Indie Author Marketing Guide: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known for being a professional network, and a great place to share your resume online.

As an indie author, here are a few ideas of how to use LinkedIn to your advantage: Continue reading

An Interview with Vicki Marquez, Author of The Rootlets


Vicki Marquez is the author of The Rootlets.

The Rootlets are four fun-loving and adventurous kids, with veggie hair and healthy habits – whose lives, up until now, were undoubtedly ordinary. In their very first adventure, Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley overhear shocking news that’s most definitely NOT ordinary, and that’s sure to change life as they know it…forever! Could it be that the Rootlets are in fact superheroes with real super powers called Rootabilities? Using clues from an old legend book, The Rootlets get to work, determined to solve the biggest mystery of their lives.

Read on for an interview with Vicki. Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: Goodreads

Next up in the Indie Author Marketing Guide series is Goodreads. Goodreads is a social network for book lovers, now owned by Amazon. Users can join groups, follow authors, rate and review books, compile lists of read books, and promote books with giveaways.

According to The Creative Penn, “Goodreads’ recommendation engine is an algorithm similar to Netflix” and “A book does need to get a few hundred ratings before it gets into the recommendation engine.” It’s also helpful to fully fill out the author profile portion of your account, and combine editions of your book.

One of the best features of Goodreads is the giveaway feature. Keep in mind that the giveaway is for physical books, and you will be responsible for mailing them to the winners. There are a lot of articles out there with tips on how to run a successful giveaway, but here are a couple links with a lot of especially useful information:

You should read the full articles, but some of the tips include how to determine the number of books to giveaway (less than 10 is actually ideal), why the process is worth doing, when to run a giveaway (Mondays are great), and how many entries to expect.

Like Amazon, Goodreads is a great place to get ratings and reviews. In late 2013, Goodreads changed its review policy so that comments primarily about an author, instead of the book, would be deleted.

Finding relevant groups to join is another great feature of Goodreads. There are many groups dedicated to indie authors supporting each other, where they share with each other ideas for marketing and promoting books.

Because Goodreads is so data heavy, the site gathers and aggregates a lot of information about people’s reading habits, and occasionally they share that data. Here’s an infographic depicting reasons why people stop reading certain books.

Goodreads also lets authors connect with readers with their “Ask the Author” feature.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to use Goodreads effectively, check out The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors (Building Blocks to Author Success Book 4) by Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower.

And if you have any other ideas for how to use Goodreads, please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared January 2015, as part of the Indie Author Marketing Guide series.

An Interview with Heather and Bruce Galpert, Authors of My Pancakes Taste Different Today!


Heather Wood Galpert and Bruce Galpert are the authors of My Pancakes Taste Different Today!

Could a Pancake have the power to shape a child’s view of their world? It was a surprise to Ethan that his favorite breakfast, a stack of steaming hot pancakes, would reveal many ways that nature and people work together. He discovered that everyone has a hand in taking care of nature. Ethan would have never guessed that his simple, innocent act of tossing an oil can into the lake, just to make a big splash for fun, could change his whole wide world. The slippery journey of the oily OOZE leaking from the can, across the lake, down the river to the beaver ponds, and into the fields of grain brought all of Ethan’s friends together. Everyone pitched in to clean up the OOZE from the lake, the fish, and the fields, to get rid of the mess around the lake they all loved. They celebrated with a party and plenty of pancakes.

Read on for an interview with Bruce. Continue reading

An Interview with Jorge Armenteros, author of Air


Jorge Armenteros is the author of Air, a novel about a student who leaves her home to get away from her oppressive boyfriend. This is Jorge’s second novel, and you may recognize his name from an earlier review of his beautifully lyrical debut novel, The Book of I. Here is the official description of Air:

Imena, a student of perfumery, arrives in Marrakech in an attempt to free herself from the overbearing intensity of her boyfriend Patricio, a philosophy professor at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne. She takes residence behind the red door of a hotel whose attendant, the striped tunic, officiates life under an aura of mysticism and danger. René, Patricio’s junior colleague, decides to leave for Guadeloupe in search of his gender identity, a painful transformative sojourn that delivers him beyond himself.

Read on for an exclusive interview with Jorge. Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: Twitter

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Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms, and when used correctly, can really help boost an indie author’s platform.

According to Social Media for Writers, “23 percent of online adults living in the United States are active on Twitter.” The post also breaks down the demographic of Twitter users, down to age, gender, education level, and more.

When you sign up for an account, you choose a Twitter handle. All handles begin with @, so for example, my Twitter handle is @sabsky.

Twitter has really expanded its functionality over the years. Of course, the main way to use Twitter is to communicate in short 140-character messages (and also photos and videos if you choose). After you sign up for an account, also known as a Twitter handle, and upload your cover photo, profile photo, and fill out your bio, you are ready to go. Twitter is often used to sign in to other apps or websites, and you can now even purchase items directly from Twitter (see more in your Settings tab, which pops up when you click on your profile image). Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: Facebook

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For indie authors, Facebook is one of the best ways to reach your audience. As of April 2016, Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users and 1.09 billion people logging in daily, according to Zephoria.

