Blogging Glossary, A Helpful Guide for Beginners: Part 3 of 3

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BLOGGING GLOSSARY, A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS: PART 3 OF 3
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Blog Wooden TilesIn part 1, I talked through the step by step fundamentals for blogging to help you get started and show you that it’s not as daunting as it looks. In part 2, I dug a little deeper and identified slightly more difficult terminologies that I believe are essential for taking your blog from amateur to professional.

In part 3, I am going to introduce you to some seriously boring and dry terms. Not that I am trying to get you to opt out of reading this post altogether but a little fore warning didn’t hurt anyone! This glossary page introduces you to some blogging terms that will help you in the long run. For the seasoned blogger, perhaps this may help you understand blogging in greater depth or perhaps give you some ideas of how to further improve your blog’s functionality and features.

ATOM
Atom is a machine-readable xml-based web syndication format which allows users to subscribe to blogs and allow your readers to get up to date content as you post them.

AUTOCASTING
This is an automated form of podcasting which allows your followers to have access to audio versions of your text only posts.

BLAUDIENCE
The audience of a blog.

BLOG CARNIVAL
A blog carnival is essentially a blog post that contains permalinks to other articles or blogs which cover a specific topic. It operates somewhat like a magazine which has an editor-in-chief, writers and readers. The editor-in-chief or owner of the carnival is responsible for soliciting submissions and inviting contributors.

BLOG HOPPING
Blog hopping is about following links from one blog to another. You may be invited by an organiser to participate. How it works is essentially all bloggers would post about an agreed topic or genre at one given time. The organiser would distribute all the permalinks to all bloggers so it is available on everyone’s post.

BLOGOSPHERE
This refers to the collective community of all blogs and bloggers.

BLOGROLL
This is a list of blogs a blogger either follows or recommends. It usually resides on the sidebar and is an excellent way to get to know the blogger and their affiliations. A blogroll may also be used as a means of advertising or cross promotion in support of the blogging community.

CAPTCHA
This stand for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers And Humans Apart. For security purposes, have you ever had to type in a verification based on numbers and letters? That is CAPTCHA. It helps to minimise spam.

CMS
CMS stands for Content Management System. It is a software program that allows you to add content to a website more easily.

CSS OR STYLESHEET
This is short for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is written in HTML and is used to style your blog or website. This is required should you decide your blog needs to move onto the next level as the basic template no longer meets your needs.

EVENT BLOG
A blog that contains content specific to an event.

FEED
Much like all social media platform, particularly Facebook, a feed provides readers with frequently updated posts. They may be updated either via email or through an RSS reader.

IMPRESSION
This refers to the number of times your post has been viewed.

JPG
Stands for Joint Photographic Expert’s Group and is the most common file format for images.

MEME
This is about an idea that has been passed from one blogger to another.

META DESCRIPTION
This is a short and succinct description of your page or post. The description should be about 150 characters in length with strategic usage of keywords for search engine optimisation.

PAGERANK
Used by Google to rank websites in their returned results.

PHOTOBLOG
A blog that is built predominantly on images rather than words.

PING
A ping is an alert in the trackback system that informs the blogger that another blogger has submitted an entry that is about the original post.

PODCASTING
Podcasting are digital audio or video files which are produced in a series.

RECIPROCAL LINK
When one blogger exchanges links on its blogroll with another blogger’s blogroll.

THREAD
A series of posts on a specific topic.

TRACKBACK
A trackback is the ability for a blogger to let another blogger know you are talking about them. It is like cc mail. It allows a blogger to link to a post on other blogs.

TRACKBACK PING
A ping that notifies a blog’s server that a post on that blog has been commented upon.

WEBINAR
This is an online seminar, presentation or workshop.

Well, that’s it for the 3 part series on blogging glossary. If you missed the first two parts, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

It would be an opportune time for me to note that majority of everything I have mentioned over the last 3 days, WordPress.com does it all automatically. I don’t build anything, download anything nor do I worry about RSS, Atom, PHP coding or CSS. In saying that however, I can’t customise my blog by purchasing different themes or plugins. But I work with what I have and live with no complications or hassles!

I hope this has helped you on your blogging journey!

Winner! Readers’ Favorite Award!

