How the hashtag do #Authors use Twitter? #pubtips

Images from ShutterStock.

Images from ShutterStock.

TWITTER FOR AUTHORS

Almost all authors know about Twitter.

Few authors feel that they really know how to use it.

Some authors believe that Twitter isn’t as effective for book marketing as it once was.

Other authors believe Twitter isn’t for them.

Yet many authors do use Twitter quite effectively.

One important note is that there isn’t just one way to use Twitter.

So you can find the right combination of tips to fit your needs and personality.

Twitter Tip #1: Make the Most of Hashtags

What you want is a hashtag that your target audience actually checks out. Otherwise, your hashtag is wasted.

This takes some research. But the research is worth it because once you find an effective, relevant hashtag, you can use it not just for your current tweet, but for hundreds of related tweets in the future.

Many authors simply throw a hashtag sign (#) in front of any relevant word that seems to come to mind: #romance #mystery #book #kindle #actionpacked.

That’s just guesswork. Are readers in your target audience actually searching for tweets with those hashtags?

Find a variety of relevant potential hashtags and check them out. Look at the tweets that you find there. Is the content that you see there likely to draw in an audience? Next consider the Twitter users who made those tweets. If the best content is coming mostly from the same source, there is no reason for people to search for that hashtag: They can simply follow that one user and get all the best content that way. But if good content is coming from multiple sources, it would be easier to get that content by searching the hashtag than paying close attention to every tweet coming from a few different users.

But even if there is great content there, it’s possible nobody in your audience is actually searching for that hashtag. A little trial and error on your part may help you find gauge the effectiveness of a hashtag, as you can monitor your tweet engagement (you also need the kind of tweets likely to generate that activity).

If there is good content, but it’s drowned out by poor content, that’s a problem, too. It takes time to find a great set of hashtags, but it’s worth it if you do. (But keep in mind that those might not remain effective forever.)

Find authors with books similar to yours who appear to be using Twitter effectively. Check out the hashtags that they’ve used.

Note the #pubtips hashtag that I used for this post (publishing tips). I first learned about this hashtag when I saw Amazon KDP use it in a tweet with a publishing tip. Check it out here (you can learn a lot, as it’s packed with publishing tips):

https://twitter.com/hashtag/pubtips

You can even help inspire readers to regularly search for a particular hashtag. For example, you might get together with several other authors in the same genre, and come up with an idea for semi-weekly tweets likely to attract those readers. You might be able to get readers in the habit of checking out tweets in a particular hashtag. You have to put on your creative hat, and think of what kinds of tweets would draw in your audience. Something simple that you and others could do, which readers would appreciate.

Twitter Tip #2: Don’t Overdo the Hashtags

Two hashtags per tweet is a good rule of thumb.

#Nobody #will #read #a #tweet #that #looks #like #this #########!

Twitter Tip #3: Find Twitter All-Stars

Find and follow authors (both in and out of your genre) who appear to be using Twitter effectively.

You can learn a great deal about Twitter just watching from the sidelines for a couple of months. But you have to get good seats.

Beware that not everyone with a huge following is using Twitter effectively.

So look beyond the follower count. Also pay attention to engagement, as well as you can judge it from your perspective. If the content happens to engage you, especially when you were just checking it out to see how it’s done, you definitely want to pay close attention to those tweets.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do they include links? Are the links in the beginning? at the end? somewhere else? What kinds of links are they?
  • Do they include images? How often do the tweets include images? What kinds of images? Is there text in the images? (Even pay attention to size, color schemes, and font styles.) What aspect ratio do they use? pixel count? (Right-click on an image to check out its properties.)
  • Which hashtags do they use? How many hashtags do they include in a typical tweet? Are any of these hashtags relevant for any of your tweets? In what context is each hashtag used?
  • How often do they tweet? How often do they retweet? How often do they self-promote? (If ever.) Do they ever draw up a new tweet to help promote someone else rather than simply retweet? If so, in which situations. Do they ever click the Twitter share button to tweet about relevant articles that they discover online?
  • How do they make effective use of that very limited character count? What kinds of words are they using, and where are they putting them?
  • Observe Twitter etiquette with regard to tweet frequency, direct messages, retweets, thank you’s, etc.

Twitter Tip #4: Get Started

You don’t have to turn into a Twitter pro overnight.

The first step is just to get started with something. Otherwise you’ll never get there. It will continue to be a nagging feeling that maybe you could (or should) be using Twitter more than you are now.

