change because 135,000 new users open a Twitter account every day.

Pinterest

Authors shouldn’t ignore this social media darling, currently rated the fastest growing social network. Pinterest generates four times more revenue per click than Twitter and 27% more revenue than Facebook. It’s estimated that 47% of all US online users have made purchases based on recommendations and images seen on Pinterest. Here are the user demographics:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 82% are female, 18% are male

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 35% are over the age of 45, 29% are ages 35 to 44, 26% are ages

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 25 to 34

LinkedIn

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn now enjoys 259 million users (as of 10/29/13) and its geographic reach extends to two hundred countries and territories. While its user count is well below Facebook’s, LinkedIn is the most valued social media network among professionals.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 50% graduated from college

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 50% are male, 50% are female

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 49% are over the age of 45, 32% are ages 35 to 44

Google+

If you’d like your website to figure high on the first page of search results, you need to have a presence on Google+. As of this writing, Google+ has more than 540 million active users, and more than 925,000 people create an account every day.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 71% are male, 29% are female

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 50% of users are under 24, with 28% ages 25 to 34

[_ Having a presence on Google+ is essential for your search engine optimization ] [_(SEO), which just means improving your search results when someone types] a keyword into a Google search bar looking for a book just like yours.

Tumblr

This platform hosts 153.7 million blogs and attracts 216.3 million monthly visitors. It’s interesting to note that in 2013 alone, Tumblr grew by 74%, while LinkedIn and Twitter grew by 40%.

If you write YA novels, you can’t afford to ignore this site, due to the prevalence of users between the ages of 18 and 34. Here are the demographics:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 52 % of Tumblr visitors are male

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 46.5 % of Tumblr visitors are 18 to 34 years old (ComScore)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 67 % of Tumblr users have no children

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 35.2 % of Tumblr visitors have a household income greater than $100,000 (ComScore)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 19 % of Tumblr visitors are Hispanic, which is almost two times the Internet average (Quantcast)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 8.1 % of Tumblr visitors live in the Pacific time zone (ComScore)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Tumblr has 108.9 million blogs and attracts 1.3 billion weekly page views.

Instagram

Instagram started in 2010 as an application for Apple devices until Facebook purchased it in 2012. So far, sixteen billion images have been shared on this app. If you’re a photographer, sculptor, or paint- er, you will want to use this tool.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. 150 million users: Again, I include the user count merely to indicate its rising popularity

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p((<>{color:#000;}. An average of 55 million images are shared daily

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p((<>{color:#000;}. More appealing to African-Americans, Hispanics, urban residents, 18- to 29-year-olds, and women (MediaBistro, http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-user- demographics_b39963)

Overall, more women use social media than men (71% to 62%, respectively) and users fifty and younger dominate.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Here are some additional facts that might surprise you:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Facebook is so ubiquitous that if you were to print the exact number of images uploaded to Facebook each day, they would stack taller than eight Eiffel Towers!

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Two new members join LinkedIn every second. That equates to more than 170,000 people per day

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p((<>{color:#000;}. More than 1.5 billion online users say they would love to receive coupons and rewards programs from retailers they follow. This statistic also applies to writers. When was the last time you offered a reward to your faithful readers?

What Is an Author Platform and How Do I Get One?

The term author platform is ubiquitous on the blogosphere and at writers’ conferences. Every author needs an author platform. But what exactly is it? Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, describes it as “the means by which you connect with your existing and potential readers.” I like to think of an author plat- form as a stage. By standing on a stage you become more visible, and if you have a decent public address system, you are more easily heard. Therefore, you are now “discoverable.” So think of platform as your personal stage or your medium for communicating with current and prospective readers.

Your first step is to determine what your goals are. Once you have those in mind, you need to decide which social media networks make sense for you. The next step is to work on building your audience and increasing your influence.

Facebook

You can build a presence on Facebook by posting information about your books and blogs, offering giveaways, conducting contests, and chatting with your most ardent fans.

Twitter

Growing a fan base on Twitter always makes sense for writers. On Twitter, you can join a community of self-published authors who will help you to sell more books worldwide.

LinkedIn

In addition to posting twice daily, Monday through Friday, join a group or two and become an active participant.

Pinterest

On Pinterest, create pinboards with images of the places where your characters “live,” the clothes they wear, and the food they eat. Also upload images of your colleagues’ book covers. Create some pin- boards for fun as well.

Tumblr

On Tumblr, you can post your blogs and connect with younger readers.

Instagram

Use this platform to expose your photography to a wider audience. Don’t forget to keep your logos and messaging consistent across the

networks you choose. Why? Because your messaging builds your brand. Brand can be defined as someone’s lasting impression of you. For example, how do you feel when you see a can of Campbell’s soup? If your mother included this brand of soup in your diet as a child, then you may have warm feelings about it. How do you feel when you see a book by Hemingway? You might have a lasting impression of his tight dialogue. How do you feel when you see a novel by Gabriel Garciá Marquez? You know that you’ll be suspending logic as you en- ter his world of magical realism and you lose yourself in a small town in Colombia.

What feeling do you want your readers to have about your books? What can they always expect? The answers to those questions deter- mine your brand.

The New Normal

A 2013 Infinite Dial Report by Edison Research highlighted interesting indicators for author entrepreneurs.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Consumers are using more social media channels than ever before, creating a possible challenge for some authors who want to focus on what they do best: write. However, to keep up with the changes, check a website such as Alltop.com, and click on Social Media Marketing. Or, (blatant self-promotion warning) you may want to subscribe to my blog, www.SocialMediaJustforWriters.com. Blogs that I subscribe to include Rachel Thompson, Joel Friedlander, and Livehacked.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. A whopping 139 million (53 %) of Americans now own smartphones and other mobile devices (iPad, Android tablets, etc.). The amount of time people spend on a mobile device is growing at fourteen times the rate of desktop usage. Consequently, mobile navigation is the norm. This means that you'll need to make sure that your website and e-newsletters can be easily viewed on these mobile devices. Since mobile devices pro- vide a smaller space for reading text, images and short posts be- come increasingly critical.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. People like to say that content is king, but what does this really mean? It means this: Endeavor to build your platform on the foundation of excellent writing. By consistently creating original content and including links to it on the social media networks you use, your influence will grow.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Facebook seems to be the platform that everyone loves to hate.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Yet it’s difficult to argue its significance with its base of more than a billion users. Be sure to take advantage of its Graph Search feature (the ability to search by keywords on Facebook) by using keywords in your descriptions. These keywords can include hashtags (words that when preceded by a # become hyperlinked)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. #Southern #novel, #memoir, #shortstories, #thriller, etc. Pack the general description for your Facebook author page with key- words that best describe your books.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Branded content—content for social media created by businesses and corporations such as LL Bean or Zappos—appears in users’ Facebook news feeds (the Home tab). These posts appear either because you have liked a company’s Facebook page or the company pays to “boost” their status update with advertising dollars. You, too, can boost branded content. If you allocate as little as $30 per month to boost some of your posts for your Facebook author page, those posts will better penetrate your fans’ news feeds and widen the circle of readers who will find you.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Twitter is an essential platform for writers. The Edison report found that only 11% of Americans had never heard of Twitter, which means that 89% are at least familiar with it. If you had to select just one social media platform (something I don't recommend), Twitter would be the essential online venue for you.

Suggested Steps

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p((<>{color:#000;}. What is your brand? Think about this, brainstorm some descriptions, and then work to build this image online.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Do you know your demographic? Think about the most likely per- son to read your book and describe that individual. Once you know this, start a social media account on a platform where you are most likely to reach this reader.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Just for fun, check out a brand-new social media channel, such as Tumblr or RebelMouse, and start an account. You don’t have to post anything for the first couple of months. Just follow people and read what they post.

Conclusion

Social media was still considered new five years ago, but in today's world, using social media is as common an activity as brushing your teeth. We engage socially online to connect with fellow writers and readers, to share what we know about writing and self-publishing, and to reach a worldwide audience. The statistics presented here are a clear indication that if you want to market your book, you can't af- ford to ignore social media. It's the only medium that allows writers direct access to their audiences, making it easy to connect with readers around the world and leave a lasting impression

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[2]

The Four Step Cure to Social Media “Time Suck”

Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life,
or master your time and master your life.

—Alan Lakein

WHAT IS SOCIAL media time suck? It’s the hours of time you can unintentionally spend in front of your computer reviewing Facebook posts, retweeting your Tweeps (your friends or followers with whom you are in frequent contact on Twitter), and uploading photos while your writing—and maybe even your family—awaits your undivided attention.

We’ve all lost time while using Facebook or navigating around the Internet. Perhaps your only intention was to post an update and an image to Facebook, but then look at what happens instead. You see a post from a friend who is feeling down, so you stop to write an encouraging note. Then you notice that a colleague posted a great article about self-publishing, and you can’t resist the temptation to read it. You navigate to the website where the article is and find a book for sale there. You’ve got to have it. So you click the purchase link, navigate to Amazon, check out the book further, read the reviews, and decide whether you want a new or used version, or an ebook.

You eventually return to Facebook, upload your image, and write the update. How much time did you lose? Fifteen minutes? Maybe twen- ty? If you took the time to look for another book while you were on Amazon, you may have spent even more time. Who has the time for that?

The Secret Formula to Efficient Social Media Marketing

Getting lost in the vortex of time suck is easy, and it’s the greatest fear among writers who are new to social media. But there are remedies. There are four basic principles to social media that will help you to save time and become more efficient when marketing your books. Here are the steps:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Curate: Just as museums curate paintings and sculptures for their exhibits, you can search for the best content you can find that your readers and other segments of your audience will want to read. Set a timer and spend ten minutes each morning scouring the Internet for the best information to share. (See Chapter Three for a list of curating tools that will do the work for you.)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Schedule: No one has time to spend all day—or long periods of time—in front of their computers or staring at their smartphones posting content on social media. Instead, use a timer and spend five minutes scheduling your posts for the day by using one of the applications listed in Chapter Four to schedule your posts, tweets, and updates at regular intervals through- out the day, depending on the social media channel. For example, you probably won’t want to post more than twice in one day on Facebook, but you will want to post about eight times on Twitter.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Socialize: Use your favorite mobile device in the evening while you relax to check your social media accounts. Spend fifteen

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p((<>{color:#000;}. minutes commenting on your friends’ posts, sharing their posts with your friends and fans, retweeting, and repinning. Consciously schedule this time into your day, and enjoy the time get- ting to know members of your audience and tribe. Don't forget to set your timer so you don't lose track of time. Alternatively, if you have more than fifteen minutes available, take more time on this step.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Analyze: Once a week, review your statistics to analyze your re- turn on investment (ROI). Indicators will include statistics on engagement, influence, and demographics and enumerate Likes, retweets, new fans, and other metrics. Use this information to understand which messages work best with your audience so you can replicate them the following week.

Curating Information to Help You Stand Out from the Crowd

Whether you are a poet or an essayist, you always want to post con- tent that will encourage comments, shares, and engagement. Sure, you could just post about yourself and your books all the time, but who wants to listen to people who always talk about themselves?

Think about social media as though it were a party. Typically, what are the traits of the most interesting people you meet? It’s not the people who launch into a soliloquy about their books, awards they’ve won, and contests they’ve entered. The conversations you probably enjoy the most are those that flow with an easy exchange between people. Someone shares an anecdote and it sparks a memory in you. You share your experience and the other person laughs, nods in acknowledgement, or shares your pain.

The same is true with social media. Endeavor to keep the “social” in social media by initiating conversations that help you learn more about your audience. Otherwise, you are simply broadcasting your message similar to television or radio. Make time for a two-way conversation.

Social media adheres to the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time you will post items that aren’t about you; and 20% of the time you will talk about your books, awards, readings, workshops, and blog posts. These days, some people are adjusting that rule to 90/10. Whichever parameter you choose, make sure that posts about your publishing endeavors don’t exceed the 20% parameter.

Are you still not sure what information you should be sharing in 80% of your tweets and posts? Share information about other authors and members of your audience by curating your news feeds on Twitter, Facebook, and other channels you use. In the morning, before you approach social media for the day, think about what you want to say and search for information that your audience will find interesting, newsworthy, or important for them to know. Curation sites are plentiful, so delegate five to ten minutes searching for what’s new and interesting in your niche.

Be consistent in your branding as well. In the simplest of terms, brand is the salient talent or factor that most distinguishes you from the rest of the writing community. Decide what that characteristic or talent is and promote it like a guerilla marketer by posting information that promotes your brand.

You Can Conquer Time Suck with These Schedules

Now that you know what you want to say, spend five minutes scheduling your messages. Keep in mind the following timelines for posting—and set your timer. (For a color-coded chart that details the best times to post on different social media networks, please refer to a free ebook on my website:

http://www.SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Schedule your messages to post on Facebook between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid posting between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Post at least once daily.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. If you are new to Twitter, post four times daily. Once you feel more comfortable with this network, post eight times daily, Monday through Friday, and fewer times on weekends. Space your tweets at least 135 minutes to three hours apart. Generally, 1 to 3 p.m. is the best time to post. But that timeframe isn’t universal. Use an application such as SocialBro or Tweriod (both applications are discussed later) to determine your optimal tweeting times. On the weekends, take a break and tweet just twice a day, or rest your fingers and don’t worry about it at all.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. For LinkedIn, post twice daily. In the mornings, post be- tween 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., Monday through Friday. In the afternoons, post between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and before 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. On the weekends, post just once a day or take a break entirely. The real action on LinkedIn occurs during the week.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. If you use Google+ to improve your search engine optimization and connect with audience members who prefer this social media site, post between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to get the best results. The worst time to post is between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Pinterest is a fun visual social media network where women dominate the user demographic. The best posting times on this platform are between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Never post between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., when most users are either making or enjoying their dinners. Thursdays and Saturdays are the best days for pinning.

Knowing when to post is important because you want to make sure that your updates are seen. Use one of many applications to deter- mine your optimal posting times so that you tweet and update friends when they are most likely to be using social media.

Here are some schedules you can follow that will help you to meet the demands in your life while also adhering to your marketing goals. My caveat to you is this: You will want to check Insights on Facebook and one or more of the analytical applications (SocialBro, Tweriod and others) I mention in later chapters. Those applications will provide you with precise information about when you should post to your audience. Use the following schedules as a general guideline.

Social Media vs. Broadcast Media

Television and radio programs are considered broadcast media. They broadcast shows, commercials, and music on their own set schedule. In the case of TV, with few exceptions, there isn’t any room for viewer feedback or conversation unless you consider what happens on tele- vised talk shows’ conversation. Talk radio includes listener views, but the environment is still controlled by a producer and the host.

Social media is the first form of media that emphasizes and rewards conversations. You have an opportunity to talk with your readers, learn about them, and empathize with them. Writers who don’t schedule time to be social on Facebook or Twitter are turning a social platform into a broadcast medium, and they will miss out on the re- wards of being more social. However, writers who allot time in their days for talking with their readers via a social media network or blog will gain loyal followers and, in turn, sell more books.

You can schedule fifteen minutes at the end of your day for thanking your retweeters (Twitter followers who repost your messages), commenting on your friends’ and fans’ posts, and interacting with your growing body of contacts. Use this time to engage with other writers, colleagues, editors, agents, readers, and friends. Thank people for finding and posting a great blog that you in turn share with your audience. Share the book cover of a friend’s new novel and pin it to one of your boards on Pinterest. If you interact with your contacts, your following will flourish.

Measure Your Return on Investment (ROI)

Social media platforms are free, but our time isn’t. In this 24/7 culture we live in, there never seems to be sufficient time to check all our e- mail, read our Facebook friends’ posts, and finish all the books we hope to write. So we want to be certain that our time on social media is well spent.

