31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 30: Loose Ends

Time to tidy up loose ends

woman in long sleeve shirt holding a vacuum cleaner
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

[Last reminder to follow 10 new people. It’s amazing how well this has worked, isn’t it?!]

It’s the last day of November in our Author Platform Challenge journey. It’s been quite a ride.

Day 30 is when we check our progress!

Since that notebook is probably still out from yesterday, grab it and open to the front pages where you took your original assessments on Day 1.

Number check

Let’s compare numbers! Go page by page and compare where you started with where you are now.

For each social media outlet you were tracking, fill in:

  • How many followers did you have May 1st? How many do you have today?
  • What was your goal, did you meet it?
  • If you didn’t meet your goal, do you feel better about the progress you made, the engagement you created?

Feeling check

How do you feel overall about the challenge? Did you rise to the occasion?

If real life got in the way, don’t beat yourself up. It happens! The good news is this challenge can be redone over and over again! Start back next month where you left off. Or recommit yourself in the fall.

Goal check

Did you meet your overall goal?

I worked my tail off creating this challenge, and admittedly it got in the way of my own implementation. But I still improved my numbers by…*still doing the math*… Actually, I’m excited to see the numbers.

I’m impressed by all the work I got done and I hope you are too. Please drop some comments on your progress made, so we can let each other know how proud we are of ourselves, as a collective group of hard-working authors-with-increased-platforms!

My new goal in the fall will be to do this challenge again and again, with the social media platforms I’ve been ignoring. I’ll see if I like any of them better. I’ll assess whether I want to abandon ship on what I have going on now and replace it with a new outlet. Heck, maybe by them there will be a slew of even newer outlets to try. Maybe you’ll join me then, too?

But hey. Congrats, man. It’s Day 30. You did it!

You did it!

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 29: Checklist Check

As we near the end of our 31 days, let’s take Day 29 to look over the notes and ToDo lists we’ve been tracking.

Grab that notebook again. Give it a long look, page by page. The To Do list is probably a bit of a mess. What’s left to be done? Probably a lot, and that’s OK! In fact, that’s great! That means you’ve been taking notes and keeping track.

Review the notes you’ve taken and see if there are any new ToDos that haven’t been added to the list yet.

Create a clean new list of things that need to be done.

Mull it all over for a minute.

Now re-list the list!

On a new page, re-list the To Do list again, in priority order. (Writing things down repeatedly helps your brain remember things so it’s not a waste of time!)

Now, if you’re super organized, group the tasks under headings such as Website, Rework, Decisions, To Schedule/Email, Ask for Help, etc. Super-duper organized people can use different colored pens for each heading.

To really motivate yourself, give a deadline or goal completion date for each task (remember SMART goals: specific measurable achievable relevant timebound?).

Whenever you’re on hold, or on public transit, in the waiting room, etc, scroll this revised list and work on things as soon as, and as best as you can.

Now go back and review what you’ve checked off your To Do list so far, and give yourself a pat on the back for work well done!

Recap: Review To Do list and (re)prioritize what needs to happen first. Bonus points to giving yourself deadlines on each.

You’re doing a great job!

[You’re doing such a great job, I bet you already followed 10 new people today!]

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 28: Listicle love

Take note

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood
on Pexels.com

[Before we start, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

Have you heard the term “listicle?” Weird word, I know. A listicle is a type of blog post that is formatted as a list–like those Reddit posts you see all the time “13 Ways to Clean Your Bathroom Sink.” They are actually a great way to share information and tips in a way that is easy to scan and understand. Don’t know why I haven’t done one here myself!

These past Author Platform Challenge posts aren’t considered listicles because even though I’ve had lists in almost everyone (including this), the posts aren’t based around the lists. As in, none of them are the type of post such as “9 Ways to Create a Listicle.” There’s a difference. Does that make sense?

One Day 28, you’re going to create a listicle today to share with your followers.

You can chose any topic. Suggestions for lists you could create include topics like “10 Best Travel Books for Toddlers,” “5 Favorite Bedtime Books with Elephants,” “7 Ways to Strengthen Your Story Arc.”

You can’t post a listicle on, say, Twitter because it’s not the right venue and there isn’t enough room. But you can certainly post a link and direct followers to where you’ve created the listicle (such as your website or your FB Author Page). Create it on any topic. The entire thing can be as short as 100 words.

You want to demonstrate expertise, build trust, and engage with your peeps.

Win, win, win.

  1. Choose a topic that you are passionate about, or know a lot about, or can research the heck out of.
  2. Make sure your list is on brand, and of use to your audience.
  3. Pick a catchy title that (probably) no one else has used, such as “9 ways to Ruin a YA.”
  4. Come up with a list of 5-10 items. For some reason, studies show readers prefer odd numbers.
  5. Write a brief introduction that introduces your topic and list.
  6. Consider subheads for easier reading.
  7. Use active voice to keep it engaging.
  8. You know I’m going to suggest images if not video!
  9. Include a call to action at the end of your listicle. “Sign up for my newsletter for more great tips!”

FWIW, listicles are a great magazine article idea to pitch. Think of topics related to your book and create a listicle around it…maybe it’s even Top 7 Books About Parenting in the Digital Age and yours just happens to be on the list. Use today as your list creation practice.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Heck, I can’t wait to see what I come up with, lol. Tag the rest of us, #31DayAuthorPlatformChallenge, and share.

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 27: Best Advice

Now listen up…

[Before we start, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

We are on the homestretch! Today’s task is a snap; I mean, seeing as we’ve spent so much time on the Canva-type of programs we’re practically experts in graphic design.

