Category Archives: Social Media Networking for authors

So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 16: Social Media Beyond the Cat Pictures

Rachel-Thompson1-225x300Rachel Thompson is a branding and marketing consultant for authors, a sexual abuse survivor and advocate, and a kick-ass redhead.

Rachel runs Bad Redhead Media, a company that helps authors with social media, marketing, and branding. Rachel is also a multi-published award winning and bestselling author. Her books include the following:  A Walk In The Snark humourous essays about women and motherhood/work/relationships; The Mancode Exposed witty essays about men, women, sex, and chocolate; Broken Pieces poignant and compelling essays about her experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She Social-Media-Bootcamp-Startis also one of the contributors to Self-Publishers Monthly. And she offers a social media bootcamp for authors.

Wow! Rachel Thompson is definitely a kick-ass redhead! She joins us today to share her insight and wisdom about the importance book marketing for authors.

Tell us about your background and how you got into the business of helping authors market their books?

Broken-Pieces-paperback-1I started out in marketing and sales back in 1987 (in soul-sucking Big Pharma, mostly recovered now thanks). I quit in 2004 to focus on family and start my writing career, which really took off in 2009 with blogging. I self-published my first two (humor) books in 2011, my third book of creative nonfiction/poetry Broken Pieces in late 2012, and am very close to releasing Broken Places (I’m now with hybrid publisher, Booktrope). I’m also working on a social media book for authors.

I found that applying my marketing and sales experiences to marketing and selling books fairly easy, and as a working mother, social media and digital marketing is a great way to build relationships and target readers. Utilizing my skills as a marketer and an author, I started my business, BadRedheadMedia in 2011, and most recently more affordable group sessions at Author Social Media Boot Camp. I focus strictly on social media, branding, and marketing authors, either doing their social media for them or teaching them how to do it.

Many authors just want to write their books and let amazon or their publishers take care of the rest – what do you say to that?

It’s a nice dream, but not reality at all. I have clients who are traditionally published by the Big Five and they are still doing all their own marketing. With advances in tech, readers expect to be able to connect with their favorite authors on Twitter or at the very least, Facebook.

And it’s not just about blasting book links — social media is social! This doesn’t just mean chatting about your cat. Provide great content (articles, quotes, pictures of said cat, or whatever interests you), branding yourself so readers think of you when they see something. It’s about creating expectations.

badredhead2-5-300x134You work with authors one-on-one to help them maximize their social media and sell books. What are some of the key things that you do to help authors become more savvy about social media?

As I mentioned above, branding isn’t some silly buzzword, it’s the foundation of everything you will do as an author. What interests you, what are you an expert in, what are you passionate about? This can have nothing to do with your book (though it usually does). Pick four or five topics that you find interesting and write about those (tweets, blog posts, pictures, quotes). This is you being authentic, not a automaton sharing ‘buy my book!’ links repeatedly which is ineffective at best and will get you blocked and reported for spam at worst.

For me, I experienced childhood sexual abuse, so I write about that openly in Broken Pieces. As a result of sharing my experiences so openly, I’ve created a survivor community on Facebook, a chat on Twitter (#SexAbuseChat every Tuesday 6pm PST that’s open to any survivor), an anthology (the #NoMoreShame Project), and more. And that’s just ONE topic!

This branding is very different than what I share on BadRedheadMedia, which is my business. There I share social media, marketing, and branding information.

Can being really good at social media translate into really good book sales?

Good question. Yes and no. LOL. There’s no one magic bullet. I have a list of about twenty things authors need to do to be successful, starting with a great book (professionally edited, designed, proofed, etc), along with multiple marketing activities that I share here in this article Tough Love for Authors.

Certainly developing a social media presence and personality helps an author it’s publicity, SEO, and interaction all rolled into one.

Some authors have social media accounts but no website. Do you think websites are necessary or do you think that being on facebook, amazon, and goodreads is enough?

I absolutely believe you must have a website! You also need to purchase your domain (it’s usually about $10). Think of it this way: your website is your home, a home you own. You decorate how you want, throw parties, invite people over for conversations. This is where you get to be you and it’s yours.

If you only have social media accounts, you are renting space that could, at any time, be taken away or shut down for repairs. Not only that, but you are subject to someone else’s rules and whims (aka, algorithms), and believe me, those change frequently.

One or the other isn’t really an option, either. It all works together.

When you look at the bestselling authors out there – aside from writing great books – what do they do well?

Most are ‘out there’ — interactive, authentic, approachable. Some are controversial, and that’s fine, too. Nobody said we have to be watered-down and palatable to all. They are well-branded, they know and trust their voice. We are no different — we need to trust ourselves, too. We are fascinated by story, as a culture. Famous authors are (usually) great storytellers.

There are sooooo many authors out there selling their books. How can Jane Doe Author stand out amongst all the rest?

