The Best Social Media Sites for Writers

 

“Writers need to be on social media!” everyone says. I agree. You don’t have to be a social media expert, or spend 24/7 connected to your Facebook and Twitter apps, but you should have an online presence. A website is a good start, but if you want

to develop a fan base, the best way to do that is to be accessible. And social media provides the perfect venue for you to connect directly with your fans.

Here are some of my favorite social media sites that I believe are the best-suited to authors:

Facebook

Yep, Facebook is the big dog of social media. And despite its constantly-changing algorithms, and young millennials flocking away from it because their parents just signed up, Continue reading

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How to Set Goals for the New Year

Tis the season for new year’s resolutions. We look back on what we’ve accomplished – and didn’t – in the past year, and resolve to do better and do more in the coming year. While this is a good sentiment, there’s a reason that a lot of traditional New Year’s Resolutions wind up being forgotten or discarded before the end of January.

My goal is to party like it's 1916...

My goal is to party like it’s 1916…

I prefer to call my decisions “goals” instead of “resolutions.” The reason is because a goal is something specific. A goal is a desire with a deadline, rather than just a nebulous “Imma do better this year.” So here I’ll give you a few tips about how to set goals that you might actually be able to achieve, instead of just struggling futilely with the “Imma do better” thing. Continue reading

5 Pinterest Tips for Writers

I wrote a post not long ago about using Pinterest and how it can help you as a writer to organize ideas and research. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, then this post is a good introduction to the picture pinboard concept of Pinterest.

If you already use Pinterest (or are interested in getting started), here are 5 quick tips about how you can use this site to boost your writing or market your books.

Pin pictures from your blog or website

This is probably the most important one for increasing your online exposure and boosting traffic to your website. If you have pictures on your website and blog posts, then when people find those images on Pinterest, there will be the automatic link back to your website. Have you ever found a cool new website because you followed a link on a pin? Well, others can find your website the same way!

Use secret boards for research and ideas 

This is from my secret board for a 1930s historical fiction story I'm working on. This is all you will see of this board till much later!

This is from my secret board for a 1930s historical fiction story I’m working on. This is all you will see of this board till much later!

Do you have a place where you collect images and links for inspiration? Pinterest offers something called “secret boards” that only you can see, so you can now create boards for research or WIPs (works in progress) without making everything public. When the time is right, you can make the secret board public if you want, or transfer some of the pins to a public board.

 

 

Have a board (or several) for your books or other writings

If you’ve published a book (or even articles on other website or blogs) you can pin these. Pin your book cover from Amazon – then the link will take users right to your book. If you’re working on a project that you do want to share with the world, then a Pinterest board of your research and inspiration will help you gain followers and fans even before the book is out.

Have a board (or several) for stuff besides your writing 

I love music. Music often finds its way into my writing, but I have a general music-ish board that's not specifically related to my story ideas.

I love music. Music often finds its way into my writing, but I have a general music-ish board that’s not specifically related to my story ideas.

Your fans want to get to know you as a person. They may love the gritty thrillers that you write (and they follow all of your related pinboards), but they’d probably also like to know that you love dogs and that you enjoy hiking.

There’s nothing wrong with having non-writing boards, as long as it’s part of the public image that you want to share.

Make sure your profile is up-to-date

This goes for any social media. Make sure your profile picture on Pinterest matches your profile picture on your Facebook fan page and your picture on your website. On Pinterest, profiles are pretty bare-bones, but there is space for links to Facebook, Twitter, and a website. If you have any of those, make sure you link them to your Pinterest account – and then make sure that you keep all of those profiles clean and up-to-date. Nobody wants to track down their favorite author online only to discover that said author hasn’t tweeted in two years or hasn’t gotten around to listing their newest book on their website.

My Pinterest profile page. Simple but effective.

My Pinterest profile page. Simple but effective.

Do you use Pinterest for your writing? What’s your favorite thing about Pinterest?

Story Prompts to Get Unstuck

I am not usually one who needs story prompts. I don’t mean for this to sound arrogant or bragging – it’s just that I’m usually so inundated by ideas that what I need is more time to write, not more ideas. But even us constantly-flooded-with-ideas folks get stuck now and then, or we want to take a break from current projects and try something new.

I’ve written a couple of posts in the past about generating ideas and breaking through writer’s block. I find that writing something else besides my current project can keep my mind in a writerly mode without it getting bogged down in whatever I’m stuck on.

