Weekly Ramble #120

And so the notifications fall silent but the words I have laid down are seemingly just as loud in my absence. In the near week I have been away from Twitter the amount of followers I’ve gained has gone up by over 300. While silence is sometimes solace, I see enough of it while writing and I’ve concluded this journey is nothing without the company I have found across social media.

I did say previously I am on this journey because of the writing but now the social media connections, the personal connections I have made with so many like me are now a part of that. The good things I have found and created for myself outweigh the bad by a lot. This always has been an eye of the beholder type deal and I know social media can be a grind, for some, it can chew you up and spit you out, but only if you let it. With my following, we made Twitter a good place to be, a place to converse and sell our work to the world while we learned from one another. We found each other and together we are going to step forward day by day and continue what we started. I value it too much to just walk away. I value personal connections as much as my writing.

The world can be a bad place but it can also be a good place, but you have to be willing to let that positivity in and embrace it because soon enough the negative will emerge. I’ve been away only for a little while and I’ve found my happy thoughts, I’ve found my balance and I’ve concluded that I am all in from now on. I was burned out but you’ll be amazed what a few days of silence will do for the mind.

There always will be others who’ll try to be the opposite of me, folks I have no time for. It’s why Twitter invented the mute, unfollow and block buttons. Tools I’m gonna be using to protect myself, because I come first, my following does too and I’m too far down the track to let a few bad interactions stop me. The bad feelings they present me with weigh nowhere near as much as the good. As I said, balance and I’ve found mine.

Taking a Break from Twitter…

I’m writing this post more as a statement than anything else and before I dive in I will firstly say that I am fine. This is not a publicity stunt, attention grab or an attempt to cause arguments or bad feelings. I thought I would lay out in length and hopefully clarify why I have decided to take a short break from Twitter; something I have been envisioning on and off for around three months because the truth is, I have been running hot on the platform since April 2020 and I am mentally tired.

By running hot I mean that in 16 months my efforts and time on the platform has increased by probably twentyfold at least while the rewards I got for it are very much apparent. Back in April 2020 I had around 4,000 Twitter followers. The last time I checked, I have around 13,500. This is partly testament to the effort I have put in to converse and connect with so many creatives, readers, friends and anyone else on a daily basis. These wonderful people buy my books regularly and read this here blog regularly and engage with me every day – most importantly they are probably the biggest reason for my social media success.

The personal connections are the main reason why I am already planning my return because simply walking away from so many wonderful people is not who I am. When I announced I was taking a break, so many good people wished me well, if you are one of them, thank you.  

This incredible journey I have been on has also contained the odd pitfall – anything worthwhile will always have challenges and to jump to the numbers I have now is something I have always been able to process. Twitter for the most part has become partly an addiction (a healthy one, mind) but only because I was getting good results and I was getting better at it – the statistics do not lie. The style that I developed over time works well to drive engagement and I figured out the psychology of the platform while making some awesome connections who have helped me big time on this path. To successfully sell anything on social media takes a lot of effort because the algorithms are so so against you pretty much all the time – this is a mental minefield on its own and statistics don’t always tell you what’s going on under the hood because after all I am a human of the regular persuasion.

The last 16 months were intensive for a number of reasons. In that time I released Book 6 and then Book 7 – with 7 becoming the most intense editing experience of my life – I had to get Consistent Creative Content right, and I did. I also began eyeing up the concept of reaching 10,000 followers right around the time ‘CCC’ was released after a lengthy pre-order run and so things were just happening all at once. This is also without taking note of what was going on in the outside pandemic world. Part of my reason for upping my author social media game was because the pandemic gave me time to do so. I used the time I was given to thrive on social media.

When I did reach 10,000 follows, a huge amount of self-pressure lifted. I had made it into a club that as an indie author who started from zero is rare. Most of my followers are folks just like me and my appeal is probably because I am still one of them and what I can achieve is possible for them too, it really is and I am public about that, not to mention open and honest. Together we made my Twitter a good place to be everyday. But under the hood things were kind of struggling for me and that 10k milestone paved over some cracks but I continued forth. My book had just been released and there is always work to be done but I always knew the chase on social media is endless and Twitter moves quickly, very quickly.

I can count on one hand the amount of bad experiences I’ve had on Twitter. I know what stirs pleasant conversation so I tend to not have many bad moments. I don’t go looking for them and at the very core of my belief is to post something that informs, inspires or entertains without any malice. You might even see my attempt at humour but very much in an inclusive light dad-joke style. If you are kind and pleasant no matter what flag you fly or where you are from, you are welcome on here and even in my own home – that will always be who I am. I do my best to bring that attitude onto Twitter and you might have seen me talk about the power of positivity, it tends to win the day most of the time.

Before I figured out the psychology of my following or even built it I always knew that Twitter was and still is a very public place where anyone can comment or find you anonymously. I’ve even described it personally as a ‘cesspit’ before and for nearly 16 months, to me it wasn’t because I had made it pleasant for me and my followers helped with that. Perhaps I was a little naïve and perhaps I haven’t adjusted my style too much over the last 16 months which might have left me vulnerable in my own head because there are types out there who have the opposite attitude to me and three separate incidents occurred in quick sucession that ultimately drove me to walk away from Twitter temporarily – and that is with the last 16 months piled on top. I say temporarily because most of the time I tend to get pissed off with something, then I process and then I dive back in quickly. And my followers mean too much to me right now to permanently walk away.

