Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #NewAuthor Marketing Tips – Making the most of Twitter by Sally Cronin


In 2019 I posted a series on the subject of book marketing.. which is available as a pdf if you would like to read the whole series. (Email me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com). I follow every author in the Cafe on Twitter if they have an account, and I always tag them in posts when I promote.This tweet which includes the tag for an author, is distributed to my 31,000 followers on Twitter which is often retweeted by them onwards.

I do a regular analysis of my own traffic statistics and whilst the majority of blog views is driven by WordPress reader, the next most effective referrer is Twitter.

I am also on Facebook, but as far as book marketing is concerned it is the groups that you belong to which drive book traffic, not the personal timelines.

With that in mind, and understanding how bewildering it can be when marketing your first book, here is a repeat of my post about using Twitter as a book marketing platform.

Twitter has changed its interface in the last year, so I have updated some of the graphics to reflect that.. but the fundamental elements of using the platform effectively remain the same.

Twitter – Step by step guide set up for authors

The look and  functionality of Twitter has changed recently, and I have to say that I am not a fan (as yet). It is now designed for mobile devices and whilst there are a couple of useful upgrades, for someone starting an account (and some of us who have been using it for 7 years) it is over complicated for what you want to use it for.

However, as a watering hole, for your blog and certainly your books it is a useful platform to establish yourself on. There are some useful marketing features, including paid advertisements, but there is a great deal of free functionality that you can take of advantage of first. To be honest I don’t use all the bells and whistles as I do everything manually, but do find it helpful to use some of their basic marketing options.

I will work my way through the new interface with some of the key elements that you need to focus on as an author with books to market.

And the first place to start is your profile.

On the left of the page you have the new menu and if you click on Profile it will bring up the above page. When you sign up for your account you will be offered a similar page to the one below and also should you wish to edit in the future.

Photograph

It is important that the image that you use as your profile photograph is one that potential readers of your books can connect and relate to. Leaving it blank is not an option as most people think it suspicious that you don’t want to show your face and won’t follow you back. If you are an author then I suggest a good photograph of high quality that you can reduce in size and still retain the definition. Some people will share the picture of a pet or flower but they won’t necessarily sell your books for you.

Name

As an author looking to market your book then your author name should go here. Even if it is a pen name. It should also be the same name as that you use for your blog and any other social media so to develop your author brand. You have up to 50 characters to use in this segment to don’t worry if you have a very long name…

Your bio

What is it that you would like the readers of your Twitter feed to do? As an author you want them to buy your books. So here is were you put the genre you write in mainly – Children’s, Fantasy, Memoir, Thriller, Crime, non-fiction – Your Amazon Author Page Link – If you have a blog then you have enough room to briefly describe what readers will find there.

You have 160 characters for this piece so work on it offline to make sure you have your selling message clear cut before you add.

Update your bio on a regular basis with new information.

Location –

This is where I actually live as I have an Irish themed book. But you don’t need to fill this in if you don’t want to.

Author website or Blog link

I use this for my blog link as it is effectively my website too.

Date of Birth.

You don’t have to fill this in.. and I don’t.

Expand your Profile with a Pinned Tweet.

Most accounts that I follow have a Pinned Tweet and you can use as a 280 character extension of your profile…or to announce news of your latest release, review, book signing, etc.

 

At the moment I am promoting my latest release for a few weeks but would normally change weekly to my blog round up.

 

How to pin a tweet.

  1. Prepare your tweet that you want to use in the normal way, using all your 280 characters, and post.
  2. Go into profile in the menu and click on Tweets.
  3. Find your prepared tweet and click the three small dots to the right of your name and it will offer you a number of options including Pin this Tweet to your profile.
  4. A box will come up that allows you to cancel or pin. Click pin and the tweet will now appear under your profile.

Tips to building your author network on Twitter.

This is a networking site and as an author you want to engage with others. – Like any cocktail party you need to mingle. The first steps are daunting but if you are a blogger or are on Facebook, you will already know some other authors and the first step is make a list and track them down on Twitter and follow them.

