Tag: Social Media

IF your goal is to spam your book links up there and hope for the best. Most writers write their book and then realize, oh hey, there are millions of potential readers just waiting to buy my book. I’m gonna tell them all about my book by repeatedly sharing my link with them! They’re all gonna buy my book and I’ll be rich!

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In our recent #BookMarketingChat, our guest, the very patient Ben Sailer from CoSchedule (a site I LOVE — their blog is the bomb), reviewed the proper use of hashtags across all social media channels. If you missed our chat, I encourage you to review our Storify summary here.

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How do you get started on Snapchat?

Snapchat offers a fantastic support menu, which details all of the features and how-to’s, but I’ll help you get started on the basics.

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Whether you’re a publisher, indie author or editor, it’s likely that using social media will be part of your engagement strategy. Perhaps you want to connect with potential clients or build a network. Maybe you’re looking for content or even funding.

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William Horsnell joined Jessica Kingsley Publishers in April 2016 and is the marketing executive responsible for their Education, Special Education, Early Years and Adoption and Fostering lists.  He takes a particular interest in digital marketing and finding new ways to make campaigns more innovative. Here, he discusses the use of paid social media advertising.

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You’re one of over 200,000 new titles being published in the UK this year.[1]

You’re a drop in an ocean of content, a grain of sand on a well-trodden beach of gems and, honestly, some flushed refuse. Where do you start on making a splash?

For us at alternative Edinburgh-based publisher 404 Ink, we knew Twitter was going to be our first and most reliable port of call to reach our audience. When co-founder Heather McDaid and I decided to commission and publish Nasty Women, an anthology of essays and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century as a direct pushback against the poisonous rhetoric and ‘alternative facts’ coming out of the Trump administration and Brexit discussions, social media was at the forefront of our marketing campaign.

Nasty Women is an important, timely collection and a call to arms to tell your stories and tell them loud: our genuine rallying cry and an irresistibly punchy hook made for character-limited marketing. The #NastyWomen hashtag was already buzzing so hopping on that was a no-brainer. However, we also knew that tweeting into the white noise of the heavily populated book world wasn’t going to be enough and we needed to be target-focused to make waves.

For better or worse we pride ourselves on our largely non-corporate looking Twitter account. @404Ink looks like what it is: two young women who enjoy using GIFs and being a bit sarcastic. It appeals to the demographic we publish for and hopefully comes across as genuine. To keep this message consistent we didn’t want to muddy our timeline with tweets at random celebrities who might have a vague interest in our book, we wanted to tweet with a clear purpose.

In the early days of our Nasty Women Kickstarter campaign, day three to be precise, our friend and publicity assistant Mairi tweeted from her personal account a message and link to the campaign at Margaret Atwood. No way she would bite, we thought. And yet, she backed it and spread the word, being supportive for the rest of the Kickstarter. Engaging with people of influence who we think will genuinely appreciate our book from a personal angle is what works for us. No one likes spam, and absolutely no one likes being one of ten randomly tagged in a generic crowdfunding campaign tweet. Keep it targeted, keep it personal and for the love of all things bookish don’t spam.

The kind of spam you do want is that from your audience. My Twitter timeline is effectively spammed with our own book because photographic tweets are number 1 on Twitter. The book is visually appealing and carries a timely message that is part of a larger political and social movement which we thought would do well on Twitter but Nasty Women has made waves beyond our expectations and hopes thanks to a perfect storm of planning, persistence and a tiny bit of luck.

Laura Jones is the co-founder of new and alternative publisher 404 Ink and a book production and promotion freelancer for the Saltire Society, Bloody Scotland and more. @laurafjones @404Ink

[1] https://www.publishers.org.uk/resources/uk-market/statistics-news/uk-book-industry-in-statistics-2015/

Sarah Garnham is a Publicity Assistant at Ebury. Here’s her summary report of Snapchat for publishers, looking at the publicity opportunities it offers, and when to use them. 

Statistics

Although a number of these statistics are out of date or estimated (mainly because Snapchat doesn’t often reveal exact figures), it is clear that Snapchat is an incredibly popular app and user platform, particularly with younger target audiences.

Key Areas

Stories

Stories are a really good way of updating our users with new news and updates and the recent addition of an auto-play function means that when they are checking their friends’ everything plays through. This is a delicate balance of making sure the snap is relevant and frequent (but not too frequent). Special events with big lead-ups can be very good if you know you’ll be posting a longer story on a different day as this way you won’t annoy too many people and can build the hype. PRH Careers did this prior to their long “follow me” stories for The Scheme where you got to follow an editor/assistant/manager for a day.

