Category Archives: Goodreads Tips

How Social Media Has Evolved—And Why It Matters To Writers


Unless you’ve been living in a rural cabin, pounding away on a manual typewriter, you know that technology and social media have been rapidly evolving over the past five years.  Facebook alone has changed dozens of times since it graduated from Harvard and launched itself into the greater public in 2006. In fact, all the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, and more—have regularly reinvented themselves.

Since social media is an essential part of any savvy writer’s author platform, it’s important to stay ahead of trends. If you’re still trying to “poke” friends on Facebook, or you don’t know what that weird ghost icon is all about, you might have a harder time keeping your audience engaged. But don’t worry! You can quickly get up to speed on the latest social media developments:

Social Media Trends That Writers Need To Know

There is a growing emphasis on imagery over text.

Even though it might rub writers the wrong way, when it comes to social media, that old adage is true: A picture IS worth a thousand words. With the advent of Snapchat (hello, ghost icon!) and Vine—and with other more established platforms like Tumblr and YouTube still steadily growing in popularity—images have become an important part of your status update.

The evidence is right there in your Facebook feed: Notice how many more images you see versus posts with only text.  A written post of “I just got engaged!” doesn’t have the same impact as a photo of your hand wearing a flashy new piece of jewelry. In the same way, a post featuring your book cover art will grab the attention of more of your followers than a simple sentence stating: “My book was just published.” And Tweets that feature images get 313% more engagement!

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Short and Simple.

The shorter your content, the more engagement your post will receive. A study by NPR found that the sweet spot is forty characters or less! News articles have now been replaced by the “listicle.” Snapchat is just a photo and a line of text, while Vine presents only a six-second video.

And of course, don’t forget the ever-present meme. Let’s face facts: A well-written long post about a political figure will get less interaction on social media than a meme that features a short sentence on a cropped photo of the person in mid-sneeze. The lesson for writers? Keep your posts short and simple. A brief, bulleted list of your upcoming events with a photo from your latest book signing will resonate better with your readers than paragraphs of detailed information.

Change is inevitable.

The never-ending evolution of social media may make your head spin—and wouldn’t you rather be writing than posting, tweeting, or pinning? But guess what: All of these up-to-the-minute changes offer innovative, exciting ways to interact with your existing fans and reach potential new readers. (Find out which social media platform is right for you.)

Before social media, the only way you would have any contact with your audience was through snail mail or when you met them in person at a book signing. Now, you can instantly get the word out when your latest piece is published, and even provide a handy link to the online journal. You can share information and get immediate reactions and feedback from your followers. Instead of spending money on expensive advertising, you can generate buzz for your latest writing project across multiple social media platforms without spending a penny.

Social media makes it easier than ever to take the pulse of your readers, get them interested in your work, and keep them coming back for more. And sure—you can post the occasional photo of a cat in a pizza box or celebrate National Coffee Day with a picture of your latest overpriced cappuccino (placed strategically next to your book or the journal featuring your writing, of course!).

If the idea of maintaining your social media seems like a lot of work, check out our Virtual Assistant packages. We’ll do all the posting so you can spend your time writing!

Question: How has social media changed the way you communicate with your readers?


Essential Vacation Safety Tips For Your Social Media (And More!)

Vacation Safety Tips For Your Social Media Platforms copy3

You’re so excited about your upcoming vacation that you can hardly contain yourself! Finally, you’ll be the writer posting photos of umbrella drinks and tweeting about glorious sunsets, or blogging on your website about amazing Mayan ruins. Authors are always in search of new content for marketing and promotion: What better way to captivate your audience than to share on social media about the on-the-spot research you’re doing for your next project while enjoying your dream vacation?

Unfortunately, social media like Facebook and Twitter is used by 4 out of 5 burglars as the new-millennium way to find an easy target. So when you post vacation photos, you’re announcing to everyone—thieves included—that your home is unoccupied.

Before you go on holiday, check out these anti-burglary tips. And be sure to back up your manuscripts on the Cloud or on a thumb drive that you can stash in a safe place. This way, if the worst happens and thieves break into your home and steal your computer—at least they won’t abscond with all of your carefully edited writing and new drafts.

Social Media Vacation Safety For Authors

Writers who post daily on social media and upload blogs to author websites have to balance vacation safety against marketing and promotion needs. In your efforts to walk that tightrope, consider these tips.

Avoid Announcing In Advance. It may be tempting to gush about your plans the moment you purchase the plane ticket to Europe, but that allows more time for thieves to catch wind of your plans and cook up plans of their own.

If You Must Talk About Your Travels, Wait Until The Last Minute And Limit The Listeners. Take advantage of G+ “Collections” or Facebook’s List feature. By separating your friends into custom lists or collections like “colleagues,” “book fans,” “college friends,” “family,” etc., you can choose to share certain posts to a smaller circle.

Practice Patience. Rather than instantly sharing selfies, hold your trigger finger. Once you’re home, you’ll have time to curate your photos, craft clever posts and tweets, and then schedule their release for maximum engagement using Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, and other social media management tools. The same goes for blog articles to be posted on your website.

