Category Archives: Social Networking For Writers

7 Tips To Make Your Author Headshot Portrait Session A Success | Web Design Relief

Some people would rather schedule a root canal than get their photo taken. But the experts here at Web Design Relief know that for writers, the benefits of having a professional headshot to use for marketing purposes make the “pain” of posing for a picture worth it.

If you’re thinking it’s time to get an author portrait taken for your book or website (or if you’re just dreading your twice-a-decade headshot update), our tips will help soothe your nerves and pave the way for a relaxed, successful author portrait session with a professional photographer.

Tips For An Easy, Breezy Author Headshot Photo Session

Choose the right photographer. Ideally, your photographer should be interested in you as a writer. He/she should have an intimate understanding of your author brand and your goals as an author. Instead of cringing from being looked at as “subject matter,” you should feel like your photographer is your partner and co-creator. Together, your chemistry will lead to a fantastic photography experience.

Communicate any feelings of anxiety or nerves to your photographer prior to your session. Once you’ve settled on a great photographer, it’s time to express any reservations you might have about the portraiture process. Sometimes, just talking about your fears and concerns is enough to assuage them. And your photographer might have practical suggestions to nip any tension in the bud.

Let your photographer know your expectations for retouching (aka Photoshopping). Unless you convey your feelings about retouching (or editing), you might be surprised when you receive your final portraits. Photographers can often make wildly dramatic changes to facial features, hair color, and overall looks—or they can take a milder approach. Discuss before you hire.

Pick a location that makes you feel relaxed. By choosing a spot that feels good to you, you’re more likely to appear calm, cool, and authentic in your author headshot photos.

Know your good angles. Before you step in front of a camera, spend a little bit of time looking at your own face in a mirror to figure out which angles show you in your best light. Or ask a friend to snap some photos and then spend a little time deciding which poses you like best. If you know you look your best, you may feel more confident when the camera starts clicking. Learn more modeling tips for a professional-looking headshot.

Bring a friend for moral support. Having a loved one nearby for comfort, or a friend who knows which buttons to push to make you laugh, can go a long way toward feeling relaxed and comfortable during your author portrait session.

Don’t overthink it. Reading a few portrait tips is great if it builds your confidence, but if scouring the Internet for tips about how to look better in pictures begins to make you feel anxious, you may want to disconnect. Better to show up relaxed and unprepared than overprepared and wound up tight.

If You’re Not Working With A Professional Photographer For Your Author Headshot…

While a professional photographer might know the tricks that can make you feel more relaxed and lead to a high-quality portrait session, you don’t necessarily need to hire a pro in order to create a great portrait. Check out our fabulous tips for creating a DIY author portrait for your website.

 

Question: Camera shy? What tricks do you use to handle photo sessions?

50 New Facebook Post Ideas For Writers | Web Design Relief

If you want to grow your career as a writer, you need to connect with your audience on social media. Posting on a regular schedule will help you maintain and even increase your social media following, but at Web Design Relief, we know that, after a while, it may become harder to come up with new Facebook post ideas to keep your followers interested so that they keep coming back. When you’re juggling a day job, sharing carpooling duties for the kids, balancing your checkbook, making appointments to have Fluffy’s nails trimmed—and are still trying to squeeze in some writing time—thinking up new social media posts can fall onto the back burner. Fortunately, we have some ideas that can quickly and easily be turned into engaging posts!

Social Media Post Ideas For Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, And More

Pets

  1. Post a photo of your pet “reading” a book.
  2. Post a photo of a pet sleeping near you as you write.
  3. Have some fun and upload a short video of you reading to your pet.
  4. Take your dog for a walk, post a photo, and talk about how the activity inspired your writing.
  5. Get cozy with a book, a blanket, and a cat in your lap and post a photo of this moment.
  6. Post a photo of your cat lying next to your book collection.
  7. Go to an indie bookstore that has a pet, take a photo, and post it. (Be sure to tag the bookstore!)
  8. Post a photo of your dog on National Dog Day (August 26).
  9. And post a photo of your cat on National Cat Day (October 29)!
  10. Tell your followers what your pet’s “favorite” book is, and then ask them to comment on their pets’ favorite books.

