Thursday, May 16, 2013

Social Media News for Writers--The "Baker's Dozen" Edition

This week's social media news is all about helping you do things better: how to keep your newsletter subscribers from unsubscribing; how to get wider distribution for your Facebook posts; a better way to book live events; holding better contests and making better homepages to engage potential readers; and a whole lot more. Read on!

1. Live Book Appearance 2.0: Katherine Grissom got her novel The Kitchen House on the bestseller lists two years after it was published, and she did so by connecting with book clubs across the country. You can read how she did it here, thanks to Togather.

If you haven’t heard of Togather, it’s an online platform that lets you crowdsource live book events. You set the criteria for a live event—such as minimum size of the group you’ll speak for, distance, etc.—and then you direct your fans to Togather where they can vote for (“vie for” might be a better term) an event near them.

2. Understanding Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm 101: Here’s a nice infographic from PostRocket (via Mashable) explaining, at a basic level, how Facebook decides which posts your friends and followers will see from you; WHY; and what you can do to tip the odds in your favor. 

3. Why Do Your Newsletter Subscribers Unsubscribe?: It must be infographic week because here is another infographic (this one from Social Media Today) explaining why people unsubscribe from mailing lists. Their bottom lines: let your readers know up front how frequently they can expect to receive mailings from you; be consistent as to when (day/time) you send your newsletter; but also mix up your content, giving them something new and fresh to look forward to.

And If You Liked That, Here Are Even More Infographics:
  •       What Size IS the Cover Photo on Facebook? Here’s one that’s a cheat sheet for the images sizes you’ll need for your various social media accounts.
  •        More Photos = More Views: This infographic from Kelsey Trabue will have you thinking of incorporating more photos into your social content.

4. Better Web design: Don't most authors' websites look the same? And just how effective is your home page, anyway? This article from Fast Co. talks about the problem magazines and news outlets face with home pages, and offers this design solution.

5. Need Ideas for Contests? Social Media Today lists some of the most popular kinds of contests being held on social media, and the pros and cons of each. If you're looking for ways to increase reader engagement and attract new followers, you may get some new ideas here.

6. Do you write children's books? There's a new site, Zoobean, that curates children's books, making it easier for parents to find the kind of book they're looking for. You might want to make sure that your book is properly represented.

7. Ad analytics: Ever wonder what happens when you click on an online ad? You've heard a lot about how ads are targeted to users: this video explains the complex computational process that goes on behind the scenes to match consumer to ad. 

8. Need Help With Twitter?: Basic Twitter tips. Don’t be shy; no one will know you clicked on the link.

9. Advice for self-publishing: Sure, advice for self-publishing your book is a dime a dozen these days but when it comes from bestselling author Guy Kawasaki, it's probably worth a glance. Not much new here but it is good advice presented in tight, precise nuggets.

10. Scheduling posts: Ironically, I was just looking for a tool that would help schedule Facebook posts when I saw this story on Buffer (hint: it manages Twitter and LinkedIn, too).

11. Remember our story on the death of Google Alerts? Here's an article from VentureBeat with more potential replacements.

12. How to Create Engaging Social Content: We're writers. We should be able to create our own content but feeding Twitter or even a blog isn't like writing a book. So if you struggle with writing social media stuff, here are some tips from Social Media Today. My favorite line: "Social content should be thought of in the same way a stand-up comic would think about a joke—as immediate and fairly disposable." 

13. Another tool to make reading social: It seems like an oxymoron to most writers, but the tech industry is constantly trying to come up with new ways to make reading social. It's somewhat social on certain ereaders, which allow you to see which lines from a book have been highlighted most by other readers, for instance. Or Goodreads, which lets readers connect over favorite books, share quotes, comments on jacket covers and the like. Fast Co. magazine writes about a new app, dotdotdot, that purports to make reading even more social by allowing friends to interact. Maybe a good tool for book clubs--the next best thing to getting together to discuss the book over tea and lemon bars.

You may know that in my other life, the one where I'm not a novelist, I'm an expert in emerging trends and technology for a major think tank. I spend a good deal of time scanning through technology news, particularly about emerging media. On a typical week, I probably see a handful of stories of interest to the working writer, stories about a new or interesting twist to what's going on in publishing and you can read them here every Friday.


  1. A bonanza of info goodies. Thanks for all the infographics. They're so handy. Thank you, Alma.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! Good to know that it's helpful.

  2. Thanks, Alma. This is so helpful!

  3. Great info! Thanks for posting!

  4. I hope your readership is increasing. This is my go-to site for tips on social media. Sharing on Facebook...

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