Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Author + Social Media = ???

with guests Jana Oliver and Tyra Burton. The Social Media Muses.
Facebook? Pinterest? Twitter?

If being an author isn’t challenging enough, now there’s this whole social media thing. The days when we could remain apart from our readers, except for the occasional book signing, are over. With publishers and agents using your online presence to judge your marketability, you have to be actively engaged. But don’t worry, it’s not just a time sink. There are things to learn and gain from connecting with your target audience. But first, let’s take a look at where to do that connecting.

Let’s start with which social media platforms work best for your genre. If you’re writing Young Adult or New Adult books, then Twitter and Tumblr are your best bets. Adults? Facebook is a good choice. If your audience is primarily women, Pinterest has the strongest footprint with the female of the species. For Males and Young Adults, YouTube and Google+ work well, while a blog attracts readers no matter their age or gender.

Having a website is essential as it’s your central hub on the internet, the only site you truly control. Always make sure your readers are linked back to your “home base.” To help develop and reinforce your author brand (the “image” you present to the world) make sure your website and social media platforms are consistent in terms of graphics, colors, and theme.

No matter where you’re interacting, there is one fundamental rule: do not become that author. You know, the one who posts about their books over and over, a constant and irritating sales pitch. The main reason readers interact with an author is to get to know the person behind the books. This doesn’t mean you have to reveal all the intimate details of your life, but you do need to come across as genuine, and not an infomercial.

Now, let’s take a quick look at three of the strongest social media platforms, what target audience they reach and how they might help you connect with your readers.

 Facebook is the two thousand pound gorilla in the social media jungle. With over one billion users worldwide, it’s a solid platform on which to establish your author brand.

Facebook has two main ways to interact: a Timeline (sometimes called a Profile) and a Page. A Timeline is for non-commercial use only, where a Page is designed for businesses, organizations and, of course, authors. Unlike a Timeline where people send you Friend Requests and you are limited to five thousand Friends, people “Like” your Page and the number of followers is unlimited.

A Page offers some extra goodies: you can schedule posts in advance, which is handy when you’re crunched for time but you still need to stay in touch with your fans. (To schedule a post in a Profile, you have to use a third-party application like Hootsuite or Buffer.)

Pages have the advantage of an Insights section, which shows you which of your posts performed well (or poorly), which genders and ages found those posts of interest, and how many times they were Liked or Shared. You can even determine which countries have the greatest number of Followers and when those posts are being read. This in-depth data is invaluable when it comes to planning future posts and promotions. It can also help you discover potential target markets.

For Facebook, it’s all about visibility. However, only 6-15% of what you post on your Page will make it onto your followers’ newsfeeds, so the more creative, interesting and engaging the content, the more people will see your posts.

Photographs, videos and other visual content work well, as does “sharing” other peoples’ posts. Always keep your eyes open for news articles and images that resonate with your book’s theme. If your stories are about veterans, consider posting about the many fine organizations that offer services to our military personnel, such as Pets for Patriots, Homes for Our Troops, etc.

If your books have a cooking related theme, include recipes and food preparation tips on your timeline. Or if your story is set in a certain locale (Italy, for instance), be sure to post photos or videos that tie into that setting. By using theme-related posts you can promote your books without irritating your readers with a constant “buy me” message.

Facebook recommends that you post 4-9 times per week. We recommend at least once per day.

Pinterest is where to find the ladies. With over 25 million users, eighty percent are female and thirty percent are between the ages of 25-34. Pinterest is an interactive visual medium where users “pin” images, recipes and other media to their “boards.” The more unique the pins, the better.
Some authors use the boards as a collage of book-related images to help spur the creative process. Pins might be location shots, clothing, or pictures of your hero or heroine. An example is Jana’s Pinterest board for her YA fairytale, Briar Rose.

You can also set up individual boards for your characters or showcase your hobbies, be that knitting or archery. The key is to populate your boards with eye-catching images and be sure to link them back to your website when appropriate. While you’re at it, add a Pin It! button next to book covers on your website to make it easy for your readers to share them on their own Pinterest boards.
With over a half billion users, Twitter is designed for real time conversations, with the fastest growth in the 18-24 age range. Limited to only 140 characters, messages need to be succinct. To keep all those “tweets” organized, you can assign a #Hashtag to allow other users to search for topics of interest.

You can tweet links to your website, images or articles. People are more likely to RT (retweet) your post if you place any links about a quarter of the way into the message. If you want your tweet passed on, make it shorter than the full 140 characters so the RT will not push your message over the acceptable limit. You can shorten hyperlinks using bit.ly while Instagram is an ideal platform for sharing images to Twitter.

Remember that whatever you tweet, unless it is a DM (direct message) to another user, it will be seen by the world unless you have made your account private (which is counter-productive if you are trying to gain followers).

In a creative use of Twitter, Author Jeri Smith Ready hosted two of her readers’ favorite heroes from the Shade series, letting Zachary and Logan banter back and forth while the readers asked them questions. It was a clever way to promote her books while giving her fans a special treat.

No matter which social media platform(s) you choose, be consistent. To do a flurry of posts on Facebook and then disappear for a week or two is not going to help your visibility in the long run. 

If you want an easy way to judge the size of your “footprint”, consider signing up for Klout, a free service that scores your social media impact on a scale from 1-100. The higher the number, the more your followers are engaged with you. A score of 40 means you’re having an average impact on the web. 63 or above indicates you’re one of the top 5% of influencers. Jana’s score is usually about 62 while Tyra’s score is in the 64-66.

You shouldn’t try to engage with your readers on every single social media site. At the very least you should have a website, a blog and spend time on Facebook. Beyond that, decide which sites would best fit your readers and your personality. Pick which platform(s) you like best, and feel most comfortable with, and go for it.

Above all, enjoy yourself! Engage with your fans as they get to know more about you and your books. That’s the fun of this brave new world of social media. 

 Which social media platforms do you use and do you find them effective?

