Why Do We Pin?

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Hey y’all,

It is overwhelming taking the helm and learning the steps of the social media dance that Jessica set up in the last four years. On one hand, I’ve never been a huge fan of social media. Yet, on the other hand, I use it in my personal life and I’m a little addicted – my partner would say I’m addicted A LOT. Be that as it may, I might as well use it for my work and work with it until I “get it,” which I really don’t right now.

I will learn a lot in the coming months. I’m pinning on Pinterest without a clear idea as to why I should do this. I’ve heard that it has helped with driving traffic towards my website, where people can find out I exist and about my work, etc. So I’m going through these images and pinning, without really understand what I’m doing.

Also, this lovely young woman I interviewed - who is likely to be the book designer for The Golden Pedestal - said she used to use Pinterest as a knitter, but she has found it to be full of ads and not as useful as a marketing tool. I'm scared she may be right, but I don't know enough to know that yet. So I continue to pin on a daily basis, and hopefully that will do something wonderful. And if it doesn't, I'm sure another social media site will come up and maybe I'll get in on that as the wave is coming up, not after it has peaked and crested and fallen down.

But I'm here now and I can see why people get really into Pinterest. It’s pretty amazing all the stuff I am finding there. In fact, it's fascinating enough that it’s distracting me from what I should really be doing.

Which is writing…

Any extra insights on how and why to use Pinterest would be gratefully appreciated. Thoughts?



Social Media for Authors who Hate Social Media

If you're an indie author who abhors social media, like me, there are ways you can boost your online presence without making your stomach churn. How can you use social media to your advantage even if you hate being on social media?

Let's be honest, social media takes up a lot of time. A lot of time you could be spending writing. Or going on adventures, y'know, for fodder to write about.

But in this overly-connected world, if you don't have a social media presence, you're basically dead in the water. No one will hear of you. You'll have no huge base of raving fans.

You either have to learn to love social media, or poke at it from a distance with a stick.

I like the former option, which keeps my time free for writing, and the agonizing time spent on social media low.

Here are a few of my most effective tips for managing a social media presence without having to put in much work.

 Choosing the lesser of the evils

or, how to find the right platform for you


If there's a platform that seems less vile than the others, by all means, use that platform as your sole social media. You don't need a twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest, and goodreads account. You can cut the fat and just do one of them really well. This way, you'll be spending less time, stress, and frustration spread across multiple platforms, and you can more easily learn how to be effective at your one social media outlet.


I learned that twitter, which is the worst of the worst in my mind, wasn't doing anything for my business. I would gain new followers, have some favorites and retweets each week, but none of that engagement was making any difference in my website views, or buys for my book.

Because twitter is the lowest converting social media platform (with a conversion rate of 0.5%) unless you LOVE twitter, or are a master at the 140 character sales pitch with a HUGE following, it's going to be the least effective way to spend your time on social media.


If you read a lot of books and like talking about it, goodreads is a platform that lets you engage with other readers and authors and promote your book in a non-salsey kind of way. You can host giveaways which gain you exposure, and you can enter review groups or find beta readers to help grow your amazon reviews. This isn't an incredible way to convert to sales, but it's awesome for boosting your online presence and gaining traction with amazon reviews.

You can also use goodreads to find authors who you can partner with in a webinar or email giveaway swap, so that you can expand both of your audience's together. More of a community than a sales tool, goodreads is perfect for you if you actually want to go deeper than other surface social media platforms, like twitter.


It's hard to make instagram work for authors, but if you're on it, and you enjoy taking photos, you can use it as your social media outlet instead of the rest. Posting inspirational photos that remind you of a scene or setting in your book can generate interest in your novels -- especially if you're a good photo taker. You can caption an image with a compelling quote from your book. You can arrange your books with a cup of coffee and some items from around your house that are within the aesthetic of your novel, and drive people to the sales link. Or you can promote a giveaway through an image (remember, it doesn't always have to be a photograph - you can make a jpeg advertisement and upload that as well).

Instagram is actually a more versatile platform than you might thing for selling books, and there are lots of reader feeds and author feeds for you to follow to get more inspiration.

Here are some of my favorite bookish instagram users:






This is the platform that I find has the highest conversion rates. Pinterest is an incredible visual marketing tool. I drive 80%+ of my web traffic from Pinterest. You have to have minimal design skills to use Pinterest so that you can create pins to link to your website, but this is easily done on Canva if you don't know a more designy program, like Photoshop.

