Social Media to Build Your Blog or YouTube– Marketing for Authors

Today I wanted to pick off where I left off in my last Marketing for Authors video, but first…I’d like to do a Q&A video soon, so if there’s a question you’ve always wanted to ask me, leave them in the comments down below and I’ll try my best to answer them all next week!

With that out of the way…

Last time I talked to you all about marketing, I talked about creating content for blogs/YouTube. As promised, now I’ll be talking to you about how to share the content you’ve created on social media outlets to get the most out for what you’ve created. As always, if you’re new to marketing, it may be helpful to watch the other Marketing for Authors videos I’ve created before watching this one.

So let’s say you’ve written an amazing blog post. You’ve got it posted on your blog, it looks great, it has great information, but you have no followers. How is someone supposed to discover your blog if you have no followers? There are two ways a new blog gains followers: interaction (which I will talk about in another video) and social media (which we’ll be talking about today).

Think about it, whenever you discover a new YouTube channel or blog, how did you find out about it? Sometimes it’s through a friend telling you about it, but most of the time it’s someone else, maybe a friend of a friend, posting about it on Facebook or Twitter. To get your blog or video to be discovered on social media, you have to get the ball rolling. Don’t wait around for people to post about your YouTube video on Twitter, start posting about it yourself.

Keys to Sharing on Social Media:

Photos: People are more likely to share or re-tweet a post if it has a photo. We’re visual creatures, make is happy and post a photo along with the link to your video or blog post.

Hashtags: This applies mostly to Twitter and Instagram, but you can use it for Facebook as well. What’s the main subject of your video? Go on Twitter and Instagram and see what hashtags people are using to talk about that subject. Talking about writing? Use #amwriting.

Bitly: Bitly is great for two reasons. It allows you to shrink your URL links for your blog post/video, and it allows you to track how many people have clicked on your link. A short URL is great because it takes up fewer characters for sites like Twitter. But tracking the clicks a link gets is key to knowing if people are actually responding to what you’re posting on social media.

HootSuite: If you don’t know what HootSuite is yet, get acquainted. This is a #1 tool for anyone doing social media marketing. This allows you to schedule posts, track hashtags, and view your feed all in one place. The basic version is free, but there’s also a business version that allows you to track your analytics in one place. What version you use is up to you, but I personally only use the free version. If you’d like a video that goes into more detail about Hootsuite, let me know in the comments below!

Which Social Networks Should I Post My Blog/Videos?

Post your blog post and YouTube videos on every social media site you’re on. So if you’re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you should post on all three sites every time you have a new video or blog post. Each post should contain a Bitly link, a photo, and an appropriate hashtag if you want to get the post eyes viewing possible. How do you organize posting everything? Well, that’s where HootSuite comes in.

5,000 Subscriber Free Book & #ChanceChallenge

It’s already the second week of September! How is that possible? My last semester of college has begun so things are a little crazy for me, so I wanted to let you know I’ll only be posting once a week until finish classes in December. On another note, by YouTube channel hit 5,000 subscribers! In celebration of having 5,000 amazing subscribers, I wanted to do more than giveaway a book to one person. I’m going to give a book to…well, anyone who wants one.

For five days, starting today, my second novel, I am Mercy will be available for free on Kindle.

Download I am Mercy for free.

If you end up downloading the book, let me know in the comments below! Also make sure that once you read I am Mercy to review it on Amazon or Goodreads!

Normally at the start of each month I’d do a monthly goal video, but because I have classes I want to focus all my efforts on graduating and finishing writing the first draft of my third novel. To finish writing my third novel I’m going to be joining fellow YouTuber, Kim Chance, in the #ChanceChallenege.

Why wait until November to have national novel writing month? Kim took the lead and is hosting any writers willing to join in from now until October 8th to bring everyone together to hit their word count goals. I’ve been working on my third novel all summer to finish writing it, and now I’ll be using #ChanceChallenge to finish the first draft! Finally!

How to Take Part:

Create an Account on myWriteClub. It’s easy to set up, and it’s free! Create your goal and start adding friends to help motivate you to achieve your goal! My username is mandilynnwrites.

Use #ChanceChallenge to follow everyone taking part.

Most of all, check out Kim’s blog post for full details and follow her on myWriteClub as well!

Time to get writing!

 

 

Blind Date with a Book Unboxing

Last week I had a few book signings and in celebration of two great signings, my mom took me out to eat and to Barnes and Noble. While I was there I noticed Barnes and Noble has set up the new blind date with a book section.

