Sunday, 20 December 2015

neetsmarketing One Year On


Well, neetsmarketing is one year old and I can’t quite believe it.

I’ve worked as a Freelance Social Media Manager for some exciting clients this year, including Corazon Books, Jane Bidder, Eliza Redgold, and Libertà Books (Jenny Haddon writing as Sophie Weston, and Evelyn Ryle writing as Joanna Maitland). And I ran two social media courses for writers in Surrey. I also continued as Social Media Manager for the Historical Novel Society, and am currently setting up a Social Media Team for the HNS; plus I'm Publicity Officer for the next HNS conference in September 2016 #HNSOxford16.

Exciting news!

The Romantic Novelists’ Association has accepted me as an Associate Member from 2016, a real honour. This does mean that I’ll need to leave the fantastic RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme, but after five years I think it’s time to free up a place for someone else (more on this in my end of year neetswriter post).

Also, Jane Bidder has asked me to speak at the Freelance Media Group in London on 14 March about Social Media for Writers. This is such a privilege, and I'm excited to be asked.

As you’ll know, social media changes all of the time. This year, Twitter changed ‘favourite’ to ‘like’ and amended the star to a love heart; and the ‘Quote Tweet’ option has changed the way in which retweets are done. Direct messages on Twitter have space for more characters than they used to and they can now be sent to groups. Facebook adverts for books are becoming more sophisticated with beautifully designed banners and a ‘Shop Now’ button. Instagram is growing and lots of authors and book bloggers are now over there. These are just a few of the changes from this year, and I plan to go through all of my 2015 posts in the new year to ensure that the terminology and advice is as up-to-date as possible.

Here are my three most popular posts from 2015: 



3 Ways to Retweet on Twitter (rewritten 18 March 2016)

I’ve also had some wonderful, generous guests, and here follow the most popular three guest posts. Other fab guest posts by Liz Fenwick, Talli Roland, Alison Morton, Julie Stock, Jane Holland and E.M. Powell can be found here.

Three most popular Guest Posts from 2015:




This neetsmarketing blog has received more support than I ever expected, and I'd like to thank everyone who has shared my links on social media, and who has read and commented on my posts in 2015. 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and see you in 2016!

Friday, 4 December 2015

19 Tips on How to be the Ideal Blog Guest!



Guest Posts can work well for both guest and host, if both do everything they can to make the visit a success. Appearing as a guest helps when you have a new book out, and can raise your online profile in general. It’s worth finding a subject which will engage readers of the blog that you’re visiting, and to add a tiny bit of promo at the end. This is indirect promo, and much more effective, I think than direct promo; because no one wants to be told to buy something; it needs to be their idea, and if someone engages with you as a writer, and connects with what you say in your post, they’re more likely to buy your book. And the more content you have online, the more likely you are to come up in a Google search.

I’ve advised authors on how to go about requesting guest posts and have arranged guest posts on behalf of authors too; plus I’ve hosted guests on both of my blogs over the past few years. Here follow 19 tips on how to be the ideal guest, so your host views your visit as lots of extra hits for their blog and an abundance of social media promo for them with minimal effort on their part; so they’d invite you back in a flash. These bullet points explain how to be the most ideal guest ever, and even if you follow most of them, you’d still be a pretty decent guest to have round for a cup of tea and slice of cake. Blogger means authors or book bloggers, and it’s good to arrange a mixture of both, where possible. These tips are mainly intended to be used when you approach a blogger, rather than when you’re invited. If you’re invited, the host is very grateful that you want to appear on their blog in the first place!

The Approach:
  • Do research on where your guest post would fit best, as it makes life difficult for a busy blogger to have to find a nice way to say no. If you write historical fiction, there isn't much point in asking an author who writes contemporary thrillers if they can host you. You’re looking to reach the audience (ie. potential readers) of whoever follows the blog, and guest posts are a way of reaching that audience. The same goes for book bloggers, aim for one who reads and reviews your kind of book where possible. If the host isn’t on Twitter or Facebook, or if they have the accounts, but don’t use them; there isn’t much point in appearing.
  • Ask if you can be a guest, nicely with date suggestions, or with your ideal date range (perhaps to coincide with the release of a book). Accept whatever date the blogger comes back with, even if it’s after the release of your book. If a blogger never hosts anyone and they’ve been around for a while, it’s probably because they’d rather not.
  • Approach at least a month in advance of when you’d like the post to appear, as many bloggers book up guest posts a long time ahead. Two months is even better. Book bloggers are more likely to accept a guest post, than a request for review (which needs to be asked for at least two-three months in advance), because most have piles of books to get through, and need lots of notice, plus they need to want to read your book.
  • If you plan to appear on a few blogs during a certain time period, it’s best to write a different post for each blog, and to make that clear to the host when you approach them. Nobody wants their blog to be part of a merry-go-round of the same post. This does mean that writing your posts will take more time, but it’s worth it.
  • Explain that you will promote heavily on social media (and do!)
  • Suggest and be ready to discuss the title of your post, and to adapt to what the host prefers, and be prepared to stick to a specified word count. The host may offer to interview you, which is great, if you like being interviewed.

