Lessons from a Book Signing

It’s time for another post on lessons from a book signing. I try to learn something new from every event I do. I also enjoy seeing if what we learn online applies when in direct, real life, person-to-person contact. Here’s what I learned from Friday‘s Book Signing.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

 

While I am not perfect by any means, consistency and practice really do help us to get better. Cliche as it is now, the saying is true. The more book signings and events I do, the better I get at pitching my books. I am a naturally shy person but author events help me to be more open. It is the chance for me to learn how to communicate what my book is about without being scripted (which is easy to do when you’re behind a computer), but that you only have seconds to do in person. For example, I had the chance to sit and think about what I wanted to say here, how to say it and the words that would best sum up this experience. In person, the time is much, much faster. There is no time to sit and think about what to say. There is nothing but your knowledge of your product and why you think it‘s worth the time and money investment. They even asked me to recite a poem on the spot! I am thankful to Yah I was ready.

 

It’s also not just about selling books but genuine interaction with the people. There were many people who bought books but did not take pictures because they didn’t want to and I did not force them. Some people didn’t buy books at all, but they sat and talked with me and laughed and we shared some interesting conversation. I met a new poet who told me about some open mic spots to hit up and a young man who referred me to a Barnes and Noble in the area that accepts Self-Published Authors. The best way to get started making change is to begin where you are.

 

  • Competing Against Cell Phone Attention Spans

 

In person, you get to see the distractions we compete with up close and personal. People‘s attention spans are short already but add to it the mobile device and it’s easy to get discouraged. Many of the people who walked past my table were glued to their mobile device or already talking on it. This makes me much more conscious of this when doing business online. Knowing that the interest in the smartphone is a big deal is one thing but seeing it empowers me with so many new ideas and thoughts on how I, as an author can keep this in mind when interacting with readers.

 

  • Don’t Try to Sell to Everyone (Don’t Sell At All, Connect)

 

The same thing about finding your target audience online applies to offline as well. While the time is faster and you do have to pull people away from their phones, discernment is important as well. I am starting to pick up on who to reach out to (literally) and who to let walk by. This may sound funny but it’s not just about getting a sale. Some people purposely crossed the street to avoid my table (lol), some people purposely focused on the ground and avoided eye contact, and some people were not on the phone. They just pretended to be to avoid me. These are examples that “I don‘t want to be bothered.” Just like not everyone will want to buy your book online, not everyone wants to buy your book in person. Some things I picked up on from people who wanted to buy my book or was interested in learning more:

 

  • They hesitated and stared at the book cover while walking by
  • They stopped by
  • They spoke to me
  • They asked questions
  • They stopped when hearing what the book was about

There are ways of knowing if you should reach out to people and if you should not. I hope to use the experience from Friday to help me at the Atlanta book signing in July.

  • Some Writing Advice Does Not Apply Offline

 

Every time I meet with people face to face it‘s a different experience than being online. What may surprise you is that I find writing advice (not all, but some) we use online does not apply to offline. There’s no screen, no script, no hashtag, nothing but good ole fashioned communication between two people who may share a genuine interest. In real life people do want your business card to learn more about you, they do ask about your website, and they want to know if they can follow you online. This means that while some advise against business cards, author websites and social media, this is not true when you are face to face with the people. In my experience, no one asks to follow your blog or if they can sign up to your email list (unless there’s already a sign-up form present and you ask them). While I think both are important and are necessary for Indie Authors to have (and both have helped me tremendously), in my experience when talking to the people in person who don‘t already know me, the basics they want to know is:

 

  • Do you have a card?
  • Do you have a website?
  • Can I follow you online?
  • Can I pay with my card?

