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A Writer’s Guide to Twitter

There is absolutely, positively no doubt that writers need to use social media to get the word about their writing out there. Personally, the idea of having several social media accounts made me sigh and roll my eyes. I’d tried to use social media for my business before (a Bed & Breakfast) but I hadn’t seen much success even though it was a bucket-load of work. Following the advice of every, single article I read on being a successful indie writer, I decided I needed to take the plunge.

It’s important to not only take the plunge but not to dive headfirst into the shallow end. Because there’s more to establishing an author platform than just joining every social media sight. So, here it is, Dena’s no-holds barred rules on how to use twitter and not look like a tweet.

1) Fill out your account in its entirety. You need to go all out. A profile picture, description and background are mandatory. Would you buy a book from a writer that uses a generic Twitter egg as her profile picture? I wouldn’t. 

2) Only sign-up for Twitter if you’re going to use it. So, you bit the bullet and added a profile picture, a funny description and even added a background with pictures of your books. And then you stop. You do nothing with Twitter. Um, how the heck is being on Twitter going to help sell books if you don’t do anything with it?

3) Show some love to bloggers who promote your book. I have a blog, Readsalot, where I promote indie writers with book reviews, blog tour stops, etc. I always, always tweet about these posts. But I can count on one hand the amount of re-tweets from authors I’ve gotten. If a blogger takes the time to promote your book, re-tweet it! Not only to show your appreciation but also to spread the word. Isn’t that what social media is all about – spreading the word about your book?

4) Be very, very cautious with using tweet services. Tweet services are paid author promotion services in which your book is tweeted by several accounts to get noticed. The problem is this: Who are the followers? Are they genuine followers interested in reading or followers the service has bought? Check testimonials from previous clients before you hit the ‘buy now’ button. Otherwise, you might as well throw your money away.

5) Don’t be a bore. It’s not all about your book, blog or writing. We all know that the vast majority of authors on twitter are there to promote their books or blog. We get it. But don’t shove it in our faces. It’s okay to tweet about your new book, a sale, etc. But don’t go overboard. Make sure you are also tweeting about other things. I often tweet newspaper articles I read that I find interesting. I do try to add a bit of my own personality instead of just hitting the ‘tweet me’ button on the article.

6) If you join an author tweet help team, try to be original. What’s an author tweet help team? Okay, I totally made up that name but here’s what I mean. There are several groups on Facebook, Twitter, you name it, you can join to help get the word about your writing out there and in return you need to tweet about fellow authors. The idea is awesome! I’m a member of one of these groups. So what’s the problem? Tweeters often just tweet a list of twitter handles and that’s it. Maybe they’ll add something simple like ‘follow these awesome authors’. Does anyone read these tweets? I sure don’t. I take the time to search a book or review of each one of the authors on my list and tweet them one by one. Sure, it takes more work but in my humble non-expert opinion, it’s worth it because no one’s looking at the other just-a-list-of-names tweets.

7) Establish a twitter presence before your book launch. It’s important to already have an author platform before that all important book launch. If you join Twitter with your book launch, a lot of users are going to roll their eyes and assume you’re one of ‘those’ (meaning you are a twitter user that only pushes her own agenda).

8) Make connections. It’s incredibly tempting to just throw stuff out into the twitterverse and that’s it. Although that may work to a certain degree, it certainly isn’t the best way to go about it. Make sure you connect with followers by responding to tweets or re-tweeting. These are your potential readers. Create a personal relationship and they just may read your book only because they ‘know’ you on Twitter.

9) Use the @ and # with caution. Unless you only want the receiver to read the tweet, don’t start a tweet with @(twitter handle) as the tweet will not show up on your general feed. The hashtag is a great way for tweeters to perform a search but don’t go overboard. It’s incredibly difficult to read a tweet that is just hashtag after hashtag.

10) Don’t be pushy. It’s okay to market your book but it’s not okay to send tweets to individual followers asking them to buy your book (unless you’ve had personal contact with that person before). Another pet peeve? Sending direct messages begging (it’s not really begging but it sure feels like it) followers to buy your book. Personally, I’m also against these direct messages asking individuals to follow you on Facebook. 