Sending your post:
  • Before sending your post, check carefully for typos (obvs, I know, but it saves the host a job).
  • Avoid including anything in your post that the host would not like to be said on their blog, eg. something very controversial or political.
  • Send the post in good time before publication date of the post (ideally a week before, or earlier if possible), in case there is anything that needs to be changed.
  • Include at the end of your post: bio, blurb for your latest book; social media, website and blog links; and photos (as attachments): profile pic, book cover and any photos to be included in the post. It’s worth including place holders throughout your post with eg. [Photo 1 of mountain] as this makes it so quick and easy for the host to put the post together. It’s worth creating a document for the above info about you to use with all guest posts.
  • Thank the host at the beginning or end of your post for the opportunity to be on their blog.

When the post is published:
  • Look out for the post as early in the day as possible (if the host hasn’t advised you of publication time), and schedule your tweets and Facebook Page update from 8am onwards, if you can.
  • Promote heavily on social media: on Twitter- twice or three times per day for the first couple of days, retweet the tweets from the host, and search your name and the title of the post for other tweets linking to the post (those automated directly from the post aren't likely to @mention you)-thank users for those tweets and retweet them, spreading them out as much as possible over the day. Vary the wording and hashtags in your own tweets to expand your reach, add photos in some too. Post on your Author Facebook Page using @ to find the Facebook Page of the host (if they have one), so they receive a notification. Google + the post too if you’re a member and @mention the host if they’re on there, plus add relevant hashtags.
  • If you post on your personal Facebook profile too, be aware that the audience needs to be Public or Friends so the host can share it, if they wish to. Find the post on the host’s personal profile and Facebook Page, then: Like, comment to thank them and share. You may have thanked them fifteen times already elsewhere, but if someone reading that particular post sees you haven’t, it doesn’t look great.
  • If you want to publish the post on your own blog, wait for a suitable amount of time, perhaps at least a month. Ask the host if they mind, and add a paragraph introducing them, linking back to their blog; and mention the host when you promote on social media.

A bonus for the host:
  • Comment on the post when it’s published to say ‘thank you for hosting me’, or something similar.
  • Check the post for comments for a few days, and reply to them.
  • In the run up to the publication of the post, and afterwards, interact with the host online, by retweeting their tweets; and by tweeting links to their other posts, and by commenting on them where possible.
  • Continue to promote the post on Twitter for up to a week, once per day after the flurry of tweets you post in the first couple of days; using relevant hashtags such as #MondayBlogs. Promote the post every now and again after that too.

If all goes well, (which of course it will!), you may find that you make a new online friend, or that you get to know someone better than you did before; a day enhancer when spending time on social media. The most successful guest posts are where both host and guest work together to promote the post on social media. And don’t forget, be prepared to reciprocate!

I’ve had some fantastic, generous, and exceptionally wonderful to host guests on this blog over the past year, and you can read their posts here. Thank you to all of you, if you’re reading!










Friday, 6 November 2015

E.M. Powell on Triberr!





My guest today is Elaine Powell, who writes as E.M. Powell, bestselling author of the Fifth Knight Series. The debut in this series of historical thrillers, The Fifth Knight is a take on Thomas Becket's murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, where a fictional fifth knight is added to the four who history relates murdered Becket. You can find out more about Elaine and her novels at the end of this post, in her bio.

I've got to know Elaine recently through the Historical Novel Society, as I'm in the process of setting up a social media team for the HNS; and Elaine kindly accepted when I asked if she'd be interested in managing the HNS Twitter and Facebook accounts on Mondays. Elaine really knows how to use social media, and she finds great, varied content on history and historical fiction to share on behalf of the HNS. I've been managing the HNS Twitter and Facebook accounts by myself since August 2014, and it's been wonderful to have Elaine's help over the past few weeks. We spoke on the phone when Elaine first joined the team, and when she mentioned Triberr during our conversation about other things, I asked if she'd like to write a post for this blog. I don't know much about Triberr, at all, and I'm glad Elaine accepted, with such an informative post too. I can't wait to meet Elaine 'in real life' at the upcoming UK Historical Novel Society Conference in Oxford, 2-4 September 2016, if not before! I'm Publicity Officer for the conference; and you can find out more and book here: #HNSOxford16

Thank you so much Elaine for this post, and over to you... 

