Writing a novel is not for the feint of heart. It is a huge undertaking that can take months or even years to complete, depending on the amount of research and detail you need to you put into your work of fiction or non-fiction. Even knowing this, it can feel like it's taking too long to complete your novel, or that you'll never finish. If you feel that way, it may benefit you to read a few tips and tricks on writing and promoting your fiction in order to speed up the process without diminishing your book's quality or value to your readers.
One of the ways you can speed up the process is by creating an outline or a breif synopsis of the plot as well as short character descriptions. This can help you get your ideas down so that you do not have to continuously stop and think, What happens next?
Of course, utilizing a good novel planning and writing book, like Ultimate Novel Planning Workbook: Worksheets for the Writer, Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook, Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book (Helping Writers Become Authors 2) and Ready, Set, Write: Level 1, may help keep you focused and on the productive writing path.
For more writer tips and tricks, keep reading. You're sure to find some ideas to help keep you on the path to publication.
Video is one of the most popular forms of content online today, especially when it comes to YouTube. Videos are widely watched on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, too. Because they tend to reach more people than traditional posts and even photo posts on social media, videos have become one of the best ways for authors to market yourself and your books. As with any form of marketing, there are pros and cons. You can decide for yourself whether the pros outweigh the cons for you if you want to use video to advance your readership.
PRO: You don’t need a marketing budget, just a webcam or mobile phone.
Years ago, people spent big money on producing videos. While you certainly still can create videos with high production values, it’s not necessary, especially as an author. Actually, many people watching videos online today prefer videos of people just being themselves and talking about things. You don’t even need a script, you can just hit record and talk about a topic related to your books or about writing. Be sure to not spend the whole video trying to sell. Leave that for the very end of the video.
CON: You have to make videos people are actually searching for to watch.
If you don’t know, there’s a huge #writingcommunity on Twitter, and they want to follow you. They want to get to know you, and they want to know about your books and your thoughts on writing. They also want to answer your writing questions, and they want to help you be successful, but how do you find them? Here’s a comprehensive list of ways to get involved in the Writing Community on Twitter and build your following.
1. Create Your Twitter Account
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you already have a Twitter account, but if you don’t have a Twitter account and you are an author, you should have a Twitter account. Just make sure you have what Twitter considers a valid email address. That would be any address by Yahoo, Google or a dedicated hosting account or business email address. Twitter doesn’t tend to accept “mail” accounts from mail.com. I had big problems when I tried to use a mail.com email address with Twitter.
2. Add Your Profile Pictures
Next, fill out your profile. You want a header image and an author image. If you don’t have any books published yet, pick an image you like as your header. If you have one or more books published, slap all the covers together on a background and create your own custom header. You can look at mine for inspiration.
Next, load up your author picture. This doesn’t have to be you, but it works better if it is you. If you’re not comfortable using yourself, find an image at Pexels that you like. No matter what you choose, you want to get rid of the blank silhouette that Twitter gives all new accounts.
3. Add Your Profile Blurb
You get 160 characters as your small profile blurb. Make it count and add hashtags. This will help other authors and readers find you. I recommend using #author #writingcommunity #amwriting at a minimum. You can also put in your genres as hashtags. Don’t forget to add your website or Amazon author page into the webpage textbox.
If you are a brand new account, you want to add some tweets. Be real with your Tweets. Make sure they are valuable. If you have a website, post a few articles. If you have books published, post a few of those. You can also retweet other authors, but I want to caution against posting too many retweets in a row on a new account. Spammers also use that tactic, so Tweet and ReTweet but not too many retweets and remember to spread them out a bit.
5. Go Find Those Cool Accounts
I know that authors are introverts. I get it. You don’t want to bother people, but the best way to get followers is to be proactive. Twitter also offers a great way to find new people via the Who to Follow on the right side of your profile page. Click on View All. Now, go through that list and click on everything that looks real. If you’re not sure what looks real, avoid adding anything with a really short or too good to be true profile. If you don’t like anything in that list, there’s a search box at the top of that page. Type Writing Community. That will give you a short list of accounts with Writing Community in their profiles. (Yep, that’s the reason I told you to put that there.)