Readers' Favourite Book AwardA Brand New Day, by self-published author A.S. Chung, has won a bronze award for the category of Children’s Concept books in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Award contest! A Brand New Day is a children’s picture book about divorce using loving words and beautiful  illustrations. We are absolutely thrilled as contestants range from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers and celebrities!

Here is more about the Reader’s Favorite Award Contest:
Readers’ Favorite is the fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, and have received the Best Websites for Authors and Honoring Excellence awards from the Association of Independent Authors.

“We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. As a result of these large submission numbers we are able to break down our contest into 100+ genres, where each genre is judged separately, ensuring you only compete against books of your particular genre for a more fair and accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America). “

 

Blogging Glossary, A Helpful Guide for Beginners: Part 2 of 3

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BLOGGING GLOSSARY, A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS: PART 2 OF 3
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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BloggingLast week we explored the basic step by step guide of how to start a blog and understanding some fundamental definitions. Today, we will delve into more technical terms which are necessary for you to advance to the next level of blogging. These are important and you should learn to use them if you intend to blog on a regular basis and is an essential tool for you to market your book. They may seem daunting at first and no doubt you will have a few laptop throwing moments, but I assure you that a little persistence will pay off. I won’t be going into how to actually do it but rather just introduce you to these concepts.

AVATAR
An avatar is a photo, graphic or image that represents you. Select a suitable image that you can use across all your social networking sites, blogs and websites. It’s not required but it will provide you with a unified look and streamlines your platforms. When commenting on other blogs, you avatar will also appear so it doesn’t hurt to have one. Make sure the image represents you as an author as well as your books.

URL
URL is short for uniform resource locator. This is the address of a piece of information that can be found on the web such as a page, image or document.

PERMALINK
This is the unique URL of a single blog post. This is used when a readers wishes to link specifically to a post instead of a page. Example, the permalink for this post is https://pigeonholebooks.com/2015/07/31/online-marketi…-jargon-part-2/

BIT.LY
This is your new best friend. Bit.ly is a website that allows you to shorten your URLs. Have you ever copied a URL and its 3-4 lines long? Not only is it unsightly and messy, it would never fit on your social networking platforms where there is a character limit. Bit.ly shortens the links to an acceptable length. Example, the shorten bit.ly URL for the URL for this post is http://bit.ly/1eMmb80. So much more user friendly!

COMMENTS
Your readers have the opportunity to make comment on your blog post. Your blog may have the capability to moderate these comments prior to posting but it is suggested that disable this function to allow for immediate posting. Readers like seeing their comments appear immediately. If you encounter offensive comments, mark it as spam and trash them. Take negative comments on board and respond back positively in the hope of showcasing you as an author and your work.

FAVICON
This is the small graphic, typically your logo or other representation your website that appears in a browser’s address bar, favorites or bookmark lists. It certainly gives your blog a more professional look.

HEADER
The header appears on the top part of the blog. They generally include items such as logos, taglines, and navigation menus, which are meant to set the tone or theme of your blog.

HYPERLINK
A hyperlink is when we link specific content in your blog post to another website, blog, page or even something within the same page. The text (known as the anchor text) is usually underlined, appears in a different colour and/or is in italics. This allows the reader to know they can click on the text and be taken to another page with more information.

HTML
This is short for hypertext markup language, the language used to write web pages. Most html elements are written with a start tag  and an end tag, with content in between. This is important to understand as on occasion, your blog template or theme may not allow you to format your post in the manner you wish. You can then use html coding to give you what you want. I use Google to find the coding I need and it always works. It literally is a whole different language but unless you are writing a whole different piece of software, it’s not that difficult to use. Example, this is the HTML code to italicise the text <em> A Brand New Day</em>

PHP
PHP is hypertext preprocessor. It is also a computer language designed to create dynamic pages alongside HTML. This is difficult to create so I don’t try! My contact form is scripted in PHP but is already created by WordPress and I just place it where I need it with a click of a button!

POST SCHEDULING
You can schedule your blog posts anytime. Particularly useful if you know you are physically unable to do so at any given time, you’re blogging in a different time zone or if away on vacation.

PLUGIN
In WordPress.org, they offer plugin capabilities which essentially give your blog additional functionality. As you continue to blog over time and you become savvier, you may wish to add more features to your site. There are a plethora of plugins to select from that can give your blog that extra oomph!

