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: 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

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?

Smashwords vs BookBaby vs Draft2Digital

Converting a manuscript for eBook publication is more complex than simply uploading it to various digital sales channels. This makes choosing a conversion/distribution service an important decision for many self-published authors. At this point, I have narrowed the options down to three: Smashwords, BookBaby and Draft2Digital.

Before I get into comparing the three platforms, I should disclose that my books are currently enrolled in KDP Select, which makes them exclusive to Amazon. For now, this makes sense to me because I’m a newer, relatively unknown author. But in the future, say after I publish my next two books, I plan to branch out into other markets. It never hurts to do your homework early, right?

image

One advantage to being enrolled in KDP Select is that it makes my books available to Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime subscribers. Without the exposure, a lot of Amazon customers would never come across my books or my name. Furthermore, when a subscriber borrows one of my books, I get paid per page read based on the size of the KDP Select Global Fund which varies from month to month. Sounds good, right? Well, yes and no. While I currently make more on borrows than on sales, there is definitely a downside. KDP Select books can be sold only on Amazon. So, readers who purchase eBooks from Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Apple (to name just a few other eBook retailers), don’t have immediate access to the e-versions of my books. Sure, they could download a Kindle app, but some readers simply prefer other platforms and some may not have access to the Kindle store period. This is why I plan to opt out of KDP Select in the future.

Now, back to comparing Smashwords, BookBaby and Draft2Digital.

Smashwords

Upfront Cost: $0

Royalty per sale: 15%

Input formats accepted: Word .doc, professionally designed epub

Formatting: Must be done by author (unless a fee is paid)

Distributes to: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Scribd, Oyster, Baker & Taylor (operates Blio, a popular e-reading app, and also operates Axis360 which distributes ebooks to public libraries), txtr, mobile phone app vendors (Aldiko on Android; Kobo on all mobile platforms) and other online venues (must upload to KDP yourself)

Extras: Coupon generator, adjustable royalty splits with distributors

What I’ve heard: easy-to-use formatting guide, classy output, excellent dashboard interface

BookBaby

Upfront Cost: $299

Royalty per sale: 0%

Input formats accepted: Word, PDF

Formatting: Included

Distributes to: KDP, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Copia, Gardners Books, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Flipkart, Oyster, Ciando, EBSCO, ePubDirect,

Extras: Print-on-demand services available, converts up to 50 graphic elements, premium listings on Goodreads, Noisetrade, BookDaily, and Bublish, step-by-step guide to choosing keywords, free social media guide, free reviews

What I’ve heard: good cover illustrators

Draft2Digital

Upfront Cost: $0

Royalty per sale: 10%

Input formats accepted: Word .doc or .docx, RTF

Formatting: Included

Distributes to: Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, Page Foundry (must upload to KDP yourself)

Extras: Can set up a preorder with most vendors, free ISBNs

What I’ve heard: very user friendly, excellent (human) customer service

At this point, I’ve ruled out Bookbaby due to the upfront cost. Between Smashwords and D2D, I’m leaning toward SW because of the wider distribution and the coupon generator, which allows authors to offer books at discounted rates, or even for free, without changing prices on sales channels.

Do you currently use one of these services? If so, what are your thoughts?

Book-marketing Services for Readers and Authors

Book marketing emails

As an avid reader, I receive daily emails from various book-marketing services. These services notify readers about discounts on both traditionally published and self-published books. Many featured books are even FREE. Through notifications from these services, I usually pick up five to 10 books each month, all for less than the cost of a monthly Kindle Unlimited subscription.

The first service I became a subscriber of was Ereader News Today. I don’t remember how I found out about this service several years ago, but it used to be my only source for discovering great Kindle book deals. I had no idea so many other book deal services existed! I also naively thought that ENT chose the books to feature in daily emails, which is only half-true.

When I published Click Date Repeat, I mentioned to my husband that I had my fingers crossed for it to appear in an ENT email someday. I thought it was a far-fetched dream that would probably never come true. (Funny, I know.) Imagine my surprise when I read in a marketing forum on the Kindle Direct Publishing site that authors can submit their books to ENT for consideration. While I felt pretty silly for assuming for so long that the books sent to me by ENT were handpicked, I was also excited to learn something every novice self-published author needs to know: You have a world of marketing prospects to choose from.

