Monday, August 17, 2015

Last Day of Citadels of Fire Sale!!!

Hey Guys, short and sweet today!

It's the last day to get Citadels of Fire for $2.99 on Amazon! If you write a review, you can enter to win Kindle Fire just in time for Christmas! Check out details on the Giveaway HERE.

Friday, August 14, 2015

3 Ways to Grow Your Audience on Any Social Network

Hashtags: A quick word on these. For those who don't know, hashtags are absolutely indispensable! I don't think people ever put enough emphasis on this. I was amazed when I first got on Tumblr about how many people found my posts who weren't following me and who I hadn't yet interacted with. I'm telling you, PEOPLE SEARCH HASHTAGS to find things they're interested in. Hashtagging your posts will grow your audience EXPONENTIALLY more quickly that not having hashtags will. You'll be amazed at the growth. And of course it depends on the network. I believe in using hashtags on EVERY network, because it helps the search feature on any network present your work to people who are searching for your subject matter. But it's also true that hashtags are much more effective on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram than on Facebook or Goodreads. Still, I hashtag absolutely EVERYTHING I post.

This is the frame I use for everything. This
meme actually isn't mine. I pulled it off
Pinterest and will post it with credit, but
I still put my frame on it so that when
people see it, they know it came from
my account.
Branding: When I started my TWD account, I just made an arbitrary decision to do all my pictures using a particular frame. I just liked it and decided that all my pics (theories, memes, even stuff I re-posted) would have that frame. I then just posted those same things straight over to Tumblr. Now, most people do more blog-type things on Tumblr, as I mentioned above, so it was definitely a different format for Tumblr. But it's worked phenomenally well. I got this comment a while ago on Tumblr, so obviously it's become a trademark of my account and people know me by it. This is branding at it's most basic. Create a look for your account. You may even be able to do the same one on many/most of your social network platforms, which actually makes less work for you because you won't have to convert to a new format for each one. Then just stick to it. Just with books, brands, businesses or anything else, you want your brand to stand out so that people not only recognize it, but learn to look for it. Do this with your social networking!!!

Theory slide from my TWD account.
Post Often and Consistently - I've said it in past posts, but the more you can post, the better. Your audience will grow just fine if you're posting once a day. It will grow 3x faster if you post 3x a day. And I know, that's a lot. You're afraid you won't be able to sustain it. But this is where brainstorming comes in. Once you get the creative juices flowing, you'll be amazed at how many ideas you come up with.

For example, I'm posting 3x a day on my author Instagram account right now because I'm trying to grow my audience. I post one thing about myself/my books in the morning. This could be an event, a report on my progress, a picture of a cover, something that inspired some part of the story like a character or setting picture from Pinterest, a picture of what I'm working on (screenshot of Scrivner, perhaps?) or any number of other things. Once you start looking for things to post, you'll probably end up with more ideas than you have time to post. Then I post something about reading in the after (quote or picture about reading, something by a favorite author, quote or cover from what I'm reading, etc.) and something about writing in general in the evening. (Again, quote, picture, author, whatever.)

Follow these tips and your audience and interaction will increase on any social network you're currently trying to grow.

What do you do to grow your audience?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

5 Crucial Steps for an Online Marketing Plan: Branding and Branching Out (Part 5)

Sorry Everyone! This was supposed to go up on Friday, but I didn't get it written in time and didn't have time to actually write it on Friday. So this is going to be a run down of the networks that I'm on and how I handle them as an author, in case anyone wants to branch out.

Most newbie authors (or anyone starting out online) are just on one network. And usually it's a common one like Facebook or Instagram, but as you get a handle on those networks, I would strongly recommend branching out. While there will always be some crossover with the audience, I find that the percentage is very small. So with every new social network you master, you'll get a new audience, new potential customers, and new potential friends. 

Facebook - I won't go over how to use Facebook, as most people these days are familiar. As an author, I post pics about reading and writing, fun pictures that have to do with either popular stories, or specifically with mine, my events, progress on my books, or information about my stories, characters, settings, etc. Really the sky's the limit, and as long as your audience hears from you regularly, it's a win-win.