RSS
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. This allows your readers to subscribe to your content so that when you update your blog, it will appear on their feed. As an example, if I followed 20 blogs, rather than going to 20 separate blogs one at a time, I have them on my reader feed so I can see posts from all 20 blogs on one screen. If you want your followers to have access to your posts, you must have this set up.

SITEMAP
A sitemap is a map of your blog. It enables readers to see your key pages and is in an outline format. This allows for easier navigation of your content. A sitemap is important because Google deems it important and it helps readers find you through search engines.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING
Social media sharing is an integral part of blogging. There is a high reliance on your readers to share your posts with the world! Ensure that you have all you icons under every post so that it can be shared on your readers’ Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr accounts and even via email.

SUBSCRIBE
For your blog posts to appear on your reader’s radar, you must give them the means to subscribe to your blog either via email or RSS.

SIDEBAR
This is usually one or more columns on the side of the blog that contains more static information that perhaps didn’t fit on the main menu bar. This could include sub-menus, images, categories etc. The side bar remains static so will appear on all pages.

TAG
A tag is used on every post to highlight the keywords of that post. It helps to identify the content and gives the reader a more succinct picture or summary of that post.

TAG CLOUD
This is a visual representation of the tags you have used on your posts. It acts as a form of content categorising and the more popular tags are represented by large texts to highlight frequency. You will notice my tag cloud on the right sidebar.

TAGLINE
A tagline can best be described as the slogan for your blog and would appear right under the name of your blog. Example, here is my tagline: Children’s picture books by award-winning author A.S. Chung about divorced, blended, multicultural and same-sex families.

These terminologies are essential and it would do you great justice if you learnt to master them one by one. Yes, I agree, it looks overwhelming but that’s because you are not familiar with them and what it can do for you.  Work through the list one by one and I assure you it will become second nature and you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was too difficult! If you missed part 1 of this series, click here.

Blogging Glossary, A Helpful Guide for Beginners: Part 1 of 3

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BLOGGING GLOSSARY, A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS: PART 1 OF 3
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Using Laptop

Blogging? by Anonymous

Are you thinking of starting a blog to complement your writing? Let me guess, you started to do some research and after encountering a great deal of mumbo jumbo tech speak jargon, you gave up the notion and closed the laptop. The idea continues to linger in your head so you give it a few more attempts at making this decision but it was all too overwhelming and you just didn’t know where to start.

Yes, they have great forums to help, comprehensive YouTube tutorials you can follow and FAQs as thick as Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But where do you start? Not only that, once you started, could you really sustain it for fear of not being able to comprehend even the basics of blogging?

For the next few online marketing tips, I am going to focus on blogging glossary, over a 3 part series for easy digestion. As you can imagine, the list is endless so I am only going to concentrate on important pieces of information. I will attempt to make it easy to understand so that you can take that leap of faith!

Here is a simplified step by step guide and some comprehensive tips to get you from the beginning of the blogging process to your first post.

Step 1: Domain Name
A domain name is the website address and this must be purchased.

This is the very first thing you need to do. Prior to purchasing a domain name, it is important that the name is also available across all your social media platforms so there is unity for your brand. There is nothing more frustrating than buying a domain name, only for the Twitter handle or Facebook Page name to already exist!

Step 2: Web Hosting
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organisations to make their website accessible on the World Wide Web.

You need to find a hosting service that has a plan to suit you. Unfortunately there are a lot of providers so you will have to do your homework. You can purchase your domain name through most web hosting service providers. Better still, you can join a blogging service such as WordPress.com, who provides hosting for free!

Step 3: Theme
Assuming you have selected your blogging service such as WordPress or Blogger, you now need to select a theme or a template.

You can select from the free range or purchase custom designed themes. This is a much bigger process than you can give it credit for. The theme sets the tone for your blog in terms of colour palette and aesthetics. Different themes also provide different layouts and selecting one that best suits you is highly time-consuming. It is therefore important to draw out a plan of how you want the blog to look like before selecting a theme. Play around with the free templates and get a feel of what it may look like.

Step 4: Page
A page is static and contains information that you want people to see all the time.

Now you can start creating your pages. Example, your About Me page remains constant. It essentially is the top level menu for your readers to select from. Don’t create your content for the pages as yet. Complete your full layout to ensure the “shell” works for you in the first instance.

Step 5: Category
All your posts (see below for definition) can be categorised.

Categories make it easier for your followers to target their search or browse a specific topic that interests them. Categories are also useful as they can be utilised to create sub menus.

