Tag Archives: tips

A-Z of Self-publishing and writing tips: T

I’m only covering the letter T today, because I found that I almost wrote a novella about how to use Twitter! (see below). There are also a few other things beginning with T mentioned.



I have found Twitter to be an invaluable resource for promoting my books. I know that some people hate it. I don’t claim to be an expert, but in the past couple of years I have built up just over 12,000 followers. I’m not sure if that’s a good number or not, but it seems like a decent amount to me. I haven’t bought any followers from anywhere either; these are just people who follow me and I follow most of them back.

I think Twitter works best when you follow a few rules:

1. Always follow people back when they follow you (unless they are spammers or some other kind of lunatic).

2. Thank people for RTs (re-Tweets) when you can, or alternatively you can RT something that they have Tweeted. RTs are always welcomed, as these help with promotion.

3. Interact with your followers. By this, I mean, if someone asks you something, you should respond to them (again, provided that they are not a spammer or a lunatic).

4. To build up your following to begin with you need to follow people. This may seem obvious to most people, but there seem to be those who think that people will just follow them. If you’re Lady Gaga, or someone like that, you would be right to think that you don’t really need to follow people to have them follow you; otherwise, I think you should make some effort, or you’ll be left with hardly any followers and Tweeting to yourself.

5. Use the hashtags. This does come with a warning though. For example there is #FF for Follow Friday, where you list people who you follow, that you would recommend to others. For writers there is #WW Writer Wednesday, where you recommend writers that you follow.
The WARNING is this: Twitter is on the lookout of for spammers. They seem to be unable to get rid of real spammers, (you know, the ones who send you DMs that say ‘have you seen this pic of you lol,’ or ‘someone is saying real bad things about you in this blog’ with a dodgy link), but Twitter does hone in on people who mention lots of other Twitter names in their tweets, or people who use the reply function often.
My account was recently suspended because I did a lot of #FF mentions on one particular day. I was informed that the reason my account was suspended was that I used the ‘mention’ and ‘reply’ functions too much. I did eventually manage to get my account back, but it was very annoying.
So, #FF and #WW are a good way to get more followers and to keep your followers, as long as you don’t overdo things. Try to vary your tweets on days when you’re doing these types of mentions so that your account won’t look like a spammer’s account.

6. Trending topics are a good way to get your account noticed. What I mean by this is that on the left hand side of the page you’ll see the list of popular topics on twitter i.e. those that lots of people are tweeting about. If you can join in with one of those topics, you should see that you gain a few more followers. For example, I recently joined in on one that was #SongsThatMakeMeCry and noticed that I got quite a few new followers on that day. Whether it was a coincidence or not, I can’t be sure.

7. If you have something that you want to promote on a particular day and need help with RTs, I find it is a good idea to RT other Twitter users on your Twitter feed randomly, i.e. those that you wouldn’t usually RT, and this will usually result in those people Tweeting something for you.

8. Something that is off-putting is where someone is always Tweeting about their own stuff and not about anything else. Unless you are very famous, this tactic will not work, and will result in you losing followers.

9. You can use to find out who unfollowed you, and who is not following you back. This enables you to unfollow them. A word of warning here though. Twitter also doesn’t like people who follow a lot of people on one particular day, or unfollow a lot of people on one day as this could be seen as the action of a bot. Be careful, and try to limit the following and unfollowing, and spread it out a bit.

10. You can use to schedule Tweets to go out from your Twitter account at times when you won’t be able to Tweet e.g. when you are sleeping or working. There is a free version which I use sometimes, and find it particularly useful when I have a special promotion going on so that I can reach all time zones. There’s also a version you can pay for that does other things, like clean your house for you (just checking that you are still concentrating!). No, actually, I don’t know what the paid-for version does, but it probably allows you to schedule more Tweets in advance and other such stuff. You can find out on the website.

11. There are ways of getting more followers by joining certain groups. For example, there are groups here on Goodreads where you can list your Twitter name and others will follow you back. I have also joined the World Literary Cafe’s Twitter Follows group. Here’s a link where you can leave your Twitter name to be followed by others, and you then follow them back:…

12. The aim on Twitter is build up a following so that when you Tweet about your work it will reach a wider audience. Where you RT other people’s Tweets they are more likely to Tweet yours, so you reach an even wider audience each time you tweet.

13. Tweet about things you enjoy and you will find like-minded people to connect with, which makes the whole Twitter experience all that more interesting.

14. There are daily or weekly papers that you can set up to automatically tweet from your Twitter account, where you help promote other Twitter accounts. This will result in more RTs for your own work, and it helps to keep your account active when you’re away from the Internet for a while because the paper will Tweet from your account daily or weekly, depending on your settings. Go here, and log in with your Twitter account to set up your paper: – It only takes a few minutes and it will post the paper to your account automatically (as long as you request that in the settings), so once you’ve set it up, you don’t need to do anything else to maintain it.