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

 

How does it work? Well, basically the books are wrapped up, so you can’t judge a book by its cover. The only way you can decide if the book is right for you is by reading the tag that is attached to it. Here’s the tag for the book I picked out:

“Takes all of the best things from historical fiction, horror, fantasy, and a dash of thriller and you will get this book. Tackling what lack of a sense can do to a person you won’t be able to put it down until you are done.”

Now, while this tag has a few grammar mistakes, I knew what it was trying to say and I had a feeling this book was going to be the right one for me. Here’s the book I ended up uncovering:

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift — an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume” — the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

 

I love these types of books, so I can’t wait to start reading! My first blind date with a book was a success!

Has anyone else gone on a blind date with a book yet?

What to Create on YouTube/Blogs – Marketing for Authors

As promised in past week’s video, this week I wanted to talk what types of things you should be posting on your blog or YouTube channel. You can use your blogs and vlogs to make yourself present online and promote yourself; this is called content marketing. It develops trust and marks you as an expert in your field, which helps promote sales.

Choose Your Format:        

The first decisions you’ll need to make when you peruse content marketing is deciding what format you’d like to use. Here are some popular options:

YouTube Videos- This is becoming more and more popular. The BookTube community is highly popular, but also on the rise is the AuthorTube community! That wasn’t even a term when I started making YouTube videos!

Blog Posts- Writer’s love to read, so most of the time writers will enjoy reading a blog post, rather than watching it. If you notice, I make all my YouTube videos into blog posts so you can enjoy whichever format you prefer!

Podcasts- Podcasts have been around for a while but they’ve just started to really catch wind now. People are busier and busier and Podcasts are great because you can listen to them while you’re on the go. The tricky thing with Podcasts is that they’re usually longer and more in-depth, so it takes longer to produce them. Like I said in my last video, when it comes to content marketing, it’s a good rule of thumb to produce something to push out at least once a week, so doing this with a podcast may be a little hard.

What Content to Create:

To choose what you’ll be talking about in your videos/blog posts, you’ll need to keep your audience in mind. What genre is your book? What would the type of people reading your book be interested in learning? My first novel, Essence, was a young adult fantasy, so I did videos on writing and publishing for young authors like myself. Another example if if you create a non-fiction book about how to start-up a business, then your videos or blog posts should be based around that. If you become stuck, just join the BookTube community. Create videos all about books! Do book hauls, review books, and give updates of your book as it comes together!

Content Marketing:

This is the basic premise of creating content to use towards marketing. The next step in this process would be to share it online and interact with other creators like yourself to help build your following, and that’s what we’ll be talking about next week!

 

When Should You Become Present Online? – Marketing for Authors

Time for another lesson on Marketing for Authors! Like always, if you haven’t covered The Basics yet, please be sure to read the blog post/watch the video. Today I wanted to talk about a question that’s come up a lot in the past couple weeks, and that’s when should you start marketing/creating your author website? The short answer? Right now!

How Marketing Works

The basic premise of marketing is to gain followers. You create a website/blog and you put yourself out there. If you’re writing a book, then you’ll need readers. How do you get those readers? Through people who trust you and the content you create. Building trust with your followers is vital. If your followers trust your free content, such as your blog or YouTube channel, when you sell something (your book) they’ll feel more inclined to buy it. They read your blog, they watch your videos, they follow you on social media, they know you make good content; thus they will likely feel your book is of the same standards (as it should be).

Why Start Now?

For a lot of authors if feel hard to start a blog or YouTube channel until they have a book. They feel like they’ll have nothing to talk about! Authors falsely assume people will only want to follow their blog to hear about all the things happening with their book. News flash: not a lot happens when you’re self-published and have a debut novel. A nice rule of thumb is to post something on your blog or YouTube channel once a week. When my first novel Essence was published, I felt lucky to have a book-related update once a month.

You need to start gaining a following online because otherwise, your book will be published and no one will know about it. A book’s launch date is important, even for self-published books. It paves the way for the future and the launch day is usually when you’ll get the most social media buzz. It’s hard to create that when your book has already been out for months.

What Should You Post?

So you know you have to start blogging or vlogging, but what are you going to post about? Well, unfortunately, that’s a whole other lesson. Subscribe and you’ll see that video and blog post next week!

Tour of My Writing Desk/Room

I recently moved into the basement of my house and I’ve been meaning to film a quick tour of my new space and today is that day! I’m super excited because I love all the space I have now! There’s room for all my books, my filming equipment, my guinea pigs, and of course my brand new writing desk!