This post is me processing because I know there will always be trolls or less desirable folks who in my opinion probably need help but instead they’ll try to drag people like me into their bullshit or their problems. This is not just me being some privileged guy having a whine because someone randomer said something I didn’t like. I’m not easily offended and I am big enough to handle 10,000 people downloading my book in day and then dealing with the influx of low ratings after. I also know there are a lot worse things happening in the world but to me, my mental health will always come first so I have to process this on my home turf and like I said at the start I am fine but this is me intervening to keep my very stable mental health just that. .

These three incidents that occurred were unprovoked because like I said, my tweets have zero malice. I am on Twitter to connect and learn with others and find a readership for my books. I’m an author first and foremost, not a social media personality, I got into writing before social media existed and ultimately it’s a resultant of that. I had been eyeing up a break from the platform since May but these incidents were probably the motivating factor to tell me it is just Twitter and I don’t need it right now.

And for anyone ever struggling with Twitter, remember that sometimes it is just Twitter. You come first.

So what happened and who did what? The specific details of who aren’t important and it wasn’t you that pushed me to take a break. In fact the three incidents were from non-followers which might have been why I reacted the way I have. I won’t give you specifics but I will tell you now from when I return to Twitter, my style will now be adjusted to one of a larger following. I was once a small business operating like a small business, but now I have grown, my approach will change it. I’m going to act like a bigger business and I have to be shrewd to protect me. This will include 3 rules that are for me to follow in order to protect myself and my mental health while using the platform.

  1. If someone attempts to correct me in any way, including my spelling they are gone. (blocked, gone sounds more dramatic);
  2. If someone attempts to make a funny comment that is actually a back handed insult or I cannot grasp their tone in that comment, they are gone;
  3. If someone attempts to spin what I say, gone.

I know as an author and blogger I sit in a very glass house and I’m not attempting to control anyone or silence anyone because this approach is to protect me and life is too short for me to be effected by people who don’t know how to converse properly on a platform designed for conversation. By glass house I mean anyone can hop on over to where my books are listed and drop a low rating – this is part of the reason why I am the way I am on social media and these three rules ultimately depend on how well someone knows me and how we interact. The majority of my wonderful following could do all three of these and as long as they are honest and decent, I probably won’t even bat an eyelid or we might even laugh about it. I am also going to look into privacy settings but approving every single follower will be a lot of time. My current daily follow rate was north of 50 a day and 90 on weekends. It is still moving up now and this is after a whole day of me not tweeting a single thing.

Personally, these rules are basic conversation etiquette and for a lack of it to come from non-followers really surprised me or maybe it just proved I have become naïve to trolls or maybe this even the sign of true prominence. I know this world is full of bad people and I am wise to that but maybe now because of my following I am a target. I also know that I cannot control others but I can shield myself from them. My larger following is an opportunity to some folk who dwell under bridges it seems and like I said, I don’t tweet about anything that deserves this behaviour. One account literally followed me minutes before backhandedly insulting me on a tweet I composed as a light-hearted humour attempt, that account then disappeared after I reported it for abuse.

Number 3 in particular is something that surprised me also but it happened twice in a week. Trying to spin my non-malicious words into something malicious will earn you a block. I am not a politician or a billionaire so stop trying to spin what I say like a cheap journalist. If someone is that insecure about what I say, then the problem is with them not me. Yes, Twitter is a public highway with freedom of speech which I fully support, and you could just tell me to grow up here but I will counter with just two words that define what all humans should be able to do:

Be Kind.

There is a human behind that handle and following. Above all, I have spent a lot of time on the platform and I can see through words, very well.

I take my online author endeavours seriously and authoring will be my primary career one day. Above all, I am adjusting my style to protect my mental health which has dipped partly because I ran hard for so long and partly because unpleasant people do not deserve me. Now I’m having a week away and very much enjoying being a writer. My mind and imagination is my greatest asset and I will do anything to protect it. Right now I am deep into editing the book I began this writing journey with back when I was 12, its way more important than a few random trolls trying to get a reaction. The writing matters, it always will.

In 16 months I gave everything to putting together a loyal engaged following on Twitter.

All of you who do follow me are worth that everything.

You can expect to see me return to Twitter late next week to do battle with the algorithms and be with the people who made this journey worthwhile. Thank you for reading.

Link Sharing on Twitter – My Verdict/Results

This post is based upon my own experience and circumstances on Twitter. Everyone’s experience and circumstances are different when it comes to twitter so this post is designed to help anyone who uses it for the sake of marketing. As an author myself, I very much appreciate the struggle of social media as a marketing tool and to sell books regularly takes a lot of presence and work.

While increasing my presence on Twitter over the past year or so I have began to form a conclusion in my own mind that the platform has a complex underbelly that favours those who use it more often, those who post often and of course those who use it for conversation. Twitter wants you to stay on Twitter and so when you try to divert others away from it through links, that complex underbelly kicks in – the word algorithm get’s used often when it comes to Twitter and now I firmly believe that under the right circumstances, if you share an external link on twitter and specifically via one of your own tweets, it will get less visibility – sometimes dramatically less visibility.

This post will do two things:

1. Lay out my own Twitter circumstances (my following count /tweets per day, etc).

2. Show you what I did to prove that Twitter reduces visibility on Tweets that share links and how to get around this in 2021 – no doubt this post will become outdated but you can still share links on Twitter and get good results. Everything is variable and subjective and this is just my experience.

So who am I when it comes to Twitter?

My Circumstances

My circumstances are important to lay out because it will give you an indication of my engagement and activity on Twitter.