11) Think before you tweet. Being an author, especially an indie author, is a business. You need to handle your twitter account as such. If you want to rant about the president or the 2nd amendment, get a personal twitter account for that. Of course if you write non-fiction, this rule may not apply.  

Any other rules you’d like to add? Let me hear about it in the comments.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but think I’m a European. After spending my senior year of high school in Germany, I developed a bad case of wanderlust that is yet to be cured. My flying Dutch husband and I have lived in Ohio, Virginia, the Netherlands, Germany and now Istanbul. We still haven’t decided if we want to settle down somewhere – let alone where. Although I’ve been a military policewoman, a commercial lawyer, and a B&B owner, I think with writing I may have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s assuming I ever grow up, of course. Between tennis, running, traveling, singing off tune, drinking entirely too many adult beverages, and reading books like they are going out of style, I write articles for a local expat magazine and various websites, review other indie authors’ books, write a blog about whatever comes to mind and am working on my sixth book.


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Book Spotlight: Peerless Detective by Michael Raleigh (with Giveaway)

Title: Peerless Detective

Author: Michael Raleigh

Book Spotlight: Peerless Detective by Michael Raleigh

ISBN: 1626817804 (ISBN13: 9781626817807)

Purchase Links:
Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes Goodreads 


Once Billy Fox starts looking for trouble, he discovers that—in Chicago—trouble's under every footstep.
Home from the war, Billy Fox leaves Michigan for Chicago, hoping to find his ex-girlfriend, Rita—now another man’s wife. Chicago isn’t a town that takes kindly to strangers, and Billy finds himself barely scraping by, working odd jobs and living in squalor among convicts and other men that the city hasn’t spit out just yet.
A chance encounter lands him a job with Harry Strummer, the streetwise owner of the Peerless Detective Agency. At Harry's oddball agency, Billy hones his skills, learning how to stake out a mark, find a bug, and spot a tail. Odd life lessons and unexpected romance come his way. But as he searches for Rita, an even bigger mystery comes along, one that puts Harry, and Billy with him, in the crosshairs.
This punchy, spellbinding noir spins a web that will catch readers and hold them captive to the final page, when we learn that Billy’s Chicago is a town where nothing is ever truly left up to chance.

Author Bio:

Book Spotlight: Peerless Detective by Michael Raleigh

Michael Raleigh is the author of five mysteries set in Chicago and featuring detective Paul Whelan, as well as three other novels. He is Professor Emeritus of the City Colleges, where he taught Composition, Literature, and Chicago History. He currently teaches in the First Year Writing and Honors Programs at DePaul University. His novel THE RIVERVIEW MURDERS won the Eugene Izzi Award for best crime novel by a Chicago Writer, and he has been the recipient of four Illinois Arts Council awards for fiction. He is married with three children, and lives not far from the setting of the five Paul Whelan novels.

Find Michael Raleigh Online:
author's website  http://www.midlandauthors.com/raleigh.html


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Review: FotoJet.com

Visual content is a great way to grab attention in the fast paced world of social media. Whether you want to use an image in your status update to stand out in the newsfeed or want a professional looking cover banner, there are lots of sites online that can help. One such site is www.FotoJet.com.

Review of www.FotoJet.com

I was recently approached by the company to review their site, and in today's post I'll take you through the fab features it has to offer.... oh and did I mention... it's FREE!

It's not just good for social media. You can also use it to make posters and photo cards. Great for book signings or even just sending out thank you notes to reviewers or blog hosts.

There are 320+ delicate templates for collages, posters and photo cards that you can modify depending on your needs, and you can upload photos either directly from your computer or from Facebook.

Let's start by looking at Facebook posts. 

Using the menu on the left, scroll down to "Social Media" and then click on "Facebook Post". You'll now see a selection of different designs to choose from.

I decided to test it out by choosing the top left design showed here as it seemed like a good basic layout that could be used in several ways. I just clicked on the image to select it and them on the orange "choose" button on the bottom right. 

This opened up the template. For this experiment I decided to use a few of the sketches from my Disney Illustration Study (I'm an illustrator as well as an author, in case you didn't already know ;)).

When you click on Add Photo you have two options 1) upload from computer or 2) upload from Facebook. As I already had these sketches uploaded to Facebook I choose that option.

