Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twitter. Show all posts

How to Get a Wealth of Social Media Content

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Where do you get your content for your social media? Is it all your own material or does it come from others?

People in publishing are looking for writers with excellent content. I’ve been on twitter since 2008 and tweeted over 58,000 times. My following has grown from zero (no followers) to over 190,000. How in the world do I determine what to have on my social media feeds and why do I never run out of new content?

Haphazard and rare use of social media never works. To develop a following, you need to be putting out good and consistent content. I use a free tool Hootsuite to schedule my tweets throughout the day. Each communication is focused on my audience and readers (who are writers or people interested in publishing). Your target audience will be different but you must have a specific target.

Collect content and images. I subscribe to a number of blogs and newsletters who are in my target market I read these blogs and learn from them. Also I use these articles as content for my social media. As I find each one, I take a few minutes each day and add them to my Hootsuite releases for the days ahead. I keep the title of the article and attach the image from the article (since images get more social media attention).

When it comes to my tweets, I’ve developed my own structure for my daily game plan for my posts. Yours will be different but take the time to develop a structure. With this structure in place, your search for content is focused and deliberate. For example, I begin each day with a quotation and an image (often of the person quoted). Many people love these quotes so they are shared and retweeted. 

At the beginning and the end of the day,  I will point to my own resources such as blog posts (over 1500 posts in my blog) or free teleseminars or other personal resources. I keep a small plain text file with these posts and recycle them on a regular basis. In the middle of the day, I have new content from the articles and blogs and newsletters that I regularly read. I do not automatically take every post from these newsletters. With each one, I’m focused on my audience and asking,” Is this material a good fit for my reader?” If the answer is no, then I do not include it.

From my experience, there is an abundance of resources to add to your social media feeds. It’s part of the reason I tweet at least 12 times a day. It continues to draw new readers and older readers.

The consistency and quality will draw people to your work. Yes this is platform building 101 but necessary for every author. If you need more information about platform building, then get my free Ebook on the topic.

As you have a wealth of social media content, the consistent effort is important and will pay off for you. You don't have to be on every social media channel. Pick one or two and major on that particular channel.


Follow these tips to have a wealth of social media content. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (
follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Navigating Twitter: 10 Tips

Navigating Twitter: 10 Tips

Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Instagram. Pinterest. YouTube. 

There is an abundance of social media platforms. And, while, being on all of them isn't really feasible - writers tend to do a lot of their promo themselves - it's fun to introduce a new platform into the mix every so often. You may find new followers, discover that a certain type of content suits you, and form collaborations you would not have encountered otherwise.

If one of your goals this year is to explore a new social media platform, there's still time. Trying to figure out where to go next? I recommendTwitter.  Twitter has different functionality than some of the other socials. Learning to drill your thoughts down to that 280-character limit is like taking a master class in short, to-the-point content. 

Plus, people are super-accessible on Twitter. If you want to write for a specific magazine... or have your book reviewed by a journalist ... or interview someone in the filed of your niche, you can likely connect with them through a tweet. They won't always reply, but engaging in social is one way to get on their radar.

To make the most out of your time on Twitter, it's essential to get the lay of the land. Here are ...

10 Twitter Tips

1. Get an account. Your username, which can be your actual name, should reflect your personal brand or your business. 

2. Fill out your profile. You have 160 characters to share who you are. You can also update your name to add a title and emojis.

3. Upload your headshot. It should actually look like you.  (400 x 400 pixels)

4. Upload your background image. Use Canva or another graphics program to find or create a banner image (1500 x 500 pixels) that, again, represents who you are, what you write, etc..

5. Follow accounts. Find people and businesses within your area or niche to follow. At a loss on how to get started? See who your friends and peers follow, and go from there. You can also create Twitter lists of groups of people, so you can categorize the people you follow. This will make it easier to find content to retweet and people with whom you want to engage.

6. Research. Make a list of 5 to 10 complimentary or competitor accounts. These are people in a similar genre or niche. Then look at what they tweet to see what gets good engagement and what falls flat. Use these as inspiration for your own content.

7. Tweet. Share your blog content, create graphics images, interact with friends and target accounts. And use relevant hashtags. Also, remember the 80-20 rule: 80% of what you share should be value, and 20% is promotion. 

8. Engage. Start conversations. Reply to questions. Make new friends. And see which ones turn into fans and engaged followers.