For examples, check out my author page here:

Twitter - This is usually the second most used network for authors, so I'll just give some general advice. Twitter is very much a broadcasting system, but don't use it just to shout "Buy my book!" all day. It should be interactive. Use it to spread great information, fun pictures, and network with people who have similar interests as you. Feel free to broad cast events and important things. (I do put out tweets when my books are on sale, etc.). Just don't do ONLY that or you'll lose followers quickly.

For examples, check out my feed here:

Pinterest - This was the third network I discovered and got REALLY addicted to. It's very visual, but a lot of pinterest is how-to posts as well. You can figure out how to do ANYTHING on Pinterest. I keep recipes and DIY boards, fan boards for books, films, TV shows and more. The thing is, most pins are linked to their source, so it's really easy to pin a picture from, say, your blog, and it will be linked to your blog. So when people click on the image, it will redirect them to your blog, author page, or other web site. So by simply sharing on Pinterest, you can reach a whole new audience. And anyone who clicks on your pin is someone you know is already interested in your subject matter.

For examples, check out my boards here:

Instagram - I've talked a lot about Instagram this past week with my TWD fan account, and now I'm trying to build up my author account. Keep in mind that Instagram, like Pinterest, is very visual. The best things to put on there are pictures. Now, I'm a bit of a hypocrite saying that because I do theories on my TWD account which are all words. But I do try to keep relatively few words in each slide and also add pictures, and that works well. I will also say that my real pictures and memes (either funny or tragic pictures or clever jokes in picture format) generally get more likes and interactions than my theory slides do. So the visual rule still applies on this platform.

Tumblr - I did an entire post about Tumblr a few weeks ago. Check it out here: [4 Reasons Every Writer Should Be On Tumblr.] The gist is that Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform, so it's very easy to take your blog or even posts from other platforms and simply convert them over and post them here to. It opens you up to a new audience, which is always a plus. I will say that the pictures I mentioned above that do better on Instagram do worse on Tumblr. So you can see that Tumblr is focused on blogging, which is words. So pictures don't do quite as well. I do still post lots of pics here, though.

For examples, check out my boards here: and here:

Google Plus - The thing I love most about Google Plus are their circles. You can categorize people by specific likes, dislikes, and functions that suit you. So I have different circles for bloggers that are willing to review different genres. So I have an entire circle set up for bloggers who review crime fiction, another for historical fiction, another for fantasy. Then I've got one for other authors, for editors, and then circles that are just people who like me, like TWD stuff, The Wheel of Time, or other subjects I enjoy seeing in my feed. By the same token, you can join communities built around specific subjects and share your posts to those specific communities. This is such an ingenious system because you are automatically sharing your information with people you know will be interested in it, rather than with the general public and just hoping a few people click on your link. 

So, for example, when I share TWD stuff on G+, and I just share with the general public, I only get a handful of +1s. If I share it to TWD Circle community (which is 100,000 strong, btw) I get tons of +1s, reshares, and comments. See the advantages here?

For more, check out my feed here:

Goodreads/Amazon - Okay, being an author, I should probably touch on Goodreads and Amazon. I don't want to go into much detail because I want to talk about these networks as a way to do more general marketing, so it doesn't JUST apply to authors. So for these two platforms, that are almost exclusively for book sales, the best way to handle your page is to keep it up to date and interact with others who are also on the platform. I honestly don't post much directly to either of these networks. My goodreads profile is linked to a lot of my other networks, so my most recent blog posts and facebook links show up there. But other than that and keeping my profile up to date, I don't do much with them.

I hope this helps those looking to branch out. Let me know if you have specific questions. I'd be happy to do more in-depth posts on how to start, build, and grow any one network, and also what to post, if there's a need. 

Come back tomorrow for some general tips on how to grow your audience on any social network. :D

What's your favorite social network?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Citadels of Fire Epic Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!

How's your week going? Good, I hope! Well, just wanted to let everyone know that the e-version of my historical fiction novel, Citadels of Fire, is currently on sale for $2.99 (down from $9.99). As with my crime novel, The Botanist, I'm doing a giveaway in exchange for reviews. 

So if you know anyone who reads historical fiction, I'd appreciate any help you could give me spreading the word! 

This will work the same as my other giveaway HERE. Anyone who gives me an honest review can enter to win a Kindle Fire HD at the end of the year. 

