Resources for Authors

There are tons of tools out there, some free and some for a fee, which can be useful for authors in all the various areas in which they have to operate–primarily in writing and marketing. Each month, Authors On A Dime features a different resource in the section below. But we thought we’d highlight some of the tools we use most…
Canva
This easy-to-use online tool allows you to make graphics for various purposes. Experts say that people are more likely to view or click a post with graphics. Here’s a free way to create those.
canva.com

Pacemaker
Need help setting your writing or editing goals and then tracking to those. Here’s a fantastic tool to help you with that. The free version only allows 2 projects at a time.
pacemaker.press

Dafont
Doing fancier graphics that need more than Times New Roman & Arial. Check out these fonts. (Be careful about using only those that are designated 100% free and Public Domain.)
dafont.com

Deposit Photos
Need fancier photos, or you plan to do your own cover design. A subscription at Deposit Photos might be your best bet.
depositphotos.com

KDP Rocket
We use this tool (yes, you pay for it) to research best keywords for a given book. It’s been invaluable for Amazon keywords not only for search results, but also for Amazon Ads.
kdprocket.com

Author Cross Promotion
Looking to build your mailing list quickly with readers who actually interact and act on your announcements? Try the mailing list building events at Author Cross Promotions!
authorsxp.com

There are tons of resources and tools out there for authors. Which ones do you use constantly that you would recommend. AOAD is always looking for great tips! Send yours in and we’ll share.

Social Media Images Help Find Readers

Social media, for most authors, is the primary means of advertising, marketing, and connecting with readers. A majority of authors start wit the basic needs–a banner image on Facebook and/or a website and use of their book covers.

But there are so many more options for what you can do with images in social media. For example, do you create custom, related images for your blog posts or most important social media posts? All current research shows that posts on social media which include graphics get a higher engagement than those which don’t.

Here are just a few ideas of different images you might want to try using on social media:

Banners
Banners are the long/skinny images that go across the top of your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, website, or other platforms. Sometimes a website has multiple banners, one across the top and one or more on the home page or at the top of each main page. Typically, you want these images to include your logo and/or website. They can also be used to announce/advertise the most important upcoming dates for you as an author (usually new releases).

Advertisements
These image can include more detailed graphics for paid online or print magazine ads. They can also be ads on other websites or in newsletters. This means they come in a wide range of sizes and needs.

Announcements
Use images–usually on Facebook or Twitter–to announce anything from new releases to sales to book signings and so forth. Images will always engage more than just text for these announcements.

Memes
Memes are usually just for fun–funny comments on being an author, what you feel like without coffee in the morning, etc. They can also help catch the attention of new readers for your books. Make a meme which has an image of your heroine and a quote from the book, or the cover with the tagline.

Blog Posts
Always try to have an image that helps grab attention when you post on your blog. Usually, an image which includes the catchy title of the blog post is a great place to started. Other images which illustrate whatever the topic is are also good.

There are a ton of other ways to use imagery when posting on social media. Hopefully these gave you a few new things to think about.

By the way, there is a fantastic page at Make a Website Hub which shows the recommended image dimensions (as of 2016) for various social media needs.

Organizing Social Media Ideas

AuthorToolKit-SocialMediaLists.pngTechnology has made the world of the author into something very different from what it once was. Not only do we have the ability to self-publish and reach a mass audiences through ebooks, but marketing methods have also changed with the advent of social media. And they continue to change and evolve at a rapid pace with new tools and services available practically daily.

We highly recommend starting to keep lists of social media ideas, tools, services, and articles.

The level at which you track your social media ideas is entirely personal preference. Whether you use social media a little, or a lot, OneNote can help you get organized and stay on top of what can easily become overwhelming.Getting organized for your social media has several benefits, including:

 

  • making social media less overwhelming
  • ensuring consistent use of your social media outlets
  • ensuing varied types of posts and higher level of interest from followers
  • spreading social media out evenly each month
  • pre-planning for important events (releases, cover reveals, etc.
  • tracking ideas for later use

Use of OneNote to help me organize my social media is very basic (and therefore easy to use and easy to keep up with). This is as easy as keeping a bulleted list.

Pay attention to what you see other authors do (or anyone using social media for marketing), or articles you come across, workshops you take, etc. and add to your list anything you personally liked or found effective or interesting.