By day, Tyra Burton is a Senior Lecturer of marketing at Kennesaw State University. By night, she’s a gamer-girl, gadget geek who lives in Atlanta with her husband and three adorable fur babies.

Also an Atlanta resident, Jana Oliver is a multi award-winning author who writes mysteries, romances and paranormal stories for adults and teens. When not banging away on the keyboard, she hangs with her very patient husband and Dali, the current Feline Overlord.

Together they co-authored Socially Engaged: An Author's Guide to Social Media. Please check out their website for social media tips and insights at www.socialmediamuses.com

Today our very generous guests have a special giveaway for Seekerville! 

They are giving away five copies of SOCIALLY ENGAGED, either print editions or e-book (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBook or GooglePlay).  International winners welcome.

Just let us know you want your name in the drawing. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. Throw my name in the drawing. I need all the help I can get with this social media thing that's not really my thing.

    Coffee's set to brew.

  2. Wow..that's a heavy load. Thanks, ladies

  3. I enjoy facebook, so I play there, and I have a website, but I don't have a real blog, but I have a website that I run in lieu of a blog and that's as close to a blog as I'm going to get anymore! Well, except for blog tours if I have to.....I do use Pinterest for myself and for background info on books. I like it better than using a web browser's bookmarks. And I have a twitter only because people made me because they wanted to tag me. I do occasionally post there, mainly just to respond to people tagging me. But I cannot stand to tweet! Do you see how long this comment is? THis. This is why I can't tweet! :)

  4. Facebook is my #1 social media site. I spend far more time there than I should, er, than I do on other social media sites.

    I'm on Twitter and tweet a couple of times a day. Mostly I just read others' tweets. OK. I'll admit it. I cyberstalk the Love Inspired editors. I learn so much from them, plus I get to see lots of fun animal pics. :-)

    I pin on Pinterest on occasion. I have a LinkedIn account, but I don't think it does much for me. And Google+? I have a profile, but after several years, I still don't really understand how that site works.

    I have a spiffy website with a blog, but I don't publish posts nearly as often as I used to. Instead I visit cool blogs like this one where I can hang out with awesome people. :-)

  5. A fascinating post & subject matter.

    Count me in thank you.

  6. I love Pinterest and have private boards where I try pictures of my heroine and hero together and pin their homes. I'm not published, but I love the idea of creating boards of my characters' hobbies. What a great idea!

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing. Thanks for stopping by Seekerville and helping us understand the importance of social media! Have a great day!

  7. hahaha, Keli. I cyberstalk editors and agents too. And you can do it in your jammies. What's not to like?

  8. So I have Tweeted (x2), FB'd (x2), Pinterested, Google +'d, Linkedin-ed and Pinterested your visit today.

    Overkill mebbe?

  9. Oh then there is leaving messages on Yahoo groups too. The trick is to leave a comment that sort of casually mentions what you REALLY wanted to talk about.

  10. Question 1 of the day: Is Linked-In really valuable for writers?

  11. Question 2: All those graphs and charts about the best time to post on different social media platforms..are they for real?

  12. Question 3: If you had to choose only one Social Media Platform. Which would be the single most valuable for this audience which is inspirational romance writers??

  13. Question 4: tchotchkes at conferences. What about those for pushing your social media sites? What is the best one you've seen of late?

    Of course I found you guys buy your giant postcard at RWA. Big and eye catching! Love it. I took it home. I wanted to know more.

  14. Question 5 and the final question. I like to exploit...I mean utilize our guests:

    What about tag lines. In emails especially. Long tag lines make me insane. What do you think is the best and most effective tag line to get someone to actually check you out?

  15. WELCOME TO JANA AND TYRA, BTW. I was so excited I just jumped the gun. Bagels and fruit for you ladies. On the side bar. Enjoy.

  16. Welcome to Seekerville, Jana and Tyra. Thanks for your succinct informative post! I'm a lurker and liker on Facebook. My problem: I never feel I have anything of interest to say. I don't have baby calves being born like Mary. Or precious little kids to share pictures of like Ruthy.

    So any tips on what to post about that gives readers a peek at who I am without boring them silly?


  17. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Iuse facebook and Pinterest. I have a question about Pinterest. Iam starting to doa lot of research towards a historical fiction I want to write. I wanted to pin a photo I found on the Internet but could not figure out how to when there was no pin it button.

    I do not have a blog but have been thinking about doing one. I have no idea how to start. Any suggestions would be welcome. Is this the same as having a web site?

    I recently set up twitter but have no clue what I am doing. I just copy pre set twitters from authors to promote their books.

    I am an older generation who has no clue as to how to use Social media

    1. Wilani, we are ALL older generational. But we are teachable!!!

  18. I love Facebook. I'm starting to love Twitter. I still can't figure out how to shorten URL's.

    Some it is probably due to time constraints. There are only so many hours in a day.

  19. Good morning, folks! I've got coffee and a working brain (pretty amazing for what is actually my Monday this week).
    First of all -- thanks to Tina and Seekerville for having us by!

    And now into the trenches of social media.

  20. I'm a bit of a closet geek. I love technology and gadgets, hand me a computer to take apart and I'm ready with my screwdriver and pliers. ;) However, tell me I have to interact on Social Media, and I become a tongue tied little girl. It's awful! I'm so afraid whatever I say will come across as lame and/or that I'm trying too hard.

    I do have an "author-in-waiting" Facebook page and profile. My page has 301 "LIKES" which I think is cool since I'm not published, yet. But I mainly made the profile as a place to interact with other writers in an effort to separate my writing life from my personal life.

    I also have a Twitter account, but in the year since I started my Twitter account, I've tweeted 71 times. (It will be 72 as soon as I tweet about you ladies being on Seekerville today.)

    I do have a Pinterest account, but I've been too busy trying to learn Twitter and managing my Facebook accounts to pin anything lately.

    I don't have a blog or website, yet. I really need to get on that, but I'm afraid of not having anything to write about on it. I don't want to have a blog/website just to have one, you know? I want it to be a place people want to visit.