Growing Your Blog Audience: Triberr for Authors, by E.M. Powell

What is Triberr?

Many people, including generous fellow authors, are great at sharing blog posts. But getting such shares can rely on them seeing your posts on their Twitter feed. With Triberr, it’s one distinct source of blogs that you can see and share very easily. Triberr provide a better description than me:

Triberr is a social network for bloggers. The idea is to find other bloggers who write about the same topics. These writers group up in a tribe. Whenever one blogger writes a post, the others read, comment and share it with their social networks. Triberr does all the heavy lifting of importing everyone's latest content, aggregating it in an easy to read news feed, and scheduling sharing throughout the day.

How Triberr works
Essentially, Triberr is a reach multiplier for blogs and it uses Twitter. So for it to work as a social media tool for you, you need to be a blogger and be on Twitter.

Using Triberr really helps to get your blog reach up. The last blog post I published had what I would call the usual number of Triberr shares (7). When you add up the total of Twitter followers of those who shared the post, it achieved a Twitter reach of 30,000 followers. It would of course be nice if that number translated precisely into Pageviews for my blog post! But it certainly bumped them up. And the best part is, it’s little or no extra work.

How It Works:

Triberr Knowledge Base & FAQs

Triberr provide a full menu of Knowledge Base topics etc. on their website. But here’s my experience to add to that.

I’ve been on Triberr for a couple of years and am a member of two Tribes: Historical Fiction Folks and History-Writing and Reading Lovers. Both of those are for historical fiction writers. I simply created a Triberr account and followed those two Tribes. After I did a few shares of blog posts written by those Tribe members, I got offered membership of those Tribes.

I also started my own Tribe last year. It’s called Historical & Otherworldly Thrills.  My medieval Fifth Knight series has strong action/adventure/thriller elements and I wanted a Tribe that reflected those as well as historical fiction.  

Once you follow/are a member of a Tribe, you will see what’s called a Stream. This is just a list of blog posts (with links) by all members of that Tribe. (Followers can see the Stream and share posts only). Once you are a Member, the Stream will include any posts that you publish. Triberr automatically picks your posts up once you have published them.

Here’s a screenshot from my Historical & Otherworldly Thrills Stream. You can see posts by Tribe members and bloggers Charlene Newcomb and James Bicheno.

H&OT Tribe Screenshot
To share a post from Triberr, you just place your cursor over the green button and a tick will appear (don’t click!). I shared Charlene’s and James’s posts by doing that.

The posts (usually within a few minutes) then appear as a Tweet you have posted on your Twitter feed. It will include the Twitter handle of the blogger. You can see my Tweet of Charlene’s post (below) in the screenshot:
@empowellauthor Screenshot
And it really is that simple!

A Few Things to Note:

Triberr can be a bit flaky. You may find that your blog feed has stopped working and so you need to go in and refresh it from time to time.

Some bloggers like to interact and chat on Triberr. None of the Tribes I’m in do that, which is fine by me. I want Triberr to do the work for me and not become a social media tool that requires lots of time.

You can also set up an auto share facility. I’m a bit wary of that as I like to actually read what I’m sharing first. But lots of people do it.

This process has to be reciprocal, otherwise it doesn’t work.

Still interested? Here’s the link for those who want to find out more: How does Triberr Work?

If any bloggers/Tweeps write historical thrillers, then please feel free to come and follow Historical & Otherworldly Thrills and see what our posts are like. We’d be delighted to be able to add more members who are a good fit with our genre. If you’re not sure and would prefer to enquire by e-mail, you can contact me at elaine@empowell.com.

I hope this is another tool in the social media box for some people. Many thanks Anita for hosting this post!

Thank you so much for writing this post, Elaine! I must go and explore Triberr as it sounds like an effective way to get to know bloggers who write in the same genre or about the same period in history, as well as a way to share blog posts easily. Perhaps there might be an eighteenth century tribe I can join...

You can find out more about Elaine and her novels below, with links to her website, blog, Amazon pages and social media accounts:

E.M. Powell Bio:


E.M. Powell’s medieval thrillers The Fifth Knight and The Blood of the Fifth Knight have been #1 Amazon bestsellers. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she lives in northwest England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She blogs for EHFA, reviews and is part of the social media team for the Historical Novel Society, and contributes to The Big Thrill.

Book #3 in the series, The Lord of Ireland, is based on the disastrous 1185 campaign by the Lord John (youngest son of Henry II and future King of England) in Ireland. It will be published by Thomas & Mercer in March 2016.

