Ask KJ, Self Publishing

Learn How to Connect Your Social Media Accounts

Social Media

As an author, you likely have multiple social media accounts to manage. Make life easier by connecting as many of them as possible!

Here’s a list of the accounts I use regularly:

*I also have author profiles on these sites: BookBub, Readers in the Know, and BookGorilla. I rarely use them, but it doesn’t hurt to have the extra online visibility.

Feed your blog posts to your Amazon Author Profile.

  1. Log in to Author Central.
  2. Click the link to update your Amazon Author Page.
  3. Click Add Blog, and enter your blog’s RSS feed URL. For example: https://kjfarnham.com/feed/

Feed your blog posts to Goodreads.

  1. Navigate to your Author Dashboard.
  2. Hover over your mini profile pic in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  3. Scroll down. Click where it says your blog.
  4. Click edit blog settings.
  5. Enter your blog’s external blog feed URL. (Same as the one you entered to display your posts on your Amazon Author Profile.)

Note: You have the option to show full blog posts. I don’t check that box because I want people to navigate to my blog to read full posts. 😉

While you’re on Goodreads, add links to all of your social media accounts if you haven’t already done so. Goodreads provides a spot for your website and Twitter handle, but you need to add all others in your bio.

Goodreads Profile

Feed your blog posts to other social media accounts.

  1. Hover over My Site in upper left-hand corner.
  2. Scroll down to Settings > Sharing > Publicize Settings.
  3. Choose which social media accounts you’d like to connect. This means you’ll have the option for new posts to feed directly to these accounts as soon as you click Publish. (My blog is connected to my author page on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. You can’t connect a Pinterest account to a WordPress blog, but you can share posts to Pinterest as soon as they go up.)

Note: These instructions are likely different if you’re not a WordPress blogger.

Feed your Facebook posts to Twitter.

  1. Click HERE to connect your Facebook profile and/or page(s) to Twitter.
  2. As you can see, you’ll have the option to link one or more of your accounts. And you can choose which types of posts will automatically feed to Twitter.

Link Facebook to Twitter

Add social media apps to your Facebook page.

  1. Use Woobox to connect all of your social media accounts to Facebook. It’s free!
  2. Once you log in with your Facebook account, click on Static Tabs. Then you can add Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other apps to your Facebook page.

The app icons will look like this:

Woobox apps

When people click on the arrow, they’ll see all of the apps you’ve added. They can be rearranged however you like so that the icons of your choice appear in the first three spots.

Feed your Instagram posts to various social media accounts.

  1. Navigate to your profile page.
  2. Click the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Scroll down to settings.
  4. Click linked accounts.
  5. Choose the accounts you’d like to connect. This means you’ll have the option for new posts to feed directly to the selected accounts. For example, sometimes I choose to share an Instagram post to Twitter but not to Facebook or vice versa.

Note: You can connect more than one Facebook account, but one has to be set as the default account (the one your post will feed to). You can change the default account any time you like.

Note: As far as I know, you need to perform these steps on your phone. While Instagram can be viewed via a tablet, desktop or laptop, the ability to make account modifications is limited.

Connect your website to your Pinterest account.

  1. Navigate to your Pinterest profile.
  2. Click the Edit Profile button.
  3. Enter your Website address if you haven’t already.
  4. Click the Verify Website button.
  5. On the next page, next to How to verify, copy the meta tag (you’ll need to enter this on WordPress.com).
  6. Leave the verification page open and go to your blog dashboard (in a new tab/window).
  7. Open the Tools → Available Tools Page and paste the string from the How to Verify field of the Pinterest verification page in the Pinterest Site Verification field of your blog dashboard.
  8. Click on Save Changes.
  9. Go back to the verification page and click the Complete Verification button.

If you have any questions, ask away! I’d be happy to help you figure out how to connect all of your social media accounts. And if you can think of any other connections or tips I’ve missed, please comment.

Ask KJ, Self Publishing

Ask KJ: Making Your Own Graphics

If you’re new to indie publishing, you might be thinking any combination of the following when it comes to graphics:

  • Graphics? What are you talking about?
  • I can just copy and paste graphics from the Web, right?
  • Can’t I just hire someone when I need a graphic?
  • I’m an author. Words are my thing. So why do I need to know how to make graphics?

How do I know? Because these were my exact thoughts after publishing my first book. :/

So before I tell you about some awesome, easy-to-use graphic makers/photo editors (Canva, Pablo by Buffer, and PicMonkey), let me start by sharing my answers to the above questions.

As an indie author, you might need graphics for the following purposes:

Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Twitter posts, teasers, quotes, promos, events, etc.

(By the way, if you don’t have ALL of the social media accounts mentioned above, as well as a blog, you should. More on that another time.)

It’s best to NEVER copy and paste an image from the Web.

Unless you are 100% certain an image is in the public domain or copyright-free, do NOT use it. Again, you must be 100% certain. Otherwise, you could get hit with a copyright infringement claim. Not that these claims are always legit (read about the one I got hit with HERE), but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Here’s an article that explains the difference between royalty-free and copyright-free images: Definition of a Royalty Free Image

And here’s where you can find plenty of copyright-free images: Flickr: The Commons

Of course you can hire someone to create graphics for you!