    As you can tell I'm in desperate need of a copy of your book. Please, put my name in the drawing! Oh, and thank you both for visiting Seekerville today!!! I'm going to spend the afternoon trying to figure out how to start a blog. (One that is interesting and will attract readers).

    1. I had no idea Rhonda could take apart computers!!!!

  21. Helen - Your reaction is very common, especially for those of use who have been in the writing game for a long time. We're going "Whadda mean? I gotta do this on TOP of my writing."

    Melissa -- Sounds like you have a good start. And yes, you might not be well suited to tweeting. ;-)It's a learned skill, but not everyone wants to go that way. No harm, no foul.

    Keli - I have a Google+ account but that's about it. I primarily focus on FB. I do some Twitter (should do more) and the occasional Pinterest (again, I should do more).

  22. Mary - Thanks you!

    Jackie - I honestly should do more on Pinterest, but I don't. It's so much fun it's a time sink.

    Tina - I've been known to stalk editors as well. :-) And thank you for promoting this article. Tyra and I were out doing our thing yesterday as well.

  23. As to Tina's first question, I'll leave that to Tyra and as I cheerfully ignore LinkedIn.

    As to your second question -- Yes, they are for real. Where it's really awesome that FB and the other platforms track all that data, it's kinda scary that FB (etc.) track all that data. It's a sobering reminder that everything we do online goes to some database somewhere.

  24. Question #3: You know, in my opinion (and Tyra might have a different one) it's a toss up between Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook because it's so large and crosses so many demographics and Pinterest because of the large numbers of women who use that platform.

    So I'll toss a question back to you: who is your average reader? Male? Female? Age range? More inspirational romance readers in the US vs. overseas?

  25. I've tried and tried to like Facebook, but so far it hasn't clicked.

    Maybe I need to try again? :-\

    Being an artist and photographer, the visual format of Pinterest is more interesting and enjoyable to me.

    During Speedbo I'm limiting my pinning time to ten minutes at 5:00 am each morning and another ten minutes before I tumble into bed at 10:00 pm. :-o

  26. I've blogged for almost four years--love it! (And you're right--it's something we can control, and at the very least, I believe every writer should at least have a basic landing page with contact info, a short, fun bio, etc.). Because of time constraints I recently went from a MWF format to a W/F format, which works well for me. :)

    I also do FB, Twitter (love!), and LinkedIn. Unbelievably, I'm not on Pinterest yet. (I fear I'd love it TOO much! ha! BUT the draw is oh so strong. :) )

    The key to social media is finding and using what works well and going with it. It can be too stressful jumping into the fray just because you feel pressured if it's not really your thing.

    OH--and you're so right! Being consistent is huuuge.

    Great tips! Thank you, Jana and Tyra!

    (You whoooo... Helen! May I please have a refill? Alas, my coffee pot is dry...)

  27. I started a blog and a Facebook page for my author persona. I have a Twitter, tumblr, and Pinterest accounts, but not specific to me as an author. I have no idea what my brand is so I'm just starting out and trying to feel like a real author! I'd like to win :)

  28. Ladies, welcome to Seekerville! This is wonderful, timely information, and you took the mystery/fear out of the situation by breaking down which one better targets which demographic.

    Thank you! Time is always the crazy master behind this premise, and us full-time workers/writers/mothers/grandmothers/wives, etc. are on a constant crunch. I've learned to use facebook and twitter to my advantage in a way that keeps me in touch with folks, but Pinterest is ADDICTIVE.

    I have to discipline myself to not go there, regardless of the opportunity! YIKES!!!! #ownworstenemy

  29. That's one of the keys -- finding what you enjoy doing so it isn't a burden. (And that applies to more in our lives than just social media.)

    I'm fine on Facebook. Twitter I have to work at. I have to fight my blog constantly because I honestly don't feel that my life is that intriguing that people want to read about it. It probably isn't, but that shouldn't keep me from blogging the important highlights. Still, it's a fight for me to blog even once per week.

  30. This is perfect! Thanks for sharing...I love the idea about having characters banter back and forth on Twitter. Please put me in the drawing. :)

  31. Oh I want this book. My daughter set me up with a blog and a twitter account and though they look good, I did not know how to make them effective. Now I realize what I am lacking. Facebook and Pintrest...who knew? Ummm. Okay, don't scold the old lady with confused skills. Thanks for the info. I will print it and, uh, give it to my daughter.

  32. Eileen - Hey, it's a totally new world out there. I started writing in 1998, first published in 2001 and back then it was a blog and a website. Now it's all this other stuff.
    And, of course, working with a social media professor means that Tyra says, "Hey, have you heard about XYZ?" and I wince because most likely I haven't. :-)

  33. Good morning everyone! Thanks to Tina and Seekerville for having Jana and I over for the day. And thanks to Jana for being the early bird and getting the replies rolling.

    Now...time to get socially engaged!

  34. Hey there, lady! Welcome to the conversation. These folks get up early around here.

  35. I have a web page and a FB profile, but I shudder at the thought of a blog. I can do an occasional guest post, but I have absolutely zero desire to run a blog of my own.

    I have a twitter account, but it seldom crosses my mind to use it.

    Pinterest. What's that? :)

    There's fresh coffee.

  36. Wow, Jana and Tyra! Thank you for the many great tips I didn't know about the social media sites. I need to post more often...and love the idea of sharing recipe posts which fit my #TuesdayTea afternoon tea theme.

    I connect with my website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I like to post scenic photos with an accompanying Bible verse (Thanks, Pam Hillman), which promotes my brand as an inspirational writer.

    Thanks again for all the great information! YES, PLEASE enter my name in the giveaway for your book!

  37. Welcome, Jana and Tyra, and thanks for this very helpful overview of the most popular social media sites!

    TINA, you come up with the best questions for our guests! I'd very much like to get some opinions about LinkedIn, especially from a writer's standpoint. Maybe I just don't know how to make the best use of it. Hmmm . . .