They uploaded straightaway. I then clicked "Auto Fill" and they positioned themselves in the template grid. By clicking on a single image it opens up an "Edit Image" box. 

Here you can do a few things including, zooming in on your image, repositioning it, changing the colour, exposure, etc...

Editing the text is super easy with the edit box. You get to pick from a variety of fonts and can personalise it either more by adding bold, italics, underlining, or putting a line through the text. To edit you just need to click on the text and the "Edit Text" box pops up.

Here I was editing the text. Again you can select from a wide variety of fonts. You also have the option of bold, italic, underlined, or with a line through. You can align to the left, centre, or right, and adjust the size and colour of the text. 

You can save your creation to your computer using the save button at the top of the screen.

You can pick to save as either JPEG or PNG, and also select the quality of the image (Low, Medium, or High).

There is also a share button on the top right. 

By clicking here you can easily share your new creation as a post on Facebook so it shows on your timeline. 

FotoJet has a selection of designs for Facebook page covers too. Just click on Facebook cover from the menu on the left of your screen. As you can see just from this small screenshot, there's a lot of nice styles available.

I decided to try out the bookshelf one to see what it would look like with some of my covers. This is the end result:

It's not bad. In fact, I think it's a nice way to showcase several titles at once. One problem that did come up though was that on the images I uploaded of my covers it didn't show the whole of the cover. For example, on the cover of How to be Twittertastic: Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media Series BOOK 1 it does show my name. The same for Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home. This may be resolved by uploading a smaller image though as you can zoom in and reposition the image uploaded. It just wouldn't let me zoom out any more than what you see here.  

You can also use it to make collages. These are a few of the designs under the Modern category. The text with the image showing through underneath could work well for various projects e.g. showcase a quote by the author, or details about a certain character.

This is a few from the Classic category. I love the nice clean feel of these. Some of these would work well as the front of a promotion flyer. You could use a collage of images related to your book and then, on the back, put information about the book or a selection of your best reviews, FAQs, or your author bio and links.

This is a few from the Art category:

This is a few from the Holiday category. These could work well for special sales, offers, or events during the different holidays. That gift shaped one in the centre for example could work nicely for a special promotion on a book series or for a group promotion.

This is a few from the 3D category:

This is a few of the designs in the "Creative" category. There's some really good ones here. I can see that top left one looking good as a book cover, you?

All of these features are currently free to use. Try them out for yourself at www.FotoJet.com

A great resource, with so many uses!

Interview with Cindy Cipriano

Interview with Cindy Cipriano
What genre do you write and why?
I write middle grades fantasy and young adult paranormal romance.

Tell us about your latest book.
The Choice is the second book in The Sidhe series. For Calum Ranson, seventh grade brings changes in his relationship with his parents and his friends, and a confrontation with his bully. Calum’s talents have also developed to a level unheard of in the Sidhe world.
When Calum goes against everything he knows is right, he makes a choice that may cost him his friendship with Laurel. An old friend steps in, but her mysterious ways leave Calum questioning her motivation.

In The Choice, Calum, Laurel, and Hagen reunite in their search for Finley. And while many things have changed, Calum remains steadfast in his belief that Finley is still alive and that Calum will bring him home.

What formats is the book available in?
The Circle Book One of The Sidhe and The Choice Book Two of The Sidhe are both available in print and Kindle versions.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Join a critique group and run your manuscript through the group. Pay attention to suggestions and comments then edit as you feel is appropriate. After all, it is your story.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Twitter: @CindyCipriano

Who is you favourite character in your book and why?
Donnelly Dunbar - no doubt. I love his intensity and devotion to his family. Oh, and the fact that he liberated himself from the darkest faerie clan of all.

Interview with Cindy Cipriano
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
The Sidhe series is one that strikes a chord with adults and young adults. There are 68 reviews posted on Amazon, and all of those were written by adults. Fantasy readers of all ages will enjoy The Circle, The Choice, and the other books in The Sidhe series.

Who designed the cover?
Karri Klawiter.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I am currently writing the third book in The Sidhe series. In The Lost, Calum and his friends are in the 8th grade, and the stakes are getting higher. I like to include real places in my stories (Fairy Stone Park, VA in The Circle, the Brown Mountain, NC in The Choice). The Lost has an equally mysterious and factual setting.

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