15. BookBuzzr on allows you to set up tweets that link to samples of your writing. These will be tweeted daily or weekly, depending on your preference.

16. A hashtag that is useful for writers for promotion is #SampleSunday, where each Sunday you can provide a link to a sample chapter of your work. Other authors who take part in this will RT that for you.

If anyone else has any Twitter tips, please feel free to list them in the comments section below.


I am quickly mentioning this only because I know that some of my indie author friends swear by it. I haven’t worked out how it works, but if you have time, it might be worth having a look into.


I have a account but don’t use it often as there are just too many networking sites to keep up with. It is quite a popular site, though, and is another way you can spread the word about your work. You can also blog from that site. It’s similar to Twitter in that you follow other users and they follow you back, but there is not a restriction as to the amount of words you use. You can post videos and photos there too.


Time management is very important as a self-published author. When you self-publish, you do your own promotion, and most of your own editing, so this can lead to very little time to do much else, especially as most of us also have full time day jobs.

It’s important to make sure you have time for the things that are important in your writing life. I haven’t come across the secret formula for creating more time, but if somebody else does, please let me know.

Try to find a balance that works for you and find ways to organise your time so that you don’t work around the clock and burn out.

I would suggest finding one or two networking sites that work for you and devoting the promotion time to those sites. Have a realistic schedule for your blog, maybe run a series, like this one that I am doing, so that you have something that people might want to keep up with and will follow the blog, so you don’t have to worry about losing followers if you’re away from the blog for a few days or weeks.

If you find that you don’t have enough time to write, think about what you could do less of to make more time. For example, I have had to cut down the amount of book reviews I do so that I can keep up with my own writing. Having said that, it’s important to keep reading other people’s work because the more you read the better your own writing will be. Reading is great for fuelling our imagination.

One way to make more time, is to use an editor for your novels, so that you spend less time having to read and re-read your own work.

It’s all trial and error, but find the balance that works for you, and concentrate your time there. It’s more productive to have one good blog where you can promote and keep your readers up to date, than to have multiple blogs and lessen the impact of those because you don’t have time to promote them.

Networking with other writers helps with time management because you can have a support network. Usually other authors will help to promote your books if you do the same for them; so at times when you’re not around on the Internet the chances are someone else will be tweeting something about your work.

Also, as mentioned above, apps like Hootsuite are great for helping with time management because you can schedule promotion for when you’re not around. WordPress blogs have a similar scheduling system, so you can set up posts days or weeks in advance.

I have to say, I find managing my time one of the most challenging things about being an indie author. If anyone else has any tips, please leave them in the comments section below.


Book Trailers. Just like Twitter (and Marmite) some people love them and some people hate them.

Personally, I think anything that can positively add to your book marketing campaign is a good thing. I like book trailers. I can’t say that I’ve ever bought a book because of a book trailer, but maybe I might have found out about a book because of a book trailer. So it all adds to promotion and exposure for your book.

I make my own book trailers, and you can find them on my YouTube channel:…

One of our members, Magnolia Belle, makes book trailers.

Here’s a promotional video for the book trailers she makes:

She made a couple of trailers for our Bestsellerbound Anthologies. Here’s a link to one of them:

I’ve recently found out about an innovative company, Red 14 Films, that makes cinematic book trailers. They believe that book trailers are a great marketing tool. Here’s a link to their website where you can view some of the trailers they have made:
Also, at the moment they’re running a contest where you can win a free 30 second cinematic book trailer. You just have to subscribe to their website to enter. There’ll be a raffle in March to choose the winner.

Targeting your readership

I think one of the most important things for any writer is to find a target readership and focus on promoting to that group. It’s harder for writers (like me) who write in many different genres, but if you only write in one genre, you can use this tactic effectively to find a following.

There are many different websites that promote one type of book; for example, some sites only promote romance, others are set up to promote science fiction, etc. You should use Google to find such websites and blogs and try to get your books listed.

I’m going to promote my crime fiction novel, Haunted, on a website this week Fantastic Books Publishing. They are doing a spotlight on Crime Fiction on the 28th February 2013, so it will be interesting to see what result that achieves in terms of book sales.

Targeting a specific audience does work. For example, I recently promoted my novel, Second Chances, on EReader News Today (ENT), in their ‘Bargain Books’ promotion. They have a huge following of readers who are looking for bargain e-books; so I lowered the price of the book to 99 cents and it was promoted on the site for a couple of days (ENT takes 25% of your total royalties for sales over the 2 day promotion). The result was 140 sales overnight, and another 50 sales since the promotion ended. Okay, the royalties on 99 cents (given that you only get 35% of that from Amazon) is not great, but the exposure is a good way to find a new readership. Here’s a link if any authors want to try it:…

Similarly, for a short term boost to sales, and to make your book more widely available to an audience who might not otherwise try it, the Amazon KDP Select free promotion days can be good.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful!

