Tips, tricks, and plans

October is bearing down upon us. This has always been my favorite month of the year. I would happily trade January or August for an extra October. It's also always been my best month for sales. This is probably because I have a few paranormal titles in my catalog.

I plan to hit it hard in October. I have a few guest posts that will appear, and you may find some new blogs to follow at the host sites. I still have time to write a couple more if you know of an October event that I should participate in.

There are also a couple of blog tours via my Story Empire crowd. We'll be giving away prizes and hope to make a big splash. Follow Story Empire to keep up with what's going on over there.

I intended to make the tips & tricks part of this into a Story Empire post, but there is a five person rotation and it would be November before it posted. Over here I can weave in some of my individual plans too.

I intend to use some of the Amazon tools during October. I may run an ad campaign. I'm almost certain to have a sale, or even some free days. Keeping the October theme going, I'll probably focus on The Playground, Will O' the Wisp, and Panama. Both Experimental Notebooks fit the bill too, but since they're 99¢ I don't see how a sale would work. I may do some Facebook boosting too.

Last year, I invited people to provide artwork for Macabre Macaroni. My idea was that some budding cover artists might like a place to showcase their work. I was even happy with grandchildren who glued dried macaroni to a paper and made art. I never got a single taker, and there was no artwork last year. This year I'm taking a different approach. I commissioned a piece of art to accompany the micro-fiction. Macabre Macaroni will post every Tuesday in October.

I'm a little slow on the uptake at times, but I learned a Twitter trick. There are people out there who support me heavily. They make custom tweets about my books, or maybe a post they found entertaining. I want to reciprocate that support, and found their pinned tweets to be handy as hell. They made them, they want them shared, and they're right at the top of their timelines. There is one lady who changes her pinned tweet every day, others leave them for a week or so.

The gears move slowly, but what if I created my own pinned tweet to help them out? I've been doing this, and find it respectful of their time, and helpful to my cause. I'll probably create a graphic of some kind, like this:

In the 140 characters I can say something clever and include the Amazon link. I will try to change it up +/- weekly so it doesn't get stale. Twitter is a volume game. A million people see your tweet, and maybe one buys the book. It does produce sales though, so something that catches the eye might work.

The point is that you should be using a pinned tweet too. I've scrolled through dozens of hundreds of tweets to find something to support an author with. They probably appreciate me sharing their book tweet, but not the picture of their lunch. A pinned tweet is right on top where it's easy to find.

Moving to the next one, sharing buttons. Not everyone is using them on their blogs. I'm happy to share, but again, I may not take the time to create my own post from scratch. I'm now encouraging visitors to use mine on the Lisa Burton Radio posts. This way my guests get a bit more exposure. The sharing buttons are easy to set up through WordPress, and you may want to check them out.

While you're deep inside the guts of WordPress, are you auto-feeding your posts on other social media? I have mine set to feed right into the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, Goodreads, and to tweet the link out. Easy-peasy, and I don't have to do this individually.

This next tip might be worth the price of admission. I think there could be something to what the world is calling curated content. There are a number of apps and social media options out there. I'll even provide links, but I want to talk about them a bit first.

I started out with an extinct platform called Zite Magazine. I used it for news I couldn't get anywhere else. It provided many of the Idea Mill articles. If I liked something, I could give it a thumbs up to get more articles like it. If I gave it a thumbs down, it learned not to send me data about the Kardashians.

Unfortunately, they were absorbed by Flipboard. Flipboard promised the same experience, only better-faster-stronger, yada yada. It failed on this front, but there is a silver lining.

Flipboard will let you create your own magazine. I decided, since I was already there, to test it out. I call mine Entertaining Stories. (Branding and all that.) I selectively share my blog posts there, and occasionally share other items of interest, like when one of you has something wonderful, or Sean Harrington shares a Lisa poster on his DeviantArt site.

Most days I can see a few visitors from Flipboard. On occasion it goes absolutely crazy. I posted a bit of micro-fiction about Lisa this week that had over two-hundred visitors from Flipboard. See the image to remind you of the post.

A few months ago, I shared a post about a short story trick. It involved the twist endings I use in some of the short form. I had over 2000 visitors that found me via Flipboard. It still gets action to this day.

Here is the link for Flipboard.

 

We're still on curated content, but I'm drifting again. (Bear with me.) I've written before about what I call “white noise.” Feeds on all social media have become so much white noise. Twitter is the worst, and my regular feed is like a firehose of data. I scroll through until I see something that catches my eye. Catching my eye has become the new trick. Facebook is similar, and so is WordPress.

I follow a ton of blogs. I can't read them all, so something has to catch my eye in the regular stream. I have my “must read” blogs and they got on the list by engaging and by posting great content.

Re-blogging is a double edged sword. I love it when someone shares my post. I like to share the awesome stuff here too on occasion. It's hard to get much engagement on a re-blog. The original poster is the one where the interaction occurs.

There are some bloggers who share a dozen posts per day, and never seem to offer original content. One of these curated content options might be a great way for them to spread the word. Flipboard is only one, here are a few others.