For example you know me and I am always happy to follow other authors back. And you can really get in any author’s good books if as well as following them, you retweet their pinned tweet. Usually they will reciprocate.

If you go into my profile page you will be able to see who I follow and who follows me. Click on either of those and then check the first 50 or so names and see who you also know and follow them too.

You can follow up to 2000 before Twitter will put the breaks on until the number of people who follow you is also at 2000, So it is a good idea to select 20 authors at a time and retweet their pinned tweet but also over a couple of days one of their new tweets. They will usually follow you back.

Some hashtags (identifiers and pop up to the top of the pile) that are useful for an author to use, including #writingcommunity, #amreading, genre specific such as #fantasy #memoir, location #Londonauthor, activity driven #Review and the weekly invitation to follow..#FF – Friday Follow where you can list a fair few of those that follow you to invite them to connect with each other.

Share blogs that you read that are of interest to #Writingcommunity on twitter as that will grab the attention of other authors. Writers are readers too and engaging them will lead them to your books.

When you share a post from WordPress to Twitter, if the blogger has an account you can add in other Twitter users. So for example. If someone reblogs a Cafe and Bookstore post I can move the link down by clicking just before the https and pressing enter to leave a gap. You can then @ plus the name or twitter name of the authors in the post and usually Twitter will bring them up for you.  This means that the authors you add will see who has reblogged their post and it is another way to add to your network. You can see here that I added Jemima Pett in as she was the featured author, you have room to add about five tags with the average blog link.

If you are writing guest posts for other bloggers, remember your social media links including Twitter.

Tagging

To tag another Twitter user simply @theretwittername…so for example if you @sgc58 me, it will show up in my timeline.

When someone retweets a post about another author on my blog, such as the Cafe and bookstore new book on the shelves, I always respond and tag the author in question.

Firstly if that is you, thanking the person who retweeted in the first place will win you extra points, and a possible new reader.

Also if you are the person who retweeted the post, you have someone else to follow.

Avoiding the desperate and scammers on Twitter.

Although not specific to authors, there are some people that you don’t want to follow or following you. You can prevent most of that by using your advance filters.

Go to More in your menu

Select notifications and then Advanced Filters

You can select a number of options about who you receive notifications from.

I have chosen not to receive the notifications of those without a profile photo (even if it is a cat) but no profile photo, no email, no phone usually leads to someone using a fake profile (I am followed by most of the generals in the Pentagon!) or bots on phishing trips.

 

I think that is more than enough for one post and I hope you have found useful as always I love to receive your feedback .. Thanks Sally.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Marketing – Online Watering Holes for Authors – Twitter – Step by step guide set up for authors – Sally Cronin.


So far in this series I have focused on Amazon Author pages, Goodreads and the book marketing potential of your covers, titles, tag lines and key words and making best use of your blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-marketing-series-2019/

Twitter – New look and and step by step guide to Book Marketing useful functions.

The look and  functionality of Twitter has changed recently, and I have to say that I am not a fan (as yet). It is now designed for mobile devices and whilst there are a couple of useful upgrades, for someone starting an account (and some of us who have been using it for 7 years) it is over complicated for what you want to use it for.

However, as a watering hole, for your blog and certainly your books it is a useful platform to establish yourself on. There are some useful marketing features, including paid advertisements, but there is a great deal of free functionality that you can take of advantage of first. To be honest I don’t use all the bells and whistles as I do everything manually, but do find it helpful to use some of their basic marketing options.

I will work my way through the new interface with some of the key elements that you need to focus on as an author with books to market.

And the first place to start is your profile.

On the left of the page you have the new menu and if you click on Profile it will bring up the above page. When you sign up for your account you will be offered a similar page to the one below and also should you wish to edit in the future.

 

Photograph

As in the previous posts on marketing your book, it is important that the image that you use as your profile photograph is one that potential readers of your books can connect and relate to. Leaving it blank is not an option as most people think it suspicious that you don’t want to show your face and won’t follow you back. If you are an author then I suggest a good photograph of high quality that you can reduce in size and still retain the definition. Some people will share the picture of a pet or flower but they won’t necessarily sell your books for you.