We also want to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Do more of your friends and fans on Facebook comment when you include an image with your post? If you’re testing blog post titles, was there a certain title that your Tweeps retweeted more often? Are you losing followers on Twitter as fast as you’re gaining them? Do you know why your Facebook page Likes grew by a whopping three hundred last month?

You need to know the answers to these questions so that you will know what to post in the future. Discovering the messages that resonate with your audience is critical to your marketing efforts. To know what these metrics are, subscribe to an application that will analyze your performance and help you to learn from the data it culls.

Suggested Steps

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Review the type of content you’ve been sharing up until now. Has it triggered questions or comments from your friends, fans, and followers? How many Likes did your Facebook posts generate, and how many people shared your content? Analyze these results so that you will know what type of content to post in the future.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Include a question at the end of your blog, and post a question on Twitter and Facebook asking your followers to let you know what they would most like to learn from you.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Experiment with the 80/20 rule. Does engagement improve on your social media networks?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Start using the Basic Schedule. Wait until you feel comfortable with it and become adept at managing your social media in thirty minutes a day before advancing to the Moderate Posting Schedule.

Conclusion

Social media needn’t force you to spend hours at your computer every day, sucking the hours out of your day when you have other pressing needs, responsibilities, and desires. By spending fifteen minutes every morning curating and scheduling, and allocating fifteen minutes every evening for socializing online, you too will benefit from the power of social media in today’s world and find readers who will be happy to find you and read your books.

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[3]

Strap on Your Boots and Discover Great Content

Once you’ve curated a couple of pieces of content, people look to you to know what’s going on.

—David Meerman Scott ON

SOCIAL MEDIA, your reputation rests on the information you post. Therefore, if you want to attract a following that looks forward to every word you write and is eager to see what news you’ll be tweeting tomorrow morning, curate your information with care.

Heidi Cohen (@HeidiCohen), of Riverside Marketing Strategies, de- scribes content curation as “the process of choosing the most relevant information to meet your readers’ needs on a specific topic …. Content curation requires more than just the selection of information. It’s assembling, categorizing, commenting, and presenting the best content available.”

She captures the essence of content curation, yet makes the process of discovering information appear harder than it really is.

Yes, content curation takes discipline. Why? Because everyone with a computer or smartphone is bombarded with information these days—some of it senseless or having little relevance to our lives and niches. E-mails fly into our in-boxes faster than we can keep up with them. Then there are Facebook posts to review and comment on, LinkedIn updates to read, tweets to review and retweet, images to pin, and blog posts to write. In today’s world, we could all use a virtual assistant to help us sort the spam from the nuggets of information relevant to our lives and the genres we write.

Enter the world of content curation. Curating content is the task of cutting through the slush in your news feeds, in-boxes, and blog feeds and selecting the best and most relevant content that applies to your niche.

Become Known within Your Niche

One way to approach curation is to specialize on targeted topics. Don’t try to curate all topics. Become known by what you talk about online. If you write paranormal romance novels, curate about that genre. Do you write memoir? Find information about workshops, conferences, and other opportunities where your followers can learn more about the craft.

If you are writing a cookbook filled with delicious gluten-free recipes, you can also post the latest findings about celiac disease or about new food manufacturers making it easy to follow a strict gluten-free diet.

If your novel features a woman entrepreneur or CEO, you can some- times focus on writing about issues that women in business face or issues related to math and science education in the schools or efforts to overturn discrimination in various parts of the world.

If your novel is set in France, look for images that depict the particular era you write about. Where do your characters live? On Pinterest, look for images of Paris, Rouen, or wherever your characters might live as well as pictures of the surrounding areas. You can also create pinboards filled with images of the clothing you imagine your characters would wear as well as the meals they would enjoy.

If your book is about hiking, look for information on new equipment that makes camping and backpacking easy, discuss great hiking trails, and look for images taken in wilderness areas.

If you write historical fiction, your curation might include current political events in the countries your books are set in and images of the gowns the women wore in the era you depict. If you love to write about the 1960s, create pinboards on Pinterest that include retro bell- bottom pants, white boots, flowered skirts, and peasant blouses.

Do you write about vampires? Review movies that feature vampires or explore myths about the walking dead. Do you write poetry? Include quotes from your favorite poets when you tweet, post on Face- book and LinkedIn, and pin on Pinterest.

Refrain from curating about the presidential election and other divisive issues, the opening of a zoo, and the Fourth of July parade in your town. Narrow your focus and become known for always posting the best and most up-to-date information in your field.

On your blog and your social media accounts, your reputation rests on the content you disseminate. Become an authority in your niche so that people will want to follow you, and refrain from annoying others with your political beliefs. Remain objective and stay clear of the potentially alienating arguments that can occur in some pockets of social media.

Being Social Means Following the 80/20 Rule

We all know about this 80/20 rule: 80% of the time we wear just 20% of our wardrobe. As mentioned earlier, this rule also applies to social media, but with a twist. Eighty percent of the time you will promote other indie and legacy (traditionally published) authors and give credit to insightful posts and books they write. Twenty percent of the time you can boast, promote, and post about your books, blogs, work- shops, and speaking engagements. If you post eight tweets daily, you can talk about yourself at most two times a day.

Here are some ideas for the types of posts you can share:

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Are you running a Cyber Monday special on an ebook? Note it on your social media profiles.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Perhaps you can hardly wait to post information about a writing award you received. It’s okay to let your friends know about it.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Did one of your poems make it into a prestigious anthology?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. This is great content to post.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Tell your friends when you’ll be reading from your book at a local bookstore.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Do you have a blog? Let everyone know when you add a new post.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Did an earthquake occur in the city where your novel is based? Post the information and explain your concern.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Is there a secret that only you know about your protagonist?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. You might want to share it.

There are some topics that won’t boost your credibility or further your brand. Here are some examples:

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Reconsider the validity of posting about what you had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Unless you’re a cookbook author and the meal was at a four- or five-star Michelin-rated restaurant, most people won’t find this interesting or relevant.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. The Internet is chock-full of cute kitten pictures. Refrain from adding to the collection.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you are feeling angry or upset, self-reflect before you self- reveal. Try to stop yourself from writing a post you will regret later.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Don’t use blasphemy in your posts. It’s just not the professional image you are striving to present.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you ate at a restaurant the night before and you became sick or didn’t enjoy your meal, don’t post a complaint on the eatery’s Facebook page. Call the restaurant to lodge your complaint.

A good portion of the time you will want to promote others, share great blog posts on newsworthy events or opportunities in self- publishing, or help your friends learn about writing workshops and conferences. Be positive, informative, and helpful to others.

Websites to Help You Find Great Content

You could spend hours curating information, but who has the time? Quickly scan these web pages and applications, and use the best in- formation you can find in five to ten minutes. You will keep yourself abreast of events through this process and become known as a must- follow writer.

Addictomatic (http://addictomatic.com)

This application works like a regular search engine. Type in any topic you are interested in, and Addictomatic will instantly generate tweets, blogs, and posts that match your chosen keywords.

Alltop (http://alltop.com)

Created by social media megastar and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, this is the mother of all curation websites. You’ll find the day’s top articles here in every possible niche.

BoardReader (www.boardreader.com)

This search engine will crawl the web for trending topics posted on social media networks. Look for information relevant to your audience.

Bottlenose (www.bottlenose.com)

Use this search engine for all of your social searches, such as key- words pertinent to your niche or genre. You can also use it to track yourself and to find new followers on Twitter by typing in the Twitter usernames of authors you admire.

Curata (www.curata.com)

Curata is a business-grade content curation tool that enables users to find the most relevant and highest quality content available. Prices aren’t listed on the website, so this software is likely pricy.

Curate.Us (www.curate.us)

With this application, you can make both visual clips and formatted quotes from any website and then post them anywhere, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, your e-mail, or your website. The clips you collect are screenshots that link back to the original source. To get started, drag the Make Clip button on the site’s home page to your browser toolbar. You won’t need to sign up to use this tool.

DailyPerfect (www.dailyperfect.com)

This website is designed to predict the news that you most want to see and deliver it to you. The developers who created this application refer to it as a “predictive content engine,” designed to generate personalized news feeds.

Faveous (www.faveous.com)

This is a marvelous application. Faveous collects all your favorite online items from Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook and stacks the information in one single news feed. Simply put, Faveous does the curation for you.

Feedly (http://www.feedly.com)

Feedly provides a magazine-style reader for your favorite blogs and integrates with social media networks. The application’s tag line is “Scrape the web. Feed your mind.” It’s also available for your iPhone, iPad, Droid, and Kindle.

Google Currents (www.google.com/producer/currents)

This is a curation tool for smartphones and tablets, including the iPad. Once you install it, it will populate your news feed with new ar- ticles within the topics you follow. You can also add subscriptions to it for the New York Times and other periodicals.

Google Trends (www.google.com/trends)

Type in any topic, and Google Trends will let you know whether it is trending up or down—and provide you with great statistics on the topics you write about for your next blog post.

In-A-Gist (http://inagist.com)

This great tool will filter and sort your Twitter stream to let you know which stories are the most popular at any moment.

Meddle (http://meddle.it)

Meddle may be the easiest application you’ll find for curating and sharing information. Once you add the bookmarklet to your browser, you can highlight the information with your cursor, add your own comment, and share it immediately on your social media networks.

It’s that easy. You can also use Meddle to see what’s trending on the Internet.

Newsle (http://newsle.com)

Once you sign up for this application using LinkedIn or Facebook, it will notify you when one of your friends makes news. For example, if a friend wrote a great post that gathered traction, Newsle will tell you so that you can spread the news.

Postris (www.postris.com)

Formerly known as Repinly, visit Postris to discover which images are trending on Pinterest. You will be limited to eight categories, including DIY, Crafts, Weddings, Photography, etc. Once you find a trending image you like, click on it. Then click the Pin It button and select your Pinterest pinboard.

Reddit (http://www.reddit.com)

Use this website to see what is trending on any topic that appeals to you, or use it as a search engine to track your brand or your name.

Technorati (http://technorati.com)

This website lists and categorizes the day’s top blogs. You can join this site, submit an application as a writer for submitting your own posts, or just use it to curate information.

Twylah (www.twylah.com)

Twylah is an application that preserves your tweets and categorizes them under subjects similar to your website headings. While Twylah doesn’t find content for you, its adjunct tool Brand Builder will scout out content that will help you to further your brand on Twitter. The first step is to sign up for Twylah, which is a free app. Then take the free brand assessment. Within twenty-four hours, you’ll receive information that analyzes your performance on Twitter based on your branding priorities. According to Twylah, “Twylah’s Brand Builder gives you the feedback and tools for creating a more effective and accurate social brand.” If you struggle to find content that furthers your message, this tool, which costs $29/month, will help you.

Surfing with Your Mobile Devices

Do you prefer to conduct your Internet navigation on mobile devices? Then try some of these applications:

Feeddler (https://itunes.apple.com)

Designed for the iPad and iPhone, Feeddler is an RSS reader. (RSS originally meant RDF Site Summary, but is now known as Real Simple Syndication. It’s a tool you use to automatically receive new posts from bloggers you like to follow, either in the RSS aggregator or via e- mail.) You decide which topics you’d like to aggregate information on, and Feeddler will gather the top articles of the day. It’s available for download in the iTunes store.

Fever (http://feedafever.com)

Now that Google Reader has passed on, other feed readers have filled the void. Fever is one of those applications—but not exactly. For ex- ample, let’s say you subscribed to thirty blogs using Google Reader. What’s the likelihood that you would read those posts every day? Fever asks its users to distinguish between essential and supplemental feeds (blogs). The app is designed to read your feeds and select the most discussed posts over a specified time period. Basically, this application anticipates which feeds you will most want to read and gives them priority. The algorithms are based on your stated preferences. This application isn’t free; it will cost you $30 to download its “Fever Server Compatibility Suite.” When you consider how much we are bombarded with text these days, it might be worth it to spend $30 and easily find the nuggets you really want to read.

Flipboard (http://flipboard.com)

Described as a “social magazine,” this tool enables users to keep up on the latest nuggets of news from The New York Times, Twitter, and other social media networks. It is described as an online magazine. Simply slide your finger to turn the pages.

Flud (www.flud.it.com)

This app is a social news reader that allows you to create a “news personality,” according to the makers of the app. Use it to follow trends in your industry, bloggers you like, and other interests.

HitPad (www.hitpad.com)

Designed for the iPad, HitPad will distill the news for you by providing you with the most popular news items of the day based on your noted interests.

News360 (www.news360app.com)

You can use this application on your Windows PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android to aggregate news on any topic you select. This website also claims it can recommend future articles for you by analyzing your previously saved items.

Prismatic (http://getprismatic.com)

Prismatic doesn’t just accumulate the news you want to read—it does this in real time and is social. This application connects to your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts to determine your Likes, analyze your niche, and find articles you’d like. Then the application recommends articles to you. A great plus is that you can tweet directly from a post or article, or retweet information someone else has posted.

This tool, similar to other applications, will scrape the web and pro- vide you with the type of articles you most want to read, thereby offering an easy way to curate information for your posts. You can use this application on your PC, Apple, and Android devices.

Zite (http://zite.com)

Originally designed for the iPad and iPhone, but now available for the Android, Zite taps into the blogs you subscribe to as well as your Twitter history and in turn provides the most current content that relates to your interests.

Curation Tools for Your Blog (Yes, Blogs Are Social Media Too)

These applications are more applicable to curation for blogs, but you can also use them to find useful information to post on your social media networks.

Zemanta (www.zemanta.com)

Zemanta helps bloggers curate content right from their websites or blogging platforms. Once you install the software, the application will suggest related content as your write your posts and will also suggest titles of posts from other writers that you can add under the “see also” section of your blog. Try the free version to see whether you like it enough to upgrade.

CurationSoft (www.curationsoft.com)

The intent of CurationSoft is to make researching, vetting, and publishing curated content easier for busy authors, so that the application will become the default content marketing software for online publishers. You may want to check out this application to determine whether it fulfills its lofty goals. You’ll need to download the software onto your computer to use it. They provide free and paid versions.

Storify (https://storify.com)

This is a clever application. You can collect online messages shared on social media channels, collect and publish them on this app, and then embed your “story” on your blog or anywhere. You can also drive traffic to your collected information and add content to the conversations that now make up your blog post.

PearlTrees (www.pearltrees.com)

PearlTrees is a unique tool. It is both a visual and collaborative curation application that allows you and your colleagues to collect, organize, and share any URL you find online. In addition, you can upload photos you take and drag and organize URLs into categories called “PearlTrees.” Another innovation is the option to engage socially using a term called Pearl Teams, and you can share your PearlTrees on Twitter and Facebook as well as your WordPress blogs and Drupal website (Drupal is a free, open-source web development platform for creating websites). You can check out the application at iTunes or download the Chrome extension for free. If you have a virtual assistant, this could be a helpful tool. Your PearlTeam could comprise writers in your critique group or readers who follow your blog and who want to collaboratively organize information on a particular top- ic of interest to all of you.

MySyndicaat (www.mysyndicaat.com)

Use this web-based app to collect content from a wide array of sources by automating your keywords. For example, MySyndicaat will pull together information from your RSS feeds, news organizations, and blog discussions and automatically eliminate duplicate data. News and information can be filtered to ensure relevant con- tent. You can also use this tool to deliver your aggregated content to your subscribers using news feeds, which are streams of content.

Listly (http://list.ly)

This application works differently than the other ones in this list. Listl.ly will allow you to create lists and then crowdsource them by sharing them and allowing others to continue to build them. You can embed your list in a WordPress blog or share the list on Twitter and Facebook. This application seems to serve a dual purpose: aggregate information, and encourage sharing and discussion on your blog.

