Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Asked & Answered, Part 2: Social Media and Other Techy Stuff

Myra here. For some unfathomable reason, I have earned a reputation among the Seekers as one of the more techy/social media types. Maybe it’s because somewhere along the way I figured out how to Tweet and create memes.

Or maybe because Tina looked at me and saw G-U-L-L-I-B-L-E tattooed across my forehead.
Anyway, I have been assigned the dubious privilege of presenting this portion of our Asked & Answered series. So, without further ado, let’s get right to some of the questions and concerns our Seekervillagers have submitted.

“Twitter hashtags confuse me.” Well, guess what. They often confuse me, too, especially the really random ones. Basically, the purpose of a hashtag is to label your Tweet according to a popular or trending search topic. That’s why many of our Seekerville Tweets include hashtags like #amwriting, #writetips, and #pubtips. Anyone interested in following Tweets about the business of writing can search for any of those hashtags and find a whole stream of Tweets from Seekerville and others who post on writing-related topics.

Other hashtags writers and readers regularly follow: #giveaway #Kindle #motivation #inspiration #quotes #ChristFic (short for Christian fiction) #amreading #sweetromance #FHLAuthor (promoting members of the Faith, Hope & Love chapter of Romance Writers of America) #MSWL (manuscript wish list, often used by agents and editors!)

The key to using hashtags effectively is to avoid getting too creative with your own. Instead, if you want your Tweet to reach the most people, do a search of the terms you’re considering and see which ones generate the most results. Regular Twitter users have favorite hashtags they follow, so you want to make sure your Tweet shows up in the appropriate lists.

“I still don’t understand how to post a pic on Twitter. It never works for me.” This is really pretty simple. If you have your Twitter window open on your computer, you’ll see a little window near the top with “What’s happening?” in faded type. That, of course, is where you enter your Tweet. Now look just beneath the white box. You should see a camera icon. When you click on it, you should be able to choose an image from your computer and add it to your Tweet. Easy-peasy!

Of course, there are optimal image sizes for various social media outlets. For Twitter, the ideal in-stream image should measure 440 px wide by 220 px tall (minimum) up to 1024 x 512. Here’s a handy reference with recommended graphics sizes for several popular social media sites: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet of Photo & Image Sizes on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Other Social Networks

If you access your social media accounts from a smartphone or tablet, the easiest way to post an image is to select a picture you have saved on your phone, then bring up the menu that lets you choose one of the share icons. That should allow you to post directly to Facebook, Twitter, or one of your other supported profiles.


While we’re on the subject of social media images …

“What are the best apps for creating and editing social media graphics?” A popular and easy-to-use online tool is Canva. Canva gives you a wide variety of image sizes to fit just about any social media need. They offer many free layouts, backgrounds, text fonts, and images, plus even more you can purchase for $1 each. (Be sure to read the disclosures about how and where you can use any images you purchase.) The site also has a tutorial to walk you through the steps of creating your own designs.

Picmonkey is another image editor worth trying. You can choose from one of their templates or start from scratch.

A new online graphics program I’ve recently started using is Stencil. It has both free and paid versions and works a lot like Canva, although it lacks some of the image editing/resizing tools. While they have a huge collection of images to choose from, you can only use them as backgrounds for your own uploaded images or with their limited selection of icons. Then you can add text to create unique and attractive social media graphics. You can also easily convert a rectangular Twitter graphic, for example, to a square Facebook or blog graphic, without having to start from scratch.

I also highly recommend Unsplash, a FREE source of hundreds of amazing and gorgeous photographic images! Their website says it simply: “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos.”

And here’s one more free resource Seekerville just came across: The Ultimate Guide to Designing Epic Social Media Images.

“Social media: time, content, which ones to post on?” It’s true, social media can be a HUGE time suck! There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for which one(s) you should focus on. Basically, it comes down to a combination of where you’re personally most comfortable AND where the audience you hope to connect with usually hangs out.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Facebook and Twitter that you may find helpful: Difference Between Facebook and Twitter. Or check out this article, The Difference Between Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, & Pinterest, for a rundown on all the major social media outlets.

One simple tip for making Twitter or Facebook easier to navigate is to create lists. Group the people you’re most interested in following into category-specific lists. Here are a few of my personal Twitter groupings:

  • Seekers
  • Other Writers
  • Publishing Pros
  • Inspiration
  • For Fun
  • Movies & TV

This way, when I visit Facebook or Twitter, I don’t have to wade through the entire feed. Instead, I browse through my lists, where I’m seeing only the status updates I’m most likely to be interested in. For Twitter, you can create, manage, and view lists directly through the Twitter site, or you can use an application like Hootsuite (my personal favorite). Here’s a screenshot of a few of my list feeds:


As you can see, Hootsuite also lets me create tabs so I can group related lists on their own pages. With the free version, I can access Twitter from three different profiles. With the paid version you can add even more profiles, including many of your other social media accounts. Find out more at Hootsuite.com

“I’ve heard Instagram has changed recently. Should I have a business page there?” I’m definitely not an Instagram expert, but based on things I’ve read, I haven’t come across any real advantages to converting to a business account. I enjoy Instagram for the personal connection. I don’t use it to buy products, and I tend to skip right over any posts that even remotely smack of advertising. (Same for Facebook and Twitter, BTW.) Here’s an article you may find enlightening: Why Converting to Instagram Business Is Not a Winning Brand Strategy.