Have a tour of your own writing space? Feel free to send it to me! I’d love to see it!

 

Witches and Cadets || BookCase Club August 2017

Get your subscription to BookCase Cub: http://bit.ly/2ljr9R3
Use the code Mandi15 to get 15% off your purchase!

The Summer on East End Tripple Moon by Melissa de la Cruz

After they cause a terrible accident at their old high school, twin witches Mardi and Molly Overbrook are sent to live with their “aunt” Ingrid Beauchamp in North Hampton, on Long Island’s mist-shrouded East End. Because the twins cannot control their powers, their father begs Ingrid to tame them over the summer, before the White Council exiles the girls to Limbo.
Trouble continues to bubble and boil when the girls meet the younger Gardiner boys, who are just as handsome and sexy as their older kin. But all is not as it seems. As Ingrid helps the girls learn to control their magical impulses, Mardi and Molly have just this summer to figure out how to grow up, how to love, and how to be a family.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.
So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty… no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.
Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust… and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Getting Your Self-Published Book in Stores and Libraries – Marketing for Authors

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One of the most thrilling things for an author is to see their book out in the wild. We dream of the day we walk into a store or library and there’s our book! We all like to say we write for the love of it, but let’s admit it, we’re all a bit vain and enjoy seeing our little book becoming famous. But how do you get your book into stores? Well, if you’re a traditionally published book, your publisher usually handles these things, but if you’re self-published than you are your own publisher. If you want a store to carry your book, you have to work for it.

Barnes and Noble:

The end goal is seeing our book sold in Barnes and Noble, but the thing is, it’s almost impossible to get into Barnes and Noble as an indie author. You can sell your book through their online store through expanded distribution on Createspace, but they usually won’t sell the book in stores. You can sometimes manage to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble, but it’s all about known the right people. It took me two years before Barnes and Noble finally let me come in for a signing. (Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to learn how to arrange a book signing at Barnes and Noble!)

Indie Book Stores:

Indie book stores are your best friend. They love doing events and signings and they will usually sell your book in stores as well. When you sell your book at an indie book store they will usually do it on consignment meaning you leave your book there and they’ll give it a certain amount of time to sell. When it sells they’ll give you a cut of the sale and possibly ask you to bring in more copies. (PS- always sell signed copies, they’ll sell a lot faster!)

The downside to selling through any bookstores is that they do get a pretty large cut. You’ll end up having to sell your book for a discounted rate for them to hold it in their store and they’ll get a cut of the sale at the discounted price. The bright side? Your book is in a store! The downside? You don’t really make money…

If you do bookstore consignment, here is the information you want to file away:

  • Bookstore’s name and address
  • Store owner’s name and contact information
  • Consignment contract (price and cut agreement)
  • Title and number of books left at the store
  • The date you dropped them off along with the date you will pick them up if they don’t sell.

Libraries 

It’s easy to get your book in libraries. Keeping in mind libraries are not for selling, they’re for reading, I always donate my books. I may not be making any money off of it, but I’m gaining readers, and that’s all that matters right?

You Can Get Your Book Anywhere

So here’s the exciting part. If you have expanded distribution through Createspace, than any bookstore will sell your book as long as someone requests it. Sad for us, they usually only buy the one copy that was requested, but someone still bought it! Book stories don’t order indie books because we usually come from a print on demand publisher. This means a book is only printed as it’s ordered. If a book store doesn’t sell a book, they send it back to the publisher, but if the publisher does print-on-demand, they can’t send it back. Which is why places like Barnes and Noble just don’t want to deal with books that come from publishers like Createspace.

 

Writing Rituals Tag w/ Kim Chance

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Recently I teamed up with Kim Chance to create a new tag, and that’s the Writing Rituals Tag! We each answered the questions, so now it’s your turn!

Watch Kim’s video: https://t.co/b0734bqUvh

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

I work or have class in the mornings, so I’ve found my sweet stop to start writing is 7pm. My most successful writing days are during the week because on weekends I usually use that time to relax, or mainly have fun. It’s rare when I write on the weekends.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

I turn my phone on silent and plug it in to charge on the other side of the room. If I’m having a day where I’m getting really easily distracted I’ll turn the internet off on my computer as well.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I’m simple. I usually just read over what I wrote from the previous day. If I see grammar mistakes I’ll fix them, but I never worry about anything other than that. If I see a big problem I’ll make a note of it to fix later in the second draft.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

These days I don’t tend to listen to music as much, mostly because I get easily distracted. If I do need to listen to music, I have a music score station on Pandora that I turn on to help me get into the writing mood.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

When I have writer’s block I like to read because I feel like my biggest problem when I can’t write is that I literally forget how to form a sentence. I know what I want to happen, but I can’t get the words down. To fix this I read because reading a book reminds me what an actual sentence looks like.