For social media tracking, take the following steps:

  1. Create a Notebook titled “Social Media”
  2. Create a tab in that Notebook titled “Ideas”
  3. Add pages titled “XXX Ideas List” for each form of social media
    • Facebook Ideas List
    • Blog Ideas List
    • Twitter Ideas List
    • Website Ideas List
    • Instagram Ideas List
    • Etc.
  4. On each page create a bulleted list.
  5. Start entering ideas (pull from articles about great ways to use those tools and ideas you pick up from other authors and industry folks)
  6. Click anywhere on the page
  7. Click the “bulleted list” icon in the top
  8. Start typing
  9. Hit the enter key to add another bullet for another idea
  10. Hit enter twice to stop the list

Don’t forget to copy and paste links to any great website examples or blog posts you find on that topic.

SM-IdeaListEx

Here’s an example of a Blog Topic Idea Lists!

In your Social Media Notebook in OneNote you can also schedule social media posts/ideas a month at a time and keep To Do lists for specific activities (like price drops or book releases). But we’ll have to get to those another time!

DOs & DON’Ts for a Street Team

DOs&DON'TsA street team is a group of fans who come together to support a you as an author or in support of a specific book or series of books you’ve written. They’re all about creating buzz for your books and sharing that passion for your stories with you.

When establishing an official street team–however that looks for you–it is always a good idea to establish a basic set of DOs and DON’Ts for the team members. Below we’ve collected a general set for you to consider and to help get you started.

 

DOs

Do…feel free to post on the street team board any time. Please keep posts clean and PG.

Do…stay active and engaged. I love interacting with my Street Team!

Do…help me promote in any way you feel comfortable with (creating your own posts, sharing my posts, leaving reviews, telling your friends, tweeting to the world, etc.).

Do…share your thoughts on my books with the team and me. We all have this in common, and so we can enjoy discussing together.

Do…invite your friends to events like Facebook parties.

Do…know how much I appreciate you! I put my heart and soul into my books, and anyone who loves them and is happy to join me in that passion is a friend indeed!

Do…have fun!

 

DON’Ts

Don’t…use this forum to sell or promote yourself, other authors, or other items.

Don’t…join only for the freebies. Part of the fun of this group is a shared passion!

Don’t…bash other authors or leave dishonest reviews about their work in an attempt to pump up my brand. We love other authors!

Don’t…share anything I’ve specified as either exclusive content OR as a sneak peek or preview. I’ll let you know when things are ready to go live to the public!

Don’t…share anything that might hurt my brand. Think about how people might react to a given post and make sure it’s appropriate.

Don’t…do anything that makes you uncomfortable. The point of a street team is a shared passion and getting the word out, but not when you don’t have fun!

Memes as Marketing Tools

self-publishing

Memes are a fun way to engage with readers and/or other writers on a casual level while still effectively branding yourself.

What is a Meme?

First, the newest definition is that a meme is a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.

The majority of modern memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior or commonly shared life situations. Other memes can be videos and verbal expressions. Some memes have heavier and more serious content.

 

Why Are Memes Effective?

Have you enjoyed a quote that spoke to you? Laughed at a picture with a funny caption? Felt your heart warm at a sweet image that reminded you of something fond in your own life? Then a meme has been effective for you.

Memes are effective because they are:

  1. Easy to Create – Usually a single image with a quick quote.
  2. Easy to Consume – Again, single image with a quick quote.
  3. Sharable – Most memes are shared via social media, which makes them easy to  like, share, repost, retweet, etc.
  4. Familiar/Relatable – Typically memes are images, quotes, or situations that are familiar to most people.
  5. Funny – Most memes lean toward humor, though they can also be heartwarming or serious.
  6. Attention Getting – Because of the above reasons, memes easily grab the attention of your followers.
  7. Branding – Memes for marketing purposes can help you brand yourself.

 

Using Memes as Marketing Tools

Memes as a tool of marketing can either be very specific and similar (look at big brands like Geico or Progressive), or they can be general but still point to a theme (like being an author). When you use social media as your main means of marketing, then memes become an excellent tool to connect with people. Each time you post a meme, then, ask yourself the following questions

Why Are You Posting a Meme?

Are you short of other things to post that day? Memes are great fillers. Or are you using a meme to help you make a point or an announcement? Why you’re posting will affect the type of meme you’ll use.

Who is Your Target Audience?

Are you aiming at readers? Other writers? Readers of a certain age? Readers of a certain genre?  Your audience will affect the type of meme you use.

What are Your Goals for the Meme?

Is your goal to sell something? To connect with readers? To share your personal life? Your goal for a given meme will affect the type of meme you use.

How Can You Make It About You/Your Books?

This is all about marketing in the end, which means the mean should point back to you somehow. As authors, there are many ways to do this. General memes about your writing life. Memes specific to your genre. Memes specific to your books. Memes about you as a person. Making the memes about you will affect the type of meme you use.