Top Tip: The more time you spend on Twitter, the more it will reward you eventually and this goes for tweeting more, commenting more and just being on there more. What to tweet about you ask? Anything…

My name is Lee Hall and I am an independently published author who probably spends way too much time on Twitter. Although I will say I enjoy being on Twitter and eventually I must have started doing something right because back in December 2020 I had Five Thousand Followers and now I have Twelve Thousand. My Tweets regularly get 20 to 40 likes or even more and normally a few comments – this depends on what I Tweet about and the time of day but generally I have quite a decent engaged following. Here are the numbers in clearer format:

Followers (July 2021): 12k – Mainly UK/US/Canada Time zones

Tweets Per Day on Average: 7 to 10

Hours Spent Per Day: I’d rather not say… but it’s a lot.

These three factors are important to note because firstly my following is a mix of time zones which means when I wake up only UK followers are around mainly so later in my day tends to bring better engagement levels as the US and Canada see sunrise.

Tweets per day is another big factor because the more you tweet, the more your profile will be pushed to followers. And well, hours spent, if you’ve got the time then do it…

Because I have spent so much time on Twitter over the last year I have started to realise that sharing links doesn’t always work out well and so I decided to run a test for a few months to see if this was the case.

The Test

‘Write a book and then share it with your social media following. Instant sales and success’

‘Marketing Expert

While the quote above might have been the case once, right now in 2021 it is so far from the truth and kind of makes me mad that there are people out there sharing this kind of ‘expertise’. Being a social media author who started at zero takes a lot of work, time, patience, effort and drive to reach any level of happiness with your results. The mountain is so high sometimes and the inner workings of social media are designed not to help you.

There are so many authors who will tweet daily about feeling invisible only for me to check out their feed and see it is full of links or they just sporadically tweet every other day. In this day and age that’s the equivalent of standing up in parliament and then taping your mouth shut before trying to give a speech. If there is just one thing I want you to take away from this post it is this:

Talk first, share links later.

And that is what my test is based upon.

The Actual Test

What have I been doing to avoid my links being silenced by the ‘algorithms’? Quite simply I’ve been following a two step approach.

1. Tweet something enticing about a link.

2. Put the link in a reply below that tweet.

Now I am going to prove to you that this approach works.

On July the 9th I set out to share a link in two different ways and at two different times of the day. The link I shared was for my ever popular blog post ’10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’. Yes I am aware of the sarcastic irony which I have a PHD in. Also to make this test fair, I used the same link, hashtag and set specific timings to simply prove how effective this two step approach is.

Tweet 1

At 10:09AM UK time I put out this tweet with the link in the reply. Now my only major audience online at this time is the UK so there is generally less people around to see this tweet. I did this deliberately – you’ll understand why below.

The Reply

Tweet 2

At 07:00PM UK time I put out Tweet 2 with just the link – by this time the majority of UK, US and Canada Time zones were in daytime hours. So you’d think this tweet would get way more attention and this is after several tweets went out during the day.

The Results

I deliberately gave Tweet 2 the advantage of a much bigger audience being online and so you’d think this would work in favour of that tweet. Now I left both of these tweets until today (13th July) to harvest the statistics and so here they are.

Tweet 1

As you can see this time with the numbers its looking quite good. And now with the statistics of this tweet….

The ‘Detail Expands’ tells me followers were enticed by this tweet and moved on to the reply where the link was contained….

The ‘Link Clicks’ is the important number there which is also quite high for me. Now let’s take a look at Tweet 2

Tweet 2

As you can see, very little activity for a Tweet that I put out during ‘prime time’. And so here are the stats…

And the numbers are dramatically less than Tweet 1. These numbers were taken on the day this post was published.

The Supplementary Test

Okay, so I have tried my best to do my own ‘fair’ or at least decent enough test but here’s some a supplementary extra. because there will always be someone trying to refute me it seems.

Yes this is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and yes he put the link in the comments below the status. Now I know this is taken from Facebook but if the man who basically founded social media in part is doing this, well it says it all really…

The Conclusion

I’ve had my eyes set on putting a blog post like this together for a while and from the numbers shared above I can pretty much confirm that link dropping on Twitter most of the time will have an adverse effect on a users numbers. Let me stress that this is entirely dependent on your circumstances which I cannot speak for. Most of my guides are based upon what I have done and learned.

There is hope when it comes to link sharing because right now there is a simple way around it. Tweet 1’s two step method of an enticing tweet followed by a call to action and then sharing the link in the reply is an effective way to get traffic clicking on that link. There are also a plethora of methods to sell something without sharing a link all the time. Hopefully this post has at least stirred some thoughts about how to better get something from social media when it comes to link sharing.

Thanks for reading and you’ll find some further reading below.

Further Reading (Because I kind of have a family to feed…)

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy and get something out of my self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Consistent Creative Content is written with you in mind and will hopefully guide you to results that you are happy with. Here are some recent reviews and click on the billboard for the US link. Everyone else, just search Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall on Amazon – this will boost my key word relevancy

Of course the link mentioned in this post is also a guide and so here is ‘10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’ .

And those looking for better results on Twitter here is another detailed guide.

Tips For Better Twitter Engagement

The Tweet machine. A conversation driven social media platform full of opportunity for pretty much anyone. Engagement is the way to succeed but how do you get more? This is a post dedicated to helping a fellow tweeter with that, but first, what exactly do I mean when it comes to engagement?

To me, and from experience, Twitter engagement simply means conversation. In really simple terms, engagement is basically any activity resulting from a tweet, so better engagement equals more activity and conversation. This also includes likes and retweets. From there, many more possibilities will emerge from making new friends to even sales. Now we’ve defined what engagement is, here are some tips and methods to get more?