9. Join Twitter chats. First do a Twitter chat search, find some chats that interest you, and put them into your calendar, so you remember to check them out. Go to a few, until you find the ones that you want to attend on a regular basis.

10. Continue conversations. When you do enough consistent tweeting - and take part in regular Twitter chats - you will meet peers and make friends. Connect on other platforms, such as LinkedIn, and develop a relationship. You never know where a new connection may lead.

Social media is an essential part of the writer-life. Although platforms differ - and since these are just the basics - you can use these tips as a guideline for all your new social media platform goals.

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On November 18, I will be speaking at the Agorapulse #SocialPulseSummit: Twitter edition. Topic is Twitter chat goals. Learn more and get your free ticket.

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So, what do you think? How are you enjoying your Twitter time? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments.

Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Find Mentors for Your Writing

Where do you get help for your writing?

By W. Terry Whalin

Who are you listening to and then applying that information into your life? Whether you call them mentors or not, whatever feeds into your life are voices where you are listening to information. It can affect the results of your life and work.  

As I think about my own writing life, it is built on a foundation of great lessons and teaching from other writers. In the early days of my freelance writing, I wrote many personality profiles of bestselling authors. I wrote these articles for different magazines but it gave me the opportunity to spend time with each of these authors on the phone or in person. I would quiz these authors about the details of how they practiced their craft and connected to their audience. My hour-long conversation contained a lot of information which never made it into my 1,000 word magazine article—yet built experience and lessons into my personal life.

In this article, I want to provide several resources which I use daily for inspiration, learning and mentoring in my life. The first one is from Darren Hardy, the former publisher of Success magazine. Some time ago, Hardy began the Darren Daily which is a short five day inspirational thought which comes via email. It's free and I listen to it early in the day when it arrives. You can begin getting it in your mailbox and listening to it.

The various books that I read is another way that I discover mentors. Last year I completed 2 Chairs (Worthy Publishing). The overall message of 2 Chairs is to make time every day to meet with God and listen to the Holy Spirit. For many years, I've been having a daily quiet time in the Scriptures. Each year I select a different version of the Bible and read it cover to cover in this time. While I thought 2 Chairs had a “different” title, I love the insight and wisdom contained in this book and recommend it. If you don't have this daily pattern of reading in your own life, I recommend it.

My third method of teaching and insight is to read my twitter feed. Maybe you go by once a day or several times a week and check the various articles. I read the various articles and information that I post—and I apply it to my writing and marketing efforts.  You will gain from it as well if you feed this information into your routine.

One of the keys to continued growth and learning is a personal commitment, then an attempt to find balance in your life.  There are days when I'm not learning and out of balance but it's something that I have as a continue force in my life. I hope these three ideas will help you find the mentors for your writing life.


Who are your mentors in your writing life? Get some new ideas here: (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers

Social Media SOS

Whether  you love social media - or you view it as a necessary evil to promote your business products and services - some times it takes on a life of its own. 

Take today, for example. Facebook and Instagram were down for most of the day. There was widespread panic on the social platforms. I do some work in social media, and have many friends in that realm, so I probably know more affected people than most. 

Here's the thing. Like any actual - or non-emergent - emergency, there are a few things you can do to stay calm and stay in touch with your clients and prospects in the event of a social media shutdown.

1. Don't panic. If social media management is your business, email or call your clients and let them know what's up. Being proactive - and reminding them that technology isn't always perfect and sometimes, there are glitches out of your control - is much better than ignoring the problem and hoping your clients don't notice. You may even want to remind them that it's likely everyone is affected - including their clients, prospects, readers - so you are all in this together. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee by facing the problem up front.

2. Be present on other social media networks. Seize this opportunity to step up your skills on other social media platforms. For instance, Facebook and Instagram may have had issues today, but Twitter and LinkedIn were doing just fine. A good social-media strategy is a well-balance social media strategy; that means utilizing multiple platforms. If you are not already posting on the main four, use this reminder to step up your game.

3. Unplug. Frustrated by social media? Walk away from it. The problem isn't going away quick enough, so move away from the problem. Here's an idea: Take the time away from social media to embrace being offline. Write an actual on-pen-and-paper thank you note to your clients, jot a note to an old friend. Use the time wisely and surprise someone with a thoughtful act of kindness.

For more on the power of social media platforms, check out the recap from my #GoalChat on this topic.