See Your Curated Content from any Device

With the next set of applications, if you find a great article while navigating the web from your smartphone as you wait for a doctor’s appointment, you’ll be able to access it again from your PC, Mac, or tablet. These applications will help you save time because you won’t forget where you saw a great image or read a newsy tidbit you can use as a writing prompt. Here they are:

Bagtheweb (www.bagtheweb)

BagTheWeb is a web curation tool that enables users to scan the Internet and collect, publish, and share information via “bags.” You can then share collected information on your social networks or just use the information you find for your next post.

Bundlr (http://bundlr.com/b/apps)

Developed in 2010, Bundlr was designed with the idea of making online content available and categorized from any PC or mobile device. It is similar to Evernote and Pocket.

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com)

Similar to Evernote, any file you save to Dropbox is available from any computer, phone, or other mobile device. On the free account, Dropbox generously gives away two gigabytes of free storage. The program works with Windows, Mac, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices. An added benefit is that shared folders allow writers collaborating on the same project to easily gather and share documents together. If you like to collect images from the web, you can also create photo galleries using this app.

Evernote (www.evernote.com)

With Evernote, you can easily clip and save items you find on the web and access them from any device. You can collect notes, web clips, files, images, and favorite web pages from any mobile device and then access them from your PC, iMac, iPad or favorite tablet or lap- top.

Pocket (https://itunes.apple.com)

Similar to Evernote and Dropbox, Pocket (formerly Read it Later) allows you to find content, save it to the application, organize topics, and then, at some later time, read the posts you saved from any de- vice, including your PC, iPhone, and iPad. In addition, Pocket offers a social media sharing control center. Having great information that is categorized will help you better store information for sharing on social media platforms. Don’t forget to add your own blog posts to your cache.

Instapaper (www.instapaper.com)

This tool is similar to Evernote and Dropbox. Instapaper bookmarks articles you want to read when you have more time. You can upload a bookmarklet to your browser for easy access to your articles and for bookmarking certain web pages. You can start with a free account and test it.

Kippt (https://kippt.com)

This application is designed to store your notes, web clips, and more in the Cloud (similar to Dropbox) so that you’ll never lose the poem you wrote or the article you want to save. At this writing, you can sign up and start using this application for free.

Readability (http://readability.com)

Are you tired of seeing those online ads about belly fat? Readability will erase the online clutter that is preventing you from focusing on your curation efforts and will save articles you want to curate. Similar to other tools in this list, once you save an article you find, you can view it from any device later.

Dual-Purpose Tools That Help You Find, Use, and Share Great Content

Scoop.it (www.Scoop.it.com)

Have you ever wanted to publish your own magazine? Now you can with Scoop.it. In addition to scouring the web to find the best articles it can on the topics you select, Scoop.it enables you to regularly publish an online magazine featuring the top articles you found. You can also use this application to find great content to post.

Paper.li (http://paper.li)

Similar to Scoop.it, this curation application will find the most recent stories for the topics you select and present them in a newspaper format for you to scour and disseminate through your social media networks and e-mail list. You can present this information as a week- ly or daily newspaper and in your tweets, you can mention the people whose articles are included. The website offers an informative blog too.

Kweeper (www.kweeper.com)

This is another tool to help you collect and easily access information you deem important enough to save and share with your followers. You can use this tool to find great content and share it, creating your own online magazine. With this application you can collect images, music, videos, and other types of information you find and want to share on the Internet.

Suggested Steps

Are you feeling confused about what your next step should be? Here are some suggestions:

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Assess whether you’ve been following the 80/20 rule and if you haven’t, make adjustments to your posts.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Use websites like Alltop, Addictomatic, and Reddit to find the most up-to-date information in your niche.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Sign up for the application Scoop.it and try the free version.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you own an iPad or iPhone, sign up for Flipboard to consolidate your incoming news onto one platform.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Enter keywords into your Twitter search bar. Use hashtags that appeal to you such as #memoir, #amwriting, #writetip, or #In- dieAuthors. Retweet the most interesting posts.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Check a few of your favorite bloggers and determine whether you want to share some of their insights.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Scan your news feed on LinkedIn, looking for posts that your followers might find interesting.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Borrow or buy a copy of Dan Zarrella’s book, The Science of Market- ing.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Follow @GuyKawasaki, @JFBookman, @thecreativepenn,

@JaneFriedman, and @NinaAmir to keep up with trends and in- formation in the writing and publishing worlds.

Conclusion

The saying “content is king” is a simplified way of saying that your image rests on your content. Content isn’t king simply because it was generated by the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. It is your responsibility to write well, to ground your content in relevant search, to educate your demographic, to find great content to share, and to narrow your focus to match your niche. For example, tweeting an article from the Wall Street Journal about the stock market doesn’t make sense if you write for the young adult market. However, posting information about an application that teens love but that sexual predators also use is relevant because it speaks to the issues your audience faces.

The web is a great environment to find well-written, authoritative commentary on a variety of topics. Search for the best topics within your field, and you’ll easily build your online community—and get your books the recognition they deserve.

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A schedule defends from chaos and whim.

—Annie Dillard, author of fiction, nonfiction and poetry

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[4]

Schedule Your Messages and Walk Away from the Computer

A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.

—Charles Darwin

YOU DON’T HAVE the time to sit in front of your computer all day and post information at two- to three-hour intervals. You're busy enough as it is, waking up at ghastly hours to write your next novel or anthology of short stories, or hiding in coffee shops to avoid the dis- tractions at home to better guard your writing time. You write, work, spend time with friends and family, read, and attend writing work- shops, conferences, critique groups, and book clubs. The last thing you need is one more task that will demand your attention through- out the day, every day.

The good news is that social media marketing doesn’t require you to sacrifice large chunks of your time. Once you’ve curated your information using one or more of the applications and websites mentioned in Chapter 3, your next step will be to spend five minutes scheduling your posts by using an application designed to release your selected updates at times of the day you specify.

There are two exceptions. (There are always exceptions, right?) While you can use an application to schedule a post to your Facebook page, Facebook has its own scheduling feature within the status update box that is easy to use. You can even plan posts as far out as six months

As a review, on your Facebook profile you have friends, but Facebook profiles are strictly for people and can’t be used to market books or workshops. Facebook pages, which have fans, are for businesses, products, nonprofits, and institutions and you can use your Facebook page to market your books. You’ll find Facebook’s scheduling feature on your page, not your profile.

As an author, you have a product to sell—your books—so having pages in addition to profiles is a good idea. We sometimes forget that authors are businesspeople who endeavor to sell books, recover costs, and make money. Therefore, it’s important to have pages as well as profiles, and once you do, you can schedule your posts, promote your books, and use this platform to announce your readings or proudly inform your fans about your awards.

For most other social media networks, including Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tumblr, you can schedule your tweets, posts, and up- dates for the day, for the entire week, or even for the rest of the month. In addition, you can use a few applications (Hootsuite and Buffer, among several others) to schedule shares to your Google+ page—but not to your Google+ profile.

A Word about Automation

Some people like to use direct messages to welcome new followers on Twitter. In the process, they often direct their new Tweeps to their blog or to Amazon. Refrain from doing this. Increasingly, Twitter users are ignoring direct messages because they predominantly contain spam (“Buy my book!” “Read my blog!” “Like my Facebook page!”). Second, if you want to acknowledge a new follower, personalize your message. Follow the link to their blog or website, and comment about that. Or if you’ve read one of their books, tell them how much you enjoyed it and, while you’re at it, retweet one of their messages.

But What If You Don’t Know What to Post?

You’ve just spent time using some of the applications or websites mentioned in Chapter 3 to find the top stories in your niche. You’ve discovered today’s most relevant and inspirational quotes, and you can’t wait to share them with your expanding community. Are you confused about how to best present this information? You’re not alone in feeling this way.

It can be difficult for new authors to think of themselves as a brand, but you are, and your readers are watching you. Keep your messaging consistent. If you write about traveling abroad on $30/day, give tips throughout the year. If your novel takes place in Italy, pin some of your travel photos from Rome, Venice, and Milan. If you wrote a novel about a single mom, post information about single mothers, women entrepreneurs, and current women’s issues. If you wrote a cookbook, share recipes and photographs of your latest creations. Keep reading for additional ideas.

Twitter

On Twitter, the character limit is 140, but the first rule is to keep your tweets between 100 to 110 characters. Doing so will increase the chances that your messages will be retweeted simply because there will be room for the “retweeter” to add his or her username and add a comment such as “[Great tips!].”

Here are several sample posts. Notice how succinct these tweets are:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Self-Publishing Basics: The Copyright Page dld.bz/cEPkJ via

@JFBookman

My suggestions here would be to add a # in front of the word Copy- right to create a hashtag and to include another hashtag such as

#writers.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Ebook Marketing: Is Buying a Great Book Review Your Cup of Tea? dld.bz/cA6TF via @jimhbs

My only suggestion here would be to add a # in front of ebook. Now let’s look at the next one.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. #Author tip: when you post do others listen? #Socialmedia management podcast. http://ow.ly/nfPVV

This person is clearly trying to attract writers who use social media to promote their books. This is a well-written tweet. This person could also have written it this way:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. #Author tip: when you post do others listen? #Social #media management podcast. http://ow.ly/nfPVV #writers

You’re probably wondering what you as an author could say. Here are some examples that cover an array of genres. All you need to add to these tweets is a URL. If you are promoting a colleague, add his or her Twitter username.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Love #Spain? Read this novel based in #Sevilla + link + name of the book

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Are you a #hiker? 7 Tips on How to Find the Best #Hiking #Boots

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. + link

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Great story by +colleague’s username about overcoming #cancer + link

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. San Francisco #Writer’s #Conference is this February +link #am- writing

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Do you love reading #IndieAuthors?

Visit http://www.indieauthornetwork.com #readers #bibliophiles

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Like my Facebook page and receive #free #ebook + link

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein #quotes The first tweet is a sample tweet from an author about his or her book. The second tweet is intended for hikers and could be written by the author of a book on hiking or another user spreading the news about a blog post he or she just read. The third tweet is an example of how writers can help each other. The fourth tweet is by a writer encouraging other authors to attend a conference. The fifth tweet introduces readers to other indie authors. The sixth tweet offers a benefit for liking a Facebook page. The hashtags in this example help readers and self-described bibliophiles find a new book to read. The seventh tweet is obviously a quote.

Facebook Status Updates

Some users will post a long paragraph for an update, and this can sometimes trigger wonderful engagement with their fans and friends. However, it’s preferable to keep posts to about 80 to 100 characters. Text overload—the sensation that there is too much to read in the digital world—is common these days. As such, your fans are more likely to read short posts than long posts.

Here are some examples of short Facebook posts:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. This week’s Monday blog is on 7 great new Twitter applications. Maybe you’ll find one that you’ll love. + link Please share!

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Here are three possible covers for my new book. Which one do you prefer? + 3 images

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p((<>{color:#000;}. I’m trying to decide on a name for my blog. Which of the following examples do you like? + Potential Titles of Blog

You could also post an image with an uplifting or thought-provoking phrase. If you want to make others smile, post something funny that won’t be construed as offensive.

On Facebook, it’s important to strike a balance between the meaningful and the mundane. Meaningful posts lead Facebook users to in- formation-rich blog posts. Mundane posts make people smile, such as an enticing slice of chocolate, a comic about the writing life, or a personal account that is amusing. Endeavor to provide both types of information to keep your audience informed and entertained.

If you wrote a travel book and just returned from Barcelona, share your best photos. If the protagonist in your novel loves to garden, capture an image of your favorite rosebush or tree this season. Ask questions, seek engagement, return to your profiles and pages during the day to acknowledge comments, and make time to engage with your friends and fans by clicking on your Home tab and seeing what they have to say. Don’t forget to share their posts too, and leave comments.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn posts generally contain a blog title and a link, although you can include about 600 characters of text, but again, shorter is better. You’ll want to provide useful information to your connections, and keep your posts professional. Discuss issues in self-publishing, share the name of your cover designer or webmaster, and don’t forget to promote your colleagues’ books and blogs. You could also post an inspirational quote. Keep your content and images professional in ten- or.

Google+

Some people use Google+ as a blogging platform. You can definitely write long blocks of text here, but again, it’s preferable to write tighter posts. Sample posts could include a blog title, the link leading to it, and a short statement from you. Images are popular on Google+ too, so be sure to intersperse your meaningful content with some example of beautiful photography. If you didn’t take the image, credit the source. Similar to LinkedIn and Facebook, share your colleagues’ posts as well.

Pinterest

Be sure to repin images from your blog and other parts of your web- site. When you do this, your blog’s URL will attach to the image and lead Pinterest back to your website. You can also upload images taken in the cities where the characters of your novel live. Start pinboards on your favorite books, libraries, bookstores, your colleagues’ books, writer quotes, and other related topics. For ideas, see my Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/fcaballo.

Social Media Dashboards to Fit Every Desire (and Budget)

Now that you know how you are going to present your messaging, use one of the following applications to schedule your updates.

Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com)

People new to social media tend to start with the free version of Hootsuite. It is easy to set up and will allow you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as some LinkedIn groups. You can set up your feeds and use Hootsuite to keep in touch with your friends, fans, and Tweeps by aggregating your social media news feeds on this application. What this means is that you can navigate to Hoot- suite to see all your friends’ and followers’ posts in one place. The paid version will allow you to post to Google+ pages, Foursquare, and a variety of other applications such Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, Mixi (a Japanese social media network), and others. In addition, it provides analytics.

TweetDeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com)

With this free Twitter application you don’t have to be on the Inter- net to check your account. Once you download it to your desktop, you can check your Twitter account and respond to Mentions, Direct Messages, and Retweets as they occur. It’s an easy tool to set up and use, but it allows scheduling only to Twitter.

MarketMeSuite (http://marketmesuite.com)

Similar to Hootsuite, you can use this application to manage multiple social media platforms and schedule messages. The free plan allows five posts daily. The $15/month Pro Plan allows unlimited profiles, up to one hundred scheduled posts, and analytics.

SproutSocial (http://www.sproutsocial.com)

SproutSocial offers many benefits. You can schedule your posts, including to your Google+ page, connect your account with the URL shortener Bit.ly to track click-through rates (hits to your website), unfollow users on Twitter, and find new Tweeps. It also provides analytics. The monthly fee starts at $39/month.

Plugg.io (http://www.plugg.io)

This application interfaces with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and offers plans that range from free to $199.95/month. The free plan is all you’ll ever need as long as you don’t connect more than five Twitter accounts or send more than ten scheduled tweets daily. You can also use this application to help you find new friends to grow your following and to auto-follow new followers (a time-saving feature).

MediaFunnel (http://mediafunnel.com)

MediaFunnel will help you to distribute your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and WordPress.com. In addition, you can use MediaFunnel to manage your brand and engage with your fol- lowers. For $5.95/month, you can manage ten social media channels, schedule your posts, and use a variety of URL shorteners to track your click-through rates. This is a great price, considering all of its features.

Netvibes (http://www.netvibes.com/en)

This versatile dashboard will download onto your PC, tablet, and smartphone to keep you up-to-date while you’re on the go. Use it to keep track of news and trends and to monitor your accounts.

SocialOomph (https://www.socialoomph.com)

SocialOomph is a scheduler on steroids. It will allow you to schedule your social media posts, set up recurring tweets and LinkedIn posts, find new followers, and track your click-through rates and keywords. It also provides limited analytics and will find new friends for you to follow.

In addition, you can schedule recurring tweets. A recurring tweet is a message that will repeat itself at any interval you choose. You can create a variety of messages with the same URL, or you can repeat the same message. You can start with a free account and determine whether you like it enough to subscribe to it.

Alternion (www.alternion.com)

This is a social media dashboard with superpowers. It enables users to manage more social media networks than they’ll ever need to use and provides a combined news feed from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Flickr, and Picasa. It also allows you to post to a myriad of social networks, reply, retweet, and send messages to your contacts. In addition, you can receive and send e-mail messages from a variety of programs including Gmail, Hotmail, Ya-hoo!, AOL, and other e-mail accounts.