Spend More Time

Everything I have achieved in authoring, blogging and social media-ing revolves around having the time to be present for it. This is more of a long-term thing but it is also the most important tip I can give you because presence is what makes the tweet machine turn. If you do spend more time on the platform eventually you shall be rewarded for it and over that time you’ll probably figure out what subjects best suit your audience. Twitter has a very specific psychology that takes time to master and as long as you set out to inform, inspire, entertain or provide some level of value you’ll be okay.

An average day for me on Twitter is around 7 composed tweets, sometimes that can be pushed to 10 but this took time and I gradually ramped up to that number. This leads us to…

Consistency

Tweeting sporadically and even randomly probably won’t get as much attention as someone who tweets regularly every day so a consistent tweeter will naturally draw more engagement. If you tweet 3 or four times daily for a week at spaced out intervals then I’m pretty certain by the end of that week those tweets will see better results. I’m no expert but I’m certain the algorithms at play will push regular tweeters to more people.

Figure Out What Works

Using the above, eventually you’ll be able to figure out what your audience responds best to. Tweets that do get better engagement – do more of, Tweets that don’t – do less (easier said than done right…).

What kind of subjects get more engagement? There are too many inputs to list but keeping it either visual or conversational will probably get a better reception. Twitter wants users to stay on the platform so posting links seems to have a negative effect on engagement most of the time – I know this because I have spent hours figuring it out. For those of the author persuasion you might find this post useful. Variety is key when it comes to subject matter.

Feeling Invisible? My top tip would be to take a look at some previous and recent tweets, do they all contain links? Links tend to bury your visibility. Try posting that link in the replies or simply talk about the link instead. I’ve said link a lot..

Reply Where Possible

A revelation for me and an actual physical tip to instantly get more engagement is to reply to a comment that someone has written on your tweet. Doing this will boost the visibility for both parties engaged in conversation and all you need to worry about here is thinking of something that has conversational value. A simple thank you is enough sometimes. Get replying tweeters, it is good for conversing and it boosts everyone involved.

This also applies to you commenting on other users tweets because when I am not tweeting I tend to find something to comment on and this will boost your presence further.

Use Hashtags but Sparingly

Opinion alert but there is nothing worse than seeing a tweet that is full of hashtags. It screams sales, sales, sales and won’t encourage conversation. Sometimes there is such thing as too many hashtags because to me they appear a little too try hard plus they make a tweet difficult to read so I’ll just scroll past if I can’t understand something. From experience you only really need a maximum of two or three per tweet and I tend just use one and put it at the end of a tweet. Remember that specific experiences will differ for each user – this stuff is just from my own experience and not a solid set of rules.

If you really want to test your engagement levels, try tweeting without a hashtag and see how well that tweet performs.

Offer an Incentive to your Followers

No matter how big or small your following is there will always be a fellow tweeter looking for a signal boost. Offering a retweet in exchange for a retweet is great way to cross promote one another. Every few weeks I tend to change my pinned tweet and then ask my followers to retweet it. In return I’ll offer to do the same – this is great for maximum visibility and that pinned tweet of yours could strike up some conversation.

As you can see from this tweet I offered an incentive and also prompted others to drop a fun gif or picture which boosted it even more. Considering this tweet didn’t have a hashtag the numbers were great.

Offering a shout-out is often incentive enough for another tweeter to engage with you. While my recent book release was on pre-order I positively mentioned anyone who did reserve it and I even added some of their books to my tbr list – I shared that also.

* Short Advertisment Intermission *

If you are enjoying this post you might find my recently released self-help guide book useful also. Its packed with tips and guides for an author or blogger just like you!

Ask Constructive Questions

Asking questions seems to be an overused method to get more engagement on twitter to the point where it is pretty much a trope. Saying that, tropes do work and asking constrictive questions or questions that provide some thinking to answer, work very well. Personally I tend to ask questions for stuff I don’t know the answer to because I genuinely need an answer. My advice would be to stay away from the inane type of questions and only ask questions on occasion. This also leads to…

Keep it Conversational

‘Talk first and let the talking do the selling’ is becoming my philosophy on Twitter. These days I hardly share any links to my works and while some of my tweets do mention my books there are so many other things to share and talk about. As long as your product is easily findable you’ll be surprised how many sales are generated just from conversation.

Go Against the Grain

While everyone in the author twitter world might appear to be dropping links, asking inane questions and putting out that same tweet every morning some of them aren’t and sometimes it will do you good to try different things. Standing out will get engagement and you really need to do is confide in your following. How much you share is your choice but sharing enough to prove you are human will connect with at least one person.

Manage Expectations and Perspective

Try not to be too hard on yourself. It takes a long time and a lot of tweeting to get good engagement but the journey getting there should be fun and one of trial and error. Every tweeter is different and their engagement levels face different circumstances.

If someone has 20 followers and gets 20 likes for a tweet then their engagement rate is excellent whereas I have over 10k followers and 20 likes for my tweet is sweet victory for me personally. All of the above seems to work for me but even in a few months time that could change. Twitter can be a wonderful platform for connectivity and as long as you set out to be conversational eventually you’ll find rewards.

Thank you for taking the time read this post, if you have any tips for better Twitter engagement then do let me know by leaving a comment below. You can find more guides and stuff over on the resources section. Peace out, rock and roll man!

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy my self help authoring and blogging book that is full of experience based advice on social media. Head on over to Amazon and search for Consistent Creative Content.

The Tweet Machine Basics for Authors and Bloggers

The world of social media is the glue that holds all of my authoring and blogging efforts together. In particular, Twitter is a weird and wonderful vessel that sails the seas of social media and can be used as a valuable tool in both marketing and finding your own crowd. Everything I’ve learned from the Tweet machine can both be applied to all writers and bloggers who make up the wider writing community.