Links:


Author Pages:

Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

How Can Writers Use their Photos on Social Media?

RHS Garden Wisley

As a writer, it's worth taking photos wherever you go, on your phone and camera; and you can use them again and again: on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, with your blog posts; as well as for profile headers. Social media has become more visual, so you're likely to receive more engagement when using them. I've used the one below, taken in July with my iPhone when visiting Venice, on Instagram and Twitter at the time, then for a blog post, and more recently for neetswriter Twitter and Facebook profile headers. My work in progress is set in Venice in the eighteenth century, so this fits nicely with my 'brand'.


I snap away on days out to country houses, museums, art galleries, on scenic walks, when travelling; and when baking, although sometimes it can be tricky to make food look good in a photo. Writerly events, book launches and writers' conferences also provide good photo opportunities.

This summer I went to Italy by car with my family and took loads of photos en route, and whilst there, posting on Instagram daily. Here's my neetswriter blog post on the trip: A Grand Tour, a Deadline, and a Course 


Instagram

Instagram recently turned five years old, and you can find me here. I've been on Instagram for a few years, and although I'm not there every day, I go through phases where I use it a lot.

Pros

A wide range of filters can be used to adjust photos.

Useful if you have a writing deadline or something else going on in your life, but want to stay visible on social media. It's quick, and there isn't much interaction after you've posted the photo (unlike on Twitter and Facebook). 

Lots of readers, book bloggers, publishers and agents hang out there.

Liking photos on Instagram is a way to say thank you to those who support you on other forms of social media, for example to someone who doesn't blog, but who supports yours.

You can post flyers of your books, especially when they're on offer.

Photos can be shared to Facebook easily, and you can set up Instagram so photos automatically appear on your Facebook timeline, if you wish to. You'll also need to go into Facebook and set up the Instagram app.

Instagram is: 'Generating Higher Engagement than Facebook, and Growing Fast' according to Social Media Today. 


Cons

If you share an Instagram photo to Twitter, the photo isn't displayed in the Tweet. I tend to post photos directly to Twitter instead (or as well as on Instagram), as they receive more engagement on Twitter this way.

If you add a link to a photo on Instagram, it isn't clickable. For example, if you upload a photo and link to your blog post, someone would need to copy and paste that link into a search engine.

Instagram works best with phones, and is intended to be immediate, ie. posted while you're there. Most country houses I visit don't have 3G phone reception or WiFi, so sometimes I have to post photos from these places afterwards.

There's no option to share someone's photo on Instagram itself, although you can share to Twitter and Facebook. I don't see much of this though.

Not all of those Facebook Friends and Twitter followers you've built up have joined yet, so your reach is limited (unless you share photos to Facebook, sharing to Twitter isn't really worth it-see above). For example I have 139 Instagram followers compared to Twitter followers of 2900 (neetswriter), and 1150 (neetsmarketing), plus 380 Facebook Friends, 

How do writers use Instagram?

To post photos of what inspires them, their TBR piles and their writing.
To interact with other writers, readers, book bloggers, agents, publishers.
To find readers by using hashtags, or by searching for them.
To promote their books.
Selfies, a little, but not so much, although I did take this one by mistake when standing in front of a mirror at National Trust property, Polesden Lacey:



How I use Instagram

Follow those who I know already on other social media, and those who post photos and videos of Italy, and of country houses.



Mainly by posting photos on days out, of TBR piles, of research books, and on holidays; also sometimes of flowers and cakes (when I get around to making them).



Taking Instagram to the next level:

By linking to Periscope videos:

See Colosseum sunset by Darius Ayra @saverome

By posting hyperlapse videos: 

I love this one of a carousel in Florence by Georgette Jupe @girlinflorence

By posting photos which are a bit different, using filters creatively:

This is one of my favourite Instagram accounts by Nicolee Drake @cucinadigitale, who posts wonderful photos from Italy.

Instagram hashtags:

It's easy to find hashtags relevant to you by simply searching and looking at photos posted by those you follow. Here are a few:

Reading and writing:

#shelfie #books #bookstagram #reading #amreading #currentlyreading #bookandcoffee #lazysunday #bookworm #bookblogger #booksofinstagram
#writersofinstagram #amwriting #writinglife #writers #novelwriting #authorsofinstagram

Using hashtags to tap into your brand:

Search for what is relevant to your photo, to reach more followers, and add the hashtag.

eg. #cornwall #italy #art #visittuscany #downton #baking #crafts #sewing #gardening #sea #beach 



Pinterest

You can find me on Pinterest here.

