Your Blog

A platform. A podium. A stage. A virtual loudspeaker in every corner of the world. A map. A tour guide. A historical document. An ear. A hug. A friend. A translator of every language. A light. A dictionary. A notebook and pen. A portrait on the wall. A wall. A spreadsheet of feeling. A prayer. A song. An instrument. A melody for the broken. A doctor. A midwife. A counselor. A teacher. A healer. Your blog is so much more than a blog. Your blog is a voice.

My 7 Instagram Tips for New Authors

I think Instagram is a great place for writers because there is a prodigious reader and writing community there.

Below, you will find seven tips I put together for new writers who also enjoy using the gram. Hope it helps.

  • Tip #1: Private Page to Business Page

If you’re an author using Instagram, it’s a good idea that your author page is a business page. This will allow you to use insights and other metrics that can help you post quality content by looking beyond the number of likes and tracking things like saves, shares, demographics, and the best times to post based on when your audience is online. (You can find this under insights)

Business pages are also automatically public, which is what you want. If you are trying to build readership and engagement, your author pages should not be private. That is like having a closed sign hanging off the door of your new business. To be clear, this isn’t your personal page (unless you have turned your personal page into a business page, but we will touch on that in a second). This is your business page, and business pages should be public.

Get out of thinking anything you post on the internet is private. It’s not, and if it’s any consolation, making your profile private does not necessarily make it “safe.”

Switching to Business Account

  • Although I am not a big fan of Facebook, you will need to connect it to a Facebook page to create an Instagram business page (at this writing). I know, it sucks. But IG is owned by Facebook so, go figure.

    This page cannot be your personal page but a Facebook business 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 in the upper right-hand corner and go to settings. Click on account, then scroll down until you see the option to create a business page.

Changing a Personal Page to a Business Page

If you are going to turn your personal page into a business page, there are some things you will need to do first. Some people say not to do this and to create a separate business page, but I agree with both ways with a few exceptions.

To turn your personal page into a business page, you will want to make sure you delete everything that is not in some way relatable to your business. This means you might want to delete those nudes and all fifteen pictures of your cat.

Another option is to delete everyone who is not part of your readership and unfollow people who aren’t right for your business. While it is best to create a separate business page, turning your personal page into a business page could work if you are willing to make a few adjustments.

You will also have a lot of family and friends on your personal page, and family and friends are not your target audience. The chances are that’s why you are complaining so much about not getting the support you deserve. You are trying to sell to the family instead of the strangers who want to buy from you.

Family is family, but they are not your customers. Even those who buy from you aren’t doing it for the same reasons your readers are. A family who buys from you is just trying to be supportive because they are related to you, not because they actually like to read your books. It’s a hard pill to swallow, I know, and it doesn’t apply to all family members (some of them do like your work), but the quicker you move out of the mentality that your family must support you to be successful, the more successful you will actually be because you will have embraced the strangers who are readers passionate about the kinds of books you write.

Just as author blogs differ from business blogs, I believe author social media pages differ from other business social media pages in some ways. One way is that for writers, showing off our likes, interest, and personality is all part of author branding. People buy from people they know, like, trust, and getting personal (though, not too personal…keep it clean) helps build trust.

  • Tip #2: Track Progress by Using Instagram’s Insights So You Know What’s Working and What’s Not

One of the hardest things I have found as an introvert is figuring out what other people want. The only way to know is to ask, track behavior, and pay attention to actions.

Once you’ve decided you are ready, making the switch from a private to a business page will help you track your audience’s actions and see which posts are reaching people. 

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 on business accounts), you can see not just how many likes you got but how many people shared your post, saved your post, viewed your profile, or clicked on your website link.

This helps you to see which posts have high engagement and which posts do not.

The thing about any business social media page is that it differs from pages that you are only using to connect with family members, friends, or just hang out. On those pages, likes, shares, and follows don’t mean anything 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 your audience.