To begin with, my advice for any prospective writer or blogger is to get yourself a Twitter account. The potential reach you can achieve doesn’t compare to anywhere else, so if you aren’t on Twitter you will most probably struggle to reach potential readers.

You’re going to need a handle (username). This can be creative or simple. Both work fine and yet again another important attribute outside of the trio looms.

To give yourself the best possible chance at Twitter success you need to be honest, friendly and decent. Why, you say? Because that’s how I got several thousand followers in just a few years, so you need:

A real profile picture of yourself;

A friendly bio that describes who you are, what you do. The more inviting, fun and friendly the better;

A pinned Tweet – a tweet you can put at the top of your profile that relays what you currently have available/currently writing, what’s coming soon or even a link to your book or blog;

To engage with others by commenting, offering help and advice, being friendly, supportive and decent;

To be honest. Trust me most twitter types are drawn it.

This also includes a following strategy that consists of:

Following those who follow you;

Unfollowing those who no longer follow you;

Following those who interest you.

Now you might be asking what exactly do I tweet about? My mantra is to tweet about anything as long as it informs, inspires, entertains or provides some level of value – this will normally lead to some engagement but if not it’s probably due to lack of visibility because of a low follower count. I will typically add at least one hashtag to that tweet also.

Popular hashtags for authors and bloggers include: #author #writer #blogger #writingcommunity #amwriting #amreading.

Twitter is a wonderful arena full of folks just like you, and together the voice of authors and bloggers is louder trust me.

For absolute beginners it might feel like nobody is listening or seeing your posts. This is only reflective of your current following. At the very beginning tweet less and spend more time commenting on the tweets of others. Explore hashtags and search for folks who you have a common interest with.

Twitter takes some time and effort to work out and has a very specific psychology to master. As long as you are approachable and lightly social, you’ll be okay but remember, it takes time and above all, good conversation between you and others. Before you experience any type of external success (book sales/blog views) your audience will need to feel like they can trust you. This can only be achieved long term and through genuine interactions. I call this the ‘Algorithm of Trust’.

This post is an exclusive excerpt of self help book ‘Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age’ which is available now.

10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

Every day I see hundreds of authors on social media dropping the links to their works. Some even blindly drop them on other users posts without asking or even context. First off, no bad feelings to anyone who does drop links, sometimes it can be effective to generate sales but I have ten other things to try instead.

Based upon observations and experience over time here are 10 ways to sell a book without dropping the link on social media…

1. Create and share a book banner

You’ll find most of the methods on this list to be visual because visual is what a lot of marketing on the internet is based upon and it is very effective. While scrolling the various social media feeds every so often something does grab our interest and it is normally visual.

While people do judge a book by its cover, an opportunity to capitalise on that concept further is by using a book banner. In terms of scope, the sky is the limit and I would say any book banner that heightens the theme or visual-ness of a book cover is an effective way to grab attention on social media.

These days and with the world of online picture editing being easily accessible, anyone can put together an effective book banner. I’ve created most of mine through pixlr but I have even used Fiverr and paid for them like the one below. From experience, book banners do work for selling books especially if it is clear enough where to find that book.

Top Tip: If your book is easy enough to find, all you really need is to tell people where it is – that is what the majority of this list is based upon. So make it easy for potential readers, have a permanent link in your profile/bio or even encourage folks to search for it on Amazon. In 2021 and on many social media platforms the algorithms tend to not push links as hard. If I can find a book after seeing an effective book banner, I’ll probably be inclined to buy it.

2. Share a Recent Review

There are so many reasons why sharing a review will positively contribute towards selling your work. First of all I would make sure it is a positive review and again the sky is the limit. You could quote that review in a simple tweet or Facebook status, you could even put it on your own book banner and share it on Instagram. As you can see from my billboard below I received a bunch of reviews just after release of ‘CCC’ and put them all together. Then I shared it across multiple platforms. You’ll see I even included each reviewers work because for this case they were all authors and so I was more than happy to plug their works also.

Top Tip: Quoting reviews and even giving a shout-out to the reviewer will get some positive attention – others might feel inclined to read and review your work if you are sharing their reviews in front of a social media audience.

3. Share a Screenshot of an Excerpt

While book covers and banners are awesome, sometimes a reader wants to actually read something, so how about a screenshot of an excerpt. A few paragraphs of a scene or even the introduction can fit into a screenshot sized picture and it makes for something different to share – variety is key when it comes to promoting a book. Because social media is plugged in to so many people scrolling you never know who could discover it, maybe your next reader.

4. Share a Selfie of Your Book

Those who know me will know that book selfies do sell books and this is a concept that I kind of accidentally discovered after releasing my debut novel ‘Open Evening’ some years ago. One of my readers shared a selfie and then someone else did until folks were doing it everywhere. Pets were even included!

5. Create a Simple Trailer

It may take a little more effort than a book banner but I consider a trailer to be a moving and perhaps even talking version of a book banner. I’ve created some simple but very effective trailers over the years using mainly free to download software. Here’s a recent one that I did for hopefully next years release.

6. Talk about your Books…

It might feel like your are just shouting into the empty void much of the time on social media but if you keep talking eventually somebody will answer. Talking about your works is a highly effective way to inform readers that they exist and the inputs for this are many. From putting together a thread on twitter to even discussing what inspired your works on a blog, sometimes a little extra information goes a long way to selling a book. To me, there is the blurb and then there’s what the actual story is about – confide in your social media following and they might be interested in your words.

Just recently I put out several twitter threads over the space of a week that contained fun facts about each of my works. I sold a copy of each book after – a good job done.