 

Books

  1. Talk about your favorite book and explain why it’s your favorite.
  2. Post a photo of the book you are currently reading.
  3. Take a photo of the stacks in your favorite bookstore to post.
  4. Ask your followers to sum up the book they are reading in a GIF.
  5. Read a book by a debut author and write a short review.
  6. Post a GIF that explains how you feel when you buy a new book.
  7. Post your favorite quote from a book.
  8. Ask your followers what their favorite book is and why.
  9. Remember to post about your love for books on National Book Lovers Day (August 9).
  10. Have your followers select your next book to read.

 

Writing

  1. Share a small excerpt of your writing with your followers. Caveat: Know what counts as previously published!
  2. Post a short video of you reading a selection from your recently published work.
  3. Post a writing prompt and ask your audience to follow the prompt with you.
  4. Announce how many words you have written in a day/week/month.
  5. Encourage your followers to spend twenty minutes writing and ask them to tell you their word counts at the end of that time frame.
  6. Participate in NaNoWriMo and update your followers on your word count at the end of the day.
  7. Post a GIF of what writer’s block feels like.
  8. What is your favorite part of writing? Brainstorm a bit and then post about it.
  9. When and why did you begin writing? Let your followers know.
  10. Ask your followers what genre they write in.
  11. Tell your followers which literary magazine is your favorite, and ask them to tell you theirs.
  12. Post your favorite writing advice.
  13. Ask your followers to tell you what they like most—or least—about writing.
  14. Ask your followers to give you a writing prompt, and then post what you come up with.
  15. Post a photo of the things you use to write (favorite notebook, computer, etc.).

 

Locations

  1. Where is your favorite place to write? Take a photo and post it for your followers.
  2. Post a photo of the place that inspires you the most.
  3. Post about your favorite reading spot.
  4. Where were you when you realized you wanted to be a writer? Tell your followers!
  5. If you do a public reading, be sure to post about it and tag the location!
  6. Go for a walk in nature and post a photo for your audience.
  7. If you travel, take a photo of you reading at your destination and post it—but be sure to follow these safety tips.
  8. Try writing in a new location and post about how it affected your writing (if at all).
  9. Post about a place you want to visit.
  10. Write a post about the setting of your story.
  11. Write a post about your favorite coffee shop to sit in and write.
  12. If you could live in another time period, when would you want to live? Write up a post about it.
  13. What does your ideal writing setup look like?
  14. Where is your favorite writer from? Post about how you think the location affects his or her writing.
  15. Post about where you would most like to do a public reading.

 

Question: What is your favorite type of social media post?

7 Social Media Scams: Writers Beware! | Web Design Relief

Social media is a great way for writers to build their author platforms and connect with fans, readers, literary agents, and editors. But beware: It also puts your personal information and privacy at risk. A recent survey found that 22% of Internet users reported being hacked at least once.

At Web Design Relief, we understand the importance of following best practices and protecting yourself against common social media scams. Here’s how to stay safe and reduce your odds of becoming a victim.

Common Social Media Scams—Don’t Be Fooled

Profile Hijacking

Profile hijackers take over a victim’s account but keep the profile and images. Then they use the hijacked information to create other accounts. Once the hackers secure a connection with family and friends of the victim, they use scam tactics to try to get money. The hijacker, who is now posing as the hijacked victim, will reach out with fake emergencies that need fast cash. Don’t fall for the scam: I’m on vacation and lost my wallet. Can you wire money or send cash? Another version states: I’m out of town. Can you buy a gift card for my niece’s/nephew’s birthday gift for me? Be suspicious of anyone asking you for money on social media.