I’m not one of the Twitter pros yet. (When you find one, you’ll know the difference.) But I’ve taken the plunge, I’ve grown a following, I’ve followed many authors, I’ve done a ton of research on how to use Twitter (haven’t yet applied it all, but I’m getting there)… and that’s the way marketing works. You keep trying to improve and learn and try new things, and some of it will pan out. I started out with a simple WordPress blog a couple of years ago, and now I have a respectable following and average about 300-400 views per day. It functions as a content-rich website now, with most of my traffic coming from search engines, but it didn’t start out that way.

So if you want Twitter, or your blog, or any other aspect of marketing to work for you, the first thing is to take that first step and get it started.

Remember, you don’t have to build Rome in a day. You can take small steps and still eventually get there:

  • If you haven’t already done so, sign up for Twitter and setup your profile.
  • You can feed your WordPress blog posts (or Facebook posts) into Twitter. This will help give you some content at Twitter to help attract an initial following. It also helps connect an author who prefers WordPress or Facebook, for example, to potential followers who prefer Twitter. Let people follow you from their favorite platform. (But watch out for possible double or triple posts. For example, don’t both feed WordPress into Twitter and Twitter into WordPress—just do one or the other.)
  • When you come across an article that’s relevant for your audience, use the Twitter share button to tweet it. This will give you something different to share on Twitter.
  • Follow authors who appear to use Twitter effectively. This may help you learn some handy tips and build up the confidence to take a bigger plunge.
  • Then you can gradually start to apply various tips that you’ve learned.

Twitter Tip #5: Search for Twitter Help

This is the information age. Take advantage of it.

Use a search engine to find helpful Twitter tips for authors.

Here are a few to help you get started:

Check out the comments for my blog post. You might find some valuable tips there. If you have any Twitter tips, feel free to share them in the comments.

If you leave a comment with a tip, please include your Twitter handle (@you) so people can check out how you use Twitter.

Twitter Tip #6: Use Twitter Analytics

Measure tweet engagement, check out follower demographics, and more.

Using Twitter actually gets you an abundance of information (that can help you market better as well as better understand your audience).

And it’s free:

https://analytics.twitter.com/about

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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#AmazonGiveaway Tip: How to find more giveaways

Giveaway 4D

AMAZON GIVEAWAYS

You can win free stuff shipped by Amazon.

Visit the Twitter page for the hashtag #AmazonGiveaway:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/AmazonGiveaway

When you visit this page, it only shows you a few of the results.

It doesn’t show you all of the results

UNLESS… you click the ALL link at the top of the page, under where it says, “Results for #AmazonGiveaway.”

By default, it only shows what it considers to be the top results.

When I browse the top results, I find a limited number of giveaways from the past several hours, and below that I find expired giveaways.

Increase your chances of winning by clicking ALL instead of the default TOP.

When I pull up all of the giveaways, I find many more giveaways that I can enter, which haven’t expired.

If you create your own giveaway, tweet about it with the hashtag #AmazonGiveaway.

This adds your contest to the Amazon Giveaway page at Twitter.

However, when you search for your contest on the Amazon Giveaway hashtag page, you might not see it unless you click the ALL link.

After clicking ALL, you should be able to find your contest.

Here is your chance to win my Visual Guide to Extra Dimensions book in an Amazon Giveaway. No purchase necessary. See official rules: http://amzn.to/GArules. Just click this link to enter (you can enter even if you already follow me; it’s not restricted to new Twitter followers):

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/485fd2882c555252

Note that the hashtag page for #AmazonGiveaway shows all tweets using this hashtag, whereas the similar @AmazonGiveaway does not. (Of course, one is the hashtag, the other is the entity.) However, if you visit @AmazonGiveaway by mistake, you can click the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag in one of their recent tweets to reach the hashtag page.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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How does Amazon Tweet & post to Facebook?

Tweeting

POSTING TO TWITTER & FACEBOOK EFFECTIVELY

One way to learn how to do something effectively is to find someone else who is doing it well.

Amazon knows a thing or two (!) about marketing. So let’s see how Amazon uses Twitter and Facebook.

Obviously, Amazon has a huge advantage when it comes to building a following. People seek out Amazon because the company is famous.

But… just like everyone else, Amazon must tweet and post to Facebook effectively in order to engage that audience.

So what we might learn from Amazon is how to engage an audience with Twitter and Facebook.

Let’s look at two examples from Amazon. If you’re an author, these pages are actually relevant. They post a lot of helpful publishing tips, so it’s worth following these particular Amazon pages.