The second thing to remember is that you can add up to 400 accounts a day, and you can add up to 5,000 accounts with zero hassles. Once you reach 5,000 accounts, the follow algorithms for Twitter start to kick in. These will limit who you can follow by 10 percentish. Meaning once you are above 5,000 followers, you get 10 percent leeway in following more people. If you hit the limit, either 400 a day or more than 10 percent total, Twitter will tell you that you cannot follow anymore people. In order to manage this, it’s important to cull the not followers periodically. To this end, you want to make sure that you are following all viable accounts. Remember, accounts over 5,000 have to track their unfollowers. They don’t want to do this. The Twitter algorithm makes them do this.
6. Get Rid of Your Unfollowers
These are accounts that follow you until you follow them. They are trying to increase their follower numbers without having to actually follow anyone or participate. This is a detestful practice. You can track unfollowers for free using WhoUnfollowedMe. I recomend blocking anyone who unfollows you after you follow them. You don't want to put up with that behavior twice from the same person. You can also kinda tell who's a follow for an unfollow account. If they are following 5,000 people and have 20,000 following them, there's a good chance that's a follow for an unfollow account.
7. Provide Value and Interest
Don’t forget to make your Twitter feed valuable and interesting. You can tweet about your day. You can engage with the #writingcommunity. That hashtag is very very active. There’s always something to read or comment on. You can even ask questions and answer questions. Occasionally, other writers want to know what you are working on and how it’s going. You can also add posts from your own blog or website. Just remember to add more than just the link.
8. Post Often
You want to keep your Twitter feed moving. This means posting at least once a day. I recommend posting multiple times a day, like every 3 hours around the clock, if you have that many posts on your webiste or blog to fill those timeslots. If you don’t, work on getting more content on your website, and remember to engage with the Writing Community and tweet about your day or your current writing project. We really want to know what you are doing and working on.
9. Keep Your Followers and Following Lists Fairly Even
In the beginning, you will want to keep your Follower and Following lists fairly even. You can go over by a couple hundred in the beginning, but don’t go nuts. Don’t follow 4,000 people in 10 days when only 50 are following you. You’re going to look very suspicious. So, remember to take your time. As the people who are following you grows, add more people to your following list.
By engaging, providing valuable advice and finding cool author accounts to follow, you will see your audience increase, sometimes dramatically.
If you’re a new author or an author who’s never enrolled their book in Amazon KDP, you may be wondering what it is and how it works. Amazon’s KDP program is a subscription service for readers. It’s called Kindle Unlimited, and it provides unlimited reading of digital books on any device that has the Kindle app. The program offers a 30 day free trial, but the service is $9.99 a month after the 30 day free trial. There’s also a second category for readers called Kindle Prime. This is for individuals who have an Amazon Prime membership. For authors, it doesn’t matter which service readers subscribe to. It all falls under the same service – KDP Select.
Enrolling in KDP Select is easy. It’s a checkbox. Once you click that checkbox, your book is enrolled in KDP Select for at least the next three months. During that time, Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime members who stumble upon your book can download it and read it for free. If you ever want to disenroll your book from KDP Select, you must uncheck that checkbox and wait for the book to timeout of the program.
Best Social Media Sites for Indie Authors
Promoting products and services, including books, means spreading the word. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this, but the first step should always be social media. Millions of people use social media, but it’s important to optimize your use of social media so that you do not waste your time.
If you’re an author, Twitter is where it’s at. There is a massive #writingcommunity on Twitter, and they are available 24-hours a day to chat and answer your questions. If you are a new author or new to Twitter, your first step should be to use that hashtag, introduce yourself and tell us what you write. If you’re established in the community, it’s equally important to pay attention to that thread so that you can answer questions, provide advice and be on the lookout for book calls. Lots of readers and writers use that community to find new books to read.
You’re second favorite hashtag should be #amwriting. This hashtag is used by writers who are working on novels. If you want to shoutout your progress, make a comment on the writing process or providing a writing tip that you think might be useful for other writers, use the #amwriting hashtag. There are also other hashtags you can use, depending on where you are at in the writing process. A few other good ones include #ampublishing, #amquerying and #indieauthor.
If you're tired of using web and app based social media schedulers, you might be tempted to use one that is custom designed for Joomla. Thaankfully, there are quite a few available that are written for the content managment system. Unfortunately, none of them are free. However, the pricing varies quite a bit. These are listed from least expensive to most expensive.