I have not used these, but I might someday soon. It could be a way to extend my tentacles online without too much effort.

The first one is called paper.li It is like having your own magazine, or newspaper if you prefer. You get to share whatever you want with your subscribers. One of my author friends is testing this out right now, and I hope to learn how it works for him.

The other one is called RebelMouse. This is a similar product. I really don't know the advantages of one over the other.

It seems to me like this could be the way for me to replace the original use I had for Zite Magazine. If I could find a couple of curators who deal with macabre stuff, and some cutting edge science, it could be useful.

It also seems like a place that's ripe for mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers. Flipboard, paper.li, and RebelMouse are all doing nearly the same thing. (One sells to Microsoft, one to Apple, and one to Google.) That wasn't the point of my post though.

These sites are helpful. My content has been shared on all of them by others. I need to check out paper.li and RebelMouse, but before I dive in they have to be easy and fast. Any of us would like more exposure, but my time is limited.

In the case of Flipboard, there is an app for that. I find that to be an advantage. I did not find apps for the other sites.

In my case, all roads lead to this blog. If you find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Flipboard, even Goodreads, there is likely something that leads you back here. That's my system, but there may be others that work better. If you have a better way, share it in the comments. I'd like to know, and I'll bet my regulars would too.

Do you have any experience with RebelMouse or paper.li? I'd like to get some input on these platforms. If I take one of them on, it will probably be part of my 2017 business plan. I'm just gathering data right now.

Are you going to create a pinned tweet? I think it's a great way to let your supporters help spread the word.

Are you going to set up sharing buttons on your own blog? Feel free to test mine out.

Do you know of any October events I should be taking advantage of? Are you hosting one, and need some players?

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45 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Writing

45 responses to “Tips, tricks, and plans

  1. I change the pinned tweet every day. I have new ones show up every 3 to 6 hours too, so I show up in feeds. Have to admit that it drives me nuts when somebody has a pinned tweet up for days/weeks/months and I can never find any more of their stuff to reciprocate. There is a point where a tweet can be retweeted again, but I think a lot of time or activity has to pass. I highly recommend (unless you know this already) using a program to make the URL smaller, so you have more space. TinyURL is one that I use.

    The rest is great advice, so I have to share. Probably have this be my post of the day too. As far as sharing goes, I’ve noticed that I can’t get the like and reblog buttons to show up on some blogs. Getting rather frustrating and I’m not sure if it’s caused by my system or WordPress.

    Like

    • I see something on most of the blogs where you click a symbol to get the sharing buttons. It looks like this < with knobs on the ends. Works pretty well, but I'm all about making it easy for my readers. I should change my pinned tweet more often, but it's all about available hours sometimes.

      Like

      • I haven’t seen that yet. Just a ‘. . . loading’ thingy that lasts for at least 15 minutes. Then I give up.

        It might not help with the pinned post, but I take time each night to schedule the tweets. This is through Hootsuite. For example, I schedule a post for 6 AM and go onto the iPhone app soon after I wake up to pin it. The tweet is there and waiting for me to lock it in place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • i looked at Hootsuite, and it didn’t quite do what I wanted. What it does do might be useful for where I am today. I noticed that you can un-tweet something you shared, then immediately tweet it again. With a pinned tweet it serves to place it back into the timeline.

        Like

      • Yeah. I do the untweet/retweet thing when I have to. Every once in a while, I get a message from the author complaining that I retweeted something that is no longer in print or they aren’t promoting it anymore. It’s good for a last resort. I try to search for the username too in case they are being promoted by another site like IAN.

        I’m rather basic with Twitter and Hootsuite helps me with time. It means I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to make a fresh tweet and I can handle a day where things are simply not going my way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a good plan. I’ll look back into it.

        Like

  2. PHS

    Good post about all your tips. The difference with Rebel Mouse is that it recently went from having a free level to all paid. Paper.li still has a free entry point. I like to find some links about my topics and supplement to my Paper.li so I try to put in some from other blogs or annoucncements. I don’t rotate my pinned tweet on Twitter enough but I need to – same on FB. I enjoyed catching up with what’s going on. I’ve got a short book I’m going to push some this October some myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to know. I’m interested in how much effort you have to put into paper.li. If you need some help promoting your short publication, let me know. Maybe we can schedule another Lisa interview.