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

Engagement =

Likes + Comments / Followers

You also see things like the number of people who viewed your profile, clicks to your website, where the people are coming from (what city/state), age range, gender, and more to consider in terms of what’s working other than counting likes, which is actually the least important form of engagement.

Let’s look at some examples of my high performing Instagram posts and how I determine they are high performing. Try not to look at the number of likes. Although that plays a part, you can see likes on everyone’s post. In this example, we are looking at what you can only see on a business page and how to increase posts’ quality.

Example #1

Here, the winner is the number of shares (46) and saves (74). The number of comments is next (20) and then, lastly, number of likes. Also, you will notice the number of people I reached and the number of people who clicked on my profile. Although there are more likes than saves, liking a post is last in terms of engagement.

Example #2

Here, there were only two profile visits but the reach was huge and so were the saves. A lot of people enjoyed this post. But I want you to notice something else.

While this post has the most likes and a higher reach, example number one is still a better post to me because it’s my own original content.

This is important.

In example two, I was reposting a black history meme from another page (you can see my credit at the bottom left…always give people credit when you share their post. You can do this easily using a repost app). The posts that are yours are always the best!

Never share more of someone else content than you do your own.

Example #3

 

Example number three was lit. The reach is impressive, the shares and saves are outstanding, and the likes even got up there a bit. Here, everything outshined the number of comments, so while people loved the post, they didn’t have too much to say about it. I guess we all know Alice Walker by now lol.

Chicago (my hometown), Atlanta, New York, Houston, and Charlotte are where the bulk of my support comes from (at this writing). I am happy to see ATL at the top since I live in Georgia and 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.

  • Tip #3 Use Sharp, HQ Images

Instagram’s focus is on photos, so uploading pictures that are grainy, pixelated, or include text that’s hard to read is like the IG cardinal sin. If your images look like crap, you won’t get much engagement. Trust.

Use sharp, high-quality images in all your posts. 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 nine posts. Can someone understand who you are and what you offer by these posts alone? I have been doing this (looking at my previous nine posts), and it has been a helpful reminder to pay attention to the kinds of content I post. People will see the image before seeing the caption, so the image must speak first.

  • Tip #4: Include Text/Caption with Images

Speaking of seeing the image first, people pay attention to the caption! Add some context to the image by adding a caption. Now, I have noticed many celebrities don’t do this. They often post a selfie, and leave it at that, but that’s because they are celebrities who already have a strong audience and platform. 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 the caption to explain the images you post. It doesn’t have to be uber long and fancy, but something is better than leaving it blank.

  • Tip #5 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.

Tip #6: Clean Up Your IG Bio

I just changed my bio again because I wanted it to reflect what I do and offer. This is one of the most critical parts of your account. Since you are limited on characters, you must quickly tell people what you have to offer in as few words as possible. As you can see, I don’t have tons of followers, so don’t think because you have less or even more, that’s the most important thing because it’s not. The number of followers doesn’t determine quality.

  • Author – Make sure you let people know you are an author. Don’t be afraid. If your an author, say that.
  • Tell us what you do or offer. If you’re an author, tell us the kinds of books you write.
  • Be sure your website or Linktree link is in the bio.

Tip #7 Website Link in Bio

What do you want people to do once when they visit your profile? Do you want them to like, comment, and then 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.

If you are using Social media for business, the end of the road isn’t your Instagram/Facebook/Twitter page. You need an author website/blog/email list and should be directing people to these sources to 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 your website alone, you can create a landing page with buttons specific to where you want people to go. Instagram only allows one link, but you can post several when you:

  • Set up a Linktree account where you can house several buttons, accessible through one link

Even if you don’t have a website yet, Linktree is excellent because it allows you to list more than one thing at a time. You can add buttons to your social media sites, for example. When people visit your link, they can choose where they want to go. You can also see how often people are visiting your sites. I used linktree for a while, and it’s excellent.

  • You can create your own linktree-like link through your website

To get the best out of Linktree would mean using the paid version so you can customize it, but if you have your own website (that you are already paying for), you can also opt to create a page on your website that mimics the Linktree platform. This is a special page specifically for Instagram, so you don’t have to make it visible from your home page, but add the link to your IG bio. (Click here to see my page for an example)

This saves money, points people directly to your website, and promotes you and not Linktree.