“Are platforms needed for unpublished authors?” “Platform” can be a confusing, even intimidating, concept. Nonfiction writers have it much simpler because typically they have particular knowledge about a subject and may already have a speaking platform. A fiction writer’s platform is not always so clear-cut. Jane Friedman offers her insights here: A Definition of Author Platform. In light of our discussion of social media, one of her key points is especially noteworthy: “being an extrovert on social media will not, by itself, lead you to a platform that interests publishers.”

“People say unpublished authors should have web sites and author Facebook pages. That seems kind of premature.” Again, I’m going to refer you to a Jane Friedman post, 3 Reasons to Have a Website If You’re Unpublished. I completely agree with her point about getting past the learning curve! As for whether an unpublished writer needs a Facebook author page, my opinion is no. An author page is mainly there to interact with readers and to share news about your current and upcoming releases. Instead, focus on an attractive, user-friendly website that editors and agents might refer to if they’d like to learn a little more about you.

For tips on how to use Facebook more effectively, read How to Engage on Facebook WITHOUT All the Stress & Strife on Edie Melson’s blog.

You can garner more detailed information on other aspects of social media from these posts that previously appeared in Seekerville:

Adventures in Social Media, Part 1, with Audra Harders
9 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Presence, with guest Edie Melson
Be a Successful DIY Author Techie, with guest Angela D. Meyer

Switching gears, let’s address one last techy-type question. A Seekervillager asked us to share some Scrivener tips and tricks. Obviously, Scrivener is WAY too extensive a topic to cover in a couple of brief paragraphs! For starters, check out this guest post from Scrivener expert Gwen Hernandez: Scrivener—Everything But The Muse. Learn even more by taking one of Gwen’s online Scrivener classes! You can also follow @ScrivenerCoach (Joseph Michael) on Twitter for daily tips and tricks.


Two giveaways today! Join the conversation for a chance to win a Kindle copy of Edie Melson’s social media guidebook, Connections, OR a paperback copy of my historical romance novel The Sweetest Rain (Flowers of Eden, book 1). Just mention in your comment if you’d like to be entered in either or both drawings. Winners announced in the next Weekend Edition.

About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards and winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with with two very pampered rescue doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” Myra and her husband are also currently harboring their younger daughter and family (six in all plus a kitty!) as they transition toward their next missionary calling. With grandkids underfoot ranging in age from 14 down to nearly 3, there’s never a dull moment! 


Twitter: @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen 

Sign up to receive Myra’s quarterly e-news updates here!

118 comments :

  1. Good resources Myra! The other site I would recommend for free pictures to create graphics is pixabay. I've used both Canva & Picmonkey to create Facebook posts for book quote graphics for authors I am helping to promote. It can be addicting (and time consuming) , but I love it. It gets my creative juices flowing :-)

    I don't do much with Twitter myself, mostly use it for an extra entry in contests or to retweet someones post. Those hashtags do confuse me as well...lol! But your explanation has helped clear up some questions I've had about different features on Twitter. Facebook is where I do most of my social media :-)

    I have a copy of The Sweetest Rain so no need to enter my name. An enlightening post!

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    1. Thanks for the graphics site info, Trixi! I've heard of pixabay but haven't used it. And I totally agree--playing with those graphics creation sites does become addicting!

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  2. I'm not into social media at all, discounting book related blogs which I like. I can see how they could be useful for a writer though.

    Please count me in for a paperback copy of "The Sweetest Rain" thank you.

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    1. Mary, sometimes I really miss the days before social media took over the world. I got a lot more writing done back then--plus had more time for other things I enjoy. Social media definitely has pluses and minuses.

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  3. Wow! You nailed this so well.... And I'm sure it's still crazy intimidating to many... Here's a few ways I make it easy for me (because who has time for difficult these days? And I guard my time like the Royal Guard lines Buckingham Palace... otherwise no books occur!)

    For twitter I just think 2:1 ratio. (1024:512 and 440:220) The facebook banner size is similar enough that I can interchange them and still be accused of knowing NOTHING. And I'm okay with that. :)

    I don't do Hootsuite or anything like that because of the time thing. I'm very careful about how I spend my time online.

    I do love facebook, and my readers and writer buddies (who are also readers, by the way folks) can interact with me there. I love personal interaction so facebook (a normal friends page, I find author pages stale and boring) works well for me.