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Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 1.46.55 PM

If you want the secret weapon for how to make Pinterest grow your fan base and lead to sales, I highly recommend Melyssa Griffin's course Pinfinite Growth. It will show you how to reach and attract your ideal audience, maintain motivation (cause even if you enjoy this particular bout of social media, putting it to work for you can be hard!), and how to raise your monthly page views.

Pinterest lets you target people who actually want to see your work -- giving you a higher chance of converting viewers in to sales.

Since I'm a visual person, I love spending time searching for new books and ways to help indie authors succeed. So Pinterest is a fun way to do that and build up my statistics so that I'm a formidable Pinterest presence!


I have to admit, even though I despise being on facebook, I'm finding that it's a useful author platform to move from stage 1 indie author (who's just struggling to get the first book out) to a stage 2 indie author, who is focusing on cultivating a fan base.

Facebook allows you to connect with your readers. You can use facebook to host AMA's (ask me anything) where readers or authors can come to you and engage with you for an hour or so as you answer book or writing related questions.

You can host other kinds of events, like giveaways that stir up a comment and liking frenzy, or connect with another author to host a joint venture.

Facebook also offers ads that can be targeted to a particular readership, which leads to conversions. I'm just starting out with facebook, so I'm no master of it, but if you're interested in using this platform as your social media outlet, check out Nick Stephenson's free training for authors:


You'll learn a lot more than just how to use facebook, but, to be honest, this man has it down pat.

If there are other social media platforms you'd like discussed, or want to add a comment, chime in! I'd love to hear from you!

Want this post as a guide? Download the pdf!

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5 Essential Marketing Strategies for your Ebook


The landscape of the contemporary book market is chaos. You have a wonderful book you know readers would love, but how will they ever find it? There are a myriad of websites telling you you must do this, and you must do that, but if you did everything they were telling you you absolutely had to do, your time would be booked out six hundred years from now and you'd never find the time to write another book again. So what is absolutely essential to getting your book noticed? Do you have to be on six different social media platforms? Do you need to spend 80 hours a week marketing your book, leaving no time to write? Of course not!

Here is our essential list for marketing your book. Forget the rest. Focus on these and you'll have plenty of time to write your next best-seller.

5 Ways to Market your Book that Leave You Free to Write the Next One

1. Find your Niche

Fantasy, Romance, Thriller, Non-Fiction (what a broad swath!), Sci-Fi. Umbrella terms that will only lump you in a massive pile with millions of other authors. How is a reader ever to find your book? It's like casting about blind in a pile of stones for the one that has your name on it. So how do you start lifting rocks out of that pile, making it smaller and much easier to discover hidden gems? Finding your niche is the first step to making your book stand out. Readers know what they want. If they loved Harry Potter, they're not going to want to sift through a slag of books that include sub fantasy genres like horror or historical fiction if they want a book that's just like Harry Potter.

Ask yourself a few questions to define your demographic: who are my readers? What other books are like mine? What are THREE key words that differentiate my book from the mire?

Use the answers to hone in on your niche. Do a google search with your key terms and see what other books pop up. If they have a smaller category, consider tagging your book with that label, so readers can more easily find the book they're looking for: Your book.

2. Design a Website that can be easily updated. Then forget about it.

I love movie websites. They include the only information you'll need to know (if a movie's already been released.) One of the most minimal examples I've found is this one for Limitless. What I love about this site is that there are no moving parts. I mean, except for the trailer than plays on load. But there's nothing to be maintained, and your author website could be like this (this is one example). If you really hate working to promote yourself, why spend time developing a website that will require your constant engagement? If you don't like blogging, don't do it--no one will want to read a passionless post. If you do love blogging, then by all means, create one. You want essential information to be given to readers immediately. Your website should tell them these key things:

  •   Who you are.
  • What genre your book is, and who it's intended for.
  • A cover, synopsis, trailer, excerpt, etc.
  • An email sign-up form (offering a free ebook download or some other swag to entice the reader to sign up for your list)
  • A where to buy link.

Those are the essentials. Cramming your site full of extraneous fluff isn't going to engage readers. They want to know who you and what your book is and that they're going to love it. That's it. Easy. Then, in all that free time you now have, you can add the next book in the series and leave it alone again until the next one. (You're welcome.)

