Roundup of good advice: digital strategy for authors

This is a regular feature of links to helpful content related to digital strategy for published authors, and other items of interest like author interviews and book industry news.

  • A 2-part article, “Indie authors can succeed“, jointly written by Novel Publicity President Emlyn Chand and author Terri Giuliano Long, offers some smart indie author publicity advice, with a number of creative tactics. Here’s an opening excerpt that demonstrates their promotional success:

Terri published her first novel, In Leah’s Wake, in October 2010. She put in a lot of hard work and hard-earned cash to promote it, and by July 26th, 2011, she had sold her 1,000th copy. … But what’s even more exciting is what happened next. It took nine months to sell those 1,000 copies, and only another twenty-nine days to sell 1,000 more. Now Terri’s sales are above 100 per day and show no signs of sinking.

  • A short meditation of an author’s years of book-signing:  “Does it make your hand hurt?” by John Connolly, an award-winning Irish author, most recently of The Whisperers, in 2010, the ninth novel in his Charlie Parker series.  I came across this on Twitter by way of Erin Mitchell who blogs about books and marketing.
  • Speaking of Erin Mitchell, she recently blogged a plea for fiction authors to do book events, based on her experiences attending book events and trying to connect with authors: “To Event or Not to Event



Roundup of good advice: digital strategy for authors

This is a regular feature of links to helpful content related to digital strategy for published authors, and other items of interest like interviews with other authors and book industry news.

Many authors wonder about the best way to represent themselves online. Should you have a clear distinction between your private self and your public identity? Ideally, you will one day have many more fans than you can maintain a one-to-one relationship with, so I encourage authors to develop a channel of communication that serves and grows their existing audience with a mix of relevant news and just enough personal disclosures to keep it human and enjoyable as a medium for social exchange. You choose where to draw the line. While I often post where I’m having lunch and with whom as a way of giving attention to places and people who are deserving of it, I would rarely offer more than a vague sketch of someone with a role in my personal life. The content that you choose to post via whatever social-media platform you choose should comprise whatever you are comfortable with, and the disclosures that feel natural and pleasurable to you.

Also, on event promotion:

A consistent theme I hear from authors grappling with this new landscape is their fear of overpromoting their work. But very few people, in my opinion, correctly promote themselves enough. Perhaps it’s my profession that colors my perspective, or my having received one too many e-mails on the day of the reading or book launch. The correct timeline for promoting an event, by the way, is to send out details one month in advance, with a reminder two weeks later, then a few days prior to the event. Linking to a Facebook invitation in subsequent status updates does the trick. Consistency is key.

  • Looking for a book blogger to review your book?  Check out the 2011 short list compiled in various categories, from Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  BBAW occurs every September, and was founded in 2008 by Amy Riley of the My Friend Amy blog “to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers”.  Also read “How to find literary fiction book bloggers to review your book” for more listings.
  • On this same topic: Advice on pitching bloggers: “Top Five Things I’ve Learned About Working with Book Bloggers
  • Steve Bennett’s 5 reasons why an author needs a website:  “Yep, You Need a Book Web Site“.  This is not a recent post, but remains a solid argument in favor.  I would just add that there are some compelling free options for a website these days.  WordPress is free.  Having a site named is better than having no site at all, and there are ways you can leverage it as a website platform to save you time (for example, say you’ve got a new book review out — put a link up as a post in your WordPress site, and it can propagate automatically to Facebook, Twitter, your Amazon Author page, your email subscribers, and so on).  Having said all this about WordPress, I should mention there are companies out there like Steve Bennett’s — you can pay them to set up a website for you.

Related Articles and Resources:

Author’s guide to’s new @author feature

A new way for authors to engage with their readers is through a new @author feature on So far it’s in limited beta, with only a handful of participating authors, but hopefully soon will be more widely available for published authors who would enjoy connecting with readers in a Q&A format. This @author feature will allow readers to post a question to you the author, and as the author your set of answered questions will be available to readers from within your Amazon Author Page. Continue reading

Author’s guide to Facebook’s new Subscribe feature

It was Wednesday, Sept 14, 2011, when Facebook introduced the Subscribe button, and in doing so changed the debate on the value of the Facebook profile vs. Facebook business page for authors, which I discussed in an earlier article, “Author’s guide to Facebook account vs Facebook Pages“.