AMAZON KDP’S TWITTER & FACEBOOK PAGES

First, we’ll look at Amazon KDP.

You can check out Amazon’s Twitter page here:

https://twitter.com/AmazonKDP

Here is the Amazon KDP Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/KindleDirectPublishing

CREATESPACE’S TWITTER & FACEBOOK PAGES

Next, check out CreateSpace.

Here is CreateSpace’s Twitter page:

https://twitter.com/CreateSpace

Find CreateSpace’s Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/CreateSpace

HOW AMAZON TWEETS

At both Amazon KDP and CreateSpace, look at their recent tweets.

Here are a few things that I notice:

  • About 25% of the tweets include images.
  • Both KDP and CreateSpace post 1-2 times per day.
  • The images in the tweets are consistent in size. They are 1024 x 512 (or 1024 x 576).
  • The way the images are spread out and the same size gives a nice appearance.
  • Most of their images feature writing or reading, consistent with the brand. These are publishing services.
  • The images look nice. They also include a small quote or a little text, just large enough to read, but not imposing, out of the way of the foreground.
  • The tweets provide links to relevant and helpful content for their target audience, i.e. the content relates to authorship or publishing.
  • The tweets usually include a single, but highly relevant hashtag.
  • Many of the tweets link to other helpful sites, e.g. articles, contests, or posts appearing on author’s blogs. (KDP actually linked to one of my blog posts a few weeks back, and CreateSpace did this with a different post of mine more recently; you can still find the link to my name readily at CreateSpace.) That’s pretty cool that they link to authors’ blogs.
  • Most of the tweets going to other sites (i.e. not Amazon) specify “via” and include the @ to designate the author’s Twitter handle.
  • The information found in the links is often very useful to authors. Content is king.

DIFFERENCES WITH FACEBOOK

Now look at the Facebook pages for CreateSpace and KDP.

I notice much of the same as noted above, but there are a few differences:

  • The images are more square. They are usually about 940 x 748. Amazon knows which size works best for each.
  • Every post has an image, instead of just 25% of the posts.
  • Amazon makes its own image and uploads that image for the post. If you click on the links, you’ll see that the images on those pages are different. (If you simply insert a url into a Facebook post, Facebook automatically finds an image to show, if available. Amazon inserts its own image instead, and Amazon’s image is the one that shows.) Using their own images helps Amazon achieve a consistent brand on their site, and ensures a uniformity in size, too. (Plus, then there is no question about image use rights.)
  • The Facebook posts appears to engage the target audience over a much longer period of time. I still get a few referrals from a link to one of my articles (about the use of color in cover design) that was posted by CreateSpace on Facebook over a week ago, whereas the referrals from Twitter dropped off after just a few days.
  • Although KDP and CreateSpace post the same url links at Facebook and Twitter, they don’t simply feed the posts from one to the other. They actually take the time to post separately to both Facebook and Twitter. The wording is different. The photos are sometimes the same, but cropped differently so that Twitter’s photo is 1024 x 512 and Facebook’s photo is 940 x 748. (Don’t simply change the aspect ratio to do this. Crop them differently.)

WORDPRESS TO TWITTER & FACEBOOK

So we shouldn’t auto-feed our posts from WordPress to Twitter and Facebook. (I’ve been guilty of that. But now I’m seeing the light.)

Why not?

  • The image size that works best isn’t the same across all platforms. Amazon uses 1024 x 512 (or 1024 x 576) at Twitter and crops it to 940 x 748 for Facebook. The squarer look appears better at Facebook; the more rectangular look appears better at Twitter. Amazon has a uniform look on both sites by feeding separately.
  • The auto-feed to Twitter doesn’t show the photo from WordPress. Note that Amazon only includes a photo with about 25% of their posts at Twitter, but 100% at Facebook.
  • Amazon changes the wording of the posts from one site to the other. This way, people who follow you at both Twitter and Facebook get a little variety, even when both posts link to the same article.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Follow Amazon

Follow the Leader

Images from Shutterstock (human icons are modified images from artist Orla).

 

FOLLOW AMAZON

When I first began using Twitter, I found Amazon on Twitter. I followed Amazon. And received a pleasant surprise. Amazon followed me back! (I’m not special. Thousands of others have received the same pleasant surprise.)

Obviously, when Amazon follows you back on Twitter, you shouldn’t expect this to be an active member of your audience, reading and enjoying your tweets, interested in any products or services that you offer. But it’s still cool.

