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All the news that's fit to print--or not.  Check in here for our latest articles and updates about anything in the ePublishing world.

 


How To Use Twitter

Steve explains how to compose an effective profile bio, what #hashtags are, why you should use links, and offers up examples of good, bad, and ugly self-promotional tweets.

1. Create an informative, concise, and unique bio.

You want potential followers to know who you are, what you do, and why you do it, without appearing arrogant, hasty, or a bore. Think like a (micro)journalist: answer the obligatory who? what? when? where? and why? as briefly as possible. Alternatively, think like you're filling out an online dating application. What kind of followers are you trying to attract? Bloggers? Reviewers? Agents? Readers? Ex-cons? Marine Biologists?

Example of a good profile bio:

Ellen Jones   @ellenjones
Oakland-based motorcycle rider and author of the Jane Smith YA mystery series. Read more about Jane's latest adventures: www.janegoestowashington.thebook.com

Why this bio is good:

It tells us that a woman (presumably) named Ellen lives in California, likes to do crazy things like ride motorcycles (without obnoxiously proclaiming "I'm wild! I ride motorcycles!"), and writes a mystery series of young adult novels about a girl named Jane who most recently took on Washington. If I'm curious, I can click on her link for more information. Short and sweet.

Example of a bad profile:

Joe Smith   @joesmithcool
My name is Joe Smith. I am an author. I have written 4 books. Two were published with Book Publishing, Inc. One is self-published because I'm trying to stick it to The Man! My books are, without a doubt, some of the bestest books in the whole wide world!!! Read more about "The Awesome Series" (including tons of 5-star reviews) on Amazon!!

Why this bio is bad:

It tells us that an author named Joe Smith has written 4 books, is bitter about the fact that only 2 of them were traditionally published, and is (likely unfoundedly) convinced that he's an extraordinary writer. The extraneous exclamation points take up unnecessary space and suggest he might secretly be a 6th grade girl. I know the title of his book series, but if I want to read it, I have to search for it on my own. This bio is long-winded, immature, and ineffectual.

2. Self-promotional tweets

When tweeting to promote to your followers, be it an event you're publicizing, a blog entry you'd like them to read, or a product you'd like them to buy, tread carefully. In a world ripe with bombarding advertisement, it's difficult to convince people that your self-promotion is any different from or better than everyone else's self-promotion. Make it your goal to pique interest. Promote creatively, humbly, and concisely. Come up with 140-character phrases that would make even the busiest, pickiest reader just have to know more.

And... Never underestimate the value of hyperlinks and hashtags.

For the uninitiated, a hashtag consists of a # sign followed by a word or words that categorize a tweet (no spaces in between). #books denotes a tweet about a book or books. #Obama2012 denotes a tweet about Obama's reelection campaign, including event listings, press coverage, and commentary. Anyone can employ any hashtag at any time. Hashtags that are trending as I write (you can find trends on the left hand side of your Twitter home page) include #MayWeather, denoting tweets about thunderstorms and sunshine, and #AJBurnett, denoting tweets about whatever sport that dude is playing right now.

Hashtags authors commonly use:

#books
#ebooks
#kindle
#nook
#amreading
#mustread
#read
#bookclub

Hashtags useful in promoting KDP free days:

#freekindlebook
#freebooks
#freeebook (that's "free ebook")
#free

Why these hashtags will help you:

If I'm searching for a new book to read, I can type "#books," for example, in the search field located in Twitter's upper right hand menu. Twitter will send me to a page listing all tweets including the hashtag #books, whether I'm following those users or not. If I'm looking for a replacement for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I've just finished reading, I can search for #thriller, #crimenovel, or #SteigLarsson.

This search feature works for promoters as well. If I've just written a crime novel I would compare to Larsson's series, I can run searches for those books in Twitter and use hashtags I find in my own future tweets, such as #MillenniumTrilogy.

Apart from using by the book (no pun intended) categorical hashtags, use your imagination in your tweets! Don't be afraid to be funny.

Bad self-promotional tweet:

Back to Basics is free today! Please Retweet you guys! I love you!