Pinterest is another way to connect with readers. You can have boards for whatever you like, connecting into your brand again. I have boards for Italy and for each of my novels. I also have a secret board for my work in progress with links to research (a handy way to keep track of them), which I'll share when the book is ready. 


Boards linked to novels can be useful for finding inspiration: if I need to picture the green dress my main character is wearing, I find a photo online, and link to it in Pinterest.


Photos on Pinterest can be liked and shared, or 'repinned'. They can also be shared to Facebook, but I don't see much of this. I follow many eighteenth century boards which helps me to escape into that world when I'm working on my WIP.


You might see the 'Pin it' button when you read blog posts and articles. For example, if you hover your mouse over the top photo in this post, you'll see the option, which enables you to share this blog post with that photo to one of your boards on Pinterest.

Like with Instagram, reach on Pinterest is limited because not everyone seems to be there yet. I have 250 followers on Pinterest, compared to much bigger numbers on Twitter and Facebook (as mentioned above).

This brilliant, informative post by Jay Artale, via Indie Recon (April 2015) tells you everything you need to know about Pinterest as a writer/author: Building Your Brand with Pins and Boards 

I gravitate towards Instagram and Pinterest more when I'm writing intensively towards a deadline, as photos provide inspiration, and it's a way of staying on social media with minimal interaction, so I can focus on my writing.

When joining Instagram and Pinterest, it's worth using the same profile photo and bio from Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts so your Friends and followers know it's you.

Don't forget to add Instagram and Pinterest buttons to your blog

You can also add a lovely widget for Pinterest (see above) using Widget builder

Instagram


A few more useful posts about Instagram, and one on Pinterest too:


Instagram Upgrades Direct Messaging Functionality with New Features, by Social Media Today

Instagram Ad Rollout will Make it the Top Media Buy: New Research, by Social Media Examiner

5 Years Later, The Most Surprising Part About Instagram is that No One's Ruined it, by Fast Company

Added 25 February 2016: Pinterest for Authors: A Beginner's Guide by Kirsten Oliphant, via Jane Friedman

I post links to articles like these on Twitter from my @neetsmarketing account, and on my neetsmarketing Facebook Page.

Course attendees!

Social Media Course for Writers

In other news, I recently ran a Social Media Course for Writers at The Mandolay Hotel in Guildford, where the staff went to great trouble to ensure the day ran smoothly (my feedback here on their Facebook Page). A lovely group of writers attended, and there are quotes from attendees on my website here. A possible course is planned in London, spring 2016, subject to demand. If you'd like to receive email notifications about future courses, you can contact me here.

Lorna Fergusson, Carol McGrath, and me
#HNSOxford16

A few weeks ago, I went to a committee meeting as Publicity Officer for the next Historical Novel Society Conference (2-4 Sept 2016), which took place at the venue, the Mathematical Institute, Oxford University; and we had a lovely lunch afterwards. Keynote speakers at the conference are Melvyn Bragg, Fay Weldon, Tracy Chevalier and Kate Williams. Elizabeth Chadwick is a guest of honour, and Jo Baker is a special guest. The website went live this week (with lots more info on other speakers too), and booking is open! And here's the paragraph I wrote for the website. You can follow the Historical Novel Society on Twitter @histnovsoc (conference hashtag #HNSOxford16) and Facebook; plus videos from the conference in 2014 are here, and my neetswriter blog post from that conference is here.


And look at this wonderful photo taken by Lorna Fergusson on the day of our committee meeting, at the venue.

The Mathematical Institute, Oxford (used with kind permission of Lorna Fergusson)
There are more photos here, shared via the Historical Novel Society Facebook Page

Upcoming guest post:

On 6 November, I'm excited to tell you that bestselling author of medieval thrillers, E.M. Powell will be a guest on this blog with a post on Triberr.

Previous Posts:

Liz Fenwick on Using Twitter to Connect with Readers
Managing What Your Friends See on Facebook

Latest Post on neetswriter blog:

Lisa Eveleigh on What Agents Look For

Friday, 2 October 2015

Liz Fenwick on Using Twitter to Connect with Readers!




Award-winning author, Liz Fenwick is my guest today, and she has kindly accepted my invitation to give an insight into how she uses Twitter to connect with her readers. Liz has written four novels set in Cornwall, with Under a Cornish Sky published earlier this year. I sent Liz photographs of a selection of her Tweets, and retweets and she returned them to me (despite being in the middle of a relocation!), with a few words to go with each one; and a paragraph explaining how her relationship with Cornwall influences her Tweets. I've been following Liz since I joined Twitter in October 2011, and she really does know how to use it with success.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, Liz, and over to you...