Name

As an author looking to market your book then your author name should go here. Even if it is a pen name. It should also be the same name as that you use for your blog and any other social media so to develop your author brand. You have up to 50 characters to use in this segment to don’t worry if you have a very long name…

You bio

What is it that you would like the readers of your Twitter feed to do? As an author you want them to buy your books. So here is were you put the genre you write in mainly – Children’s, Fantasy, Memoir, Thriller, Crime, non-fiction – Your Amazon Author Page Link – If you have a blog then you have enough room to briefly describe what readers will find there.

You have 160 characters for this piece so work on it offline to make sure you have your selling message clear cut before you add.

Update your bio on a regular basis with new information.

Location –

This is where I actually live as I have an Irish themed book. But you don’t need to fill this in if you don’t want to.

Author website or Blog link

I use this for my blog link as it is effectively my website too.

Date of Birth.

You don’t have to fill this in.. and I don’t.

Expand your Profile with a Pinned Tweet.

Most accounts that I follow have a Pinned Tweet and you can use as a 280 character extension of your profile…or to announce news of your latest release, review, book signing, etc.

At the moment I am promoting the new bloggers series and it will stay there for September when I will change to another blog promotion. October I hope to be able to pin the news of my next release.

How to pin a tweet.

  1. Prepare your tweet that you want to use in the normal way, using all your 280 characters, and post.
  2. Go into profile in the menu and click on Tweets.
  3. Find your prepared tweet and click the arrow to the right of your name and it will offer you a number of options including Pin this Tweet to your profile.
  4. A box will come up that allows you to cancel or pin. Click pin and the tweet will now appear under your profile.

Tips to building your author network on Twitter.

This is a networking site and as an author you want to engage with others. – Like any cocktail party you need to mingle. The first steps are daunting but if you are a blogger or are on Facebook, you will already know some other authors and the first step is make a list and track them down on Twitter and follow them.

For example you know me and I am always happy to follow other authors back. And you can really get in any author’s good books if as well as following them, you retweet their pinned tweet. Usually they will reciprocate.

If you go into my profile page you will be able to see who I follow and who follows me. Click on either of those and then check the first 50 or so names and see who you also know and follow them too.

You can follow up to 2000 before Twitter will put the breaks on until the number of people who follow you is also at 2000, So it is a good idea to select 20 authors at a time and retweet their pinned tweet but also over a couple of days one of their new tweets. They will usually follow you back.

Some hashtags (identifiers and pop up to the top of the pile) that are useful for an author to use, including #writingcommunity, #amreading, genre specific such as #fantasy #memoir, location #Londonauthor, activity driven #Review and the weekly invitation to follow..#FF – Friday Follow where you can list a fair few of those that follow you to invite them to connect with each other.

Share blogs that you read that are of interest to #Writingcommunity on twitter as that will grab the attention of other authors. Writers are readers too and engaging them will lead them to your books.

When you share a post from WordPress to Twitter, if the blogger has an account it will offer you the option to follow – good idea as you already like their writing and they will appreciate it.

If you are writing guest posts for other bloggers, remember your social media links including Twitter.

Whilst this post has been focused on you as an author using Twitter to promote your books

Tagging

To tag another Twitter user simply @theretwittername…so for example if you @sgc58 me, it will show up in my timeline.

When someone retweets a post about another author on my blog, such as the Cafe and bookstore new book on the shelves, I always respond and tag the author in question.

Firstly if that is you, thanking the person who retweeted in the first place will win you extra points, and a possible new reader.

Also if you are the person who retweeted the post, you have someone else to follow.

Avoiding the desperate and scammers on Twitter.

Although not specific to authors, there are some people that you don’t want to follow or following you. You can prevent most of that by using your advance filters.

Go to More in your menu

Select notifications and then Advanced Filters

You can select a number of options about who you receive notifications from.