  38. Helen – You are not alone, but with the changes both in publishing and in how people communicate finding a way to make it a ‘tolerable’ experience for you will be key.

    Marianne – you’re welcome!

    Melissa – I completely understand having a website without a blog (a situation I’m trying to rectify on my site), but do make sure you change the content some and find ways to link your Pinterest pins about your book to your website. The goal is always to drive them someplace they can find a buy link for your book – without being too obvious. ☺

  39. To help folks keep track of how often they post and where, we've created a free handout that includes social media planning sheets along with tips for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Blogs.

    You can find it at our website (www.socialmediamuses.com) under the GOODIES tab.

  40. Keli – sounds like you are doing a good job. Don’t worry about not understanding Google+ - I have a feeling Google doesn’t either. In the past, it was a big contributor to Search Engine Optimization but it may have fallen out of favor. We’ll just have to wait and see (and I’m as guilty as you – I tend to forget it is there…).

    Mary – thank you! I love your Belle profile picture! I’m a huge Disney fan.

    Jackie – make sure to pin those pictures on a public board after your book is out in the wild!

    Tina – obviously you rock! Jana took the morning announcements and I’m going to hit the lunch crowd up. :)

  41. Tina – your ‘casually mentioning’ is the key to most of social media promotions! ☺ And yes, those graphs and charts indicating when is the best time to post are for real BUT the best time in general to post may not be the best time for YOU to post. Get a feel for your audience, look at your own analytics and see when your peeps are on-line. For our local writers’ group, I can look at the Facebook insights and see that around 9:00 AM, 12:30 PM and 8:00 PM are when most of our members are online and generally when I get better engagement.

  42. Question 1 from Tina – because I do things out of order! About LinkedIn, um… I have a profile there (an extensive one) but I will honestly say I’m there mostly because of my day job as a professor. I think it is a must for my college students, and for myself personally, if an editor or agent looks me up – they will know I understand marketing.

    If you want to do more public speaking engagements, workshops or for-hire column writing, then I think LinkedIn is a must because it is where you will get ‘checked out’. Also, if you write non-fiction, it is a great place to be to reach many target audiences. Other than those reasons, it’s one social media site you can skip if you don’t have other professional reasons.

  43. Tina – Question 3 – What Jana said ☺ Honestly, I would probably say Facebook because of the age range. Also, many churches have Facebook pages as well as bible study groups, etc… which increases the amount of time your target audience would be on Facebook.

    I think I like this exploitation thing, Tina ☺ Oh – and I still believe the best way to promote your site is through word-of-mouth and actively engaging in communities where your target markets are communicating. Let me think about tag lines – Jana is the queen of them from her copywriting days.

    I also think my cat broke something… brb….

  44. Wow, what a practical post! I loved all the good suggestions here.

    I didn't know you could schedule posts on a Facebook page. I'm going to have to figure that one out! :) About pages, I read at the end of 2014 that Facebook was changing up the way they did things with Facebook pages. That they were going to really push promoting your page for a fee. What can you tell me about this? Do you have suggestions for pre-published writers regarding this?

    I loved your suggestions for doing book-themed posts, or posts that can related to your book. What a great idea! I'll be thinking on that one.

    I love Pinterest. I need to get better about using it. It doesn't feel as interactive, so I am not as consistent as I should be on it.

    I love Instagram too, but I use it more on a personal level. In part because I'm not sure how to utilize it on a professional level. :)

    Please put me in the drawing for your book. I can't learn enough about social media.:) GREAT post!!

  45. All is well, I’m happy to report – my cat is just starved for attention…and it seems food. She could see the bottom of the bowl and was worried she might have to go without or steal from the dogs. Now, back to our regularly scheduled social media chat…

    Janet – HI (waves!!) – you are a writer, you cannot possibly be boring! The trick is to find out what hobby or interests you have in common with your readers. If you write inspirational, you may want to post quotes or bible verses that reflect your style or that are up-lifting. Also articles from blogs and on-line news source work well too to fill in the gaps and to make it so you are not always promoting. So, what do you do for fun (besides writing!)? Try to capitalize on that!

    And btw – I’m a professor, it’s required that I give paragraph length responses. Jana is always trying to trim my stuff down. ☺

  46. Great post, Tyra and Jana. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! (Please put me in the drawing.) Also looking forward to combing through the comments as they arrive.

    I'm on FB the most. I'm on Twitter, but I just still can't seem to make it work. I have a homeschooling-mommy-themed blog which is growing...slowly.... At times, it can provide an outlet for fun little pieces of writing that don't belong anywhere else. It also provides encouragement when a reader likes what I've posted.

    As far as those charts on when to post, Tina, they never work for me. I've seen one that says Saturday morning is the best time to update on FB. But tons of my friends are stay-at-home moms. They're online M-F during the day. On Saturday, they're not online because they're tackling weekend chores and spending time with their husbands. Like me. :-)

  47. This is a wonderful and informative post, ladies. I'm curious as to you opinion on blogging. I have a blog that I love. It's extremely time consuming when it comes to responding to comments on my blog visiting and commenting on others. With a full-time job outside the home and family commitments, I feel blogging is taking away from my free writing time. I've been praying lately for guidance as to whether to keep the blog going. I love the idea of Pinterest, but time is a factor. Thank you again. I'd love to be entered into the drawing.

  48. I fed my cat right off the bat because I couldn't see the monitor for the fuzzy body that somehow gets RIGHT IN THE WAY.

    I tie in the subject of my books in my posts whenever I have a chance. Or I use an amusing cartoon or meme. If I find one I like, I stick it in a folder for use later. Which is one of the reasons my old computer's memory was nearly exhausted.

  49. I'm shy on social media. I think it would help if I had a separate FB account for my personal friends, writer/reader friends, and dog people. (I breed great danes.) I rarely post anything because I'm a private person.