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How do you balance your social media efforts? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Twitter for Writers: 7 Tips

When was the last time you reviewed your Twitter profile? Do you even have a tweeting strategy?

While Facebook is a great place to hang out with friends and family, Twitter is the best place to find information and make new connections. Like any social platform, you want your Twitter account to be professional and show your personality. You can meet new people, engage followers, ask and answer questions, and perhaps pick up some new readers and/or clients.

Here are 7 things you can do to make the most out of Twitter.

1. Post a recent profile picture. Others will be more likely to engage with and follow you, if they can identify you as a real person, rather than a logo. One exception: if you are a caricaturist or someone who draws self-portraits, an artistic rendering of you will serve to showcase your abilities. 

2. Upload a branded header photo. You want the colors and tone of your website to match all of your socials. That way, people can identify you from a mere glance. Put your logo, as well as an info you want to call out - like your most recent book - in your header.

3. Write a concise bio. You have 160 characters to show who you are. You're a writer. You can do it!

4. Fill out the rest of your profile. Be sure to include location and website. Also, if you are so inclined, add emoji's to your profile name. It will really help you stand out. Note: I use Gold Stars in my @TheDEBMethod, @GoalChat, and @WriteOnOnline profiles.

5. Follow People. Obviously you want to follow and support your friends, but also use Twitter to make new ones. Follow your favorite authors, magazines, writers, news sources, etc. Connect with anyone you believe you would benefit from following and those you believe would benefit from following you. You don't want to follow too many people in one day, tho. It will look like you are spamming and Twitter may give you a time out.

6. And Create Twitter Lists. Create public and private lists of the people you follow. Organizing your feed in this way makes it easy to find tweets from the people you want, when you want them. For instance, create a list of podcasters or interviewers who pose questions to people with your expertise. Or if you have a local blog, create a list of places where you live. That way you can see what's going on, retweet valuable information to your followers, and reply if there's an area-specific question.

To create a list, go to your profile, click on lists, and select, Create new list. Name it, describe it, and decide if you want it to be public or private. Then add people. Hint: Keep most of your lists public. The only reason to create a private list is if you want to keep an eye on your competition's tweets.

7. Tweet. You now have 280 characters, as opposed to the original 140, so make them count. Feel free to add pictures to make your tweets stand out. You can add videos and GIFs too. Tweet your articles and other information related to your expertise. Reply to requests for information, ask people when you need things, and participate in Twitter chats. You can promote yourself, as long as you don't do it all the time. Remember, value first.

Twitter is a valuable too. Use your profile to highlight who you are and use your Tweets to share what you know. Share information and have conversations with your followers and friends. You never know where a tweet may lead.

Do you use Twitter? What's your handle? In what ways do you use Twitter for your personal or professional life?

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Use The Gentle Follow-Up

By W. Terry Whalin

The path for a book to get published is filled with many twists and turns.Each leg of the communication process can break down at some point. One of the most critical steps is the beginning where you get connected to an editor or an agent who can champion your book and guide you through the process.

A couple of months ago, one of my writer friends recommended an author send their material to me through Morgan James Publishing. This author followed our submission guidelines and yet never heard from Morgan James. Following the guidelines is important and often the submission process will shift and change.

After over a month of hearing nothing, he sent me a short gentle follow-up email. It was the first I had heard about his submission. I explained to the author that I’m not the only person doing acquisitions at our company and his material could be with another editor.

Yet when I checked internally I learned the material had been forwarded to me from my colleague's cell phone—and I never received it. Because I never received it, the submission didn’t get entered into our system. No follow-up acknowledgement letter was sent. Nothing happened. Because the communication channel (sending by cell phone) didn’t work, the communication process was broken.

This author was wise to check with me. Now I have his material and it is in the system. Now this author has received the follow-up acknowledgement letter in the mail and his submission is engaged in the process.

Over my 20+ years in publishing, I’ve seen the communication process break down over and over. Sometimes things get missed or lost. I’ve watched writers who do not follow up miss their opportunity or delay their work getting published because they fail to do this important work.

There is a right and a wrong way to follow-up. The right way is to gently check with the editor or agent and ask, “Did you get my submission?” Notice the question isn't asking for a decision on the submission. You are simply trying to find out of the communication process worked and your email or submission reached them. If not or if they have lost it, they can ask you to resend it and things can get on track.