Focus on your topics, and connecting with readers.

Each of us has unique experiences and we’ve got something to say. Not everyone is an amazing writer, but we all have stories to share. Being authentic and sharing those universal truths connect us. Don’t be afraid to be real!

What do you love to read? Who are some of your favourite authors?

I love paranormal — not your ‘vampire’ kind of stuff, but more the traditional ‘slightly south of normal’ kind of para. I’m a sucker for a good time-travel story. The Time-Traveler’s Wife is still one of my all-time favorite books. Anne Rice (The Witching Hour is great). I’m reading Deborah Harkness’ All Souls’ Trilogy now (which does have a non-sparkly, non-annoying vampire and a witch).

John Irving, Pat Conroy are literary fiction favorites. Hemingway, Wolff, Sexton, Dylan Thomas — a lot of the classic twentieth century poets.

Thank you Rachel Thompson for joining us today.

Connect with Rachel on her facebook page for bad redhead media, on twitter and on her bad redhead media website.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

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So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? – Part 4: Promoting your books in a creative way

Eloisa James - Three Weeks With Lady X

Eloisa James – Three Weeks With Lady X

Welcome to Part 4 of our ongoing series focusing on how to become a bestselling author. Today we feature an interview with Sharlene Martin Moore. Sharlene is a creator/designer of online postcards. Her cards are used by some of the most successful authors in the biz to promote their books on various social media networking sites as well as on on their own websites and blogs.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Heroes Are My Weakness

Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Heroes Are My Weakness

Her cards a.k.a. image memes, are an example of what creates a buzz online. When an author wants to promote his/her book they turn to  Sharlene to get the right tone and look that will convey the spirit of their book. Whatever you want to call them – graphic image cards, online postcards or graphic memes – they are attention grabbing and they have the ability to create a stir among readers and fans. Whether you want to announce a special sale, or a contest you are running, or to grab attention before an upcoming release – Sharlene will get it done. She is one of the dynamic people working behind the scenes, helping authors become bestsellers! 

Beatriz Williams - The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Beatriz Williams – The Secret Life of Violet Grant

What do you do for authors?

I create graphic image cards for authors to use on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter.

Who are some of the authors you’ve worked with and books you’ve done postcards for?

Eloisa James, Linda Francis Lee, Lauren Willig, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer McQuiston, Katharine Ashe, Kate Noble, Sara Jane Stone, Cathy Maxwell, Terri Osburn, Emily Greenwood and Cat Devon. I just started working with Ella Quinn and Jill Shalvis which is exciting.

Cat Devon - Paranormal Romance Author

Cat Devon – Paranormal Romance Author

Do you have a lot of repeat clients?

Yes, I do have a lot of repeat clients which makes me very happy.

Tell us about your background – how did you get started as a postcard designer?

Eloisa James - sentiment card (to interact with readers and fans)

Eloisa James – sentiment card (to interact with readers and fans)

I am a former elementary school teacher with a great love for arts and crafts. I loved glitter as a child and making attractive bulletin boards for my classroom as a teacher. Eloisa James is responsible for my start. I shared a couple of cards I had made with her, she liked them and off I went. As she shared cards on her Facebook page, other authors asked her who was doing them and she sent them to me. I owe her so much and I am honored to work with her and her assistant Kim Castillo.

What do you charge for a post card and how often can an author post it and where? Can they post it forever or is there a time limit? Can other people (i.e. fans/readers) repost it online?

collage featuring postcards for various auuthors

collage featuring postcards for various authors

I charge $5 per card or you can get 6 cards for $25. The author can post the card as many times as they want on any online medium such as Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest. Some authors share them on their blogs and use them on Twitter. There is no time limit on the cards. I love for others  to repost them and I know the authors love it too. 

How do you put a postcard together? What kinds of quotes and images do you look for?

It begins with a background, then either a quote or author blurb, possibly a review. I work to create an image that will convey artistically the message the author wants to share.

Lauren Willig - The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla

Lauren Willig – The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla

Can an author provide you with the image and the quote?

Definitely, some pick the quotes they want on the card and some ask me to find quotes from their book. Also some want the book cover on each card.

In your experience, how popular and successful are online or social networking postcards and why?

I think graphic cards or memes are very popular. I feel they are successful because a graphic image catches your attention much like billboards do. Images are the most shared and talked about posts on Facebook.

Are you open to doing cards for authors who write horror, suspense, or mysteries?

I am open to other genres as long as the material is not offensive to me.

Eloisa James - Paris in Love

Eloisa James – Paris in Love

Why do authors keep coming back to you again and again?

I have priced my product to be affordable even by new authors on a limited budget. The cards allow them to share snippets from new books, announce a new cover, and share the word about a limited time sale and so much more. They are pretty and everyone likes pretty. Social media moves so quickly, especially on Facebook, my cards allow authors to share something that will get attention.