I have chosen not to receive the notifications of those without a profile photo (even if it is a cat) but no profile photo, no email, no phone usually leads to someone using a fake profile (I am followed by most of the generals in the Pentagon!) or bots on phishing trips.

I think that is more than enough for one post and if you have found useful. I do have some more Twitter tips that are more general and will put together another post in the week for those.

Your feedback is always welcome as are your questions. Thanks for dropping in.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Media Training for Authors – Advertising – Covers, Titles and Key Words by Sally Cronin


I am continuing the series on media training and marketing for authors which is adapted from my media training course for small businesses and charities. Authors are small businesses with a product that needs marketing to obtain sales. Once you start thinking of yourself as a business it tends to focus your mind differently.

One of the jobs that gave me some perspective on marketing and promotion, was the several years I spent as advertising sales manager for a free paper in London and then a holiday publication company.

Part of my job was writing copy for clients who could not afford to spend a fortune with an agency. This was quite an interesting challenge because most companies, whatever their product wanted to put their name in large letters front and centre. So for example:

Great name, but what does the person who is looking for a new car see when they are skimming the adverts for cars?  Steve Smith and Sons.. but that is not the product for sale and is not going to grab the attention of the person looking to buy a car. If you are looking for a car, you are more likely to be interested in reading the same advert, but arranged very differently.

Using key words effectively will significantly increase your chances of reaching your customers.

Unfortunately this is also a mistake that we tend to make when we market our books.  Unless we are J.K Rowling or any other bestselling author who has a dedicated following, putting our names in very large print on our book covers is not going to achieve sales.

For an author trying to sell a first book and even others that follow, it is almost impossible to stand out from the other millions of books on sale on the primary online bookseller Amazon.. or even on the bookshelf of your local bookstore.

If you look in the average bookstore, novels are shelved alphabetically, not usually by genre, there are no reviews and they rely heavily on cover and back blurb to encourage you to buy. Non-fiction books do have an advantage as they will normally be listed by subject matter which does narrow the field somewhat.

Both however need to have a cover that reflects the contents of the book fiction or non-fiction or, is so visually stunning, that it invites readers to explore further. And very importantly, books need a title that screams out to the reader “buy me, I am the most informative, entertaining, interesting, relevant, novel, self-help book, inspiring story you will ever read” and also find away to convey all that is between the covers!

This is not easy since most titles are only usually between 1 and 5 words.

Finding a book title that sells your book.

There are millions of books available today digitally. This is why it is so important that your title leap out from the page and grab potential reader’s attention. Novels are tough as most of the words used to describe each genre are well used. For romance novelists it must be a nightmare since the words love, destiny, fate, romance, desire etc have to be used in a title in the most imaginative way.

With non-fiction it is not easy but it is simpler – providing you get your USP (unique selling point) in the title….remember that there could be thousands of books that are cover your particular subject matter and you want the reader to buy your book.

So what is your unique angle that makes your book different from all the other books on a particular subject that can be  incorporated in your title? This is where using MY comes in handy.. for who is more unique than you? Instead of A Lonely Childhood.. My Lonely Childhood etc.

Finding an original title for a novel can be tough since there are only so many words within each genre that you can use to convey the subject of your book.

Obviously the genre is a starting point – SF – thriller – comedy – Romance – Humour, Children’s etc, and my suggestion is that you take a good long look at other newish books in that genre so that you are not duplicating – write several down and still see if you can get something unique into your own title – try it out on all your friends and family and when you have your title, it is also important to Google it to see if anyone else has a book by that title.

You may find one or two but if you play around with the wording you can usually find one that is not already in use.

Remember – this is your advertising headline for your book – it has to grab the attention of your potential readers and also those that can help you promote the book.

Using Key Words as Taglines.

Your book cover and the wording are your advertisment and whilst it is not a good idea to crowd the cover with text, having a tag line can help.

This is a recent release by Jane Harper: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Harper/e/B001KI8MCE

If the book had just been the image and the title, the book would have had no identity. The fact that it is written by Jane Harper would have attracted her fans; but what about a reader who is browsing to find a murder mystery or thriller, who had not read any of her books prevously?  But because of the key words and endorsements, the moment you look at this advertisement for the book you know exactly what is between the pages.