Discover

Discover seems to be a much more costly way of advertising as big companies such as BuzzFeed and The Sun use it. It’s a daily update from either a news/food/entertainment source and tends to contain about 10-30 snaps, videos and challenges.

This function continues to gain in popularity with media outlets and could lend itself really well to publishing; however this would be an expensive task. You can however buy ad space in this feature, the price of which can be negotiated with that particular discover partner. This means that they can earn money back, and you can save money as it could work out much cheaper than advertising in between stories.

Live

Streamed from viral events, including the London location which is likely to be the most likely place where an event might get featured. However advertisers can buy time in between these which might be a possible way to advertise if you wanted to do so (although these can be skipped).

At a larger event e.g. BAFTAs, new stories are created, with fans and those attending able to add images and videos to the story. One idea might be to try and get featured at bigger events e.g. Summer in the City as these will almost definitely have a Live feature or at the very least be included on the London stories function. In combination with a filter, this could be really popular.

Filters

Geofilters are digital graphics that layer on top of images or videos and are specific to a location. Often if enough of these are shared to do with certain events or simply as part of the ‘Our London Story’ function in a single day, then they can get featured and seen by many more people.

There are two main ways in which a Geofilter could be utilised. Firstly is if an artist or designer submitted one and this was chosen by Snapchat. No brand logos are allowed, but this option is free. However this wouldn’t be particularly useful as it is likely that the location would only be the office, so generally used by staff. However visiting authors give it the potential to be seen by more people.

The second way, which would probably be a lot more useful is by temporarily purchasing one for a special event e.g. a launch/reading/signing. These can be approved in one business day and start at $5. They can cover a space between 20,000 square feet and 5 million square feet, so would be able to fit the perimeters of a bookshop or venue. These encourage people to share their images and would be particularly useful at large blogger events. (This article goes through the steps of the process: http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/23/how-to-make-snapchat-geofilter/).

Many brands and locations use these, and particularly well designed ones are likely to be further shared on Facebook or Instagram. As this is being proposed to be used for advertising the classics, you could really utilise the different designs of the sets e.g. birds and bees and they have a fun and bright design.

Lenses

These are graphics that fit over a user’s face, sometimes even available for multiple people in the shot. They follow the movement of the face and are often animated, usually when the user opens their mouth.

A recent popular example includes the Cadbury campaign to push individual chocolate bar brands such as Crunchie, Twirl and Wispa. They launched a featured lens that appeared first in the list (before the popular dog lens) which appeared every Friday to tie in with their Friday Feeling campaign. It featured a gold mask which covered the whole face, music and a feature which rained Crunchie bars across the screen and said either “Give Me That Friday Feeling” or “Obey Your Mouth” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJEGL6Aa3xI).

These are reported to be quite expensive, although they get a lot of traction. The Face Swap lens offers a way of utilising this function for free although you would have to promote it elsewhere.

Instagram Stories

On the 2nd of August, Instagram launched ‘Instagram Stories’, essentially a direct copy of ‘Snapchat Stories’. This allows users to post photos and videos, overlay these with words, emojis and a drawing function. The photos and videos disappear after 24 hours and don’t appear in you feed. If you tap on someone else’s picture you can send them a DM about it and you can also make your story private so no one, not even your followers, can see it. You can see who has viewed your story by opening it and swiping up on the screen, you can see the number and the name and these statistics are private. It also offers an easy way to share a picture/video from your feed into your story using the (…) function. You can also download the images to your phone, much like snapchat.

Pros

  • More things on one channel = build audience.
  • More drawing options e.g. neon and calligraphy pens and custom colour control.
  • You can pause the screen and go back and forth between images.

Cons

  • Missing a lot of Snapchat’s key features e.g. location, lenses, custom sticker emojis
  • Can’t add old content.
  • Can’t see who has screenshotted content.
  • Can’t save a whole day’s content in one go.

Full list of differences and similarities here: https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/02/instagram-stories/

Snapchat tips

This is a guest post by Julie Proudfoot. Julie is an Australian writer and blogger and award-winning author of The Neighbour. Julie writes from her home in Bendigo where she lives with her husband and children and a menagerie of cats and dogs and kangaroos and snakes and lizards. You can find her on twitter, Instagram, Snapchat @julieproudfoots and at her blog, Proud Foot Words.

Bloomberg recently declared that over 150 million people are using snapchat, daily. That’s more users than there are on twitter. So as an author, why wouldn’t you get on board?