    I think that's the key. To find out what works for you but not mess up the writing schedule. That 1K/day is the first thing that gets done, and if I can get a second writing sprint in once the kids are on the bus, YAY!!!!!! :) So social media gets slipped in because I love people... and it's easy if you focus on one.

    Myra, thank you for taking over the Seeker Tweeting industry. Nobody does it better. You are golden.

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    1. Thanks, Ruthy! You make a good point about using social media for personal interaction, and Twitter doesn't make it quite as easy as Facebook.

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  4. Thank you for this very informative post Myra. I often wondered about all the hashtags and know what I thought they were for has been confirmed.

    I have a facebook page, a Twitter account, Pinterest and Instagram page but I don't spend much time on any of them. I use them mostly to promote books I have read and it works. My 'friends' will often thank me for the book information and go out and purchase the book. So I know social media works.

    I would love a paperback copy of your book The Sweetest Rain Myra. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. You've found what works for you, Cindy--perfect! Thanks so much for all you do to promote good books!

      Yes, I have profiles on all those social media outlets, too. I try to limit my time on each--just enough to check out the latest from people I'm most interested in following and to look for anything of interest for my Seekerville Tweets.

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  5. I love Twitter, Myra! I like the fact we can encourage each other and stick to the facts. Also, I can scroll through other Twitter comments much quicker than other forms of social media. And if I'm really lucky, sometimes on Twitter one of my sons will "like" something I say.

    Myra, thanks for sharing today!

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    1. Twitter is definitely a fast-moving medium, Jackie! Having "lists" of my favorite Tweeters is the only thing that helps me keep up.

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  6. Okay, I went to Twitter and was able to upload a picture. I'm not tech savvy either, so I think it must be your computer, not you! :)

    I think you mentioned once you love Surfside. We had breakfast there in Dec. at a place called Benjamin's. It was very good. Next time I'll check out the beach there.
    Have a great day!

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    1. Yay for uploading a picture!!!

      No, it wasn't me who mentioned Surfside. We've only been to Edisto on the Carolina coast. Loved it!

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  7. Thanks for this informative post, Myra. I have a love/hate relationship with social media, primarily due to lack of time. My writing must come first. Like Jackie, I do enjoy Twitter, but blogging has always been my favorite form of social media. For me, it's more real. I've met so many wonderful people, who've turned into friends that I know will be in my life for years to come.

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    1. I know what you mean about the love/hate relationship, Jill!

      Consistent blogging is a social media skill that takes commitment to develop. Glad you found your niche--AND a bevy of faithful followers!

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  8. Good morning, Seekerville! Just sitting down with my breakfast and pot of Earl Grey. As soon as I get my act together, I'll be back to chat and share more techy ideas with you!

    Looking forward to a MIUCH warmer day in my part of the country. Hope all of you are staying warm and cozy!

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  9. MYRA, if I didn't already know you are techy with social media, this post proves it. Thanks for all the great information! I am way behind you but I do have lists on Twitter. So that's progress. :-)

    Janet

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    1. Yay for making Twitter lists, Janet! You're on your way!!!

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    2. MYRA, you're a wonderful encourager! Guess who taught me?

      Janet

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  10. I love this post. And ever since you told me how to do lists, I love Twitter! I used to hate it.

    Thank you, thank you! I'll be checking back in to see if anyone has any other cool stuff to share.

    This post is a print and save!!!

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    1. Glad you approve, Teenster! We can all learn from each other! ;)

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  11. Myra, thank you so much for pulling all this together for us! Some of those questions are exactly what I would have asked. Seems to be a common problem area! :)

    I still need to try using Twitter lists. I've had Hootsuite for years and have barely used it.

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    1. Missy, I could NOT handle Twitter without Hootsuite!!! Try it--you'll be glad you did!

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  12. Myra, I'm not crazy about social media, but I'm trying to do more. I don't have an author page on facebook, so all my posts go out to everyone--writers friends, dog breeders acquaintances (drama-galore), Church, family, and those who I went to school with. That can make me timid to post. And then I have a business page for our bbq business.

    I made it a point when I signed up on Twitter to keep it more of an author account.

    The picture sights will come in handy. I' always searching for something.

    Myra, you made everything sound very simple!

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    1. Connie, one more thing you can do with Facebook is choose specific audiences for each one of your status updates. But FIRST you need to create custom lists.

      Do you have your dog breeder acquaintances grouped in their own list? Same for church friends, family members, etc.

      Then, whenever you post an update, click the down arrow on the button next to "Post" in the lower right corner of the box and select the group(s) you want the post to reach.

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    2. No, I don't have lists, but I will make them. Didn't realize I could do this. That would make things so much easier.