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

Whenever I write I have one book that I always keep by my side and that’s Writing 21 st Century Fiction by Donald Mass. At the end of each chapter, the book has questions to help prompt you to improve your writing so I love using it whenever I feel like a part of my book is too boring. I also have my writing notebook out. This notebook has all my notes on my chapters and chapters and any other brainstorming ideas I’ve had while writing. I use it mostly for characters when I need to reference something about them or their history. I also use it to take notes on whatever research I’ve accumulated that I may need to refer to while writing.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Whenever I write, without fail, I will have two Word documents open on my computer. One is my manuscript and the other is the outline of my manuscript. I’m constantly looking back at my outline to see what’s going to happen next and I also modify the outline as needed as I write.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

I always have water by my side when I write. I’m not one for snacking because I find it distracts me from writing.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I usually give myself a goal for the day. I tend to write 1,000 words at a time, so if my goal is over 1,000 words, I take a break every 1,000 words. When I’ve hit my word count, I pat myself on the back and finish up whatever scene I’m writing.

Last but not least, I tag Shaelin Bishop, Kristen Martin, and Lindsay Cummings! And if I haven’t tagged you, do the tag anyway! Happy writing!

Create an Author Website – Marketing for Authors

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It’s time for another marketing lesson! This is my third video in my Marketing for Authors series, so if you haven’t checked out the first video, The Basics, be sure to do that now.

Today we’re going to be talking about the thing every author needs, and that’s a website. Your website will be your home base. All roads (social media outlets) lead back to your website. Today I’m going to cover three things for you: finding a host for your website, creating a domain name, and what type of content you should be putting on your website.

Find a Website Host:

The first step when creating a website is choosing your website host. There are a lot of options for website hosts, but two I recommend most are WordPress and Wix. Wix is great for beginners but it’s very limited in what you can do. The website you’re on right now is a WordPress site. I love it because it’s still easy to use if you’re a beginner, but there’s a lot more tweaking you can do if you’d like. If you really know what you’re doing, you can also upgrade to WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com) that let’s do use different plugins that make your options almost endless for your website. Both Wix and WordPress have a free version and paid version. The difference between free and paid is your domain.

Claim Your Domain Name:

Your domain is your website address. For this website it is mandilynn.com. If I had a free account through WordPress my domain name would be mandilynn.wordpress.com. That’s not very professional, right? Using a free domain name is fine when you’re first starting out, but when you become more serious about your career you’ll want to claim your own domain name. To do this you’ll have to find a third party to register your domain. I use GoDaddy, but I’ll admit that I’m not sure what the differences are between all the different website registrars are. When you’re choosing your domain name, make sure it’s something that will be easy to find when people search for you, such as your name. Don’t use your books in your domain name, because that means you’ll have to make a different website for each book. Keep it simple and use your name. If your name is common, throw in the word author.

Website Content:

Now that you’ve got your site up and running, what do you put on it? When I was designing my website for the first time I looked to other authors to see what their websites looked like. Here’s a list of what I think are must haves:

  • Blog feed and easy to find subscribe button (if you have a blog)
    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to subscribe to a blog but been unable to find the subscribe button.
  • About you page
  • Social media
    • Have a list of everywhere you can be found on social media.
  • Book page with all info of each book you’ve written:
    • book cover
    • summary
    • links to buy
    • chapter excerpt
    • book trailer
  • Contact form 
    • Make sure people can get in contact with you easy. Start building bridges!
  • Events
    • Doing a book signing soon? List it on this page! I also like to make a log of all past events I’ve done. PS- I’m doing a book signing at the end of this month!

Here are some pages that are nice to have, but not totally necessary:

  • Press
    • Keep a log of everywhere you’ve appeared in the press (newspaper, TV, radio, blog interviews/guest posts). This is a great thing to have in your back pocket in case anyone ever asked about your media appearances.
  • Photos
    • Have any photos of book signings that you want to show off?
  • FAQ
    • This is a great place for people to get to know you more.

Overall, remember your website is a place for your author career. Be professional at all times. Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!