And even after you learn how to make your own, you still might want to hire a professional. For example, I hired Okay Creations to create logos for me, and my social media headers were included. But if you consider the cost and the time you’ll put into explaining what you want for smaller jobs, you’re much better off learning how to make your own stuff. Plus, most design professionals aren’t sitting around waiting to make graphics for people, which means your graphics won’t be ready immediately.

An author doesn’t NEED to know how to make graphics, but it sure does make life easier!

You’re absolutely right, you should be spending the bulk of your time writing. But if you invest some time in learning how to make your own graphics, I guarantee you’ll thank yourself in the long run. There were times when I spent hours upon hours trying to edit an image or create a promo graphic, now I can accomplish either task in 10 minutes or less.

And now, on to those awesome graphic design websites I promised!

Of the three I use regularly, Pablo by Buffer is the most basic image-editing site I’ve encountered. (Thank you to Rachel Thompson of BadRedhead Media for introducing me to it!) Simply choose an image and add your text. Boom. You’re done. You can make a graphic in less than one minute!

With PicMonkey and Canva, you can create anything your imagination dreams up. However, while these two offer many more features than Pablo by Buffer, they require a lot more practice for efficient use. Also, certain features require payment.

All three sites offer templates to accommodate various social media requirements.

Don’t forget: If you upload a photo to one of these sites, make sure you own it or that it’s in the public domain (copyright free).

Canva

What I use it for: complex graphics with lots of layering

CDRPromo Canva

Pablo by Buffer

What I use it for: simple quote graphics

pablo

PicMonkey

What I use it for: less complex graphics that involve minimal layering

(Not as easy to navigate as Canva, in my opinion.)

CDRpromo2

Ask KJ, Self Publishing

Quick and Easy Ways to Support an Author

thumbs up

If you have a friend or family member who’s an author (or even if you’ve enjoyed a book so much that you wished you knew the author), there are several ways for you to show your support or appreciation for his/her work.

Doing just one of the things on this list is guaranteed to put a smile on the targeted author’s face. And making it a habit to do several or all of these things consistently could lead to increased success for the author.

Become a Facebook Fan

Liking an author’s Facebook page is probably the easiest way to show your support. However, if you really want to make an impact, be an engaged fan. What does this mean? Like, share and/or comment on the author’s posts.

A lot of Facebook users aren’t aware of how restrictive the site is when it comes to fan pages. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Posts aren’t shown to every fan of a particular page. I’m not certain how Facebook determines whose feed a post initially pops up in, but it is said that for every ‘like’ a post receives, 10 additional fans will see it.
  • Posts are also boosted when they are commented on and shared.
  • If an author mentions the words ‘share’ or ‘like’ in a post, Facebook downgrades the post and won’t give it the usual boost.

Follow the Author’s Blog

In order to follow an author’s blog, all you have to do is click ‘follow’ or type in your email address to subscribe. Then you’ll receive automatic updates when your friend or family member posts new content. If you have time, comment on a post every once in a while or share a post on social media.

Follow the Author on Goodreads

Goodreads is the perfect outlet for increasing an author’s visibility. If you aren’t familiar with the site, it’s a Facebook-like platform for book lovers. When a user follows an author, the action shows up in her feed, which is shown to all of her friends (just like a Facebook wall post). Goodreads also allows users to categorize books by placing them on different shelves, the most common being the ‘to-read’ shelf. Categorizing a book is another action that shows up in a user’s feed, so adding an author’s books to your to-read shelf is another great way to introduce her work to others.

Promote the Author

It isn’t easy for authors to promote themselves or their work, but it’s a necessity. Help by telling co-workers, fellow book lovers or even random strangers about your author friend’s work. You could even suggest your friend’s book to your book club. Ask for promotional items (such as bookmarks, business cards and pens) to distribute.

Attend a Signing

I know it might seem weird to attend a book signing event for your friend when you probably already own her book and when she most likely won’t have a lot of time to socialize with you. But trust me, your presence will mean the world to her. Plus, a book signing is the perfect place to spend some time promoting your friend’s books!

Purchase the Author’s Books

I have no desire to make money off friends and family, so I typically offer free copies of my book to anyone I personally know who expresses interest in my work. The other day, a friend of mine refused to take a free copy of my new YA novel. I can’t tell you how much it touched my heart.

If your author friend somehow slips you a free copy of her book (which I’ve successfully done a few times), consider purchasing an additional copy in a different format or as a gift for someone else.

Read the Author’s Books and Write Honest Reviews

Whenever I discover a new review, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Whether they’re long or short (good or bad) I appreciate each and every review that my books receive. Keep in mind, reviews don’t have to be lengthy – a line or two expressing your opinion is sufficient. Also, it is extremely helpful if reviews are cross-posted on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble and/or LibraryThing.

What other things have you done to support an author?