Here’s a list of the services I subscribe to along with what I have paid to have my book featured. (Note: Prices may vary depending on the genre of your book, and there are certain criteria that your book must meet to be accepted.)


Ereader News Today

Featured on September 26th – $35 (Women’s Fiction Category)

Readers subscribe here.

Authors submit your book here.


Riffle_sm

Featured on November 28th – $25.50 (Romance Category)

Readers subscribe here.

Authors submit your book here.


BookGorilla

Featured on November 29th – $50 (Women’s Fiction Category)

Readers subscribe here.

Authors submit your book here.


My book has not yet been accepted by this service. From what I gather, BookBub is the choosiest by far. (Based on the number of subscribers they have, they can certainly afford to be choosy!) I have analyzed their submission guidelines and tips and always pay close attention to the books that have been accepted, especially those that are self-published. I think I have figured out what I need to do in order to get my book accepted (wait until Click Date Repeat has a lot more reviews and publish another book), but it will take waiting quite a while before I resubmit.

These are the categories I have to choose from for my book:

Contemporary Romance – $580 (1,120,000+ subscribers – WOW)

Women’s Fiction – $440 (960,000+ subscribers)

Chick Lit – $60 (150,000+ subscribers)

*Prices are based on a book promotion price of less than $1.

Readers subscribe here.

Authors submit your book here.


Readers in the Know logo

Click Date Repeat was featured as Book of the Day on October 28th – FREE with a 60-day trial membership

This site prominently displays books that are discounted and allows authors to run giveaways. Yearly membership is $32.98 and includes free credits that allow you to sign your book up for Book of the Day.

Readers and authors register here.


Both readers and authors benefit from these services. If you are a reader, signing up for one or more service will keep you up-to-date on great book bargains and help you discover new authors. If you are an author, submitting your book(s) might put your work in front of hundreds to thousands of eyes (maybe even over a million if BoobBub accepts you), which could result in a spike in sales, new fans and an increased number of reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

Please leave a comment if you have experience with any other book-marketing sites or if you’d like to add anything about the ones featured here. Thanks!

Goodreads Giveaways: Good or Bad?

When I published Click Date Repeat, one of the first things I did was create a giveaway on Goodreads. As a newbie to the world of self-publishing, I was ecstatic to have found a way to advertise my book and garner some reviews.

goodreads_icon_200x200-8b5b322a54ffbe04db26585de0830763 As the days passed and entries accumulated, I began poking around on Goodreads (which is a wonderful site for both readers and writers, by the way). I happened to stumble upon a forum thread where people were (are still) debating the effectiveness of giveaways. After reading through several posts, my stomach became queasy, and I started to regret setting up my giveaway. But then I did what I typically do when something doesn’t sit right with me, I pressed on in hopes of finding some positives. By the time I’d read each and every post, I didn’t know what to think. Are Goodreads giveaways an effective marketing tool or not?

Here’s what I gathered from the lively forum discussion:

Cons of Goodreads Giveaways

  • Book resellers make up a big chunk of the people entering to win.
  • Some people enter simply for fun or because they want to win something. They may not even be interested in your book.
  • If someone who isn’t interested in your genre wins, they might leave a bad review.
  • You might receive a bad review from a winner who reads your genre but simply didn’t care for your book.
  • Goodreads does not require winners to review the books they win.

Pros of Goodreads Giveaways

  • Hundreds of people see your book.
  • Hundreds of people shelf your book as “to-read” when they sign up, which means anyone they are friends with is likely to see your book too.
  • You might get some reviews.
  • Winners who enjoyed your book, might recommend your book to others.

So what was the outcome of the Click Date Repeat Goodreads Giveaway?

Duration of giveaway: 4 weeks

Number of entries: 701

Books delivered to winners: 5

Books Fedexed back to me at my request: 1

(Book reseller discovered by Goodreads one day after I mailed out the book. They chose a replacement winner. Thank you, Goodreads! Story for another post!)

Number of Reviews: 3

Number of people who have it marked as “to-read” as of the date of this post: 326

As for the two winners who have not reviewed my book yet, one still has it on her to-read shelf, and the other doesn’t have it on any of her shelves. Could she be a reseller? Sure. Or maybe she accidentally removed it from her to-read shelf. (There I go again, looking for a positive explanation.) Either way, I just hope someone reads that particular copy someday!

So, are Goodreads Giveaways good or bad? I say good, but I am a glass-half-full kind of girl.

Based on my results, what do you think?