 

Popular Ideas

Just for fun, think through different ideas that are currently popular in the meme world. Take some time to search for memes. Make note of the ones you connect with or enjoy. A few examples include:

  • Animals saying human things.
  • Babies saying or doing adult things.
  • Sayings from popular television shows or movies.
  • Popular images of characters from television shows or movies.
  • Popular or classic quotes.
  • Puns or joke punch lines.
  • That moment when. . .

9 Tools for Creating Social Media Images

Wooden toolbox on the tableEvery marketing professional out there will tell you that when it comes to marketing, people are drawn to images. This is true on TV, on billboards, in magazines, and…on social media. Authors, this means you need to get comfortable creating images to use in your social media on a regular basis. Here are 9 tools to help you do that!

Get Images

Part of the trouble with social media images is having to pay for the rights and do the appropriate attribution. Check out these sites for beautiful, free images.

Pexels 

Free stock images for both personal and commercial use without attribution.

https://www.pexels.com

Unsplash

Free stock images for both personal and commercial use without attribution.

https://unsplash.com/

 

Manipulate Images

If you’re not a Photoshop expert and don’t want to pay the $ for the tools, try these easy-to-use tools to help you put together your social media images.

Canva

You can use the free features or pay for custom image usage. Either way, this is an easy to use tool which produces graphics the right size and type for any social media platform.

https://www.canva.com/

Pic Monkey

For a small monthly fee, you have access to a very easy to use tool which allows you to take your pictures to the next level.

https://www.picmonkey.com

 

 

 

Professional Images

If you’re already a whiz with Photoshop or some other graphics tool, here are some tools to step up your game.

Dafont

Download ton of fantastic fonts. Even try out your words in the font first. Just remember to look for licensing rules for each individual font.

http://www.dafont.com/

Adobe Color CC

A free color picker which helps you find the right combination of colors.

https://color.adobe.com/

2017 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

Recommended sizes for any and all social media options. Each works best with different sized images.

https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-image-sizes-cheat-sheet/

 

Other

If you want to try making other types of more complicated visuals for your social media, try these:

Pictochart

To create infographics, either from scratch or with their templates

https://piktochart.com/

Recite

Create images for quotes by typing in your quote, picking the layout, and that’s it.

http://www.recitethis.com/

 

 

Authors: How to Create a Media Kit

authortoolbox-mediakitMedia kits. Authors, you need one for each book you release, and sometimes for a full series when you’ve released all the books in that series. Many authors have no idea what these are or how to use them. The good news is media kits are very easy to put together, and they can save you a lot of time when it comes to marketing your books.

What is a media kit?

A media kit is a basic document containing information about your latest book being released.

Why do I need a media kit?

Media kits are primarily used as a package of information for reviewers, bloggers, journalists, and other marketing folks to help them write about and market your book.

For indie authors, media kits are particularly helpful when setting up blog tours and requesting reviews. You will be asked for the same information over and over again. The media kit provides that information, saving you time and energy rather than reinventing the wheel every time.

How do I make a media kit?

  1. Open a Word document and save it as TitleOfBook_MediaKit.docx
  2. At the top of the document, type in the
    • Title of the Book
    • Subtitle (if any)
    • Series Name & # (if any)
    • by Your Pen Name
  3. Provide the following book information:
    • Book Blurb
    • Book Cover (insert the image)
    • Buy Links (to anywhere the book is sold)
    • Tagline (a one line phrase which captures your book)
  4. Provide the technical info about the book, including:
    • Publisher:
      Author:
      Cover Artist:
      Page Count:
      Word Count:
      ISBN (Digital):
      ISBN (Print):
      Release Date:
  5. Include a “praise” section which are positive reviews (with quotes) either about the book or about the series. Make sure to give credit to the reviewer or review website and link to the actual review.
  6. Include an “Additional Media” section with links to:
    • Book Page on your website
    • Book or Series Pinterest Board
    • Book Trailer on YouTube
    • Any other fun related links (did you make a quiz? did you do an FAQ about the series? did you do any character interviews?)
  7. Include 3 different excerpts in the following lengths:
    • Under 200 words
    • 500-600 words
    • 700-1000 words
  8. Wrap it up with information about the author including
    • Author Bio
    • Social Media Links
    • Author Picture (insert the image)
  9. Edit for typos and format to make it look professional, but simple.
  10. Save the document as a PDF
  11. When sending, attach the book cover and author picture images separately, so they have a hi-res version and not just what’s embedded in your media kit.

 

To help get you started, we’ve included a FREE MEDIA KIT TEMPLATE as a Word document to this. It is very basic. Feel free to add your own formatting and flare as desired. Best of luck getting the word out about your latest release!!!