 

Applying this means:

 

  • Having business cards with me
  • Having a website for people to go to
  • Being present on social media
  • Having a card reader on hand

 


If you did not get to stop by or you are not in the area, remember that I am Soul, my latest collection of poetry is 99cents in ebook through the month of April in honor of National Poetry Month. Also, if you are in the Atlanta area this summer, I’ll be at the Atlanta African American Book Festival in July. I’ll be premiering my first Non-Fiction release, Keep Yourself Full (of course I’ll still have my other books present as well) and other author swag. Don’t miss the chance to connect. See you soon ✒📚📸

View more pictures from this signing here
Connect with me on IG here, Facebook here, and Twitter here
Visit me on the web Here
Advertisements

My 7 Instagram Tips for New Authors

Some ask me about using Instagram. I don’t know if I am the right person to ask; I don’t have a lot of followers (if that’s important). But, I managed to put together something for you. First, I think IG is a great place for writers because there is a huge reader and writing community there. But ya’ll know me and if you don’t here’s the thing: I am not just a writer. I am also a wife, student, and now the co-founder and CFO of my family’s new Non-Profit Heart of the Streets Inc (learn more here), which means I value my time so I don’t invest too much time in anything without researching it. I use IG because it works for my business and the support is better than what I receive from Facebook and Twitter. Below, you will find seven tips I put together for new writers who also enjoy using the gram. Hope it helps.

  • Private Page to Business Page

There are three kinds of pages. Private, Public, and Business pages. If you’re an author or businessperson using Instagram, it’s a good idea that your page is a business page. If you are using IG for business and your page is private it doesn’t make much sense. You won’t be able to track to see if your post strategy is working (assuming you have a strategy), and people who want to visit your website to possibly buy your product or learn more about you as a businessperson will be turned off when they run into the private wall. They may not return. Get out of thinking anything on the internet is private. It’s not and making your profile private does not make it “safe.”

Before you make the switch:

  • You will have to connect to a Facebook page. Not your personal page but an actual page. If you have not already, head over to Facebook and create a Facebook page for your author business. This will make it easier when you switch over. Then, come back to your IG, click on the three bars and go to settings. Click on account. Scroll down until you see the option to create a business page.

If this is your personal account you are switching from, make sure it’s because you’re ready to transform the posts from your personal page into more business savvy content and not just random pictures of your cat. Some say you shouldn’t change your personal page to a business page (because of the cat thing), but I have found I get more engagement and clicks to my website using my personal page so this will depend on where you are already. If you have a separate business page and that page is already lit, by all means use it. As a new author though, you probably are using your personal page for now so you can just turn that page into a business page to make things easier.

Just as author blogs differ from business blogs, I believe author social media pages differ from business, social media pages in some ways. Sharing our interests is part of people getting to know us better and people buy books from people they know and share interests with. The personal page, in my opinion, for new authors is the page people care most about and it makes sense to build on this by transforming it into a business page and publishing content that shows off your persona but is not so personal it’s distracting.

  • Track Progress by Using Instagram’s Insights So You Know What’s Working and What’s Not

Once you’ve decided you are ready, making the switch from a private to a business page will help you to track the actions of your audience and to see which posts are actually reaching people. One of the hardest things to do is to understand what people want. The only way to know is to ask or to track behavior/pay attention to actions.

When your IG page is a business page, you get to see things you won’t see on personal pages. Below are screenshots of posts from my page. If you click on the insights (which you can see under your post but only if your page is a business account) you can see not just how many likes you got, but how many people shared your post,  viewed your profile, or clicked on your website link. These are the things you want to pay attention to because it shows you what people are most interested in. The thing about any business social media page is that it differs from pages that you are only using to connect with family members or hang out. On those pages, likes and shares don’t mean much except maybe to boost your ego. On business pages, though, likes and shares are important to you understanding how your content performs – by tracking metrics over time – and is the key to developing a content strategy that works best for you.