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    3. It really does! If you open Facebook to the Home page on your computer, on the lefthand sidebar, you might see a section heading "Explore." Under that should be "Friends Lists" (at least that's how it shows up for me). Click on that, and then at the top you should see a button labeled "+Create List." Name it whatever you want and start adding your friends to it!

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  13. Myra, I love, love, love this post because I so need this information. Like Connie Queen, I not crazy about social media either, but it is so important to have some sort of presence in this day and age. Thanks for giving us such a concise list of answers. Love the links too.

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    1. Glad to be of help! Yes, social media has become a necessary, um, evil in today's world of book publishing.

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  14. Somehow I missed this the first time.

    Or maybe because Tina looked at me and saw G-U-L-L-I-B-L-E tattooed across my forehead.


    You are very savvy. That's why I asked you! You are the person I trust with all my grammar and techie questions.

    You CONQUERED SCRIVENER. You are a goddess.

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    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      I have the entire world fooled!!!!!!!

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  15. Hi MYRA! FANTASTIC post!

    Social media is something that's learned over time, I think. It's definitely not one size fits all--I so agree with you. :-)

    I think writers/authors shouldn't jump on every SM network that comes along. We should choose what we enjoy and what works for us.

    My top picks are: Twitter, FB, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I also blog W/F so I have a running source of updated material. I send out a monthly newsletter, which I consider more as an encouragement ministry than writing-related. AND YES-- all this takes time and effort so I set my timer and stick with it. And I work on my newsletter all month, rather than try to do it in one full swoop.

    Now--I didn't fall into all of this over night. My platform came by trial and error (and some methodical planning, too ... Lol), but my rule of thumb is-- I don't try to be Superwoman and do it all. Because... If we do it ALL, how on earth can we still WRITE? :-)

    I've blogged a lot about social media, but here's what works for me:

    * I don't play the numbers game. (I'm more interested in genuine connections rather than "follow me, and I'll follow you")

    * On Twitter, I don't follow "eggs," (folks with no headshots), spam, porn, etc.

    * I freely use the "block" and "report" feature on Twitter if feeds become rants or abusive.

    * I DO have an author page, as I prefer to keep my personal page separate for privacy reasons. Just personal preference.

    * I'm conscientious about my "brand," yet I engage with many diverse and different friends because "same" is boring.

    * I don't make my social media all about me. I love to encourage.

    Also, I might add since we're referencing platform today, it makes me sad when I try to connect with someone and there's absolutely nothing. No blog, website, or social media of any kind. If I want to know more, then other people who are searching for that person probably do, too.

    THANK YOU for this keeper post, MYRA! A wealth of great info and links!

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    1. By "author page," I'm referring to FB. I interact with followers with a "question of the day," comment, or shared photo. :-)

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    2. YES to all of the above!!!! Your points are so spot-on, Cynthia!!!

      I absolutely NEVER follow anyone with just an "egg" for their Twitter profile picture. And never anyone with no bio info to tell me something about who they are. I also regularly block anyone who follows me if there's anything that makes me uncomfortable about what's in their profile info.

      I also agree with what you said about trying to connect with someone, especially within the writing/publishing world, and there's ZERO Internet footprint. Sometimes I will find that they were a guest on someone else's blog, but if that's all there is . . . it's not much to go on.

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    3. Ohhh...Can I also just say... Those folks (after we've followed them back) who immediately DM us suggesting we "like" them, "buy" them, or kiss their dog "Spot" ... Um. No. That's impolite. And it makes me feel used and unloved. :-)

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    4. I thought it was me getting those. I hate that. And a perfectly normal looking author who immediately messages me to please DO SOMETHING FOR THEM. I hate a hard sell in the washing machine department and online.

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    5. Cynthia, I love your thoughts on social media! I'm coming back to study what you shared here. :)

      You're so right. Relationship is so important for writers/authors. Last year we had a marketing guy from a relatively well-known publishing house share with our local ACFW group. One thing he said their pub board look for is engagements. You can have high numbers, but if there's no engagement, those numbers won't equate to sales. So, being relational in whichever social media we focus on is crucial. Publishers do look at that.

      I love what you do on your FB author page. I've been wanting to ramp mine up, but time hasn't really allowed me to focus on it.

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    6. Jeanne, you're so authentic and you have such a beautiful heart. The thoughts you share on your blog inspire me. :-)

      About numbers... they don't impress me. 1000s of "followers" and connections may/may not tell the whole story. On Twitter, for instance, I ck from time to time who's following/following back. I block all spam (if I catch it) because that just leads to more. Naturally, those who don't block spammers will indeed have higher numbers (...and some unsightly things in their feeds, as well.) A-hem.

      Also... WHO can really follow 110,000 peeps? That's not "engaging." That is number-counting. IMHO

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    7. So true, Cynthia! Numbers definitely don't tell the whole story.

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  16. Sort of disappointed in Stencil. But need to spend more time there.