If you’re a writer, you also want to follow KDP Amazon.

TIP: You can find a good variety of free writing and publishing tips on KDP Amazon’s Facebook or Twitter pages. (Note that following KDP Amazon is different from following Amazon.) KDP Amazon makes effective use of social media, so KDP Amazon’s posts provide good examples of how to tweet or Facebook effectively.

KDP Amazon surprised me with a wonderful social media Christmas present a few days ago. I received an email notification from Twitter that KDP Amazon had mentioned me in a post.

So I immediately searched for KDP Amazon on Twitter. There I found a beautiful image, a link to one of my WordPress posts with a cover design checklist, and a relevant hashtag, #pubtip.

Next, I received an email notification from WordPress that my stats were booming. I average about 10 views per hour, but when KDP Amazon mentioned my cover design checklist, I was averaging 100 views per hour.

I noticed that most of my traffic was coming from Facebook. So I found KDP Amazon’s Facebook page, where I saw a similar mention of my cover design checklist. And a host of other valuable references for writers.

Amazon discovers many KDP and CreateSpace indie authors. Once in a while Amazon reaches out to an author. Other times they discover helpful writing or publishing tips and link to them from their social media pages. Several authors are recognized through success stories in the KDP newsletter, CreateSpace newsletter, or even on Amazon’s homepage.

Obviously, you can’t expect Amazon to reach out to every author, or to feature you if you simply contact them with a request. But you can see that Amazon does find some authors who are finding success on Amazon or who are supporting Amazon writing and publishing opportunities.

Following are some Amazon social media pages that all writers should follow.

AMAZON TWITTER

@amazon

@AmazonKDP

AMAZON FACEBOOK

https://www.facebook.com/Amazon

https://www.facebook.com/KindleDirectPublishing

AMAZON EMAILS

Follow Amazon’s Success Stories. Many of these are inspirational. Also, if you check out these successful authors, you might learn some valuable tips. Click http://www.amazon.com/gp/gss > Success Stories

Subscribe to the KDP email newsletter: http://www.amazon.com/gp/gss/detail/13778590. The monthly newsletter often contains helpful tips and highlights success stories.

There is also an occasional email newsletter from Amazon called Newsletter Highlights: http://www.amazon.com/gp/gss/detail/162110.

Amazon’s new publishing program, Kindle Scout, has a subscription newsletter, too: http://www.amazon.com/gp/gss/detail/29134490.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set now available for Kindle and in print (both at special introductory prices)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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#Free #ebook w/ #KindleUnlimited (**New** Twitter Amazon Hashtags for Kindle Unlimited) #AmazonCart

Kindle Unlimited Hashtags

Amazon recently launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service where customers can access 600,000 titles (including all 500,000 KDP Select tiles plus 100,000 more from small presses, with some popular series like Harry Potter in the mix) for $9.99 per month. A customer can borrow up to 10 books on the device (which doesn’t have to be a Kindle) before needing to return one to make room for another. Authors receive a royalty in the form of a KDP Select borrow for each Kindle Unlimited download after the customer passes the 10% mark. You can read more about Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.

Like it or hate it, neither praising nor complaining are marketing strategies. If you enroll in KDP Select, you want to find marketing strategies that help you benefit from the program; if you opt out of KDP Select, the presence of Kindle Unlimited still impacts how to market your book effectively. Adapting to change and finding effective marketing strategies are proactive ways to reap benefits while others idly watch, wait, and remark.

For example, you could be using hashtags to help with your Twitter marketing. If you have already built a large fan base and release a new book, Twitter can help with that, but some authors use Twitter effectively to do far more than that. For one, you can use hashtags effectively. For another, if you become an active, appreciated member of a Twitter network, you can garner much support for your occasional promotions in the form of retweets, for example.

Here are some hashtags that you might be using to market your KDP Select e-books in the Kindle Unlimited era:

  • Hashtag #KindleUnlimited. Make it easy for Kindle Unlimited customers to see that they can get your Kindle e-book for free.
  • Hashtag #Free. Like the example I made with the title of this article, you can combine these hashtags (#Free with #Kindle Unlimited). You might also include Reg. $5.99 (or whatever the list price is).
  • Hashtag #AmazonCart. This new feature helps Twitter customers quickly add your Kindle e-book to their carts to buy later, and offers you the ability to monitor the effectiveness of your promotional tweets. Click here to learn more.

