Promotion

Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists. Pinterest Marketing for books.www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Pinterest Marketing for Authors

Pinterest marketing is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.www.cherylsterlingbooks.comHello and welcome to my first entry into the #AuthortoolboxBlogHop, a monthly blog hop where authors can share tips about writing, marketing, publishing, and anything else writing related. Pinterest marketing is my number one tip , generating most of my website’s traffic.

Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.  It’s not all pretty images for bored housewives and soon-to-be-brides.

I’ve used Pinterest for years, back when you had to email an application and wait for approval. I didn’t get serious about using it to market my books and brand until September, 2016, when I signed up for Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course.

The day I completed the five day course, I had 73 Pinterest followers. As I write this (Saturday, April 15th, because I like to be ahead in my blogging schedule), I have 1,241. Quite a leap, yes?

As I’m pinning my blog entries (you do that, right?), and I’m taking part in the #AtoZChallenge in April, I’m pinning daily content from my blog, increasing the number of people who visit my website.

Some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Obviously, set up a Pinterest account.

Make it a business account. Go here for instructions. If you have an existing account, you can convert it in a few simple steps.

      1. Why a business account? You’ll have access to analytics. Over time, Pinterest will show your profile’s growth, who your audience is, and what type of pins they click on. From this information, you can narrow down your audience and tailor future pins. You’ll also be able to run Pinterest Ads.
      2. When you set up a business account, you will be asked to confirm your website. This involves adding a string of code to your website’s header section. If you—like me—break out into a cold sweat at the thought of coding, WordPress has a plugin that will make it easier. Install it, add the code, then go back to Pinterest and click on Finish.
  • Set up or edit your Profile

      1. Use a business name relevant to your industry. Add keywords. If you’re Joe Smith and you sell guitars, Joe’s Rocking won’t show up on searches. Joe’s Fine Guitars or Joe’s Guitars for Sale will generate more traffic.
      2. Upload a photo of you, a candid shot with a white or solid color background. It should be one you use on all social media profiles. A face is relatable to your followers.
      3. Add your website URL and a description of who you are, who you serve and what you provide (in a conversational tone, of course). A surprising number of profiles I’ve visited are titled something like “Carol’s Page” and have no description. This is valuable real estate—take advantage of it. Pinterest marketing couldn’t be any easier! Check out my profile page here.
  • Pinterest boards

      1. Set up several boards related to your field.I recommend 10-15. Do a keyword search of your competition and learn what they are using. The tabs below the Pinterest search are rated most popular from left to right.
      2. Board names should include SEO and keywords
      3. The board names should be short and focused
      4. Board descriptions should be two or three sentences, well written and related to the board. Keywords should be near the beginning of the descriptions.
      5. Making a board secret will protect its contents from public view. If you are a business, keep your public boards business-like and hide unrelated pins on secret boards.
      6. Once you have several boards set up, they can be arranged within their rows with a simple drag and drop, moving the most important board into the top position. Followers want to see the most relevant boards at the top and will rarely scroll down.
  • Your pins

      1. Pins should be a mix of  relevant, useful content from others and original content from your blog. An 80/20 mix is recommended.
      2. When repinning from others, it’s okay to customize the description to something stronger. Don’t use hashtags except at the end. Pinterest’s Smart Feed gets confused with hashtags and will drop any description after them. I use them at the end as my pre-scheduled pins which also post on Twitter (more on this later).
      3. Add a CTA (Call to Action) in your descriptions, such as “Click through to check out XYZ” or “Win a Free XX by visiting.”
      4. Pin only what your audience will like. Until your analytics kick in, take ideas from your experience and your competitor’s boards.
  • Your Images

    1. Add video. Video is a growing trend and makes your audience feel connected. Search YouTube, DailyMotion and TED for videos related to your field, or start your own channel.
    2. Use bright colors with good resolution
    3. Use text in a clear, easy-to-read font on your images to tell your audience what they’ll find when they click through to your site.
    4. Pin vertical images rather than horizontal ones for maximum sharing. The ideal size is 735 X 1102:
    5. Use a vertical, longer image on Pinterest for maximum sharing and pinningShort, horizontal images do not get as much exposure on Pinterest as longer, vertical images

Which will get more shares and pins on Pinterest?

Any other tips?

Yes! By adding Twitter and Facebook to your social media settings, you can simultaneously post to them. How? Go to your Pinterest settings, click on or scroll down to Social Networks, and click Yes on Log In with Facebook, and Connect with Twitter. Say Yes to the usual approval questions. The next time you Pin something, two little boxes appear below your pin: Post to Facebook and Post to Twitter. By checking them, your pin will also appear there. If you use BoardBooster, the posts will appear when it schedules them. I find this a win-win. I don’t have to be on all three networks to appear as if I am!