If you push and ask for decision, nine times out of ten you will get an immediate “no thank you.” Publishing is often a team effort and this consensus-building process takes time. To get a “yes” takes time to achieve but “no” can be said quickly—except writers don’t want to hear “no.”

Where are you with your submissions? I encourage you to follow-up. As you take action and ask about your submission, you are doing a critical part of the process to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. You want to have your opportunity for your submission to be considered and receive a response. Who knows, you might get a “Yes” response.

Do you follow-up? Tell me in the comments below about your good and poor follow-up experiences. I look forward to hearing from you. 


Are you using the gentle follow-up with your submissions? Get the details here.  (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin has been an acquisitions editor at three publishers and is a former literary agent. For the last five and half years, Terry has been acquiring books for Morgan James Publishing, a New York publisher doing about 150 books a year. His contact information is on the bottom of the second page. Terry has written for more than 50 print magazine and published more than 60 books including his classic Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. He has over 220,000 followers on Twitter and lives in Colorado.
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Twitter Chats 101

Want to step up your game on Twitter? Explore Twitter chats. They are a great way to meet new people, learn new things, and expand your network.

What is a Twitter Chat

A Twitter chat is a conversation on Twitter, noted by a particular hashtag. It usually revolves around a certain topic, and is hosted by the same person or group of people at the same time every week. While some are run by big brands, many are organized by individuals (experts, consultants, bloggers), who share a passion for a particular topic. 

Many Twitter chats have special guests who answer questions from the hosts. The format is simple. Q1 with a question is tweeted and people reply with A1 and then the response. Attendees are welcome to add there two cents - 140 characters - as well. Btw, not even addressing the news that Twitter is testing out expanding to 280 characters. Twitter will always be 140 characters to me.

You can use a website, like TweetChat, or a tool, such as Hootsuite. For TweetChat, type in the hashtag and then click to enter the conversation. It's very easy to reply and retweet messages. Plus your hashtag is automatically added at the end of each tweet. For Hootsuite, simply add a column with the hashtag you want to follow.

How to Find Twitter Chats

There are several different Twitter chat master lists, like this one from TweetReports and the Kneaver Chat Directory. Search the page for one of your keywords or read through the lists to see what appeals to you. Another way to find a specific type of Twitter chat is to simply search your topic of interest and then "Twitter chat." For instance, search for "Twitter Chats Writing" or "Marketing Twitter Chats," and you will find lists of top chats on the topic. 

Once you see a few chats that interest you, test them out. Make appointments with yourself to try one or two chats a week until you land on a few good ones to join regularly. 

Chat Etiquette

Before you get started, here are a few things to keep in mind.

- Follow the hosts. This is something you can do before you even get to a chat. Find the hosts, follow them, and tweet that you are looking forward to their chat. You may want to retweet some of their tweets prior to the chat.

- Follow the guests. Follow the special guests, as well. And if they give you other ways to connect, like on LinkedIn, you might as well do that too. Just add a note that you met them on this chat.

- Introduce yourself. Usually at the beginning of the chat the host allows time to introduce yourself with some sort of ice breaker. Jump on in. 

- Observe. You may just want to read the tweets your first chat or two. As I previously mentioned, attendees are typically welcome to reply. However, depending on how fast the chat, you may find it easier to watch the chat and retweet the responses that mirror your beliefs.

- Engage. When you are comfortable, answer questions and reply to others in the chat. You will likely want to follow the other attendees and continue your Twitter conversations outside of the chat.

- Do Not Self-Promote. Twitter chats are all about having conversations and sharing information. Unless there is a specific request, keep your promos and sales pitches out of the chat thread.

- Have fun. Like everything in social media and writing, Twitter chats are supposed to be fun. Share the things that get you excited about your industry and specialty. You'll make a great impression, which is also kind of the point. 

Examples aka My Recent Twitter Chats

I was lucky enough to be a guest on three Twitter chats recently. I tweeted about Getting Unstuck on #MediaChat, Mobile Tools for Writers on #MobileChat, and How to Improve your Productivity and Time Management on #TwitterSmarterI embedded the links for the questions and my answers, as well as some of the responses from the communities, in the recaps. Just click the links.

Also, on Monday, October 16, at 12pm Pacific Time, I will be a guest on #ContentChat, talking about Goal Setting for Bloggers. It will be a blast, so feel free to join in.