    My writer friends and personal friends seem to mesh pretty well, but some of the dog breeders post things that I find offensive. (Their language and everyday posts. Then I wind up blocking their posts.)

    How many writers out there have separate accounts?

  50. I.Find.It.Intimidating. I have a Web site and I go on Facebook but not really to talk about writing because I don't have a book out. Sigh.

  51. And Rhonda, I've had 15 tweets on Twitter.

    (Uh, duh, where else would I tweet?)

    I hide from social media.

  52. Apparently Tyra is having wi-fi issues. She'll pop back up soon. I believe she's currently admonishing her router for its misbehavior.

    Connie - I'll be honest, I will sometimes block content, though not usually the poster. I have a Profile page and an Author Page. Now a goodly number of my readers are on my personal Profile as well, so there is crossover. I get political and such on my personal one, keep that off my author page.

    Kaybee - You don't have to be published to join the conversation. In fact, it's best if you start chatting with folks before your first book comes out. Everything you say has relevance. Maybe post about your writer journey, how it's going. I'm pretty open about my journey, what has worked, what didn't. My readers (and other writers) appreciate that.

  53. Helen--You SHOULD blog! (I love your voice AND your sense of humor! Plus--you have A LOT to say. haha) :)

    Now--not all folks feel "called" to blog. I respect that. It's time-consuming and hard work, and if we write, writing our stories should always come first. BUT--an author's website is her social hub--her very own creative outlet. Her niche to give the world a glimpse of who she is. A blog doesn't have to be some long drawn out missive because "it's the thing to do."

    I think the key is not to mirror others and to just be yourself. I like to encourage and uplift while staying on "brand." Sometimes, I talk about the writing life, too, but my primary goal is to encourage others.

    Helen, if you decide to blog, I will happily read. :)

  54. I've tried a couple of times to do Instagram but I don't have a smart phone. But I now think I can get on using a iPad.
    My sister doesn't do Facebook but she does instagram and I think I'm missing some of her good grandbaby pictures.

    Isn't Instagram sort of new and cool right now?

  55. Myra--you mentioned LinkedIn. I signed up about a year ago, I think. LinkedIn is more of a professional medium than a social outlet, but its numbers and popularity are growing.

    I'm careful about who I endorse and what endorsements I accept. I try to keep my focus writing-related on there. There are groups you can join to connect with others who share a common interest.

    There are some new bells and whistles users can add to their profiles. For instance, authors can upload links to their books, best blog content, and a number of other things. When folks view your profile, those will be visible and they can click-thru to your website (if that's one you list), or just whatever.

    LinkedIn isn't so much as an interactive medium as it is a way to connect with other professionals. I use it way less than FB, Twitter, or my blog. I think of it as another tool in my social media kit, while still using it creatively. :)

  56. Tina's Question #5: I give away a lot of postcards and other "swag". In my YA author side of things, I gave away stickers, temp tattoos, iron-on patches, you name it. All of them helped reinforce the series and my brand. Decide what works best for you and what's an option within your budget. At the very least, postcards or bookmarks (I work with GotPrint because their quality and pricing is good) and get those out there.

    Question 5: Taglines. They are NOT easy to write. I'm good with them because I used to write advertising copy for retailers. You need to boil down the message into one or two lines. Make them punchy. Run them past your fellow authors for input and then revised them again. Then put that tagline on everything -- your FB page, website, blog, business cards, etc.
    And, believe it or not, I don't have a personal tagline. Something I need to rectify.

  57. Great stuff and I agree with the fact that a great social media outlet to reach men is youtube.

    Youtube is my husband and son's go-to for any and everything. Hubby just came home from the local watering-hole (which is probably a bit on the frozen side today!) and pulled up several youtube videos of guys blowing up stuff for fun.

    The last video was where a guy put a box of shotgun shells in a microwave and videoed the results. Granted, the guy was very careful with his experiment. All this was outside, surrounded by cement blocks, filmed remotely.

    My point is that he watched it, and I watched it because I wanted to see what would happen, but it's just not something I'd bother with otherwise.

    And mud-bogging with side-by-side ATVs? Crazy bunch of folks!

    So, yeah, I can see where Youtube videos would appeal to the guys.

    I mostly use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and tie a lot of that back to my website, Seekerville and HHHistory.

  58. Odd tip of the day:

    How many of your are a BookBub subscriber? (If not, BookBub is a service that delivers a daily email listing special e-book sales ranging from Free to $2.99. You receive notices about books in which genres you choose and on which e-book reader you have.)

    So, if you receive BookBub notifications, check out those short blurbs about each of the books because those show you how to boil your story down to a pitch. Like the kind you'd use to an editor or agent. Take the pitch even smaller you have the basis for a tagline.

  59. Ok, my wifi went down - but I've been typing replies in a word document - about to flood the feed - sorry!!

    Wilani – my 90 year-old aunt has conquered Facebook – so I have faith that you will be able to do so too! For Pinterest there are two ways to pin things that do not have a ‘pin it’ button. You can enter the url for the site where you want to pin on Pinterest (click the + button and then copy and paste the url) or you can install the web browser app that is also available at the ‘+’ when using Pinterest on a computer.

    In regard to blogs and websites, many writers (Jana included unless I’m mistaken) started off with a blog on a hosting site like Blogger or Tumblr while also maintaining a separate website. I prefer the integration of the blog into the website (there is software out there to help make this possible – such as Wordpress), where you get double bang for your buck. That way if someone comes to read your blog post, they can also find out about your books ☺

    Rose – try bitly.com (where you can set-up an account) or tinyurl.com to shorten those pesky links!

    I finally caught up with Jana – tea time – then I’ll be back! By the way, I’m a Virgo, so I tend to do things in order, but I’ll get to everyone… eventually!

  60. Blasted Wi-fi - sorry I'm behind again - but I'm trying again to catch-up.

    Rhonda – Thanks for tweeting about us – and yeah for #72! My best advice about a blog is to write about stuff you enjoy that is connected to your writing. For some authors that means writing about their process for others its about their travels for research. Or you could write about things not connected to your writing process at all –but instead about you – or through it all in a melting pot and call it yours. Good luck!!