Liz Fenwick on Using Twitter to Connect with Readers

I am a newcomer to the Poldark series and have a serious crush on Mr Turner so I pay attention to Poldark tweets…I found this review really interesting….


How to make tweets different on blog tour…you don’t want to shout ‘buy my book’ so I try and think of other ways to engage with people.


It’s so important to support the book bloggers who have taken time and effort to read, review and; promote your book/s…

 The poem said what I feel…

I’m so visual and this picture was gorgeous

I love hearing how others describe something I love…words can transport you to where you want to be… 


If you are invited to participate in an event, a key part of that is promotion…it helps the event organiser and it helps you find new readers… PS it also helps to promote events that you might be interested in attending as it helps organisers and may build relationships


Here’s an example of what I mentioned above…I wanted to attend!


BREAKING NEWS! Eleanor Tomlinson who plays Demelza in Poldark will be joining the panel for 'The Making of Poldark' on...
Posted by Falmouth Bookseller on Thursday, 10 September 2015


Did I mention I have a thing about Mr Turner?





I was so pleased by this list…one to be on it, but two because Helen had read the blog posts I’d done with writers listing their favourite books set in Cornwall. 


Liz on Twitter, and Cornwall:

I love Twitter so that makes using it easy. It's great to ‘chat’ to people when I’m taking a break from writing. Twitter is something I do for me, but it has proved it be powerful in spreading name and brand recognition. I wish I could say it was planned but it was more organic than that. My ‘author brand’ is Cornwall. Fortunately I love Cornwall and therefore follow many tweeps who tweet nothing but Cornish content…which I gobble up. I’m also very visual so if there is a picture even better.

When I set out to write my books, I didn’t understand the pull of Cornwall for so many people in the UK. I just loved it and my stories were born of this passion. Happily for me it works really well. I can tweet about what I love and occasionally throw in a tweet about my books. But every tweet about Cornwall is on brand so it all works.

Thank you so much Liz for that insight into your Tweets, and for the explanation of how you use Twitter to connect with your readers. And what a bonus that Poldark dropped in to brighten up our Friday morning ;-).

You can find out more about Liz here, and her latest novel, Under a Cornish Sky below, with links to her website and social media accounts.


Bio:


Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer....

Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger and Under A Cornish Sky. After nine international moves, I'm a bit of a global nomad. It's no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall while I'm forever on a plane. I can be found tweeting from 36,000 feet or enjoying the sunshine in Dubai while wrangling with my cat and my current book… The Returning Tide due out in spring 2016.


Demi desperately needs her luck to change. On the sleeper train down to Cornwall, she can't help wondering why everything always goes wrong for her. Having missed out on her dream job, and left with nowhere to stay following her boyfriend's betrayal, pitching up at her grandfather's cottage is her only option.

Victoria thinks she's finally got what she wanted: Boscawen, the gorgeous Cornish estate her family owned for generations should now rightfully be hers, following her husband's sudden death. After years of a loveless marriage and many secret affairs of her own, Victoria thinks new widowhood will suit her very well indeed . . .

But both women are in for a surprise. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and the sea, Boscawen is about to play an unexpected role in both their lives. Can two such different women find a way forward when luck changes both their lives so drastically?


Website and Social Media Accounts:

Friday, 11 September 2015

Julie Stock on Book Covers!



My guest today is Julie Stock, who I've met a couple of times, at Phillipa Ashley's book launch, and at the Romantic Novelists' Association's Conference in July. Also, I've spoken to Julie online, via Twitter and Facebook over the past year or so. Julie has a strong social media presence, and is extremely supportive of other writers. On her blog, Julie has an Author Spotlight feature, where she says:

"I want to be able to help other authors gain some more visibility by featuring them on my blog in the same way that I have been lucky enough to be featured on other authors’ blogs."

Julie also writes posts which aim to help writers, including those on how to list a Goodreads giveaway, and on book covers. The book cover for 'From here to Nashville' won a gold star in the e-Book Cover Design Awards in February 2015. And I think you'll agree, it's a lovely cover, so I've invited Julie to talk about the process of having a book cover designed.

Over to you, Julie...

Julie Stock on Book Covers!

Firstly, I would like to thank Anita for having me on her blog today to talk about book cover design and how I go about sourcing it.

As an indie author and with only the one book published, I haven't had a lot of experience of sourcing book cover designs. However, the experience I had last year before self-publishing my debut novel From Here to Nashville was an interesting one and as I'm on the brink of having a new cover designed for my second book, now is a good time to review the process I went through before.