If you have a business account, you can set up a Showcase. In Settings–>Profile, edit Showcase. Pick five of your most favorite boards and save. A rotating slideshow of those boards now sits at the top of your profile. It is the first thing visitors will see, and you control their first impression by your board choices.

When commenting in other social media, and an opportunity arises for you to mention Pinterest, use the word Pinterest as a hyperlink to your profile page.

Add a save to Pinterest rollover button on your blog’s images. Check out the instructions here. The same instructions are valid for adding a Pin It button to your website.

Add a Pin It button to your browser’s toolbar. When you visit a site you’d like to share, you can pin it on the fly.

Revisit your boards and delete under-performing pins. BoardBooster‘s Pin Doctor will look at your board pins (for a penny a pin) and tell you about broken, missing or suspicious links, slow websites, and duplicate pins based on the same image or same links.

What else?

Join Group boards. I’ll admit I’ve neglected to do this, but it’s on my list. You’ll gain a larger audience for each of your group pins. Check out pingroupie.com for suggestions on where to find a group board that fits your needs.

Pin often. Just like other social media platforms, Pinterest is a moving target. What’s pinned is not always seen. By using tools like BoardBooster and Tailwind and posting 20-30 times a day, you’ll be seen as the expert in your field.

Schedule your pins when your audience is most likely to view them. There are many reports available about when to post. I used to schedule by them until BoardBooster’s analysis of my audience told me my peak times were not East Coast 8-11 p.m., but local time 10-11 p.m. I’ve adjusted my pinning times, adding in the later period. I try to pin consistently throughout the day to catch as wide of an audience as possible while still catering to my core fans.

Not all pins need to be new content. When I’m pressed for time, I’ll search my existing boards for high-repin content and repin to the same board or its twin secret board. BoardBooster has a looping feature that will automatically do this for you, but I like to give my audience proven content.

Be sure to pin YOUR blog’s content. If you don’t advertise your product (whether it’s your services, a physical product, you, or a digital product like my books), who will?

I can’t think of anything else from my notes or experience. Pinterest marketing is an awesome tool to target your ideal followers and drive traffic to your website. I highly recommend taking Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course to learn more. I can attest to the rapid increase in my Pinterest followers.

Follow other authors at #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

They’re talented and willing to share their knowledge. I’ll post my next AuthorToolBoxHop on May 17th, but you can find me here every day during April, and twice a week after that.

Until then, blessings to you,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Pinterest, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
Read more

Your outline should be a living, breathing document, able to change as inspiration and your characters take you in new directions.www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

“O” is for outline in today’s AtoZChallenge

The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, including how to outline your novel

The Plot Thickens

As I did for the J” is for Hero’s Journey post, I’m borrowing content for today’s subject of how to outline a book from The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, a book I and a writing partner published about plotting. I’ll dip into it’s pages on the 24th for “T” is for The Three Act Structure. Until then, enjoy our thoughts on outlining:

 

IT’S TIME TO PUT SOME of these lessons into practice, and outline your story. I’m a big fan of outlining; it helps me stay organized and focused, and keeps me drifting off subject.

Your outline should be a living, breathing document, able to change as inspiration and your characters take you in new directions.

You’re going to spend a lot of time on your outline, tweaking it until order starts to take shape. Don’t be discouraged; it’s all worth it in the end.

First, brainstorm the heck out of your story. Nothing is off limits, nothing is a stupid idea. Write down all the elements you want to appear in your novel—the characters, their situations, the setting. Once you feel you’ve exhausted your imagination, start funneling your ideas into something more manageable by writing a summary, an abbreviated version of the main body of work.

Your outline should be a living, breathing document, able to change as inspiration and your characters take you in new directions.www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Some of the things to consider:

  • Who is your main character? What happened in his back-story to shape him and prepare him for his challenge? Some authors make a complete character sketch for their major players. Some choose pictures, write bios, or create a vision board. Use whatever you’re most comfortable with to get a handle on your characters.
  • What conflicts will they face in the novel and how will they solve them? Remember, their problems will move the story.
  • What are their motivations to accept the challenges they’ve been presented?
  • What are they trying to achieve (their goals)? Their goals, motivations and conflicts should be internal as well as external.
  • Where is it set? Build your fictional world.

Now list the plot points, the major milestones your character has to experience to get him to the end of the story. Use the Hero’s Journey section of this book to define them.

These plot points will become your scenes. Each scene must have a purpose. Something has to happen which drives the story forward. It will produce a change molded by conflict.