3. Pick ONE social media site you ENJOY using and focus on that one.

Don't go crazy and spread yourself thin over Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and the million other social media sites out there. If you don't want to make regular, quality contributions to twitter, stay off it. If you're not used to Pinterest, don't spend hours trying to learn how to market yourself there. If you love facebook, have a ton of friends, and enjoy going on there for an hour a day, that's probably your best platform to use. Goodreads is a perfect spot to connect with authors and readers, but it takes effort to join groups and engage. Learn about different social media sites, what they have to offer, and which one would be best for you. Pinterest is all about visuals. If you have great art to go with your book and genre, slap a juicy quote from your book on an image and post it up. Twitter is all about the 140 character nugget of tantalizing information. Goodreads will make you friends that are readers/writers/lovers of the book. Explore, try things out, but keep your focus on one site and limit your time spent on others so you can write that next book!

Do you hate using social media?

Download my guide Social Media for Authors Who Hate Social Media and shortcut your way to success!

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4. Engage

Engage with your readers. Engage with other writers. Engage in conferences and events for your niche. Find blogs that offer author interviews or guest posts and do one. Spreading yourself out there in these ways will get you noticed and garner you a following.

To engage with your readers, get them on an email list and send them memorable, awesome content once a month. Include a free printable poster/book excerpt/discount in each email along with a tantalizing update about your book's progress, or whatever you want to share with them.

To engage with other writers, do what you wish they'd do for you. Review books. Comment on their website. Offer a guest post over at your blog. Tweet about their book.

Find conferences and events in your area. We've just started attending steampunk/fantasy conferences in the Pacific Northwest and I can tell this is a great place to find readers will pick up your book and buy it. Unlike book fairs, conferences that are specific to a genre allow you to present your work in front of your demographic. And it's not likely you'll be competing with 100+ other writers. There will be artists, makers, designers, and a whole slew of other producers who won't be in direct competition for your sales. Events are great places to network and find friends who share your goals and aspirations, and can help you get there.

Bloggers everywhere offer guest posts and author interviews. If they're in the blogging business, they want content. You can both benefit by sharing your email list, tweeting the post to your followers, and using other methods of promotion that reach twice as many people. Pitch the blogger with your great idea for a post that will be worthwhile to their readers. Offer your promotion up front, as in "I have an email list of sixty dedicated readers who would love to know more about your X blog!" This is another great way to make friends and help yourself while helping another.

5. Write the Next Book

There's nothing better for your book business than writing that next book. Having more books under your author name gets you noticed exponentially more. You can market more, offer more diverse content for your readers, and just have a heck of a lot more material to work with. If you implement the four steps listed above, you'll have plenty of time to write the next book while gathering buzz for its release.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the self publishing business! Comment below!

How to get more out of Social Media


If you read my last post, you can tell this has been on my mind. Social media is a great way to build community, but it can be infuriatingly difficult at times. This article from StandoutBooks (LOVE their helpful posts) tells you more about how to use social media for maximum effect. It's clearly written and gives thoughtful, practical advice. Let me know if you have any other methods for negotiating the online social territory!  

Level Up Social Media Followers

Whether you’re a newly self-published author or someone who’s been around the block a few times, chances are you’ll wish that your social media following was a little more engaged.

Some writers struggle to gain a single ‘like’ online, while others who’ve patiently cultivated their following can become frustrated when even after months of building hype, many of their followers fail to buy their latest novel.

I find that there are four levels to any author’s fan community. I like to call them the Disinterested, the Interested But Lazy, the Engaged Who Don’t Follow Through, and finally, the Die Hards. The trick, as far as I’m concerned, to an effective social media campaign is to encourage followers to climb the ranks, slowly rising through the levels to become Die Hard fans.

Influencing fans isn’t always easy though, and as such, in this article I’ll talk a little about each of the three lower levels, and how you can encourage your fans to level up.


Read more on StandoutBooks

Twitter Campaign for Independent Authors


Hello all! I've got some exciting news. I've just launched a twitter campaign to help promote self published authors. I'm so glad to give to the indie community and offer a little bit of exposure to my fellow writers who are working to promote their own work (and find time to write the next novel!) Twitter has been a tough social media format for me. It's so loaded with garbage it's hard to sift through to find the gems. Instead of scrolling feeds, I decided to find a way to check out new authors as well as use twitter to promote them. With an open-invitation system (just email info@freeflyingpress) and author-designed tweets (send me 140 characters and an image of your book) I can quickly schedule in 4 tweets to help spread the word about new books.  

I hope this model will connect me with other authors & help strengthen the indie community while sharing news about hot new titles. I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts about how to use twitter to build community and help each other grow our author online presences!

& in the meantime, check out a preview my latest ebook release The Heart of the Lone Wolf  coming in September. For only .99 you can get your preorder copy today!

The Heart of the Lone Wolf