You don’t want to spam your followers to death, but if you learn to use Twitter effectively, build a following, and become a respected member of your network, it is possible to use Twitter effectively to promote your e-book.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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Facebook Twitter WordPress Triangle: Double Posting OOPS!

Double

You should feed your WordPress blog into Facebook and Twitter, as I explained in a previous post.

However, you have to beware of possible double posting.

However, you have to beware of possible double posting.

(You see: It’s annoying, isn’t it?)

In Twitter, there is an option to link it to Facebook, and vice-versa.

So if your WordPress blog feeds into Twitter and Facebook and if also Twitter is reading/writing everything you post at Facebook, you may find that your posts are getting doubled up at one or the other.

I confess that I had accidentally done this at Twitter with Read Tuesday—a Black Friday type of event just for books. Oops! Should be single posting there now, though.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter Options at WordPress (and Why You Should Use Them)

Two Audiences Pic

If you don’t already feed your WordPress blog into Facebook and Twitter, you should. People who don’t blog here who may want to read your article (because someone was kind enough to share it with them, or because they discovered a link to it somewhere) may not want to create a WordPress account in order to subscribe to your blog. Facebook and Twitter provide two popular alternatives.

Even if you don’t currently use Facebook or Twitter, you should take a moment to open accounts there and to also create a Facebook page. (The how-to part of all these suggestions is described later in this article.) Don’t worry about not having friends or followers there yet. Feeding your blog into Facebook and Twitter is a handy way to get started there without having to do any work. Then you’ll feel that you’re actually using those services, and stop worrying about not using them. Once you have a healthy following there, then you might get the motivation to utilize them by doing more than just feeding WordPress posts to them. In the meantime, it’s a good way to get the ball rolling with little effort on your part, but it will be very handy for potential followers who prefer Facebook or Twitter.

You should also make it easy for people to find other ways to get your blog feed. You can include an email option at the end of every post, put a Follow me on Twitter or Like Me on Facebook option on your sidebar, add a Follow Blog by Email widget, and include links to subscribe to your RSS feed. The more options you provide, the easier it will be for people who aren’t WordPress bloggers to follow your blog.

Of course, they really should sign up for a WordPress account, even if they have no intention of blogging. It’s a great ambiance, the interaction and connections are wonderful, and there is a wealth of amazing material to read or look at for free. I like it better than any magazine. If you can convince somebody of this, that’s great for WordPress and for that person, too.

However, we know that some people are reluctant to sign up for a new account at a site that’s new to them. So make it easy for them to follow you.

How to get started at Facebook and Twitter.

If you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, it will just take you a minute to set up accounts there, add your author photo, and setup your profile. You should also add a header, probably like the one you have at WordPress, although the aspect ratio will be somewhat different.

You should also have an author page at Facebook, to keep separate from your friends and family page. People will be able to Like your author page, too. The name of the page will be different from your Facebook name. From your Facebook home, find the Create a Page option on the bottom-left. For an author page, click Artist, Band, or Public Figure; one of the options is author. (You can also make a page for your book by selecting Entertainment.)

When you want to do something as an author rather than with your personal account, login to Facebook, click on your Facebook page (see the list on the left-hand side), and look for a message at the top of the screen that shows how you are posting. There is a place to click to change this. You’ll need to get into the habit of checking how you’re posting, liking, or commenting before you do it.

How to feed your WordPress blog into Facebook and Twitter:

Find your Settings. There is more than one way to get there. One way is to click the My Blogs tab at the top of the page you see when you login (you also see it when in your Reader or viewing your Stats), then click the button that tells you the number of posts. Now look for Settings near the bottom of the list on the left-hand side.

Now choose Sharing. On Facebook and Twitter, click the Add New buttons. This will give you the option to login and agree to feed your WordPress blog into your Facebook and Twitter accounts. For Facebook, be sure to do this with your author page instead of your personal page (see the previous note regarding how to select how you post, like, or comment at Facebook).

This will feed your posts into your Facebook and Twitter accounts (once you click the Save button below).

You can also add Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path. There is yet another Google+ option below.

Further down, there are several other buttons that you can add, such as PInterest and StumbleUpon. You can choose from this list even if you don’t have accounts there. PInterest isn’t for you to use. It’s for anyone who uses PInterest to Pin things they like. So if you would like someone who uses PInterest to have the option of Pinning something you posted, you should add this button, even if you don’t use PInterest. The email and print buttons may be convenient for people who aren’t into social media connections at all.

Explore all the options at the bottom, like the button style and where these options will appear on your blog.