With this new feature, when you see a Subscribe button on an author’s profile, this means a fan of the author can click the Subscribe button to begin seeing the author’s public updates right in the user’s own News Feed. Continue reading

Roundup of good advice: digital strategy for authors

This is a regular feature of links to helpful content related to digital strategy for published authors, and other items of interest like interviews with other authors and book industry news.

  • Everyone’s an expert at something.  You, the published author, are certainly an expert at something as well, so join HARO (Help A Report Out), a free service, for the opportunity to become a quoted source in a story, effectively promoting yourself and your work.  There are lots of articles out there about how authors and others who are experts at something can leverage HARO.  This blog post, “How To Use HARO To Boost Your Visibility“, though targeted to online PR, is worth a read.
  • Good advice on good manners:  The 10 Commandments of Social Networking for Writers by Jason Pinter (if you’re on Twitter, you can follow him there). Jason Pinter is a literary agent with the Waxman Agency, and the bestselling author of the Henry Parker thriller series, as well as the upcoming Zeke Bartholomew series for Middle Grade readers and the Great Divide trilogy for Young Adults.
  • Although this is an article written for tech-savvy journalists, it has sage advice. It dovetails into discussions around platforms for author websites.  From Allan Hoffman, on “9 reasons to switch from Drupal to WordPress“.  The intro:

Yes, your content matters, but so does your choice of a content-management system (CMS). This choice can influence everything from how often you and your staff post stories to how much time — and money — you’ll need to spend wrangling bug fixes, compatibility issues and design snafus. Choose a CMS that’s a wrong fit, and you’ll regret it.


How to merge duplicate Facebook author and book pages

Have you searched for your name on Facebook, and the name of your book? You’re likely to discover a mess of pages. Some of this can be cleaned up. This guide will take you through how to find and merge duplicate pages, using a search for “Kathryn Stockett”. Continue reading

Author promotion using #SampleSunday on Twitter and Facebook

Sample Sunday was originally an inspired idea by David Wisehart in December 2010 as a way for authors to leverage social media to share some of their work with readers.

The basic idea is that on Sunday the author puts some writing up on their blog, and then tweets it using the #SampleSunday hashtag. Folks on Twitter (commonly called tweeps) have a chance of coming across the tweet and clicking through to see the author’s writing. These are generally tweeps who are following the author or watching the #SampleSunday hashtag activity. Continue reading

Roundup of good advice: digital strategy for authors

This is a regular feature of links to helpful content on digital strategy for published authors, and other items of interest like interviews with other authors and book industry news.

  • When is it optimal to post something on Facebook and Twitter? What’s the best day, the best time of day? A recent article by Sherilynn “Cheri” Macale, the West Coast Co-Editor for The Next Web, breaks down a recent study by award-winning social media scientist, Dan Zarella. The details may seem a little daunting for authors relatively new to these social channels, but there are helpful insights that are worth ingesting, and also a list of some helpful tools for queuing up and scheduling posts to go out on these social media channels.  For Facebook timing, here are some key takeaways. Continue reading

Author’s guide to Facebook account vs Facebook Pages

I’ve written this article for authors who have an account (a profile) on Facebook, and are interested in learning how a Facebook Page can be of benefit — that is, is it worth the effort to create and manage one?

What’s a Facebook business Page?  A look at Jennifer Egan’s Facebook presence

The basic Facebook account is for people, and people have friends. The Facebook Page is for businesses, with a Like button, and followers (or fans) instead of friends. As an author, you might have a People page for your closer, more intimate friends, and you might have a business Page (capital P) for yourself to connect with your audience more as an author, less as a collection of intimate friends. Continue reading