Tag Archives: marketing

How to Take Perfect Social Media Profile Photos

Posted by December 16th, 2015

A picture is said to speak a thousand words, and determining the best visual to use for your social media profiles can be a daunting task. Below, book marketing and publicity experts share tips and best practices to help writers and authors literally put their best face forward, across different platforms.

How to Take Perfect Social Media Profile Photos

Selecting the Best Picture for Social Media Profiles

  • Make sure the picture represents both you and the content of your work. If you’re a YA author, you might dress casually, while a business author might be best represented wearing business attire and a cookbook author in her kitchen.
  • Make yourself, not the background, the focus of attention. Select a photo that shows your face clearly and doesn’t surround it with a complicated backdrop, which can be distracting. Always make sure the photo is well lit.socialphotos24

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VIDEO: 5 Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid

Posted by September 21st, 2015

Become a savvier author in 15 minutes!

In this video tutorial, editors Meghan Harvey and Christina Henry de Tessan share the 5 Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid:

  1. Don’t forget your reader.

  2. Don’t fly blind.

  3. Don’t rush the process.

  4. Your editorial team is on your side.

  5. Don’t wait to build your audience.

Take a seat and get schooled on how you can avoid these mistakes as you work to reach your writing goals.

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How to Use Facebook as an Author Before You Have Published a Book

Posted by August 11th, 2015

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Trust us, you don’t want get started with social media a week before your book comes out. In fact, many writers nowadays have a presence on Facebook and other platforms before they even have a publication date for their title.

Create a fan page. Reference our previous post on how to set up a brand new Facebook fan page. It’s important to reiterate that while you can let people follow your personal profile, it’s preferable to create a page that is exclusively devoted to your author persona, where you can post news and updates about your publications. Put some thought into what you call the page as it will be your online home in the literary community. You can use the title of your book or a variation of your name. We recommend that you simply use your full name and be sure to select the Artist, Band or Public Figure page category and choose the Author designation. Once you do that, the word “Author” will appear under the name of the page as you can see in the below examples. Because of this description and its strategic placement, you don’t need to add “writer” or “author” in the author page name.

Examples

Cultivate good social media habits. Take the time to reflect on what kind of content you want to share on your page. As with any type of writing, you’ll needto fine tune your social media voice and get used to talking to potential readers in a way that feels authentic to you and is a correct reflection on your work as a writer. Figure out how frequently you want to post. Experiment with different types of content and assess the results. Read a book on social media for more ideas! It takes time and consistency to hammer these details out–and you won’t have the luxury to truly focus on building a social media brand for yourself once your book hits the shelves. Continue reading

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6 Takeaways from the PNWA 2015 Conference

Posted by July 21st, 2015

Seattle skyline

Seattle, home of the PNWA 2015 Conference

It was a great weekend at the PNWA 2015 Conference in Seattle, talking with agents, editors, and writers about Book Country, social media, and the publishing process. (PNWA stands for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.) I want to share these six big takeaways from the conference with the rest of the Book Country community:

  1. Finding beta-readers is as important as ever. However you choose to work with beta-readers–whether in a real-life writing group, remotely via email, or on a workshopping site like Book Country–no one can dispute that a writer needs feedback on their manuscript prior to a successful publication.Technology that makes finding beta-readers easy has become indispensable to in-the-know writers.
  2. Feedback can be wide-ranging, but ratings are also revealing. The more feedback a writer gets on their book, the better informed revision decisions they can make. Getting reviews on your book from beta-readers is a great way to seek suggestions on how to revise. But different readers give different suggestions, sometimes contradicting one another. Your overall ratings can be a powerful way to aggregate your readers’ opinions. On Book Country, for example, your overall rating–so long as you’ve spent the time and energy to garner a large number of peer reviews–will help you gauge whether or not your book is ready to be published.
  3. Distribution is everything. Writers have gotten savvier about this since the last time I was at PNWA. Back then, I met a lot of writers who had self-published but their book was not widely available. It’s rare these days to find a writer who isn’t planning to publish their book electronically, and it’s also common for writers to make sure their book is available for many different types of eReader. On Book Country, for example, authors can publish once and simultaneously distribute to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Scribd, Kobo, iBooks, Google, and Flipkart. It’s essential for writers to stay on top of book retail trends.
  4. Social media takes time. Writers at PNWA knew how important it is for them to be growing their social media audience. It’s key to start building a following early, so that when your book does launch, it has somewhere receptive to land. Learning how to use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and others now rather than later is a good use of an aspiring writer’s time.
  5. Social media takes time. Wait, didn’t I just say that? To be clear, it’s not just building a social media that takes time. Doing the real work of social media–writing posts, creating engaging images, reading social media feeds, and conversing with followers–takes big chunks of your day-to-day. So not only do you want to start early, you also want to get organized. Writers I met at PNWA were figuring out how to carve out time for social media tasks. One tip Andrea Dunlop shared in our “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media” session was to be realistic about how much time you will be consistently able to devote to your social media. It’s easy to sign up for a lot of accounts, but it’s better to be selectively active than to have a bunch of abandoned online profiles. (Go here for more tips from Andrea.)
  6. Professional author services are the author’s best kept secret. More and more writers–both those seeking self-publishing and traditional publishing–are hiring professional developmental editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, book publicists, marketers, designers, and more. The competition to get noticed is stiff, so figuring out what you need help with to make your book stand out is becoming a bigger part of the publishing process. Many writers are using editorial firms like Girl Friday Productions to develop and polish manuscripts. Authors who find social media either too daunting or too time-consuming are learning how to hire it out to professionals. While these services can be expensive, many writers and authors are finding them to be valuable. I predict that we’ll be discussing this aspect of the publishing industry much more here on Book Country in the next year.

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Ask a Literary Agent: Amy Cloughley Answers Your Questions

Posted by July 13th, 2015

Amy CloughleyPlease welcome literary agent Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron & Associates to the blog today! Amy’s in the market to acquire the following types of books: Historical; Literary; Mainstream; Mystery and Suspense (all types but NO paranormal); Thriller (legal, grounded, psychological); Women’s Fiction; Adult Nonfiction (pop culture and humor, sports, narrative, memoir–travel). Like Book Country, Amy will be at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference at the end of this week. If you’ll also be at #PNWA15, you’ll be able to find Amy at the Agent Forum on Friday, July 17, at 10:00am, and at Power Pitch Sessions A, D, & E on Friday and Saturday.

When do you need an agent?  How do you know when you are ready as a writer to take this step? – Claire Count

There are a variety of great options for publishing your work, but if your goal is to be traditionally published, your odds of success increase quite a bit if you work with a qualified agent. Although many small/mid-sized publishers will consider unagented work, most of the larger houses will not, and the publishers who do often give priority to agented submissions.

You will know you are ready to take this step when your manuscript (or book proposal for nonfiction) is your best, most polished work. Although an agent will often provide some feedback to clients, an agent is typically looking to take on projects/clients who are as close to ready for the marketplace as possible. So be sure to do your research and due diligence. What is the typical word count for your genre? Is your POV clear and consistent? Are your main characters fully developed? Is your pacing appropriate for your genre? Did you have quality beta readers provide feedback? Did you identify a few current comparable titles to include in your query? There are numerous websites such as WritersDigest or here at BookCountry, as well as countless books and classes, that cover how to prepare your manuscript for publication. Applying this information will help your manuscript get an agent’s attention. Continue reading

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Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

Posted by May 26th, 2015

It’s important for writers to be active in the online writing community. Editors and publishers are constantly promoting great books and author events on Twitter, so you’ll be able to know current trends and the kinds of books being published in today’s market. Plus, editors and publishers regularly tweet out book giveaways and host fun contests!

Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

Editors and Publishers to Follow on Twitter

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Ask a Literary Agent: Regina Brooks Answers Your Questions!

Posted by May 20th, 2015

Ask a Literary Agent: Regina Brooks Answers Your Questions!

Regina Brooks is the founder and CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC. In November 2010, Brooks co-founded and launched a new publishing imprint under Akashic Books called Open Lens. Regina shares the one thing all successful writers have in common and what writers should do to build a readership.