How to add Facebook and Twitter options to your sidebar

In the same place where you found Settings in the previous instructions, look for Appearance and select Widgets.

Look for the Facebook Like Box widget. Drag it over to your sidebar. Click the little triangle in the blue bar, if necessary, to open up the options. Add a title. Go to your Facebook author page and copy/paste the url from your browser (up at the top, including the http:// part) into the url field. If you don’t have any friends yet, reduce the height to 100 pixels (if you enter a value less than this, it will revert to the default); if you have faces to show from your author page, you may want a higher pixel count for the height. The standard sidebar is 200 pixels wide (if you have a dual sidebar, the one on the left may be more like 150).

If I visit your blog, I’ll try to remember to check if you have an easy way for me to check out your Facebook author page, and if I like it, I’ll Like it, too. 🙂

Look for the Twitter Timeline widget (the old Twitter widget is expiring soon, so don’t select that one if you see it). Enter a title. You’ll need to login to Twitter (in another window) to get a widget id. At Twitter, go to edit your profile (look at the top-right), then click Widgets. Create a new widget. Save it when you finish selecting your options, then look for the long number called your widget id in your address bar (it’s in the url at the top of your browser). Copy and paste this into the widget id field at WordPress.

Open up your blog’s homepage and refresh the page to see how it looks. If you need to make changes, refresh the page again when you finish to see how your revision looks.

How to setup other follow options

Go to your WordPress blog’s widgets (see the previous instructions). Drag the Follow Blog (whereas the Follow button is for WordPress.com users) button over to your sidebar. This will let non-WordPress users subscribe to your blog by email.

You can also add the RSS Links widget to provide links to your blog’s RSS feeds. Many professional authors only have this option; but we can benefit by offering the convenience of several different options.

The RSS feed for your WordPress blog is simply your blog’s url plus /feed/ (for example, mine is https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/feed/). You can use this to feed your WordPress blog into your AuthorCentral page at Amazon.com (but in the UK, you must feed Twitter there instead) or into GoodReads (go to your author account there to do this), for example.

How would you like to participate in a Black Friday type of sales event designed specifically for books? Check out Read Tuesday. It’s going to be HUGE!

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Late to the Social Media Game

I was ahead of the social media generation. We weren’t using cell phones in high school or getting online when we got home. We mainly used the computer for word processing, programming, and occasionally games, but nothing like the games these days. We had a lot of games that didn’t have any pictures at all, like Mystery Mansion or the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

On the other hand, almost all of my students seem to be on Facebook, used to be on MySpace, and are now into Twitter. So for a few years, I have felt that social media just wasn’t my generation.

I have taken a real liking to WordPress, however. Once I finally figured it out, I have felt that blogging was invented just for me. Ha ha. 🙂 I should have been blogging twenty years ago. (But then what else would I have accomplished in that time?)

Since I’ve been at WordPress, I’ve seen many bloggers from my generation, or thereabouts, who seem to be quite active with Twitter and Facebook. This gave me the inspiration to start feeding my WordPress posts into Twitter for a while now. I see that I have some followers on Twitter (here is a big thank you to any followers anywhere), so maybe it’s time to start learning what else I might do with a hundred or so characters. 🙂

I’ve had a personal Facebook account for years, mostly for close family and a couple of friends. There are some people, it seems, that you can’t get in touch with any other way, which is why I joined Facebook. 🙂 I finally added my author page to Facebook. Like Twitter, I’ll start out by feeding my posts into Facebook.

Read Tuesday (a Black Friday type of sales event just for books) seems to be more popular on Facebook than anywhere else. I’ll have to think about how to put more content over there (although the Read Tuesday website gets several referrals from the Facebook page).

I’m a complete author now, as I can vainly say:

Please Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter (@ChrisDMcMullen). Ha! But, really, you “had me” just be viewing my post here at WordPress. 🙂

As long as I’m making such requests, I may as well also ask you to Like or Follow (@ReadTuesday) Read Tuesday, too, or check out the Read Tuesday website.

You could even +1 me on Google. I’ve scarcely used this, but it’s on my to-do list (with PInterest and many other things). I had started a blog with Google’s Blogger (BlogSpot) to make some posts that relate to teaching or learning fundamental math skills, but haven’t been using it since Google’s Reader met its end. Maybe I’ll revive it, or try it again over here at WordPress.

Please feel free to describe your author pages at Facebook or Twitter in the comments section and I will surely check them out. 🙂 (Or the next time I visit your blog, I’ll look for these buttons.)

Chris McMullen