    Mary – Good for you for setting time limits! It’s so important with Pinterest as you can fall down the rabbit hole and wake up three hours later. If Facebook doesn’t click for you – that’s ok. Pinterest is a great place for you since you are an artist and photographer, but don’t forget to watermark ☺

    Cynthia – Learn from Mary and set time limits when you do get involved with Pinterest! You are doing a great job being consistent – woohoo!

    Becky – the important thing is you are out there getting your feet wet and working on your brand. If your Twitter, tumblr and Pinterest accounts aren’t under the name you write under, you may want to consider grabbing them up. It can be hard to move followers from one account to another once you get things rolling.

    I’m craving potato chips…. Is it lunchtime yet?

  61. Ruth – I opened Pinterest to answer Wilani’s question – and lost fifteen minutes to bookcases my husband needs to start building as soon as he gets home tonight…

    Eileen – having family members to abuse….I mean to help out… is always a good thing. Nothing to be ashamed of there – and when she is done with your stuff I have a website that need sprucing up… ☺ There is always something that needs to be done on social media accounts, websites and blogs – I have learned that I will never be caught up and they will never be ‘done’ – always a work-in-progress.

    Helen – yeah for fresh coffee, my tea just wasn’t doing it this morning.

    Pinterest is wonderful and horrible all at the same time. Warning, Danger! (my husband wishes I would stop finding him projects).

  62. I don't see this post in the feed - I'm sorry if it ends up being posted twice... I'm feeling blonder than usual today...

    Wilani – my 90 year-old aunt has conquered Facebook – so I have faith that you will be able to do so too! For Pinterest there are two ways to pin things that do not have a ‘pin it’ button. You can enter the url for the site where you want to pin on Pinterest (click the + button and then copy and paste the url) or you can install the web browser app that is also available at the ‘+’ when using Pinterest on a computer.

    In regard to blogs and websites, many writers (Jana included unless I’m mistaken) started off with a blog on a hosting site like Blogger or Tumblr while also maintaining a separate website. I prefer the integration of the blog into the website (there is software out there to help make this possible – such as Wordpress), where you get double bang for your buck. That way if someone comes to read your blog post, they can also find out about your books ☺

    Rose – try bitly.com (where you can set-up an account) or tinyurl.com to shorten those pesky links!

    By the way, I’m a Virgo, so I tend to do things in order, but I’ll get to everyone… eventually!

  63. Sherida – great job and posting content that connects with your brand and target market! And I love the idea of #TuesdayTea!

    Myra – welcome – and I hope I answered the question about LinkedIn for you. Let me know if you have any additional ones as Jana will toss them to me anyways ☺

  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. It appears that I can no longer cut and paste effectively - take two on this post...

    I'm apologizing ahead of time for the length of my next comment. Answering a question about Facebook's newsfeed practices takes up a lot of space :), plus Jana will tell you, I'm not good at being brief.

    Jeanne – I have a lot of discussions about Facebook and their formula for how posts appear in people’s newsfeed. The general consensus is that there isn’t one. So, here is my 2-cents.

    Because of the increases in Facebook pages and individuals liking more pages, Facebook has made it harder for you to get on your fans’ newsfeeds. Sounds crappy, but it makes good sense from a newsfeed management point-of-view. Just because I like more pages as an individual now, doesn’t mean that I spend more time on Facebook. So Facebook has to work harder at trying to figure out what I really want to see on my feed.

    What this means for pages is that you have to work harder and create better content to be seen organically (without paying). There are a few tricks to help you out and capitalize on Facebook’s main formula components. More recent posts are more likely to be seen – so update often. Content that engages (likes, shares, comments), has a better chance of being on newsfeeds and of having a longer life. Visuals usually do better and are better rated in the formula.

    I also suggest that people pay attention to what is on their individual newsfeed. How are you seeing? What pages are making it to your feed organically? Why do you think they do? Answering these questions will help you figure out how to increase the organic performance of your page.

    And, yes, Facebook does want you to pay to promote or advertise. They have to keep the servers running somehow ☺ I would wait to pay to promote until you are in the pre-order stage and have done some research on what works best.

  66. Gulping coffee...

    Cynthia –you are so right about a blog post not needing to be ‘long drawn out missive’ – now if I could convince myself of that.

    KB – deep breaths – it’ll be ok, just join the conversation. I’ve found writers to be some of the most supportive and helpful people out there.

    Mary - Instagram is my new favorite place to play. You should be able to post easily from your iPad. It’s been around since 2010 and as of December 2014 had about 300 million users. It also has a slight bias toward female users and a younger demographics. You can find me there at - http://instagram.com/tyraburton/

  67. I have a Web site and that's about it besides FB.

  68. Connie – I finally created an author Facebook page. I have resisted for a long time as I have almost 800 friends, but since I’m starting to stare at the friends cap – I finally created one. Just published it today –https://www.facebook.com/TyraBurtonAuthor and the Social Media Muses (that's Jana and I) are at https://www.facebook.com/socialmuses

  69. Now you'll expect me to get into Tumblr....

  70. Hi Jana and Tyra!

    Great information!

    I'm on Facebook (way too much!) and try to connect to people in different ways on my timeline and my author page. I love it when a reader contacts me through my author page!

    I've found that sharing pictures of anything Amish on my author page is what people respond to the most (I write Amish historical), so I've sought out other pages I can share from. I've even developed some relationships that way that I can use to help with research, etc.

    And Pinterest is great. I've made pages for my last two books, so if readers find me there they can see all kinds of images (historical photos, etc.) to add to their reading experience. I also have some fun pages just for me, so authors have a chance to get to know my own interests.

    The one place where I'm failing is my blog. I know I need to be more regular than once a year or so! That's one of my goals this year - to choose a regular time and post something on that blog.