Every time I share my book promo results on this blog someone buys the book(s) mentioned. Just name dropping them will sometimes drive interest and as long as they are findable, people will buy them. Just last week and the day before the launch of my latest book I wrote a rallying blog post and it resulted in multiple pre-orders. Get talking authors.

7. Share your Statistics

While being an author can be solitary experience you are not alone and a great way to bridge that gap is to share your results. Personally I find comfort in knowing that other authors are in the same boat as me and it is also inspiring to see when an author does well. That’s why I believe it is important to share your statistics sometimes. Authors who are doing well or even those who aren’t will only really benefit from sharing – someone will see your progress or struggle and may decide to lend a hand.

8. Share a Relatable Meme/Something with Common Interest

Those who did tune in to my previous book release results post will know that sharing content with common interest is an effective way to talk about your work and sell it without actually mentioning it that much. So what do I mean? Well, sharing something that is within the same interest as your book will drive interest towards it like a meme or even a story about something in the same genre.

9. Supporting Others

Ah, the pillar that holds up everything for me. You’ll even find the inner message to my recently released self-help authoring and blogging book is to support others because:

  1. Supporting others feels good and makes the writing industry better for everyone.
  2. Supporting others is the best way to earn trust.

Personally you can only earn trust with honesty, if you are dishonest even if you appear to be helping others you will eventually get found out. Trust is what you need for readers to invest in you.

I have learned over many years that supporting others will eventually support you in some capacity. This is a long game but mostly with all the things I do to support others, I hardly have time to post my own book link anymore.

But what can you do to support others?

  1. Buy and review an authors book.
  2. Retweet, like, follow and support a fellow author or anyone else on the tweet machine.
  3. Engage in conversation on social media.
  4. Share your experiences so others can learn.
  5. Tell your friends about this blog post…
  6. The list goes on…

10. Make an Author Video

Even though it might take some effort, making a video starring you is great way to promote yourself and that book of yours. Over the years I have kept my appearances to the minimum, in fact, I have only appeared on video once on Twitter and it was to celebrate reaching 10,000 followers. You can see that here.

From reading a book excerpt to just saying thank you, appearing in a video might feel daunting but with a few practice runs you’ll do great and appearing in person is a great way for people to connect with you. Be sure to mention that book of yours while you are on video.

Concluding Thoughts

All you really need to sell books on social media is to create an easy way for potential readers to find it after they know it exists.

The ‘exists’ part is doing all of the above to get the book in front of as many eyes as possible. While I am not totally against the idea of sharing links on social media I do find that they tend to get less engagement than anything else. There is a time and a place to share your link but just dropping it on someone else’s post without asking is not the way and also constantly dropping links doesn’t look particularly social on social media. On Twitter you’ll see a self promo post nearly every day, sometimes I’ll drop my link and sometimes I’ll just drop a banner instead.

The best way to sell books on social media is to find a way to stand out, do what others aren’t doing. While it may seem like everyone is dropping their links, do something different, it will work eventually.

Hopefully this post was helpful, if it was, be sure to share it on your social media feeds, whether or not you include the link, that’s up to you!

If you did enjoy this post and found it useful you might be interested in my self-help guide book for authors and bloggers which is available now. There are plenty of tips and guides designed to help a fellow creative.

Weekly Ramble #109

10,000 Twitter followers is a huge achievement. That’s 10,000 reasons to keep going. 10,000 reasons to not give up. 10,000 reasons to be thankful for the support I have. While it is an exceptional and somewhat numbing moment, right now I feel as if a huge amount of pressure has been lifted. Having that many people behind you means that I no longer have to fight for attention or tolerate things that would effect my following if I reacted in a particular way. It has been a journey and it is now paying off.

Since even before my rise on Twitter I’ve been incredibly lucky to be supported by good people on here. The day-in day-outers who show up and click like on my posts, folks like me trying to make it in this world that is full of challenges. You guys were here before that and during it. I never forget those who have helped me and this celebration is just as much yours as it is mine. Inclusion has always been my mantra and probably why I am so successful at social media.

Sometimes the good guys win and sometimes it all just works out. I’m nothing special but what I stand for and those who stand beside me are exceptional. All I have ever done is carry on, regardless of bad results and being in the company of my old friend zero, I’ve kept going and the rewards are finally presenting themselves. Resilience in the face of adversity is probably the one thing I know, everything else I’ve just picked up along the way. If you do head over to twitter in recent times you’ll see a video at the top of my profile which outlines everything I feel right now. My determination to support and prove that indie authoring is viable, continues…

Building an Algorithm of Trust – How To Get Better Results On Twitter

As of January 2021 192 million people use Twitter. That’s an opportunity to connect and engage with a lot of people. Opportunity is probably the best way to describe the platform which is basically a word popularity contest with the focus on connecting through those words to create meaningful relationships with others.

From my own experience, if you are on Twitter to simply sell something, you might struggle to get any type of decent results. But how do you get better results at Twitter? There is no short answer but this guide will explore and try to answer that question…

Statistic reference via: Oberlo.co.uk

Time and Consistency with Perspective

It has taken me since 2013 and at least one absence from Twitter to finally get any level of high engagement on the platform, but let’s be real here with some grounded perspective. Any number of likes, retweets, comments or follows is good engagement no matter who you are. One or two likes for a tweet is a success in my eyes and anything more is very good. Twitter has a specific psychology that requires some time to figure out.

There is no specific way to measure how long it takes to figure out, some grasp it quicker than others but getting better results will mostly be governed by time and consistency – showing up regularly over a length of time.