 

Facebook Party – Game & Post Ideas

facebook-party-4About a month ago, we got into writing a script for your Facebook parties. We didn’t get into too much detail about what fun posts you could do during the party.

As authors who LOVE to do Facebook Parties, we are constantly on the hunt for good ideas for posts. Both because the books we promote change, and out of a desire to keep things fresh for the awesome friends and readers who show up to each and every party.

General searches on Google have not turned up a ton of help in terms of author-specific ideas, which we find both surprising, and interesting. So let’s help each other out and talk Facebook party post ideas. We’ll get the party started with post ideas below. Please comment with some of your favs!

A Few Tips to Start

Make the posts, particularly those for giveaways, about having fun. Games, opinions, polls, etc. are always great ideas. Try to make most of your posts simple things that the partygoers can do fairly quickly.

Even better, try to focus the majority of your posts on/around your book(s). This doesn’t mean sharing info about the books. More like, making your games and posts go with the books in some way.

If you are a guest for another’s authors book launch party, make one of your fun posts about their book instead. 🙂

We like to put many of our games/giveaways at the BOTTOM of informational posts to encourage people to look at them. Try to make the game for the giveaway have something to do with the information above.

Game & Post Ideas

Introduce Yourself

Don’t just copy your bio in. This is supposed to be fun. Make it personal. Make it specific to the party/book(s) you are promoting. Share things like your favorites. And don’t forget to include links to social media.

Book Blurb

Self-evident, share your book blurb. OR Facebook is becoming more and more graphic. You might try a meme or a book trailer to share your book info.

Series Info

If you’re promoting a series, give a little bit about the series as a whole. Again, memes and graphics are a great way to do this. Don’t share every blurb for every book in the series.

Who’s Your Date?

Ask folks to share pictures of their fictional/dream party date, outfit, accessories, pet, transport, etc.. You can even make it themed to go with your book.

Free Association

Start folks off with 1 word and they enter the first word they think of. Try to make it themed to go with your book for extra fun.

Quizzes

Use a free tool like Playbuzz to create custom quizzes that related to your books. This can be specific (Ex. which hero from my series is your perfect match?) or it can be themed (Ex. All the books in this series are named for flowers. What would your flower title be?)

Related Questions

Ask the partygoers questions that let them share their preferences. Try to relate the questions to your books. For example, your genre is paranormal romance, ask what their favorite paranormal creatures are. Or if your book is set in New York City, ask for their favorite city.

Finish This

Give the partygoers a prompt and have them finish it. You can prompt them with a scene from your book, or a single question, or movie quotes, or…

Caption the Picture

Post a picture that goes along with the theme of the party, or goes with your book somehow. Funny pics are often considered best. Then ask the party goers to caption the picture.

Gathering Followers

Facebook Parties are a great way to connect with folks who might become new fans. Typically, the other authors at your party of a similar genre, which means their readers might like your books too.

We will caveat this with, don’t make every post about following you. It’ll bug the partygoers who came for fun. They’ll understand one request, but not multiple.

Some things you can ask them to do to follow you (remember, pick 1):

  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Follow/Like you on Facebook
  • Sign up to follow your blog
  • Mark a book as “to read” on Goodreads
  • Follow you on BookBub or Amazon
  • You get the idea…

 

Happy Facebook Party time! Don’t forget to check out our social media services, including organizing your next Facebook Party or writing you a script for the party!

 

 

 

Service Spotlight: Banners & Memes

facebook-crimsondahlia-fwSocial media banners (the image across the top of your Facebook, Google, Twitter pages, or banners at the top of webpages on your site), and memes (smaller graphics used on posts) are a fantastic way to advertise your latest projects, releases, or events.

You will be provided a form to fill out providing information on your banner/meme needs. Based on your answers, we will suggest which package below is best suited to your needs.

CrimsonDahlia-NewRelease.fw.pngOnce a package is agreed upon, your artist will provide 2 different banner options to select from. They will then do 3 versions of the option you selected based on feedback you provide.

Once you have selected your final banner or meme, you will be provided several graphics as a JPGs to use on all social media (one for each type of social media you use – up to 4 types of social media).

PRICING

  • Basic Banner/Meme – text-only, basic font, graphic of your book cover or author logo ($5/banner or meme)
  • Pro Banner/Meme – basic graphics using your book cover, premium font ($10/banner or meme)
  • Premium Banner/Meme – custom graphics and premium font ($15/banner or meme)

TRY OUT THE SERVICE: You may “try out” this service by having us do a Basic Banner for FREE.  (Free 1 time only.)