Why this tweet is bad:

It's lacking information. Remember that people use Twitter for various reasons, not just to find books they'd just like to buy and read and share with their friends. We have no idea what "Back to Basics" is. A book? A work-out video? Even if I were to assume Back to Basics is this author's book, there's no link to it, which means I'd have to search for it. Then he asks me to retweet to my followers with the additional qualifier that he loves me. Not only am I annoyed, I'm a little creeped out.

Good self-promotional tweet:

#freekindlebook: Back to Basics www.amazon.com/backtobasicsbook A case for resuscitating the electric #car. #books #nonfiction #amreading #green #energy #algore #hybrids #free

Why this tweet is good:

Right off the bat, it informs followers that the tweet is about a free kindle book. It gives the book's title, a direct link to where it can be purchased, and a phrase explaining what the book is about. Hashtags in the tweet explain that the product is a book, is nonfiction, and pertains to energy policy, green energy, that it is related to hybrid vehicles, and that it is a free product.

More examples of good self-promotional tweets:

Now out on #kindle: #Murder in #Miami, the 2nd #book in the Jan Austin #mystery series: www.amazon.com/janaustinbooks #chicklit #femalesleuth #romance #florida #mustread

Is #Twitter REALLY an effective tool for #selfpromotion? An interview with #selfpub #author @JackieJCollins www.interviewjackie.com

"Joe Jones does it again. Before There Was #Coffee is #hilarious & #moving. A page-turner to the last drop." www.link.com #books #satire #humor #capitalism #starbucks

Non-promotional tweets:

Don't use Twitter only to sell yourself! Think of it as a bar conversation with an acquaintance. Retweet (denoted by "RT") tweets you're interested in by large publications and individuals, ask your followers questions, find common ground with other Twitter users, start conversations with those you follow, make small talk about day-to-day happenings. You wouldn't talk incessantly about your job or divulge gory details about your recent divorce to the stranger sipping a beer on the bar stool to your right; don't do it on Twitter, either.

3. Quick Tips:

Twitter now has a built-in link shortener, which automatically codes your hyperlinks to take up no more than 20 characters. This means you can copy and paste links without having to worry about losing precious characters.


Running out of room in a tweet? Can't figure out how to shorten it any further? Replace "and"s with "&," and compound words w/ (hint!) contractions.

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Booknook.biz client and Indy Author L.J. Sellers signs 11-book deal with Amazon!

Although this is bittersweet news for us--as we'll be losing a client--it's amazing news for those of you out there toiling on your Indy- and self-published books.  L.J. Sellers, one of the very first Booknook.biz clients for conversion to Kindle and ePUB formats, has just been offered an 11-book contract with Amazon.  Amazon bought her entire backlist of nine novels, plus the next two she'll write.  Even more excitement--Amazon is planning to produce translations, hardbacks, etc., of LJ's bestselling Detective Jackson novels. 

L.J. left her small publisher over four years ago and struck out on her own--and it looks like she made the right choice.  She worked hard, wrote well, and sweated blood and tears marketing her series.  Now Amazon, as her publisher, will obviously take that series and her writing career to a whole new tier.  Our deepest (although sad) congratulations to you, L.J.!

You can read L.J.'s announcement here, on the Crime Fiction Collective Blog (to which we both contribute); if you want to read some of LJ's books on Amazon, you can start by clicking here to go to her Author page.  Want to try the book that started it all?  Give The Sex Club a whirl--and see if you're not caught up right away.

Well done, L.J.--The Crew and Oompa Loompas here at Booknook wish you the best--and I hope to see you at Bouchercon this year. 

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Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel, by Jeffrey Marks

Due to overwhelming request, we've begun migrating our previously private, "available only to Booknook.biz customers" Resources section--over 80 links and sites helpful to the Indy Published author--to our FAQ.  As part of this effort, we're adding our resources a bit at a time, focusing heavily at first on marketing tools and techniques as well as other areas (like cover designers, how to create/obtain a cover template, how to work with Twitter articles, etc.) 