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.


To Summarize:

  • Make your profile public, and create a business page. Be sure to shake up your content to reflect your business profile

 

  • Use the insights and metrics you see over time 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 sharp, high-quality images

 

  • Use caption/text to describe images

 

  • Use hashtags strategically, researching the ones that best apply to the kind of content you post.

 

  • Include the link to your website in your bio or use linktr.ee for multiple links

 

KDP Print vs. CreateSpace (Comparing the Little Details)

Awesome comparison! KDP Print is something to consider. (Comments disabled here. Please refer to the original post)

chrismcmullen

KDP PRINT VS. CREATESPACE PAPERBACKS

I have published dozens of paperbacks with CreateSpace over the years, and have recently published some books (under pen names) with KDP’s new print-on-demand option.

While in many respects the two services are comparable (and both are Amazon companies), there are quite a few little differences.

DIGITAL PREVIEWS AND PRINTED PROOFS

There are several differences relating to printed proofs:

  • With KDP print, you don’t have to go through the manual file review process before you can order a printed proof. If you know what you’re doing, this saves 12 to 24 hours, but if you have a big mistake in your PDF files, CreateSpace’s manual file review would help to flag the issue before you waste time and money on a printed proof. However, both offer digital proofing tools to help catch mistakes before you order a printed proof.
  • KDP’s version of an interior reviewer…

View original post 1,933 more words

6 Self-Publishing Myths That Need to Die | Kristina Adams

I wasn’t gonna share this article (except to my Facebook and Twitter page), but I loved what Kristina was saying so much I just had to share it here as well. If you’re still trying to decide on Self-Publishing or not this  article should clear some things up for you. I am always talking to new Self-Publishers about the importance of platform so I found the following statement an important one to share:

The assumption that traditional publishers will do all of your marketing for you is one of the biggest myths when it comes to traditional publishing. The more a publisher pays for a book, the bigger the marketing budget. Unfortunately, unless you already have a big platform, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll get a fat cheque or a decent marketing budget. Publishers pay more for celebrity books—and market them heavily—because they already have an audience. They know the books will sell if they reach the right people. The lower the risk, the happier they are to invest.

I think it’s a good idea for Indie Authors (myself included) to seek to learn more about the publishing industry as a whole (to include Traditional Publishing even if we aren’t seeking that route) because it can help us to better understand the business of publishing, such as the importance of having a platform, and can possibly help us to better sell and market our books. For example, “Most agents and publishers—particularly the bigger ones—won’t even consider you unless you already have a social media following of a few thousand. This shows them that you already have a fan base that will buy the book, and there’s already a market out there for you and your book(s).” (source: https://www.writerscookbook.com/indie-publishing-vs-traditional-publishing/)

I think Self-Publishers can benefit from this same kind of information. We may not be seeking agents but we do still need readers and the bigger the platform, the better our chances of finding those readers. Just a thought.

Read through to the ORIGINAL article HERE.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen

Title: The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors

Author: Anne R. Allen

Print Length: 176 pages

Publisher: Kotu Beach Press

Publication Date: December 4, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B077Y5DKP9

 

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

*Due to the high volume of reads I am behind on, reviews will no longer be restricted to Fridays. I will be publishing reviews on whatever day I get them out until I am caught up*

 

Anne R. Allen is no stranger to the blogging world. Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017. Her advice and suggestions are shared daily by bloggers and authors such as myself. As her book is targeted, I am a busy Author but I also love to blog. Blogging. It has become one of the things I must incorporate into my schedule. I love interacting with the WordPress platform, networking with other authors, readers, and bloggers and being able to share my post on social media. In short, if there was a book out there for busy author bloggers, I am definitely one of them which is why I definitely knew I was going to need this book. I was not disappointed.