Request-Button.fw

*To request other services, in addition to graphics services, click the “Request Services” link in the menu.

Your final design is considered copyrighted. You may not reuse the images or elements for other purposes. Other than proprietary images, such as covers or logos, we may use images or elements from your design on other designs at Authors On a Dime.

Any designs/images NOT selected from the initial designs provided are subject to being sold/used for other projects.

Flip the Script on Your Next Facebook Party

Legs of dancers

A Facebook Party is a ton of fun, but can also be super stressful for the hosts. These parties move quickly, with lots of different types of posts, games, and giveaways. In addition, there are the usual party niceties (manners) to be observed.

A fantastic way to reduce your party stress, host the best party you can, and make sure nothing gets forgotten, is to create a Facebook Party Script.

SocialMedia-Tips.fw

Below is an example of a script with all the parts. Feel free to copy and make it your own.

Scripting It Out

When you create a script, you will write out every post you’ll be posting before, during, and after the party. For each individual post, include the following:

  • title of the post (to help you remember what it’s about)
  • date & time you will post it
  • the exact wording for the post
  • a reminder of any items you’ll be attaching to the post (images)

*Tip: Save the post and ALL the images in the same folder

Write the posts in the order you’ll be posting. Some authors use Word, some use Excel or a spreadsheet. It’s up to you what works best.

Types of Posts

Party Description

Your party description is permanently at the top (or on the description page) of your party. Use this space to tell attendees:

  • what you are celebrating (is this a release party? or something else?)
  • your party theme (if any)
  • if it’s a release party, a bit about the book (just a taste)
  • logistics (date, time, what time zone)
  • guest authors
  • any grand prizes up for grabs

Invites

When you share or invite from the event, there’s no text to include. However, when you post on your Facebook page or other social media, be sure to include:

  • all the info from your party description
  • the link to the party to allow them to RSVP
  • an explanation that a FB party is online and live for those who’ve never attended

Pre-Party Posts

Don’t just create the event and then wait for the date. Make sure to post periodically to help get the attendees excited about your party. Types of posts you can do ahead of time:

  • introduce your guest authors
  • announce the release of your book (if it releases before the party date)
  • 1-2 pre-party games with giveaway prizes (a good opportunity to encourage attendees to invite others)
  • memes
  • news related to your book topic or party topic
  • encourage everyone to share pics of their party goodies–their virtual date, outfit, shoes, accessories, pet, and so forth (to be clear, theses are pretend goodies)

“Morning Of” Informational Post

The day of, post the logistics in the morning. This serves two purposes. One: remind attendees that today is the day. Two: get the logistics out of the way early. Make sure you include:

  • excited to celebrate
  • giveaway rules (when giveaways close, rules to enter each, when/how winners will be announced)
  • schedule (including when each guest author will be on)
  • the disclaimer – all FB giveaways require a disclaimer releasing FB. Rather than post it on every single giveaway, you can post it once here and mention that it covers all giveaways in the event)

 

Countdown Posts

Starting about an hour before the party gets rolling start your countdowns. It doesn’t take many. Just a few to start reminding attendees that it’s almost time. You can include pre-party questions or even a giveaway or two to make it fun for those who stop by early.

Kickoff

The first post of the evening. This is where you:

  • thank guests for attending
  • remind them about the logistics post from the morning
  • thank you guest authors for joining you
  • and usually start the first game/giveaway for the party grand prize (if any)

Party Posts

The bulk of your posts will be in this section. These are the fun part. What to post here could take up an entire blog post by itself (which we’ll do another time). For now, here are a few musts:

  • Introduce yourself (include fun facts and your social media links)
  • Try to post about every 5 minutes.
  • Break posts up with some longer posts that are games/giveaways, and shorter posts (memes, quick questions, etc.) in between
  • Do include several games/giveaways. Try to make them easy but fun for participants. Even better, make them related to your book.
  • Introduce guest authors 1-2 minutes before they start
  • Thank guest authors as they wrap up
  • If you ARE a guest author, it’s a nice gesture to make at least one of your posts about the author/book the party is for

Thank You

Be sure to thank the guest authors and participants at the end of the party. Take the opportunity to remind people to check out your new book and/or follow you on various social media.

Wrap Up

A final logistical post reminding people about when giveaways will close and when/how/where winners will be announced.

Winners Announcements

We recommend a single winners announcement post (including winners for all guest author giveaways). Include:

  • Who ran the giveaway
  • The giveaway name
  • The giveaway prize(s)
  • The winner (tag the person)
  • A congrats to the winners and repeated thanks

 

To get you started, here’s a very basic Word Document layout. Happy Facebook partying