LiveGO (www.livego.com)

LiveGO condenses chats, e-mail, and social networks on one screen. The application has advanced Twitter functions and Facebook features, and supports Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo. You can use this app to check your user feeds and schedule updates. It’s similar to Alternion, but has fewer features and is free.

Netvibes

(http://iphone.netvibes.com – http://android.netvibes.com – http://ipad.netvibes.com)

This application for the iPhone, iPad, and Android phone will schedule your messages, monitor your brand (mentions of you), and view your news feeds from one platform. You can integrate Facebook and Twitter with the application and several e-mail accounts.

Buffer (https://bufferapp.com)

The free plan will allow you to schedule four tweets daily and allows you to post to Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’d like to schedule eight or more tweets daily, you’ll need to upgrade to the $10/month plan. The paid plan will also allow you to post to Google+ pages. Unlike So- cialOomph, you won’t be able to schedule recurring tweets—tweets that repeat. However, with the paid plan you can connect your Twit- ter account to SocialBro, which analyzes your Twitter feed and determines your optimal tweeting times. When the two apps work together, your queue of tweets will be automatically determined by the analytics provided by SocialBro.

PostPlanner (www.postplanner.com)

An application designed just for Facebook, PostPlanner enables you to schedule your status updates. It has additional features that are tempting on its $19/month plan: this application will show you the newest content trending in your niche, help you target your readers, and provide you with real-time analytics. It also has a cache of thousands of updates that you can select from on those days when you absolutely can’t think of anything to say.

Twuffer (http://twuffer.com)

This free and user-friendly program will schedule your tweets, show you your news feed, and send you Milestone reminders. To use this tool, you’ll need to sign in with your Twitter account, set your time zone, and start scheduling your posts. (A Milestone on Facebook is a special type of post that takes up the entire width of your Page’s Timeline. On your profile, a Milestone could be the day you started your most recent job. On your Facebook page, a Milestone could be the date of publication of your first book or the day you found your agent. Milestones are a way to formally recognize events that are important to you.)

Dlvr.it (http://dlvr.it)

This application will schedule your most recent blog posts for you so you don’t have to think about it. Once you write and schedule your blog post, Dlvr.it will automatically post it to all your social media profiles, including your Google+ page. The free plan allows you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The application also pro- vides data on click-through rates.

Glyder (https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/glyder/id162336532)

Available from iTunes, this free application allows you to connect with your social media networks via your iPhone. You can post to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Constant Contact, e-mail, and Mail- Chimp. You can even select and modify templates that this application provides. Images formatted using Glyder will not distort when viewed on mobile devices or desktops.

FutureTweets (http://futuretweets.com)

This is a free service that allows users to schedule their tweets.

Gremlin (http://gremln.com)

Formerly called Twaitter, Gremlin will schedule your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook posts and calendar your recurring posts. You can also monitor your news feeds with this application. Gremlin offers a free plan that allows users up to five social profiles. Gremlin uses the brev.is link shortener to monitor click-through rates and rate your performance.

Dopo.io (www.dopo.io)

This tool will give you a secret address you can use to e-mail your tweets to Twitter. This is probably the easiest scheduling application on the market. All you need to do is write “buffer” in the subject line of your e-mail, and you can schedule up to fifteen tweets per e-mail.

LaterBro (http://laterbro.com)

LaterBro is another web application for updates to Facebook and Twitter. It’s similar to Twuffer and has a built-in URL shortener. To start using this application, just sign up with your Twitter or Face- book account, set your time zone, and start to schedule your posts.

Tools to Schedule Your Pins

You can’t ignore the power of Pinterest. BloomReach, a company that creates marketing applications that interpret consumer demand, conducted an analysis of more than forty-six million site visits for some of its retail clients in the fall of 2012. It looked at total traffic, conversion rates, average pages viewed, and other metrics. Bloom- reach discovered that

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Facebook delivers 7.5 times more traffic. However, Pinterest soared in total revenue per visit, conversion rate, bounce rate, and pages viewed.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Pinterest users who navigated to commerce sites spent 60% more than their counterparts on Facebook.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Pinterest’s conversion rate was higher—22% higher, in fact.

Let’s compare Pinterest’s page views with Facebook’s. Whereas Face- book users averaged 1.6 page views, Pinterest users visited an average of 2.9 pages on the websites they navigated to. It doesn’t seem like much, but it calculates to an 81% difference.

These facts point to the growing influence of Pinterest in almost every sector.

Here are two applications that will help you to schedule your pinned images throughout the day.

ViralTag (www.viraltag.com)

With this application you can schedule and enhance images. In addition, it will track repins, Likes, and comments for every image you pin and integrate with Google Analytics.

Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com)

As mentioned above, you can also use this stalwart scheduler for Pinterest.

Chrome Extensions for Pinterest Make Pinning Effortless

Pinterest Keyboard Shortcut | Ctrl+Alt+P

This tool allows you to repin photos as you move through your day. Once you install the add-on extension, simply use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+P on your PC, select an image, choose a board, and say a few words about the pin.

Pinafore

This bookmarked tool allows you to repin from any page on the Internet without a popup appearing. To use the extension, you need to be logged on to Pinterest. As with the above keyboard shortcut, you can add a description to your pinned image.

Pinner for Pinterest

Again, to use this feature, right-click an image you like and post it onto one of your pinboards. If you highlight text on the web page (including your own blog post title, it will automatically appear in the description box.

ShotPin

When you see an image you’d like to repin, click the browser extension, select a pinboard, and add a description. It’s that simple.

Pinterest Right Click

You can add this extension to your Chrome or Firefox browser. If you’re wondering how to add an extension to your browser, each browser (Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox) has its own mechanism for installing and managing extensions. Search for and follow the directions that apply to your preferred browser.) Once you add the extension, you’ll be able to right-click any picture you see on the web and repin it to one of your Pinterest pinboards. This way you can repin as you travel across the Internet without needing to open Pinterest. You can also achieve the same result by adding Pinterest’s “bookmarklet” to your browser. Go to Pinterest for complete directions.

Tips for Increasing Engagement

Now that you’ve spent time curating information and writing your posts, you want your fans and followers to see them, right? To determine at what time the majority of your followers will be online, use one of the following applications.

SocialBro (http://www.socialbro.com)

SocialBro will determine the best times throughout the day to schedule your most important tweets. Using this application will help you to track the growth of your followers, create insights about your audience, and define the right people with whom to engage. Pricing starts at $6.95/month.

Tweriod (http://www.tweriod.com)

This free application will help you to discover the times of days when most of your followers are online. Unlike Facebook users, Twitter users seem less inclined to spend time reviewing tweets posted within the past several hours. That’s because Twitter is an immediate plat- form, so you want to get the attention of your followers by posting during the times of day when most of your followers are using Twitter.

CrowdBooster (https://crowdbooster.com)

For $9/month, this tool will provide real-time audience reach and engagement metrics, tailor recommendations for your Facebook and Twitter accounts, schedule your posts, provide weekly summaries, and provide Live Chat online support.

The Power of Images

Magazine editors have known for decades that large blocks of text are hard on the eyes. Readers need to see white space and images in or- der to more easily accept the lines of black ink.

The same is true in social media. Colorful photographs capture our attention on Facebook more than a lengthy paragraph. In today's world less is more, and images increase the chance that our posts will be shared by our fans. There are statistics to back this up. Forty per- cent of users respond better to images than to text messages. Recent- ly, short text messages without images have made a comeback on Facebook, but status updates that include pictures still reign. So if you can, take your own pictures or visit a website with copyright-free images. You can find free images on MorgueFile, PhotoPin, Wikipedia Commons, and Flickr.

Video is popular also, especially videos that are 90 seconds or less in duration. In fact, Vine videos (Twitter videos) are four times more likely to be shared than text messages. On Facebook, images and YouTube videos will increase the number of Likes, shares, and comments your posts receive.

Posting Tips

Are you still unclear about what you should be tweeting and posting? Then review the following tips and guidelines:

Twitter

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Keep tweets short (110 to 120 characters, including spaces) and use hashtags (#).

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p((<>{color:#000;}. You will experience 17% more engagement if your tweets con- tain fewer than 100 characters.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Hashtags increase engagement by 21% and are twice as likely to be retweeted.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Use hashtags to connect with like-minded writers.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Use your tweets to recommend a book or to find an expert by joining a blog chat—a set period of time when Twitter users gather virtually to discuss a predetermined topic.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Don’t be shy about asking for retweets. This type of call to action will increase your number of retweets considerably.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Post on weekends, when there’s 17 % more engagement.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Post between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Include images to improve your number of retweets.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Be positive.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Avoid politics.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. According to Dan Zarrella, author of The Science of Marketing, these are the most retweetable words and phrases you can use (don’t use text messaging shortcuts to convey your message):

./ You

./ Twitter

./ Please

./ Retweet

./ Post

./ Blog

./ Social

./ Free

./ Media

./ Help

./ Please retweet

./ Great

./ Social media

./ 10

./ Follow

./ How to

./ Top

./ Blog post

./ Check out

./ New blog post

Facebook (data from Dan Zarrella)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Most engagement occurs on the weekends, when people have more time.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Most Likes occur between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Posts with photos receive the most Likes.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Posts with 100 to 350 characters perform poorly. Shorter posts are better.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Asking people to Like a post will increase engagement.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Asking for comments will trigger more comments.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Include images.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Include calls-to-action, such as “Click on Like if you agree!” or “Please share!”

LinkedIn

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Post between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and between 5 and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, post before 3:15 p.m.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Maintain a professional image.

Google+

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p((<>{color:#000;}. The best time to post is 1 p.m. Avoid posting early in the morning.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. When you share a post written by another author, “tag” that author by typing a plus sign (+) before the person’s name. Doing so will alert the author that you shared one of his or her posts. (Note: Don’t include a space between the plus sign and the author’s name.)

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Post dazzling images.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Look for Communities. For example, the APE Community is a wonderful community for indie writers.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Join Hangouts.

Pinterest

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Avoid posting between 5 and 7 p.m., and avoid pinning your images all in one sitting.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Create a variety of pinboards to attract a myriad of users to your profile.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Avoid human faces in your images. Pictures without a per- son’s face in them are more likely to be repinned.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Look for colorful images.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Red and orange images are more likely to be repinned.

Suggested Steps

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Sign up for Hootsuite and SocialOomph, then determine which application you prefer.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Use a timer and test yourself on whether you can schedule your curated information in five minutes.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Experiment with adding hashtags to your tweets.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Experiment with Facebook posts that include images and those that are primarily text. Which type of post receives the most engagement?

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Create a new pinboard every two weeks.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Many—if not most—writers are introverts. If this is true for you, obtain a copy of Authentic Marketing for Introverts by Christy Strauch to help you feel more comfortable with marketing your brand.

Conclusion

Experiment with some of the scheduling applications. If you use Chrome as your preferred search engine, you might prefer Buffer because of its chrome extension. If you like to plan recurring tweets, then SocialOomph might be the best application for you. But if you like to schedule more than four tweets daily and you want a free application, then HootSuite would be the best application for you.

Once you've decided what you would like to say and which articles you’d like to disseminate, use one or more of the applications listed in this chapter to schedule your tweets and posts at intervals through- out the day. Post four to ten times daily on Twitter, once or twice a day on Facebook, twice a day on LinkedIn, and once daily on Google+. Later in the day, you can respond to comments about your posts and have some real fun.

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[5]

Friends Don’t Let Friends Broadcast Their Message

I’ve long been interested in the idea that engaging in conversation is the single most important function of social media marketing.

—Dan Zarrella, author of The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog, and Other Proven Strategies

SOCIAL MEDIA WAS never designed to be a broadcast messaging system the way radio and television are. Conversations are the back- bone of social media; that is what distinguishes it, and that is what has fueled its dominance in marketing. So it makes sense that we need to allocate time during our days to converse with our Tweeps, friends, fans, and connections. If you don't make time for the conversations, you are simply broadcasting your message like a radio host.

Social media allows authors in particular to converse directly with their readership in a manner that was never possible before Facebook was created. Today, indie authors have a powerful medium with which they can market their books, converse with their audience, answer questions in a matter of minutes, and further their relationships with loyal readers. Maybe William Faulkner never would have wanted this option, but can you imagine what it would have been like to share a glass of wine with Ernest Hemingway or write a letter to Virginia Woolf? Social media is similar, albeit virtual. The nature of these conversations is no less important than if you were pen pals with your readers; you are building a relationship through words.

Self-Reflect Before You Self-Reveal

It’s always a good idea to self-reflect before you self-reveal, because once you say something online, it will exist there for a very long time. Think about what you’d like to be known for. You are your brand, so in every post your write, elevate the conversation and endeavor to become known for the information you disseminate.

If you have a friend who posts cute kitten photos ad nauseam, there’s no need to leave a sarcastic remark; ignore the posts and leave a comment when she later posts information that is helpful or inspiring. There are examples every day of people resorting to name-calling and blasphemy on Facebook and other networks. If this happens to you, move on to the next message and forget about it. If the remark is from a Facebook friend, you can unfriend the person or hide all of his or her future posts.

You aren’t going to like all the messages you read on social media networks, and you may even find some to be obscene. There’s no need to engage with people who are banal or to react angrily. Instead, set an admirable example of appropriate behavior while always striving to be sincere, generous, and tolerant.

Now for the Fun: Let’s Get Social

When people first hear that they need thirty minutes a day to be effective on social media, they usually complain, “But I don’t have an extra thirty minutes in my day.”

That isn’t entirely true.

Yes, these days we have more items on our to-do lists than we can possibly accomplish in a day. However, we can take just fifteen minutes in the morning to curate, write, and schedule our posts. All that's needed in the afternoon is another fifteen minutes to check our news feeds. Leave an occasional comment on your friends’ and fans' Facebook posts, retweet and reply to your Tweeps' messages, and re- view your LinkedIn and Google+ news feeds. On Twitter, use this time to follow new Tweeps, follow people back, and unfollow Tweeps who aren't following you back. You can use applications such as JustUnfollow, SproutSocial, and Tweepi to find and unfollow Twitter users.

Social media is all about nurturing relationships. Did someone re- tweet one of your messages? Find a tweet they wrote that you like and return the favor. Send a note of thanks to all your retweeters too. Be- come acquainted with your new followers. Is there an agent or editor on LinkedIn with whom you'd like to connect, but can't because they are a 3rd degree connection? Ask a friend to introduce you. Did a col- league just publish a new book? Let your friends and connections know about it. Socializing on social media involves these three steps: meet, connect, and repeat. You are constantly meeting new people, connecting with them, and then repeating the process with someone else. Be friendly, positive, and open to meeting new people.

You don’t have time to be social, you say? Use your mobile device (smartphone or tablet) while watching a movie at home, waiting at your doctor’s office, letting the color set on your hair at your stylist’s salon, waiting for a friend to arrive at a coffee shop, or while standing in line at Costco. Whether you have an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other device, you can socialize online whenever you have some idle time. If you don’t have idle time, then it’s important to schedule some in.

If you’re the type of person who needs to schedule virtual socialization into your day, then set an alarm to sound at four p.m. or four thirty p.m. and do it then. Take a break from your regular work, go online, and interact with your readers.