Schedule Posts For Release While You’re Away. If you’re a frequent poster on social media, a sudden extended radio-silence may alert a savvy thief that you’re off slurping rum runners. Use your Facebook Page’s scheduling feature or a general social media management tool to schedule your typical daily posts while you’re gone.

Temporarily Enable Timeline Review. If you’re going away with friends who tag you in every photo, those images will show up on your page and alert thieves that you’re having a grand time in the Caymans. To avoid this, enable Facebook Timeline Review while you’re away.

The Bottom Line: Just Be Smart, Not Scared

Not so long ago, thieves trolled coffee shops and supermarkets, listening for local folks chatting about upcoming vacation plans. Or they drove through neighborhoods, scanning for piled-up newspaper deliveries or overflowing mailboxes that would signal an unattended home. Now they just tune into social media, where writers make a point of broadcasting information to the public. Fortunately, by paying attention to basics and using a few best practices, you can boast about your vacation, boost your engagement stats, and still protect yourself, your home, and your valuables.

Question:  Do you use a social media management tool like TweetDeck, Facebook Page scheduling, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or any other tool—and which do you like best?


Social Media Superstars: How Successful Authors Are Building Their Followings On The Web

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In today’s competitive publishing environment, having a presence online is not optional—it’s vital. And we’ve brought you some of the best insider info about building your online author platform—from creating a solid, functional author website to engaging potential readers on social media.

But to a writer with very little marketing experience or social media savvy, the Internet can be overwhelming. Daunting, even.

Luckily, there are many examples of thriving online author platforms you can turn to for inspiration. Here are a few of the authors who have mastered the art of the author brand and effectively connected to thousands of fans around the world.


1. Roxane Gay — Co-editor of PANK and essays editor of The Rumpus, Roxane Gay is a rising star in the writing world with an impressive list of publication credits under her belt. She is also an active blogger and is downright hilarious on Twitter, sharing everything from favorite recipes to her latest professional goings-on to her inexplicable love of Lifetime movies. Her open attitude makes her relatable and makes us want to keep following her writing adventures.


2. John Green — Author of insanely popular titles such as Looking For Alaska and The Fault In Our Stars, John Green has a huge Web presence and is very much plugged into the meme-loving culture of his YA “Nerdfighter” demographic, especially on Tumblr. Green has aced the art of accessibility. And the best part? He uses the power of his influence to do good in the world.


3. Emma Straub — Emma Straub is the author of two novels, has been published in many literary journals, and writes for Rookie. Beyond that, she also has one of the most delightful online platforms we’ve ever seen. The consistent branding of her website and social media profiles is like a cool dip in the bright blue waters of her book cover. She’s funny, candid, and sweet—and her personality shines through every tweet and blog giveaway.

Like our insider info and writing advice?

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4. Teju Cole — While most people use social media to share random observations and writing news, author Teju Cole recently raised the bar by using his Twitter account as a vehicle to write a short story—through other people. He had friends and followers tweet seemingly random snippets that, when then retweeted in a certain order, formed a cohesive story titled “Hafiz.” This interesting experiment in storytelling shows just how creative a writer can get when it comes to social media.


5. Neil Gaiman — No list of authors who are killing it on social media would be complete without Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman comic book series and multiple best-selling novels. Not only is he incredibly prolific on Twitter, he also engages fans on Tumblr by answering questions and sharing his thoughts on the writing process. And his website hosts a message board where fans can meet to discuss his wide, genre-spanning body of work.


6. Rainbow Rowell — Considering that her popular YA novel, Fangirl, revolves around the culture of being a hardcore fan, it’s understandable that Rainbow Rowell would have an awesome presence on Tumblr. Not only does she participate in a bit of fangirling herself, she shares posts by other people fangirling over her work. By reblogging fan art and the comments of her readers, Rowell keeps the lines of communication—and mutual adoration—completely open, and fosters a sense of community invaluable to any author.

As you can see, a bit of personality and reader engagement goes a long way when building your online author platform. So be generous…be yourself…and show readers that you appreciate them just as much as you hope they appreciate your writing!

QUESTION: Do you follow any particular authors online? What is it about them that keeps you coming back for more?

6 Super-Fast Facebook Posts For When You’re Short On Time

It never fails: You promised yourself you would update your Facebook author page three times a week…or possibly twice…maybe just once a week. Now, while juggling a hectic schedule and looming deadlines, you find yourself in a race against the clock to post anything at all. And your visitors—friends, fans, editors, and literary agents—are all… Continue Reading

Tumblr For Writers: A Picture-Perfect Marketing And Promotional Tool

Tumblr, meet Writer. Writer, meet Tumblr. While you might think that a short-form blog like Tumblr would be counterintuitive for writers, this photo-centric platform is quickly becoming a viable marketing tool for promoting your writing. If you’re ready to shake up your social media presence by creating a Tumblr account, we have all the facts… Continue Reading

How To Use Sidebars On Your Author Website

  As you’re setting up the layout of your author website—or working with a Web developer who’s doing it for you—you will have to decide if you want to include a sidebar. A sidebar is a secondary source of information and navigation to the left or right of a site’s main content. When used wisely,… Continue Reading

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