As a business page on social media, the formula is typically:

Engagement = Likes / Comments

____________

Followers

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shared
  • Saved to collection
  • Profile Visits
  • Reach (Impressions)

My personal testimonies are a favorite for readers. Although the first picture got more likes, the second picture did just as well if you look at the other components. The first picture was saved six times and four people visited my profile. The second picture got three saves but two shares. This tells me my audience really enjoys the testimonies, but there are other things to see…

There is so much to see here, where the views came from, reach, profile visits, website clicks, e.g. And while I did not get new followers, six people did take action (viewed my profile or went to my website) which is what every authorpreneur wants! Other things you can track include:

Chicago (my hometown), Atlanta, New York, Houston, and Charlotte are where the bulk of my support comes from. I am happy to see ATL at the top since I live in Georgia and to see the Chi representing. My biggest audience is made up of women which is always good since I am a woman, and the age group is between 25-44. Let’s move on.

  • Your IG Bio

I just changed my bio again because I wanted it to reflect what I do and what I offer. Rather than my usual: Author, Blogger, Poet, I wanted to be specific. With limited characters, this isn’t easy. I decided on:

“I write Historical Fiction novels and novellas, Inspirational Non-Fiction, and Poetry | Restoring Black Historical truth for the freedom of all people.”

Following this is a link to my website (see pic) directing people to the specific page I created for this purpose. Also, I do not (at this writing) have many followers but that doesn’t matter to me much if those numbers don’t match the support. I have an arrow pointing to publisher because under the business account you can choose what best represents your brand. Notice I have an arrow pointed toward my highlights. Once you create a story you can add it to your highlights if you want to keep it at the forefront of your page. My highlights include my book signing pictures and events. This helps people get a feel for the work I do. Lastly, notice the call to action button (Email), which further encourages people to take action. What I want is to add a buy button as well.

It may not seem like a big deal to put all this work into an IG profile, especially with such limited space but as authors we are the whole package. Everything must represent who we are.

  • Use Sharp, HQ Images

Instagram’s focus is on photos so if the pictures you’re posting look grainy and pixelated it won’t attract many readers. Try to use sharp, high-quality images in your post. You can brand yourself by creating lovely images using Canva or PosterMyWall. It’s also good if the images have something to do with your books or show off your personality in some way. A good practice is something I saw someone post about looking at your last 9 posts. Can someone understand who you are and what you offer by these posts alone? I’ve been doing this (looking at my last 9 posts) and it has been a helpful reminder to publish content that is relevant to my books or services or who I am as a person. People will see the image before they see the caption so it’s important that the image speaks first.

  • Include Text with Images

Make good use of the caption area where you can add text. It is a good idea to always use text when posting images on Instagram. I have noticed that some celebs don’t do this, but that’s because they’ve already built their audience. David Banner doesn’t have to include text on his images and he will still get over a thousand likes and hundreds of comments and shares, but you are not David Banner. You are a new author at the beginning of an exciting journey and you are introducing people to who you are for the first time. Use text to explain the images you post. It doesn’t have to be long and fancy. Something as simple as a sentence is good. Nothing to say? Just use hashtags. Anything is better than leaving it blank.

  • Hashtags

Going back to this screenshot, it appears my hashtags are working on this post, reaching 45 people alone. Hashtags don’t exist just so you can be cute but they work just like the tags you’ll use on a blog post. They are searchable on social media. If you click on your hashtag, it will take you to all the posts relevant to that hashtag. They help categorize content and track discussion topics based on keywords. You can Google the hashtags that are best for your business. It may even be necessary to research your hashtags (I did because I’m a nerd lol). There are tools available like Hashtags.org or HashtagDirectory.com that can help you. You don’t really need 50 hashtags. The most important thing is that the hashtags you use are trending and apply to your business.

Website Link or Linktree in Bio

Where are you directing people to? What do you want people to do once they’ve seen your post? Do you want them to like, comment and move on with their lives? Do you want them to research something? Do you want them to buy something? What do you want people to do when they come across your page? That answer is the link you promote in your bio. As stated before, social media should not be the end of the road. If you’re trying to sell books, you should be directing people to your author website, the place where they can learn more about who you are, what you offer, and how it is beneficial to their lives.