This book is extremely easy to understand which I think makes the “Easy” in the title so critical. It helps to guide those authors who are new to blogging in a way that leaves no stone unturned. Whether it is Blogger or WordPress, if you are an author (even if you’re not a busy one) Allen’s book will give you the tools you need to make blogging part of your platform. What I loved most of all is the information on how an author blog is different than a business blog. I also enjoyed the part on writing an author bio, which I applied immediately. What I loved least is some of the information on author newsletters.

While I don’t think everyone should do it at all (and I also agree with the author on some of the focus of some newsletters), I still think the email list can be beneficial for staying in communication with an author’s target audience. While my blog is more interactive and people can subscribe and also get email notifications of new posts, the email list helps me to organize exactly who the people are who are subscribed. I do not think the email list is for hard-selling (it doesn’t work) or anything most people tell you it is for but I do think it can be helpful to know who your supporters are more intimately. I love my blog. I have more interaction, feedback and more subscribers but I don’t know who everyone is, who is actually reading my content or what percentage of them are no longer paying attention. With an email list, I know exactly who is active, who is inactive, who clicks links, who open emails and who doesn’t. People who are no longer interested can also unsubscribe, giving me, even more, insight into the people who care and the people who do not care.

Nonetheless, there are still some really good pointers here so my disagreement with this part didn’t downgrade my thoughts on the book. Allen brings up some good pointers, such as: not using your list to advertise hard sell, promote or spam. How blogs show up on search engines, can be shared on social media and is interactive. I also like that she brings up the Street Team newsletter where everyone is treated as members of the author’s team to help to review and promote the work. I don’t like the idea either and have always thought there should be a separate list for this.

I wouldn’t recommend this book just for busy authors. I recommend this book for author bloggers in general. It’s an easy read and gives all the tools you need to start your author blog today.

 

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors is available now on Amazon. Authors, go get it!

Anne R A

Anne R. Allen is the author of nine comic novels. THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE, and THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER are available singly or in a boxed set called BOOMER WOMEN. She’s also the author of the hilarious Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, and THE QUEEN OF STAVES. She is currently published by Kotu Beach Press.

She also has a collection of short stories and verses called WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.

She’s the co-author of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…A SELF-HELP GUIDE, written with Amazon #1 seller, Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Her latest book is THE AUTHOR BLOG: EASY BLOGGING FOR BUSY AUTHORS.

Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017.

Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the foggy Central Coast of California with an imaginary cat and a lot of fictional people.

New Author Tip

2017-12-08 13.17.01

Blogging has greatly impacted my writing life. The knowledge and wisdom from my fellow bloggers is amazing. I love that we build each other up and alert one another to things that may seem fishy in the publishing industry. I love that we promote each other and help advance the other’s writing life. That said, my tip for new authors is this:

This is just a suggestion, but if you are about to publish for the first time and you’ve never published a book before (and people don’t know you as a writer, maybe as other things but not as a writer) consider starting a blog at least 6 months to a year of publishing your first book. Spend that time talking about your passions, networking with other writers, readers and getting a feel for the online community. Don’t just talk about your work, talk about yourself. Post funny pictures, inspiring quotes, short story excerpts, articles and anything that appeals to your target audience and that (most of all) showcases your personality. Let people get to know you better while also getting to know the writer you. Then, when you’re ready to publish your book, you have a platform and people who are interested outside of your immediate circle.

This tip is only for those who are close to publishing. If you are still writing your book, I would say to focus on that for now. If you are publishing soon however, you may want to try blogging to test the waters. It’s a better platform for networking (in my opinion) than Facebook and Twitter.

PBS Blog Removed from Kindle

Hey Guys,

Just a heads up that due to technical difficulties, I have removed this blog from Amazon’s Kindle for blogs program. If you’ve subscribed you will be unsubscribed in 48-72hrs. I’ll let you all know if I try it again. Being the program is still in Beta, it looks like they still have work to do (and its been in beta a long time). In the meantime, you can always follow my Amazon author page for blog updates as well as Goodreads to stay in touch. (and, this blog of course)