    YOU ARE SO RIGHT ON CANVA! One time use. Reimage and repay.

    I do something interesting (or not) I work between Canva, PicMonkey and Corel Paintshop Pro often on one image. Because they all do something unique. The PS Pro has the best eraser tool of the three. Canva is really my favorite but he crop tool sucks and you can't get the numbers of a color. So I often go to PicMonkey to get a color number then go back to Canva. And PicMonkey has lots of cute icons that I like.

    Canva recently expanded their free stuff for pay members which is nice.

    Pricing is a big deal when it comes to images I can buy TEN images from BigStock for 29 bucks or TEN from Crestock for ten bucks or ELEVEN from Canva for ten bucks.

    And don't forget the PicMonkey new templates. They are tons of fun.

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    1. Yup, Stencil doesn't do certain things nearly as well as Canva. I haven't spent much time in PicMonkey and could stand a little more practice there.

      BTW, yes, you CAN get color numbers in Canva. When you click on the color wheel and the box of selections comes up, click on the + sign. There you can choose a more exact color AND see the # at the bottom. :)

      You're welcome.

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    2. THANK YOU!!!!! YOU HAVE SAVED ME TONS OF TIME. WHO KNEW?? Well, you did.

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  17. Please enter me in the drawing for Connections. I have printed out the post so when I am able to read I will have it.

    The Lord is giving me strength and comfort each moment of each day. Last night a verse popped in my mind. "The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms."

    I set up a website in October but have not been able to figure it out so I can add other posts. There are times when I wish I could have someone who knows how to do it right next to me helping me know what buttons to push etc.

    Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. They are greatly appreciated.

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    1. The everlasting arms--such a comfort! Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, Wilani.

      Yes, it's great to have someone knowledgable sitting beside you to walk you through some of this techy online stuff. Hoping when you feel up to giving it another go that you find just the right person to help.

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    2. Wilani, I'm so very sorry for your loss ~ Praying for your comfort and upgirding during this difficult season.

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  18. I love Facebook, and can spend hours on there. I'm able to use Twitter enough that I can announce my book reviews on them😊
    If someone writes the stuff. I'd love to have my name entered for THE SWEETEST RAIN, Myra. Thank you

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    1. Twitter is handy for short announcements, but I agree--for meaningful social interaction, Facebook is the place to be.

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  19. Another point I'd like to bring up is using a system that duplicates your updates across platforms. Done correctly, this can be a good thing, because not everyone is on every platform.

    But when I'm scrolling through my Twitter feeds and all I see is a convoluted link and not a post with actual words, I skip right past it. I'm not wasting my time clicking on random links to see what that Tweet wants to send me to.

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    1. AGREE! AND...may I add... Those sites/links we visit only to be barraged by pop-up after pop-up encouraging us to buy, sign-up, or whatever before we can go further in the post and read additional content. (These are not necessarily authors' websites.)

      I find it incredibly disappointing and distracting when I pop over to read content and I'm inundated by prompts to action. Yes, as creatives, we must find ways to engage, but we never want our visitors/friends to feel devalued or overwhelmed.

      Mentioning books, newsletters, social media sites, etc. in our blogs/SM are GREAT (and welcomed) as long as it's not a constant stream of memes.

      Our time IS valuable, and let's be honest--obvious link-bait and pop-ups are rarely there to help the consumer.

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    2. Oh yes, those popups asking me to subscribe to a newsletter, etc., are beyond annoying, especially the ones that appear the very instant the page loads! Give me five seconds to at least decide if I want to stay on the page!

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  20. Bless you, Myra! Wonderful information! Love knowing about the other spots to create memes...and free sites for photos. Priceless!

    I'm so not techy, which I'm sure you realized long ago. Thank you for spreading the word about Seekerville posts on Twitter. Last FRI, one of my posts was the Archive blog that day. Seems you promoted me everywhere throughout the day. I am always so grateful!

    Sending hugs and kisses, chocolate ones, that is! Yum!

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    1. Always grateful for chocolate, Deb--thanks!

      Yes, I try to spread out the Seekerville daily Tweets over several hours. There's an automated Tweet that goes out as soon as the new post goes live. Then I schedule Tweets to go out every 2-3 hours between 7:45 a.m. and 11 p.m. Tweets go by so fast that this way we can reach more people throughout the day.

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    2. Should have added Eastern Time. Also want to be conscious of our friends on the west coast, where it's 3 hours earlier.

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  21. I also zip past Tweets that say, "I just updated my website," or, "I just posted a picture to Instagram."

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  22. Hi Myra:

    Wonderful post! This is the best info of its type all in one place that I've read on the internet. However this social media stuff really does hurt my brain! I'd rather do sentential calculus problems if for some reason I must make my brain hurt!