Step 6: Menu
A menu provides you with the main navigation for your blog.

Once you have created your pages and categories, you can now use them to create your menu. You can also determine where you want it physically placed. Your primary menu traditionally sits on the top with your static pages eg About Me, Book 1, Book 2, Contact Page etc. You can also create sub menus using your categories and can exist perhaps on the side bar that houses specific topics.

Step 7: Widgets
Areas of your website that are uniquely designed to stand out and commonly found in the side bars of your website (left or hand side of a page).

Essentially, widgets are additional features you can add to the base template of your theme. Some examples include adding an image, add a text box, a calendar, search box or your social media icons.

Step 8: Settings
The Settings menu of your blog is where you will configure everything about how the blog works and functions.

I suggest going to your Settings menu after you have done the above as you will have a better understanding of how you wish for your blog to look like. Here you can decide how many posts you wish for your readers to be able to see, uploading a logo, time format adjustment, do comments have to be approved, what social media icons you wish to have, etc. You will find you will re-visit your settings over and over again as your blog matures and grows.

Step 9: Post
A blog is made up of a collection of posts. This is when you create a piece of content and post it on your blog.

Posts will appear in order of publication. At this point, create one post to see how it will look like. Add links and images into the body of the post so that you can get use to the basic functions. Keep playing with your layout until you are happy with it. For a quick tip; I save my posts on a word document. Word documents however are filled with back end formatting that sometimes sends the post askew on the blog. To alleviate this issue, cut and paste the piece onto Notepad in Windows or TextEdit for Mac, format your spaces and paragraphs and then cut and paste it back to the blog. This will create a clean post and you won’t get frustrated with formatting like I did!

Why eBook Editions Are Vital for Every Indie Author

Goldie Alexander

Guest Posting by Goldie Alexander.
Goldie Alexander writes  for adults and children of all ages. Her work includes 85 novels and non fictions, plus prizewinning short stories, plays, and articles. She writes historical fiction, fantasy, crime, science fiction and collections of short stories.

eBook Readers

ebooks en ereaders by Maria Elena

WHY EBOOK EDITIONS ARE VITAL FOR EVERY INDIE AUTHOR
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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I enjoy picturing po-faced commuters reading the latest crime or romance in their mobiles, tablets and Kindles as they head to their dreary jobs in banks and IT companies.  When I was a kid we read comics. Perhaps this is the contemporary adult equivalent.

The major advantage about eBooks is that they are so easily downloaded; there are no forests being cut down, no problem with storage, no hanging around waiting for that copy in the library, and no roaming the streets trying to find a book shop that might still be in business.

Yet there’s never been a time when it’s harder to get big publishers to take on unknown authors. Most seem to be waiting for the next JK Rowling. So how does this affect the unknown writer who can’t find a company to take his book? The answer seems to be to publish digitally. But unless this occurs under the auspices of a big company, it carries the unfortunate label of ‘vanity published.’ Vanity publishing has a bad name because sometimes money has been saved on editing, design and interesting covers. It is assumed that if a book hasn’t been picked up by a well-known publisher that it can’t be any good. Rest assured that big time publishers don’t always know what they are doing. One reader for a distinguished firm told me that she had never ever recommended anything in case she made a mistake.

From a strictly personal perspective, eBooks are wonderful. After a recent accident, I think I would have gone insane had it not been for my Kindle. I downloaded wonderful, and some not so wonderful novels, at a third of the price I would have paid for hard covers. Considering that I read at least two hundred samples and at least half of these as whole books while stuck in hospital, how else could I have managed to tackle a whole library? I could never have afforded it. Nor would anyone have been prepared to bring me that many books.

However Amazon, Kobo and Apple only list about twenty top sellers amongst the thousands of available books. To compensate, if a particular book or author is typed in – and you have to know who you are looking for – that book or author will come up, even if all the books that author has written are not there. My latest is both available in print and on Amazon and/or Kobo, but it certainly isn’t everything I have written because many of my books were published before this digital revolution.

The problem as I see it is that unless a book is displayed on these top lists, no one will ever know anything about it. I once thought good writing deserved to be recommended, or a popular topic would win readers, but this isn’t always the case. And as far as I can see, these lists are quite random.  I think the crux of eBook publishing is: How do we get our books onto that ‘A list’? Social media seems to be the answer. Your name has to be known. You have to become a ‘brand’. So if you want to sell your eBooks, it’s a good idea to blog, twitter, Facebook using all social media as often as you can stand. At least several times a week.