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If you want to meet and connect with leaders in your industry, why not give Twitter chats a try. They also give others a chance to meet you. And you never know where these new relationships might lead. 

What do you think? Have you participated in Twitter chats? Which ones do you like? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group

She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the Guided Goals Podcast.

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

How To Grow A Large Twitter Following

Almost once a week, one of my writer friends will email a comment about my large twitter following (currently over 172,000). As one said,”I believe I'm pretty active on twitter and I only have about 9,000 followers. How did you get to such a large number without buying them?”

Yes you can buy the followers and in a short amount of time your amount of followers will radically jump from a low number to over 100,000. There are several problems with using this strategy. First it will cost you money but more importantly you will gain some credibility but mostly you will gain fake followers. These plastic followers will never engage you, take advantage of your content or care about your content. It will not help you get where you want to go in terms of real followers.

I've been on Twitter since June 2008 and consistently giving good content on twitter. If you watch my twitter feed you will see that it is not all my content but comes from others in the writing community and in my target market of publishing and writing. From my consistent involvement in twitter, I have had many great results in my writing life. Some people email me for help and I refer them to my blog or my Ebook products or my online courses. Other people I will encourage and actually acquire their books at Morgan James. Yes, it can begin on Twitter. 

From my years in publishing, I find many people want to have a large audience or following. Yet these same people never ask this question: are you willing to do the work to get this audience? I may not be the best writer in the room (still have a lot to learn all the time).  But I am a persistent and consistent writer. These two qualities are ones that you can acquire and build into our life as well.

A basic principle of Twitter is following other people. Some of those people you follow, will follow you back. I use a tool called (which costs $20 a month). In less than ten minutes, I can follow the followers of people in the publishing community (my target market). Every day I follow 800 new people. A certain percentage of these people will follow me back (increasing my followers). If they don't follow me after several days, then I unfollow them using the tool, Manage Flitter

Another key to grow your twitter following is to constantly give good content. I use the free tool Hootsuite to schedule my tweets throughout each day. If you watch my twitter feed, you will see that I'm posting almost every hour throughout the day. Also I try to include an image with each tweet. If you use an image, it has higher visibility and interest (more people read it). 

The reality is my large following didn't happen overnight. My numbers have been growing gradually—but steadily upward. In fact, I'm gaining about 100 new followers a day. I spend less than 30 minutes a day on Twitter—yet I consistently spend this time (day after day). I do it on the weekend and I do it during the week. I do it when I travel and I do it when I'm at home. If I have any “secret” it is that I've made my own system and use it every day. You can follow the same path if you want to develop this type of following for your own writing.

W. Terry Whalin is the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell and has written for more than 50 magazinesFollow this link to his speaking schedule. He is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing.

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Twubs, Magic for Hashtags and Authors

Judging from questions I get in my e-mail box, many people don’t understand hashtags or are just plain annoyed by them.

 Yep, they get over used. They can become part of an understandable sentence but shouldn’t intrude or take over. Aside from being irritating, though, they can be a real promotion plus because of a relatively new Web site,! If there are any keywords that would point to some of your own branding, you can use to “own” them. There you will get a page of your own including an opportunity to put your banner on the page, sort of like making a profile page. It's also a little like registering your hashtag or copyrighting your hashtag!. And it’s free.

So far some of mine look like this: #SharingwithWriters (which collected tweets I post about my #SharingwithWritings newsletter and this blog and the broader concept of when I want to share with writers). Another is #CarolynHowardJohnson (my name), #TheFrugalBookPromoter (one of my books in my HowToDoItFrugally series of books that connotes a lot of what I do), #TheFrugalEditor (for posts resourcing this second book in that same series).  

I also have some registered hashtags that are more general like #GreatBookReviews and #MovieReviews. I use the latter most often, I think, because I try to do 140 character Twitter reviews that include things we writers can learn from the particular movie I’m reviewing--and I see most movies that come out including indies.

Mindy Philips Lawrence, who does the regular “Itty Bitty” column for my #SharingwithWriters newsletter could get an #IttyBitty hashtag and then include my @FrugalBookPromo in the tweets she does about her column to prompt me to retweet to my 20,000 plus followers. You can do the same thing! 

Once a hashtag is registered, this site ( picks up anyone who uses your registered hashtag and puts it in the stream on that page!  There are tons of ways you can network with the info that gets collected on your Twubs page, too. Neat, huh? 