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What do you do if a book by one of your clients gets a cover that you find really ugly, but the publisher and the author love it? Do you hold your tongue or do you put in your 2 cents? – Lucy Silag

This has happened several times in the last several months. When evaluating covers, I use the following criteria as my first line of communicating my hesitation on a design.

  • Does the author’s name appear clear and strong? Sometimes the title or other features can overshadow the author’s name on a cover. I’m always sensitive to making sure we build the author’s brand and the name is showcased prominently.
  • Does the cover incorporate a color palette that will resonate with the audience appropriately? For example, business books often use black, red, or blue. Girl books for younger audiences typically incorporate purples, pink, or yellow. Of course, covers can certainly veer from these conventions, but many years of research and theory have gone into selecting colors that work. One of my authors Elizabeth Harper has taught me a lot about colors and how they are received.
  • Does the cover show up well in a thumbnail size? There are often wonderful fonts and illustrations that work well in the print version but get lost in the ebook format. These days many consumers will first discover a book online, so it’s important that the title and author’s name are readily visible.
  •  Does the cover speak to the core demographic? There might be confusion as to whether the book is for women,  millennials, academics, etc. The cover needs to strike a chord with the target audience.

I’ve been in the business for 20 years, so I’ve seen my share of ‘ugly’ covers. Aesthetics are very subjective, so I tend to table my commentary unless I have something clear and focused that speak to the questions I’ve mentioned  above. If it’s just a matter of taste, I will certainly tell my author, but I will often acquiesce to the author and editor if they are in sync. Continue reading

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Ask a Literary Agent: Mary C. Moore Answers Your Questions!

Posted by May 13th, 2015

Ask a Literary Agent: Mary C. Moore Answers Your Questions!Please welcome literary agent Mary C. Moore to our latest round of Ask a Literary Agent! Mary is a Bay Area-based agent at Kimberley Cameron & Associates who loves representing authors who write unusual fantasy, grounded science fiction, and strong female characters.

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When reading a query letter for a work of fiction (esp. fantasy/sci-fi), I know that having both strong characters and a strong plot are important. But which will make you more likely to keep reading and why? – Vanessa Silva

For me personally, the opening scene has to have forward-moving action. If an author spends a lot of time giving back story, they lose my interest. I want to feel like I jumped in the car with you and we took off for an adventure. This doesn’t mean the action has to be “high-stakes exciting” per se, it just has to have momentum. Continue reading

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Authors to Follow on Twitter

Posted by May 12th, 2015

Here on the Book Country blog, we’ve talked a lot about the opportunities there are for writers and authors on Twitter. At conferences, most of the questions I get from writers have to do with social media, especially Twitter. Folks always say, “I know I need to get on Twitter. But I don’t really know how.” It’s clear that most writers don’t struggle with the act of signing up for Twitter. Like most websites, registration on Twitter is easy. (See our post Twitter for Beginners if you need help.) More often, I hear that writers don’t quite know how to jump into the conversations Twitter is known for. They know that they are supposed to be tweeting–but what are they supposed to be tweeting?

One of the best ways to get started using Twitter is to follow other authors. You want to create your own voice on social media, of course, but using the example of other authors will help you get a feel for how to be authentic, informative, and fun–all the while getting attention for your work in a way that won’t turn off readers. When you have a group of authors to follow on Twitter, you’ll also get to see how they use this social network to engage with the writers they admire.

Elizabeth Gilbert on TwitterChloe Neill on TwitterAndrea Dunlop screenshot with frame Continue reading

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Ten Awesome Authors to Follow on Tumblr!

Posted by April 28th, 2015

Ten Awesome Authors to Follow on Tumblr!

Twitter: 140 character updates. Facebook: your grandmother’s 80th birthday. Tumblr: anything and everything! Tumblr is a microblogging website where users post things like GIFs of their favorite TV scenes and thousand-word essays comparing the 15th century Medici family with the Kardashians. On average, users spend 14 minutes on Tumblr, which is longer than the average Facebook or Twitter visit. Tumblr is a great avenue to showcase your writing and engage with an eager audience. To get a better sense of what Tumblr is about, here are ten awesome authors to follow: Continue reading

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