Summarize each scene in a few sentences. Use index cards, Post-Its, an Excel spreadsheet or (my favorite) Scrivener, to organize them.

Elements of a scene:

  • Who is in the scene?
  • Where does it take place?
  • Whose point of view is used?
  • Do the decisions made by the character move him closer or further from his goal?

Do your subplots tie into the main story?

Does your character suffer and grow and change until he can’t go back to the way he was at the story’s beginning?

You probably have an idea of how long you want your novel to be. Using the three or four act structure, break your estimated word count into the appropriate sections. Place your “must-have” scenes where you think they should fit in the overall structure. Take a step back.

Believe it or not, you’ve outlined your novel! Don’t be surprised if you deviate from it. Characters have a habit of taking over, but you’re in the driver’s seat!

Congratulate yourself and start writing!

Tomorrow’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “P”.

#AtoZChallenge

 

 

 

 

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Outlining, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career.

Save

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
Read more

Use numerology to define fictional character traits. Learn more at www.cherylsterlingbooks.com
Use numerology to define fictional character traits. Learn more at www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Use numerology to create characters

 

In today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “N” is for Numerology

Today, we continue exploring character development, using Numerology as our base.

Numerology traces its origins to the ancient Greece mathematician, Pythagoras, one of the founders of geometry (Yuck!). He discovered the relationship between mind and energy and the almost uncanny match of personality traits based on one’s birth date.

In recent times, author Dan Millman’s book, The Life You Were Born to Live, has renewed the study of numerology.

A quick overview of each life path number

  1. Creative, confidence, self-motivated
  2. cooperation, balance, peacemakers
  3. expressive, sensitive, optimistic
  4. stable, practical, hardworking
  5. freedom, discipline, adventurous
  6. acceptance, nurturing, compassionate
  7. trusting, intuitive, pessimistic
  8. ambitious, goal-oriented, blunt
  9. humanitarian, compassionate, generous

How can I use numerology to define my character’s personality?

First, start with their birthday. I know, fictional characters don’t usually have birthdays. Look at your era, at astrological signs, and at numerology traits to determine a date.

Let me give you an example. Annie Faraday, the main character in the book I’ll write later this year (it’s a WWII story), was born on January 20, 1920. Adding her birth date together 0+1+2+0+1+9+2+0, we arrive at 15. Taking this one step further, add 1+5 to arrive at Annie’s life path number of 6. We express this as 15/6, as the “1” and “5” are minor influencers.

Turning to Mr. Millman’s book, we see the characteristics of a “6” personality are:

  • Nurturing
  • Symathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Loyal
  • Protective

“6’s” are often called caretakers.

Each characteristic has a negative side to it. “6’s” can become anxious, suspicious, jealous or unstable.

The “1” minor influence in Annie’s numbers gives her focus, strong-will, courage, and possibly makes her stubborn and selfish.

The “5” minor influence can make her adventurous, flexible, social, or unstable and careless.

As you can see, Annie can be a complex character, but isn’t that what you want for the characters you write?

And remember, not all “6” are alike, as not all Geminis are alike. There is no monopoly on a trait.

Writing characters is a complex task

Many factors should be taken into consideration when creating a character. Take me, for example.

  • Astrology (I’m a Leo, bossy and confident).
  • I’m also the first born (responsible, driven, confident).
  • I’m a 31/4 (imaginative and optimistic from the “3”, independent and stongwilled from the “1”, and the “4 life path number is characteristic of a step-by-step approach. “4’s” are often called the builder.)
  • On the Myers-Briggs test, I come out as either an INTJ (imaginative and strategic thinkers) or an ENTJ, (bold, imaginative and strong-willed leaders). My classification depends on how introverted (I) or extroverted (E) I’m feeling when I take the test.

Numerology can create friction between your characters

People with a life path number of 4 are hard working,

People with the lifepath number of 2 are practical and sensitive. They are often called The Balancer.I’m a “4”. The builder. Step-by-step. Start at A and end at Z.

My husband is a “2”. The balancer. Considers all contingencies before making a decision.

I want to start. He wants to know if the possibility of rain will influence the decision. Or a full moon. Or if it’s a Tuesday.

Life has been easier once I discovered his vacillation is the perfect character trait of a “2”. He can’t help himself.

I found this chart online that will tell you the compatibility of people with two different life numbers. I’ll be using it in the future.

Numerology is one way to create your fictional characters. What method do you use?

Tomorrow’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “O”.

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Numerology, use the buttons on the left to share this post.

For an in-depth reading, check with Tricia at http://www.triciasenergygarden.com

*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career.

Save

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather
Read more