How To Build A Mailing List And Why It’s So Important

imageedit_2_4172062803Guest Posting by C.J. Anaya.
C.J. Anaya is the author of The Healer Series and Double Booked. She is also an avid book blogger, an obsessed fan of The Mindy Project, and an accomplished binge eater of any and all things chocolate.

HOW TO BUILD A MAILING LIST AND WHY ITS SO IMPORTANT
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Diary Planning

Business Planning by abductit

I want to thank A.S. Chung for letting me jump on her blog and post about a topic that will hopefully help other authors who are struggling with the ins and outs of marketing. Rather than talk about several marketing strategies at once, I think it best to learn one thing at a time.

Let’s talk about a mailing list, what it is, and how to get started.

Amazon offers a great venue for selling your products and getting noticed, but Amazon doesn’t offer you a way to keep in contact with all of the people who have purchased your products. How are you going to let those purchasers know about new releases or exciting news concerning your author journey?

You have them subscribe to your mailing list. Anytime you need to let your fans know about important information concerning your books you can use your mailing list to broadcast that info to all of your subscribers at once.

If you haven’t built that list yet, get started immediately. It will be one of the most important things you ever do. More important than all of the time you spend on various social media sites combined.

Yeah. I said it.

More important than social media!

It is the best tool to implement in order to build a following and spread news fast.

So how do you get started?

You need to find a great marketing program that can oversee the distribution of your information to all of the subscribers on your list.

There are many programs to choose from. Research the one that’s best for you. The one I work with is called AWeber. I am not a graphic designer so AWeber is very user friendly. They give you templates where you can create opt-in forms and copy and paste the html codes for those forms onto your website. You can offer people incentives for subscribing, and then use AWeber to redirect them to their online incentive once they have confirmed their subscription.

Aweber Mailing List

Aweber Mailing List

For example, I offer a free chapter of The Healer for my subscribers. Then I send a follow-up email with a link to my free short story, My Fair Assassin, to thank them for subscribing. You do not have to be tech savvy to do this because AWeber walks you through it with tutorials and customer support. Another bonus to this is linking your blog feed to your emails. If you want your subscribers to receive your blog posts this is a very effective way to manage that option.

Let’s recap. An email list is good for authors. AWeber is just one of the many programs out there that can help you manage your list. Feel free to research other programs. Start building your list as soon as possible. As an author you simply cannot be without it.

For those of you who already have a list and an opt-in form, these tips will help you drive more traffic to your blog or website and facilitate more subscribers.

  • Put your opt-in form on the top of your side bar next to your blog page, on top of your other web pages, and on top of your “about” page. Seriously, do it
  • Offer subscription opportunities within your posts. In other words, put in a little opt-in form or a link to your subscribe page at the bottom of your posts
  • Create a subscribe page if you don’t have one. Here is an example of a great subscribe page. Okay, I’m super biased because it is my subscribe page. Ha!
  • Put a link to your subscribe page next to your opt-in form so that people can read all of the reasons why they should subscribe to your blog or webpage
  • Encourage followers to forward your posts to others who might be interested in the material you’ve posted.

I hope you found this information helpful. Good luck to all of you wonderful authors out there!

8 Exciting Instagram Content Ideas For All Authors

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

8 EXCITING INSTAGRAM CONTENT IDEAS FOR ALL AUTHORS
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Instagram on Laptop

Coffee+Instagram by Casey Fiesler

Without the written word to express your thoughts, ideas and feelings, indie authors may find it challenging to share their story through images. Unlike the big players such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, one set of updates will suffice across all mediums. We have become very proficient in cutting, pasting and re-adjusting our posts to fit in the limitations of each platform. Essentially however, they have the same message and all we are trying to do is ensure we capture a broader market.

Instagram however requires a whole different set of communication skills. What Instagram content would be suitable and would I have enough to sustain a continual dialogue? Note that Instagram conversations are not based solely on you posting images but also relying on others to create content for you through hashtags and communicating with them. Here are some ideas.

1) PERSONAL
This is a great platform for followers to get to know you as a person. How much you wish to divulge is at your discretion but your readers may like to know anything from your hobbies, travels, and pets, right through to everyday mundane things like what you ate for breakfast. It brings out the human aspect of an otherwise very formal and professional authorship.

