Five Things to Include in Your Promo Tweets


I am by no means an expert on Twitter.  But as an author with a small publishing house, where we do much of our own promotion through cross-tweeting and other social media, I’ve learned a few things in the last several months that might help others.

Tweets, by their very nature, are supposed to be short and eye-catching.  But they also need to include all of the information you want to convey to the follower.  Since tweets flash fast and are quickly lost, you only have a short amount of time to catch someone’s attention.  So your tweet has to be effective.

So first, be sure you are identified in your tweet.  If you’re asking people to share your tweet (via a mailing list or facebook), your name needs to be in that tweet or the reader won’t know who you are.  So always start out with your twitter name.  In my case, @SusabelleKelmer goes at the front end of any tweet I’m expecting people to share or retweet.

Second, what are you trying to get people to do?  Want them to read your book or your blog?  You need a catchy tag line or a blog title to go with it.  In my case, I am usually tweeting blog posts, so mine would say Why is That Ladder on the Side of the Cliff?” If I am posting about my book, I’m going to be trying to get a tagline that gets people’s attention.  It has to be short.  A few words.  A short sentence.  “…those hips, just made for a man to hold.”

Third, what’s the name of your book?  Make sure that’s in there.  In my case, Fairest of the Faire.

Fourth, don’t forget those has tags!  What are you doing that you want to share?  Are you reading, writing, sleeping, cooking?  Hash tags help people search for things, and hashtags for me help to categorize where I’m going or whose attention I’m trying to grab.  For writers/authors, there’s a great list of writing hashtags you can use.  There’s a great list of hash tags every writer should know at the Aero Gramme Studio website.  I use #amwriting or #amreading quite a bit, but there are plenty of others.  Also, don’t forget to tag your publisher as well.  In my case, #TWRP for The Wild Rose Press.  Your publisher will retweet your tweet if they are tagged, and that gets you a ton more reach.

Fifth and last, where’s that link?  Not every tweet should have a link that leads somewhere else, but if you are trying to sell your book, you need a link for people to go buy it.  Twitter does something great with links, too – it shortens them so you only end up using 20 characters for that link, even if the link is way longer than that.  Every looked at your Amazon link to your books?  That thing is like 4,000 characters long!  Okay, not really, but it’s definitely more than four!

Extra Credit Points:  How about adding a picture?  You can add a picture of your book cover, or some scene that shows what you are talking about in your tweet.  If I am talking about making peach jam, then I’m probably going to add a picture of peach jam on a slice of bread to catch people’s eye.  If I’m posting about my book, I’m going to post my book cover.  Or if I’m posting about something nifty I just bought, I might include a picture of that thing.  Sometimes pictures will catch someone’s eye when the words don’t.  So don’t be afraid to add this element.

So, to conclude…here’s what a tweet from me about my book would look like:

@SusabelleKelmer …Those hips, just made for a man to hold. Fairest of the Faire #amreading #romance #TWRP http://www.amazon.com/Fairest-Faire-Susabelle-Kelmer-ebook/dp/B00XCXYLSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431812679&sr=8-1&keywords=fairest+of+the+faire

And this tweet still has 10 characters left I could add, which means I could add another writer hashtag, and still be within my 140-character limit.

Do you have tips to share as well?  I’d love to hear them!  Leave me a comment!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

 

When The Busy Catches Up


Like most writers, I’m not just a writer and an author.  I’m a mom and a wife.  I have a full time job in higher education (I am not a professor, although wouldn’t that be fun?) that this time of year becomes way busier than I think I can keep up with.  I have multiple vegetable gardens, which are all now needing my attention for harvesting, and with that harvesting, a lot of preserving and putting up for winter.  I like to read sometimes (books and magazines).

And somewhere in there I need to find time to write.

Which right now seems to be a real struggle.  I get home from work later than I’d like, fix dinner, then finish up some work that I brought home, or some side work that have deadlines, then do some laundry, maybe make a grocery store run, and suddenly, it’s 11 p.m. and I need to get in bed!  I get up at 4:30 or so and start all over again.  This week has been especially bad.

And all of this leads to my saying: I got nuttin’ for y’all this week.  I checked my list of blog ideas, hoping I could come up with something to write for this week, but the list is empty, as I’ve apparently used up all my ideas!  I don’t remember using the last idea on the list, but I guess I did!  So, this is a really lame blog post, and I apologize, but I promise to do better next week.  And if you have any ideas for blog topics, I’d love to hear them!  Yes, I’m just about that desperate!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Georgia’s Husband’s Sister’s Financial Advisor’s Cousin-in-Law


Have you ever read, or started to read, a book that had a dozen characters in the first chapter alone?  By the time you get to the second chapter, the relationships between the dozen(s) of characters becomes about as clear as a muddy lake.  By the third chapter, you’ve given up and the book goes in the pile to go to the second-hand store.  There’s just no way to keep up with that character tree, and still have enough energy left to understand the story.

