Social Media Tips For Your Author Platform

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An active author platform can often be the difference between poor sales of your book and making a living with your writing. The main parts of your author platform are your writer’s blog, a newsletter, social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). You will want to write proposals, queries, and manuscripts, do interviews both online and in person, and go to conventions, book fairs and other writing events. All of these activities can be overwhelming to any author, no matter if you are an aspiring author or a pro with many novels on Amazon. It is a fact that maintaining your platform takes constant work.

There is a solution to taming the platform workload. It is called automation, scheduling and following a routine.

No Wasted Ink, as of this writing, has a blog following of around 1800 and a twitter following of 25 thousand. Each and every one of these followers was found one at a time and added organically to my lists over the course of five years. I am doing the same with my new quarterly newsletter and Instagram account. Both are small in subscribers since they are new, but in time both of these new legs to my platform will improve.

I’m often asked how I built my large number of followers. It is mainly by providing consistent and quality content to my readers. No Wasted Ink provides book reviews of classic science fiction and fantasy novels, interviews new up and coming authors, has a list of writer’s articles every Monday that I curate by hand, and original articles and poetry. It is all offered up for free to anyone who wishes to follow. In addition, I have links to my writing, both free stories that are published in online magazines, and content to purchase such as novels, novellas, and anthologies that I am a part of. I consider my writer’s blog to be the cornerstone of my author platform.

I am active on social media. Every post on No Wasted Ink creates a tweet on twitter to inform my followers that there is a new post to read. I also post a link on my Facebook Author Page. This is done automatically by WordPress for me. For key posts, I will often follow up with additional tweets, one a day to my feed for a time span of two weeks. I create these tweets on Hootsuite, a free service that I use to schedule tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time.

Another service that I use to supplement Twitter is a free service called Triberr. I have joined a number of “tribes” there and offer to promote other writer’s posts in exchange for their promoting my posts. By doing this cross promotion I gain two things. An easy way to queue additional posts to my twitter feed so it is not all about me. I select articles from fellow writers that I feel would be of interest to writers or readers of science fiction or fantasy. This fleshes out my twitter feed and makes it more interesting. I also gain access to other author networks for my own posts. On average, all my interviews and guest posts gain around 60 to 80 retweets from my various network connections.

An important thing to remember about Twitter is that you need to cull your follower list from time to time. I do a culling of people that do not follow me back or who have not tweeted anything in at least six months from my follower list a few times a month. I use various third party platforms to locate these tweeps and prune them. This allows me room to add new people that might be more inclined to read my tweets and respond to my messages. By doing this, although my list of followers is large, they are all very active.

Having a Facebook Author Page is important, but I don’t view it as a platform for sending messages to followers. I like being there because most people expect you to have a Facebook presence. It also is a great place to host an online book launch, post your upcoming live events, or do a Facebook Live video. For me, Facebook has been a great place to network with fellow authors, magazine editors, and publishers of anthologies. Most of the places that I publish my short stories and poetry to have been found by networking on Facebook.

I know that all of this can seem to be overwhelming. And sometimes it is! However, it doesn’t need to be. Scheduling your time is the key to handling the social media marketing. I schedule myself two ways. The main way I do my marketing is to do a short session in the morning and in the evening, each no more than 15 minutes. Yes, I sometimes set a timer. In these sessions I will do any of the following:

* Write a blog post
* Draft an email newsletter
* Research articles for my Monday link posts
* Write a Facebook status or Twitter update
* Take an Instagram picture and upload it
* Comment on a blog post on another author’s site
* Share another author’s book, on a social media platform
* Update my website or blog in some way
* Draft a query letter to a magazine on a subject related to your book
* Create an image on Canva with a reviewer’s blurb on it and Tweet it
* Create an image on Canva of a quote from your articles and Tweet it
* Write a thank-you note to a book reviewer, librarian or bookseller
* Load up future tweets to promote new blog posts
* Write up a call for new authors to interview

I also have one other social media work session. It happens once a year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This is normally a “dead” week for business. All the Christmas shopping is done, people are home with their families and not all that much is going on retail wise. Yet, there is this full week of time available. I schedule this week to do my annual blog scheduling. During this week I will create all the holiday posts for my blog and schedule them for the following year. I find quotes to post on Facebook and schedule them to post for the next year. I finish setting up my editorial calendar for the next year and make sure that all my regular posts are scheduled in my Filofax with a check mark drawn in for when I complete and schedule the post. I tend to work in six to eight-hour shifts during this week, devoting most of my work time to marketing. At the end of the week, I toast the New Year and go back to my usual 15-minute sessions.

Now it’s your turn: share in the comments. What are your favorite—or most effective—quick marketing tasks in your author platform?

Author Interview: Stephanie Barr

Author Stephanie Barr is a storyteller with a focus on people, whatever form those “people” might be. And she loves to make you think, feel, and laugh. Please welcome this dynamic writer to No Wasted Ink.