CMSocialPost is another peice of software that was designed to help Joomla webdesigners schedule social media posts. It works with Facebook and Twitter. However, the last update for this application was April 28, 2016. I know Joomla has undergone numerous upgrades since 2016, and I know Facebook recently upgraded their API. This peice of software may be out-of-date to the point that it may not function.
What CMSocialPost Does
It allows for the immediate or scheduled posting of Facebook and Twitter posts. However, the user of this application must have the APIs for Facebook and Twitter in order to post, and in order to schedule posts, your hosting company must have ChronJobs available. What this means is that it is going to be a tedious install. That's not to say the rest of these applications don't need these items. This application just happens to list what you need in order to make this software work as expected.
CMSocialPost requires the purchase of a $10 subscription to the site in order to see and download the file for installation. The good news is that the subscription is good for as long as the site exists, and this may be the cheapest way to get an autoscheduler on the backend of your Joomla site.
JVPostMaster allows scheduled posts to Facebook and Twitter. It also lists LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn just updated their API as of March 1, 2019, so there are no automated scheduling services that work with LinkedIn as of this moment. Some schedulers are working on updates. Others have abandonned LinkedIn support. It remains to be seen if JVPostMaster will upgrade their software.
What JV PostMaster Does
JV Postmaster allows for the immediate or delayed social media posting to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest.
JV PostMaster Pricing
JV PostMaster is a one time $35 fee to purchase the software, which may make it the most affordable social media posting solution for Joomla. It's certainly the second least expensive option.
3. OBSocial Submit
OBSocialSubmit was designed by Foobla. They've been developing Joomla software for many years, and they are considered reliable by many Joomla webmasters. This particular social media scheduler was recommended to me by another Joomla user. However, I could not determine if the software only allowed for Twitter posts or if it included Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media networks. When I contacted the help desk, they did not respond. I would say exercise caution if you choose to buy and download this software. There may not be any customer support.
What OBSocial Submit Does
OBSocial Submit allows you to publish social media posts from the backend of Joomla instead of using a social media scheduling website or application, like WoopSocial and HootSuite. It has feature that handle new content as well as past content so that you can keep your social media feeds active.
OBSocial Submit Pricing
The OBSocial Submit pricing is extremely weird. Prices range from $25 to $110, but it isn't clear what you get at each price point. It looks like you may simple be purchasing the ability to download it and support for a certain number of months. The only content add-on listed for each plan is Twitter. There's also another $35 extension that adds all social media connections, but it doesn't specifically say which connections, and obviously contacting support doesn't provide any clarity as they do not answer.
AUtoTweetNG has a free and pro version. I cannot recommend the AutoTweetNG free version at all. It is so limited that it is useless. If you'd like my ful experience when I downloaded the free version, you can read it here, but the bottom line is that it's like installing an RSS feeder that automatically posts new posts to your social media accounts. Unless you plan on writing 10 to 20 new posts every day, you'll never get your social media feeds active with the free version.
What AutoTweetNG Is Supposed to Do
In theory, AutoTweetNG allows you to automatically post new content and schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (nothing works with LinkedIn right now). LinkedIn just updated their API.
AutoTweetNG pro is a subscription service. The pricing is $39 for six months or $72 for one year. This means that once you pay, you will have to pay again and again if you wnat to keep using this peice of software. In other words, the longer you have it, the most expensive it gets. This is one of the most expensive options for getting a social media scheduler on the back end of Joomla.
The downside to all of these is that they are paid. This means you will be unable to install the software prior to paying to see if it works as you expect it to once you get it installed in your Joomla website. And judging by what I've done so far for social media integration, you can expect a lengthy install process, even if it says that it works right out of the box.
If you know of another social media scheduling software solution for Joomla, feel free to post about it in the comments, and if you have personally used any of these, feel free to tell us about it in the comments.
Free Social Media Schedulers
If you’re having trouble keeping up with your social media posts, a social media scheduler can make the task easier. Here’s a list of completely free social media schedules: IE: Not a free option. Just free.
WoopSocial is the most comprehensive of this list. They allow you to schedule Twitter and Facebook posts as well as Instagram posts if you can get your Instagram account to link to the site. I have yet to be able to successfully get my Instagram account to link, and I’ve probably tried 50 times over the last several months.