Seven Dos and Don’ts

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Don’t engage with people who send you negative messages. Take a deep breath, move on to another task, and forget about them.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. You will inevitably receive invitations to play Farmville, Scrabble, and other online games. Unless you find these games relaxing, you won't want to use these diversions because they tend to consume time that you could instead use connecting with your Face- book friends or writing your next book.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Do you feel pressured to use every social media network available to you? Don't fall for that trap. If you don't have the time to man- age LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, In- stagram, and RebelMouse, determine which platforms best enable you to connect with your audience and best fit your marketing style and goals. In order not to become lost in time suck, you will need to learn how to manage your time. For example, perhaps you need to use LinkedIn for only five minutes three times a week. That's okay. Maybe you don't have the time to schedule more than four tweets daily. Don't worry. You don't need to maximize your efforts on every social media network. Use the ones that most appeal to you, are helping you to build relationships, and in turn are connecting you with your readership and selling your books.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Don’t use your book jacket as your avatar (profile picture). People want to see the face behind the book, so put on some blush or go to the barber, brush your hair, and smile for the camera.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Set your Facebook notifications to receive an e-mail whenever you are mentioned or you are tagged in a photo.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you use SocialOomph, sign up for alerts notifying you of when you were retweeted or mentioned and when your hashtag was used.

Apps to Help You Be More Social

The biggest hindrances to being social are the streams of incoming messages in your news feeds. If you are following 2,000 Twitter users, it can be difficult to cut through the slush to find the gems that you’ll find worth retweeting.

One way you can cut through the plethora of messages is to find and join Twitter chats that focus on specific areas of interest. Nothing can replace the feeling of immediacy that interacting with a wide number of people on Twitter will provide. They are interesting, fun, and, de- pending on the topic, very entertaining. Use these applications to find a Twitter chat that you might enjoy:

Twchat (http://twchat.com)

With this application, you can create real-time chat rooms based on your selected Twitter hashtag. A Twitter hashtag might be #memoirchat, #poetchat, #suspensechat, or #marketingchat.

TweetGrid (www.tweetgrid.com)

With this application, you can keep track of multiple keywords, including multiple Twitter chats. You can even join more than one chat, and the website will create grids with live updates within each stream. In essence, it creates real-time chat rooms based on the Twitter hashtags in use.

Tweet Chats listed by the day of the week

(http://gnosisarts.com/index.php?title=Tweetchat_Wiki/By_Day)

Go to the wiki page to find lists of chats organized by the day of the week. There are chats on book marketing (#bookmarket), writing (#writechat), blogging (#blogchat), screenwriting (#scriptchat), social media (#socialchat), connecting readers to writers (#litchat), ebook discussions (#epubchat), and more. The list is exhaustive.

InkyGirl (http://inkygirl.com/twitter-chats-for-writers/related- info/where-else-can-i-find-twitter-chat-info.html)

Inky Girl lists Twitter chats just for writers. Check out this wiki page and find chats for your genre or areas of interest.

Twubs (http://twubs.com/twitter-chats)

Once you sign up with Twubs, you can join chats, and the application will automatically add the hashtag to your tweets. You can even join Twitter chats right on the Twubs website. It’s convenient and fast and keeps you updated about the latest addition to the conversation.

Applications to Help You Find Newsy Nuggets

People post about everything on social media. They show pictures of gluten-free lasagna, a son’s graduation, and trending videos on YouTube. If you would like to view and comment on these posts, then do so. But if you want to find the real news and join conversations with more substance, there are a variety of applications that can help you.

Nutshell Mail (www.nutshellmail.com)

You will determine whether you want to receive an update once or twice daily and at what time. When the e-mail arrives, it will manage your Facebook pages by keeping track of Likes, posts, comments, and Facebook's analytics (Insights). On your profile, it will update you about birthdays, friend requests, wall posts, event and group invites, and messages. On Twitter, it will keep track of new follows and un- follows, mentions, and tweets from your favorite lists in your Twitter summary. You can even tweet, reply, retweet, and send a direct message without leaving your in-box. On LinkedIn, you can keep up on social profile updates and even monitor your discussion groups.

Newsle (http://newsle.com)

Newsle will send you e-mail alerts when people you follow are mentioned in articles online. It's always a friendly gesture to send the per- son an e-mail or tweet congratulating them on the mention or a great post they wrote. According to the application's creators, "Newsle tracks real news. Every story in your Newsle news feed is a real news article from a newspaper, news website, or blog that mentions or quotes your friend." To set it up, simply connect to Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn. Review the settings to select how often you want to receive an e-mail notification.

Commun.it (www.commun.it)

This app will analyze your relationships and help you to engage with them better. The basic service is free and keeps track of your followers and interactions. With a single glance, you’ll know which users you should follow and which of your Tweeps you need to thank or send a reply to. This application allows users to manage their Twitter lists and also provides analytics.

Bottlenose (www.bottlenose.com)

Marketed as “next generation social intelligence,” Bottlenose will help you to measure your following. This website provides tools to enable early detection and ongoing analysis of emerging trends, opportunities, and relationships. It also acts as a search engine. It will scan all forms of social media in real time to show you what your followers are paying attention to right now.

Cloze (www.cloze.com)

Cloze is a free application that combines your social media and e- mail in one place. It promises to reduce the noise—and perhaps the clutter—by learning who is important in your life and moving them to the top of your in-box. You can see your friends' activity, respond to them, retweet their posts, or move on to the next item. The creators say this about it: "Cloze analyzes your e-mail and social history to learn who matters to you, giving everyone a Cloze Score. With the Cloze Score as our guide, we sort your mail and social messages into different lists, organized by importance."

When you check your LinkedIn page, the application can show you the influencers within your skill set, and it will indicate how you are connected to them. If they are a first-degree connection, you can con- tact them directly. [_ Note: You'll need to ask for introductions to second- and ] [_third-degree connections. This is a productive way to connect with your cur-] rent connections and make new ones.

If you are using the skills feature on LinkedIn—and after all, why wouldn't you?—LinkedIn will show you users who share similar skills and note their names, pictures, and titles. If they are considered first- degree connections, you can send them a message and ask to be connected. While you're on LinkedIn, take a few minutes to endorse the skills of some of your contacts, request recommendations, and send recommendations to your colleagues. You can also check in on one or two of your groups and determine whether you have information to add to the conversation.

Tweetbot

Tweetbot is a Twitter app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that's avail- able on iTunes. It offers a customizable tab bar that helps you to manage your lists and filter out tweets from Tweeps you don't need to follow closely. The cost is a one-time fee of $2.99.

Facebook Messenger (www.facebook.com/mobile/messenger)

This nifty tool will help you to keep in touch with friends who are messaging you. You can use it on your PC, iPhone, or Android—and it’s free.

Facebook Pages Manager App (available on iTunes and Google Store)

If you have more than one Facebook page, you may need this application to manage and respond to comments on your pages. This is a great tool for when you’re away from the office or your home.

Evernote Hello (http://evernote.com/hello)

Designed for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android, this application can connect your electronic calendar or organizer, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook account to help you stay in touch with the people you know. It has a number of features, including the ability to scan business cards.

Status Shuffle (available on iTunes and Google Store)

This application will suggest newsy and funny status updates and tweets for you.

WordPress Plugins to Help You Build Community

You can add an assortment of plugins for your WordPress website to the list of hundreds of thousands of apps that exist today to promote community and build engagement. Here are a few:

Gravity Forms (www.gravityforms.com/purchase-gravity-forms)

For $39, you can purchase this plugin and enjoy an unlimited amount of forms, auto-responders, spam protection, updates, and support. This plugin integrates with iContact and aWeber e-mail newsletter programs.

Digg Digg (http://wordpress.org/plugins/digg-digg)

Have you noticed the ribbon of social media icons that appear along- side the blogs you read? You can install this plugin to encourage so- cial sharing right from your website. Social sharing buttons include Twitter, Buffer, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Digg, LinkedIn, Google+1, and many more.

Social Stickers (http://wordpress.org/plugins/social-stickers)

If the floating ribbon of Digg Digg seems too assertive, you can try this plugin, which will also point your readers to a variety of social networks.

Facebook Like Box

(https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like-box)

No website is complete without a Facebook Like box. Use this app to encourage more Likes on your Facebook page.

Follow on Twitter button (https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons)

You’ll find a number of different formats for your Twitter button, including “tweet” and “follow on Twitter.” Select the button you prefer, and copy the html code onto your website.

Yoast for SEO Optimization (http://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one- seo-pack)

Are you confused about search engine optimization? This plugin breaks down the elements and makes it easy for your blog post to rise higher in Google’s rankings.

Facebook subscribe plugin

(https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/follow)

Including the Follow button on your website enables people to follow your profile without sending you a friend request. In turn, they are able to see all your public posts.

LinkWithin (www.linkwithin.com)

This is another plug-in that needs to be on your must-have list. The widget will automatically appear at the end of each new post and re- fer your readers to previous posts that are similarly relevant.

Comment-Moderation System

Disqus (https://disqus.com) and Livefyre (www.livefyre.com) are both highly rated comment-moderation systems. A comment- moderation system is a method to review comments left on your blog so that you can easily differentiate the spam from the sincere comments. Actually, once you install these tools they will do most of the work for you.

How to Find New Tweeps

Spend a few minutes during this part of the day broadening your sphere of contacts by using one of the applications below to help you find new Twitter followers:

JustUnfollow (www.justunfollow.com)

This is a straightforward application to use. Once you sign up, you can use it to follow and unfollow users. Try the free version first.

ManageFlitter (www.manageflitter.com)

Use this application to find new followers, unfollow spammers you hadn’t suspected, and unfollow those users who simply aren’t following you back. You can also use this application to send some tweets and track your keywords.

SocialOomph (www.socialoomph.com)

SocialOomph offers two systems for finding new followers for you to review. You can “mimic” another person’s account—have So- cialOomph look for users who follow someone you respect in the writing field—or search for new users by keywords you select.

Tweepi (www.tweepi.com)

Tweepi will let you unfollow as many people as you’d like. You can also use it to follow someone else’s followers, follow those users who are following a writer you admire, or access the followers on another user’s list, provided the list is public.

Suggested Steps

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Use the free version of ManageFlitter to find new people to follow on Twitter.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Read The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Write a blog post featuring a writer you met on Twitter or LinkedIn.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Download Facebook Messenger to stay on top of your Facebook messages (which are not posts but e-mails sent to you via Face- book).

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Sign up for Nutshell Mail, a free application that contains most of the information you need to know to stay on top of what's hap- pening with your accounts and your friends.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Use JustUnfollow.com or Tweepi.com to unfollow Tweeps who aren’t following you back.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Start using a comment-moderation system such as Disqus.

Conclusion

Schedule fifteen minutes every day to socialize with your virtual connections. Like some posts, leave a few comments, retweet interesting blog posts, find new people to follow, and endorse the skills of your connections on LinkedIn. Check on one of your LinkedIn groups, and join the conversation. Read a blog post by someone you admire and leave a comment. This is the best part of social media, so have fun with it.

[]
A goal without a plan is just a wish.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer and poet

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[6]

Tools to Track Your Analytics and Measure Your Success

Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives.

One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it.

That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.

—Denis Waitley

IN MANY WAYS, this chapter should have been the first. Before you

even start to use social media, you need to establish your goals. This isn’t a new concept. In fact, it was Habit No. 2 (start with the end in mind) in Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Since then, it has become the mantra of all forms of marketing.

Develop a Marketing Plan

Perhaps your goal is to be a successful writer. How do you define success? Some writers might consider earning $50,000/year from their books a mark of success while others might be happy with $5,000. Whatever your goal might be, what are the steps you need to—and are willing to—take to achieve that goal? For example:

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How many social media networks are you willing to use?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How much time are you willing to spend on writing press re- leases and following up with reporters?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How often would you need to appear for a reading at bookstores and book groups?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How much time would you be willing to dedicate to Twitter, retweeting others, and building a community?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How committed are you to being engaged with your Face- book fans?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How many LinkedIn groups will you contribute to?

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. How many blog posts will you write each week?

If you hope to gain 3,500 Twitter followers in one month, do you know how many people you should follow each day? If it’s your goal to have 5,000 Facebook fans in twelve months, how much money are you planning to invest in Facebook advertising?

It’s important to spend time thinking about how you define success and what you hope to achieve with your book. Then create a chart that outlines each step that will bring you closer to each of your goals. The chart will serve two purposes: you can use it as your to-do list and as your list of accomplishments.

A marketing plan isn’t just busywork. A plan will help you stay focused. There will be days when you ask yourself, “What can I do to trigger more book sales?” Or you might ask yourself, “What can I do to garner more influence on Twitter?” On those days, you can return to your marketing plan and determine what your next step will be. In other words, writing your goals down will help you to stay focused and moving forward.

Having a marketing plan will also help you to stay organized. Let’s say that your plan calls for joining Twitter first and really learning how to use it well before branching off into Facebook or LinkedIn. A written goal will help you to remember that, with time, you will conquer other social media platforms you intend to join, but that now you really need to better understand Twitter.

Just Being on Social Media Isn’t a Goal

Many writers make the mistake of thinking that by being on Face- book and Twitter or other social media channels they’ve already accomplished a goal.

That’s not true. They are merely using a tool that will help them achieve a stated outcome. So define the purpose of your online activity, become clear on your purpose, and determine whether the out- comes you achieve will enable you to reach your overall goal.

How to Find Your Online Groove

Have you been reading your news feeds, curating information, and finding great nuggets of information to share on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms? Have you tried some of the applications mentioned earlier in this book and become adept at scheduling tweets and LinkedIn posts?

You may be starting to enjoy the time you spend in the afternoon commenting on other people’s posts, retweeting gems of information or great images, and finding new authors to follow. Perhaps you’ve joined an occasional Twitter chat about ebooks, self-publishing, or blogging. By now, you might be enjoying new friendships with your Tweeps from Australia, Malaysia, and New York and may have started to help each other to expand your readership into new continents.

The next step is to analyze your efforts to make sure that you are on your way to achieving your established goals. One of your goals should be to further your brand—you—by using social media. Do you know how close you are to achieving this goal?

Here are some examples of why you need to pay attention to analyses of your hard work:

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. What if you started to use an application that helped you discover that your Facebook posts were appealing to more women than men? Would that information prompt you to adjust your messaging?

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. What if you discovered that your tweets were most often re- tweeted at five a.m. Eastern Standard Time? Would that information cause you to start scheduling your posts when East Coast residents are more likely to be online and using social media?

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. What if you were to discover that a significant number of your Facebook fans were from Great Britain? Wouldn’t you want to schedule some of your status updates to the United Kingdom’s time zone?

The obvious answer to the above questions is yes.

With analytics—whether it’s Facebook’s free Insights or an application you pay for—you can better understand the demographics (age, sex, location) of your following and learn when they tend to be online so that you can tailor your messaging and the timing accordingly. Applications that measure your return on investment (ROI) will en- sure that your time on social media is well spent.

Don’t worry; analytics aren’t difficult to interpret. There are plenty of applications on the market to conduct the intricacies of calculating the metrics and providing detailed reports. The hardest decision you will have to make is determining which application is right for you. There is a wide variety of apps available at an equally varied price range, so review the benefits of each application and weigh them against the cost so you can determine which application is best suited for you.

Apps to Measure Traffic and Conversion

Here are some programs that will teach you how to get more conversions on your website by learning which nugget of content on a page attracts an audience and keeps them on your website viewing additional pages:

Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics)

This free product from Google will provide you with insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. For example, you can determine whether your website visitors are coming from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+, what they do while they are on your website, and how often they return. Everyone who has a website needs to use this tool.

Yahoo Web Analytics (http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/us/yahoo/analytics/)

Web Analytics and Advertising Insights from Yahoo! collects data about your website but won’t reveal your visitors’ names, ages, or phone numbers. It’s similar to Google Analytics but not as popular. However, some say that Yahoo’s product provides more information than its Google counterpart does. You should use one of these two products because it will help you determine the type of content your audience prefers.

CrazyEgg (http://www.crazyegg.com)

Wouldn’t you like to know which messaging on your website works best to convert your visitors into readers who purchase your books and sign up for your newsletter? This application will do that. The program creates a “scrollmap” to show you which part of any page on your website is the most read, as well as other maps that demonstrate which part of each web page on your website inspires your visitors to click links and linger. This application takes Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics a step further by showing what happens on your website. This program is worth trying. The makers offer a thirty- day free trial. Prices start at just $9/month.