What do you love the most about creating these images?

I love being able to create something that someone I admire likes. It is very rewarding to see my cards on the Facebook pages of authors I have admired and read for years. 

LFL12Connect with Sharlene Martin Moore via facebook, on her web site and on twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.


 

 

 

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Filed under Best-selling authors, Bestselling Authors, Book Promotion, Lachesis Publishing, Promoting Your Books, Social Media Networking for authors

How to Become a Bestselling author Part 2 (social media networking)

In Part 1, I introduced the idea of setting goals. Goals are important. I talked about sales goals. Let’s say you have a goal to sell 5,000 “copies” of your title in one year. If you break that down to a goal of 14 books a day, then it becomes much more “doable”. Well, how do you sell 14 books a day? In this post we are going to begin exploring this very idea. Keep in mind this is just a number. You may want to sell 10,000 books in one year. That is up to you.

Let’s look at social media networking.

I’ve blogged about this before but I’m going to be more specific today.

1. What social media accounts should I have?

Pick your media platforms and really commit to them. Do some research – figure out how you like to communicate and how often. I suggest twitter and facebook with a goodreads thrown in for good measure. Post at least once a day. And interact with your followers. Engage them. Start following people you know and they will follow back. But also do some research. Go to the pages of people or publishers you like and follow the people they follow. You need to build your follower list on a regular basis. If you follow someone, chances are, he or she will follow you back. This applies primarily to twitter. Seek out good people to follow – readers and reviewers and people who write the same kinds of books you write as well as other writers from other genres. Not everyone will follow you back. That’s okay.  But your goal is to build your network. Twitter suggests people for you to follow. So that’s a good way to find people too. But I did it the old fashioned way. I went looking for them. 🙂 Just as you have sales goals, you should have goals to get more followers. Having a few hundred followers isn’t enough. You need to keep building your followers because they are potential readers of your books. I cannot emphasize this enough. You need to build your followers.

2. What should I call myself?

Use your real name!!! Or if you write under a pen name use the pen name. I’m not a fan of cutesy twitter or facebook monikers. I find it hard to track people if they have different nicknames. Keep it consistent. All of your social media accounts should have the same name. You don’t want readers to have a hard time finding you.

3. Should I have one or two accounts on facebook?

If you want to keep in touch with family and friends, then I suggest you create separate accounts. One for your close family and friends and one for your fans. If you’re on facebook you might consider an author page (which is unlimited in terms of how many “friends/followers” you have and the other account should be your personal/family/friends page. Why? Because it is just uncomfortable, awkward, and unprofessional to “air” your private life in public i.e. disputes, family grievances, where the next family reunion will be, or even personal information. Or if you only want one facebook account then keep it strictly professional. Yes, you can include pictures of family vacations and your kids playing with the dog, but other, more personal info you should keep to yourself. One time I was scrolling through my facebook stream and came across a major fight between a writer and a relative about an upcoming wedding. That’s not the kind of thing you want readers of your books to see.

4. What do I post?

You certainly don’t want to inundate people with “buy my book-isms”. Instead, share snippets of what you’re working on – just a few lines here and there. Or talk about where your next book is set and post pictures of that place. Or if your book is about a chef, share some tasty recipes that your character might be making in the book. Or if your hero is in the army, share some heart warming stories you read about in the news, about how families and towns celebrate their home-coming heroes. If you write steampunk novels post pics of some cool fashions that your characters might wear in your books.

Run regular contests. Give away free copies of your books. A lot of authors give away swag that they get from conferences. Think of a fun contest. Ask your followers to name your next hero or heroine. If your heroine runs a horse ranch give your followers your top three choices for the name of the ranch and ask them to pick their favourite. Or offer interesting prizes – for example the winner’s name could be the name of a character in your next book. Or you can include the winner’s name of one of your contests in your acknowledgments or with a special thank you in your next book. Who wouldn’t love that? Be creative and have fun. And make it a routine or a habit to do giveaways or have contests. You don’t have to do one a week, but a few contests a year would be a great idea.

5. I don’t have time for social media, I have to focus on my writing.

Bull! Most successful authors who sell a lot of books are very active on social media. Simple. As. That. Consider this: your social media accounts are an extension of your books. What you write on your facebook page is original content, created by you! Fans of your books will love your sneak peeks, your contests, or any information that you share with them about your characters and your stories. Social media is the easiest way for you to keep in touch with your fans, to gain new readers and to make announcements. It is part of your writing process from start to finish. Just as you nurture your book, so you must nurture your facebook and twitter accounts.

To be continued . . .

See you next week!

In the mean time check out some of our books right here at Lachesis Publishing.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us on twitter.

100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, and social media networking.

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