book marketing

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

It’s #ThrowbackThursday

We’re in the wayback machine, traveling to April, 2017 to investigate the benefits of Pinterest marketing. Come join us.

Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.www.cherylsterlingbooks.comPinterest marketing 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. Pinterest is an easy, effective tool to add to your marketing arsenal.

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?

2018 update—I am now at 2573 followers with >61K monthly viewers

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 to it. 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. 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!

(***BoardBooster ceased operations on 6-25-18***)

If you have a business account

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?

Pinterest Marketing can help you spread word about your books

Pinterest is an awesome tool to target your ideal follower. I highly recommend taking Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course to learn more. I can attest to the rapid increase in my Pinterest followers.

Blessings,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading mymy blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and become a Sterling Reader. Receive free books, advance notice of new releases, exclusive excerpts, and much more!

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

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Adobe spark collage. brass slipper collage

Creating Adobe Spark images and videos

Do you create images for your social media? I’ve used Canva in the past, (read my review here) adding a writing quote to an image (with my web address at the bottom) and posting to Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest each morning.  I’ve now switched over to Adobe Spark, a FREE program that integrates the professionalism of the Adobe look with an easy-to-use interface.

Sign up at Spark.Adobe.com for free using your Facebook or Google ID, email, or create an Adobe account. A free account includes:

  • Create stunning graphics, web pages, and video stories
  • Available on desktop, iPhone and iPad
  • Sync projects across devices

The $9.99 USD per month plan adds:

  • Replace the Adobe Spark logo with your own
  • Add your brand to Spark graphics, web pages, and video stories
  • Select colors and fonts that reflect your brand
  • Leverage personalized branded templates
  • Manage your brand in one place
  • Update branding across templates in one click
  • Live phone and chat support

And the $19.99 USD plan adds:

  • Company ownership of user licenses
  • Consolidated billing for all licenses on the account
  • Web-based license management tool with ability to reassign licenses
  • Dedicated 24/7 technical phone support, email, chat and forums

I’m all for free, and my business isn’t big enough (nor is my budget) to need the perks of the other features.

The 3 things you can make with Adobe Spark

1.Post

I’ve used this numerous times to make my “morning images”. Adobe Spark offers so many sizes—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, Pinterest, blog post, YouTube, and poster sizes. They also offer different categories—food, school, lifestyle, seasonal, collages, and travel, all with nifty graphics.

Of course, you’re treated to the Adobe pallet, with professional color matching. In addition, they’ve thrown in features like contrast, darken, lighten, greyscale, matte, colorize and multiply, and scaling and rotating sliders.

Adobe Spark imageAdobe Spark ImageAdobe Spark imageAdobe spark

Collage:

I especially like the collage layout. Here’s what I did for my upcoming Cinderella re-telling, The Brass Slipper:

Adobe spark collage. brass slipper collage

 

2. Page

I have not used Adobe Spark to create a page. From what I’ve read, it creates a static page only, not a web page. The article I found says it’s great for creating a magazine type page.

3. Video

I used this to promote my AtoZChallenge book, Twilight, Arizona. It was fairly easy. The only problem I ran across is the template didn’t give me enough time on each frame for the average viewer to read the caption. I solved that by holding down the record button but didn’t say anything. Here’s the result:

(Twilight, Arizona is a fictional retirement village, the setting of twenty-six supernatural short stories. I wrote them as part of 2018’s AtoZChallenge.)
Purchase the collection for 99¢ at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/yb3u6ahm

Now that I know what I’m doing, I could probably, and will, make a new video in a few minutes.

There you go! Alternate, professional looking images and videos courtesy of Adobe Spark.

This is my blog post for May’s AuthorToolBoxBlogHop.

Blogging every day #Authortoolboxbloghop

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! To join, visit Raimey Gallant’s website or follow the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop hashtag on Twitter.

Be a Sterling Reader! Join my mailing list to receive free books, updates, book release details and other valuable information.

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Kindle Select. Amazon author's page for Cheryl Sterling is live

It’s Thursday and we’re in the wayback machine, recycling a blog from 2017’s AtoZChallenge:

For today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “K” is for Kindle Select

Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors. Explore more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors.

Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited (K.U.) in July, 2014. The subscription program (currently $9.99 a month) allows readers unlimited access to a large selection of free ebooks (only ten at a time can be taken out. It’s like a Netflix for books). Amazon gives authors the option of enrolling their books in Kindle Select, the writing side of the program that feeds K.U.

Is Kindle Select the right program for you?

Let’s look at the pros and cons, then I’ll tell you of my experience and where I stand on the issue.

Pros:

The advantages of Kindle Select. Learn more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

The pros about Kindle Select.

  • Your book will automatically be available to K.U. subscribers.
  • Your book will automatically be available to be lent to other readers under the KOLL program (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library).
  • You can offer your book as a free promotion for 5 days out of the 90 day Kindle Select enrollment period for non-K.U. subscribers. The days do not have to be taken concurrently.
  • You can participate in the Kindle Countdown Deal, where you can run a limited sale, complete with a countdown clock, making a buy an urgency for your readers. Amazon has devoted a separate page to countdown deals, allowing alert buyers a way to check in for deals.
  • Earn a share of KDP’s Select Global Fund, a big pot of money ($16.8M this month) distributed among authors enrolled in Kindle Select. The allotment is based on number of pages downloaded and read more than 10%, plus books borrowed from the Lending Library.
  • Not having to format your book to different guidelines issued by distributors then individually upload them (I’m looking at you ibooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble).
  • You can offer print books at other sites, just not a digital version.
  • If you have multiple books out, offering an older title for free through Kindle Unlimited can generate interest  in your backlog.

Cons:

The disadvantages to self-published authors to use Kindle Select. Read more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

The cons about Kindle Select.

  • Amazon exclusivity for 100% of your book. You can not offer it anywhere else, and no more than 10% from your website. So, if you’ve been releasing a chapter a month and now decide to publish the entire work on Amazon, Kindle Select is not available.
  • You’re locked in for 90 days. Be aware: Kindle Select will automatically renew for another 90 days if you do not manually uncheck its box in your KDP bookshelf.
  • Owners of reading devices other than Kindle will not be able to download your book. Of course, they can always download the free Kindle reading app, but still. (I do 90% of my digital reading on my laptop).
  • You are at Amazon’s whim, which is powerful.
  • You are dependent on a single revenue stream.
  • The money earned per copy will not equal that of a non-Kindle Select (non-Kindle Unlimited) book.

My experience and opinion

In 2016, I and my writing partner published The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel through Kindle Select. We sold approx. 2100 copies to Kindle Unlimited users. Our income from those copies amounted to less than $50. Why? I can only guess that our 100 page book rode at the bottom of the Global Fund and/or readers did not go to the end of the book and/or saved it in their library for later (proven when we received small amount of monies months after we opted out of the program).

We are much happier, and a little richer, by keeping The Plot Thickens out of Kindle Select and offering it wide through other sellers.

Your mileage may vary. It’s a tough decision every author has to make. The good thing is, you can experiment for 90 days. Just be sure to unselect Select before the 90 days expires, because you’ll be automatically enrolled for another three months.

Have you tried Kindle Select? What’s been your experience?

Blessings,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading 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 like to know about Kindle Select, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

 

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