    But a blogging victory is the Yankee Belle Cafe. Being on a group blog keeps me on my toes and blogging every Monday :)

    And a question - I'd like to link my twitter, Facebook and Pinterest better so that when I do something on one, it shows up on the others. So far I've set my tweets so they show up on Facebook, but I'd really like it to be the other way around. Any ideas on how to switch that around?

  71. Jan - One thing we find is that having your Twitter posts show up on Facebook can annoy some of your readers. Though the posts may be similar, they should actually be somewhat different because of the difference between the platforms and their users.

    Is it bad to forward your posts from Twitter to FB? Not necessarily. As to forwarding them the other way, I'm trying to figure out how to do that. Maybe Tyra can give us some insights into that.

    Usually, I'll do a longer post on my blog, then shorten it for Facebook, then do an even shorter version for Twitter.

    I also find I do better if I write my blogs ahead of time and schedule them (which I can do in WordPress). That way I don't forgot to post.

    Let's see what Tyra has to say about the subject.

  72. Connie Queen - If you don't want to have to deal with two separate Facebook profiles, you can group your "friends" (on your existing profile) into groups. I have some listed as "acquaintances," some as "friends," and some as "family." Then when you post a status update, picture, etc., you can select who you share it with. The only problem I see with having two separate Facebook profiles is that I can't be logged into both at the same time on the same browser. So, I now have two browsers downloaded on my computer and have to have two separate windows open to be on two Facebook pages at the same time.

    Wow, Connie, I hope that made sense! LOL!!!

  73. Rhonda,
    Thanks for mentioning this. Tyra does that. It works well for her. Me? I know I'd forget to click the proper group and something I didn't want some folks to see would be out to everyone. So I just assume that everyone my personal Profile knows what to expect.

    Still it is effective strategy for ensuring your posts go where you intend.

  74. I'm only 41 on Klout. Must try harder. But I'm expert level on LinkedIn. Does that count??

  75. Tina Radcliffe, I've got a long way to go to catch up with you on Klout! My score was a pathetic 12. :/ Guess, I need to get busy leaving my social media footprint on the Internet.

  76. Lol, Rhonda. But I can only take computers apart.....not put them back together!

  77. Tina, I never said I was good at taking them apart. I just like to see how things work. And, I'm smart enough to have a real computer geek on speed dial!!

  78. Thanks for the handout info. I will put that in our weekend Ed. Too.

  79. Hi Tyra, thanks for the tips!

    People post pictures on Facebook of trips they're on. Is it paranoia or commonsense to see that as unwise?


  80. Arrgh!!! Instagram. Have acct. do not use. Bleh!

  81. Any up and coming social media sites we should check out or just keep an eye on? Will you gals be at RWA NY teaching this???

  82. Janet - I'll take your question regarding personal photos etc. on social media.

    It all depends on your comfort level. Some folks post pix of their kids, others do not. Some use fake names for their offspring, such as Thing 1 and Thing 2.

    Because I'm a public figure and my appearance schedule is posted online, folks know when I'm not going to be home. However, if I'm taking a private trip, I usually don't post photos until I get home, or mention that I'm gone. If I do for some reason, I talk about our house sitter so folks know someone is in the house during our absence.

    The bottom line is to determine where your comfort level is and figure out how to live within that level. Social media can be amazing awesome. It can also be a bit scary.

  83. Tina - We won't be at RWA this year:-( However, we're working on some other appearances/workshops and those will be listed on our Appearances page on the website.

    By the way, we shared a previous RWA presentation on our site under the GOODIES tab. It's called The Care and Feeding of the Social Media Beast. It has ALL sorts of info on where to find interesting content for these various platforms.

  84. Jana and Tyra, thanks for being with us on Seekerville today. Sorry, I'm stopping in late. Had a morning meeting.

    Great info, ladies!

    I struggled with FB for a couple years and rarely posted, then some months ago, something clicked. Now, I love interacting with Friends, even ones I'd never met in person. I don't have a Page yet. Wondering if I need one. I've heard the business pages aren't sent to as many folks. Do you find that's true?

    Also heard if I share a national news release or other "big" story, my post will be seen by more friends. Is that correct?

    Must tackle Pinterest next. Do I need to worry about pinning pics that aren't mine? Is there a copyright issue with photos on Pinterest?

    Thanks for your help!

  85. It's Fat Tuesday so I brought an assortment of cakes and cookies to share. Plus hot tea to take off the chill.

    It's cold in Georgia. Bet it's cold everywhere today.

    Waving to all those snowed in folks. Praying your power stays ON!!!

  86. Janet – I totally agree with Jana on the privacy thing. I tend to be fairly open, but I’m also the first to point out about the dog sitter that is staying at the house when I’m out of town.

    Tina – Jana is being modest and failing to mention she is the GRW featured speaker at Moonlight and Magnolias this year. - http://www.georgiaromancewriters.org/mm-conference/

  87. Debby – welcome! I’m happy to report that I have power – if not a moody wifi situation here in the lovely city of Acworth.

    One of the things you can do if you don’t want to move to having a Facebook page is set your personal profile so that people can follow you. They would then see your public posts. This also helps you get around the cap on the number of people that can be your friends. Only trouble is most people don’t think of ‘following’ someone on Facebook as that is more of a Twitter or Instagram thing.

    If you post content that is viral, you may be more likely to end up in the newsfeeds of your friends. Let’s say you share a YouTube video link that gets reported about on CNN. Because that video will have many views, it is more likely to appear in your friends’ newsfeeds, and your posting along with it. The trick is getting your friends/fans to interact or engage with your post of the viral event. Give them a call to action – a question for instance – to get them engaged.

    What I have noticed with Pinterest is what happens on YouTube when you mistakenly post copyrighted content – they ask you to take it down. The best way to avoid this is to pin from the website where you found the image of interest.

  88. I'm going to be gone for a bit with the day job - students demanding to be taught...well, not really, they are probably like me and still pouting we didn't get a full 'snow day!'