Today's addition--someone well known to many of you--is Jeffrey Marks, award-winning novelist, marketing and publicity Guru, and his most recent Kindle Book, the Fourth Edition of his immensely popular "Intent to Sell:  Marketing the Genre Novel." 

For those of you who don't know Jeff, he's not talking out of his hat; he's won a number of awards including the Anthony in 2009 for his Anthony Boucher biography; Barnes and Noble Prize; he has been nominated for an Edgar (MWA), an Agatha (Malice Domestic), a Maxwell award (DWAA), and an Anthony award (Bouchercon).   We're delighted to mention that  Booknook.biz produced this fourth version for him, in digital (ePUB and MOBI) formats, but having disclosed this--we'd be recommending Jeff, his novels, his book on Marketing and his book-promotion-related classes highly regardless. 

For more information on Jeff's book, his personalized courses and available video instruction, please "click on over" to our AWEsome FAQ.  Feel free, whilst in the FAQ, to rummage around, use the search (see the little magnifying glass icon at the upper-right-hand-side of the menubar) for any relevant articles, and enjoy yourself.  We're happy to take suggestions for other article categories and specific topics.

Thanks--and we hope that you enjoy Jeff and his works as much as we do!

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Booknook Success Story: Client Tom Gates No. 1 in the iBookstore!

One of our favorite clients, Tom Gates, author of Wayward, is celebrating this week; his book has just topped the charts at iBooks, holding down the #1 spot in Travel Books, doing so in a matter of a mere few weeks. Tom talks about his book and experience in this interview in Matador. (n.b.: adult language in the interview). The book is knocking them dead on iBooks as well as Amazon, climbing to Amazon's top-ten in "travel essays," although that description doesn't do it service. Witty, charming, (and a hoot to work with), Tom shows how self-publishing can be the road forward--and a successful one, at that--for those of you with unheard voices.

Tom was also kind enough to give old Booknook.biz a plug, for which we are, of course, grateful.

To find Tom's book on your Amazon Kindle, you can click-thru this link: Wayward: Fetching Tales from a Year on the Road. Don't miss this one!

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How to Use SocialOomph.com: The Basic (and Free!) Features

How To Get Started With SocialOomph

Go to socialoomph.com to sign up for an account, which requires a username of your choice, password, email address, and a preferred time zone from which future updates will launch. You may sign up for a free account or a month-long free trial of a professional account.

Go to socialoomph.com to sign up for an account, which requires a username of your choice, password, email address, and a preferred time zone from which future updates will launch. You may sign up for a free account or a month-long free trial of a professional account.

Starting With Twitter

To synch your existing twitter account with your newly created socialoomph account, sign in and navigate via the blue menu on the left-hand side of the homepage. Conveniently, you will always be able to see this blue menu, and presumably, avoid getting lost. Scroll down to "Social Accounts." Select this option and you will be asked to authorize SocialOomph to activate your Twitter account. Once your authorization is confirmed (via email), you may begin to schedule new updates.

To schedule a new Twitter update, within the blue main menu, select "Schedule New Update." A page will appear front and center enabling you to compose the text of a future tweet, including a button to the left that shortens URLs (links) within the SocialOomph system "in-house" (This way, you can avoid using an outside link shortener, like bit.ly).

After you've reached no more than 140 characters, you can opt to:

  • save the text update as a draft
  • publish the update right now
  • publish the update a selected number of hours from now
  • or "publish at this exact date and time": you specify in the provided box

Below this update information and possible options, click on the Twitter account name you would like the update to apply to, and click the "save" button. 

To Get Started With Automation

To automate recurring messages (set the same messages to tweet itself several times a day or week), and to be able to schedule @Replies within SocialOomph (to tweet a message to a specific Twitter user), you must update to SocialOomph Professional. In the professional service of this section, you will see these features in plain view on this "Schedule New Update" page.

To automate followers, set up automatic welcome messages, and manage your @Replies Digest Email, go to "Social Accounts" in the main menu, and in the drop-down menu select "Manage Accounts." You will now see your SocialOomph-affiliated Twitter accounts in a grid, with specified automated options.