So here's how it works. I'm giving away a Kindle Fire HD. The lucky winner should receive it just in time for Christmas. (Yea!) This giveaway is going to go all the way until November, which is a long time for a giveaway, but it's got to be that way to give people time. Here's why: The only way to gain entries to this giveaway is by reviewing The Botanist. So of course, I need to give people time to read the book and write the review.

Most people who enter bookish giveaways are avid readers to begin with. If you're reading anyway, you might as well give yourself the chance to win a Kindle Fire while you do it, right?

But that may not even be all of it! I MAY be giving away more prizes, just depending on the number of reviews I get. 

  • I'd love to get a thousand reviews. For a thousand or less, I'll just be giving away the Kindle Fire HD. 
  • For every 100 reviews over 1000 that I get, I'll also give away a $25 Amazon gift card. So, if I get 1100 reviews, I'll give away the Kindle Fire + one gift card. If I get 1200 reviews, I'll give away the Kindle Fire + two gift cards, etc. 
  • And IF--one can only hope--I get 2000 reviews, I'll give away a second Kindle Fire. So spreading the word for more entries will bring more prizes and more chances to win! Just sayin'. :D

So, hop on over to Amazon, or your favorite book retailer, grab a copy of Citadels of Fire, and then enter for your chance to win!

I'd also love help spreading the word. To that end, I've embedded some tweets below. (Sharing is caring! :D) 

So, enter below, have fun, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Praise for Citadels of Fire:

"... a tale of love and war, loyalty and betrayal, murderous wolves and insane tyrants. What more could you ask for?"--The Every Free Chance Reader

" rich historical novels...a fascinating tale of Russia in the time of Ivan the terrible."--Voracious Reader

"My favorite part of the story was the subtlety and beauty of the romance. "--Second Run Reviews

Thursday, August 6, 2015

5 Crucial Steps for an Online Marketing Plan: Problem Solving (Part 4)

So anytime you're online, you're going to hit a few snags. That's okay. It's normal. Plan for them and try to handle them with finesse. Then just held your head up and keep going. Once again, I'll be using my TWD fan account for examples.

Preemptive Strike: I can guarantee you that a lot of potential problems will be avoided if you just know what your account is about and stick to that. Most of us are in writing, so your account might be about book reviews, advice for writing, publishing, or pop culture. Whatever you're focusing on, be really up front about it with your audience and then stick to it. If you claim to be an account about one thing and then suddenly start posting about something else, you're going to lose followers. And maybe that sucks, but it's just the way it is, so you have to be prepared to deal with it.

Example: My TWD account is a fan account for The Walking Dead. People who follow me follow because they are also fans of the show. If I suddenly started posting about writing on that account...or even a different show, chances are I would lose some followers because they aren't interested in those other subjects. They followed me specifically for my TWD theories. Keep this in mind.

Of course even if you are really awesome at sticking to your professed subject matter, other snags will still crop up.

1. Be flexible and look for opportunities. I talked on Tuesday about how you should have a detailed plan and, if possible, a cache of posts to draw on so you aren't stressed about what you're posting from day to day. I stand by that. It will cut your stress level down to nil.

Of course you should stick by that plan and that schedule as closely as possible. Especially if you've laid your posts out in a logical manner (I always try to do that). You don't want to interrupt or rearrange that without cause.

But what about when you haven't planned for happens? Let's say you have your posts planned and written for two weeks out. But TODAY a news story breaks, pictures are released, or something else relating to your subject matter is being talked about online. Should you just ignore it if you have something to say on the subject?

Of course not! This in-the-moment things are a golden opportunity to weigh in on what people are talking about, get your voice hear, and establish your authority on the matter. 


"But wait! What about my schedule?!?"

Well, you can do one of two things. There's nothing wrong with messing with your schedule a little bit to accommodate things like this. Just because something unexpected comes up doesn't mean you have to throw your entire schedule out the window. (Please don't do that. You worked so hard on it!) So, you can either:

a) Push everything you have planned back by one day and then adjust once you get through all your currently planned posts.

b) If that just won't work for you because you have certain posts you want to go up on certain days, just do an extra post. As I've said over the past two days, post more, not less. I've actually noticed better interaction, extra follows, and more positive feedback when I do extra posts. DO THIS IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!