And anyone can use them in their tweets and elsewhere to expand the exposure of your social networking efforts. 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including The Frugal Book Promoter ( and The Frugal Editor (  Learn more about all her books from nonfiction on retailing to poetry at  

An Uncle in the Marketing Business? ~ Part 1

This past week I’ve been doing some fresh thinking around the topic of marketing. As Terri said yesterday, it can be a full-time job. On the other hand, if we allow it to be full time, we won’t ever get more writing done.

At times I feel as if I’m banging my head against the fridge—-but no food is coming out. So what am I doing wrong?

The other day, I had a light-bulb moment. I haven’t finished processing the topic, and would love to hear from you, but I do believe I’m on to something.

Let's start off by asking five questions.

1. Where are we marketing? As writers, we like to hang together, after all writers are really the only people who understand writers, right? We rejoice with each other when we have some sort of break-through moment. We encourage one another. And we share our links. This is a great idea. But it’s not marketing! Marketing starts to happen when those people, whether they are writers or not, share your links and your information.

2. Who are we marketing to? Here in South Africa we have a chain of furniture stores called “Joshua Doore”. They have a catchy advertising jingle that first appeared in 1970. It says, “You’ve got an uncle in the furniture business: Joshua Doore!” (You can listen to the original version here.) It really is a brilliant piece of advertising, and the fact that the main slogan is still played daily on our television sets proves this to be true.
It’s great to have friends in the business, and I’m sure the staff of Joshua Doore take advantage of specials on their floors. But imagine if you will that the advert only plays in store, outside of shopping hours, so the staff are the only ones present.

Kind of silly, don’t you think?

Yet, is that perhaps what we do as writers? We belong to writers’ groups, we create an author’s page on Facebook, and we invite all our writer friends to follow the page. After all, our “personal page” on Facebook is just that. It’s personal. We create one or more Twitter accounts, and we “follow” other writers and ask them to follow us. We retweet other writers’ messages—to other writers (of course, because those are the ones following us) in the hope that they will RT ours. We join LinkedIn, and we link to other writers’ groups. We may enjoy the fellowship, and much of this may be helpful, but it’s not marketing! Marketing starts to happen when those people catch the message and share it, together with your links.

3. Do people really follow our marketing attempts? A friend was a missionary teacher in a primitive country. Her small daughter was one of her pupils. One day the mommy was busy making supper and the little girl was trailing her, chattering endlessly. All of a sudden the child called, “Teacher! Teacher!” The mommy stopped and looked in astonishment. The child had worked out how to get her mommy’s attention. She had realised that Mommy had tuned out from her incessant chatter.

Don’t we all do that? We tune out to voices or other people who are not interesting us. That leads to another question. In our marketing, are we perhaps trying too hard? When people see our posts, do they switch off? I confess that I have a few such contacts. I know any link they share will be self-promotion. I know nothing about them except that they are writers. And they know nothing about me. They're not interested in me—and I don’t know enough about them to know if I'm interested in them. I hardly ever read their tweets, their Facebook pages, or their LinkedIn comments.

4. Are we missing the point with our marketing? Not other writers (unless of course we’re writing for writers, like this blog). But are we reaching the ones who want or need to read what we have written? Sure, we're interacting on various social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus . . .   But think about it. These all fall under the category "Social Media".

My dictionary defines “social” as “Marked by friendly companionship with others.”  We're not talking about Marketing Media. It is called Social Media. Social. Friendly. 

5. How can we be social and still market? Is it possible? We're already complaining that we don't have time to both market and write. How can we now stop to have "friendly companionship with others"? Surely that will take up even more time? "I don't have the time for this!" we wail, as we carry on furiously using up time on ineffective methods of marketing.

I don't believe it will require more time. I think it calls for a smarter use of our time. But I've already taken up enough of your time explaining the dilemma, and I hope I've given you something to think about. Next month we'll look further into this, and hopefully come up with some easy ways to become an uncle (or aunt) in the marketing business.

OVER TO YOU: Do you have any thoughts about how we can develop our social skills without frittering away time we don't have? Please share your suggestions below.

More Reading on Making Friends on Social Media

Making Twitter Friends
Some Old Facebook Friends

SHIRLEY CORDER  lives a short walk from the seaside in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with her husband Rob. She is author of Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer. Shirley is also contributing author to ten other books and has published hundreds of devotions and articles internationally. 

Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. 