In your bio, you may also want to include a special website link. This link is special because it can be created specifically for Instagram. Instead of posting the link to the site alone, you can create a landing page with buttons specific to where you want people to go. Chances are you have more than one link to promote which means you can do one of two things:

  • You can use linktree to compile link buttons
  • You can create your own version landing page on your website

If you don’t have a website, I recommend Linktree, which allows you to promote more than one link at a time. When people visit your site they can choose where they want to go. You can also see how often people are visiting your sites. I used linktree for awhile and it’s excellent. What I love most is being able to see how many clicks each button gets and it increased traffic to my author website. I only recently stopped using it  because I have a website.

If you have a website of your own, it doesn’t make much sense to use linktree unless you use the paid version. While recommended, using the free version of linktree can compromise your branding a bit. How so? Linktree, is all over their free version so it was in the URL in my Instagram bio, at the top of the landing page, and at the bottom of the landing page in logo form. To get the best out of Linktree would mean using the paid version but if you have your own website (that you are paying for) it may be a good idea to use your site. This saves money, points people directly to your website, and promotes you and not Linktree. You can also get creative with your link. I used ecreads as the special page for my IG. Something simple and to the point. (If you’d like to check out what I’ve done, visit my IG page and click on the link. You won’t find this link just by going to my website since it’s created specifically for my ig page).

Website Link + Call to action button helps direct potential readers to your books, blog or wherever you want them to go. Remember, social media is not the end of the road. If you want people to do more than like a post, be sure to lead them somewhere they can learn more.

The only time your IG shouldn’t have a website link is if you are not using it for business and are just on there to socialize and hang out.


To summarize:

  • Switch your account from Private to Public and then create a Business page. Change up your content to reflect your business profile and use the metrics you see overtime to improve your strategy and increase clicks to your website
  • Write a bio that targets what it is that you do and what you offer
  • Use hashtags strategically, researching the ones that best apply to the kind of writer you are
  • Include the link to your website in your bio or use linktr.ee for multiple links
  • Use sharp, high-quality images
  • Use text to describe images

Free BOOK IT Masterclass: “Turning your story into Print” | Oliver T. Reid

Writers! Got something good for you. A friend of mine, Oliver T. Reid and his publisher Mr. Kelly Cole, both Bestselling Authors, are hosting a FREE Masterclass for those of you in the Atlanta area. I met Reid last year at the 4th Quarterly Mixer event hosted by Tinzley Bradford. Guys, the man knows his stuff, just wait until you hear him speak. You don’t want to miss this. I hear new and aspiring authors talk about the high cost of publishing all the time. Truth is, there are tons of free opportunities out there. Reach out and take them! Take advantage of the free resources that are available. This is one of them. If you are in the area, come on out.

Details: *Don’t mind the price on the flyer. This event is FREE as of this moment. Act now.*

Link to purchase FREE ticket: >>>

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/book-it-master-class-turning-your-story-into-print-tickets-51720690979?

Date: Sat. 2/9/2019
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm
Thee Werk Place
1900 The Exchange Bldg 300A Ste. 345 Atlanta GA 30339


You’re welcome!

Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog, Anne R Allen

Anne is at it again with a most excellent article on Blogging for Authors. If you’re an author and you’re looking to learn more about how your blog differs from a business blog, check out this post. She talks being true to your brand, not defining your blog success by numbers, networking and not sacrificing your WIP (work in progress).

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)

Good writers don’t need gimmicks. We only need to entertain and inform: content really is king. Be accessible and be yourself. Nothing else matters. (Well, correct spelling and grammar help too. 🙂 )

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the entire article.

Meet and Greet: 11/3/17

Looking for more exposure? Danny’s hosting a Meet and Greet, stop through, say hi and leave your Link 🙂

Dream Big, Dream Often

 

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

Shortlinks and Pingbacks

Sometimes you’ll have a post you would like to share on a social platform as limited as Twitter where only 140 characters are allowed. Or, you may want to give a link to someone of your blog post but…it hasn’t exactly gone live yet. You can do both by way of using short links.