For absolute beginners perhaps tweeting ten times a day is too much to start with. Take it steady and let people get used to you being there. Tweet a few things every day, comment on other tweets from folks you follow – show genuine interest but don’t be too enthusiastic or pushy, stay cool and patient.

What should you be tweeting about? We’ll get to that soon but first we need to understand how the tweet machine works and it is very much a machine in my eyes.

Algorithms

I’m not really qualified to say how the underbelly of Twitter works and Google knows the specifics. There are those who regularly mention a thing called algorithms which as far as I understand is a computer based pattern learning thing. Theory is, if you are consistent on twitter it will eventually work in your favour and push those tweets of yours to more followers. My learning comes from experience and all you have to do is go on over to my profile and see how many wonderful followers engage with my tweets regularly.

It took time and consistency to reach that level. There is another algorithm that isn’t computer or tech based and it is also known as trust. Over many years my followers have come to trust me through the content I post and when someone trusts me they are invested in me. If someone invests in you personally they will eventually buy your product or service out of loyalty. I have zero expectation or even an agenda to sell to people in this way, it just happens naturally and mainly through presence (being present, not personality, I don’t have any of that…)

For example take a household cleaning product you buy on a regular basis. You keep buying more because you trust it does the job you expect it to. That’s brand loyalty and that can be achieved on Twitter also.

But what should you shout into that void to earn that algorithm of trust?

It may seem like you are simply shouting those words into a void and it will feel that way for some time but eventually that void will answer if you keep going. Too many folks give up on twitter too quickly. Going from zero to millions of followers isn’t going to happen quickly but you don’t need a huge following to get results. I’ve seen hundreds of authors come and go from Twitter because they feel like they are getting nothing from the platform. Translation: They are not selling any books for the effort they put in. But to me that’s not the idea of being on Twitter for the most part.

I don’t know who said having a Twitter account alone will sell books or sell anything but that seems to be the consensus for some. Of course not everyone thinks this is the case but if you’re an author who gets a lot of Twitter engagement I can near enough guarantee it’s because you tweet less about your work and more about other things which provide value to others. Remember, Twitter users want to invest in you as a person way before they consider buying something from you. I call this the art of indirect selling – your genuine engagement and socialising on Twitter results in sales even if you weren’t even aiming to sell.

So what are these other things?  

Personally and from experience there is a huge range of content ideas for twitter but as long as it informs, inspires or has value then you are going to get something back – that is broad but also a fantastic opportunity to be creative. I tend to stay away from anything heavily political or even something that divides opinions – there are just other fun things to tweet about and it should be fun.

Sharing links tends to get less engagement as Twitter wants you and others to stay on the platform. My top tip: Drop that link in the comments below your tweet or leave it in your bio instead.

Images and visual stuff is great. From memes to a selfie. Did I mention a real picture of a real person goes a long way?

Sharing positive things is always going to get a good level of engagement. I can’t really remember many authors in the past sharing their sales statistics but I do and because I have a large audience of authors, it gives them hope that they can achieve the same. Give someone hope and you’ll earn their trust – we’re back to that algorithm again but sharing successful moments is inspiring to many others.

Helping someone in any way will always result in positive engagement. For the last three years I have read and reviewed over a hundred Indie Published Books. I support the industry and try to help a fellow wordsmith, there’s nothing more genuine than helping those around you just because I know their struggle. I shout about helping people because eventually it will probably make the literary industry better – a big ambition but achievable over time.

Commenting on other users tweets will push up your algorithm (the actual computer one, if it exists) and spread your presence wider to more people.

Hashtags should never be overlooked. I tend to include one or two in every tweet.

Play the long game. There aren’t many quick fixes. Doing the work will work eventually.

Above all being a person and not a link or book link sharing machine on Twitter will get you better results eventually.

You have to build your own…

Over time with consistency and patience you’ll eventually build your own algorithm of trust. Much of what I say may sound easier said than done but I have done it and achieved it. I’m selling a lot more books now through Twitter even though my focus has been more on getting a bigger following and just enjoying the ride while learning from others.

The campfire Analogy…

This has been a kind of Ted Talk but I want to finish with an analogy that I hope anyone on Twitter or thinking of joining the platform can understand…

So you’ve set up a small campfire on the edge of some woods (you’ve created a Twitter profile).

This nice spot is adjacent to a path, that path is then connected to a much wider path where people walk, jog, cycle and appear along frequently. (Basically the wider twitter community, no specific demographics)

You begin to talk to yourself while the small fire crackles away. There is a little warmth but other than the low hum of your quiet voice it’s pretty desolate.

You then talk a little louder (your tweets are specific to your interests, if you’re an author you use the writing community hashtag).

It might feel like you are talking to yourself but that busy path is ever so near. (it feels like you are talking to yourself. This is normal for a while)

A little time passes and someone along that wider path hears you talking (the hashtags amplified that voice of yours).

This person then moves onto the path adjacent to that campfire of yours, (you’ve attracted the attention of a specific demographic you’ve got something in common with).

You talk to this person as they have just replied to you. (they commented on your tweet). It was a brief but a pleasant exchange. This passer by then decides to come off that path and sit at your campfire (congratulations, you’ve just earned a follower).

Because this follower responded to something you said, you now tweet more about the subject you exchanged engagement with. You also talk directly to them (you follow them back).

Other passers-by begin to hear this follower talking to you and some at the very least stroll past the campfire. This one follower has sat at a few campfires before and those who he sat with can see the engagement you are having, (mutual followers of that first follower see your tweets in their feed).

You keep talking and exchange engagements. Some of these mutual followers have now walked by and sit at your camp fire. You talk to them also (follow each other). These folks even bring their own logs and the fire grows in brightness and warmth (more engagements happen, subjects range).