But how can we as authors best use snapchat as a tool?

  1. There’s no point snapping if there’s no one there! So grow your friend list. Share your snapcode on your other social media platforms and leave it on your bios so your followers can add you.
  2. Interact and engage with your new snapchat friends so they know who you are: Watch your followers snaps, they will love that you’ve taken an interest in them. If they have great snaps, let them know! Send a message and tell them so. Ask questions: get your snap friends to help out with your work by snapping you back some answers: help choose a character name, a town name, a title.
  3. Once you’ve built up a friend list, do a book give-away. Ask your snapchat friends to snap your snapcode to go in the draw. This shares your snapcode with their friends while offering them a chance to win.
  4. One of the most amazing and unique tools on snapchat is the Geofilter. It seems built just for authors. Say you’re having an event, you can create a geofilter (an overlay) of your name, or your book title, for snapchatters to use at your event. Check it out, snap a picture and swipe left until you find your local town’s Geofilter. Snapchat Support has excellent advice on how to create your own geofilter.
  5. Use your Snapchat story. You’re an author; you know how to tell a story! Your story stays there for 24 hours. Do a series of three snaps with a beginning, middle, and end. Begin with a hook, ‘Hey, guess where I am!’ Middle, give them some details, why, when. End, show them where you are!
  6. Have some fun with the awesome effects. Snapchat has the best effects of all social media platforms: filters, voice alteration, text, stickers, doodling options, you can even create a sticker avatar of yourself. Use them to make your snaps unique to you. Remember, you can download your snaps to your photo gallery and repost to other platforms.
  7. Show your lovely face. Your snapchat friends don’t want to see your feet, they want to see you! So flip that screen around and get talking. Don’t be afraid to talk about your book news. What are you working on now? Show your work space. Try a regular weekly spot: Tuesday’s Writing Tip, Friday’s Favourite Book. Mix it up and take it outside, don’t limit yourself to snaps from your desk. Let your snapchat friends know you’re human, be real, be honest, be yourself!

There is so much to explore on Snapchat, don’t be afraid to try it all out. Be real, be yourself, and have fun!

Launch tips

Thousands of years ago, we told stories to each other. The best stories were those that could be repeated over and over again, changing little, those that embodied tribal memory, with strong, often repetitive structure and big heroes and villains. There wasn’t much by way of interior monologue or intertextuality.

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Pinterest is an easy option for authors looking to extend their platform, build their brand, and connect with readers. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

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How to start?

You have a Twitter account, are active on Facebook, have a LinkedIn presence and a website, but you need these to work for you. We all face the difficult task of finding new clients, but marketing via social media can make selling your services online much easier. Social media can be a great way of backing up how you engage with prospective clients and lead to lively and informative conversations online, if you have a clear and positive online presence.

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“Which one social media channel will net me the most book sales?” an author asked me recently during my new weekly #BookMarketingChat.

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Carly Watters is a VP and Senior Literary Agent at P.S. Literary. Here she shares her top tips on Instagram brand-building for us to share with authors.

Instagram is the last major social media frontier for many writers. It’s not new by any means; in fact, readers have been posting pictures of authors’ books since the platform’s inception. But where are those authors and why aren’t they engaging with all of those posts? Why haven’t writers joined Instagram as quickly as readers?

Why should writers join Instagram?

Many writers are reluctant to join Instagram for many reasons: 1) it takes time away from writing 2) it’s another platform to learn (when they were just getting the hang of Twitter!) 3) it’s against many writers’ natural instincts i.e. writers think they aren’t great at taking lovely Instagram-worthy pictures because they’re writers!

I’m here to argue that writers, you CAN be good at Instagram if you think of it like the storytelling platform it is. That’s right, successful Instagram users create a narrative that brings followers into their lives. That’s the key to those people that everyone wants to follow. You’re following their daily journey because they control the narrative they’re telling and reveal it in a compelling way (much like a novel, hint hint!).

For example, you can choose the parts of your life that you bring your followers into. Many successful users focus on certain elements: bringing a pet home, cooking and recipes, home renovations, a fitness journey, travel, and other hobbies.

Also, by combining the daily posts with complementary “Stories” (i.e. The Snapchat of Instagram, which are the circle icons at the top of your app), you can make yourself a destination that people want to visit regularly.

Published writers have an additional digital marketing responsibility: finding brand ambassadors

You need to engage with your readers. Sometimes they’ll tag you and sometimes they won’t, but search your hashtags (your name, your book’s name, your publisher’s feed etc.) and comment on readers’ posts, follow them, re-post their lovely pictures (which saves you from having to take your own), and make sure they want to pre-order your next. Early fans can become passionate brand ambassadors. They’re out there reading your work so make sure you welcome them into your fold and authentically appreciate the work they’re doing to spread the word of mouth on social media.