I think it’s important to put a limit on exactly how many characters will be involved, be extremely cautious with their names, and only keep in the characters that truly drive the story.  While all of the ancillary characters my bring “character” and color to a story, if you’ve confused the reader with the sheer volume of them, your reader is going to give up and move on to something that isn’t so much work.  We read fiction for fun and entertainment. Reading is an escape. Why make the escape complicated?

I would venture to add that keeping character names distinct is also important.  If there is a Susan, Sandra, Sarah, and Sally in the same story, I’m going to forget who is who.  Distinct names for characters is almost as important as keeping the total number of characters limited.  The more the reader has to go back and figure out who all these people are, the quicker you are going to lose them.

The last point I’d like to make is to choose names for your characters that are easily pronounceable.  If the reader has to stop each time the name is shown, in order to pronounce it in their heads, again, you are going to lose their interest.  Making up a fabulous name that only you, the author, knows how to pronounce is definitely creative, but not conducive to keeping a reader.  Use traditional or at least easily pronounceable phonetic standards for your names, and reconsider the name entirely if you find yourself typing it wrong when you are writing the story.  Clarity and speed of being able to read the text are more important than a fancy and “unique” character name.

There’s nothing wrong with a good old Virginia, Katherine, Shannon, or Amelia as a character name.  The same goes for Stephen, Kevin, David, Austin, or Thomas.  Think simple.  Put the complexity in the story, where it will be more easily appreciated.

What character names have you used in your writing?  Do they have special meaning?  Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Getting to Know Your Characters – A Nineteen-Question Interview


Male-female symbolOh, our pesky characters!  We think we know who they are.  They talk to us, giving us ideas, telling us what they want to do, especially to the other person.  But we don’t know them at all.  And we usually don’t figure out that that is a problem until later when the plot falters, and we are stuck trying to keep going when we are mired in a world of grey mud.

Clear as day, right?

I just don’t know enough about my characters.  They are pretty, but flat, pieces of cardboard.  They have no depth, and there’s nothing behind them but a whole lot of empty space.  Kind of like that picture of a door in the middle of a meadow – it’s the same in front of the door as it is behind the door. This lack of depth can completely destroy what might have started out as a good story.

So I turn to character interviews.  I’ve looked at hundreds of them over the years. I even have a book that covers character development, including interview questions, physical descriptions, and suggestions for how to describe someone.  No single one has given me all the of the information I needed or wanted, and I’d end up putting togheter several character interviews to get what I needed.

So why didn’t I just write my own, using the questions I like the best, all in one document? Well, I did, finally.  I have a 19-question character interview I use on all main characters.  This includes the hero and heroine, and if there is a villain, him or her too.  It helps me figure out their motivations, how they feel about themselves, what their goals are, and what bugs them the most.  I have a list of 10 optional questions I sometimes use as well. I thought I’d share these with you today, in case they could help you too.  Here is a link to a PDF version of the questions.  

Do you have questions you like to ask your characters?  I’d love to hear them!  Leave your comments below!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Inspiring Others


InspirationI’ve had a few people lately ask me how I do it.  I know that what they are really asking is how they can do it too. They are asking for inspiration.

Writing is hard, there’s no doubt about that.  It’s hard work, from coming up with ideas, putting the ideas into some sort of logical timeline, writing all those words, editing those words, and then submitting to publishers.  If you get a contract, then there is more editing, approvals of galleys, followed by a thoroughly soul-sucking amount of self-promotion and marketing to get your book bought and read.

Some people are obviously better at it than others.  I don’t feel particularly good at it, but I am published, which means I’m at least somewhat good at it.  But it is definitely hard work.  I didn’t get to this point without having done all the previous steps – the formulating of the idea, getting the plot set up, writing it all down, and editing it.  It took four years to get here. I know authors that publish two or three books a year.  I am always surprised by this, because my process takes so much longer.

But what I can say is that it will never happen unless you sit down and start writing.  There are no short-cuts.  There are no magic pills you can take, or voodoo rituals you can do, to make any of it happen.  You just have to sit down and write.  I have a quote on my bulletin board at home, from the late great Erma Bombeck.  “Want to write?  Then write already!”  And she’s right.  It really is that simple.  Sit down, and write. It doesn’t have to be good that first time.  It doesn’t have to sparkle and shine.  I definitely doesn’t have to be perfect.  It just needs to be written.  If you aren’t writing, you can’t call yourself a writer.  That’s just the bottom line.

So, you want to be a writer?  Then write already!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)