The Basics of Hootsuite – Marketing for Authors

You’ve all heard me talking a lot about social media marketing and a huge key to organizing yourself on social media is by using Hootsuite. Now Hootsuite is great for anyone, authors and large corporations alike, but today I’m only going to be talking about the tools you will use if you’re an author.

Sign Up for an Account

Hootsuite if free! I wouldn’t use it myself it if wasn’t free. You can pay for the business plan, which gives you more tools and allows you to connect more than three social media apps, but if you’re an author you’ll only need the free version. Create your account and start syncing your social media accounts. On my Hootsuite account, I have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram linked up. Here’s what my dashboard looks like when I log into Hootsuite:

If you look at the top of the page, you’ll see tabs for your different accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram):

Click around and explore. If you go on Twitter, you’ll see your Twitter feed, as well as Mentions. If you scoll over to the far right you’ll notice a box like this:

Please note options will be different between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This allows you to you customize your dashboard. If accidentally remove anything on your dashboard, this is where you go to add it back. You can also edit your dashboard by clicking “Add Steam” at the top of the page under the tabs for your different social media accounts. One of my favorite things to do is follow hashtags on Twitter. To do this, just click “Search” from the “Add a Stream” menu and search whichever hashtag you’ll like to create a stream for. Once you do this you should see it pop up on your dashboard. Explore the “Add a Stream” menu! You can do many things: follow a location, retweets, people, likes. Just start clicking around.

So What is a Stream?

A stream is the vertical columns on your dashboard. They’re basically categories that you can create to organize what you want to look at. If you hover your mouse over your stream you’ll be able to scroll down and look through your feed. You’ll notice that in your stream you can do anything you would want to do on the regular social media app. For example, if I’m in my #amwriting stream I can re-tweet, reply and like.

Re-Tweets

Here’s a cool little trick! In Hootsuite you can re-tweet, quote re-tweet and edit. You access this by hitting the little drop-down button.

If you hit edit, you can actually schedule when the re-tweet will send out. If you click edit you’ll see a dialogue box open at the top of your page. To schedule the re-tweet hit the little calendar icon and your calendar will pop up which allows you to select your month, day and time. It’s as simple as that!

Scheduling Posts:

Since you know how to schedule a re-tweet, it will be really simple to learn how to schedule a post. Go back to the top of the page where the dialogue box had opened before. Start typing your message, add any photos, links, hashtags, @mentions or location tagging.

On the far left, you’ll see your social media accounts. You can choose to post just to one of the accounts, or all of them. You choose which is

which by clicking on the little pin next to the star. If the pin is aimed downward and highlighted, you’ll be posting to that account.

Icons Meanings:

  • paperclip– for attachments
  • calendar– for scheduling
  • pin– adding location
  • globe– targeting (I never use this)
  • lock– privacy setting

Your scheduled posts will pop up in your “Scheduled” stream. If you schedule something, you can always edit it. To view all your scheduled posts from all your social media accounts, go to the far left-hand menu. The chat icon is for your stream and the paper airplane icon is your publisher, which will have all your scheduled posts.

Instagram

It’s important to know, that while you can “schedule” posts for Instagram, you aren’t technically scheduling posts. Instagram doesn’t allow you to schedule posts, even with the aid of outside apps (as far as I’m aware). When you use Hootsuite to schedule a post on Instagram, it actually just sends you a notification to your phone to post the photo to Instagram. This means you’ll have to get the Hootsuite app on your phone (which is free) and log into your Hootsuite account there to get notifications. When you get the notification on your phone, simply click on the notification, hit “Share” and it will open up Instagram. Hootsuite automatically brings the photo to Instagram and copies the description to your clipboard. Go through all the motions as you normally would on Instagram, paste in the description and hit “Share” and that’s it!

There’s a lot more to Hootsuite, but odds are, these are the only tools you will need! If this blog post helped you, let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Mandi_Lynn_

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.

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!

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.

 

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!

Finding Your Social Media Platform – Marketing for Authors

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Last week I talked about the marketing basics, but this week we’re going to delve a little bit deeper. In my last video/post, I said you needed three things: a product, a home, and a presence. Today we’ll be talking about creating your presence on social media.