Here is another example of a non-fiction book that uses key words to attract the attention of readers. This is written by Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, who is a best-selling author, historian and journalist who can use his name as key words as can J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and other established best-selling authors. As you can see the use of any form of testimonial is important as is the use of specific words to identify that you are going to be reading about Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939 – 1945.

Book available: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Max-Hastings/e/B00MWZQP4G

Here are some more examples that show you how tag lines can provide you with that USP that makes your book stand out from the crowd.

“Your genetic makeup – Your grandmother’s legacy……..”. “Training a deaf dog – The hand signal manual”. “The Passion and the Anquish”…..Horror Stories from Beyond the Grave. “Murder at the Fair……. Do you dare ride the Ghost Train?”

If you have already received an editorial or advance reader review then you can certainly put a few words on the front cover with the name of the reviewer that are appropriate. It may not be The Guardian or The Sunday Times but it is still a recommendation to buy.

Note: If you convert your print books to Ebook after you have received reviews.. make sure to mention one or two on your Ebook cover.

Note Two: If you are publishing with Kindle rather than as an independent self publisher you will find that there are restrictions on some wording that you put on the front cover. Check that out before completing your cover design.

So this is effectively your car advertisement, and when you are designing your cover, you do need to think about those select few key words you are going to include in addition to the title and your name to attract readers to buy your book.

Book Blurb.

Amazon offers you the chance to put our back blurb on the selling page so that readers can find out more about the book. This is also part of your advertisement and whilst you should not writer a chapter on the book, you should let a reader know what they can expect.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes.. If you were looking for a book to read, what would make you click the buy button.

Genre – basic story plot – main characters and importantly work your key words into the blurb as well. Add in some teasers too..

“Can Sally get to the chocolate before the cookie monster eats it all?”

You can also put some headline reviews from any advance readers here, especially if there was not room on the front cover.

“Fantastic edge of the seat read” – T.Jones – “Couldn’t put this thriller down until I had finished” – B. Smith  –  you get my drift.

Authors Page.

This is a headliner and a place where not only can a reader find your books but also something about you the author. A photo does help.. it makes you relateable.  Then something that gives a reader some confidence in your writing ability before they buy your book. This does not necessarily mean listing everything you have ever written, but by the way your write your biography.  This is an example of your work and if you don’t interest the reader or impress with your style of writing they may not feel like buying the book.

Check out the bios of succesful authors and find a style and content that you like and use that as a formula.

Categories and key words on Amazon as part of your advertisement tool box.

On Amazon you do have a number of different options to choose when you upload your book in addition to your cover and blurb. These include the option to choose a number of relevant categories, and very important key words that a potential reader might search for to find their next book.

Back to the example of the advertisement for cars!

If readers do not know your name, they are not going search for it and find you. So you have to be in the right place in the bookstore so that they at least might catch sight of your title and cover.  This requires you to be very specific with your chosen book categories and key words.

On Amazon you can use up to 5 – 7 key words for your book but you may find more impact by combining multiple key words together which is useful. Two or three together have more impact than just one. For example Rapid Healthy Weightloss is more specific than just weightloss Give up Smoking, Cooking with microwaves, Lancaster in 1960.

For fictionMurderer for Hire, Romantic short stories, Love Poetry, Thrilling Flash Fiction, Historical Romance etc.

NB.I suggest that you take a look at any older books that you have on Amazon, as they have introduced more options  for categories in the last couple of years. Here is a link also to a post that might help you with key words. Also check the blurb and  see if that might need a little TLC.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A2EZES9JAJ6H02

Having established a place on the bookstore where the casual reader can find you, you now need to reach out and let specific fans of your genre or non-fiction book know how to find you there.

Next time… joining the right waterholes to find your potential readers for both print and ebooks.

Here are the previous posts on Press Releases, preparing for radio and television interviews: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/media-training-for-authors/