    I thought the whole idea of being a writer was to live in the woods free of all the distractions and magpies of life! I read that half of published writers never show their work to anyone until they send it in to their editor. They get it.:)

    The best way to sell books is to write books people really love to read. Then write a lot of them. Let each book sell all the other books. Let each book be your best salesman and marketer. Building platforms is a job for carpenters.


    I believe that doing lots of social media in all its permeations is like reading diet books: you get the feeling you are really doing something good for yourself without the pain of actually dieting. Leave Facebook and face reality. Learn what makes books sell like crazy and then put those things in your books. The man who sells the most fiction books, James Patterson, spends three months plotting his books making sure all those things that make a book sell are in his books!

    To be fair, if your goal is to build a vibrant social media life, then writing is a pretty good topic of interest. Perhaps the advice should be to build a writing platform in order to have a successful social media presence!

    I'm just writing this view to shpw the writers who are not into social media that they are right!

    Vince

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    1. Vince, I only wish it were possible to live in the woods, write all day, and never come out until the book was finished and ready for the editor! Unfortunately, the publishing industry has moved in a direction that makes discoverability a must, and social media seems to be the "easy fix" for getting our names out there.

      On the other hand, I completely agree that writing the best book we're capable of is the most effective way to continue selling books.

      So we should definitely use discretion concerning our social media activity. We can't let it take over our writing time, and we can't sacrifice quality in our books for quantity in social media interaction.

      One more thing I feel compelled to add: Seekerville takes time. Each one of the Seekers has invested hours and hours over the past 10 years in making this blog what it is today. Yes, our goal has been to help other writers along the journey as we share the lessons we've learned. But Seekerville has also become our shared platform, giving us a higher level of discoverability than we might ever have enjoyed individually.

      So it's true, social media takes time. But in certain cases the investment in creating those relationships does bring huge payoffs. The key is discerning what's right for YOU.

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    2. Hi Myra:

      Oh my! I was not including Seekerville nor email as 'social' media. I was thinking of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr etc. Basically if a home page can be established on it, then I think of it as social media. I think of Seekerville as being like going to night school. Especially since one can lurk and never make one's presence known.

      I can see now that I have some more thinking to do about what is and what is not social media. I mean, if you gave a lecture at the local library in the old days, would you still call that 'social media' or would it just be a form of PR?

      To the degree that what you wrote is applied to what I thought 'social media' was, to that same degree I agree with you. Social media has to mean more than just talking to someone else, don't you think?

      Vince

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    3. Vince, I could be wrong, but I do consider blogs another form of social media. There's still both the public aspect and the distancing factor, even if blogs are more topically focused.

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    4. Hi Myra:

      One thing I can say for sure is that you are definitely not wrong. I just had this mental image of social media being where people socialize like talking about their grandkids and show pictures of their new baby. In a way just talking to someone else is using the social medium of speech. It don't think it is grammar but do you think GQ could deal with this in some future blog?

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    5. LOL, Vince, I'll pass your request along to her!

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  23. Thanks for sharing all this wonderful social media info, Myra.

    I tend to use Facebook and Twitter more than any other platform, although I must admit it took me some time to get comfortable with Tweeting. I also have a blog/website, but I'm not consistent about posting there.

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    1. Hi, Rhonda! Facebook and Twitter definitely seem to have the most action. I haven't done much on LinkedIn--still trying to figure out how best to use it. I'm getting better about checking in on Instagram. Google+? I forget it's there!

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  24. MYRA, SO much great information here! I do some of what you shared, but I learned plenty from you today! I'm definitely coming back to re-read and print out this post.

    I focus most on Facebook and Twitter. I really enjoy Instagram, and one of it's great perks is that you can share to other social media, which saves time for me. I get comments on Facebook from posts I originally posted on Instagram. BTW, Instagram and Facebook interface much better together, so I usually post memes on Twitter separately. I use Instagram for more personal stuff, but sometimes writing things filter into that place too. :)

    I've found some of my "best" Twitter posts are memes that I've created. So, I try to post those a couple times a week. I just don't have time to do more. Sigh.

    Great words about Hootsuite. I need to get back to using that consistently again.

    And (I'm hanging my head here), I need to make time to establish lists for Twitter and Facebook. I will do that this month. I will.

    Thanks for sharing all the great places to create memes. I've made my own for a couple years now, and when my Mac is cooperating with PicMonkey, I love their filters, fonts and layouts. But, I'd love to have other options.

    LOVED this post!


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    1. Thanks, Jeanne! I think it's important to determine how each social media platform serves us in different ways. Facebook is a friendlier, chattier place to hang out, so I keep things a bit more personal there. Twitter is so fast and furious, and ANYBODY can see what you Tweet unless you block them, so I'm more cautious about what I say there. Instagram is a fun way of actually seeing what my friends are doing and sharing, and I can page through the feed fairly quickly, stopping on images that particularly catch my eye.