Example: For my TWD account, if something comes up and I want to post about it, I usually just push things back and do an extra post, because I find it's much more advantageous than waiting. People are talking about the new information right now and when I have something to say and chime in on the conversation, people are excited to hear what I have to say and respond to it. I get tons of interaction, which makes it worth sacrificing something else I had planned to do. 

Now, if for some reason I can't do this because I have something else pressing that I can't skip, then I just do the post as soon as I can and maybe do it as an extra post the next day or something. This isn't as successful as doing it in the moment, but it's still better than skipping the opportunity all together. 

2) Use your judgement of what is worth posting. Of course, there's more than just your posting schedule to consider. If you do your posts in advance and only schedule an hour to play on your social networks before you have to hop off the internet and do other things, then what happens if something like the above example comes up. Should you mess up your schedule for the day? Sacrifice something else you were going to do so you can write that extra post and get it up while the subject matter is trending.

The answer is: It depends. It really depends on what it is, and you have to decide whether it's something you want to interrupt your plan for or whether you can let it go by the wayside. 

My rule of thumb is this:

If it's something you have something new to say about, and it's trending now, then pounce on that. If you don't have anything to say about it that would contribute to the conversation going on now, then let it go. 

Example: For my TWD account, I specifically do theories. So I do post pictures and edits as well that are TWD related, and my followers are used to that, but every day I post at least one theory about what will happen in the coming season, complete with evidence from past precedent, symbols, foreshadowing, etc.

So let's say I have my entire week of posts planned, but then some new season 6 pictures are released. Now, chances are EVERY fan account that I follow is going to post those pictures. I'll see them in my feed about a hundred different times before the end of the day. So this is an example of when I would probably not take the time to do an extra post. I don't have anything additional to say. I could save the new pics to my computer and store them up against a time that I need something quick to post, but it's not worth a whole bunch of extra time, sacrificing other things, etc.

Now, on the other hand, if a picture of some new information is released that backs up one of my theories or changes them in some way or gives me some insight into what might happen next season, that's something I specialize in. I've even had times when things like this happened and I didn't put a post up right away and I had dozens of followers asking me what I saw, what I thought it went, and just generally wanting my thoughts on the newly released photos, trailer, info, etc. So you can see that that's definitely worth my time because people are not only willing to listen to my opinion, but are actually seeking it out. 


3. As a final point, let's talk about haters. If you take nothing else away from these posts, please take this. Ignore hate and ignore the haters. 

There is always going to be someone who wants to spread hate and negativity on your account. Especially for my TWD account, I'm doing theories and predictions for the new season, and there are always people who vehemently disagree with me. I do lots of disclaimers like, "This is just my opinion." "I could be wrong..." etc., but despite that there always seems to be someone who wants to tell me how wrong I am, how stupid my theories are, etc. And that's just the nature of the internet. You're going to get that somewhere, on some platform.

Of course it's always a bit disheartening, but take some advice from Taylor Swift. Haters gonna hate...shake it off. And keep going. Most platforms allow you to delete comments if you want to and report spam. Now, let me advise you to be very careful with this. If you delete every comment that in any way disagrees with you, you'll get a reputation for narrow mindedness, which could lose you followers and actually attracts more haters.

I generally don't delete negative comments. I always say that I believe people have a right to express their opinions, even if they're contrary to mine. (And again, especially as I do theories which kind of invites dissent and discussion.) But that's not to say that I never have. There was really only one comment I remember deleting because it was disrespectful in a very deep, personal, inappropriate way. That same hater left other comments that were more general disagreement and I left those. I informed the hater of what I was doing and why, and told them they were welcome to disagree with me but they needed to do it respectfully. I actually got an apology out of that one.

Bottom line: you're bound to get haters, but don't let it bother you. Ninety percent of the time, it's best not to engage them at all. I'll admit I do talk to them sometimes, but only when I'm in a really good mood. Never return hate for hate or negativity for negativity. That only makes it build. 