Gather your ideas
As I explained in the two blog posts I wrote on my own blog about the process of Choosing and Working with a Book Designer (Part One and Part Two), right from the very beginning, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to include on the book cover for my debut novel. It's a contemporary romance with a country music theme so a guitar was a given for me and there had to be something to suggest romance. I found a stock photo which I liked and downloaded it to use as a provisional cover. I put this image, along with countless others in a Word file and kept looking at them to remind me of the sort of thing I was looking for. I haven't done a provisional cover this time but I have been keeping relevant photos on Pinterest for a while now on a new board. I think this is a vital first step and leaving the ideas to percolate in your brain for a while is an important part of the process.

Think about your genre
This time, my story is a contemporary romance set on a vineyard in Alsace in France. One of the villages my characters go to has a fortified medieval church on a hillside and this image has really stayed with me so I would like to have this as the central focus of my new cover. In most of the pictures I have seen or taken myself on a recent holiday to the area, there are vines in the foreground so this is perfect for my setting. The swirling vines could also make a nice border to the cover with the occasional heart nestled in amongst the grapes around the outside. For my first cover, the designer added in a heart-shaped dot to the 'i' in Nashville at my request and this worked nicely. It would have been nice to keep that idea as a theme running through my covers, except that the current title doesn't have an 'i' in it!

Although I want my books to look like they are romance stories, I want to make sure that they stand out too so this time, I won't be having any pink on the cover, I don't think because it doesn't suit the story. One of the advantages of being an indie author is that you can make those decisions for yourself.

Start thinking of yourself as a marketing brand
I really like the font used on my first cover and would definitely like to keep it or something similar for the next book. I would also like to keep the illustrated look we went for in the final version of my debut. I know that I don't want to use photos as the actual cover but they will come in handy for explaining what view I would like on the new cover. When I went to the RNA (Romantic Novelists' Association) Conference last year, I was lucky to receive a free book in my goodie bag which had a lovely illustration on the front of it and I noted it for future reference because I liked the style. The book was written by Rosanna Ley and if you look her books up, you'll see that the book covers are almost like painted versions of photos. I like that idea so I'm hoping for something like that on my next cover, which will be different to my first but still in keeping with what I did before.
Received for 'From Here to Nashville'
Research your designer
Look at their website/Facebook page and their portfolio if you can. If you've come to them by way of one of their cover designs, then you should mention that in your first discussion. If you really don't know where to start but you belong to a professional organisation, ask other members for their recommendations.

Scheduling
Once you've decided on your designer, discuss your schedule and how they like to communicate. Start early because it doesn't matter if it's ready first and waiting for everything else, just as long as you're sure about the title and the brief. Be honest about your expectations by sharing your experiences with them from the past, it's best to tell them what went well and what didn't. Don't be afraid to say what you want!

Communicate with your designer
As you can see, I've already gathered plenty of ideas and had some strong thoughts of my own about the design. My designer last time was very thorough in asking me what I was looking for, even down to asking me to complete a detailed questionnaire. Still, the first version of the cover was a long way from what I'd been hoping for so it was good that I had built in plenty of time to my schedule for the design process. This allowed us to go back and think again. The second round of designs was so different and I found it hard to choose between them but in the end, I was really pleased with the final design, which later won an award from Joel Friedlander (www.thebookdesigner.com).

Do ebook and print versions at the same time if you can
In the end, I realised that I should have gone for the ebook and print covers at the same time mainly because it is much better value so this time, I will definitely do that. For my debut, not having both versions delayed the release of the paperback and yet it was so easy to do the paperback that I know I can get both versions done together this time.

Don't be afraid to try someone new

I explained how I'd found my designer in my blog posts last year and in the year since, I have come across a number of other designers whose work I admire so it will be a difficult choice this year to decide on who to go with. In the end, it has to be someone you can work comfortably with and who understands what you're trying to achieve.

Thanks so much for taking the time to write such an informative and generous post, Julie! I expect that your advice will be especially helpful to writers who plan to self-publish, and to traditionally published authors who plan to self-publish their backlists.

Find out more about Julie here, with links to her website, and social media accounts:


About Julie

Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and of The Alliance of Independent Authors.

She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’. You can also connect with her on Twitter, on Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page.

When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire.

Read other guest posts from Sue Moorcroft, Alison Morton, Talli Roland, Jane Holland, The Romaniacs and New Romantics Press here

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Managing What Your Friends See on Facebook





I wrote a post for this blog in June, Managing What You See on Facebook, which explained how to set up your News Feed so you only see the updates you wish to see.