Follow her on Twitter or "like" her Author's page on Facebook, and if you tell her who you are she'll be happy to be your friend and follow you back.

When it the best time to build an author platform?

There seems to be differing opinions about when or even if authors need a platform.

I cannot stress enough that with today’s digital world, the state of publishing, and the number of books written per year, the time to build a platform is before you begin writing your book.

Disagree if you wish, but publishers ask authors about their following, promotion, and willingness in helping market their book.

How do authors accomplish this? By the use of platforms, such as blogs, websites, social and network marketing, book signings, and the author finding bookstore shelf space on their own.

Publishing is no longer, as it was in the past. It is up to the author to be a publicist, marketer, and promoter for their book; or hire someone for all of this. Hiring someone is the easy way out for authors, but also expensive. Most authors cannot afford the cost of an agent, publicist, salesperson, and marketer, which would run thousands of dollars.

This leaves the author to do it all. Build a blog about your book project keeping the potential reader up to date with how the book is advancing. Build an authors page, use social media, make regular updates, and make a trailer for your book.

I may repeat this information, but it is only to stress that in today’s publishing environment, more is up to the author than ever before in publishing.

Many authors are opting to self-publish for more control over price and format. The author’s ability to create digital books for readers, and having their book edited by publishers in ways that go against ways the author intended the book. There have been title changes in publishing houses, changes from book to movie, and more.

Authors should have their book published the way they wrote it.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor/Reviewer/Marketer

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Engage in Social Networking the Twitter Way by Donna McDine

Engage in Social Networking the Twitter Way

By Donna McDine

To be an effective social networker/marketer setting up your profile is the first step, but it goes far beyond the setup. The saying from the Field of Dreams movie… “Build it and they will come” will not work in this instance. You must continually develop online relationships and share relevant information from your expertise. Like your website and blog, social networking is a constant work-in-progress. Don’t let your shoulders sag, engagement does not need to take you endless hours every day.

Today I will focus on….

How to strengthen your Twitter participation:

To be an effective member of the Twitter community you need to tweet on a consistent basis. Note tweets are limited to 140 characters including spaces and the URL you are directing the reader to. Your tweets can be just about anything. Such as, your latest book, your newsletter, book reviews, author interviews, and information you find interesting to the freelance writing career, etc. My rule of thumb is to tweet at least 4-5 times per day, Monday thru Friday. I give myself off the weekends for good behavior.

Use to shorten the length of the URL you are providing in your tweet, so you save valuable characters for your message.

Don’t just tweet about yourself. Avoid the “it’s all about me attitude”, become a master communicator with tweeting a combination of your own tweets with those of colleagues.

Take out ten to fifteen minutes per day and visit Twitter and retweet (RT) posts of interest for those you are following. You’ll be amazed how appreciative tweeters are for RT. It is a terrific way to broaden the contact base for all those participating.

Scheduling Your Tweets Ahead of Time: Save valuable time and plan your tweets ahead of time (at least weekly). Create your tweets in Word and double check the character length by highlighting your tweet, clicking Review in the toolbar and to the right of Translate on the far left click the ABC/123 symbol. A pop-up screen will appear providing full statistics and make note of the Characters (with spaces) number. To set-up and schedule your tweets, I recommend Once you register an account you will be able to schedule a one-time tweet or tweets you’d like to repeat throughout a specific timeframe. The template/site is simple to use. 

Tweeting Lingo and What It Means for Your Tweeting Experience:

# - hashtag – by searching for a keyword with the # (hashtag) before it will pull you up a list of the latest tweets regarding the topic. This is a great way to get in specific conversations and tweeter parties.

@ - symbol before username – by searching for a particular username the results provides their tweets and mentions by fellow tweeters.

Direct Messages – by clicking on the “head” image the pull down menu will appear. Click on direct messages, here you will find a listing of all messages sent to you by fellow tweeters.

Remember, tackle your social networking campaign with baby steps every day for each step will develop into a quantum leap.

If you require further guidance or have additional questions, please free to contact me at As a PR Publicist I offer an array of services and FREE articles to help you FREE up your valuable writing time, visit for details.

Thank you for joining me today, it’s been a pleasure.

Bio: I am an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions,  Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.
I have three more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, Hockey Agony, Powder Monkey, and A Sandy Grave. I write, moms and am the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids, Publicist for the Working Writer’s Club, and owner of Author PR Services from my home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. 

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