Analytical Tools Just for Your Facebook Pages

Facebook Insights

Once your Facebook page accumulates sufficient Likes, Facebook’s free analytics tool becomes available as part of your administrative panel. Insights will provide in-depth information about your follower counts, Likes, comments, shares, demographics, and more. Each week you’ll be able to see a seven-day review of the most engaging activity on your page and how your fan base is growing, compare the performance of your posts so that you can learn which messaging works best, and discover more about the people who comment and share your posts. A great feature of Insights is that it will provide you with demographics on not only your fans but also the number of people you reached through shares. This tool will, over time, teach you how to better engage with your readers on Facebook.

LikeAlyzer (http://likealyzer.com)

All you need to do is type in the web address of your Facebook page (not your profile), and this free program will analyze your engagement. Your score will be somewhere between 1 and 100. The higher your score, the better your page is performing. This application will rate your growth in page Likes, rank your score against similar pages, measure your response time to comments left by fans, determine whether you are asking questions often enough, and remind you to denote more milestones. Basically, it provides an at-a-glance look at the areas you excel in and the areas that need improvement. Every- one with a Facebook page should take advantage of this free analytics program.

SocialNumbers (http://us.socialnumbers.com)

To discover how your page fares compared to similar pages, type in your Facebook URL. If you want to know which pages are trending on Facebook, you can also find that information on this free informational site.

Subscription-Based Tools

SproutSocial (www.sproutsocial.com)

For $39/month, SproutSocial will analyze your Facebook and Twitter accounts. The analytics are comprehensive, and in addition to a PDF report, you can download an Excel spreadsheet that examines your click-through rates on a day-by-day basis. It provides in-depth demographics and measures tweets, retweets, follows, mentions, re- plies, and direct messages. It will also measure how social you are and determine your influence. You can also use this application to schedule your posts, unfollow users, and, at the premium level, it will determine your best posting times.

SocialAppsHQ (www.socialappshq.com)

Use this application to monitor conversations occurring on the web about you, your books, and the self-publishing industry in general. It takes less than ten minutes to set up. It pulls information from your Google Analytics account to tabulate page views and visits. Pricing starts at $1.99/month for Facebook monitoring and $49/month for social media monitoring. You can also test this application for free.

Measureful (www.measureful.com)

For $49/month, this application will analyze your data every week, build your reports, and send them to you. Measureful automatically distills your Google Analytics data into weekly insights and reports. You can connect your accounts in five minutes or less and wait for the reports to arrive.

Social Report (www.socialreport.com)

For just $9/month, Social Report will connect to a variety of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Blogger, and LinkedIn, and provide weekly and daily digests of your web analytics. The metrics include insights into your social networking accounts and the interests, geographical locations, and gender of your readers. These types of metrics will enable you to hone your con- tent and marketing language to better suit your audience. For $39/month, you can also use this tool to schedule your messages and track goals and objectives.

Curalate (www.curalate.com)

Curalate will analyze social media conversations and provide insights into your Pinterest and Instagram profiles. Use it to measure, monitor, and grow your influence. In today’s increasingly visual world of applications, Curalate can combine sophisticated image recognition algorithms with technologies to provide you with an analysis of your images at a pixel level. If you’re a photographer or artist, this is the analytic tool you need.

Cyfe (www.cyfe.com)

Cyfe provides an all-in-one dashboard of metrics from Google Analytics, MailChimp, Amazon, Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, and other tools. You can start with a free trial and, if you like it, sign up for the $19/month program.

Analytics SEO Software (www.analyticsseo.com)

A free account will provide you with an analysis of one user, twenty keywords, social media metrics, and one hundred pages and back- links. It also offers a software package that provides online search engine optimization (SEO) and SEO advice, data, and tools. Check the website for pricing.

Actionly (www.actionly.com)

You can use this social-media-monitoring tool to measure online buzz about your books and the response to each post you schedule to determine which tweets and posts were most effective. Its dashboard provides information on positive and negative remarks and measures the success of your Facebook and Twitter posts. This application also integrates with Google Analytics. Individual plans are $20/month, or you can test drive it with a free trial.

Social Crawlytics (https://socialcrawlytics.com)

This is a free tool you can use by simply signing in with Twitter. In clear columns, it will provide you with information on how many people navigated to your website from Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Delicious. It will also tell you how many of your web- site pages were shared, how many downloads occurred, and how many pages were scanned. This is important information to have.

Socialbro (www.socialbro.com)

If you want to measure your account growth and determine the best times of day to send your tweets, then SocialBro is a great app to use. This application will bring into focus your target audience and help you better understand your audience on Twitter. It will also monitor hashtags, keywords, and URLs. Plans start at $6.95/month.

Tweriod (www.tweriod.com)

You can try this application for free or start a premium account for just $3.99/month. Tweriod will provide a monthly analysis of your Twitter follower base, providing summary statistics, numbers on mentions and replies, and a measure of your influence. If you use Buffer to schedule your tweets, Tweriod will determine your best tweeting times and automatically synchronize that information to your Buffer queue.

HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com)

Yes, this application known for scheduling your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter posts also provides analytics when you purchase the paid version, which costs $8.99/month. The paid version will also allow you to post to your Google+ page.

Buffer (www.bufferapp.com)

This is another scheduler that offers detailed analytics on all your posts to every social network when you purchase one of its paid plans. It will also work seamlessly with SocialBro and automatically queue up your best tweeting times.

Bit.ly (bit.ly.com)

You’re probably already familiar with Bit.ly as a link shortener. When you consistently use this website to shorten your links, Bit.ly will track click-through rates for you for free. It also offers a paid enterprise analytics platform to help you learn more about your website visitors. For example, it will track where members of your audience navigate to once they leave your website, track your keywords, pro- vide you with custom links that reflect your brand, and notify you of trending content. You need to contact Bit.ly for its enterprise pro- gram fees.

Crowdbooster (http://crowdbooster.com)

Crowdbooster offers a thirty-day free trial. After that, plans start as low as $9/month. At that price, this application will analyze your Facebook (up to 50,000 fans) and Twitter (up to 50,000 followers) pages. You can also use this app to schedule your tweets and Facebook updates, and you will receive weekly summaries analyzing your progress.

Analytics Just for Pinterest

These applications will analyze your results on Pinterest. At this time, Pinterest’s free analytics are available only to businesses with verified websites. Hint: Self-published writers are businesses, so convert your profile to a business account, and gain access to this platform’s analytics feature.

Piqora (www.piqora.com)

You can use Piqora for Pinterest, Tumblr (a great social media net- work to use if you write for the young adult audience), and Instagram. If you are serious about monetizing your blog and selling more books, this application will track hashtags and provide conversion and revenue metrics.

Shareaholic for Pinterest – a Chrome Extension

This cool tool performs similarly to the Pinterest icon (a hyperlinked logo that you can add to your website). This button enables you to see the pin count for each page as you navigate the web. Simply search for the app in your browser’s search bar.

Pinalytics (www.pinalytics.co.uk)

You can use this social media tool to find, track, and evaluate content and interactions on Pinterest. The developers hope this app will help you reach new audiences and track conversions (purchases). By typing any term in the search bar—such as your name or book title—you will discover if the term is trending. Alternatively, you can use it to discover trending authors, books, or images that reflect your niche.

How Influential Are You? Use These Apps to Find Out

Peer Index (www.peerindex.com)

Some people count the number of followers they have to determine their influence on Twitter. Peer Index promises to go deeper so that users can drive more conversations and actions on the social web. You can sign up for this free application with your Twitter account, and it will in turn provide you with a colorful rainbow of numbers that reflect your influence in different categories. Some people like to broadcast their social influence scores while others believe that these types of applications turn social media into a popularity contest. If you’re active on social media and regularly get retweets or Likes, then you’ve got influence and you likely won’t need to use this tool.

AgoraPulse (http://barometer.agorapulse.com)

You can use this tool (for free) and instantly learn how your Facebook page—not your profile— is doing. The black numbers represent your performance, and the orange numbers are average performance figures. You will be ranked in these categories: fans reached, engagement, people talking about, negative feedback, viral reach, organic reach, and click-through rates (clicks from Facebook to your website, blog, or Amazon). Are you reaching or surpassing the industry stand- ards? Find out.

Stats by Quora (www.quora.com)

Quora developed this tool to help writers understand the impact they have on the world and to measure the reach of what they write and the size of their audience. You can view metrics on one web page with this tool. You can also use Quora to research topics and see what’s trending.

Twtrland (www.twtrland.com)

Type in a term, such as writer , and you’ll find the top writers on social media right now. Or, you can type in your own name and this application will summarize your daily average tweets, number of retweets per hundred tweets, and number of replies. It will also list your top followers. You can also use this tool to measure the reach of a key- word, a hashtag you use, or a competing author. You can try it out for free. A premium account costs $19.99/month.

TweetReach (www.tweetreach.com)

If you enter a tweet you wrote during the week in the search bar, TweetReach will measure how far it traveled. However, this app is more than a Twitter search engine. Services include measuring and archiving tweets and generating analyses of recent tweets to deter- mine which messaging works best with your audience. You may experience sticker shock when you review the plans. Pricing starts at $84/month, but you can always opt for the free trial.

Twitalyzer (http://twitalyzer.com)

Type in your username and this app will tell you what type of user you are, calculate your Klout score (social influence), and determine your influence on Twitter. Its paid plans start at $19/month and will allow you to track one account and one hashtag daily.

Suggested Steps

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you don’t yet have thirty-five page Likes on Facebook, encourage your friends and followers on Twitter to like your page. Then you’ll have access to Insights and you’ll be able to teach yourself how to improve engagement on your page. Have you added any

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. milestones to your page? Do you allow your fans to post on your page? Do you know where your fans live? Try LikeAlyzer to find out what you need to work on next.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Sign up for Google Analytics (it’s free) and CrazyEgg ($9/month) to determine whether your website messaging is keeping your audience interested.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you use HootSuite or Buffer to schedule your posts and you pay for the service, you’ll be able to use these programs to measure your results. Check out the reports, and determine whether the information provided sufficiently measures your progress in using these tools.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you decide that you’re not pleased with the analytics on Buffer and Hootsuite, sign up for SproutSocial to analyze both your Facebook and Twitter accounts. In addition, consider signing up for SocialBro or Tweriod so you can start tweeting when the majority of your followers are on Twitter.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you’re active on Pinterest, use one of the programs mentioned in this chapter to analyze your performance.

Conclusion

Once a week, analyze your performance from the previous week, and determine whether there are any weak areas in your social media messaging. Maybe you need to add more images or shorten your messages. Remember to reply to messages as soon as you can, and always remain positive. Study the metrics and strive each week to improve engagement.

[]
Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.

—Jim Rohm, author and speaker

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[7]

Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing

Inspiration is the windfall from hard work and focus.
Muses are too unreliable to keep on the payroll.

—Helen Hanson

AS AUTHORS, WE love to read, write, and talk about books and stories. Yet, despite our love for stringing words together and searching for the most appropriate metaphor, there is always the temptation of a distraction. Maybe it’s the cup of licorice tea you want—again. Or a podcast from Fresh Air that you keep forgetting to listen to but for some reason right now seems to be a great time to do that. Isn’t now, when you have this space of time set aside, the perfect time to do oth- er things? Perhaps the phone rings, you answer it, and you lose a half hour of your precious writing time to catch up with your sister or brother-in-law. Then the dog plops its head on your lap and trains its sorrowful brown eyes on you, begging for a walk or a treat.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

There are plenty of distractions in the world, and as writers we some- times need to ignore each and every one of them, retreat to our favor- ite space, lock the door, and just write.

The process sounds easy, but it isn’t. Sure, there are those writers who rise every morning, write for five hours, have lunch, take a swim, and then return to their families. But how many authors have the resources and freedom to adhere to that schedule? Many of us need to wedge writing into the tight spaces of our lives. We rise before the sun breaks the horizon, work all day, and interact with our families in the evenings. We promise ourselves that we will write every morning from five to seven a.m. to pursue our passion, live our dream, and let the stories run wild on the page.

It sounds doable, right? But it’s never as easy as it seems.

Many of us start with the best of intentions. We set our alarm clocks at ungodly hours of the morning, awake with little eagerness, and harness ourselves to our computers. Ah, the computer. Now there’s another source for many of our digressions.

If your Facebook or Twitter accounts are distracting you from getting the hard work of writing done every day, don’t worry. There’s help for you. There exists an entire universe of tools that writers can use to help them become more efficient during the time they set aside for their writing, make their writing life easier, and avoid many of the distractions we face every day.

Really. Just keep reading.

Help! I Can’t Get Back onto Facebook

Anti-Social (http://anti-social.cc)

The Internet is so tempting. It’s said that Jonathan Franzen obliterated the Ethernet card in his laptop and locked himself in a drab room to avoid distractions that would divert his attention away from his manuscript. Think about it. You sit down to write and suddenly you wonder what you should prepare for dinner or which bottle of wine you should purchase when you go to Costco later in the day. If this happens to you, Anti-Social may be the app you need. Basically, this app will block you from your own temptations whenever you’re trying to write. This is how it works. Suppose you want to spend the next three hours writing. Just turn on Anti-Social, schedule it for three hours, and you’ll be blocked from distracting social media websites. Unfortunately, this particular application is available only to Mac users; however, this may be a great reason to get rid of your PC and buy a new or used iMac.

SelfControl (http://selfcontrolapp.com)

Do you lack self-control when you’re on the Internet, checking into your LinkedIn groups or joining a Hangout on Google+? When you’re supposed to be writing your next book, do you find yourself sneaking a peek at your latest e-mail? You’re not alone. This free application will block you from accessing the websites that distract you the most for a set period of time that you determine. Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application. So make sure that you really don’t want to access those sites before you set the timer.

Write or Die (http://writeordie.com)

First, you configure your writing period, word goal, and your preferred punishment should your fingers stop typing. Once the setup is complete, you’ll need to type continuously; otherwise, there will be consequences. In case you’re wondering what those consequences might be, here they are:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.

*
p((<>{color:#000;}. Kamikaze Mode: You will need to keep writing or your work will unwrite itself. That consequence should keep everyone on track.

If you manage to reach your writing goal, you can save your new chapter or blog post to Dropbox, E-mail, Clipboard, or a text file, which is a computer file that only contains text and has no special formatting such as bolded, italicized or underlined text.

StayFocusd (https://chrome.google.com/webstore)

This is a free Chrome extension that will help you to stay more focused on your writing by restricting the amount of time you spend on websites that can absorb too much of your time (such as Pinterest). Let’s say that you allot yourself one hour on social media per day. This extension will make your designated networks, videos, and games unavailable to you until you’ve used up your time. This may be the perfect app for today’s world of writers.

Create an Atmosphere to Be More Efficient

WriteRoom (https://itunes.apple.com)

This is another tool available from Apple’s App Store for your Mac. WriteRoom is designed to be an alternative to Microsoft Word. Basically, the program allows you to write and that’s it. You can’t add formatting or insert screenshots. All you can do is write, and sometimes that’s exactly all we need to do, especially if we're writing non- fiction. This app costs $4.99.

TeamViz (http://www.teamviz.com)

If you haven’t yet heard of the Pomodoro Technique, it’s a time- management method that breaks down your workload into twenty- five-minute intervals divided by short breaks. This method, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, is based on the theory that frequent breaks improve mental agility. The idea is that if you break up your work into chunks of time, you will be more productive by the end of the day. TeamViz is an application that claims to improve your productivity by adhering to the Pomodoro Technique. I’m not certain how well it works with writers, but it might be worth a try especially if you find yourself starting to doze when you’re supposed to be writing engaging dialogue.