2) INSPIRATION
You can post images of anything that inspires you. Quotes are especially popular, especially if they are your own. They are a great way for you to store your inspirations so that you can refer to them at any time. Use well thought out hashtags to facilitate ease of search as well as taking advantage of trending hashtags.

3) WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING PROCESS
You could share your writing process with your fans. From photos of you literally writing, broken keyboards from frustration, research being conducted in the library to crumpled papers on the floor. If it takes you 12 months to finish your book, that’s 12 months of content.

If you are collaborating with an illustrator and you’re allowed to share the creative process, Instagram the drawings. Fans would love to see the production of illustrations from sketches to the end product. Images could also be teasers such as a cover being broken up to 9 squares and you sending each square per day until the “puzzle” is complete. The ideas are endless!

4) BOOK LAUNCH
A book launch is an excellent content creating activity. Take images of your new book including the inside cover, some pages and the back of the book. Include any media activities as well as any book launch events.  Take images of your guests and your fans. Take some selfies!

5) BOOK PAGES
If you are a novelist, take photos of different sections of your book/s. They can just be artistic images to promote your book, they can be a specific line or sentence you wish to talk about in detail or perhaps you have a new edition with a new foreward you wish to show off.

6) PHOTOGRAPHY
You can share images of beautiful photography about anything related to books, writing or the subject of your book. I personally love black and white images of anything to do with books, libraries and people reading in interesting places. Therefore I could re-gram images from Instagram or find creative common pictures on the internet to share for no other reason than the fact that I love them!

7) WORKING
Post images of you working. It could be anything from attending a conference, being interviewed on a radio show, doing a school tour or doing a book signing. Take lots of photos of each occasion, not just one so you can post continuously. Be creative and also post photos of the surrounds of your work. E.g. if attending a book fair at an exhibition centre, take a photo of the building for its architecture, any advertising and signs of the book fair, the interior of the fair at its busiest or even some exhibitors and delegates.

8) COPY WHAT WORKS
Check out what people are following and what is popular. Adapt it to yourself and your book/s to capitalise on what is trending. Copy what other people are doing and make the necessary variations to suit your needs.

I am sure I have only scratched the surface but this should get your creative juices going. If you write YA or MG or novels that appeal to an age group between 16-35, this is the medium for your book. It’s certainly a great way to capture a different set of readers that your other social media platforms can’t.

Important Instagram Dos and Don’ts. Social Media Faux Pas!

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

IMPORTANT INSTAGRAM DOS AND DON’TS. SOCIAL MEDIA FAUX PAS!
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Little Boy in Library

Library by David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott

Much like all social media, there are some rules and etiquette one should follow to maintain a healthy Instagram account. Yes, yes, rules are meant to be broken but if you’re starting off and learning the ropes, it wouldn’t hurt to explore some of these dos and don’ts.

DO! DO! DO!

Same Username
If possible, try and have the same username across all your social media platforms. Improves your overall branding and makes it easier for people to find you.

Focus On Engagement
The most addictive thing about social media is watching your follower count tick over consistently. We get very caught up with how many people like your post and how many readers are following you.

The most important thing about social media is getting organic followers and learning how to retain them over time. I can run a competition where you have to follow me on Instagram but the drop off rate post the competition is high. They are not following me because they like my content. They are following me because they want a stab at the prize.

One way to help retain followers is engagement. You have to communicate and talk to your Instagrammers. Once off flybys don’t work either. It has to be consistent, regular and genuine.

Consistency And Regularity
It is important to post images frequently. This way you are always in contact with your followers and they are constantly reminded you’re still around. If you start to create a pattern for posting, your followers will get to know your routine and start to look forward to your next instalment. Don’t disappoint them!

It is also important to be consistent in your type of posts. Followers are habitual and they are following you for a reason. If you are always posting photos of books and libraries, don’t post images of your pet dog or your favourite cocktail bar. Consistency could also mean your colour palette and only using 2-3 filters. You could post entirely in black and white or always filtering with Nashville to give that blueish hue. Check out @fotosingh.in below who posts photos of travel in India with a very colourful palette. Instagrammers are fickle and you will lose their interest if you sway too far from your brand.