Being Present:

Social media is a dream and a nightmare for marketing. On a bright side, it’s free! On the down side, you’ve got a lot of competition. These days everyone is on social media, which is good because that means there will be a look of eyes for you to catch. This key is figuring out how to make yourself present. To do that you’d think it means going on every social media site ever, right? No! Of course not! Do you realize how many social sites there are? Here’s a list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Goodreads!

And that’s just a small sample. It’s impossible to be present on all these sites, and if you are, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and you won’t get anywhere.

Finding Your Niche:

So now that you’ve realized there’s no way to be everywhere, it’s time to come to the realization that you have to choose just a small handful. If you’re a new author, start with three or four social sites. As you build your presence online, and you feel more confident, you can start posting on other social sites as well. PS- Goodreads is a must as an author (enroll in the Author Program!).

Where is Your Audience?

The whole point of being on social is so people will know who you are and know that your books exist, right? But what if you choose, say, LinkedIn, which is great, but you’re writing young adult. LinkedIn is typically an older demographic. You need the audience of your social accounts to match up to the audience of your books. If you write young adult, go where the younger audience is: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Really any of the social sites but LinkedIn.

Develop a Post Plan and Socialize!

So now you’ve got your social sites chosen, so upload your profile picture, write a short little bio, and let’s get going! The point of being on social media is to develop trust among your followers. Present yourself as someone they can come to, talk to, and rely on. This is a great place for you to post updates on your writing, what books you’re reading and your latest blog post. But you can also share other blog posts you may find helpful. Build relationships with other writers and share their work. Social media is a community. We are here for each other. If you share or re-tweet someone’s post, they may do the same for you.

Is There More?

Yes. There are loads more. THere’s a lot of tools and resources and ideas I have to share with you, but that’s for future posts, so subscribe and stick around!

Where am I?

Since I don’t consider myself a “new author,” I’m present on a lot more than just three or four sites. Here’s where you can find me: Goodreads, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

 

Marketing for Authors: The Basics

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A little while ago I was on Twitter and asked some of you if you’d be interested in some videos on marketing your novels and you guys screamed loud and clear, YES! So this will hopefully be the first of many videos/blog posts about book marketing.

Recently I’ve become more and more familiar with the in’s and out’s of the marketing world because I’ve acted as a marketing and PR intern at three different organizations, all of which had different ways of marketing. Through these internships, I’ve been able to accumulate a ton of ideas to help me market my novel, and while haven’t been able to implement them all just yet, I’m hoping to take you guys along for the ride as I do this.

I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide to implementing different marketing ideas that I use for myself. Marketing is essential, traditionally published or self-published. You have to sell copies of your book somehow, and this is how you’re going to do it!

Today we’re giving to start off with the basics three things you’ll need before you start any marketing and that’s a product, a home, and a presence.

Develop a Product 

If you’re a writer, your product is your book, but sometimes your product can be other things as well, but I’ll get into that topic in future videos/blog posts. All the marketing that you do should revolve around your book. Every decision you make will be whether this will benefit your book. And course course you also want to ensure that book is well written. Don’t rush through writing your novel just to get it done and move onto the publishing stage. You can have great marketing but the novel won’t pick up unless it’s good.

Find a Home 

Create a website. This is your home base. Everything you do will be linked back to this. All social media accounts will go back to your website. You only have so many characters for a Twitter bio, so put the full bio on your website. If someone wants to contact you, make sure they can do it from your website. Your website should capture who you are as a writer and it should encourage the reader to buy your book. Make it easy for them to find information on you and your books. If you’re first starting out it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but as you grow as an author, make sure your website reflects that.

Create a Presence 

Social media! The free form of marketing! In order to sell books, you have to make sure people know you exist and the easiest way to do this is to be on social media. Now there will probably be a whole series of videos/blog posts about marketing with social media, but today keep this in mind: be professional, be relevant, be you.

Be the lookout for more marketing videos! If you’re looking forward to them, please let me know! Or better yet, let me know if you have a topic that you want to be covered!