Coffitivity (http://coffitivity.com)

According to research, it can be more difficult for some people to be productive in a quiet space. That is why some people can get more writing done in the middle of Starbucks where people are chatting, ordering lattes, and munching on muffins. This app will create a background of coffee shop sounds to soothe you into your sweet spot of writing. It claims to produce the perfect mix of calm and commotion. This app is available for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac in the iTunes store for $1.99.

Readability (http://readability.com)

This application will help you save time by removing distractions and video ads from web pages you read. Instead of flashing headlines on a web page, it will look like a clean document. You can also use Read- ability to save web pages for reading later on a mobile device. This tool is available as a Chrome or Firefox extension and at the iTunes store for Apple products. Even if you don’t have trouble staying focused on your writing, this sounds like a good app to use.

Songza (http://songza.com)

This website offers an array of music for whatever your mood might be. If you want to chill, try Mellow Indie. If you want to keep up with what’s popular, click on Today’s Biggest Hits. If you’re writing and don’t want to hear any lyrics, click on Cool Jazz for Warm Nights or Ambient and listen to the sound of birds chirping and waves washing ashore. There’s music for every taste here. If music helps you write, try Songza.

Collaborating with Another Writer? Try These Apps

Synchroedit (www.synchroedit.com)

If you’re working on a book with a colleague, this application allows you both to edit a single web-based page at the same time, from wherever you happen to be. The website will synchronize changes so that both writers end up with the same version.

Poetica (www.poetica.com)

With Poetica, you can collaborate with friends and colleagues on blog posts, chapters, and poems. Or, you can use this application to share your work with a close friend or editor.

Writing on the Go? Keep Your Research Ubiquitous

Evernote (http://evernote.com/evernote)

If you use a PC or Mac, iPad, and/or a laptop to write, then you may find Evernote a useful tool. You can place research, documents, images, audio notes, and web clips (web pages) into this app and access them wherever you happen to be and on whatever device you’re using at the time. For example, while working on your PC you may find an image that you like, save it to Evernote, and when you’re in a coffee shop with your laptop later in the day, you'll be able to access it to post on Facebook. With this tool, you’ll have access to all your re- search for your next book wherever you happen to be seated and with whichever device you happen to be using.

Dropbox (www.dropbox.com/about)

This free application was developed in 2007 by MIT students who were tired of e-mailing files to themselves as they moved from one computer to another. Similar to Evernote, you can save files, photos, and videos to your Dropbox on your iPad or laptop, and access the information later on your PC or iMac at home. Dropbox offers both free and fee-based versions.

Byword (http://bywordapp.com)

You can use this “markdown editor” application on your PC, iPad, or Mac. Use it to write a blog post on your iPad, review it on your PC, and publish it on WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger. You can also export directly to Evernote and Dropbox. Basically, markdown creates easy- to-read text, similar to plain text e-mails, which don’t contain format- ting. The lack of formatting makes the text easier to convert to HTML code for your website.

Tools to Improve Your Writing

If you have trouble with possessives or antecedents, or if you would just like to improve your grammar and the quality of your writing, you may want to try one of these tools.

Grammarly (www.grammarly.com)

If you don’t have time to read or check a grammar book and you don’t trust Microsoft Word’s tool for checking grammar and spelling, Grammarly may be a good choice for you. Once you finish a blog post or short story, cut and paste your text into this website. Grammarly will analyze your text and explain the errors you made. The plans for this tool start at $11.66 month.

English Grammar Book (https://play.google.com/store)

This free app is designed for Android devices. Its features include practice exercises and detailed explanations of your errors.

Wordcounter (www.wordcounter.com)

Do you tend to overuse certain words when you write? If you do, cut and paste your written text into this web page, and it will tally the frequency of your word usage. It can be a very helpful tool. And it’s free.

Cliché Finder (http://cliche.theinfo.org)

If you find yourself tired as you try to reach your writing goal for the day, and you start using clichés because they come to you so easily, use this application to banish them. Even if you’re not sure if you’re using an overused cliché, pass your text through this app to root them out.

When All You Can Do Is Stare at the Blank Page: How to Beat the Block

Help Me Write (http://helpmewrite.com)

You can use this application to keep your blog relevant and meet the expectations and needs of your target audience. Here’s how it works. Let’s say that you don’t know what to write about next for your blog post. You turn to Help Me Write, add a few subjects to your profile page, and then share it with your social media platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook, querying your fans and followers about what they would most like to read about on your blog. This way, you can discern what is most important to your audience, and then produce the post that they will want to read.

Writing Prompts and Character Prompts (http://www.21×20.com)

The house is empty, you have a steaming cup of tea next to your key- board, and you're ready to start writing. But there's a problem. You don’t know what to say in your next blog post. Or perhaps you don’t know how to start the next chapter of your novel or end a poem you started a week ago. The Writing Prompts app claims that it will come to your rescue with its database of 600 writing prompts. Meanwhile, Character Prompt will offer you 19 profile characteristics, thousands of character twists, and 150 questions to help you develop your characters. Various versions of these two apps range from $1.99 to $4.99 and are available for Apple, Android, and Kindle devices.

Writer’s Block Buster (https://itunes.apple.com)

This is another application that will help to crumble your writer's block into little pieces and leave you with a vision of where your char- acters need to go. It also has a clever feature that will allow you to keep track of your characters, places where they live or travel to, and scenarios in your novel. In addition, there are features to assist you with character and plot development, dialogue, and the mechanics of writing. All these features come for the price of $3.99.

Creativity Portal’s Imagination Prompt Generator (http://www.creativity-portal.com)

The imagination prompt will offer up prompts for starting a fictional story. This app is part of the Creativity Portal, which will suggest ide- as for creative projects. Creativity Portal also has other applications in its portfolio, including The Story Starter and Writing Fix. If you’re a teacher, Writing Fix also suggests ideas for how to teach different aspects of writing.

Poetreat (http://poetreatapp.com)

If you’re trying to write in iambic pentameter, or you’re looking for a new rhyme for your next poem, Poetreat is an application that will try to help you find the rhymes you need to continue the rhythm of your words. You can also use this application to post your poems on Face- book and Twitter.

When You Need the Perfect Word

Wordoid (wordoid.com)

If you start a business and need a unique name, or if you are having trouble inventing plausible words for your paranormal fantasy, try using Wordoid. It will help you find made-up words that seem com- mon, such as discribe, unifican, or swegences.

[_ Merriam-Webster Dictionary (http://www.merriam- webster.com/promos/mobile-app-promo.htm) _]

Writers can’t write without a dictionary. We need it to verify correct spelling and expand our vocabulary. You can download a free version for your iPad or Android or pay for the premium app, which includes voice search, audio pronunciations, word of the day, and synonyms and antonyms.

Thesaurus (available on iTunes)

Where would writers be without a great thesaurus? For just $0.99 on iTunes, you can purchase one for your Apple devices.

Suggested Steps

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you can’t hide in the library or a coffee shop to write, use Coffitivity or Songza to create a different ambience in your office.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Are you collaborating on a book with a colleague? Try using Poetica so that you can easily share and edit each other’s work.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Bust those clichés from your written work by using Cliché Finder.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. If you find yourself staring at a blank page on your computer screen, use Writer’s Block Buster.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Before you press the Publish button, copy your post into Grammarly for a last-minute grammar check.

Conclusion

As writers, we sometimes have to force the words to flow just to get started. If you find yourself searching for a character flaw or a new plot twist, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from one of these applications. Don’t get stuck behind the obstacle of writer’s block; clear the hurdle, set the mood, and adhere to your writing schedule.

[]
I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.

—Golda Meir, served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1969—1974

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[8]

Don’t Forget to Blog

Good writing is like a windowpane.

—George Orwell

THE FOUNDATION OF every writer’s marketing platform doesn’t consist of the social media accounts we use. At the very bottom of every platform is the writing itself. Whether we write novels, memoir, nonfiction, poetry, plays, short stories, novellas, essays, or critiques, we must write superbly. And we must hire the best editors we can afford.

Your Blog Can Raise Your Platform to New Heights

After we send our creations out for publishing, we must return to the blank page and start all over again by starting an author blog and keeping it current. Blogging is a critical component of your marketing platform. Think of your blog as a stage that elevates you to a new height so members of your expanding audience can more easily see and hear you and engage directly with you. Your blog will also pro- vide you with an opportunity to keep your website updated and alive in the infinite galaxy of websites and improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) so that readers will more easily be able to find you and your books.

Here are just a few benefits to blogging:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Your blog will enable you to build a community with your readers and give them an opportunity to ask questions. This in turn will enable you to create relationships with your readers, learn from them, and help them get to know the author behind the story.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. You can turn to your readers to find out what they most want to know. Perhaps they’re interested in learning about the background of a minor character or would like to know why you named the dog in your book Legolas.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Is there some scuttlebutt about your book or about you online? A blog will enable you to take control of your identity.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Let’s say that you have a kernel of an idea for your next novel.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. You can use your blog to query your readers about your idea.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. By promoting your blog posts on social media, you will expand your readership.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Over time, blogging has the potential to lend you authority in your particular niche.

It’s All about the Content

The mantra we’ve all heard is “content is king.” But what does that mean exactly? Hasn’t that phrase devolved into a cliché, losing its prior meaning?

Just a few years ago, top bloggers were advising their followers to write “scan-able” articles with bullet points. The formula was to start with a great introduction, discuss a thesis, prove it with facts, ideas, or suggestions offered in bullet points, then write a conclusion and end with a question.

But a few years ago on the Internet is almost equivalent to a millennium.

If you want to be successful in your blogging today, the secret is to tell a story. According to researchers in Spain, when we read or listen to content delivered through storytelling, the parts of our brain that are used for experiencing events become activated. What occurs is that the stories you tell gear up your reader’s entire brain, making the content more interesting and more memorable.

For example, let’s take the word sandwich and compare the next two paragraphs.

Example 1

The term sandwich has a humorous etymology. It’s said that when John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich in the eighteenth century, would sit to play cards, he loved to eat bits and pieces of meat. One day, so as not to dirty his hands, he asked his valet to wedge some meat between two slices of bread. Consequently, others thought it was a great idea and began calling the dish a sandwich.

Example 2

Sandwiches are a mainstay of life in the United States and can be made with a variety of ingredients, including

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p((<>{color:#000;}. white or whole wheat bread,

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p((<>{color:#000;}. rolls,

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p((<>{color:#000;}. mustard,

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p((<>{color:#000;}. mayonnaise,

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p((<>{color:#000;}. pickles,

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p((<>{color:#000;}. tomatoes,

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p((<>{color:#000;}. and/or onions.

However, when using a hot dog or hamburger bun, they aren’t called sandwiches.

The first example lights up our brains, and just as important, it entertains us and delights us. The second example is boring. So when you set out to write an outstanding post, do what you do best: tell a story.

How to Get Started

You agree that you need an author blog, and you’re committed to writing your blog in a story format. But perhaps you’re wondering what you can possibly write about week after week. You may also be wondering if there is anything you can say on your blog that hasn’t been said before. Banish those thoughts. There are always new events occurring in the world around us. You can add a new twist to an established fact or share personal anecdotes that relate to your blog’s theme. You can also use one of the applications mentioned in Chapter 7 or use some ideas below to help you get started.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Go to Alltop.com and peruse subjects within your genre or niche. What are people writing about today? Do you agree with them? What could you add to the online discussion? For example, did you write a memoir about how you came to accept your gay son? Then write about the issue of gay marriage, adding your personal story. Did you write a historical novel that takes place in Spain? Write about the current economy and how it’s affecting the populace.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Go to your Twitter news feed. What is the hot issue among writers this morning? Do you have a stand on the issue? Or can you offer a solution to a problem being discussed? Maybe the issue is about Goodreads, or maybe it’s about something happening at Amazon. Explain the issue, then write about how you feel about it.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Go to Reddit.com and check out what’s trending. Then add your opinion to the blogosphere.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Tell your readers how you researched the historical context for your novel. Did you travel to France to conduct your re- search? Was there a specific librarian in your community who was indispensable? Acknowledge her (or him) and offer some advice so that your readers can learn from your experience. After all, some of your readers might be authors.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Experiment with podcasting. Interview some authors who write in the same genre as you, and include them on your blog. A podcast is a digital, recorded soundtrack that can be streamed online to your computer or downloaded to a portable media player such as an iPod. (See the Glossary for additional information about podcasting.)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Start with an excerpt from your book, and explain why it’s one of your favorite passages.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. If you had difficulties finishing your book, tell your readers what happened and what steps you took to finish the project on time, or tell them what occurred that suddenly filled you with renewed inspiration.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Is your book for young adults? Explain why you write for that audience and how it differs from the “new adult” demographic.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Promote a new book by another author that is in the same genre or is on a similar topic.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Share with your readers some of the experiences you had while writing the book. Did you take the ferry to San Francisco one day for a fresh perspective? Did you frequent flea markets in search of ideas for your characters’ attire? Did you sip a gin martini at a local dive as you searched for unusual character traits in people? Did you rent office space or hide at a retreat center?

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Survey your readers to find out what they would want to read in your blogs.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Take an issue and provide an in-depth examination of it. If you wrote a book on hiking, talk about an effort by state legislators to close a park, and encourage your readers to take a stand on the issue.

Are you still stumped? Try these strategies to jumpstart your creative mind:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Initiate a chat with an author you’ve met on Twitter and brainstorm ideas together.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Try to interview experts in blogging, self-publishing, and book covers. These topics are always interesting to writers. Caveat: It’s likely that these topics will not be interesting to your readers who don’t write, so this might not work with your audience.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Learn how to use keywords to give your content an opportunity to be discovered by as many people as possible.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. When the holidays are near, write a post about your favorite tips for being productive without driving yourself mad. Or write about how your family juggles the needs of your step- children and the ex-spouses.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Invite other authors to submit posts for your blog. Doing this will enable you to build a community with fellow writers.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Is there a series of blog posts you can write on a certain topic?

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Write a post about possible topics for the future. Then query your readers to find out what they would like to read. Build this into a contest and offer a prize, such as a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or Starbucks.

Create an Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is a chart that notes your blog topics and your publishing schedule.

To determine your topics, consider using a mind map to chart your ideas as you brainstorm topics. There are a variety of mind maps available for Apple and Android products, and they all work the same way. You start with a general concept and then provide greater specificity and ideas around the concept. You don’t need an application to do this; you can also accomplish the same goal with paper and a pen.

For example, draw a balloon and label it “tips series.” In the balloons beneath the general concept, write your ideas for different types of related posts. For example, if you wrote a cookbook, each blog post might be designed around tips for the following:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Baking the perfect muffin

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Roasting the perfect turkey or chicken

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Preparing unforgettable stuffing

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Making your own cranberry sauce and tips on perfecting it

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Incorporating more vegetables into your child’s diet

Let’s try a fiction example next. Let’s say that video games figure in your novel. Plan a series on the evolution of video games.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Discuss what you consider to be the very first video game.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Perhaps it was the one designed in 1966 by Ralph Baer. If not, explain why you think an earlier version should be considered the first video game.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Next, discuss Pong, which was developed in 1972. How wide was its distribution?

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Write about the development of online video games.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Share with your readers the concerns among pediatricians about children’s overuse of video games and how that can affect their weight and behavior.

Here's another example. Let's say that you just released your first book, and for the first time you’re using social media. Use your blog to chronicle each step you take from creating your Facebook author page to signing up for Twitter to joining LinkedIn groups and Google+ hangouts. Write about the new applications you try and your strategy. Then share the results with your readers.

Once you determine your blog topics for the next several months or the rest of the year, create a chart using an Excel spreadsheet—or use Numbers on your Apple computer or tablet—to note which topics will appear on which dates. At this point, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to blog weekly or more often (a weekly schedule is preferable).