Fotosingh.in

Find A Niche And Be An Expert
You need to give people a reason to follow you. Should your account be too broad, you are not giving Instagrammers a reason to follow you. As an example, your account is about food. It is too broad a topic however should you narrow it down to just donuts you become an authority on all things donuts! Check out @shortstopmelb below.

Shortstop Melbourne

Tell A Story
Your pictures must tell a story so followers can identify with you. If your account is about books and you took a photo of a vintage Enid Blyton hard cover book, tell your followers why that was important to you and the nostalgia attached with it. Don’t just post a picture with captions #enidblyton #book #nostalgia #childhood #kidlit #greatbook #literature #secondhandbook

Enid Blyton Hashtag

Be Creative And Find Your ‘Thing’
There are millions of photos on Instagram. How will yours differ to that of others whilst trying to sell your book? As a crazy idea, I thought of incorporating travel with my book. I would place my book in the oddest locations, not prominent, perhaps peeking out randomly and take photos everywhere I go. It was a quirky idea I am yet to execute!

Look at @muradosmann. He found such a creative way to express travel with his wife. He only has 243 posts but 2.9m followers!

Murad Osmann

Use Popular Filters
Some filters are more popular than others. Research trending aesthetics and give it a go. It is also important that you update your app regularly and take advantage of new inclusions.

PLEASE DON’T!

Crappy, Awful Photos
Whatever you do, don’t post terrible photos. I realise I am stating the obvious but you would be surprised at some of the images that are on Instagram by the very people who are trying to make a living from it.

As a writer, photography and imagery may not come naturally to you but know that you don’t have to have the latest photographic technology to create an amazing picture. There are many Smartphone only Instagram accounts that show off their wares purely with a phone. They don’t even take pictures with an actual camera. Turn on your square mode on your smartphone so all your photos are already perfectly cropped.  You will eventually come to see what your style is and followers will eventuate naturally, particularly those who identify with your creativity. Practise makes perfect!

Soliciting Followers And Spamming
Don’t spam. Don’t post too many photos continuously and clog up the Instagrammers feed. They want a little dose of you, not every other photo every single day! This includes over re-gramming other people’s photos.

Don’t be overly aggressive and continuously ask for Instagrammers to follow you. It doesn’t work. There are over 300 million users out there, be original and they will come.

Too Many Hashtags
Whilst the usage of hashtags on Instagram is much more acceptable compared to other social media platforms, many users still over use it. Posting one image with 30 hashtags doesn’t make for a good story. The user is trying to cheat the system and hoping the image will appear on all major trending searches. I have seen many photos with hashtags that are not even relevant to their image just to appear on searches.

You would be better off using less hashtags but more specific and relevant keywords. It also makes searching easier as you’re not lost in over $12.8 million photos for #books.

Too Much Selling
As an up and coming self-published author, Instagram is about publicity so don’t use it to just sell your books. You have to be social. If all you are doing is taking photos of your book and doing the hard sell, no one would be interested and a sure fire way of losing any followers you may already have.

This is a great way to start your Instagram journey. As you become more proficient with the application, you will start to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t. Tomorrow, I will be exploring some ideas for content for self-published authors. Stay tuned!

 

Top 25 Interesting Instagram Facts For Indie Authors

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

TOP 25 INTERESTING INSTAGRAM FACTS FOR INDIE AUTHORS
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP 
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Abraham Lincoln Quote

“Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe” by particlem

I don’t use Instagram as a book marketing tool. But I love using this application personally. Therefore, I have decided to collate a list of interesting facts that will help me decide if I should adopt another platform (not that I don’t already have enough!). Yesterday, I explored Instagram for Self-Published Authors, as a general research piece to convince me it’s worth thinking about. However I felt that I needed more evidence to propel me further in making this commitment.