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  25. Social media is fantastic! I was a reluctant convert, tried FB twice before it stuck, but look at it this way, how else would I be able to communicate with writers across the country and around the world? You people don't want me coming to your homes. (Trust me on this.) "Social" takes away a lot of our isolation.
    I have had to limit myself to Facebook, LinkedIn, visiting here and visiting Writers Alley. And I try to keep it positive and productive. I know I'm wasting time when I start taking those quizzes, "Which Facts of Life Character Are You?" By the time I'm doing that, or checking posts of people I don't even like, I know that I'm too tired or that I'm avoiding doing something else that I don't want to do. That's where it becomes a time-suck, although I don't think it's any worse than Retro TV.
    Errands to do, hope to be back later.
    MYRA, I have the book and it's great.
    Thanks,
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. LOL, Kathy--I've been lured by those crazy (and pointless) quizzes more times than I care to admit! Yup, social media can be an all too easy way to procrastinate!

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    2. Not to mention connecting with long lost relatives and high school buddies. FB is a necessary evil.

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    3. Exactly. I'm in touch with old friends and family members I'd never have reconnected with if not for Facebook!

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  26. Thanks for the updates on free images. I do a lot of freelance work and find it challenging to get exactly what I want.
    KB

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    1. There are some good ones out there--fun to discover new ones, especially when "free" is part of the description!

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  27. RUTHY and everyone else who said the writing should come first is right.
    KB

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  28. WOW, Myra, this is a great blog, and you've given a couple of websites and tips that I have earmarked, so THANK YOU!!

    Tina knew what she was doing when she zeroed in on you, my friend!! You're the first one I email when I have a computer/social media question, you poor thing! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. No, actually, I feel sorry for the rest of you who think I have the answers!!! When it comes to computer stuff, I have always said I know just enough to be dangerous!

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    2. Honey, you have SO many more answers than I do, that you are a bloomin' GENIUS as far as I am concerned, so there!!

      Hugs
      Julie

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  29. Myra, I see why you've been dubbed the Seekervillager techie person! Wow...double wow! I'm printing out this blog to tackle one bite at a time. I can only process so much social media advice every week. Otherwise, my brain turns to mush.

    I've love to be in a drawing for your book. I haven't read it yet.

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    Replies
    1. LOL--keeping up with social media is enough to turn anyone's brain to mush! I've been staring at the same few lines of my wip all afternoon. Can't seem to figure out what should happen next. Type, delete, type, delete--it's turning into a vicious cycle.

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  30. Myra, lots of information in a (relatively) small post. I see why your colleagues chose you to talk about this subject (and, no, it wasn't the letters tattooed on your forehead). Thanks for sharing.
    As for the book--if I'm eligible, please throw my name into the hat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL--social media is a continual learning experience! There's always more to figure out!

      Of course you're eligible! Were you interested in the social media ebook or my novel, or both? Happy to add your name to the hat!

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  31. Hootsuite is my next challenge. Next year Scrivener. WHICH I ALREADY BOUGHT AND DOWNLOADED AND PROMPTLY IGNORED.

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    1. You can do it, Tina! I have faith in you!

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    2. And NEXT YEAR???? 11 1/2 whole months away??? Be brave!!! Jump in now!!!

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    3. TINA is a quick study, MYRA. She's nipping at your techy heels. :-)

      Janet

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    4. LOL--she's alerted me to several techy developments and sites like Canva and Stencil. I think we feed off each other's knowledge and experience.

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  32. Just an observation . . . and I should no longer be surprised by this because it's practically an everyday occurrence. But there seems to be a natural lull in blog visitors and commenters between around 2:30 and 5:00 p.m. ET every day.

    What is everybody doing during that time????

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    1. Maybe picking up the kids or the groceries. :-) Then taking the kids to practices, lessons, dental appointments.

      Janet

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  33. Myra, this was so helpful. Thank you! Hashtags always confuse me and I've wanted to learn how to do Memes. YEAH! :) I use Scrivener and it's pretty groovy.

    Please enter me in the drawing I'd love to read The Sweetest Rain. :)

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    1. I love-love-love Scrivener! Can't imagine going back to writing only in Word!

      Memes seem to be "the thing" for getting your social media posts noticed. Guess people are just a lot more visual-oriented these days. For the longest time I had NO clue what "meme" meant, or even how to say it. Mee-mee? Mehm? Meem? Whatever . . .

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  34. Social media is such a time sucker for me, but I really see the advantages of being involved. I know for me, pinning my Bible journaling pages on Pinterest drove traffic to my blog like crazy. I still don't understand twitter all that much though.

    I didn't know you could make lists in Facebook and Twitter. That is totally new! I will definitely be checking that out. Thanks so much!

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    1. Sherrinda, I could NOT handle Facebook or Twitter without my lists!

      That's great about your Pinterest pins driving traffic to your blog. Glad it's working well for you! I know I don't use Pinterest as effectively as I could, but it's impossible to stay on top of every social media platform.