(One thing to avoid: talking too much about a work in progress. Unless you’re a multi-published author with a big fan base that’s craving a sneak peek it’s going to be lost on people. Focus on those tried and true Instagram hobby topics instead.)

What Hashtags Should You Use? Try some of these:

  • #WritersofInstagram
  • #Bookstagram
  • #Booklover
  • #Bookworm
  • #BooksandBeans (for books and coffee)
  • #PupsandBooks (for books and dogs)
  • #Booknerd
  • #VSCObooks
  • #Instareads
  • #IgReads
  • And don’t forget the hashtags of writers you’re reading, publishers, book titles and locations you’re reading in.

Follow Carly on Instagram at @carlywatters.

We all live in the digital age and for us writers, that’s mostly a good thing. After all, it gives us more opportunities to tell others about our stories. The internet has evolved in so many ways through the years and the popularity of social media channels have given us writers a lot of platforms to put our works out there. And that’s a good thing, right? There are numerous channels we can choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. And then there’s Snapchat. Numerous companies have been using Snapchat to promote their businesses and make a name for themselves. Don’t be under the impression that Snapchat is only for millennials or for the young ones, though.

What, exactly, is Snapchat? It’s an app that captures videos and photos, with its filters making it fun to do so. You can also send those photos and videos as messages to your friends. The only catch is this: whatever you upload in Snapchat is only available for 24 hours. Given its fun nature in terms of sharing, Snapchat has become a hit. As writers, I think we can use this app to help gain more audience and keep a stronger connection with existing readers.

As writers, here are the ways we can use Snapchat:

1) Give them behind-the-scenes glimpses

This will help your readers (both existing and potential) catch behind-the-scenes look. I think the rawness of this approach makes it more genuine and interesting. Think of capturing yourself while at a coffee shop, with your laptop or your tool of preference all ready to use and you talking about what it’s like to write there – your thoughts, your process, how the environment affects you, etc. Another interesting idea would be to talk about what tools you use when you write, like which software or what kind of pen and notebook. Letting your audience catch glimpses of these scenes help establish a deeper connection.

2) Connect with fellow writers

It’s already a fun app to use. Why not add fellow writers and see what they are up to within that day? This not only helps build friendship but it also encourages us to build each other up. We writers most certainly need each other, if not to keep sanity and loneliness at bay! Also, isn’t it more fun to send messages to each other with all those cute filters?

3) Allow account takeovers

Ellen DeGeneres’ Snapchat account is a perfect example of someone else taking over your Snapchat. It promotes establishing connections in a fun way with fellow writers or other similar brands / influencers. This captures attention of the readers of all the writers involved. Fresh faces and candid footage or videos are always interesting. This article here talks about the ways to get started with Snapchat takeovers.

4) Share, share, share

People are visual creatures. Let us writers leverage our Snapchat accounts by giving our audience some photos of a new book cover or maybe a snippet of that novel we’re working on. Or if you’ve been to a book fair or a book signing event, it’s a great idea to show them that. Sharing makes your audience feel like they can relate to you. Snapchat can bring you closer to others by simply sharing things about your novel and, sometimes, your life.

5) Ask your readers to participate

Don’t limit sharing to just yourself. Ask your readers to join in the fun. Like the aforementioned account takeovers, you can always ask your readers to share photos or their own videos. Encourage them to connect with you, be it via takeovers or Snapchat messages. Engaging them to participate and share with you helps create and foster familiarity and, hopefully, friendship.

Snapchat is really a fun way to grow your audience, expose your brand, and build connections. Why not give it a try and see how it goes for you? You can do just about anything with it while having a good time doing so. Got a story to share about what got you into writing in the first place? Or how about that time you got your first rejection and how that helped shape who you are as a writer? Perhaps you want to snap photos of that walk downtown as you clear your head when you’ve got writer’s block. Maybe you attended an open mic session and simply want to share that moment with your readers. The possibilities are endless! So go ahead. Use Snapchat for all it’s worth. Grow your audience and build your followers while staying true to who you are and what you’ve got.

anna-cunetaAnna loves stringing words together to tell stories, be it horror or conversations with friends. She also wanders and tends to get lost in the internet, always on the lookout for something new to read. Armed with her love for coffee and horror, she writes regularly to keep sanity at bay. Check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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