In this post, I’ll explain how to manage which of your updates your Friends see. Most of my neetsmarketing posts are written to answer questions I’m asked on courses, or by clients, and often these questions come up:

How do I stop my family, close friends, and acquaintances from seeing my writing updates? (generally, because they are not interested, make fun of my ‘hobby’, or it makes me feel self-conscious when writing a blog post if they’re going to read it).

How do I stop readers and writing acquaintances from seeing my updates intended for family and close friends? (ie personal photos of husbands, wives, kids etc).

What can I do about those Friend requests I accepted (or feel obliged to accept because I know the person ‘in real life’ slightly and don’t want to offend them), where I don’t want them to see my updates?

Is there an alternative to unfriending the Friend who leaves provocative comments on my posts?

My Anita Chapman Writer Facebook Page
Set up a Facebook Page (if you haven’t already)

There are ways to make it better, and the first thing to do is to set up a Facebook Page, if you don’t have one already for updates relating to your writing; and ask your writing acquaintances to Like it. You can also direct readers to this page when they send you a Friend request (if you wish to), and explain that your Facebook Page provides updates for readers. 



Here are my Facebook Pages: Anita Chapman Writer is for writing updates, and it goes with my neetswriter blog on writing; and neetsmarketing is for social media for writers and book marketing updates, which goes with this blog.

My neetsmarketing Facebook Page
Facebook Pages don’t get that much attention these days, unless you pay for promo; see my post: Is it worth paying to promote a Facebook Page?. Recently I've paid £3 to promote each new blog post on my relevant Facebook Page, and the post has reached around 1000 people. I selected, ‘People who like your page and their friends’ when boosting the post, and spread the advert over three days.

Here is a useful post I saw on Twitter the other day by reedsy:

A Facebook Author Page, Still Worth It?

Social media works best if you play around with it a bit and there are ways to expand your reach with a Facebook Page, by posting effective content and by posting regularly. I’ve noticed that if the post isn’t getting any attention in the first place, paying for promo doesn’t make that much difference to the number of Likes and comments (and hits if it's a link to a blog post). Sometimes it’s worth giving a Facebook Page post a few hours and if it’s getting lots of Likes and Comments, to then choose to Boost it.

Setting up Lists in Facebook

It’s also possible to divide your Facebook Friends into groups (not Facebook Groups, this is something different, for another post), by setting up lists. You can use these lists to stop certain Friends from seeing certain updates when you post.



With Facebook there are a few things to consider: what do you post, and who do you want your audience to be with each post?

Photos of your family
Links to blogs, articles etc on writing
Photos or links relating to your novels or research
Promotion for your books or blog posts

My lists are:

Close Friends for close friends and family (created by Facebook)
Writers for writing friends and acquaintances (created by me)
Acquaintances (created by Facebook)
Restricted (created by Facebook)

Acquaintances are Friends you wish to see less of in your News Feed. You can choose to select Friends except Acquaintances when you create a post.

Restricted are Friends who can only see your updates if you select Public as your audience

One thing to remember is that if you post to a list, Facebook doesn’t give your audience the option to share. So, for example if you post a link to your blog post and select your Writers list, no one will be able to share it, and then you’re restricting how much attention your blog post will get.

That's it, I think! I've linked to the relevant pages in Facebook's Help Centre, throughout the post for the technical side and how to set up, because the explanations are really clear.


My Social Media Course for Writers

I’m running a Social Media Course for Writers on 3 October 2015 at The Hotel Mandolay in Guildford, which is £70, from 10am-5pm, including a two course lunch, plus refreshments (with cake in the afternoon). It promises to be a fun day with the chance to socialise with other writers. Attendees can bring their laptops and tweet/update Facebook live, and see results on the big screen (only if they wish to, of course). Bookings have been coming in over the past couple of weeks, and there are three places left, so let me know if you'd like to book at anitajchapman at gmail dot com; and find out more via my website, which includes an endorsement from Ian Skillicorn, publisher at Corazon Books

This is the lovely private room, where the course will take place:




It's good to be back, after a lovely summer break. I went on a road trip to Italy this summer with my family, and I wrote a post for my neetswriter blog here about the trip, my writing, and the aforementioned course: A Grand Tour, a Deadline, and a Course 

Upcoming guest posts:

Here, on my neetsmarketing blog, 11 September: 'Julie Stock on Book Covers'

On my neetswriter blog, 18 Sept: Lisa Eveleigh of Richford Becklow Literary Agency on 'What Agents Look For'

And if you missed my posts on the RNA Conference in July, here they are:

neetswriter blog: Going to a Writers' Conference as Two People

neetsmarketing blog (here):

Latest on Book Marketing from #RNAConf15, Part I

Latest on Book Marketing from #RNAConf15, Part II