Lottery Schemes

Friends, if you receive a notice on social media that you have won a new car, or a diamond ring, or a bag of cash, please investigate before you start celebrating. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize. Lottery scams are becoming more and more cunning each day. What they all have in common is that you are asked to purchase something or send money in order to retrieve your big prize. Be alert. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Here are signs you should run the other way if you have been notified that you are the big winner:

  • You are asked to pay for something
  • You are required to wire money
  • You must first deposit a check that will be sent to you

Catfishing

Catfishing is less about fishing (unless you are fishing for compliments) and more about phony romancing. Catfish create fake online profiles and then seduce victims into fictitious relationships. Once they gain your trust, they work on gaining gifts and your money. Interesting fact: 64% of catfish are women. Don’t get caught by catfish no matter how many shiny lures they wave in front of you!

URL-Shortening Cons

URL shorteners are a convenient way to make a longer URL fit into a limited amount of space. However, they can also mask malicious sites that drop spyware into a user’s computer without the victim ever realizing. If you have concerns about clicking on a link, there are sites such as CheckShortURL that will allow you to see the original link before you click on it.

Chain Messages Hoaxes

Chain mail messages have been around forever—but they’ve never been more dangerous. Though they are no longer written on paper and sent via snail mail, chain mail scams are still prevalent on social media. Cybercriminals threaten that something will happen to users’ data if they don’t forward the message to friends. Or that an account has been cloned and certain steps need to be taken in order to secure it. One of the steps is informing all your friends of this, which ultimately hands over all your contacts to the hacker. Snapchat and Facebook both have been affected by chain-letter scams. Avoid this by immediately deleting any and all chain mail messages.

Online Quizzes

Who doesn’t love an online quiz—they’re harmless and fun, right? Wrong. The Better Business Bureau cautions that many quizzes are designed to mine your computer’s data. Everything from addresses to debit purchases and bank statements. Cybercriminals embed links in quizzes to gain access to personal information stored on your computer. Once these criminals have what they need, they employ other scams such as profile hacking and catfishing to steal your money and/or furtively subscribe you to monthly services billed to your credit card. If you can’t resist a quiz, make sure it comes from a reliable source.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank quiz for you from Web Design Relief:

If it seems too good to be true, _____ _____.

Money Flipping

Money flipping is not new, but scammers are perfecting new ways to do it. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are notorious for users advertising ways to turn a few hundred dollars into a few thousand. They show the happy faces of investors enjoying their profits while basking in the sun on their yachts. It’s simple: All you do is send a prepaid debit card number and pin to a certain email or number so the investor will have access to load money. But fraud experts warn that the only people making money off this deal are the scammers who collect the information and go shopping.

Especially For Writers: Avoid These Publishing Scams

There are new scams surfacing every day. Writers, in particular, are vulnerable to publishing scams, especially those involved with self-publishing. Some vanity publishers have earned a reputation for charging exorbitant fees. And there are hybrid printers who charge smaller fees but increase royalties to supposedly offset your cost. For book writers pursuing traditional publishing, there are literary agents who might make you think twice about entrusting them with your work. Find out how to spot a bad literary agent.

For more tips on how to stay safe while on social media, check out our guide: Safety Tips for Social-Networking Writers.

 

Question: What social media scams have you encountered?

How To Defuse The Negativity Of Trolls On Social Media | Web Design Relief

Once upon a time, trolls only existed in fairy tales, lurking under bridges and feeding on unwary travelers. Today they lurk on the Internet and feed on the conflict they create on social media. No online community is safe from the risk of being attacked by trolls. Web Design Relief knows the dangers and difficulties… Continue Reading

10 Social Media Book Marketing Strategies Writers Should Avoid | Web Design Relief

These days, the life of an author is often divided between writing books and online marketing on social media. But do you know what kinds of posts and book promotions are unwelcome—or even prohibited— on social media platforms? At Web Design Relief, we know that even innocent efforts to attract new fans and friends may… Continue Reading

6 Ways To Use Your Author Website As A Networking Tool | Web Design Relief

You made the right decision and created an author website. Excellent! Now when readers, editors, or literary agents google you, your author website will act as your online business card. But the experts at Web Design Relief have a warning: Don’t let your author website just sit there like a static, online poster with your… Continue Reading


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