Most haters I've encountered, because I handle them with positivity and politeness, either simply leave me alone after awhile because I won't fight with them and they want me to, or they actually come around. Not that they suddenly agree with my opinions, but they respect me for not being mean to them, and going forward will disagree with me in a much more polite, respectful manner, even engaging in civil discussions, which I like. 

(I always tell people that if they have a specific argument against my theory, I'd love to discuss it with them. Most haters have nothing like a 'valid argument.' They just want to fight with you which is why it's better not to engage. You aren't going to win and it'll just blow up bigger and bigger in the worst sort of way. Avoid this at all costs. It will hurt you, your account, and your general reputation.)

So these are my general thoughts on problem-solving as you move forward with your online marketing campaign. Use these guidelines to deal with any problems that crop up and you'll sail through your potential stress. 

Any other problem solving tips you can think of?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5 Crucial Steps for an Online Marketing Plan: Interactions, Followers, and Posting (Part 3)

Step 2 in a Marketing Plan is to interact and gain followers!


1. Spend the time. If you're like most people, you have lots to do every day and can't afford to get side-tracked by the internet all day. So pick a specific time or times of the day to focus on your social networking. Do it every day. Consistency is key to building audience.

2. Have a list of what you want to accomplish each day. It should be relatively simple. Something like:

  1. Post my stuff for the day
  2. Go through my feed to like and comment (If you're only doing this once a day, you'll have roughly 24 hours of stuff to go through. If you do it more often, it'll be less. But either way, take the time to do this. People online DO NOTICE those who are active and are more likely to follow, return the favor, and interact with those that are.)
  3. Don't JUST like. Find at least a few meaningful comments to make. Commenting keeps you ahead of just liking by leaps and bounds.

3. Be super positive. Everyone loves to have their day made better. So never comment anything negative, especially when you're just starting out. I'm not telling you to lie or not express your opinion, but you're trying to get people to follow and interact with you. If I see something I don't like, I generally just ignore it rather than bringing negativity to someone's morning. This is a mistake that a LOT of people make online. And challenge yourself to find something positive to say about that thing you don't like. You'll find something. It's not hard when you put your mind to it and your online peers will love you for it.

Gaining Followers

1. When you first start out, ask for follows. The vast majority of people you ask WANT to interact online, and if you follow them and ask for a re-follow, they're more than happy to oblige. Most of them will even talk to you. "Of course! Nice to meet you." It's fun. And you can immediately tell a lot about people's personalities and who will be your most engaging, interactive followers.

2. Always follow those who ask you for a follow. If you find you don't like their account or things start showing up in your feed you'd rather not see, you can always quietly unfollow them later, but give them a chance.

3. Always respond to comments and attempts at conversation. It's the very best way to gain followers and friends online.

What/how to Post:

1. Of course you want to post often, if at all possible, but more importantly, post things that have to deal with your subject matter. Posting something else every now and again is okay, but you'll find that people are following your account for a specific reason. If you regularly post things that are off your subject matters, you'll start to lose followers. 

2. Know your platform and what people will respond to on that platform. I'll talk about this in a lot more detail on Friday, but it's important to understand what people look for on various platforms. For example, pictures obviously do well on Instagram, but they won't do as well on Tumblr because that's a blogging platform, and people are looking more for information than images. In the same way, a picture that that is just a dense block of text won't do nearly as well on Pinterest as it might on Blogger or Tumblr. 

3. Don't read too much into how much interaction each of your posts get. I can't tell you how often I've been super-excited about a post and then it hasn't created much of a stir. Or the opposite. I'll think today's post is just meh, and then my followers LOVE it and give me tons of interaction. That's just the fickleness of the crowd, my friends. Totally out of your control. Take what you can get and keep going.

4. Keep negativity out of your posts as much as possible. Especially as concerns your personal woes and personal opinions. Depending on what you're posting, the whole point might be to, for example, promote one idea over another, which will mean a certain amount of negativity about the one you aren't promoting, and that's fine. I'm not talking about that. What I mean is this: often I see people who get online and say, "Why is no one active, today?" "Why isn't anyone liking my post?" "I think I'm going to delete this account because no one comments?" "I'm so done with life today." Now, that's a very teenage mentality, and honestly the people who stuff like that are, more often than not, teenagers who just don't have much experience online. But just make sure not to do this. Your followers want the information you have to impart and they want their day to be brightened. Don't post things that will bring them down.