I also started a Pinterest board with cool pictures and ideas for story prompts.

Another great source of inspiration for me is music. Sometimes ideas come to me while I’m listening to something, other times I purposefully play certain songs or tracks while I’m brainstorming. If you want to know what kinds of music get me going, here are some of my favorites.

I hope that some of these links can help you if you need prompts or brainstorming fodder. What are some of your favorite ways to get your creative juices flowing again?

Why do I Blog?

Last week I didn’t publish a blog post. I know I have a lot of subscribers, but I really have no idea if anyone pays attention to my publishing schedule or waits in breathless anticipation for a new post every Wednesday. (If you do, then I thank you for your attentiveness and interest, and I apologize for leaving you hanging for a week).

I’m sure I was far more upset than anyone else at missing a week for the first time in nearly three years of blogging. The sad part is, I have no good excuse – I simply forgot. So that got me thinking: why did I start this blog? And why have I been so committed to keeping it up for so long?

After a bit of self-analysis, here are some things I came up with. In no particular order, the reasons I blog are:

I like writing. Blogging gives me a chance to write a little bit every week. It took some nerve, at first, to put my words out there for the whole world to read, but the positive feedback and comments I get are definitely encouraging.

Blogging has helped me with discipline. Writing of any kind takes discipline. Even if you’re writing just for yourself and just for fun, it takes a degree of disciplined action to write regularly and to finish anything. The discipline of committing to a weekly post – even if I’m the only one who notices or cares about the regular schedule – has helped me to start learning the art of writing even if I don’t feel like it or feel inspired. (Except for last week, obviously, but let’s not talk about that anymore).

Blogging helps with SEO. Now we get to the technical side of things. I’ve known for years that an author needs a strong social media presence if they expect to ever be noticed or read by anyone. And there are so many tips out there about getting a web presence launched before your first book is published, so that you already have a following when you’re ready to start promoting a book. Since I love social media and I love writing, starting a blog seemed like an easy and logical thing to do.

My blog is my home base on the internet. Blogging regularly helps keep the following that I have, and increases my chances of gaining new followers. My blog also serves as my main author website. Since I have no books for sale yet, I don’t need a fancy website with multiple pages or a calendar with my book signing schedule. (Yet. Here’s hoping I’ll need all of that soon). Anyway, my blog is where you can find me online. I have it linked to all of my social media profiles, so if you want to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest (or all three), my blog is the easy one-stop-shop to find everything.

So there are my main reasons for continuing this blog for so long. I hope that you are enjoying it, even if you don’t read every post or care what day of the week I publish. I love blogging, and I intend to keep it up for many more years to come!

Pinterest – the Other Book Site You Should be Using

If you’re a fan of books – whether you’re a writer or just an avid reader – then you probably already have your favorite go-to sites to find new books, participate in discussion or critique forums, or just find writerly advice. Hopefully you leave book reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, and follow hashtags on Twitter like #amreading and #amwriting. But are you using Pinterest?

For those who don’t know, Pinterest is a digital pinboard site where you can collect and share images. People use it for everything from collecting recipes to home decorating ideas to sharing useless snarky memes. None of these are bad, and for sure it all makes Pinterest an entertaining site. But Pinterest can also be used for so much more.

Writers, editors, book reviewers, publishers, and fans can all benefit by using Pinterest in a focused, intentional way. Here are some examples:

A Pinterest Board for your Favorite Books

Why not collect all of your favorite books on Pinterest, just like you collect them on virtual shelves on GoodReads? If you pin a book cover image directly from a legitimate site like Amazon or the author’s own website, then that pin can help you and other people find a copy of that book for reading. You could even go all out and create multiple boards organized by genre or author.

A Pinterest Board for your Current Writing Project or Future Story Ideas

If you’re a writer, then you probably already like perusing the internet for pictures to inspire you. Pinterest is a gold mine for finding inspiration for any sort of project.

pinterest

A Pinterest Board of Writing Tips and Instructional Blogs

There are blogs, articles, and quotes galore about the art of writing. You probably already have some of your favorites that you read regularly. Any post or site with an image is pin-able (unless the site owner specifically requests that their content NOT be shared on Pinterest). Pinterest boards are a great way to collect and organize all of your favorite posts.

Of course there are other ways to use Pinterest to organize your ideas or promote your work. I covered just a few basic ideas here. So now, please share – how do you use Pinterest?