Author Stephanie BarrStephanie Barr is a part time novelist, full-time rocket scientist, mother of three children (two still at home) and slave to many cats. I have three blogs, which are sporadically updated: Rocket Scientist, Rockets and Dragons, and The Unlikely Otaku. I like to read, though I’m currently obsessed with manga, and I love to write and tell stories. But I can also do the math.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing no later than thirteen because that’s when I first started saving it. I used to write poetry and throw it away—usually telling a story because I’m a natural born story teller—then I wrote one I thought my father, who generally didn’t like any fiction, might like. And he did. And he made me promise not to throw anything away ever again, so I haven’t. Been writing ever since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Since then. Oh, I’ve grown as a writer—it has been thirty-six years—but I published my first short story I ever wrote in my first anthology and I’m not a big ashamed of it. I didn’t change it either. My first anthology (Conjuring Dreams) was really about my growth as a writer. I started out with epic poetry, then moved to short stories, then later I started writing novels. But you can see how I taught myself dialog and subtleties and such in the anthology, so I didn’t go back and change the old work. Sometimes, the old work works, too, just as it is. I still write short stories and have another anthology coming out shortly called Legacy

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Beast Within (The Bete Book 1) starts with a cargo of refugee children (mostly teenagers) that gets diverted en route to the local moon during a war with an intergalactic aggressor. As a result, the cargo ship crash lands on an unknown planet across the universe with a thousand kids and a handful of crew and teachers. Among the thousand kids are about 40 or so kids who happen to be shapeshifters and/or have psychic powers (the Bete) who desperately want to keep their nature hidden because they will be treated like demons by some of the humans.

What inspired you to write this book?

A few things. My teenage daughter was reading fantasy YA. I’d been writing fantasy since before she was born. I was also addicted to a manga/anime she introduced me to call Fruits Basket that had shapeshifters, and I found some of their dilemmas thought provoking and some of the characters interesting. In the end, very little of that inspiration remained in the story, but it’s what sparked it. Can’t give my brain an inch.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I probably write a little chattier than many. I love humor and have to be physically restrained from using parentheses. I really like to inject the particular personality of my character into my POV writing and I have a total soft spot for sarcasm and snarky folks, including telepathic cats (which are in Beast Within, by the way). I like to focus on characters and on their interactions. I am a character driven writer. I like smart characters and usually have at least one character that’s very smart. I prefer to outsmart my bad guys. Rapists never end well in my books (and are never protagonists) and I always have cats and at least one dragon.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The male lead (Xander) of this book is a shapeshifter who happens to change into a dragon, which is very bad ass. However, his father (who was abusive and also a dragon) used his strength as an excuse to mistreat people and told him that Xander that it was an unavoidable side effect of the dragon alter, that if he became emotional, he’d hurt the people he loved, so Xander spends a lot of time squashing his feelings, so the title reflects how he feels about himself. But, it also reflects some of the less savory aspects of humankind including prejudice and ruthlessness, so the intent was to ask the question, which one is really the beast. Hence the title.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Most of my books include the message: who you are is more important than what you are and you choose who you are. I try to drive that home on several different fronts, not only with the prejudice of some of the humans but the close-mindedness of some of the Bete.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The characters tend to be built from aspects of myself (taken, sometimes to extreme), but not the circumstances. They’re usually far outside my experience base and this is really not an exception.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I’ve learned from a lot of authors, sometimes just as good storytellers/character writers (Heinlein, Georgette Heyer, Nora Roberts, Clavel, Michener, McCaffery, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller), to people who had particular skills I admired (Poe:poetry/emotive response, Emily Bronte: emotive response, Stephen King: emotive response/writing kids effectively, etc). There are many mangakas I’ve found inspiring for their different perspectives. And, actually, I got started writing fantasy short stories by reading a story called “Spoils of War” by Jennifer Roberson in Sword and Sorceress V edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley that got me interested and involved in fantasy. It’s still one of the best short stories I’ve ever read.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Brandon Smith. Ryn Katryn does most of my covers, but Brandon has done a few and this is one of them. I was actually just chatting with him, explaining I wanted to revamp my covers (from what I had done myself) and he built the cover in record time and it was exactly what I wanted.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you love. If you love it, you’ll always have at least one fan. Learn your craft. Always strive to be better, not to be successful (though that’s always nice) but because it has your name on it, a legacy and you want it to be good. Read everything out loud, to an audience if you can swing it. I’ve caught more errors that way than every other way combined. Everything—I mean everything—is better with humor.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

My books are an eclectic mix of different genres and characters, but they’re all fun, they’re all thought-provoking, they’re all full of excitement and adventure. And cats, often telepathic ones. And I’m not done, not by a long shot.