Follow these guidelines and be consistent and you'll be amazed at how quickly your audience grows, how quickly people look to you for information in your field, and how quickly you become a pro at managing your various platforms. 

Come back tomorrow for tips on problem solving! :D

Any tips I missed?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5 Crucial Steps to a Marketing Plan: Formulating Your Plan (Part 2)


Step 1 in a Marketing Plan is to actually have a plan!

That may seem like stating the obvious, but let me explain what I mean:

The major way in which I started experimented with social networks over the past few months and teaching myself how to use them to market was by starting a fan account on those networks. Those who know anything about me know I'm a fanatical The Walking Dead fan. (You'll probably see more of it when the new season starts in two months. :D) Anyway, right now the show is playing a major hoax on it's fandom concerning a major character death and only a small percentage of the fans who even realize it. So, over the summer I started doing theories on Instagram. I pretty quickly also migrated to Tumblr. 

See, the thing about this is that TWD is, obviously, not my writing. It's a well-established TV show with a fan base 20 million strong. So the second you get online, it's ridiculously easy to find an audience for what you have to say about it. Much easier than for your own writing when you're still a rising author, right? But that's exactly why it's easy to learn social networking this way. Basically, I learned a lot about several different platforms, and now I'm applying them to my writing. 
A slide I posted on my TWD account yesterday.
(TWD/Princess Bride mashup). Source

So, back to the plan. 

I decided that if I was going to start a fan account, I wanted to have something to post every day. And that was pretty easy because 1) I had a lot to say.  A lot of theories I wanted to post. And 2) there are plenty of pictures, jokes, memes, etc. all over the place about every aspect of this TV show that I could use for filler. 

So, I spent about three weeks putting together as many posts as I could think of. I started the account the beginning of May and knew I needed enough material to take me through to the new season, which begins in October. So really, it was about six months worth. Now, I didn't come up with that much material in a few weeks, but I came up with enough for 2-3 months if I posted once per day. (Keep in mind that this is Instagram, so a single photo could be a post. I could easily pull them from Pinterest, where I already had a well-filled TWD board, and post with credit. This was much easier than writing six months' worth of blog posts.) 

Anyway, almost immediately I realized I wanted to post way more than once a day. I really wanted to post 3x a day. One theory, one sad/serious/tragic picture, and one funny meme. The only problem with that was that I would go through my material MUCH faster than I'd originally planned. 

But here's the thing. As with all things in life, when you start looking for answers, you generally find them. Even though I've been posting 3-4 times/day, I still haven't run out of material yet. (Yeah!)

And the results? 1000 real, organic followers in under 90 days, including quite a few really loyal ones who have told me they actually get on looking for my specific posts each day, a great deal of authority on my subject in this community on IG, Tumblr, and G+, new followers on other platforms, a new audience to speak and present to, and of course lots of new internet friends. 

But, that only happened because 1) I already had things to post and a lot of them. 2) I followed other, similar accounts, and often reposted (with credit, of course) what they posted that I liked, or just got really great ideas for more of my own posts from them, and 3) Dedicated a lot of time and thought to the account.

But really one thing flows into another here. If I hadn't started with a major, well-thought-out, detailed plan, none of the other stuff would have happened. If I'd just sat down at my computer each day and gone, 
"Hmm. What should I post..." *drums fingers on desk*... 
Do you think I'd have been nearly as successful with this account? No, of course not!

Steps for creating a marketing plan for your social networking accounts:

Ah brainstorming! (Source)
1. Brainstorm what you want to post. The best way to do this is by following and going through the feeds of similar accounts. I'm currently building up my author instagram account (rather than the TWD one) and I went through some author friends' accounts to see what they post on IG and get ideas. I now have a huge list of stuff I can create and post. (Yea!)

2. Create posts in advance. I would recommend creating enough for a month or two. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you can get that done before you get started, it helps you in several ways. A) It will get your creating juices flowing and get you in the mindset of what you want to create for your account. I promise once you get rolling the ideas will just come and come. You'll have way more stuff to post by the time (probably way before) you go through your original cache. B) It will allow you to relax during the first few months of your account because you already have plenty to post and won't be stressed about coming up with new things. This is key because stress = fear = the account becomes a chore and you don't want to maintain it. No stress = you can sit back, have fun, interact with and watch your audience grow. 