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in self publish tools, Self Publishing


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Manuscript: How Rough Is Too Rough?

Bookmasters Blog


After months or even years of writing your book, you finally have a finished manuscript. Or do you? Whether you’re sending out your manuscript for publisher review or planning on self-publishing, make sure you take the time to prepare your manuscript. There are a few things you can focus on when preparing your manuscript for the publishing process.

Take your time.

Writing your book can seem like a long drawn out process, but you want your first reader, whether that is an editor, mentor, or friend, to enjoy reading it. ALWAYS have someone read your work before sending it into the world. After rereading and rewriting your work, your brain is more likely to input words that are missing from the rough draft. Don’t rush this reading and rewriting process because constructive criticism should always be a welcomed tool, whether traditional or self-publishing.

Edit until you are blue in the…

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101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing — 001: Get Active on Social Media

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 001: Get Active on Social MediaI was toying around with the idea of making a series of articles called “101 Self-Publishing Tips.” I dutifully began compiling a list of tips, but after the first few dozen, I realized that a lot of them were not tips so much as thoughts, but still things that I felt were important to mention to those interested in self-publishing. Besides, I don’t know if I am really the one to be giving people tips. That would imply I know what the hell I’m doing. Also note that these thoughts reflect my personal experiences. Your own experiences may differ.
So here, presented one at a time as they occur to me and as I have the time to write them, are my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing. They will be presented in no particular order, but I’ll try to keep related thoughts flowing in a logical manner. I’ll try to do two or three a week, but I’m not making any promises just now.
001: Get Active on Social Media
If you’ve found this blog, chances are you came across it on social media. Why is this important? Well, you now know my name, and if you look to the right of this page you know the titles of my books.  Even if someone who finds you the way you found me isn’t initially inspired to buy your books, that name recognition builds valuable word-of-mouth potential. When a friend recommends a book, having heard of the author provides an addition “authority”–nebulous as it may be–and a reader is more likely to act on that perceived authority. Even if they’re just scanning titles on Amazon, your book will stand out if the readers thinks, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of him/her!”
Social social media is great for two things: getting your name out to the public and building relationships, both with other authors and potential readers.
Now, social media can either be a blast or a pain in the ass. It can either be valuable time spent marketing and networking, or it can be a black hole into which all your hopes and dreams are relentlessly sucked. But for a self-published (and even trad-published) author, it is an essential part of getting your books in front of eyes.
I am personally active on Twitter and Facebook.
With Twitter, you can do a lot of things in 140 characters: greet new followers, share jokes and random thoughts, compliment and congratulate other writers on their books, etc. Even so, I find the format annoyingly limited. It’s difficult to have a true, relationship-building conversation on Twitter. But it’s great for making connections that one can later pursue on Facebook or via email, and I have met some wonderful friends that way. Promoting your book on Twitter is important, but be sure you spend at least as much time posting things not so obviously self-serving. Triberr is a great program by which you can post links to others’ blog posts and they in turn will post yours. It keeps your content varied and ensures that you’re posting a lot of information that is not directly leading back to you. Just be sure to limit the number of groups (called Tribes) that you participate in, or Followers can get overwhelmed by your constant Tweeting. More on Triberr in a future post.
Facebook is great for building on the relationships you’ve formed on Twitter. Since you can get across a lot more information than you can on Twitter, it’s also best for sharing quotes from reviews, updates about your releases, or even just sharing the things that are going on in your life. You can also make a “page” on Facebook for people to like if you don’t want your private Facebook account to be public. This does, however, limit the flow of conversation as you won’t see the posts of people who have liked your page; you can’t engage with them by commenting on the things they post.
I’ve met some authors on Facebook or Twitter who had one but not the other. By not using both, you are unnecessarily limiting your potential reach. There are certainly other social media sites, but I recommend all self-published authors get active on these two, at the very least.
There are also book-specific sites such as Goodreads. I’m not as active there as I could be, but just by having an account, I get tons of friend requests. As mentioned above, those are people who are learning my name and the titles of my books, and that has powerful potential. You can also announce events such as book giveaways, contests, new releases, personal appearances, etc. Even if you don’t do a lot on Goodreads, I recommend keeping your account up to date by adding all new releases. It’s just one more place for people to see your books.
If you enjoyed today’s thoughts, look to the sidebar on the right and you can follow by email to receive notices when I have new posts and also join the site with Google Friend Connect. If you have additional thoughts or observations, I’d love to hear them! Just leave a comment below.
All the Best,
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Self Publishing


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