A short link is a way of providing a link to a post that is shorter than the permalink. Also, like I said, you can use it to send people the link to a post that has not gone live yet. (They won’t see anything until it is live). It is how I give direct links to authors of the Introduce Yourself Interviews on this blog. They can use it to go directly to their post (in case they don’t see it show up in their email or reader or if they are not already following this blog).

To access your shortlink:

After drafting your post be sure you are in the old editor.

Note: It’s easier in the old editor. I have found that if you click on the link icon next to the post headline in the new editor you can copy the link. As seen here:

 

However, it is not a short link. If anyone knows how to get the shortlink while in the new editor, it is appreciated!

So, in the old editor…

Under your headline you will see the permalink to your post or the permanent link to that post.

Right next to it you’ll see Edit….

(…..where you can edit the permalink. This is useful when you change the title to your post which I’ve done sometimes. I noticed changing the headline does not change the permalink. For the permalink to match, you’ll have to edit it. I caution that this should probably not be done if the post has already been shared. For example: I recently published a post to this blog called: “4 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow.” I publish my post midnight my time because I know that while I am sleeping, many of you on the other side of the world is up. That said, by the time I woke up the post was already being reblogged. The problem is that I had five bullet points, not four! I changed the headline to 5 Ways Commenting on Other Blogs Can Help Your Blog to Grow. BUT I DIDN’T CHANGE THE PERMALINK. (If you notice, the link still says 4) This is because I don’t want to mess up the reblogs I already got. It would be a shame for someone to go to that link and that 404 message shows up. I am not sure if it will but I would not risk it. If the post has already gone live and you need to change the headline, leave the permalink be just in case).

….I digress (as usual, dang)

Next to edit is Get Shortlink. Click on that and copy and paste your shortlink. It is a shorter link to your post instead of the long permalink.

Note: If there is nothing written in the post, you will not see the shortlink button.

Pingbacks

When someone links to your blog or a post on your blog within their post, you get a comment in your comments section of that link back. That’s a pingback.  It means someone is literally, piggy backing off your post. This gives people a chance to share your post without re-blogging with credit back to the original owner. Google defines it:

  1. an automatic notification sent when a link has been created to a person’s blog post from an external website, allowing a reciprocal link to that website to be created.

Sometimes I pingback to my own post. Whenever I place a link to a previous post within my own blog post  it creates a pingback link in the comments section of whatever post I am linking back to. My Introduce yourself feature is the perfect example. Go to the comments section and scroll down. Because I link to the original post from every guest post, you will see them in the comments section.

Screenshot (663)

The first one is my pingback and the others are from others. Either way, they are all in the comments section of the original post. You can click on those links to go to the that post and since people can be notified of new comments (if they check “notify me of new comments” when making one), they can be notified every time a new Introduce Yourself interview is posted because it will link-back like a comment. No Writers Wednesday is the same way. Every time I say to “Click here to learn more about this segment” with a link to that original post, I am creating a new pingback in the comments section of that post. Although this was done by accident (and is always weird since I get a comment from myself) it has turned out to be a good thing. Link juice at its finest.

Pingbacks are also an alternative to re-blogging. While I’d rather reblog, ping-backs can be used to share posts as well.

Getting the Most Out of Guest Blog Post – by Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

It’s me again, EC. I’m back on The Story Reading Ape’s Blog and today we’re talking getting the most of your guest blog posts. Come on over, let’s chat. What are ways you get the most of your post? Let us know!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Peace and welcome,

Today, I’d like to talk about guest blogging. After all, that is what I am here for. So, let’s chat.

Why is it worth it to Guest Post? Why is it beneficial to write articles on someone else’s blog? Can’t you just write it on your own blog? Surely, the people will flock to you, right?

Your blog home is equivalent to your real home. It is your house, your rules and you can pretty much do what you want. Well, I hope you aren’t getting crazy (we’re still on the World Wide Web) but it is your domain. Naturally, you are going to behave differently on your own blog.

On the other hand, writing articles on other blogs, preferably ones more established than yours, gives you the chance to showcase your work on a larger scale. Whether you are writing an article, an inspiring post, or…

View original post 1,739 more words