      Liked by 1 person

      • PHS

        Certainly about a Lisa Interview – good idea in fact. I haven’t put much effort into my Paper.li so far. I just add a few things each day – just added this actually. I think that I’ll go pro at some point soon to feed into my blog. I just took your advice and changed it to Archer’s Aim Daily. I wish I could at some artwork on the title too. I don’t think I have enough subscribers yet to get enough attention and I likely need to tweak some of my topics to get a wider set of post sources. I might give Flipboard a try at some point as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s a good idea to be consistent with branding. Artwork helps catch the eye, after that it’s the content that matters. Thanks for sharing this post, btw. Let me know if you want a fresh questionnaire for the interview.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sad thing is I don’t know how to pin a tweet. I’ll look into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never heard of those other two sharing sites. Interesting. I’m not big on reblogs at all. I seldom reblog and I seldom read reblogs. I’m doin 13 days til Halloween again, not that I have any clue wtf I’m writing. I’m sure somethin will come. We watched Poltergeist last night…maybe if I watch enough scary movies I’ll get scared enough to think of somethin scary. You know me though, I prefer to be scared about running the dryer when I’m not home or picking up lice from a dental chair, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Informative post, Craig. Thanks. I use paperli but haven’t been pushing it in any way, which I need to do. So far the content has been interesting, but I really need to look at just where I’m at with it and make some adjustments. I need to rethink my pinned tweet as well. I haven’t changed it in weeks now, and hadn’t given a thought to the fact that it may have become stale. The RT’s I get have been great, and I guess I didn’t want to lose that momentum.
    As for October, I love it…I also have an anthology of Paranormal shorts that have been available for quite some time, so I’ll take your advice and push it more in the lead up to October. Thanks for prompting me to rethink a few things Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, so much to digest in that post!
    I change my pinned tweet about once a month but I want to start doing it more often. Pinned tweets are great. Whenever I follow someone or someone follows me the first thing I do is check out their pinned tweet and RT. Twitter does have a lot of “noise” but I’ve bought a ton of books off Twitter when those tweets grab me. I’ve bought more books from Twitter than any other form of social media.

    I have share buttons on my blog and always look for them on the blogs of others. WordPress makes it easy. Whenever I comment on a WP post, 99% of the time I RT. I share my own posts automatically to Google+ but not to FB (because of FB algorithms) and I don’t share to Twitter because my blog follower count would be skewed. I manually RT for Twitter.

    I’ve been meaning to look into Paper.li forever. I get lots of mentions in them, but honestly….as many as I see I never read the blog posts they share. I’m not sure how beneficial it would be.

    I’ve had the Flipboard app forever (pre Zite) but I’ve never tried the magazine thingie. That sounds like something I’d really like to check into. I have to add it to the list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’be often wondered about those widgets that tell me how many followers someone has. They always seem higher than what I get in email when they reblog something. Maybe it’s because of Twitter. I never worried about it. Mine is a boutique blog, ha ha.

      I believe you can get deep into Flipboard, but I use it as another way to increase my footprint. Last I checked I have 75 Flipboard visitors today. It could be residue from the Lisa story, or it could be from today’s post. Either way, I’ll take it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • One more thought. Do you think it would be acceptable for me to share this on the Story Empire Facebook page? It is similar to the content we post after my October plan.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Glad to see you seem to have all your fingers on the pulse, so to speak!
    I find myself relying on your experiences more and more!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some great info Craig – I just find social media totally mind-boggling most of the time and completely infathomable in it’s swirling variety… I think I’ll certainly try some of the promotional pinned tweet suggestions on my new ‘official’ author blog for Sian and leave the support side of things to stew on INKorporated! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing the tips! I’ve always had a chain from WordPress to Twitter to Facebook, but I hadn’t used the pinned tweets. Guess I’d better do one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I dont like, or get, paper.li. Ive had many tweets saying they’ve shared one of my posts but when I click through to check it out, nothing of mine is listed.

    Stumbleupon sounds much like what you described with Zite Magazine. It works in a very similar way, so you might like it.

    My phone came pre-loaded with Flipboard, but the thought of yet another social media site just makes my blood run cold. Facebook has been my best referrer after search engines, would you believe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stumbleupon has been more miss than hit for me. They changed how you tag a post. I used to see them referring, but haven’t for many months. Flipboard has been simple so far. After starting my magazine, all I have to do is load content and ignore it. Facebook works well for those who work it back. Twitter seems to be the same way. None of us has time to dedicate to all of them, but one might be okay.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Writing Links in the 3s and 5…9/26/16 – Where Genres Collide

  12. I always have a pinned tweet, which you know because you’ve tweeted it. Thank you! And yes, I totally agree about everyone using a pinned tweet. It’s time-consuming to scroll through someone’s timeline to find their books/blog. Having a pinned tweet guarantees followers share the right tweet, too. I try to change mine weekly, sometimes more often, sometimes less.

    I have had experience with Rebel Mouse and all the similar Twitter newspapers out there (there are a ton of them). To me, I’m always thankful when people include one of my posts, but I rarely get any traffic from it. Even I hardly ever go on to read any of the other articles. It would really have to spark interest to get me to click, because time is always a factor. So while it’s a nice way to support your followers I don’t know how much traffic it drives. However, once it’s set up it’s all done automatically so it’s not like it’ll demand your attention. Personally, I get most of my outside traffic from StumbleUpon, and that remains my number one recommended site.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I stumble many articles and get almost nothing from them these days. I used to get half a dozen per day. Lately, nothing. I noticed they changed the ability to tag the posts, and I think that hurts. I still do it, but I’m getting more action from Flipboard lately.

      Liked by 1 person

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