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  35. While I may consider myself pretty tech-savvy, social media is a mystery to me because I don't have any of it. The only things I really know about social media is what my friends talk about and what other teenagers around me do on their phones while they are being completely anti-social and text and tweet people who they have never met while other people (namely me) just stand awkwardly to the side wishing they had someone to talk to (no that was not a tinge of bitterness in my tone... okay maybe just a little bit).

    But while social media can be an advantageous tool, it can also be a huge distraction which leaves people like me who have absolutely no experience with it on the outside looking in.

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    1. Nicky, I agree, it is EXTREMELY rude to be on our devices when another human being is there to converse with in person. It makes us crazy whenever we're leaving the house early for some reason and pass the kids on our block waiting for the school bus. All these kids with their noses glued to their screens, when they could be making friends with each other!

      That said, social media can be a fun way to connect with friends and family who are far away. It really comes down to using it wisely and for the right purposes.

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    2. Myra, thank you for this! I only use Facebook and Pinterest currently, and neither very effectively. This was so helpful! I'm bookmarking it now.

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  36. First I have to say that I am absolutely loving this series! So much amazing information!
    I had never heard of Unsplash. I am looking forward to checking it out. Right now I get almost all of my pictures from my husband. :)

    And I hate to say it, but I have none about Hootsuite forever yet still haven't dived in. I'm going to have to think about that.

    I definitely need to invest more time in becoming social media savvy. For a long time I was pretty lax with it mainly because I also handled our station's accounts and that made me want to stay away. I'll definitely be looking into reinvesting wisely.

    I would love love love to be included in the drawing for The Sweetest Dream. Thanks Myra!

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    1. Kelly, Unsplash is an amazing site! Your husband might even want to check it out. Do give Hootsuite a try, too. It makes managing Twitter so much less stressful!

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  37. Wow...Myra, this post is overflowing with fantastic info!! Can't wait to follow links and study more closely!

    And, I want to try Scrivener too...but haven't because I know it's gonna be a HUGE learning curve and commitment!

    Thanks again for this delicious post...and I'd like to be entered for the Connections book...I have your delightful Sweetest Rain!!

    (I don't know why, but when I try the Preview button, my entire response disappears. I've tried twice...this time I'm publishing without previewing...)

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    1. Kathryn, Scrivener is a program that you can start using without knowing how the entire thing works. Just get started, and try different things out as you go along. I don't think you'll find it nearly as intimidating that way.

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  38. I really needed this help. Thanks.

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  39. MYRA!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! It's so overwhelming when you're starting out as a writer. You literally answered five burning questions I had in this one post. I'm working on my website now even though I'm not *yet* published.

    I'd love to be entered for either book.

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    Replies
    1. Glad to be of help, Josee! Yes, do get started on your website now and start establishing a professional online presence.

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  40. I am not an author but you have given me some excellent advice and resources. Thanks for answering some questions and I would love to be entered in a drawing for The Sweetest Dream.
    Thank you and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Glad we could answer some of your questions, Connie! Really, anyone who uses social media can benefit from these resources!

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  41. The only social media I have is Facebook to keep up with friends and family. I don't use Twitter or Instagram. However, this was very informative and a good reference if I get the courage to branch out.
    I would love to be entered in the drawing for The Sweetest Rain. Thank you for the opportunity! I have enjoyed your other books that I've read.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Holly! I do love Facebook for staying in touch with distant friends and family. It's great for sharing news, photos, videos, etc. Especially with my daughter who lives clear across the country from us, Facebook helps us feel more connected to their everyday lives.

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  42. thank you for the resource list.
    I would like to be enrolled in the connections raffle.

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  43. I am an unpublished author and have a blog and a Facebook page (and an email address), but only have Twitter and Instagram personally. Well, I just joined Instagram and have done nothing there except follow some authors! I'd love to be entered for The Sweetest Rain

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    1. Good start, Becky! I had an Instagram account for a long time before I used it much. As with any social media platform, always be cautious of what you share publicly.

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  44. I'm sorry that I'm late for this one. I've been spending all my time on social media. :) Kidding. Well, mostly. I also have a love-hate relationship with social media. I don't really like having to be social. I'd rather curl up with a book. But I do consider it a challenge to learn each one of the social media sites that I try. I have met so many wonderful people through social media and have learned so many awesome things. Gotta take the good with the bad, I suppose.

    Please throw my name in the hat for either book. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Hi, Loraine! I'm with you--socializing is an effort for me. But I have to say that the Internet does make it easier. I have more time to formulate what I want to say instead of being put on the spot in a face-to-face conversation.

      And you're so right--I've made so many wonderful connections through social media that I wouldn't have had otherwise!

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  45. Lots of 'jargon' that I didn't know the definitions.
    Thanks for all the information!
    Jan

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