With that in mind, it’s probably safe to say that if you’re reading this, you are at least familiar with Facebook.  Continue reading

Indie Author Marketing Guide: A Primer to Social Media

By geralt [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By geralt [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Social media is a big part of indie author marketing strategies these days. But for those just starting out, it may seem daunting. When I first began using social media for platform building, I felt slightly overwhelmed. But now, after lots of practice and just incorporating social media into my daily routine, I’ve come to embrace it. And instead of seeing it like a chore, I see it as another way to connect and interact with people, and I’ve been able to build real relationships through it.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. (And if you want guidance on how to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed, read Your Writer Platform’s “Are You Building Your Writer Platform at Gunpoint?“)

Don’t use social media just to sell books

Kristen Lamb’s “Social Media, Book Signings & Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales” goes into depth on why this is not a good strategy, but basically you don’t want to spam people/just make noise, and you will not develop any real relationships this way (meaning, you won’t attract real fans).

Rachel Thompson suggests spending more time online finding people who may be willing to review your books, and she gives a list of suggestions in her article “Why ‘Read My Book!’ Doesn’t Work…And What To Do Instead

Focus on one or two platforms first, then build from there

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Google. Youtube. Goodreads. LinkedIn. Tumblr. The list goes on and on. You can be active on all these channels, but it’s probably best to pick one or two and work on growing an audience there first. Every social media channel works a little differently, caters to a different audience, and has savvy users who expect others to use the network a certain way. The Book Designer’s “Do You Make These Online Marketing Mistakes?” offers tips, such as establishing one audience per channel and using landing pages.

Social Media Just for Writers also recommends researching your target market and then choosing your social media platform based on that in “How to Stop Wasting Time and Focus Your Book Marketing.” For advice on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube, read DBW’s “The Book Marketing Social Media Hierarchy: Which Sites to Use for Which Purposes.”

Business Insider broke down the demographics of some of the social media platforms. According to them, the 45- to 54-year-old demographic is growing, “27% of 18 to 29-year-olds in the U.S. use Twitter,” LinkedIn and Google+ are mostly male, Pinterest is mostly women on tablets, and Tumblr is mostly teens and young adults.

Eventually you can expand into other platforms. For a case study on why, read Kate Tilton’s “Why I Use Different Social Media Networks (And You Should Too) by @K8Tilton.”

For help determining which platform is best for you, read these articles:

Strategize how you will build your platform

Erindor Press’s “Platform Building Primer” is a good start, and advocates setting expectations and figuring out the best way to share content, either via blogging, email newsletters, or something else (and you can use social media to promote that content).

The Loneliest Planet shared a post, called “One Writer’s Platform (Part 2) Events and PR,” which goes over techniques of marketing offline (such as doing public readings and lectures) but also adds that it’s worth taping these performances and uploading them to Youtube to share.

Use lots of images/visuals

People tend to engage more with posts, tweets, etc. that are visual. According to Rebekah Radice’s “5 Steps to Get Massive Engagement With Your Visual Content,” “43% of social media users share pictures.” She recommends having consistent colors, using templates, appropriate fonts, and to create infographics, images, and videos.

Build Book Buzz recommends creating different types of images, including picture quotes, tipographics, and infographics. For tips on how to actually create these images, read Social Media Just For Writer’s “Writers: Use Visuals to Market Your Books.”

Make use of social media tools

Here’s a list of resources, along with helpful tips and links to additional tools:

Keep up to date on new platforms and tools

Lastly, the social media landscape is constantly changing, so it’s good to stay up to date. One example of a relatively new tool/platform is Aerbook, which according to PW turns social media into a virtual bookstore. Earlier this year, Social Media Just for Writers wrote about how indie authors can use Aerbook, which allows you to share previews and even sell ebooks on social media networks, as well as see analytics on your shares.

According to the article, there are three product plans to choose from:

Aerbook Retail is free, no credit card required. It gives you the social look inside the book, email capture popups within the sample, stats on how the book is used, and the ability to share the link and also get web page widgets that launch the Aerbook. This plan lets you sell the book directly through Aerbook, and our service earns 15% of the purchase price after credit card fees are deducted.

Aerbook Plus gives you everything Aerbook Retail delivers, plus lets you add links to other retailers, like Amazon, iBooks, or even your own purchase page. Aerbook Plus is $49 per year.

Aerbook Flyer includes everything above, but there’s no direct sale through Aerbook’s commerce service. You’ll add links to other retailers. Flyer also lets you do book giveaways, and includes 500 directly delivered, complete books annually. Flyer is $99 per year.

Got any social media tips? Please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published September 2015, as part of the Indie Author Marketing Guide series.

Thinking of Becoming a Freelancer? Here Are Some Insights

A couple months ago, I was asked to write a post giving tips to people thinking about going the freelance route. Invoice2go, which has recently built a free invoice template generator, then compiled my and a number of other freelancer’s tips into a helpful infographic, to help people who are thinking of taking the leap. If you have anything to add, please let us know in the comments!


Guest Post: Mobile Traffic Statistics Inspire To Create New Businesses

By Calvina Singh

realtime-couponmachineDay after day, the same boring tasks look like they’ve been duplicated into your life by some kind of cruel tyrant. Get up early, go to the office, work hard in that tiny cubicle, return home late and exhausted. That’s hardly a life one can dream of. The problem is that it’s not just boring: it literally kills your creative potential.

The alternative is simple. Start working for yourself, be your own boss, and regulate your working time yourself—as well as your goals, strategy and salary (depending on revenues, of course). Not everybody believes that starting a business nowadays is easy and failure-proof. But it’s surely worth a try, especially in the modern mobile-oriented paradigm.

By this I mean that with so much people using their mobile phones, it’s a lot easier for an entrepreneur to reach his or her target audience, spending minimum money, time, and effort. According to the real-time mobile data statistics from Coupon Machine: Continue reading