Create a Publishing Schedule

I learned about publishing schedules by reading Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman (I highly recommend this book). Their publishing schedules include creating PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, and video interviews. These are all wonderful media to use in your social media. But what if you aren’t interested in venturing into these media? What if regular social media use is enough for you? That’s okay. But if you are willing to stretch your tech muscle, review the suggested schedule below. If you find this schedule too time consuming, tweak it to meet your own preferences.

Daily Tasks

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Post to your social media channels

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Follow new users on Twitter

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Checks responses to your blog posts and reply to your readers

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Thank your Tweeps for their retweets

Weekly Tasks

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Write a new five-hundred-word blog post

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Participate in a LinkedIn group by reading comments and leaving one

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Spend ten to fifteen minutes leaving comments on industry blogs/forums

Monthly Tasks

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Write a one-thousand-word blog post

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Create and mail an e-newsletter (if you have one)

Quarterly

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Interview another author or industry expert via video

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Create a PowerPoint based on your best-performing or most informative blog post, and share it using SlideShare (you can opt for the free plan)

Biannually

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Update your website

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Combine a series of blog posts to create a white paper that you can offer for free on your website and Scribd

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Interview someone via podcast Annually

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Teach a webinar

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Launch a contest on Facebook

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Update your website

Suggested Steps

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Attend writers’ conferences or workshops to hone your craft.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Find the best editor you can afford to edit your work.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Use Alltop.com to find topics for your blog.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Experiment with a mind map tool to help you brainstorm blog post topics.

#
p((<>{color:#000;}. Create a PowerPoint (or Keynote) presentation, and share it on SlideShare.

Conclusion

The foundation of your marketing platform is your writing, so invest in it. Find an editor who will point out recurring issues, and include the cost of a writers’ conference or a workshop series in your budget every year. Plan your future posts by using a mind map application. Finally, as technology transforms our world, be committed to adopting the innovations on your blog and in your marketing efforts.

h1<>{color:#000;}.

[9]

I’m an Introvert, Not a salesperson

When you walk a narrative in your life or struggle over a manuscript, you don’t realize how close you are to the center. Finish it and take it out to the world. Be proud of that child.

—Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, Keynote address, San Francisco Writing for Change Conference, October 2014

BEING AN INTROVERT isn’t easy. Although you work well alone and you love to read and write, you detest attending functions where you don’t know most of the attendees. Yet, unless you become more comfortable with talking to people you have just met, how will you be successful in your marketing efforts?

Personally, I don't know whether I was born an introvert or my stuttering pulled me into this category. Not being able to complete sentences, or even certain words, is always a conversation stopper and a horribly embarrassing moment. Instead of putting myself through the ordeal of speaking, I would retreat to the world of books and ide- as. As soon as I learned to read, I voraciously consumed every book I could find.

There were some benefits to being introverted:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. I always won spelling bees

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p((<>{color:#000;}. My reading skills surpassed my classmates’ abilities

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p((<>{color:#000;}. My writing skills surpassed those of my sister, who was three years older

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p((<>{color:#000;}. I never got into trouble at school

But as I grew up, being introverted made life more difficult for me:

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p((<>{color:#000;}. I never knew what to say to boys (luckily, I’ve overcome this)

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p((<>{color:#000;}. I had difficulty making new friends

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p((<>{color:#000;}. In college, I would rather read and study than face a room filled with people I didn’t know at a party

There have been other benefits and disadvantages to being introvert- ed, as well, but I share these to share a point: being introverted may cause you to feel uncomfortable at times, but it's also an asset. As Einstein said: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

Being an introvert may be the very reason you’ve become a writer. And loving books and discovering new writers is a healthy and beneficial habit. Reading expands our minds and our horizons.

As a writer, you need to break out of your introverted nature enough so that you can market the books you spend so much time in solitude writing and perfecting. Practice pretending to be an extrovert the next time you give a reading or attend a party. Learn to relax and not worry about what you’ll say. Let your words flow as you pretend that your closest friends surround you.

There have been studies that indicate that social media is actually good for introverts because it enables people who love to stay at home to get out into the world—even if it’s a virtual experience—and meet and interact with new people every day. There is a caveat to this. Pre- tending to be an extrovert should not be interpreted as an excuse for constantly hawking your books. Instead, it's an invitation to form virtual relationships with your readers worldwide.

7 Exercises for Introverted Writers

These exercises won’t involve standing or walking, nor will they encourage you to attend your husband’s party at work where you’ve never met anyone before. These exercises are for writers working on their marketing platforms.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. If you haven't yet done so, start a Facebook profile. If you already have a profile, set up a Facebook author page and write a status update on your profile that says, "Hey, dear friends, I just started a Facebook page where I'll be discussing my new book and other topics. I would love it if you would take a peek, tell me how I can improve it, and give it a Like. If you feel brave, you could add this line: “I would be thrilled if you would then recommend it to just one other friend. Thanks!" On your Facebook page, thank people who Like it, boost a post occasionally (boosting is a type of Face- book advertising), and run an annual contest offering a $25 Star- buck gift cards or a $50 gift certificate to a local bookstore as a prize.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Start a Twitter account, and start following twenty to fifty new readers every day. Use an application such as Tweepi, Manage- Flitter or JustUnfollow to find new Tweeps to follow, or use hashtags (#amreading, #bookworm, #bibliophile, #novel, #memoir, #shortstory, #suspense, etc.) to find people who love to read your genre. (You can also use these applications to unfollow people.) Reply to people's comments, ask questions, thank people for retweeting, and retweet your staunchest supporters and retweeters.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Go to your LinkedIn profile—or start one if you aren't yet on LinkedIn—and send a personalized request to connect to every- one you've ever worked with. As LinkedIn sends you suggestions for new connections, follow up. Your message can say, "I know it's been a while since we last spoke, but I would like to reconnect on this platform and keep up with your career." Join a couple of groups and join in the conversation.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Make sure you have a profile on Google+ and add friends and col- leagues to your circles of followers. Share their posts and give them a +1 when appropriate. A +1 on Google+ is similar to the Like button on Facebook. It reflects your appreciation for a post that caught your attention, made you smile, or caused you to follow a link to an article you enjoyed.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Start using Pinterest and create pinboards that reflect your books and interests. In addition, create a pinboard of your favorite books and include your colleagues’ books. You could also start a pinboard for the various genres you like to read, and include your friends’ best picks.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. If you can manage another platform, start including your blogs on Tumblr and following other users.

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p((<>{color:#000;}. Start an e-newsletter, and collect names on your website by including a signup form. Then e-mail your subscribers every month, offering them fresh information they can use.

Conclusion

Reach out, travel beyond your comfort level, and learn to feel comfortable conversing with new people from around the world. You’ll be amazed at the magic that can happen when you step out into the world, even if it’s a virtual experience.

Glossary

+1 – The +1 is used on Google+ and indicates that you appreciated a Google+ share (similar to a status update on Facebook) that caught your attention, made you smile, or caused you to follow a link to an article you enjoyed. When you designate +1 to a post on Google+, the person who wrote the update will receive a notification that you gave their update a thumbs–up, and others who see the post will also see the +1’s accumulating.

Channels – This is an interchangeable word for network, as in social media network or social media channel.

Direct Message, aka “DM” – A private message that Twitter users can send to each other. Often these messages are pure spam. Don’t send one unless you really know the other user, and you want to send them confidential information such as your e-mail address. Refrain from using them to drive traffic to your blog or to Amazon. Increasingly, due to the level of self-promotion contained in direct messages, users are deleting them without reading them.

Facebook Algorithm – Facebook’s algorithm to determine which status updates appear prominently in your news feed was formerly referred to as Edgerank. That term is no longer used. In addition, as of December 2013, Facebook adjusted its algorithm to give greater weight to status updates that include links to valuable content and less weight to more mundane items, such as cute pictures of kittens. Facebook’s algorithm determines what appears in your news feed as well as your readers’ news feeds. This is important for writers be- cause you want to create content that penetrates the algorithm so that as many of your Facebook fans as possible will see the posts you write. Be sure to check your Insights, Facebook’s analytics, to determine the type of content that is resonating the most with your fans and generating the most Likes, comments, and shares.

Facebook Graph Search – Facebook introduced Graph Search in March 2013. Graph Search works like a browser (Google, Safari, Fire- fox) to help you find your intended search results. With this tool, you can type a variety of queries in its search bar. For example, queries might include “literary agents in San Francisco,” “editors in Montana,” or “people who like paranormal books.” Use Graph Search as you would any other search mechanism to connect you with the people you want to meet on Facebook.

Facebook Tabs – Specially designed web pages often used with a call to action.

Favorite – This is a feature on Twitter that allows you to mark a tweet as one you like. Once a tweet is identified as a favorite, Twitter will automatically pin the message to your account for reference later.

Follow – To agree to receive tweets from another Twitter user.

Follower – This term is used for users who receive your tweets.

Google Analytics – A free tool from Google that helps you analyze traffic to your website or blog.

Gravatar – A Gravatar is an abbreviation for “globally recognized avatar.” Once you register your e-mail address at http://en.gravatar.com/, whenever you leave a comment on someone’s blog and enter your e-mail address, your image will appear next to your remarks.

Handle – On Twitter, this is another word for username.

Hangout – This is a group video-chat feature used to lead a Web- based discussion on Google+.

Hashtags – Words with the number sign (#) in front of them are used on Twitter and, more recently, Facebook to enhance search results and track buzz. When a number sign is added to a word, such as #amwriting or #memoir, the term becomes hyperlinked on their respective social media networks. Writers can use hashtags to connect with other writers, editors, agents, and readers. Readers can use hashtags to find the genres they love to read.

Insights – A free application for Facebook Fan Pages that provides metrics, trends, user growth, demographics, and statistics about fan engagement.

Keywords – A component of search engine optimization. Simply put, keywords are the terms someone would type into a Google (or Bing or Safari) search bar to find your book or the services you offer.

Lists – On Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, lists are used to group certain connections together. On Google+, lists are referred to as cir- cles.

Mention/Retweet or RT – On Twitter, repeating information in an- other user’s tweet and crediting the original author.

Milestone – A Milestone on Facebook is a special type of post that takes up the entire width of your Page’s Timeline. On your profile, a Milestone could be the day you started your first job or adopted a rescued Labrador. On your Facebook page, Milestones would include the publication of your first book, your first book reading, or the cover of your next book. Milestones are simply dates that you want to formally publicize.

Notifications – These are the short updates Gmail users receive about their Google+ accounts. They occur whenever a user has a new connection or shares a comment. They will fly into your Gmail in-box, which makes replies convenient and efficient.

Pinboard – On Pinterest, a collection of related images.

Podcast – This is a recorded audio file typically listened to on portable media players (MP3 players such as an iPod). If you use an Apple product, you can download an application to make your own record- ing from this URL: http://www.apple.com/support/ios/podcast/ For a list of podcast tools, including some for personal computers, see this resource: http://www.buzzmaven.com/podcast-software- list.html

Repin/Pin – This Pinterest term signifies adding images to a pin- board, especially images uploaded by other users.

RSS – This is an abbreviation for Rich Site Summary, but it’s better known as Really Simple Syndication. Be sure to allow the option for your website visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive updates in their e-mail in-boxes.

Scribd (http://www.scribd.com) – Scribd describes itself as the largest online library. It is another venue for authors to connect with readers and post their white papers.

SEO – Search engine optimization is a combination of actions you use to bring your book to page one of a search engine’s results. These actions include original blog posts you write that express new ideas, the use of specific keywords on your website, and your consistent use of social media networks. All of these actions, in unison, will place you higher in a search engine results.

Share – On Facebook, you click on the blue-and-white Post button to send your Status Update to your friends’ homepages. On Google+, you click on the green-and-white Share button to activate an update.

Social Media Dashboard – An application, such as Hootsuite, that enables users to read in one spot incoming updates, tweets, and posts from their social media networks. Dashboards can also be used to schedule tweets and a variety of updates, including LinkedIn posts and repins of images on Pinterest.

Stream – This is the term used for the display of posts by your connections on Google+. On Twitter it’s called the Timeline, and on Facebook you’ll find it by clicking on Home. They can all be referred to with one generic term: news feed.

Tag – Tags occur on Google+ whenever you type + before a user’s name (without a space between the plus sign and the person’s name). On Facebook, tags occur automatically whenever you type a friend or fan’s name into a status update box. On Twitter, you need to use the other user’s handle preceded by @.

Timeline, Facebook – Formerly the “Wall,” the timeline is where users post their status updates.

Timeline, Twitter – The news feed of incoming tweets from people you follow.

Tweeps – This term is used to describe friends or followers with whom you are in frequent contact on Twitter.

Tweet – A post that a Twitter user writes that adheres to the 140- character parameter.

Twitter Chat – An active discussion occurring on Twitter at a specific time. As long as you know the hashtag and time of the Twitter chat, you can join one. To find a Twitter chat, navigate to this open source: Google spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/13taXMH.

Twoosh – A tweet that is exactly 140 characters. Endeavor to write tweets that are a maximum of 120 characters.

Unfollow – At any time you can unfollow users for any reason, especially if they no longer follow you.

Username – An identifier, such as a user’s first name. Applications and various online tools will require you to create a user name and a password. Make sure that you create unique passwords for every application you use.

Vanity URL – A web address that writers create to include their names or book titles.

Via – This term has gained a lot of traction. Use it in place of RT on Twitter.

Video – A recording of moving, visual images. A popular tool you can use for free is Animoto (http://animoto.com).

To learn more about Facebook pages, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter, go to their help pages:

www.LearnFacebookPages.com http://help.linkedin.com/app/home

http://support.google.com/plus/?hl=enhttp://learn.linkedin.com/ http://pinterest.com/about/help/http://tinyurl.com/cjcxhex

https://support.twitter.com

About the Author

h1={color:#000;}.

Frances Caballo is a social media strategist and manager for authors. Her books include Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Her clients include the San Francisco Writers Conference, the Women’s National Book Association—San Francisco Chapter, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. A free ebook, Pinterest Just for Writers, is available on her website at www.SocialMediaJustforWriters.com.


Avoid Social Media Time Suck

How You Can Avoid Social Media Time Suck and Still Have Time to Write Avoid Social Media Time Suck is hands-down a must-have book for every author. In this fast-paced world of social media that is changing daily, authors need a clear guide to navigate this confusing terrain. This is the book! Frances Caballo provides dozens of excellent resources along with sound suggestions on how to use your precious time wisely and productively. This is my bible for social networking! —C. S. Lakin, blogger and writing coach at Live Write Thrive The question everyone asks is, “Can I really manage my social media in just thirty minutes a day?” My answer is yes, you can. This book explains the four-step process to effective and efficient social media marketing for writers. -How to curate content. -What and how to schedule your tweets, posts, updates and shares. -The importance of scheduling time to be social. -Analyzing your metrics. Social media is no longer an option for writers – it is a required element of every author’s marketing platform. And using social media to market your books doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Whether you consider yourself a seasoned social media user or you are new to the social web, this book will introduce you to posting schedules, timesaving applications and content-rich websites that will help you to economize your time while using social media to market your books. After reading this book, you will learn: -How to create and perfect your author platform. -Where the great content exists on the Internet and how you can use it to further your brand within your niche. -The importance of being social and discover applications that will make this task easy and fun. -Tools that will enable you to track and measure your success so that you can better understand the return on investment of your valuable time. -Which tools can prevent you from accessing the Internet when the time comes to sit and write that next book. -Exercises for introverted writers to help them feel comfortable on the social web. If you’ve been avoiding social media because you feel that you just don’t have enough time or if you’ve been using it sporadically and missing out on the opportunity to widen your audience of readers, then this is the book for you.

  • ISBN: 9781311199669
  • Author: Frances Caballo
  • Published: 2016-03-20 19:35:23
  • Words: 29164
Avoid Social Media Time Suck Avoid Social Media Time Suck