Today, share your best piece of advice for your audience. Create a pretty meme about it.

[Surely by now you’ve narrowed down your audience. Is it writers? If so, what kind/who do they write for? Is it moms? If so, what age? YA readers? What genre? Librarians? Where do they live and why are they following you? But I digress.]

Feel free to add where you got the advice, how it changed things for you, and what you hope will happen by sharing it.

Speaking of which, Forbes has some ideas on how to go about making your posts more sharable, such as taking advantage of trending topics, using bright visuals, keeping it short, and having a call to action.

If you make the post interactive, check out some advice on ways to get interactive posts noticed, such as checking out what your (successful) peers are doing, keeping it on brand, and posting at the right time.

Or simply post the quote (with your social media handle/website) across your platforms.

Make it pretty, with images and animation. Sound effects optional. You’re getting good at this, right? (I sometimes spend so much time futzing around on Canva that I feel like I’m playing hooky from my WIP! Anyone else find themselves willingly jumping down that rabbit hole?)

Simple way to make it engaging? Ask followers to share THEIR best advice.

[Psst–four days left on the Challenge. How’s it been going? Let me know!]

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 26: What a baby

Write, write, baby

[Before we start, you sweet thing, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

To cleanse our frazzled brains from yesterday, for Day 26 we are taking a step back in time. We’re posting baby pix!

Question: what age range are you writing for? Pull up some old files or photo albums (remember them?) and find some old baby pix of yourself at that age.

Take a good look.

How cute are you?!

What was going on then? Do you remember your mindset? Did you really understand as much as you thought you understood? At that age, what did you want more than anything? What did you need? Place yourself there for a moment.

This picture, this person, will remind you who you’re speaking to in your manuscripts and works-in-progress.

If it’s not too personal, I’d like you to post the pic, and tell followers about this person you are writing to.

Bitsy Kemper, age 5ish

For me, I’m writing to this little girl who was grossly unsupervised, the youngest of five kids in five years that got lost in the shuffle growing up being raised by a widowed dad that worked full time and tried (I think). When this little girl discovered Clifford the Big Red Dog after Aunt Carolyn sent her a book for her birthday, things changed. Sure, the main character being a young blonde girl that dressed in bright colors and shared the name Elizabeth helped draw me in because I “got” her.

But those fantastical adventures with a safe, caring guardian sent me to a world where I didn’t have to worry about my clothes being dirty or ill fitting, my shoes being worn out, my hair not being washed. I didn’t think about being hungry or not having money for gymnastics like everyone else. Nope.

With those books in my hand, I got to hang out with my friends Clifford and Mary Elizabeth for as long as I wanted to.

See that girl?

I write for her.

Tell me, and your followers, who you write for.

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 25: Try new SEO

Oh no, SEO?
SEO isn’t as scary as you think!

Over 5.5 BILLION searches are processed a day just by Google alone. We need to find ways for our sites (and books) to get noticed! The answer is SEO.

I let you skate for a few days with easy tasks. Not now. Have a seat.

Today, Day 25, we’re going back to your website and looking into “SEO,” or “search engine optimization.” That’s a fancy way of saying “making sure your website has the right words for search engines to notice, so it pops up early in search results.”

A good overview that explains how search engines work and what they look for (along with tips specific to WordPress but likely work on other sites) is here. Take a minute to give it a look.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone typed in “children’s book author” and your name popped up in the top three results? or five? or ten? One way, of course, is to have a website that has a million hits, which means you have a best-selling title (or six). But there are ways to pad your website to up the chances a little bit.

The bad news is, I can’t tell you exactly what to do because we all have different sites and different focuses and reasons and audiences. But there are general guidelines the experts say to bear in mind.

letters on the wooden blocks
“SEO” Photo by Oleksandr P on Pexels.com
  • Images and videos are better than simple text. It not only makes people stay at your website longer, it can up your name on image and video search queries. Add more images to your pages, and more video.
  • Caption your images! And be sure to include an “alt text” description of each image.
  • Pick a scalable template or see if your web host will optimize your site for mobile devices. Scalable means your website dimensions will automatically adjust for the screen size of a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. When someone looks at your website on their phone, for example, your top banner won’t take up their entire screen; they will get to see your website almost like they were looking at it on a larger screen. It might seem like something obvious but not all template or designs do this.
  • Keep your website up to date. You know that regularly adding new content keeps readers coming back for more. Did you know it also improves SEO? New content shows search engines that your website is active and relevant. That means you have to keep going back to your website to edit, update, or add. The search-ranking autobots want to know that your site is “alive” — as in, there is a person tending to it regularly. The more active the bot senses your site is, the higher it will appear in the standings. It does’t want to look stupid by recommending a site that hasn’t been updated in five years. (If it had feelings, that is)
  • Add internal links and make sure they’re current. That means you want to link back to your own website as much as you can. (You may have noticed in this Challenge how often I point out things like “We covered looking your best in taking headshots on Day 7” — I often link back to my own posts, which helps prove my own content is valid and important.)
  • Use keywords repeatedly, such as in headers and in summaries (I have heard this doesn’t work as well as it used to though). At a minimum, repeat the words used in your post’s title.
  • Simplify language and URLs if you can, so search engines know how to find you and the content you are talking about.

The best advice I can give you is to go back to your website host and check their FAQ for SEO. They are bound to offer specific steps you can take. Wish I had a plug-and-play answer for you (and myself)!

[Oh, and have you followed 10 new people yet?]