3. Post a lot if you possibly can. The more you post, the faster your audience will grow, because people want to see lots of posts by active posters. Of course you can just post once a day or a few times a week and that's totally fine. But if you possibly can post more, do!

4. Write out a schedule. Figure out when you're going to post (weekly, daily, etc. and if daily, then when, how often, and what time). Also figure out what you're going to post when. Like i said, I posted three different things at different times of day. As an author, I can post lots of different things: pics of my book covers, quotes from my books or from reviews, pics of characters. my progress on particular projects, the list goes on. So you can post something different each day of the week, or different things at different times of the day, etc. However you want to run your account, works. Be creative!

Want examples? You can check out my 2 Instagram accounts here: 

IG: @twdmusicboxmystery -- obviously that's my TWD account
IG: @l.k.hillbooks -- my author account

*Notice how the TWD is pretty big with lots of posts, followers, etc. I've been at that one since May. My author one I've only been building up for about a week, and I already have 50+ followers, but still very few posts.*

Once you have your plan in place and have created a cache of posts, you're ready to implement it. That means posting, interacting and gaining followers. Come back tomorrow for some tips on those aspects of your campaign. This stuff really works! :D

Do YOU create posts in advance?

Monday, August 3, 2015

5 Crucial Steps to an Online Marketing Plan (Part 1)

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get my life together. I said almost a month ago that I'd be back to a regular blogging schedule, and then I pretty much...just...didn't. See, I've been an avid blogger for almost three years now, but I rarely have time to blog during the week. I generally do my posts in advance. Usually on the weekend. The problem is that for the past few months I've had to work weekends, so I just haven't had any time to get much blogging--or, unfortunately, much writing--done. But guess what! Last weekend was the last one I had to work. So that means...

So, I'll be much more active now as we head into the tail end of summer. Good to be back. :D

Okay, onto today's topic. I've been experimenting with social networks (as I mentioned a month ago) and putting together marketing plans for my books. I've actually learned a lot and I'm gonna start applying them. In the meantime, I'll probably be posting about what I've learned a lot.

This week, I'm talking about formulating a marketing plan and putting it into practice. I'll be focusing on the online stuff: social networks, online interaction, etc. Today will be a short overview and then I'll go into each step in more detail for the rest of the week. 

So, 5 Crucial Steps for an Online Marketing Plan:

1. Have a plan -- They may sound like a repeat of the title, but I promise it's not. I'll go into a lot more detail on this tomorrow, but suffice it to say, having a detailed plan is a nearly foolproof way to avoid not having anything to post. If you sit down at your computer every day and go, "uhhh, what should I post? Ummmmm...hmmmm." Yeah, nine days out of ten you're not going to come up with anything. Plan in advance so you already have stuff to post and just have to actually upload it.

2. Spend the time -- It doesn't have to be much. Consistency and playing the numbers is the best way to gain a following. Take a few minutes in a consistent manner and soon enough you'll be amazed at the reaction you get. I'll have a step by step on this on Wednesday.

3. Be flexible. While you should always have a detailed plan and stick to it as closely as possible, sometimes things come up and will interrupt your plan. And that's okay. Know what to look for that you WANT to interrupt your plan for, and what can go by the wayside. More on how to define these things on Thursday.

4. Use different social networks. Most new authors start on one or two networks--say Facebook and Twitter--and then branch out. I was no different. I'm on quite a few of them now and I've learned a lot about how to reach different audiences and how to maximize my reach on different platforms. I'll put up a detailed post on how to use different platforms to your advantage and how they differ in audience on Thursday.

5. Set goals and adjust accordingly. The truth is, you're never going to know just how realistic your goals are until you get started. Set goals, and then keep on eye on things. You may not hit your first goals, and that's okay. It'll still give you a jumping off point and teach you a whole lot about the social network, what you can accomplish, and where to go next. I'll talk about goals and give you some examples on Friday.

So those are the major steps. Stay tuned the rest of the week for more detail. And have a wonderful, productive Monday! :D

How detailed is your latest marketing plan?