Pros of WoopSocial
No limit to scheduled Tweets
Scheduler is reasonably easy to use
They offer detailed analytics in their paid plan
Cons of WoopSocial
Their scheduler has a tendency to go down, so it’s good to have a backup plan.
No bulk upload feature
TweetDeck is actually owned by Twitter. They purchased it in 2011, so it’s fully integrated into the Twitter platform, which makes it more stable than other social media schedulers. The downside is that it only works for Twitter. To get posts to other social media platforms, you’ll have to use something like IFFIT.
Pros of TweetDeck
Schedule Unlimited Tweets
Schedule Tweets for Multiple Twitter Accounts
See other Twitter things, like Notifications and Activity
Cons of TweetDeck
Scheduler is Clunky. Time and Date Don’t Hold, so it’s a lot of clicking to schedule a post.
You’ll need to do something else if you want to schedule to Facebook, Instagram and Pininterest
No Bulk Uploader – Scheduling for the entire month is probably not feasible due to the time it would take to schedule hundreds of tweets.
Unfortunately, these are the only two completely free, unlimited social media scheduling options that I have been able to find. I recommend WoodSocial over TweetDeck just because it’s more versatile, and the scheduling platform is much easier to use (when it works). As of this post, WoopSocial’s scheduler has been down for five days. The exact problem is that the “schedule” button lags between posts, so you have to refresh the entire page for every social media post. Hopefully, they will fix this in the coming week.
As an independent author, figuring out the best way to promote your book can be difficult. Thankfully, there are new mediums being invented all the times, and one of the easiest ways to spread the word about your new book may be videos.
Ways to Promote Your Book via Video
All you need to create your book promotion video is a cell phone or a webcam. In most instances, you do not need the services of a professional videographer. Though, you may choose to hire a company to make your videos for you if that makes you more comfortable.
YouTube has a reach if a person can use it correctly. Using it as a platform for questions and answers or book readings can be a powerful tool for people to know the author. A person could ask for questions on Reddit and answer them on YouTube. Going on with other video creators may also help, especially if they have an established author platform.
Facebook Live is another way to do a question and answer video. This will give the chance to answer questions as they come in. This will give a strong sense of knowing the author. Instead of worrying about video edits, a person just needs a good background. like a blank wall.
A video is a powerful tool. While an author can be powerful with their words, a video does more for connecting with the readers. It is a powerful tool that anyone can use.
Writing a book and publishing a book are only the first steps to author success. This is because you could have written a great book, but this does not matter if no one knows about it. Thankfully, there are promotional tools and things you can do to help spread the word.
Social media is a great place to promote your book. You can potentially reach thousnads and even millions of people with properly timed and hashtagged tweets and posts. You can also start a blog, create promotional and informative articles and share those across your social media accounts. There are even sites where you can promote your book for free.
Additionally, there are also several Amazon books available to get you gather book promotion ideas so that you can create your own custom book promotion strategy. Great Noevel marketing books include:
- Novel Marketing: Making Your Author Brand Work for You & Your Books
- How to Market a Book Third Edition (Books for Writers)
- The Kindle Publishing Bible: How To Sell More Kindle Ebooks on Amazon (Step-by-Step Instructions On Self-Publishing And Marketing Your Books) (Kindle Bible Book 1)
- How Your Book Sells Itself: 10 Ways Your Book is Your Ultimate Marketing Tool (Marketing for Authors)
- Sell More Books!: Book Marketing and Publishing for Low Profile and Debut Authors Rethinking Book Publicity after the Digital Revolutions
- Let's Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let's Get Publishing) (Volume 2)
- 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, Real World Edition: Authors: How to sell more books, ebooks, multi-media books, audios, videos, white papers, and other information products in the real world
In addition to the above helpful books, here are a few articles to help you self-promote your books.
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- Social Media Schedulers for Joomla
- What should a Content Article Contain?
- Help! I Can’t Find any Samples for the Freelancer I Want to Hire!
- Where Are the Free Book Promotion Websites?
- Pros and Cons of 10 Popular Social Media Schedulers
- Understanding Amazon KDP as an Author
- 5 Great Tablets for Writers
- Writer Tools – A Novel Writing Software Review
- Least Popular Adult Fiction Genres
- 9 Writing Tips for the Serious Fiction Writer