    I can't wait to see where the conversation has gone by the time I get home!

  89. Popping back in to thank you for the "goodies" on your webpage. Great forms to use!

    I had never heard of Klout, so clicked the link and logged in through my Twitter account. I'm a 36. Does this cover just my Twitter online presence or is it a combination of all online activities? I'd like to know how my website does in comparison to others. Is there a way to find that out?

    Thank you!

  90. Hi Debby! Thanks for joining us.

    Sherida - Klout uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Wikipedia, FourSquare and Instagram to calculate their scores. So it's a pretty broad source of data.

    Of course, Klout's scoring isn't perfect, but it does give you a reference point to start with. My score will rise and fall. It took a big jump last November when a whole lot of people went on FB to send me birthday greetings.

  91. TYRA and CYNTHIA, thanks to both of you for your thoughts on LinkedIn. Very helpful!

  92. Thanks, ladies. Love the knowledge you've shared today. So helpful!

    Tyra, glad you still have power. My eldest lives in Acworth. She's visiting us and the kids are hunkered down by the fireplace, enjoying the warmth, along with a fun movie.

    Poor Missy is without power in Winder. Sending warm greetings to her!

  93. Debby,
    We're very blessed -- no ice here (we're near Gwinnett Place Mall). Others? Not so good. Hope power is restored soon and that the line crews stay safe.

  94. One thing I haven't mentioned -- if you folks want to receive the occasional newsletter covering social media topics, there's a signup form on our website. We don't share your contact info and we promise not to spam your e-mail box. We all get enough junk as it is.

  95. JANA AND TYRA ... WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE!! We are in such DIRE need of your expertise, here, ladies, so THANK YOU for your amazing insight!!

    I will be the first to admit that I am a social-media illiterate, so reading your post made me a little uneasy because I KNOW I am doing everything wrong! For instance, the Seekers have a Pinterest page for each of the Seeker authors, but I am absolutely CLUELESS how to navigate it, and believe me, I've tried. For instance, I don't know if you can actually communicate through messages on Pinterest or if all it is is pinning pix from peoples' pages to your own? If you could give me a very simplistic and very brief "Pinterest for Dummies" breakdown, I would be SO very grateful!!


  96. Julie -- you've got a good start. You can comment on other people's pins, though comments aren't as common as on Facebook.

    Basically you launch your boards and then populate them with interesting images. If those images tie to your books, make sure to include a URL that tracks back to that particular book. People will repin or comment on your images and you can interact with them.

    If you're doing a blog entry, include an intriguing image and then pin it to the appropriate board on Pinterest. Make sure it links back to your blog, because you're driving traffic to your site that way.

    You can also set up special groups, make them private if you wish -- a good use of these is for street teams. That way you can share special content with those highly engaged readers.

    To create new content, rather than finding it elsewhere, consider using Pinstamatic or PicMonkey.

    Which reminds me -- Tyra and I were going to create a visual (and easy) explanation of how Pinterest works. We need to get that done and up on the site.

  97. Pinstamatic???? You've given us so many cool new things to explore.

  98. FourSquare? Have we discussed this? The only FourSquare I know is a church denomination.

  99. M & M is on my bucket list. Congratulations on that gig and thanks for sharing your RWA presentation goodies.

  100. Tina - Happy to help out. FourSquare is a social media sites that helps you find restaurants and other locations you'd like. People can indicate they are at a certain location and FourSquare comes up with recommendations.

    I'm definitely looking forward to M&M (Moonlight & Magnolias). It's always fun.

  101. Oh, now I recall. My kids use it. checked in at FourSquare at so and so.

    Okay. I don't want to be followed that closely. Someone might see me stop in for chocolate.

  102. You gals have been terrific guest! Thank you so much for all the questions you have answered!!!

  103. Thank you for having us by. And I agree, I don't what the internet knowing where I am all the time, either.

  104. I’m back from the day job. Let me do some quick catching up before the day is over.

    Jan – I am not a fan of sharing the same content on all social media. What is constructed right for Facebook is not how things are done on Twitter. I’m also not a fan of sharing pins on other sites the majority of the time. They just seem out of place and can flood a Facebook or Tweeter feed if you do a lot of pinning at once.

    And while we are on the subject of Pinterest, Julie, I took a look at the Seekerville account and your board specifically. You have some good content, but make sure to include descriptions. You want to make sure that you are linking pins from The Seekers, your own site, or a buy site for your books.

  105. Thanks for having Jana and I over for the day. I had a blast and loved all the interaction!

    Please follow us on social media, we’d like to keep the conversation going. And don’t forget to sign-up for our mailing list on our website to find out where we will be appearing next. Blessing to all!

  106. Jana and Tyra, what wonderful, useful and timely information! I'll admit I find social media the bane of free time. OMG, how easy is it to get sucked up into any of the models you discussed!

    I'm starting with Helen's very first comment at 12:06 and reading them all. This was a fascinating discussion and I hated to miss it. Thank goodness, the thread over conversation is here for me!

    Thank you, ladies for simplifying the mystery that is social media!!

  107. Audra - I'll stop by in the morning to see if you had any questions. :) Happy Reading!

  108. Some really great ideas I hadn't thought about. I've tried adding a pin it button, but couldn't make it work. I'm going to try again.

    And I'm going to make more time on my blog for people to get to know me...not just my guests.

    Great thoughts.

  109. Great post ladies. Thanks for joining us here in Seekerville and giving us such great info.

  110. If this is still open, I'd love the chance to win a copy of this book. So much to learn...

  111. JANA!!! Thank you SOOO much for your very detailed answer, girl -- MUCH appreciated!!

    And, YES, please do get started on that Pinterest visual, girlfriend, and I will be the first in line for it, guaranteed!


  112. Julie - We will. We promised to do this and somehow it got shuttled aside. It's always good to have folks light a fire under our toes every now and then.

  113. I certainly need this book to get started. Thank you for the information.