More folks who have been to other campfires see your campfire is a two way conversation and come to sit by it. (Your following steadily increases because you are talking and including them and you are present consistently over time).

The subjects you talk about are interesting and engaging. More passers-by join the congregating people already by your now roaring fire. You’re going to need more seating soon but you keep talking because these passers-by have become important connections. They have invested in you and trust you because your word is good and honest which started literally with you talking to a campfire. How do you know what to talk about everyday – you get better at this the more you do it. It even feels warm inside…

Some of these passers by now want more from you and so they see you have a product or service available that they know will be trust worthy or will at least provide something which will make them feel good, (You’ve grown your own algorithm of trust over time, as an author or content creator these followers buy from you).

You share with these fellow camp fire members how you got to this point. They eventually take on some of what you have learned and in their spare time they go and start their own campfires and the cycle continues, (you see others being successful at twitter also, they didn’t give up and kept talking also).

Although this is a specific analogy in a perfect scenario, it highlights the importance of being social no matter where you start.

Thank you reading what is a lengthy and quite detailed post. Hopefully it is useful and if you like this there are plenty more guides over in the resources section. I also have a self help guide book that is currently available on discounted pre-order. Link below via the awesome book cover, check it out! Peace out, rock and roll man!

Awesome Recommended Indie Reads

Ah, the reading, reviewing and recommending of books. The truth is I haven’t done one of these posts in quite a while and considering it’s Indie April, now would be an awesome time to share some awesome indie books. Let’s dive in…

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

The first awesome book on our list is a bravely told memoir that highlights the journey of Danielle Larsen while focusing on mental health and her relationship with an abusive partner. These are sometimes difficult subjects to talk about but in this book they handled with grace and the story is ultimately inspirational. To quote my recent reviewThis book acts as guide in some senses to spread awareness while also informing others. The narration style feels natural and relays every moment with dignity and there are some moments when you cannot help but feel for a person who has been through so much…’

‘How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market’ by Ricardo Fayet

We’re moving into book marketing territory now with what stands as a pretty extensive and awesome guide for authors. Anyone looking to seriously make a career out of their words can benefit from this guide which is basically a bunch of Reedsy blog posts packaged together in one place and a whole lot more. I came across this one via Reedsy Discovery as I have been a reviewer for their platform for nearly a year now. This one is definitely worth a look! You can read my full review here.

‘Deification’ by Brooklynn Dean

The newest release from Brooklynn Dean did not disappoint and according to twitter she is already working on the sequel. Using intimate description and a unique style this tale of apocalyptic proportions will take you places, they might be violent and brutal places but I could not look away. From the obvious symbolism to the lesser visible deeper meanings in this book, ‘Deification’ is an awesome encapsulating read. Here’s my full review.

‘Raven Woman’s Tavern’ by Laura Koerber

From the first line of the blurb I was already hooked and this book was right up my alley as they say. Set in a dystopian type future the story focuses on a small forest town as an aging and sparse population try to get by. They are disturbed when a group of younger Militia turn up and well, the Raven woman works her magic so to speak. I thought it was an awesome read and you can check out my review here.

‘Pestilence’ by Susie Kearley

Now the past year might have felt like the apocalypse to some but this book lays out in detail what could happen if a fungus could really bring the end of days. From the emergence of a new wonder drug to this fungus brought into existence by a warmer climate, Pestilence is a charmingly British but very well thought out read. Susie Kearley had this novel in the pipeline for thirty years and you can tell she has worked incredibly hard to bring it to publication. Although it is a longer book it doesn’t feel that way as the pages fly by. An awesome read and you can find my full review here.

That wraps things up for now. You can expect a new indie book review hopefully by the weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Weekly Ramble #104

As creators who release our work into the public domain we’re always told to prepare for good and bad reactions but it seems none of us are ever told to prepare for the effects of almost instant and explosive success. The truth is and since my book got thrown in front of a huge main stream audience of 10,000 plus, I haven’t been the same and then this weekend just gone I broke more sales records. Things are growing in a short space of time. My mind is still processing how monumental an achievement it was to get that many people download something that’s mostly unknown and then even more awesome things happened.

Recently I’ve found it difficult to think of new ideas and create new works. The sheer level of attention, reviews and continuing aftermath has been distracting and ultimately foreign to me. I’m just not used to the numbers and this is something nobody has ever talked about or given fair warning of. One day, if your work is out there, it might take off without fair warning. All success comes at a price and while recent times have been hard to adjust to, I’m still sitting in a rather good place. My mind is slowly gathering itself and learning to live with this new normal.

This entry might have started out looking like a complaint but I’m truly loving the fruits of this long journey right now. Its just taking time to adjust to what was a major corner turned. I firmly believe that if you keep going, eventually good things happen and this seems to be my year. What did I do? Nothing special, I just kept going because that’s all I know how to do.

In between reading, blogging and having a constantly demanding social media presence I’ve reached a creative plateau but ultimately that’s okay. I’m celebrating books that came out a few years ago and are now finding their success. It’s more than okay to embrace the stuff you currently have published and not worry so much about what’s to come. I have a backlist that I can lean back on and even if I’m not creating anything new right now, the pipeline still has a few more projects. Of course the self help book is just over a month away but right now and probably for the near future I’m just going to enjoy the journey. Truthfully I’m very much enjoying the social element of what has become an engaged social media following. To hear from and speak with so many folks from all over the world has brought so much joy to this journey. Reverting to zero seems like a lifetime away now.

To everyone who has interacted with me recently and those who did buy one or more of my books over the past weekend. Thank you.