Beast Within Book Cover.jpgStephanie Barr
League City, TX

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Beast Within

Cover Artist: Brendan Smith

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No Wasted Ink Writers Links

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I was in a marketing mood this week and therefore many of this Monday’s Link offerings are on that theme.  However, I have included a few general writing tips for poetry, emotions, and handwriting too.  Enjoy!

Character Motivation Thesaurus Entry: Carrying on a Legacy

Poetry Writing Tips

7 Great Tips on How to Write Nonfiction

Your Character’s Why

The Wizard of Alderley Edge

How to create your Author “Pit Crew” Part 1: Beta Readers

IN PRAISE OF HANDWRITING

The Benefits of Newsletters

BOOK MARKETING ON THE AIR: RADIO AND PODCAST TIPS FOR WRITERS

6 Marketing Tips for Debut Authors

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

Welcome back to another day of Writer’s Links from No Wasted Ink. This week I have a nice grab bag of general writing tips for you, articles that grabbed me as well written and full of interesting information for those of us learning the author trade. I hope you like them too!

PUTTING IT RIGHT, AT LAST: MUST READ WOMEN AUTHORS IN FANTASY

The Near Future of Medical Technology

12 Tips for Writing and Releasing Collaborative Book Bundles

Science Fiction, Horror & More—Why Speculative Fiction Matters

How Walt Disney Made Me A Better Writer

The Great American Novel That Wasn’t

Birth of a Book: The Development Stage: Figuring Out the Plot

The Profound Power of Consistency

Ten Ways to Organize Your Bookshelf

YOUR BOOK NEEDS THESE 6 PSYCHOLOGICAL INGREDIENTS

Motivation and Inspiration by Patricia Crumpler

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At a recent workshop, someone asked why I write. I’m not sure, but I am pretty sure of what makes me want to write. I read.

So far, all of the writers I have met, published and unpublished, have one thing in common. They read. Okay, almost everyone can read. I say almost everyone because since we have been utilizing our vacation cabin in the Appalachian Mountains I have become acquainted with a few folks who don’t read, either because they didn’t want to learn or didn’t have the opportunity. I digress to say these people get along just fine and probably can read more than they think; after all, they have the great educator—television— and words like “greatest sale of the year” and “pine-sol clean” and “Viagra” cannot have escaped being committed to the spongy vastness of anyone’s little gray cells.

No, I mean writers read voraciously. Like a pile of books stacked adjacent to a bedside table while dishes scream to be washed in the kitchen sink. That kind of reading. The kind of word-appetite that makes a person panic when she’s read the final offering of her favorite author. “Wait a minute,” she says to herself. “I can write more of that series.” And she does. That’s how fan fiction takes life and how one can discover her ability to create literature. That’s Inspiration.

Another inspiration is what I call “out of the blue” meaning, one day you are sitting in a rocking chair on the porch and an idea hits you. It keeps hitting you, NCIS Gibbs style until you fire up the computer and relieve the pent-up creation.

More examples of inspiration you say? Righty-right, then. You read a short story and it triggers a long-forgotten episode in your past that flares to life and the writer inside demands it to be consigned to posterity.

Or… Someone tells you about an odd happening and you say, “Wow, that is so weird it has to be written.” Luckily that person isn’t prone to writing, so you borrow it and love the result. In fact, you submit it to a contest and win first prize. You have been bitten by inspiration.

Or…How about, you are teetering on the edge of insanity and writing saves you. Now the monster (don’t we always need conflict in our writing?) also known as Motivation.

The motivation aspect could be simplified into two parts. The first is the easy part, the drive to create and the passion to give life to your inspirations. The second is the hard part; the enforcement of discipline that many writers talk about as being instrumental to writing. All the books and most of the writers I’ve met say the same thing: you must write all the time, even if you don’t have anything to write about. You must get your body and mind accustomed to that action so it becomes second nature. Even if you just churn out crap on top of crap, you are still writing and at some point, your habitual writing and inspiration will connect.

Inspiration or motivation, there remains the girl in my brain’s attic telling me what to do, mainly to click at the computer buttons until some of the words make sentences, and then paragraphs, and then, perhaps, make sense. And I listen to her. I click those buttons every day.

Please notice the blatant omission of memoirs. That’s another post.

Author Patricia CrumplerPatricia Crumpler is a writer and an artist with a life-long addiction to reading Science Fiction. Her space drama, “Benevolence” debuted in February of this year by First Realm Publishers.

In addition to a novella, “Sorrow Song” which features a very sexy merman, Patricia has published an anthology with her son, Christopher, and has a series of children’s stories called “Fins and Fables” volumes I, II, & III. All of her books are available on Amazon. She has had 15 short stories published in various anthologies.

Patricia lives in South Florida where her favorite hangout is the beach. Her website is Carpewordum.com. She’d love to hear from readers!

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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