Across the top from left to right, you can see:

  • the total number of updates scheduled through SocialOomph (TOT)
  • the number of unpublished scheduled updates (Q'D)
  • whether you've automated a welcome message to new followers (MSG)
  • whether you have authorized to automatically follow those who follow you (FLW)
  • whether you have chosen to vet all your followers (VET)
  • whether you have opted to automatically unfollow certain followers (UNF)
  • and whether you have set up an @Replies digest to receive email notifications of twitter users sending you messages via @Reply.

 

To edit any of these features, click on "Edit" under the "Actions" box in the grid at the far right. Here, you can check/un-check "Auto Welcome" to send automated welcome messages to new followers; below this option, you may write your welcome message. Note: some savvy networking/marketing types suggest that your AutoWelcome message be some sort of clever question, which, depending on your purposes for using Twitter, might enable you to better facilitate conversation with your followers (i.e.: Thanks for following! What is your #1 reason for tweeting?")

Below the auto welcome section, you can check or un-check "Auto Follow" to automatically follow new followers. Alternatively, you can check or un-check "Vet Followers" to receive an email when a person follows you, placing the automation of a new follower on hold for 3 days so that you can manually approve or reject the action. If you have checked this option, in order to edit new followers, go to the left-hand main menu, and click on "Followers/Friends." Select "Vet Followers/Friends" in the drop down menu. Here you will see a list of new followers, which you can choose to follow/unfollow. You may also select "Settings" in the middle of the page to set specific parameters regarding what kinds of followers you do or do not follow, for example, based on how long that Twitter account has been in use, how active it is, etc. Presumably, this helps you filter out Twitter accounts that are likely to spam.

At the bottom of this page is an "Optional @Replies Digest Email" option. To receive an email notification from SocialOomph every time a Twitter user mentions you in their feed as an @Reply, click the "Email me an @replies digest" box.

To keep track of how many new followers you may or may not have, go to the main menu, then go down to "Social Accounts," and click "Automation Stats" in the drop down menu. Here, SocialOomph tells you how many new followers you have and how many new DirectMessages have gone out to your new followers, and how many messages are pending. These stats change every 10 hours, and SocialOomph specifies in this section how much time is left before the next turnaround in counting followers.

Using SocialOomph's free account, you may also monitor your followers by category and set up email alerts by keyword. In the main menu, go down to "Monitors" then click on Channels > View Channels. With a free account, you can view the updates of those you follow by categories provided by SocialOomph, i.e., you can view only updates pertaining to "Breaking News," "Twitter Management," or "Entertainment." To view and/or change these channels, click on the drop down arrow at the top of the page and select a channel, or upgrade to a professional account to create your own channels.

To monitor happenings on Twitter via keyword, go down to "Monitors" in the main menu then click on "Keyword Alert Emails" in the drop down menu. On the main page, you can now list keywords you would like SocialOomph to keep track of among those you follow, and you can specify how often you'd like to receive an alert by email. You can choose to use the "Power Keyword Wizard" located at the top of this page to set up exact phrases of keywords, searches by hashtag, language, specific people, and locations. This feature allows you to keep track of trends on Twitter and interact more efficiently with those you follow and those who follow you, without the burden of staying logged in to Twitter all day every day.

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Holiday Closing Alert! Presidents' Day, 2020   

Happy Presidents' Day 2020! We're closed today, but back tomorrow.

As amazing as it is, this year, for the first time ever, in 11 years now, we're going to be closed for Presidents' Day!

That means we're going to be closed, Sunday and Monday, February 16th and 17th, 2020.

No telephone calls or emails will be answered.  The admin office needs a break.  We'll be back, everything to the ready, the morning of Tuesday, February 18th, to get cracking.  Thank you for your support and understanding.  

For those of you already in production, the production crew is running full steam; Judith (QA--Quality assurance, our Princess of Perfection) and Jay (Our Doyenne of Customer Delight) will be here and working, checking books and sending them out, so please, don't worry.  It's just we lazybones in the admin office that need a break!