So here are some fascinating and interesting facts:

  1. Facebook owns Instagram
  2. There are over 300 million Instagram users in the world today
  3. There are more than 70 million photo and video shares each day
  4. Overall there have been 30 billion photos shared through the application
  5. 41% of Instagram users are aged between 16-24 years
  6. 20% of internet users have an Instagram account
  7. 95% of these users have a Facebook account whilst 83% of them have a Twitter account
  8. The breakdown of users over the continents is: 25% in North America, 33% in Latin America, 16% in Europe, 34% in the Middle East/Africa and 16% in Asia
  9. 61% of Instagramers like at least 1 posting a day
  10. 51% of users are male while, 49% are female
  11. 70% of Instagramers have already taken part in a contest or might do so
  12. Top 3 reasons why users follow brands on Instagram: 62% because they love the brand, 54% to discover new things, 48% because they find content interesting or funny
  13. On average, posts by top brands receive 216 comments, with 50% of comments being posted in the first 6 hours
  14. The average caption on Instagram is 138 characters long, including hashtags
  15. On average, posts that include another user handle in the caption receive 56% more engagement than those that don’t
  16. Adding a location results in 79% higher engagement
  17. 47% of adult users access Instagram from a smartphone. 53% use a tablet
  18. There are around 2.5 billion Instagram likes every day, or 8500 new likes each second. 1000 comments are left each second
  19. Around 25% of Fortune 500 companies use Instagram actively. They usually post on Thursdays
  20. The more hashtags you add, the more likes and comments you will get. Instagram allows up to 30
  21. Instagram users prefer desaturated photos. They get up to 600% more likes!
  22. Don’t leave too much blank space in your Instagram photos. Busier photos get more likes
  23. The number of Instagramers in the U.S. will reach approximately 106 million by 2018
  24. 26% of users earn an income of $50,000 – $74,999 whilst a further 26% earn over $75,000 per annum
  25. The average Instagram user spends 21 minutes per day using the app.

There are many more statistic I could have filtered however I felt this was sufficient to paint the picture. There must be at least a couple of facts above which caught your eye or perhaps peaked your interest in how you could use it sell your books and increase readership. Please feel free to share your Instagram experiences.

Sources:
Instagram Blog: 300 Million: Sharing Real Moments
GWI Infographic: Instagram Users
Iconosquare Blog: 11 Instagram facts every marketer must know
Sprout Social: 5 Insightful Instagram Statistics That You Should Know
LinkedIn Pulse: The 2015 Instagram Statistics You Should Know
Agora Plus: 8 Little Known Facts About Instagram Pictures, Filters, and Hashtags
Pew Research Center: Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms
Econsultancy: 20+ Instagram stats marketers need to know

 

 

Why Every Author Should Use Instagram For Book Marketing

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

WHY EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD USE INSTAGRAM FOR BOOK MARKETING
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Instagram Scrabble

Instagram Scrabble

Instagram is perhaps the most underutilised social media platform for authors. In this post I would like to explore this notion and perhaps give you food for thought about possibly incorporating Instagram as part of your social media marketing.

WHAT IS INSTAGRAM?
Instagram is blogging with pictures instead of words. You are telling a story through photos and short videos via a mobile platform.

THE BEAUTY OF INSTAGRAM

  • It is FREE
  • It is a different way of communicating to readers and allows you to connect with a very different market
  • You can share your photos on Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter, further expanding your social media repertoire
  • It is visually stimulating
  • It capitalises on our very short attention span. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words
  • It is fun to use and taps in on a different creative side
  • It is easy to use and the least technical of all social media platforms

INSTAGRAM FUNDAMENTALS FOR MARKETING PURPOSES

  • Just like all social media platforms, you need to select a user name that is easy to find and one that your readers can identify with
  • Create an effective profile with an engaging profile picture and 150 characters to tell the world who you are. You may also enter your website address here
  • Hashtags play an important role in this platform. Unlike Twitter, over usage of hashtags tend to raise fewer eyebrows
  • Important to understand how one can do searches on Instagram so you can utilise it to its full potential and gear our images and captions in the right direction. You can search by top searches, people, tags and places. The search field also auto-fills which allow you to see what is trending so you can use those tags for your photos
  • There are numerous filters you can select from, all with editing capabilities. There have even been studies done on which are the most popular filters and what emotions they extract from viewers. They help set the mood of the image and aids in your storytelling process
  • There is a News tab which allows you to see the activities of the people you are following. Sometimes they give us great insight to other users who may be of use to you
  • They also have a @username function so that you can communicate with your followers and your followers can share your image
  • It allows you to post 15 second videos which are just long enough to convey your message but short enough for followers to not mind watching what you have to share. Great marketing tool!

It is easy to see why Instagram took the world by storm with approximately 300 million users and why Facebook bought it for $1 billion. Don’t underestimate what this social platform can do for you. I will be exploring how self-published authors can use Instagram for book marketing. Stay tuned for future instalments of Online Book Marketing Tips.